Didi Oviatt

Author of suspense novels Search For Maylee, Aggravated Momentum, The Stix, and New Age Lamians. As well as the short story collection Time Wasters and (co-author of) The Suspenseful Collection.


E-book’s and Amazon

Review: The Curse, by Jina Bazzar 4 stars


Okay, I made the mistake of reading this before Heir of Ashes, so my review is going to be super short. A few things were a little confusing, probably because I didn’t read the other book first. I’ll be downloading ASAP though and diving right in without delay, because even from such a short buildup to Roxanne’s character, it’s a powerful one!

It’s a story of outer worldly magic, relms, portals, witches, and basically the coolest sounding species imaginable. Energy, and the control of it plays a big part in what the magic actually revolves around. BUT, this isn’t exactly what the book is about (I’m assuming it will be much more so in Heir of Ashes, and so on.) This book is more about the characters in general, the intermixing of different species for the purpose of creating particular beings with particular powers.

Yoncey Fosch is pretty awesome, I loved his character. It starts out with him making a huge deal with a very powerful enemy for the sake of saving his brother, and many members of his clan. His brother is cursed with a plague that can only be cured with magical stones. These stones have to be used in just the right way by a being who posses the right power. Fosch is just that being. He keeps the entire endeavor a secret, cures his brother as well as all the others sick. After returning the stones, he’s forced to follow through with his bargain. He has to create a child with a human, in order to bred in particular magic and give that child to the enemy.

Other twists, turns, and characters wind up weaving themselves into this bargain over time. It’s all unbeknownst to them at the time. As it all plays out, some things coming into light, and others staying in the dark, but ultimately the story unravels flawlessly!

All the characters are unique, bringing about their own agendas that get twisted and mingled into the ultimate shebang at the end. I love the premise of the story and can’t wait to read Heir of Ashes, to get the whole experience.


Yoncey Fosch, the leader of the Unseelie Dhiultadh clan would give anything to save his brother from a mysterious plague. Anything, including his leadership mantle and a favor to his deadliest enemy, Queen Titania’s consort.
But his actions will have far reaching consequences, and Fosch realizes he is not only unwilling to pay the price, but will defy anyone who calls him on it.


#excerpt #blogtour The Phoenix Cycle, by Bob Collopy @shanannigans81 @BobCollopy

phoenixcyclefrontcover.pngThe Phoenix Cycle: The Best Shall Rise

The Phoenix Cycle: The Best Shall Rise

Publication Date: June 23, 2017

Published By: The Department of Smoke

Genre: Dystopian/ YA/ Sci-Fi

New San Francisco is the last city standing on a world ravaged by storms of ash and debris. The city survived by putting the ideals of the American dream on steroids and inspiring its people to persevere, though they have become ruthless in the process. Its citizens are ruled by the General, who has made sure that his people understand that gentleness and pity have become weaknesses that nature no longer tolerates.

Now Steve and Leslie must choose whether they will apply for the General’s once in a lifetime opportunity to “Rise from the Ashes” and join the Inner Circle that rules the city. If they don’t, they will be damned to spend the rest of their lives in the ghettos of Edingburg, a place where virtual reality has become a government-subsidized addiction.

For Steve, the choice is easy. His loyalties lie with the IRA, a revolutionary army led by a voice only known as “Mom.” They are trying to overthrow the General and free the people of New San Francisco from the cruelties of the City Guard. Steve’s mission is to broadcast a recording of a speech that a famous philosopher died to tell. Many thousands have and will perish to get this message out, but is anyone willing to listen?

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Every wrist in the stadium beeped. Every boy and girl glanced down at the face of their watch. “00:10” then “:09” then “:08.” Everyone turned their heads to the west. There it was. Right on time, as always. The nightly storm. A wall of blackness had lurched up into the sky, swallowing the setting sun. The hairs on Steve’s neck stood up, urging him to get the hell out

of there.

Instead he grabbed Leslie’s hand, who sat quietly quivering next to him, instinctively pressing her bow into her head for comfort. Steve knew her shaking wasn’t coming from Line’s yelling, the storm, or even the tank pointing at them. Her quivers never came from the barrel of a gun, no, the ragging agony she held within her was the very same thing that pushed him back into the sheets when the sun finally rose—are we going to lose each other?

Leslie’s mind pushed the feeling away for at least another moment. “It’ll be all right,” she whispered. Her brown eyes guided him to the dozens of mortar tubes pointing upward and outward on the vibrant green field and then to the perfect line of churning ash that approached the stands.

