Friday, August 18, 2017

Review: The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel

Title: The One That Got Away
Author: Melissa Pimentel
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Penguin (August 22, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Women's Contemporary/Retelling
My Rating: 3 Stars


Book Description:
'A smart, funny retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion that's perfect for a poolside read' Red

'An easy, breezy read' Daily Mail

Ruby and Ethan were perfect for each other. Until the day they suddenly weren't.

Now, ten years later, Ruby is single, having spent the last decade focusing on her demanding career and hectic life in Manhattan. There's barely time for a trip to England for her little sister's wedding. And there's certainly not time to think about what it will be like to see Ethan again, who just so happens to be the best man.


But as the family frantically prepare for the big day, Ruby can't help but wonder if she made the right choice all those years ago. Because there is nothing like a wedding for stirring up the past . . .










I've loved Jane Austen since I read my first book by her years ago and after that, I was hooked and had to read all of them. And while Pride and Prejudice will always be a favorite of mine, Persuasion is right up there with it. It is hard to resist Captain Wentworth and all his charm. 

I am never one to turn down the chance to visit an old classic with a new modern spin and even though ore often than not I've been burned by Pride and Prejudice retellings, I thought it was just about time that I read a Persuasion retelling. 

This was a cute and a very much modern take on the classic and while it was a good weekend escape read, it didn't quite live up to Anne and Wentworth but then again, that really is something very much hard to accomplish.

I sort of wish the author instead of calling this a retelling would have just called it a second chance romance because after all, more than anything, that is what this story is and I think lovers of Austen. While they will like it, will have a hard time comparing the two stories with each other and not feeling the slightest bit disappointed that it isn't something more. 

But if you can look past all of that and instead focus on the heart of the story, two people who meet too young and just weren't ready for each other yet, to later come back together and try again, you will enjoy this story and maybe even love it. 




*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Review: Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford

Title: Love and Other Consolation Prizes
Author: Jamie Ford
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Ballantine Books (September 12, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Historical Fiction
My Rating: 5 Stars!



Book Description:
From the bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet comes a powerful novel, inspired by a true story, about a boy whose life is transformed at Seattle's epic 1909 World's Fair.

For twelve-year-old Ernest Young, a charity student at a boarding school, the chance to go to the World's Fair feels like a gift. But only once he's there, amid the exotic exhibits, fireworks, and Ferris wheels, does he discover that he is the one who is actually the prize. The half-Chinese orphan is astounded to learn he will be raffled off--a healthy boy "to a good home."

The winning ticket belongs to the flamboyant madam of a high-class brothel, famous for educating her girls. There, Ernest becomes the new houseboy and befriends Maisie, the madam's precocious daughter, and a bold scullery maid named Fahn. Their friendship and affection form the first real family Ernest has ever known--and against all odds, this new sporting life gives him the sense of home he's always desired.

But as the grande dame succumbs to an occupational hazard and their world of finery begins to crumble, all three must grapple with hope, ambition, and first love.

Fifty years later, in the shadow of Seattle's second World's Fair, Ernest struggles to help his ailing wife reconcile who she once was with who she wanted to be, while trying to keep family secrets hidden from their grown-up daughters.


Against a rich backdrop of post-Victorian vice, suffrage, and celebration, Love and Other Consolations is an enchanting tale about innocence and devotion--in a world where everything, and everyone, is for sale.










Ford's debut novel Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet was one of my absolute favorite reads, not only of the year I read it but one I still think about and consider in my top reads of all time, so it was no wonder how crazy excited I got when I saw he had another release coming out and in the same vein as his first. I don't think I've ever hit a request button so quickly as I did for it. In fact I stalked Netgalley until it was available because I just couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I knew it was going to be something special, something emotional and something so worth my time and all the feels I would go through while experiencing it. 

Ford knows how to weave a tale riddled with history and heartbreak, hope, and love unlike any other author out there. He truly is a master at what he does. It isn't often that one can make you crave history, romance, and a happily ever after, along with struggling and feeling right along with the characters. To be both sad and happy at once, along with heartbroken and angry for everything we put one another through as a people and as a country and as a nation. 

