Thursday, October 28, 2021

A Better Forever by Tracey Cramer-Kelly (Spotlight, excerpt, review, and GIVEAWAY) GFT Adult title




A Better Forever

ADULT title


Tracey Cramer-Kelly




GENRE: Contemporary romance






Tumbling down…


Connor Lawson has always been a nerd. A rules follower. The valedictorian who worked his way up to Chief Financial Officer at his company on the Iron Range in Minnesota—and married the girl of his dreams. But his perfect life is crashing down around him. He could lose his job in a company acquisition. And the wife he deeply loves has discovered the shameful secret he’s hidden for most of his life.


Shattered dreams…


Melina “Mel” Lawson was the opposite of Connor in college, but she fell hard for the man she could talk to for hours. Now, twelve years and two kids into their marriage, life is a blur of hockey practice, drama rehearsals, part-time work and volunteering. Still, she can’t shake the feeling that something is missing. When she discovers what Connor has been struggling with all these years, his betrayal leaves her devastated.


Picking up the pieces…


They’d once vowed before God to love one another for better or worse—but Mel never imagined anything like this. If Connor is willing to work things out, is Mel ready to salvage this marriage in crisis? Can they recapture true intimacy and find a better forever… together?






Connor hadn’t slept a wink. In twelve years of marriage, Mel had never kicked him out of their bed, and it was a damn cold place to be. All night long, her words had banged around in his head.


She knew. She knew everything.


And she thought he was capable of cheating on her.


Yes, he looked at other women, but that’s all it was.


It’s still wrong, the small voice in his head said.


By morning he’d resolved to do some serious groveling. And explaining. And he’d give her the attention he should have been giving her all along.


Instead of heading to work at first light, he started the coffee when he heard movement on the upper floor.


Mel looked surprised to see him when she came down, already dressed in a floral blouse and tan slacks, Andie right behind her.


Dad!” Andie jumped into his arms. “What are you doing here?”


“Yeah, why aren’t you at work?” Kurt appeared behind her, rubbing his eyes. “Are you sick?”


“I decided to go in a little later than usual.” He ruffled Kurt’s hair. “I wanted to have breakfast with you guys before you go to school.”


“Are you sure you’re not sick?” Andie said as she slid into her chair at the table. “You never eat with us. Not even on weekends most of the time.”


He winced inwardly. “Well, I am today.”


He glanced at Mel, but she wouldn’t look at him. Instead, she busied herself making the kids’ lunches. Nor did she say anything during the short breakfast of toaster waffles and cereal.


He didn’t try to interfere with their usual morning routine—heck, he didn’t even know their morning routine—instead staying seated at the kitchen table until the kids were loaded with their lunch boxes and backpacks.


“Kids, get in the car.” Mel gave them a little push toward the door. “I’ll be right there. I need to talk to your father for a moment.”


“Bye, dad!” Andie skipped out the door, Kurt following at a more sedate pace.


Connor waited for the door to close behind them. “Look, Mel, about last night—”


“I did a lot of thinking last night.” She looked down at her sandalled feet, then back up, although her gaze didn’t meet his. “I’m obviously not meeting your needs, Connor, and frankly, you haven’t met mine for a long time.”


Her words held no anger, only resignation. Still, they felt like a punch to the gut. “I know I didn’t handle our conversation very well,” he said. “Why don’t we talk about it after you drop off the kids?”


Her mouth flattened. “It’s a little late to talk. I think it’s best we take some time apart.”












AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Many experiences influence Tracey's writing, and she has been known to undertake unusual endeavors (such as firefighter training and learning to fly a helicopter) just for the sake of the experience. Being an Army-trained combat medic (and civilian EMT) and a "biker chick" for over 30 years has had significant influence in her books, but even "ordinary" events have struck a chord or inspired a character or plot idea. To support her writing habit, she also works PT at a substance abuse counseling center and manages the family business (Leader Motorcycle). She’s a soccer fanatic who’s blessed with a very understanding husband and two children who put up with the “embarrassment” of a motorcycle-riding, romance-writing mom!














My review


3.75 stars

A Better Forever by Tracey Cramer-Kelly is a Marriage in Crisis romance and book 5 in the ‘Lawson Family’ series. The story centers around the stress in the marriage between Connor and Melina Lawson as he deals with challenges in his profession and his unwise coping mechanisms and she struggles with the estrangement she feels from her husband and his lack of commitment to their marriage.