“Unity can only be achieved and be maintained when it is the STRONG who come together and fly under one flag! We, like no other in the world, have created a unity that has never broken, has never FLINCHED! When the rest of the world saw THAT—” Line’s long arm pointed at the coming avalanche of black— “They all fell to pieces!”

The earth began to quake as the wall rose over them. Someone screamed. The mortars on the field fired as one at the roiling sky. The blackness spilled over the stadium, then slid over the perimeter of the frizzing wall of static that had encapsulated the field. No Phoenix Cycler had seen—only heard rumors from past Cycle Pref parties—this blackness that was sliding over and them whispering their deaths.

– The Phoenix Cycle: The Best Shall Rise

About the Author

Author Pic

Bob is pretty dope. Firstly, his name is Bob, so…yea. Second, have you seen him rock that suit while in a maximum security prison? Epic.

Yea. That’s Bob. No psychological scarring with that author. Nope. Totally fine.

Gosh he looks good in suits.

Hey Have you read The Phoenix Cycle? He wrote that.

One suggestion before you read it and become one of those fans that leaves him roses by his doormat. Read her slowly. This book is not Twilight. She’s deeper than that. Take your time with her. Show the book you care. Cradle it and make it feel loved. If you do, she’ll be good to you. Go too fast and you’ll have no idea why she’s acting so crazy.

Philosophies Dead | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Goodreads


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The author is giving away 10 print copies (That’s right 10) and 5 Digital copies of his book so make sure you enter as the odds are definitely in your favor! (Runs from May 21st to May 30th)

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Blog Tour Schedule

May 21st

Reads & Reels (Kick-Off Promo)

Just for My Books (Excerpt)

The Lit Cottage (Review)

Adventures Thu Wonderland (Review)

The Midwest Ladies Who Lit (Excerpt)

May 22nd


Tranquil Dreams (Review)

On the Shelf Reviews (Excerpt)

May 23rd

Didi Oviatt (Excerpt)

The Genre Minx (Excerpt)

The Cozy Pages (Excerpt)

Valerie’s Musings (Excerpt)

The YA Book Divas (Interview)

May 24th

J Bronder Reviews (Review)

Banshee Irish Horror Blog (Interview)

Bri’s Book Nook (Review)

The Cozy Pages (Excerpt)

Wicked Good Reads (Review)

May 25th

Afire Pages (Excerpt)

Port Jerricho (Excerpt)

Touch My Spine Book Reviews (Review)

Life at 17 (Review)

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Over a Hundred Downloaded! Thank You!

As a spring time thank you gift to my readers I offered Search For Maylee free for a few days last week. I’m over the moon that so many people took advantage of this offer! Usually when I do a free day or two of one of my books, I get anywhere from ten to fifty copies downloaded. It’s a very random number, to be honest… I never really know what to expect.


SO, when I had over a hundred copies downloaded you can imagine my joy!  I’m so excited, and so grateful that so many readers were interested in reading Search For Maylee!

That said, I just want to throw a quick THANK YOU for everyone who spotted the promotion here on the blog and decided to give this book a try!  I appreciate every single reader dearly, and I can’t wait to see your thoughts on my book!


#review #booktour The Things We Learn When We’re Dead, by Charlie Laidlaw @shanannigans81 @CharlieLaidlaw

The things we learn COVER FINAL.jpgThe Things We Learn When We’re Dead

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Humor

Publication Date: January 26, 2017


With elements of The Wizard of Oz and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead shows how small decisions can have profound and unintended consequences, and how sometimes we can get a second chance.

On the way home from a dinner party, Lorna Love steps into the path of an oncoming car. When she wakes up she is in what appears to be a hospital – but a hospital in which her nurse looks like a young Sean Connery, she is served wine for supper, and everyone avoids her questions. It soon transpires that she is in Heaven, or on HVN. Because HVN is a lost, dysfunctional spaceship, and God the aging hippy captain. She seems to be there by accident… Or does God have a higher purpose after all?

At first Lorna can remember nothing. As her memories return – some good, some bad – she realises that she has decision to make and that maybe she needs to find a way home.

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The things we learn COVER FINAL

The old man was as good as his word and a tray was swiftly brought by a male nurse in white clinical overalls who looked spookily like a young James Bond. On it was a plate of grilled lamb cutlets, string beans and sautéed potatoes. There was also a warm bread roll with a knob of butter and, under a silver dome, a bowl of chocolate profiteroles with cream. In short, exactly what she would have ordered in an expensive restaurant, given the choice, and if she’d ever been able to afford to eat in one. Also on the tray was a small metal jug of white wine, which made no sense. During her coma, had it become health service policy to keep patients inebriated? And why the metal jug?