His words are powerful in every way imaginable and it is so incredibly easy to get wrapped up in the story and the characters themselves until you are completely consumed by them and want nothing more than to see how it will all come together and wishing like crazy that there will be a happily ever after when all is said and done. 

This story moved me. It touched my heart and rocked my world. The characters, the setting, the circumstances. I couldn't have asked for a more heart felt, emotional read. I loved every single minute of it and I didn't want it to end but at the same time, was eager to see how it would.

Once again Ford has exceeded all my expectations and once again touched my heart and soul with his beautifully written stories and unforgettable characters. This story will forever live on in my thoughts and memories. 






*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher, I was not compensated for this review.*

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Review: A Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry Thomas

Title: A Conspiracy in Belgravia
Author: Sherry Thomas
Series: Book Two in the Lady Sherlock Series
Published By: Penguin (September 5, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Historical Mystery
My Rating: 5 Stars!


Book Description:
Being shunned by Society gives Charlotte Holmes the time and freedom to put her extraordinary powers of deduction to good use. As “Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective,” aided by the capable Mrs. Watson, she’s had great success helping with all manner of inquiries, but she’s not prepared for the new client who arrives at her Upper Baker Street office.

Lady Ingram, wife of Charlotte’s dear friend and benefactor, wants Sherlock Holmes to find her first love, who failed to show up at their annual rendezvous. Matters of loyalty and discretion aside, the case becomes even more personal for Charlotte as the missing man is none other than Myron Finch, her illegitimate half brother.


In the meanwhile, Charlotte wrestles with a surprising proposal of marriage, a mysterious stranger woos her sister Livia, and an unidentified body that surfaces where least expected. Charlotte’s investigative prowess is challenged as never before: Can she find her brother in time—or will he, too, end up as a nameless corpse somewhere in the belly of London? 







It was so much fun diving back into the atmospheric and mysterious Victorian London world that Thomas has created in her Lady Sherlock series. Once again Charlotte and her friends were a treat to see and conspire with. As a mystery always rich in detail and curiosity slowly unfolds as Charlotte puts her deductive talents into play and figures it all out before anyone else and before the danger becomes too great to those she knows and loves. And she does it all while trying to keep it a secret as much as possible from those who don't know that the famous Sherlock Holmes, is none other than Charlotte herself. 

Set in a time and place that women were suppose to be almost anything other than clever and ambitious, I love that Charlotte doesn't turn away from the challenge to shock those around her and stand tall and true to who she is with little thought to what society will think about it. 

This book, this series, has some of the most romantic lines that never were. Lines that are thought but never spoken out loud. Truly swoon worthy and in large part other than the whole this book rocks all by itself already thing, it is one of the main reasons I keep coming back time and again to Ms. Thomas' writing. It is just so well written and so beautiful in both mystery and prose and the tragic love story that might never be. 

I devoured this in a night and was sad that I didn't take longer with it. I wanted to both savor and eat it up. I sincerely hope the next book will be here before I know it. I just can't get enough of this series, rich with a mystery that keeps me on my toes and characters that are every bit as fun and intriguing as the story line itself. 






*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Monday, July 31, 2017

Review: This is Not the End by Chandler Baker

Title: This is Not the End
Author: Chandler Baker
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Disney-Hyperion (August 8, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Contemporary
My Rating: 3 Stars



Book Description:
I wonder if for the rest of my life, I’ll be haunted by beautiful days.

On one cloudless, radiant summer afternoon, Lake Devereaux lost everything. The car crash claimed the lives of her best friend and boyfriend, the people who had become her family after her own fell apart. But she doesn’t have to lose them both.

The development of resurrection technology has changed the world. Under the new laws regulating the process, each person gets one resurrection to be used or forfeited on their eighteenth birthday. Mere weeks away from turning eighteen, Lake faces an impossible choice.

Envisioning life without one of the people she loves most is shattering enough, but Lake carries an additional burden: years ago, under family pressure, Lake secretly—and illegally—promised her resurrection to someone who isn’t even dead yet.