This sensual Christian romance provides a realistic and inspirational look at the obstacles that can arise in a marriage as the family grows and stresses increase. I couldn’t help feeling sympathy for each of the main characters as they sink deeper into the ruts of daily life yet grow further and further apart. The shocking revelations and the wake-up calls are deftly depicted, and the importance of having a strong faith to rely on and good counseling from both friends and professionals is underscored. The value of good communication and trust and honesty in a relationship are also emphasized in this heartwarming story.

Although this tale is part of a series, it stands alone with no problem and features cameos by other members of the family with enough details to pique interest in their stories as well.

A copy of this title was provided for review

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Never Fade Away by E.L. Esch (Spotlight, excerpt, and review) ADULT title GBP



 Never Fade Away

ADULT title


E.L. Esch
Until death does us part, but it's knocking on our door…

I'd had enough. That's how I found myself in a dingy alleyway with my revolver in my hand. I was sick and dying anyway, and there was nothing I could do about it. Nothing except maybe taking back some shred of control by going out on my own terms.

One deep breath. Two… Three… Four…

Surrounded by the darkness of my own mind, this was the only solution I could see, but before I could do something I’d regret, rock star Anno Goodkind crashed into my life and flipped it upside down.

It was supposed to be one casual hookup. No complications and definitely no feelings. No, the most logical thing to do would be to stuff my emotions down so nobody got hurt. Especially not him. But nobody told me that love didn’t give a damn about logic.

CONTENT WARNING: This story has a HEA but deals with heavy themes of illness, suicide, anxiety, and depression. Reader discretion is advised.
My review: 


4 stars



Never Fade Away by E.L. Esch centers around an unexpected intervention by rock star Arlo Goodkind as he reminds Vincent to focus on living rather than on dying.



This adult gay romance was a challenging and sobering story to read. I wasn’t sure whether it was going to be too dark a story to read during these troubling times, given that it starts with an interrupted possible suicide attempt and a serious medical condition. I quickly became caught up in the story, and even though each man is dealing with very heavy emotional burdens, I was charmed by the connection that forms between them. This is not a light fluffy story, but it is heartwarming and indeed fits the parameters of a romance. Those with triggers should pay attention to the warnings, but kudos to the author for tackling such serious subjects with sensitivity and deftness.



A copy of this title was provided for review


Monday, October 18, 2021

Mockingbird's Cry by Winter Austin (Spotlight, excerpt, review, and GIVEAWAY) GFT




Mockingbird's Cry


Winter Austin




GENRE: Romantic Suspense/Military Thriller






Five years ago, Josephine "Mockingbird" Caruso belonged to an all-female black-ops military group named Hera Force—a team tasked with bringing down terrorists like the enigma dubbed the Chessmaster, but the faceless criminal mastermind had other plans and single-handedly destroyed the operation, ruining the women’s military careers and their lives.


Ex-Delta Force operative, now Detective Lincoln Sullivan reports to the scene of a mass-murder, learning all too quickly he knows the victims. The killer has left behind a deadly missive just for him: Find the Mockingbird or more will die.


Lincoln flies to New Orleans where Jo lives with her twin brother. Lincoln and Jo had once been co-operatives and lovers. But the fallout from Hera Force's destruction left what little relationship they had in tatters. Jo has no desire to work with Lincoln again, but the threat to her life and the remaining two operatives, Nadia “Phoenix” Roth and Jade “Dragon” Delacour force her hand. The four former teammates are thrust together once more and on the run. But there are unknown forces moving in the background and an old enemy is about to return with a vengeance.


Tensions between the ex-lovers come to a head when Lincoln learns his partner is an army agent working under Hera Force’s top general, a man who's not all he seems. Each step the four teammates take they are met with death and destruction. Buried lies and half-truths begin to unravel Jo’s shaky trust in Lincoln until all is brought to light. When the killer strikes, Jo is faced with a hard choice, be the leader she was born to be, or lose Lincoln forever.








Together, they entered the second room. Lincoln froze at the sight awaiting them. Five old men in various states of undress surrounded a scarred and battered poker table. Presiding over the whole affair, and with a lit cigar clenched between her teeth, was the grand queen herself.


“Jo! What a surprise.” Amazingly, Nadia was still fully clothed. Her once platinum-blond hair was streaked with shades of blue, pink and purple, reminding Lincoln of a My Little Pony.


