Immoral By Brian Freeman (Jonathan Stride, #1, 2005) – Recommended Book Review

In case you thought I read romance exclusively, I thought I should show you one of my favorite thriller authors and his stunning debut, Immoral. This book was recommended to me by my book buddy, Lynn. She has amazing taste.

It took a few pages for me to adjust to Freeman’s writing voice. That was before I spent every spare moment with this book. And stole time from the rest of my life to read. The book clearly lived up to the buzz I heard about it.

The most gripping part for me was the trial. I would cover the opposite page as I read so I wouldn’t have even a tiny hint at what was coming next.

I’ll give fair warning that this story is not for the faint of heart. It is gritty and disturbing. The twisty tale is told in circles that lead back to the place where it will blindside Stride the hardest.

Falling a little bit in love with Stride was inevitable for me, just like the blurbs said I would. He’s flawed, determined, and passionate. Maybe that’s his charm?

It’s amazing how a kind author like Freeman can craft gut-wrenching tales like this one. Lucky for me, he keeps doing it. There are currently eleven books in the Jonathan Stride series.

Blurb

In a riveting debut thriller that has drawn comparisons to masters of the genre like Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly, Brian Freeman weaves obsession, sex, and revenge into a story that grips the reader with vivid characters and shocking plot twists from the first page to the last.

Lieutenant Jonathan Stride is suffering from an ugly case of déjà vu. For the second time in a year, a beautiful teenage girl has disappeared off the streets of Duluth, Minnesota—gone without a trace, like a bitter gust off Lake Superior. The two victims couldn’t be more different.  First it was Kerry McGrath, bubbly, sweet sixteen.  And now Rachel Deese, strange, sexually charged, a wild child.  The media hounds Stride to catch a serial killer, and as the search carries him from the icy stillness of the northern woods to the erotic heat of Las Vegas, he must decide which facts are real and which are illusions.  And Stride finds his own life changed forever by the secrets he uncovers.  Secrets that stretch across time in a web of lies, death, and illicit desire.  Secrets that are chillingly…immoral.

Click here to go to the Immoral page on Brian Freeman’s website.

Do you have reading plans for the weekend?

Thanks for the time we spend together!

Gina


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An Unusual Garden Quiz By Catherine Castle

Catherine is sharing a fun garden quiz with us today! I loved playing with these questions and answers. Tell me how many answers you know and what you think of this quiz.

An Unusual Garden Quiz

I’ve been on a binge to clean out my office files. Unfortunately, or fortunately for this blog, I can’t throw anything out until I’ve read it. I found this gem in one of the long-forgotten garden files I came across. I thought it would be fun to share. I have no idea where I got it because it was written in longhand on a yellowed piece of tablet paper in a hand writing that sort of resembles mine, but isn’t. I put the answers way, way at the bottom of the post so you won’t be tempted to cheat.

I was able to come up with 3 answers, and two of those were not the ones listed on the quiz paper. Number 1 and 11 have two possible answers. And I hadn’t heard of the flower reference in number 15, so I looked it up on the internet when I finally gave up guessing. I learned a new gardening tidbit today. Yeah!

Take the quiz and see how well you can figure out the answers. I’ll give you a hint: None of them are depicted in the cartoon flower at the top of the blog.

Garden Flower Quiz

1. Plant a kitten and what will come up?

2. What flower is a very precise lady?

3. Plant a bag of flour and what will come up?

4. What is lost by men when they marry?

5. Plant a sunrise and what will come up?

6. Plant one of Cupid’s arrows and what will come up?

7. What flowers are fragrant letters?

8. Plant a kiss and what will come up?

9. Plant a preacher and what will come up?

10. What flower tells the time of day?

11. Plant grief and what will come up?

12. What flower is a well-dressed, ferocious animal?

13. Plant a tin horn and what will come up?

14. Plant a gilded cane and what will come up?

15. What flower is a tattered bird?

So, how many did you figure out without looking? I’d love to know what your answers were. Leave me a note in the comments, please.