The search for answers about her future draws Lake more deeply into the secrets of her past until she begins to question everything about those closest to her. Betrayals and hurts both new and old threaten to eclipse the memories she once cherished.

Then Lake meets a boy unlike anyone she’s encountered before, who unflinchingly embraces the darkest parts of her life . . . and who believes that all resurrections are wrong.


Which path is the right one? And how can Lake start to heal when she can't move on? 










This Is Not The End is one of those books that from the very first page, from the very beginning, the prologue, jumps out at you and grabs your attention. The kind that urges you to keep on reading, keep turning those pages because you need to know the before just as much as you need to know the after of the events that took place. The start and maybe even the end, of it all. 

It is so hard to describe this book without giving something away so I will try to keep this short and to the point. This book was fun. It was different and it was full of things I didn't see coming. Twists that were unexpected. Some added to the story and others, I think didn't but were there more for the sake of added mystery ad drama but nonetheless still worked. 

The whole concept of the story, resurrection was something you don't see very often and that more than anything else, made me want to read this story. And while it did focus on that, I felt that it could have gone so much further with the story if a bit more was explained and compounded but otherwise this was a very engaging story and something different from the norm, especially for this genre that is full of the generic. 





*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Photobucket Woes and What I've Been Watching This Summer


As many of you may have noticed a lot of my images on my blog last week, including my blog button, was replaced by the ugliest Photobucket image ever (see above) and then later last week disappeared all together. I was hit, sadly by the Photobucket devil (as I so unlovingly like to call it now). 



Yep, Photobucket decided to be really big jerks and start charging people (*cough*$400peryear*cough*) to use their "free" hosting site. So with that, I had to redo all my buttons. *sigh* 

Thankfully my amazing husband got it back up and running. Sadly though this means that those of you that were using my button now have to replace it with the new one in the left hand sidebar. So sorry guys! But hey, it made me realize how outdated my own blog roll is as well and I've slowly been updating it so there has been some good mixed in there with the Photobucket devil nightmare right? Right? Blah.

On a positive note, I wanted to share with you what I've been binge watching this summer (see my beginning of summer post HERE). 

Don't laugh but I've been making my girls watch Little House on the Prairie



You guys, I forgot how awesome this show is and that it can still make me cry. I adore it, cheesiness and all. We are up to season three and there is no way we will finish it but it's been so fun having my girls (and occasionally my husband) watch it with me. They don't make them like that anymore. I like the wholesome feel to it and the life lessons each episode has. It's been fun reliving a little bit of my childhood with re-watching them again.

Another show I watched was Crimson Road. It originally aired on PBS and takes place during WWI and I loved it! There was only one season on Amazon so I had to look it up. I was heartbroken to learn that it was cancelled after the first season (only 6 episodes darn it!). But while searching for that I ran across another PBS hit Mercy Street and even though I haven't watched it all yet, I'm really liking it.  It takes place during the Civil War period and it is so interesting!





I've also caught some episode of A Handmaid's Tale and holy crap this show is freighting in a really messed up sort of way. I don't know if I should be horrified or fascinated by it. I don't even know what to think about it. It is strangely addicting and yet so wrong at the same time. Have you watched it? What do you think about it?


So not a whole lot of TV watching around here for me but at least I've really liked what I have watched. It's been fun watching something different from my norm and in a small way I feel like I'm learning something along the way too with the history rich details some of these shows have. 

So tell me what you've been watching this summer. Anything new and interesting? Any recommendations? 


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Review: Urban Enemies by: Jim Butcher, Kelley Armstrong, Kevin Hearne, Seanan McGuire, Jonathan Maberry..

Title: Urban Enemies
Author(s): Kevin Hearne, Jim Butcher, Kelley Armstrong, Jonathan Maberry, Seanan McGuire, Joseph Nassise, Steven Savile, And Jeff Somers
Series: Anthology
Published By: Gallery Books (August 1, 2017)
Source: ARC Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
My Rating: 4 Stars!