“Nadia, mind if we interrupt?” Jo asked.


Nadia removed the cigar, puffed out a cloud of smoke, and set the stub in an ashtray. “Sure, why not.” She spoke to the men in rapid Cajun French.


Lincoln leaned close to Jo’s ear. “When did she learn that?”


“She probably didn’t.”


“What do you mean?”


Jo peered over her shoulder. “Her TBI did that. It did something to her brain to make her speak new languages she’d never learned before.”


“Wait, what?”


“It’s hard to explain,” Jo said.


As a former CIA black ops assassin, Nadia had a long list of languages she spoke fluently. She had been a veritable Rosetta Stone. But with her injury from the IED, Lincoln figured she’d lost some of those skills. Never in a million years would he have guessed she’d gain more. Guilt twinged inside his chest. If he’d been a better friend, and kept track of Nadia after her release from the hospital, he would have known this. He’d been too wrapped up in his own shit, and losing Jo, he forgot about everyone else.



Buy Links:

Tirgearr Publishing

Amazon link




AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Winter Austin perpetually answers the question: “were you born in the winter?” with a flat “nope,” but believe her, there is a story behind her name.


A lifelong Mid-West gal with strong ties to the agriculture world, Winter grew up listening to the captivating stories told by relatives around a table or a campfire. As a published author, she learned her glass half-empty personality makes for a perfect suspense/thriller writer. Taking her ability to verbally spin a vivid and detailed story, Winter translated that into writing deadly romantic suspense, mysteries, and thrillers.


When she’s not slaving away at the computer, you can find Winter supporting her daughter in cattle shows, seeing her three sons off into the wide-wide world, loving on her fur babies, prodding her teacher husband, and nagging at her flock of hens to stay in the coop or the dogs will get them.


She is the author of ten novels, with more on the way.


Find Winter on:











a Rafflecopter giveaway




The tour dates can be found here





My review:



4 stars


“Mockingbird’s Cry” by Winter Austin is the first book in the ‘Hera’s Force’ series and features three very capable and efficient female operatives and one male, who were all involved in a horrific final op while they were in the military together that has left both mental and physical scars. Their estrangement from each other is abruptly terminated when a killer sets sights on “Mockingbird”, and they join forces in a race against both time and an unknown enemy determined to destroy them all.


This romantic suspense and military thriller is tension filled and action packed, and it grabs one’s attention with the very first page and keeps getting more intense. There are lots of nice twists and turns but also a lot of questions that remain unanswered, as this is the first in a series. I love strong heroines, and the trio of warriors that star in this story made me cheer and kept me invested in the action and in their lives. A couple of the developments seemed a little forced to me, and I admit to being disturbed by one of the revelations, but I still enjoyed the overall story and anxiously await the sequel. 



A copy of this title was provided for review

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Junkyard Bargain by Faith Hunter (Spotlight, excerpt, and review) LTP



Junkyard Bargain


Faith Hunter




Sometimes before you can face your enemies—you need to confront yourself.

Time is running out for Shining Smith and her crew to gather the weapons they need to rescue one of their own. But will they even make it to the ultimate battle? First, they’ll need to hit the road to Charleston—a hell ride full of bandits, sex slavers, corrupt lawmen, and criminal bike gangs looking to move in on Shining’s territory.

Shining’s human allies will do anything to protect her—because they must. But will victory be worth it if she must compel more and more people to do her bidding? And will her feline warriors, the junkyard cats, remain loyal and risk their lives? Or are they just in it for the kibble?




Buck Harlan—my friend, the closest thing I had left to a father—was dead because of me.

Dead protecting me.

My first thought in the morning, every morning.

Before coffee. Before breakfast. Every. Single. Morning.

His face, half eaten away by a swarm of genetically modified ants. His Outlaw Militia Warrior tattoos left untouched. The note warning me, clutched in his fingers.

I deliberately recalled everything, including tossing a half-empty gallon of Maltodine into the old Tesla fuselage, the vehicle that delivered Harlan. The accelerant burned his body to ash, obliterated the mutated ants that were eating him, and destroyed any evidence that might suggest I had killed my only friend in the world.

I studied his face, the position of his fingers, in my memory. Every detail was seared into my soul like a prayer for vengeance. The memories of death and debts owed.