“The boss says that you’re up and about now,” he remarked, placing the tray down and making sure it was well balanced on her knees. The jug of wine and glass he placed on her bedside table. Why wasn’t there a bunch of flowers in a vase? That’s the first thing her mother would have brought. It was the first thing she always took to friends and relatives in hospital, even the ones who suffered from hay fever.

“Who was the old man? The one who was here a minute ago?” she asked, as if there might be several old men in her wing of the hospital. “Grey hair. Beard. Beads,” she added.

The nurse merely gave a small shrug. “He’ll tell you himself the next time you meet. Anyway,” he added, making for the door, and looking uncomfortable, “if there’s anything else I can do, just ask.”

“I’d like to know how long I’ve been asleep.”

“Asleep?” The nurse raised one eyebrow.

“Yes, asleep. I mean, how long have I been here?”

He didn’t reply for a few moments, hands clasped behind his back. “Not long, as far as I know.”

“And how long is not long?” she asked. “Look, if you don’t know, could I please speak to someone who does.” Lorna, running out of patience, had raised her voice. The nurse took a step backwards towards the door.

“All in good time,” he assured her and indicated the tray. “For now, you need to eat. Get your strength back.”

“Look, I really need to know how long I’ve been here. Can I see a doctor? Actually, I shouldn’t have to bloody ask that, should I? What kind of useless hospital is this?”

The nurse, perhaps unused to being shouted at, had backed himself to the door. “Anything you need, just ask. Okay?”

Lorna wanted to scream at him. “But how?” she asked instead, looking around the blank walls for a call button. “And what did he mean by not feeding the little brutes?”

“Just ask, that’s all. Your room is sound-activated so don’t worry, I’ll hear.” He touched a blank place on the wall that somehow made the pneumatic door hiss open. “But he’s right about not feeding them,” he added as the white door closed again, leaving Lorna utterly exasperated. – The Things We Learn When We’re Dead

About the Author

CL bandw

I was born in Paisley, central Scotland, which wasn’t my fault. That week, Eddie Calvert with Norrie Paramor and his Orchestra were Top of the Pops, with Oh, Mein Papa, as sung by a young German woman remembering her once-famous clown father. That gives a clue to my age, not my musical taste.

I was brought up in the west of Scotland and graduated from the University of Edinburgh. I still have the scroll, but it’s in Latin, so it could say anything.

I then worked briefly as a street actor, baby photographer, puppeteer and restaurant dogsbody before becoming a journalist. I started in Glasgow and ended up in London, covering news, features and politics. I interviewed motorbike ace Barry Sheene, Noel Edmonds threatened me with legal action and, because of a bureaucratic muddle, I was ordered out of Greece.

I then took a year to travel round the world, visiting 19 countries. Highlights included being threatened by a man with a gun in Dubai, being given an armed bodyguard by the PLO in Beirut (not the same person with a gun), and visiting Robert Louis Stevenson’s grave in Samoa. What I did for the rest of the year I can’t quite remember

Surprisingly, I was approached by a government agency to work in intelligence, which just shows how shoddy government recruitment was back then. However, it turned out to be very boring and I don’t like vodka martini.

Craving excitement and adventure, I ended up as a PR consultant, which is the fate of all journalists who haven’t won a Pulitzer Prize, and I’ve still to listen to Oh, Mein Papa.

I am married with two grown-up children and live in central Scotland. And that’s about it.

Twitter: @claidlawauthor

Facebook: charlielaidlawauthor


Giveaway Time!

Win 1 of 2 print copies of TTWLWWD, signed by the author

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My Review:

Contemporary type fantasy isn’t usually my cup of tea, so my joy in reading this was actually a pleasant surprise. After reading over the unique description along with a few very promising reviews I decided to give it a go, despite my initial hesitation due to the genre. I like to mix things up and rotate book types. So, more often than not, when I do actually find great books in my not to usual genres’ I’m ultimately thrilled to have found them. I’m happy to report that this was indeed the case with Charlie Laidlaw’s afterlife tale.
The Things We Learn When We’re Dead was a bit slow paced for my taste, but it is contemporary(ish) so knew was I was getting myself into. That said, there are a few qualities about this book that I absolutely loved. The word choices and scene flow throughout is brilliant. I really enjoyed the way Charlie describes things. Even the dialogue is superb. I think it’s conversation that really makes this book what it is. In a way I felt like the characters are built through the in depth and witty banter. Especially the main character Lorna. She’s someone I could see myself hanging out with. She has a no-nonsense approach to life, along with dry humor and a bit of quirk. Her character feels real, and I enjoyed that immensely!
At the beginning of the book Lorna is in an accident that claims her life. She finds herself waking in Heaven, only this particular version of Heaven is insanely different than anything I’ve ever read or even dreamed of reading. Be it fictional books, religious reference, or any other way for that matter. Lorna’s afterlife is centered in a place beyond all logical comprehension. In my opinion it’s unique, and actually kind of genius in simplicity.
Heaven is a spaceship, that happens to be stuck in a black hole. I’d go into the details of this place, but I honestly don’t even know where to start. Lets just say that Laidlaw covered every ‘what if’ and ‘how is that possible’s’ very thoroughly, and once you’ve read the details… it doesn’t seem as far fetched as it sounds and first blush.
Lorna’s life on Earth comes back to her through distorted memories. They are hit and miss, some significant, and some not so much. They jump around in frame of time, leaving Lorna confused and sometimes beside herself. Her life experiences are uncovered little at a time, all the while she’s trying to adjust to her current living circumstances. Love, family, loss, friendship, and everything in between are unfolded through glimpses of memory. Once in a while I was a little confused, but oddly enough even that was fitting to the premise of the story line.
Ultimately I enjoyed the story and will be looking into the author further. I give it a 3.75 rating.

Thanks to the author and Reads and Reels Book Tours for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Search For Maylee, #free (May 15 – 18)

I love everything about this time of year! The colors, the smells, the warmth. There is just something about new life and growth that comes with spring. I light of the spirit of spring, as well as a (somewhat belated) Mothers Day celebration, I’ve decided to do a spur of the moment spring promotion!

I’m so excited to offer my latest book Search For Maylee as my gift to you! From today May 15th through Friday May 18th the kindle version is downloadable for free on Amazon!  Click this link to claim your gift! Happy spring, and happy reading!


Since Maylee was abducted from her high school the very month of graduation, her Aunt Autumn has never lost hope in finding her. It’s been three years. Autumn has finally reached inside herself and found the courage to track down an old lead. She moves across the country to find him. Will Autumn be able to pry Maylee’s case back open? More importantly, what will Autumn uncover in the process of searching for Maylee? It’s a cold dark world we live in, and she is about to find out just how cruel it can be. Strength and determination are on Autumn’s side and she will do what ever it takes.


Happy spring everyone, and happy reading!!

Remember sharing is caring, and reviewing is LOVE!

Screams You Hear, by James Morris #booktour #review #excerpt @shanannigans81 @JMorrisWriter

Screams You Hear Cover 2D.jpg

Screams You Hear

Genre: Horror/ YA

Publication Date: January 8, 2018

Book Blurb:

Murder and madness infect a small town.

For sixteen-year-old Ruthie Stroud, life on tiny Hemlock Island in the Pacific Northwest is an endless sea of boring green, in a place where everybody knows everybody’s business and nothing ever happens. Then her world is ripped apart when her parents divorce and a new man enters her mother’s life. But worse is yet to come.

When she drifts ashore on the mainland, hideously burned, Ruthie has a harrowing tale to tell. It begins with the murder of a family. It ends with her being the sole survivor of a cataclysm that sweeps her little island. As a detective attempts to unravel Ruthie’s story of murder and madness, only one horrifying conclusion can be drawn: whatever was isolated on remote Hemlock Island may now have come to the mainland. Is Ruthie safe? Is anyone?

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Chapter 1

I wake to pain, pain beyond comprehension, my skin on fire, only to find myself in a hospital bed, my arms bandaged, and wires snaking into machines. The burns are covered in white gauze and every motion, no matter how small, sends my nerves screaming. The air is heavy against my skin. And that smell. I can still smell the bitterness of my singed hair. I feel my head, expecting strands of hair, thick and wavy, but it’s gone. There are only splotches of emptiness, a topography of touch that alarms me. I wonder if it will ever grow back.

Tendrils of anxiety course through me, pulsing steadily. I need to wake up from whatever this is.

In spite of the pain, I caress my face and I have no eyebrows. Only stubble. No matter where I touch, my skin isn’t soft; it’s leather, a mask that rests too tightly against my skull. It’s like my skin is both expanding and contracting, pushing and pulling.

In the cyclone of terror, I remember. I remember everything.

I wish I didn’t. I wish it all away.

Around the room, there are no mirrors, and I know it’s no accident. It’s small comfort. I don’t want to see myself. I may never look in a mirror again. It’s only me and a bed, and colorful murals of elephants and giraffes on the wall, their cartoon smiles mocking me. I must be in the children’s wing, even though I’m sixteen. Next to me, an IV recedes into my vein. To my left is a button. It could be to call for assistance. Or to adjust the bed. But I think it’s something else. I think it’s for pain.