Book Description:
Villains have all the fun—everyone knows that—and this anthology takes you on a wild ride through the dark side! The top villains from sixteen urban fantasy series get their own stories—including the baddies of New York Times bestselling authors Jim Butcher, Kevin Hearne, Kelley Armstrong, Seanan McGuire, and Jonathan Maberry.

For every hero trying to save the world, there’s a villain trying to tear it all down.

In this can’t-miss anthology edited by Joseph Nassise (The Templar Chronicles), you get to plot world domination with the best of the evildoers we love to hate! This outstanding collection brings you stories told from the villains’ point of view, imparting a fresh and unique take on the evil masterminds, wicked witches, and infernal personalities that skulk in the pages of today’s most popular series.


The full anthology features stories by Jim Butcher (the Dresden Files), Kelley Armstrong (the Cainsville and Otherworld series), Seanan McGuire (October Daye), Kevin Hearne (The Iron Druid Chronicles), Jonathan Maberry (Joe Ledger), Lilith Saintcrow (Jill Kismet), Carrie Vaughn (Kitty Norville), Joseph Nassise (Templar Chronicles), C.E. Murphy (Walker Papers), Steven Savile (Glasstown), Caitlin Kittredge (the Hellhound Chronicles and the Black London series), Jeffrey Somers (The Ustari Cycle), Sam Witt (Pitchfork County), Craig Schaefer (Daniel Faust), Jon F. Merz (Lawson Vampire), Faith Hunter (Jane Yellowrock), and Diana Pharaoh Francis (Horngate Witches). 







Who doesn't love a good villain? I mean come on, we all love to hate them and even sometimes, hate to love them. When I found out some of the top authors in the urban fantasy genre were going to be writing not only short stories set in some of the best series out there, but also in the point of view of their villains, I was so all over it. And even though some of these series I have yet to try, it didn't stop me from diving right in and seeing what their writing and bad guys were all about.

While all of these stories were good, like most anthologies, some stuck out to me more than others. 

I loved  Even Hand by Jim Butcher. In fact I liked it so much so that I plan on starting the Harry Dresden Files because of it. I mean who doesn't love witches and all things that go bump in the night?

Kelley Armstrong's Hounded from her Cainville Series was every bit as I expected it to be and I loved getting inside the Huntsman's head and seeing what makes him tick. It was a great bonus addition to the series and I'm so glad I read it.

Kiss by Saintcrow made me also want to start her series. Her villain was creepy and like the author has mentioned before, being inside his head makes you want to take a shower and scrub yourself clean afterward. 

I already knew I liked the Iron Druid series by Kearne and seeing Loki  and Lucifer featured in his short The Naughtiest Cherub, was just so much fun. It reminded me all over again, why I love his books. The humor is like no other and it's super hard to resist and UF series all set from the male POV. 

Truly I could go on, all of these stories were great and while I liked some more than others, there weren't any that I hated, which was a nice change for me. Usually with these type of books you always get that odd ball story that doesn't seem to fit and you would rather have not wasted time on. Overall this was a fun filled, villainous read that I'm glad I took a chance on. 






*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Friday, July 21, 2017

Blog Tour and Book Review: Bring Her Home by David Bell

I'm excited today to be a part of the Bring Her Home blog tour! It's been awhile sine I've read a good mystery and this one looked so good, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to read and review it when Berkley contacted me about joining the tour. I'm so glad I took the chance on this author because not only was this a fun read but I think I may have found a new author or try again in the future as well.



Title: Bring Her Home
Author: David Bell
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Published By: Berkley Books (July 11, 2017)
Source: ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review


Book Description:
In the breathtaking new thriller from David Bell, bestselling author of Since She Went Away and Somebody I Used to Know, the fate of two missing teenage girls becomes a father's worst nightmare.... 

Just a year and a half after the tragic death of his wife, Bill Price's fifteen-year-old daughter, Summer, and her best friend, Haley, disappear. Days later, the girls are found in a city park. Haley is dead at the scene, while Summer is left beaten beyond recognition and clinging to life.