I stared at the ceiling of my office, the smooth metal alloy reflecting the faint lights. So many secrets to hide. And three things to do: carry on my father’s legacy, keep myself hidden from the people who would try to use me, and take revenge on Harlan’s killers.

The weight of all that was heavy, even this early, still in my bed, and my memory darted back to Pops shouting to get me up in the mornings after Little Mama died and the war still raged. “Get your ass outta bed, Little Girl! We got PRC to kill!” Every morning.

The smell of coffee was fresh and potent in the filtered air, the trickle of water into the pot what awakened me. Coffee meant work, weapons to obtain, weapons that could take down my enemy—the queen who killed Harlan and sent his body to me, then followed it here to Smith’s Junk and Scrap and attacked me and mine.

I had won that first battle, but if I waited until that queen, Clarisse Warhammer, attacked me again, I would end up as dead as Harlan. I needed to go to war against her and her thralls. Soon. As soon as I had possession of the weapons to make victory possible. As soon as I found her nest, I’d go to war. For Harlan.

Amazon link


Release date: October 19, 2021

Publisher: Bella Rosa Books



About Faith Hunter:


Faith Hunter is the award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of several series: Jane Yellowrock, Soulwood, Rogue Mage, and Junkyard Cats. In addition, she has edited multiple anthologies and co-authored the Rogue Mage RPG. She is the coauthor and author of 16 thrillers under pen names Gary Hunter and Gwen Hunter. Altogether she has 40+ books and dozens of short stories in print and is juggling multiple projects.

She sold her first book in 1989 and hasn’t stopped writing since.

Faith collects orchids and animal skulls, loves thunderstorms, and writes. She drinks a lot of tea. She likes to kayak Class II & III whitewater rivers. Some days she’s a lady. Some days she ain't.

Find Faith online at -


Gwen Hunter 

Facebook (official)

Facebook fan group 

Twitter: @hunterfaith

Yellowrock Securities website  



My review:


3.75 out of 5 stars



Junkyard Bargain by Faith Hunter is the sequel to “Junkyard Cats,” and continues to showcase Shining Smith. Her quest to save a woman being held hostage and tortured leads her to discover more about her allies and enemies, and forces her to confront some of her deepest fears.



This gritty urban fantasy/science-fiction story is dark and somewhat depressing but has very vivid imagery. It was a little difficult to understand this world since this is evidently the second in the series, so some of the background setup (hopefully) occurred in the first book. A little confusing to understand who the enemies are and what the end goals are, but the battle scenes are exciting and the interactions with the cats who are part of the heroine’s team are fascinating. I think it would be better to read the first story in the series to orient oneself and learn about the relationships, how the thralldom works, and the threat from alien bugs. I enjoyed elements of the story, but I was a bit overwhelmed by all of the unfamiliar concepts and conflicts.



A copy of this title was provided for review

Monday, October 4, 2021

T. Ball and the Rise of the Worldspinners by Stephen James Moore (Spotlight, excerpt, review, and GIVEAWAY) GFT

T. Ball and the Rise of the Worldspinners


Stephen James Moore




GENRE:   Middle Grade / Young Adult Fiction






The Stage Is Set

"What's up, dude? Name's Hector," said the offbeat rabbit, his long ears stuffed in a bulging cap.

"I am Tobias Oakwood Ball," replied the young hedgehog, puffing out his spines.

Newfound friends and future companions, T. Ball and Hector are destined to join the humans, four and two-legged ones, winged ones and the fairy folk who must unite in a titanic struggle of good vs. evil. A malevolent entity has come to the woodlander village of Two Trees, dispatched from the realms of the Worldspinners with a mission to bring darkness to all the worlds.

It is a plan that has been centuries in the making, nothing by accident and unknowing participants in the plot had been carefully chosen. Many times through history they have tried and failed. This time they will enter through the back door by corrupting nature.

There will be a bully called Spike, an overworked wizard named The Great Toothsayer, and an annual hedgehog race that sets everything in motion. Also, there are mobster squirrel gangs called Hoarders and a tyrannical mob boss named Clough Briarthack. Then there's the Professor, a lost book, hard-working moles and others—but that's to come in the next book. The story begins now . . .

Who tricked The Great Tooth?
Why must T. Ball find his own special gift?