About the Author: Multi-award winning author Catherine Castle loves writing. Before beginning her career as a romance writer she worked part-time as a freelance writer. She has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit, under her real name, in the Christian and secular market. She also lays claim to over 300 internet articles written on a variety of subjects and several hundred poems. In addition to writing she loves reading, traveling, singing, theatre, quilting and gardening. She’s a passionate gardener whose garden won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club. She writes sweet and inspirational romances. You can find her award-winning Soul Mate books The Nun and the Narc and A Groom for Mama, on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Follow her on Twitter @AuthorCCastle, FB or her blog

Catherine, and her book heroines love flowers. In Catherine’s inspirational romantic suspense, The Nun and the Narc, the heroine, Sister Margaret Mary, has the job of gardener in the convent. Check out the blurb below, or go to Amazon and pick up a copy of this multi-award-winning book.

The Nun and the Narc

By Catherine Castle

Where novice Sister Margaret Mary goes, trouble follows. When she barges into a drug deal the local Mexican drug lord captures her. To escape she must depend on undercover DEA agent Jed Bond. Jed’s attitude toward her is exasperating, but when she finds herself inexplicable attracted to him he becomes more dangerous than the men who have captured them, because he is making her doubt her decision to take her final vows. Escape back to the nunnery is imperative, but life at the convent, if she can still take her final vows, will never be the same.

Nuns shouldn’t look, talk, act, or kiss like Sister Margaret Mary O’Connor—at least that’s what Jed Bond thinks. She hampers his escape plans with her compulsiveness and compassion and in the process makes Jed question his own beliefs. After years of walling up his emotions in an attempt to become the best agent possible, Sister Margaret is crumbling Jed’s defenses and

opening his heart. To lure her away from the church would be unforgivable—to lose her unbearable.

Quiz Answers:

1. Pussywillow/cat tails

2. Primrose

3. Dusty miller

4. Bachelor buttons

5. Sunflower

6. Bleeding heart

7. Sweet peas

8. Tulips

9. Jack-in-the-pulpit

10. Four-o’clocks

11. Weeping willow/morning glory

12. Dandelion

13. Trumpet flowers

14. Golden rod

15. Ragged robin

Those curious souls, the cartoon plant depicts: Blue bells, bat plant, hen and chicks, lady slippers, snake plant, spider wort and snapdragons.

Was that unusual enough for you? :p

Gina

4 Days In California

In last week’s post I mentioned that I was travelling to California for the weekend. This week I’d like to share why I was in California. California is where I spent the majority of my life, living mostly in Southern California.

California is where I met one of my dearest friends, Cyhndi Mora. If you know me or have been reading this blog long enough to know her name, then you may already know that she was also my Reiki Master Teacher.

My trip was to celebrate Cyhndi’s life, as she left this world in August.

I always try to enjoy the rainbows and the growth that comes from challenging times, which is why I didn’t make the trip all about losing Cyhndi. Instead, I took the opportunity to spend time with family who live close enough to make it feasible to visit by flying in a day earlier. I hadn’t seen them in too long. Facebook is fantastic for knowing some of what goes on with them, but it doesn’t take the place of a sit down and chat visit. Or a hug. Two of them don’t use Facebook or any social media at all.

Another day was added to spend time with a fellow mystic; to explore the parts of ourselves in ways that nurture our spirits and bring our minds into balance and understanding of how vast, and how simple, our spiritual selves are. To simplify this, we chatted, worked with Reiki, reflected and affirmed what we are each faced with in our individual lives. Then we took a walk on a gorgeous day in the sunshine and ate jackfruit bowls at Trejo’s Tacos before shopping for souvenirs to take home to those closest to me.

I had a health foodie and author moment by myself earlier at breakfast when I ate at Cafe Gratitude. This vegan quiche is what I envision on Life Force Holistic Health Center’s home delivery program. If you’re new to this idea and like the sound of it, check out Desert Sunrise, the second book in the Natural Gifts series, where the concept for Life Force Holistic Health Center was born.

Called “Content” on the breakfast menu

This was a thrilling affirmation that I was supposed to be exactly where I was!

Then came the hardest and easiest part – gathering with friends I cherish, and those I’ve known because we were each a part of Cyhndi’s life. It is through the peace of meditative practice that I am able to write about this and share it. I knew next to nothing about meditation before Cyhndi gave me my first guided meditation CD, recorded by William Rand.

It may not be possible to put into words what an amazing being Cyhndi was, but I’ll try to show you a glimpse through this recording from 2005 of Et Spera performing my favorite of their songs. That’s Cyhndi singing at the microphone in the black tank top.