As Bill holds vigil over Summer's bandaged body, the only sound the unconscious girl can make is one cryptic and chilling word: No. And the more time Bill spends with Summer, the more he wonders what happened to her. Or if the injured girl in the hospital bed is really his daughter at all.

When troubling new questions about Summer's life surface, Bill is not prepared for the aftershocks. He'll soon discover that both the living and the dead have secrets. And that searching for the truth will tear open old wounds that pierce straight to the heart of his family...






About the Author:



David Bell's newest novel, BRING HER HOME, will be released by Berkley/Penguin on July 11, 2017. His previous novels include SINCE SHE WENT AWAY, SOMEBODY I USED TO KNOW, THE FORGOTTEN GIRL, NEVER COME BACK, THE HIDING PLACE, and CEMETERY GIRL. He is currently an Associate Professor of English at Western Kentucky University and can be reached via his website at www.davidbellnovels.com, on Twitter at Twitter.com/davidbellnovels, and on Facebook at Facebook.com/davidbellnovels.





It isn't often anymore that I read a good mystery or thriller, not because I don't love them, because I do, but because for whatever reason, more often than not, they get forgotten about but when I saw the synopsis for Bring Her Home, I knew I needed to make the time for it. Not only was Bell a new to me author but reading a mystery to me lately, was as well. And isn't summer the most perfect time for a good mystery? Okay, when isn't a good time for a good mystery but I digress. 

Bring Her Home turned out to be quite a refreshing read for me. Not only was it well written but it was also told through the point of view of Bill who not only lost his wife a few short years ago from the start of the novel, but like every parents worst nightmare, now has his daughter's whereabouts unknown to him. 

What parent doesn't fear this very thing happening every single time our child leaves the house?

This book played on my emotions in so many ways and while I did figure out who the bad guy was very early on it was okay because so many other things happened along the way that I didn't see coming and those things, those horrifying and seriously mysterious things, kept me reading and turning the pages. 

This really was a read that kept me guessing all the time on what could possible turn up next, knowing who the bad guy was or not and I loved that about it. It really was perfect for summer and kept me entertained all the way through.






Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Blog Tour and Book Review: No Good Deed by Kara Connolly

I'm so very excited to bring you a book that I absolutely adored this summer. I am always a sucker for a retelling but for whatever reason, a one about Robin Hood always draws me in and makes me even more excited to read it so of course I jumped at the chance to not only read a retelling, but to read a retelling with a fun little twist. 

I bring you, No Good Deed by Kara Connolly:




Published By: Delacorte Books (July 18, 2017)
Genre: Modern Retelling
Series: Stand Alone
Source: ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Book Description:
Fans of Dorothy Must Die will love this reimagining of the legend of Robin Hood. Girl power rules supreme when a modern girl finds herself in the middle of a medieval mess with only her smart mouth and her Olympic-archer aim to get her home.

Ellie Hudson is the front-runner on the road to gold for the U.S. Olympic archery team. All she has to do is qualify at the trials in jolly old England. When Ellie makes some kind of crazy wrong turn in the caverns under Nottingham Castle—yes, that Nottingham—she ends up in medieval England.

Ellie doesn’t care how she got to the Middle Ages; she just wants to go home before she gets the plague. But people are suffering in Nottingham, and Ellie has the skills to make it better. What’s an ace archer to do while she’s stuck in Sherwood Forest but make like Robin Hood?

Pulled into a past life as an outlaw, Ellie feels her present fading away next to daring do-gooding and a devilishly handsome knight. Only, Ellie is on the brink of rewriting history, and when she picks up her bow and arrow, her next shot could save her past—or doom civilization’s future. 





About the Author:

Kara Connolly loves history, though she's never time traveled. She lives and writes in Arlington, Texas. To learn more about Kara and her books go to karaconnolly.wordpress.com or follow @karaconnolly4 on Twitter and @readkaraconnolly on Instagram.


I have always loved a good retelling. There is just something slightly magical about someone else putting a spin on an old childhood favorite and Robin Hood has always been one of my favorites. I think there is something so fun about the underdog succeeding and of course the good always triumphing over evil. 