I could press it and disappear into numbness.

I could press it and just drift.

But there is something about pain. It’s the price of being alive.

The button is my litmus test.

I am stronger than my pain. I need to focus on something—anything. I need to distract myself.

I am not my pain.

I am Ruthie Stroud. I live at— wait—not anymore. I have a brother—no, not anymore.

I shut my eyes. I can’t shut them hard enough. Through the darkness, I still see fire. My world engulfed with flickering orange and reds. And the all-encompassing heat, heat beyond boiling, bordering on oblivion. Melting.

My last memory is coming ashore on the mainland, alone and fiercely tired. I didn’t walk, didn’t run. I moved, floating, held aloft by the most invisible of strings, my eyes on the horizon, people on the edges of my vision. Adults. I felt their gaze. The air was cool and moist and my skin so hot. Moving and moving; people staring. I hear them, words like police and 911 and oh my God. They surround me, a horde. They’re feral creatures, circling, their faces distorted. They are coming for me. I have no escape.

I scream and my world goes dark.


I open my eyes. A woman stands in the hospital room doorway. Her skin is the color of teak, her black hair pulled into a tight ponytail, and without a uniform, she’s clearly no nurse. I look down her button-down shirt and a badge is attached to her belt, a gun holstered at her side.

She says, not unkindly, “I’m Detective Perez from the Washington State Police.”

I knew the cops would get involved, even though they’re late. Far too late.

She waits for me to invite her in. “May I?”

I nod and my skin crinkles and cracks. She enters, pulling a chair beside my bed and sits down. Her brown eyes rest on me and then dart away. She can’t bear to look. I must seem a monster. She asks, “How are you feeling?”

I don’t know how to answer that question.

“I’m sorry,” she says.

Down the hall, I hear a child scream. From surgery or fear, I don’t know. I think fight the pain, fight the pain.

She speaks to me in soothing tones. “I need to ask you a few questions. About what happened. Can you talk?”

My mouth is dry, my throat sore, my vocal chords thrashed. I’d forgotten how much I screamed. I feel my skin wrinkle into deep crevices as I move my jaw, and it’s an effort to form words. Even my tongue feels burned; this strange muscle in my mouth. “Is my dad coming?”

“He’s on his way.” We share a bit of silence and I stare at the woman she is, the beautiful woman I will never be, and she says, “I’d like to start at the beginning. And if there’s ever a point where you need to stop, just let me know, okay?”

“There’s just one thing,” and I clear my throat. I force her to find my eyes. To see. To look. To understand.

“What’s that?”

“Don’t judge me,” I tell her. “I did what I had to.”

Are you jonesing for more? Well for a limited time, Screams You Hear is available for review!

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Available on Amazon and it’s an absolute MUST read!

About the Author

James Morris

James Morris is a television writer who now works in digital media. He is the author of the young adult thriller What Lies Within, the dystopian love story Melophobia, the young adult suspense Feel Me Fall, and the young adult horror Screams You Hear. When not writing, you can find him scoping out the latest sushi spot, watching ‘House Hunters Renovation’, or trying new recipes in the kitchen. He lives with his wife and dog in Los Angeles. Catch him at

James Morris | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon

Giveaway Time! The author is giving away a print copy of Screams You Hear to one lucky winner so don’t forget to enter!

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My Review: 5 STARS

Hold onto your seats with this one. The pace is fast and the twists WILL dump you on your rear, and quick!!! Every single page of this book is splattered with jaw dropping content. It’s the kind of horrifying scenario that every teen/kid (or anyone really) who lives on a secluded island should have nightmares about.
It starts out with Ruthie waking up in the burn unit of a hospital. The island she’s from has literally been completely wiped out in population… all except for her. She’s the sole survivor of an insanely morbid series of events. She’s being questioned by the law enforcement who’s trying to figure out what exactly took place. Her recollection is detailed, overflowing with adrenaline, and just flat out bloody terrifying!
So, the story bounced in time, back and forth between the now and the previous few days as the odd events play out. I loved this approach here, and I usually don’t. Most books that bounce around leave me a little confused and irritated, but with Screams You Hear it worked out perfectly. The character development was perfect. I especially loved Max her best friend, and Theo her brother. They each bring about their own story and personality dynamics, that in my opinion polish the story over, making it well rounded and actually realistic.
It’s hard to explain any details without throwing any spoilers in the mix. So, I’ll just give a short and very broad outlook. Basically, the adults in the community snap. Ruthie has her suspicions on what’s causing it, which makes total sense. No matter the scientific backdrop, it’s murderous, its nasty, its ruthless, and utterly heartless what they do to the kids here. It has a feel of a survival story, more so than anything else, as its coming from Ruthie’s point of view.
I debated between 4 and 5 stars for some time. The writing is exquisite, and the story is definitely one of a kind horrifying… But at the same time, because the kids aren’t mentally sick the way that the adults are… a few of the scenes were a little too hard for me to stomach.
All in all I enjoyed the read, and will most definitely be reading more from this author!