My fourth day in California was mostly spent getting back home, with the bittersweet memories I made circling with the extra time I spent meditating alone in a hotel room and the joy of reading a fantastic new release; Aurora Blazing by Jessie Mihalik. Books are always part of the story and I think Cyhndi would have enjoyed this one.

Rest in peace, Cyhndi. Thank you for all the love you shared in your time here. Thank you for reconnecting me with my family, dreams, past, present, future, and friends. Thank you for 4 days in California.

Thank you for reading,

Gina

Sharon Ledwith’s #authorlife Experiment: Making the Unfamiliar, Familiar

Last month I followed Sharon’s #authorlife experiment on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Her challenge was to post a new photo and tell us how it illustrated her life as an author.

Post after post revealed parts of her life that I recognized in my own and inspired me with new ideas. By the end of the month I was really glad she took the challenge because I felt a new, deeper connection with her.

Now you get to read how the challenge effected her and what might be in it for you if you tried to do the same. She’s already warmed up the hashtag for you.

Last Photo Of Sharon With Her Buddy

I’m sure you’ve heard that getting out of your comfort zone can be a painful, often scary experience, but the end results usually end in transformation and growth. Right? Well, I recently watched a YouTube video done by Canadian entrepreneur Evan Carmichael about trying to share an image of yourself on your social media accounts for 30 days straight, and then seeing what happens after the month has ended. The thought of doing that made me squirm inside. You see, I’m an introvert at heart, and like to keep my personal life…well, personal. Sharing an image of myself—with all my winkles and flaws—a day for an entire month seemed downright weird and just a little egostical. Besides, what kind of image would I post, and what would I talk about? Then, I approached my publisher, Justine with this idea, and she suggested that I share an image of a day in the life of an author, and call it #authorlife. My eyes widened, and I resonated with her suggestion immediately.


So, choosing the month of September 2019 for my #authorlife experiment, I decided to take a shot and put myself out there for 30 days sharing what it’s like to live in my ‘author’ shoes. And yes, it was scary, and yes it was painful, but I managed to complete this task, not missing a day, but one—September 10th, the day after we put our 12-year-old Labrador down. I dedicated that #authorlife spot to my yellow fellow, who went peacefully in my arms the day before. I was a mess and grieving for weeks after that, but plodded on, taking selfies and sharing what I was up to each day. It was awkward and hard, but I managed to make the unfamiliar, familiar, and I found it got easier to find things to share and talk about.

I’ll Miss You, Lorri Carpenter

Using my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, I shared book marketing ideas, books I’m reading, a dedication to my dear author friend, Lorri Carpenter who passed away the same week as my dog, my morning exercise regime, took you grocery shopping, for a walk, paying bills, researching for my work-in-progress, flashed shameless plugs, and the list went on. After all, life if full of mundane routines too. And a writer’s life is no exception. I’m sure Stephen King still takes out the trash or puts away the dishes. Makes us human, and more relatable.


One of the most cherished #authorlife images was taken on Labor Day with my dog just before I took him for his walk. It was the last photo I have of him before he passed on a week later. You can’t get moments like that back. Ever. So I would like to think that this little experiment was a success. Personally and professionally. I managed to get way out of my comfort zone, build up my social media platforms, engaged with people who seemed quite interested in my journey, had fun, got creative, and shared a piece of myself that I would have never shared before. Did this result in more book sales? Not sure, but I really don’t care. This was about growing as a person, getting more self-confident, and seeing how much I changed throughout the month. Especially when I wasn’t wearing any makeup! LOL! How brave was that? Wink.

One Of The Most Commented On Posts!

Would I do it again? Not for 30 days straight, but I’ve decided to keep posting my #authorlife images at least once or twice a week. It’s an investment in my self-worth, and hopefully will help other writers by giving them ideas or letting them know that they’re not alone in this crazy publishing business. Plus, you put yourself out there, and connect with people on a different level where you’re not pandering to them, but giving them a smile or helping hand instead. And that’s what I call success in any vocation. I want to thank all those who traveled this #authorlife journey with me, and commented on, liked, or shared what I’d been doing that day. Your kindness and support are so appreciated.

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.Connect with Sharon Ledwith:

Sharon’s Website: www.sharonledwith.com

Sharon’s Blog: http://sharonledwith.blogspot.com/

Sharon’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/seledwithThe Last Timekeepers Series Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Last-Timekeepers-Time-Travel-Series/373953795955372

Twitter: @sharonledwith: https://twitter.com/?iid=am-82952056813386643146889016&nid=23+following_user&uid=525750371&utm_content=profile#!/sharonledwithGoodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5821744.Sharon_Ledwith

What’s your favorite part of this post? I’d love to know!