When I saw the synopsis for No Good Deed and saw that not only was it a retelling of a classic story we all know and love but with a slight twist to it, I was all over it. What better time to go stomping through Sherwood Forest than in the summer time right?

I loved the twist the author did with this not only because I have family members who are huge in archery but because, hello a girl narrator! It was just so much fun and I couldn't help but love all the characters. 

A flamboyant Will, a softy John, and a fun eager sidekick Much not to mention a knight in shining armor and even one of the bad guys that you couldn't help but love and other bad guys you wanted to reach through the pages and give a good spanking too. 

Seriously, so much fun! I loved every minute of this and the whole time travel aspect was super easy to understand and didn't get into the way of the rest of the story, instead it was just a fun side element to the story that felt completely a natural part of it. 

Truly a fun read for any fans of the story or anyone just looking for something fun for summer that you will thoroughly enjoy and be entertained by. I just couldn't put this one down.






Friday, July 14, 2017

Guest Post and Excerpt: Searching For Irene by Marlene Bateman


I'm excited to have Marlene here today because not only is she a great writer with some fantastic stories that are clean, but her newest release also happens to be in one of my most favorite genres and I couldn't be more happy about it. 
Not only do we get a sneak peek at her new book but she has a great guest post planned for us too so stick around and check it out. 



Release Date:  July 1, 2017
Book Description:
When Anna Coughlin, a modern 1920’s woman, travels to the secluded hills of Virginia to work for wealthy Lawrence Richardson, she discovers that the previous secretary, Irene, has mysteriously disappeared. Upon arriving at the castle-like mansion, Anna finds that Lawrence’s handsome, but antagonistic son, Tyler, wants nothing more than to have her gone. And he isn’t the only one—

Caught up in a maze of intrigue in a tormented and troubled household, Anna sets out to find the truth behind Irene’s disappearance. She is helped—and often hindered—by the temperamental Tyler Richardson, who—despite her best intentions—begins to steal her heart. 

But even as Anna begins to uncover dark secrets, she must continue to hide a significant one of her own. Then, her life is threatened, and Anna is left to wonder if she’ll be able to unravel the mystery before she disappears as mysteriously as the unfortunate Irene—




About the Author:




Marlene Bateman Sullivan grew up in Utah, and graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor's degree in English. She is married to Kelly R. Sullivan and they live in North Salt Lake, Utah with their two dogs and four cats. Marlene has been published extensively in magazines and newspapers and wrote the best-selling romance/suspense novel, Light on Fire Island. She has written three other cozy mysteries; Motive for Murder, A Death in the Family, and Crooked House, as well as the romance, For Sale by Owner. 

Marlene has also written a number of non-fiction, LDS books:  Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, And There Were Angels Among Them, Visit’s from Beyond the Veil, By the Ministering of Angels, Brigham’s Boys, Heroes of Faith, Gaze into Heaven; Near-death Experiences in Early Church History, and The Magnificent World of Spirits; Eyewitness Accounts of Where We Go When We Die. 




Excerpt:
The tallest parts of the mansion—fanciful turrets and a circular tower—were visible only in glimpses Anna caught between lofty oaks and towering pines as her cab wound through the knolls and hills of eastern Virginia. 

When the cab turned up the long driveway lined with dogwood trees in full bloom, Anna Coughlin reached for her handbag, gripping it with a tension that had knotted her muscles ever since getting on the train. 

The vast estate stood on a hilltop, like a castle—and she craned her neck to better view the starkly impressive gray-stone mansion of Ashton Hall—where she hoped to be hired. With its arched, leaded windows and slate roof with numerous chimneys, the house rivaled pictures she’d seen of castles in Europe. 

Instructing the driver to wait, she climbed out, patted her hat in case it was askew, then smoothed her gray suit with gloved hands in hopes of presenting a professional appearance. Anna had no confidence she was clever enough or bold enough to pull this off, but she had to try.

Her eye was drawn by a tall man—more than six feet—who came from the side of the house. Since the man was striding toward her so purposefully, Anna stopped and waited. As he drew near, Anna noted his deep-set eyes were as black as his hair. His skin was tanned, his thin, long-fingered hands brown and strong.

