Book Review: It Comes In Waves by: Erika Marks


Rating: 5/5

Publisher: NAL Trade

Publication Date: July 1, 2014

Origins:  From Publisher for Review

Synopsis: For competitive surfer Claire "Pepper" Patton, the waves of South Carolina’s Folly Beach once held the promise of a loving future and a bright career—until her fiance, Foster, broke the news that he and Claire's best friend, Jill, were in love.

Eighteen years later, now forty-two and a struggling single parent to a rebellious teenage daughter, Claire has put miles between that betrayal and that coast. But when ESPN invites her back to Folly Beach for a documentary on women in surfing, Claire decides it might be the chance she needs to regain control of her life and reacquaint herself with the unsinkable young woman she once was.

But not everything in Folly Beach is as Claire remembers it, most especially her ex-best friend, Jill, who is now widowed and raising her and Foster’s teenage son. An unexpected reunion with Claire will uncover a guilt that Jill has worked hard to bury—and bring to the surface years of unspoken blame.

When Claire crosses paths with a sexy pro-surfer who is as determined to get Claire back on a board as he is to get her in his bed, a chance for healing might not be far behind—or is it too late for two estranged friends to find forgiveness in the place that was once their coastal paradise, where life was spent barefoot and love was as dizzying as the perfect wave...

Review: Pepper Patton grew up in a family who kept secrets and she never wanted it for herself. Her first summer in Folly Beach – becoming a competitive surfer and falling in love showed her what she thought was the perfect life. Until the day it all came crashing down around her ears when her fiancĂ© and first love Foster told her he and her best friend, Jill, were in love. Pepper left Folly Beach thinking she’d never return. When ESPN invites Pepper, now going by her given name – Claire, back to Folly Beach for a special on female surfers she accepts. Claire has a failed marriage under her belt and a teenager who wants nothing to do with her. Perhaps revisiting Folly Beach will give Claire the much needed closure on the past. Not everyone is happy to see Claire – especially not Jill, widowed by Foster and raising his son.

IT COMES IN WAVES is a hauntingly beautiful and heart-shattering novel. Readers feel every bit of the characters’ feelings along with them, viscerally. My heart ached for Claire, and even for Jill. IT COMES IN WAVES masterfully shows the complexity of female friendships and the relationships between mothers and daughters. The author has created a novel every woman can relate it in one way or another. You’ll need a box of tissues next to you when reading about the aftermath from the destruction of the perfect summer. IT COMES IN WAVES shows how you must sometimes revisit the place of your greatest pain to be able to move past it. An excellent novel which I highly recommend!

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Book Feature: If I Love Me by: Katja Rusanen


Publication Date: September 16, 2014

Synopsis: Cuban cigars, Dom PĂ©rignon and designer handbags. Renate has found a fast track to success, but the job might not be as legitimate as it sounds. When she runs across her old party friend Madeleine, the re-encounter stirs memories that she had buried deep in her mind. Renate realizes that she can’t escape the consequences of her actions forever; it's time to start making amends. 

In desperation she reaches out to Madeleine who surprises her in many ways, not least by introducing her to a mystical old man who claims he can decipher her soul’s plan. Renate starts a journey into the unknown, although at first her family doesn't agree with her drastic plans, especially when Renate's big sister reveals a secret. ”If I Love Me” is a question that keeps confronting Renate as she starts to make some life-changing choices, and discovers the power of forgiveness and love.

Author Bio: Katja Rusanen is a Finnish writer who has been living in Barcelona since 2004. Her debut novel “And You Must Love Me” was published in 2011, and its stand-alone sequel “But He Loves Me” came out in 2013. They are part of a transformational trilogy where she projected her own experiences and feelings onto writing. The final part of the trilogy ”If I Love Me” was released today, September 15th 2014.

Katja is a Spiritual Life Coach and writes a blog about how you can turn your wounds into wisdom and be the star of your life. She also coaches writers to maintain their motivation and to make their dream of completing their own book come true! Katja is also involved in charity work, she has a soft spot in her heart for the Amani Children’s Home which has her ongoing support.

If you would like to find out more about Katja, check out her website;
http://author.katjarusanen.com/

Pre-Order Link: Amazon.com



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Book Review: Shaman by: Scott Rhine


Rating: 4/5

Publication Date: June 18, 2014

Origins:  From Author for Review

Synopsis: Daniel is training to become a shaman and living on the Dakota reservation with his grandfather. As a member of the thunderbird people, he can visit a shared dream world and meet others like himself. Over summer break, he takes a road trip to New Orleans to rescue a sixteen-year-old girl from the Dark Tree Coven. Daniel knows he’s going to be grounded, but promises his cousins that the adventure will be worth the punishment.

What follows reads like a Native American “Blues Brothers” with a trained raccoon.

“We have the raccoon and the police gear. All we need is a net, an acetylene-propane torch, forty feet of rope, a Bavarian cream doughnut, Karo syrup, and red food coloring.”