The Young Tooth Is Rescued

As if on cue for announcing winter’s ceremonial arrival, it snowed during the night, leaving a soft white covering. Winter would be early and stay long that year.


Two strangers dressed in simple monk habits of long brown sackcloth had waited silently in the night shadows outside the thorp. They had been there since late afternoon.


Standing there patiently, they knew what was to happen that night but had the wisdom to know what can and cannot be changed. Far from commonplace forest village creatures, these were members of the legendary order of woodland seers and magi called the Grand Order of the Berts.


Master Shoe Bert was the taller of the two, being a badger of unknown seasons. He was learned and spiritually wise beyond comprehension by mere mortals. At his side stood his docent, a young mouse called Herb Aceous. Always the devoted young student, he had not yet earned the full title of Bert.


Legend has it, the Bert lineage was founded by a mouse who came across the waters from the east, named Ali Bert the Wise. Known as the All Seer, he was responsible for bringing light during the darkest ages for all the animals. More likely, the actual founder of the Berts was a rat, possibly female, known in some enlightened history books as Eli Bert and honoured to this day by many small ancient sects who trace their roots back to the beginning times. Due to the politics surrounding rats, it is probable that the Bert origin story was changed to venerate the founder as a mouse, and a male one, at that. Recognising a female rat as the Bert founder would have been unacceptable in those dark ages of fear, superstition, and prejudice.


As the two wise ones stood untiring, both knew the tragedy that would soon befall those around the Great Green Emerald Lake. Several moons ago they had glimpsed tonight’s events in the bubbling waters of the Looking Bowl, inside Master Shoe Bert’s cave. Their meditations and scrying powers had well-prepared them for what they needed to do. They saw the Fairy Folk put on their magnificent display, observed the evening’s festivities, and watched the woodlanders contentedly file back to their homes. The master and his student would remain concealed in the shadows, witnesses to the atrocities destined to be perpetrated upon the woodlanders. They were both mortified, as they could see future events unfolding before their eyes but could do nothing to stop them. Much was at stake and fate must play out. Some things can be changed, others cannot. They continued to monitor the situation until the moment was almost upon them. Wrapping woolen scarves around their snouts, they waited with grim anticipation for the silent horror that was about to arrive.



PURCHASE LINKS T. Ball and the Rise of the Worldspinners      


Amazon (paperback)


Amazon (Kindle)



Indigo Chapters


Barnes & Noble


Book Depository


 Rakuten Kobo




AUTHOR Bio and Links:





U.K Born Stephen Moore is a writer and accomplished Martial Artist. Lover of literature and ancient history. T. Ball was given in a dream and now his world is alive thanks to the T. Ball book series which covers human, animal and the unseen worlds showing victory through adversity and an incredible adventure through darkness and light. Stephen has also published The Christmas Adventure which shares T. Ball's world reminding us of the seasonal message.










a Rafflecopter giveaway


The tour dates can be found here




My review:



3.5 stars



T. ball and the Rise of the Worldspinners, written by Stephen James Moore and illlustrated by Luigi A. Cannavicci, chronicles the story of a very special hedgehog who is destined to change the lives of those around him. The impact of human manipulations and the effects of industrialization on animal society is also explored.


This young adult’s story has great imaginative elements and creative twists and turns but has a dark theme running throughout. There are fun vignettes that reminded me of the Redwall books, because there are organized animal societies that not only have family units but also interact with multiple species in both benevolent and not-so-benevolent ways. I was intrigued by the concept of healers who fight their predatory nature as long as there’s daylight but revert to their nature at sundown, racketeering squirrels, and names that are plays on words and concepts.


I was a bit uncomfortable at the constant bombardment by negative developments as seen through the animals’ eyes. The malign actions of various humans and their negative impact directly and indirectly on the different animal abodes was both heartbreaking and nauseating, making me wonder how suitable this is as a kids’ story. It will certainly provoke some serious discussions about the impact of chemical waste and toxic or hormonal administration into the food chain.


I did appreciate the positive messages regarding finding the positivity in one’s uniqueness and not allowing bullying to crush your spirit. For me, the story meandered a bit, I’m not quite sure I understand who the Worldspinners are, and I would’ve liked to know a bit more about the magical creatures who appear so briefly. I feel that this is a story best read by young people under close supervision so that its many thought-provoking scenes can be immediately discussed, similar to stories such as Watership Down.  



A copy of this title was provided for review