“Miss Coughlin?” He stretched out a hand and shook hers, but there was no warmth for her in his eyes. “I’m Tyler Richardson. Unfortunately, your services are not needed after all.” A touch of arrogance marked his manner, as though he was long accustomed to command those around him.

“Your father called only last week to have someone come out,” Anna blurted in dismay. “May I ask what caused him to change his mind?” 

A fleeting glimpse of discomfiture crossed Mr. Richardson’s face. “I wasn’t consulted about his hiring another secretary to replace the one who left so suddenly. My father isn’t in good health, and the last thing we need is someone coming in and upsetting him by making a muddle of things.”

His words kindled a fire that glinted in Anna’s eyes. How dare he make such an assumption? It was difficult to hang on to her temper, but there was too much at stake to let his boorishness sidetrack her. “Since I’m here, I’m sure you won’t mind if I keep my appointment. After all, your father is the one who requested my services. I’m sure he’s expecting me.”

Her words hit home.It took a few bitter seconds, but he finally acquiesced. “Come in, then,” he muttered ungraciously before leading the way up the steps and opening the door. 

Following his rigid back down the narrow hall, Anna’s brows furrowed as doubts crept in. How wise had she been to come to this remote place? Especially when the previous secretary had disappeared so mysteriously? Even her employer thought it odd that no one in this mansion seemed to know where Irene had gone or where she was now. It was as if Irene had vanished into thin air.




How I Get Ideas for My Novels
by Marlene Bateman, author of Searching for Irene

People often ask where I get ideas for my novels.  Most often, they start with a germ of an idea I gleaned from books I’ve read. I’ve been a voracious reader all my life and read hundreds and hundreds of books.  For many years, when I finished reading a book, I would write up a short summary of it and file it away. Now, I have binder after binder filled with book summaries.

When it’s time to come up with a new idea for a book, I pull out and look through all of these binders of summaries, which give me endless ideas and inspiration to create a totally new book. 

As I skim through the summaries, I find an idea that leads to another, then another. Gradually, these ideas come clear and allow me to come up with a bare-bones idea for a new book. As I begin to write, changes always come because of the characters and the plot, which often takes things in new directions. It’s always exciting to see how my original idea has morphed into something totally new. 

Searching for Irene started with a germ of idea that came from a book I read eons ago, and it led me to eventually come up with the idea of a woman who is hired to replace a secretary who disappeared under mysterious circumstances. 

Books aren’t the only things I get ideas from. I’m always on the lookout for new ideas, and quite often, I get a spark of inspiration from reading the daily newspaper, from watching TV, or even seeing people in a grocery store, park, or at a campground.  

When I write, I always begin by developing the characters. Knowing who they are, what they want, and what they fear, helps me develop the plot and drives my fiction. We all are products of our upbringing and I enjoy showing how my character’s background and past experiences molded them into the people they are now. I strive to create characters who are living, breathing people. 

In Searching for Irene, Anna arrives at a castle-like mansion to replace a secretary who disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Now, any good story has conflict, so I came up with an opposing force by the name of Tyler Richardson. Arrogant, condescending, and handsome, he wants nothing more than for Anna to leave. But he’s met his match in Anna, who stands up to him. Anna soon realizes she has come into a troubled household and as she uncovers some secrets, must tread warily because she has a few of her own that must stay hidden at all costs. 

Because I strive for rich characterization, I gave Tyler and Anna some personal dilemmas. Each of them display their humanness and although they make mistakes, each has a moral compass and a belief in God, which prompts them to work on overcoming their faults and being better people. Because they are thrown together so much, they confide in each other and love begins to blossom. 

Part of the reason I enjoyed writing Searching for Irene so much was because of the time period—the early 1920’s. I loved researching that time period and learning how life was back them. When the writing flows, as it did for this book, it’s a deeply satisfying experience. I sincerely hope people love reading Searching for Irene much as I enjoyed writing it!

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Thank you so much Marlene for being here today and sharing a guest post and excerpt with us!