Review: Father Figure, by James J. Cudney #5stars


OMFG you guys, James J. Cudney is two for two in the ‘ugly cry book’ department! His debut Watching Glass Shatter blew me away, I couldn’t believe it was his first book. I became an instant fan of his writing. So, when Father Figure came out, I had to get my hands on it as soon as possible!

Father Figure is just as good as Watching Glass Shatter, and yet utterly different! It’s unique in several ways. James has managed to create two family dramas that are equally as wonderful, yet entirely outside of the cookie cutter tales. This author clearly has a gift for originality in each of his works, which is SO stinking refreshing!

There are two main characters who alternate in POV. First lets talk about Amalia and her role based in the 1980’s.

Amalia has been raised by a horrid mother, and loving father who has been her sole support system for her entire life. The awful woman who birthed her (I wont even call her a mom) forced her to grow up sheltered from life as a regular child, keeping her away from crowds and any useful knowledge about life, and being a woman in general. All the while exposing her to physical, mental, and emotional abuse. She controlled their household, treated her husband like dirt, and Amalia like her slave. Amalia’s escape from her mother came about by means of College, which brought a whirlwind of new life experiences… Some good, and some of which was not at all pleasant.

I love Amalia!  I love her deep rooted kindness, and her life long dedication to being the exact opposite of her mother. Even when she makes mistakes, they’re backed by innocence, driven by emotion, and followed through with the help of ignorance of any better choices. She’s practically a child in so many ways, just thrown to the wolfs, and forced to find her way through round after round of harsh life blows.

Next lets talk about Brianna and her role played in mid 2000’s.

It’s 2003- 05 and the world is an entirely different place. A part of me really likes Brianna, and a part of me wants to give her a slap once in a while. Her mother, Molly, has raised her as single mom in New York, with a bit of the helicopter parent approach. Molly’s a bit overbearing, she’s over-protective, and in a way it’s driven a bit of a wedge between the two.

They are close in so many ways, the love is very clearly there, yet they hold back from each other far too much. They both hide things and are secretive. They feel like they’re protecting one another, but in reality they’re creating a sort of obstacle course in their mother daughter relationship. Brianna is trying to figure out who she is as an adult, and how to cope with her own relationships and emotions. She’s wants her independence, and she’s also trying to uncover the past her mother has always kept hidden.

Brianna want’s to find out who her father is, and in the process of digging she pulls out some pretty insane skeletons from the closet. The shocks in her quest to find her father are awesome! Just when I thought I had things figured out, I was completely wrong!
Both of the characters have some similarities in college experiences, and the story weaves itself together seamlessly.

I think what I love most about this book is the way clues are left along the way, planted in the most perfectly inconspicuous ways. The last hundred pages or so of the book are overflowing with those AwwHaa surprises. The kind that leave you scratching your head wondering ‘how the hell did I miss that’. It’s like the entire book is this intricately cut jigsaw puzzle, each piece imperative and meant to be put together one at a time, in it’s time. Then, the completed image is layered in depth and color.

Absolutely beautiful! I’m officially fangirling over this author… And, if it means anything at all, that’s a term I swore I’d never use. Do yourselves a favor a read this book!!!


Between the fast-paced New York City, a rural Mississippi town and a charming Pennsylvania college campus filled with secrets, two young girls learn the consequences of growing up too quickly.

Amalia Graeme, abused by her mother for most of her life, longs to escape her desolate hometown and fall in love. Contemplating her loss of innocence and conflicting feelings between her boyfriend and the dangerous attraction she’s developed for an older man, Amalia faces life-altering tragedies.

Brianna Porter, a sassy, angst-ridden teenager raised in New York City, yearns to find her life’s true purpose, conquer her fear of abandonment, and interpret an intimidating desire for her best friend, Shanelle. Desperate to find the father whom her mother refuses to reveal, Brianna accidentally finds out a shocking truth about her missing parent.