Thanks for reading!

Gina

Tami Cowden Presents Fallen Heroes Workshop In Richardson, Texas October 12th, 2019

October 12, 2019: Tami Cowden presents Fallen Heroes: Sixteen Master Villian Archetypes

This workshop has a fee & attendees must be a member of RWA.

A workshop based on Ms. Cowden’s latest book. Sixteen literary villain archetypes are identified and their motivations examined. Reveals and shows what happens when heroes and heroines turn to the dark side.

Tami Cowden lives and writes in Las Vegas, Nevada. Her first novel, Cruising for Love, won a Golden Heart from Romance Writers of America, and was published initially by Avalon. It is now available from Montlake Romance.

Tami is also the coauthor of The Complete Writers Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes, a guide to characterization for writers. Tami has presented writing programs on characterization, plotting and scene building at more than 100 writing conferences and retreats, as well as online. Due to popular demand, she also authored a follow up book, Fallen Heroes: Sixteen Villain Archetypes.

A lawyer by day, she is now working on a mystery series about a divorce lawyer who inherits a Las Vegas wedding chapel. Tami lives in Las Vegas with her husband, two basset hounds, and four cats. Visit her website by clicking here.

Click here for details and registration.

Do you use The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes and Heroines:Sixteen Master Archetypes when you’re building a character?

If you’re coming to the workshop, be sure to tell me so we can say hi!

Thanks for reading!

Gina


Recommended Book Review: Invitation To Scandal (Lady Quin’s Houseparty Book 1) By Legne Hardt

I have a new (book) boyfriend. It’s shameful, really, because he’s married. I don’t think I want his wife to find out about my crush, either, because she’s unpredictable and not afraid of a scandal. She’ll cause one if it’s what needs to happen. He’s pretty dishy, though, so I might have to risk it.

The couple I’m referring to are Allan and Rosamund in Invitation To Scandal.

This book stands out for a few reasons that I think are admirable.

  1. It’s a debut novel! This author has done the work of learning how to tell a story, how to build characters, and how to delight a reader.
  2. I was grabbed from the beginning and was never let go or let down. There aren’t many books I can say that about. This book seduced me and I loved every moment of it. This is exactly the experience I’m looking for when I read.
  3. Historical is a genre I grew up with, but have been pulled away from by fantasy, sci-fi, and paranormal. The last historical I gave five stars to was My Highland Lord by Tarah Scott in 2014.
  4. My favorite moment in this book is when Rosamund realizes she’s in love with my crush, er, her husband.
  5. The character of Allan. Yummy, yum, yum, yum. He’s intelligent, handsome, sexy, manly, and a good man.
  6. Learning about the Georgian era has been an unexpected bonus. As you see from number three, I’m typically drawn to highland lairds.
  7. There are a lot of other interesting character’s stories told in the book, which means I can continue reading the series to see what happens with the characters I connected to most.
  8. It is naughty!

Blurb

Revenge. Scandal. And falling in love…

Rosamund was only waiting on her childhood sweetheart to make his proposal, for her future to begin. When instead he announces his betrothal to another, she turns to a man quite beneath her for comfort, and is surprised to find herself content with Mr. Allan Barre. Some hurts cannot be healed however, and when the new Lady Quin includes Mr. and Mrs. Barre in her first houseparty, Rosamund is determined to have her revenge.

She’ll make sure the prim Lady Quin’s houseparty is wracked by scandal. And enjoy herself doing it, for Allan has introduced her to the pleasures of passion. But will those pleasures be made greater by love, or will Rosamund’s temper destroy her happiness?

Invitation to Scandal is the first book in Lady Quin’s Houseparty. A naughty little romp, it follows Rosamund and Allan through the first challenge of their married life and introduces the setting of the most exciting houseparty Wiltshire has ever seen. Set in the Georgian era and filled with amorous adventures, it will whet your appetite for this collection of tantalizing tales.

Invitation to Scandal is a complete story on its own, but it does mention characters found in the rest of the series.

Find Invitation To Scandal on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited

Are you familiar with this series? I’d love to chat about it.

Thanks for reading,

Gina