Series: Behind the Walls of Sleep Series

Review: In MESSENGER, Daniel spent most of his time in Astra, the world he visited in his dreams. In SHAMAN, more time is spent in the waking world. Daniel’s learning to be a shaman with all the responsibilities the title and role. As Daniel learns to harness his abilities, he learns more about his past and to view certain events through a more mature eye. SHAMAN had a lot more character growth for Daniel and development for the secondary characters. There was humor, heartache, and the undercurrent of maturation. Please do read MESSENGER first, so you have the background on the characters and events up to the beginning of SHAMAN. I liked the rich development, new characters, and daring rescue in SHAMAN. I can’t want to see what happens next for Daniel, his family, and friends.

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Book Review: Secrets, Lies, and Homicide by: Patricia Dusenbury


Rating: 4/5

Publisher: Uncial Press

Publication Date: September 12, 2014

Origins:  From Author for Review

Synopsis: Claire Marshall’s construction company has a celebrity client. Tony Burke is a well-known racecar driver, perhaps better known for his romantic exploits. He wants to restore his family house in New Orleans’ Lower Garden District. When Claire talks him into opening his father’s old studio, they find evidence of an old murder. Within a day, there’s a second murder.

Tony insists the two crimes, although years apart, are connected. Unfortunately, the most obvious link puts him on top of the list of  suspects. Claire wants the motive to lie elsewhere, and it might. The latest victim had no shortage of enemies.

Claire is a widow just beginning to re-enter the world of dating. She's been seeing a homicide detective, but as the investigation progresses, her sympathies lie more and more with the chief suspect. Thirty-four-years-old and she has finally met the man her mother warned her against. 

Review: Claire Marshall’s restoration/construction company has been hired to restore a New Orleans home to its former glory. It’s the childhood home of Tony Burke, a famous race car driver with a haunted past. His father died when he was young and his mother is a bit eccentric to say the least. When Claire learns Tony’s father was an artist, she convinces him the old studio needs to be opened and restored. She’s also sure there may be some of his art there, which they could use in the redecoration once the restoration is complete.

They get an unexpected shock when they open the studio and find a skeleton showing obvious signs of trauma. A day later, there is another murder and this time Tony is a person of interest – the only one, in fact. Yet it seems to Claire both murders are related and the answers to the current murder lie in the truth of the past one. As Tony and Claire investigate and grow closer, there are those who feel they are too close to the truth, which puts them squarely in the sights of the killer.

SECRETS, LIES AND HOMICIDE is the second in the Claire Marshall Mystery series. Claire finds herself ensnared in another mystery after barely enough time has passed for her to recover from her previous ordeal. Claire’s also very drawn to her new client, Tony Burke, and believes in his innocence. The mystery itself was well done and while not totally surprised at the killer’s identity, the story is well-crafted. I liked how the attraction between Claire and Tony unfolded and it made a good counterpoint from the grisly main story. SECRETS, LIES AND HOMICIDE is a solid mystery and which will appeal to many readers.

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Book Review: Drowning Cactus by: Carrie Russell


Rating: 3/5

Publisher: Musa Publishing

Publication Date: July 26, 2013

Origins:  From Author for Review

Synopsis: Some people find inspiration in the wilderness. Others find themselves hopelessly lost.

“With Drowning Cactus, Carrie Russell takes the reader on an exhilarating ride across the American landscape and into a brilliant quagmire of human obsession and desire. This is a dangerous, smart, and stunning debut.” - Laura van den Berg, author of The Isle of Youth

"Carrie Russell knows that serious stuff can be funny--even Saving the Earth." - Heather Lockman, author of The Indian Shirt Story

When his botched cactus theft is mistaken for an eco-protest, Gordon Burstein is thrust into the national spotlight and expected to speak for the land he loves. He panics and runs, beginning a journey of self-discovery that takes him from spring break in Mexico, across the Sonora, all the way to Thoreau’s Walden Pond.

Press and fans scramble to track him down, but no one is more determined than Mora Sullivan, a disgraced environmentalist who has fallen hard for Gordon. She treks into the desert, determined to find inspiration and love.

Gordon and Mora must survive the wilderness, evade the law, and confront the many lies they’ve told the world and each other—all before they attempt to rescue a truckload of cacti from drowning in a New England swamp.


Review: Gordon Burstein hasn’t done much with his life. When he is “helping” an artist by finding cacti she can use in her work, he’s thought to be an eco-warrior bringing to light the plight of the desert and its dependent species. Working at a nursery for his community service sentence, he starts working with a woman in Massachusetts, Mora Sullivan. Fired from the group she helped found and disgraced in many ways, she needs to find a new project and a cactus garden is her big plan. Both Mora and Gordon are looking for something more – something outside themselves to help heal their wounds and grow into who they’re meant to be. Two personal journeys leading to self-discovery intertwine in strange and wondrous ways.

DROWNING CACTUS features Gordon and Mora, who are two lost souls trying to find a way back to their true selves. Deeply flawed and guilty of making some very poor choices in their lives, they both need to get away from what is dragging them down. DROWNING CACTUS also educates readers on some very serious social and legal issues, such as immigration, conservation, and the environment. The characters were very different, even the secondary characters were well-developed, and readers will see through both Mora and Gordon’s eyes, as the perspectives changed throughout the story. DROWNING CACTUS is humorous, dramatic, and a poignant tale.

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