Set in alternating chapters two decades apart, the parallels between their lives and the subsequent collision that is bound to happen is revealed. FATHER FIGURE is an emotional story filled with mystery, romance, and suspense.

#excerpt #coldcase #justataste Search For Maylee

Paranoia was common for Autumn. A constant nagging fear weighed in her chest at all times, she was forever burdened by this. It had taken a full year to convince herself to sell all of her belongings and take this giant leap. She had to be strong, and she had to leave California, for Maylee. With caution in each step, Autumn slowly made her way up to the condo. She peeked into each window, then tilted an ever listening ear toward the crack in the door.

“Oh, for hell’s sake Autumn, you’re such a weirdo! You’re going to pack up all of your shit and take off on some ‘save the world trek’, and you can’t even walk into your own house without panicking!”

The voice was shrill and mocking. It belonged to Candace, Maylee’s mother. Autumn exhaled and walked inside. The sight of her sister leaning against the bar that connected the kitchen to the dining room was a lot to take in. Candace was tall and skinny. Too skinny, Autumn noted. One bony leg was crossed over the other and a thick string of smoke lifted into the air from the cigarette burning between her fingertips. She rolled her eyes at Autumn dramatically, and then flicked a long ash onto the floor.

“Candace, do you really need to do that? You know I don’t let anyone smoke in my house. You think it’s okay to just ash all over the place?”

“Who cares, you sold it anyway.”

Candace walked over and ran what was left of her smoldering cigarette under water and dropped it into an otherwise spotless ceramic sink. The condo was empty, making it seem even bigger than usual. Autumn looked around her home, holding back the tears that were soon to inevitably flow — it was only a matter of time. The floors transformed from a dark marbled tile to white carpet in the living room. The ceilings were vaulted and the countertops were black with marbled gray granite.

Autumn had married at a young age and lost her husband in a car accident shortly after. She had only known Keith for seventeen months total. A vow was made to herself when he died, she would never love another and that was final. It’d been eighteen years since the accident, and so far she’d stuck to her promise. Autumn went back to her maiden name, Brown, in an effort to help herself move on from the trauma of his death. Keith had come from money and left Autumn a rich young woman at the time.

Initially, she bought the condo along with a dependable used car. Then she placed what was left of the settlement into a steady monthly income that was meant to last 20 years. Since then, the car had been traded in for a newer model, an end of this cash flow was rapidly approaching, and the condo sold. Autumn was trudging unfamiliar ground as her entire life was growing foreign, and that didn’t even include her job.

After the loss of her young love, the years passed and the cost of living grew. Her fixed monthly income was barely enough to pay the bills and keep her fed. Enjoying nights out with her girlfriends, or buying new outfits were rare. A few years after Keith passed, Autumn picked up a job working as a waitress in a small crab shack just down the road from her condo. Surprisingly she absolutely adored it. It didn’t bring in much money, but it was enough for the little extras, and it kept her busy.

As Autumn stood across from Candace in her freshly emptied kitchen, her mind wandered to the saddened look of shock on her boss’s face when she’d quit. Autumn walked away from the steady job she loved, just over a week before. Candace cleared the tar blockage from her throat, pulling Autumn back to reality.

“How did you get in here?” Autumn asked. “And did you get me that address? I’m leaving soon. I only have a few more things to pack, so I need it. You promised.”

“You always leave that window in the back unlocked,” Candace said with another roll of her glassed over eyes. “And yes, I have your damn address.”

Candace dug a small wrinkled piece of damp paper from her pocket, along with a chunk of dirty pocket lint and a couple of pennies. The goods were slapped onto the empty countertop. Candace then shifted restlessly on her feet, her eyes darting from one side of her head to the other. The look of a wild animal had taken over her face, as if assessing the possibility of an unexpected dash for the door. Unpredictable and permanently on edge, she finally continued in her scratchy smoker’s voice.

“I still don’t think you should do this. Craig’s not a bad guy, he just gets a bad rep because of his record. Maylee’s gone because she never paid attention to anything going on around her. It’s probably her own fault she was taken, I’m sure Craig had nothing to do with it.”

Aside from the obvious itch to leave, Candace was without emotion, utterly careless about Maylee. She spoke as if Maylee wasn’t her daughter at all, but some strange girl she’d met on the street. It made Autumn’s stomach wrench hearing her sister talk this way about her own child, her flesh and blood. How could she?

The thought of the opened back window was intentionally brushed aside. Autumn didn’t even want to know exactly how her sister was privy to that information. The place would be deserted in a few hours, left for the new owners to deal with. The only thing that mattered now was how clearly strung-out and coldblooded Candace was. A surge of anger flowed through Autumn.

Autumn couldn’t stand Candace for the evil woman she’d grown into. The fact that Candace cared more about herself and getting her next fix than she did about her own daughter was sickening. Autumn stormed over to the bar and snatched up the piece of paper. It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary if Candace were to change her mind, steal back the address, and make a crazy dash for the door. Frankly, it came as quite a shock to Autumn that her junkie sister had actually followed through on her promise to retrieve it in the first place. Once the address was safely in hand, Autumn finally spoke her mind.

“Maylee hated that man, and the rest of your friends. She was scared of him! She ended up here ninety percent of the time because you were a shitty mom, and your shitty friends are all terrible people. Open your eyes Candace, when are you going to understand that he was the only real lead the cops ever had? Now get the hell out of my house!”

Candace took a step back, shocked at Autumn’s outburst. Her head tilted forward allowing her eyes to be shaded by the lowering of her brows. The shifty feet that struggled to hold up her stick-like legs for the first time held still. They had gotten in several fights about Maylee over the years. They brawled more since Maylee’s disappearance than ever before. Candace knew she hadn’t been the best mom to Maylee, but she would never admit it out loud, and she didn’t much care either way. Excuses were constantly shelled out for her behavior as she never even wanted a child in the first place. Candace justified her actions to herself in any way she could.


Since Maylee was abducted from her high school the very month of graduation, her Aunt Autumn has never lost hope in finding her. It’s been three years. Autumn has finally reached inside herself and found the courage to track down an old lead. She moves across the country to find him. Will Autumn be able to pry Maylee’s case back open? More importantly, what will Autumn uncover in the process of searching for Maylee? It’s a cold dark world we live in, and she is about to find out just how cruel it can be. Strength and determination are on Autumn’s side and she will do what ever it takes.

#review ONE PEDAL AT A TIME, by CJ Golden 5 stars

My Review:


If there were ever a person with an undeniable blend of humble determination, illuminating love, and a never ending dedication to those who hold meaning in their life – CJ Golden would be her. One Pedal at a Time is, in my opinion, a must read for any and everyone who is, has been, or may in the future be facing any sort of medical trauma that requires ongoing care. Not only for the insight of do’s and don’ts while caring for a loved one, but also to soak up the tremendous example of positive attitude and personal interaction.

As weird as it is to label a book about Novice Caregiving as a lovely read, I’m going to do it. From cover to cover this book offers so much to learn from in terms of relationship and family values. And, yes lovely is the word I’m going with. Let me tell you why!

The beginning of One Pedal at a Time offers a run down about how CJ found herself married to Joe, as well as a little background of their lifestyles. Before courting, the two had known one another from group interactions while each were in their previous marriages. Once dating, they ultimately clicked, took their time in growing close, learned from one another, as well as respected the fact that their union was centered on more than just the two of them. Joe’s and CJ’s children, and grandchildren clearly hold the utmost importance in their lives.

One thing I love about this book is that CJ paints a clear picture of Joe before Leukemia and strokes took them for a loop. Joe is an accomplished, witty, up-beat, wholesome, and extremely supportive man. He’d helped CJ through medical difficulties of her own, and was a very prominent Cyclist. He even rode across the U.S. merely a year before strokes debilitated him.

A large portion of the book consists of emails that CJ had written to friends and family throughout Joe’s treatments and stays during the hardest year after diagnosis. This approach of writing helped to round the entire story. It allows us as the readers detailed insight on real time emotions as well as detailed treatments, good days vs. bad days, and more.

Together CJ and Joe face the world head on, in sickness and in health. Their relationship and their approach to life is general is, as I said before, absolutely lovely.



Watching her husband, Joe, regress from crossing the country on a bike to cheering him on as he navigated his wheelchair around the kitchen, CJ Golden had much to learn about caregiving. And she did – through her characteristic determination, quest for knowledge, boundless love and relentless optimism.

Within these pages the reader finds a balanced mix of somber reflections and light moments that highlight a very real passage in the lives of a husband and wife who love each other unequivocally. Golden shares the lessons she learned, the emotional and physical strain upon her heavily burdened shoulders, and the realization that, through it all, their connection and love have grown stronger.

Joe’s motto for getting through life’s most trying times has always been, “one pedal at a time” – referring to his days traversing the country, for months at a time, on the two wheels of his road bike. Thus, the title of this book and, hopefully, a philosophy that will help carry others through their own caregiving struggles.

One Pedal at a Time speaks to caregivers who need a place to turn to for information, inspiration and hope. And who enjoy a good love story.

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