Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.” —Groucho Marx

Friday, February 19, 2016

Welcome Steven Manchester--Guest Blog re: The Changing Season

Welcome author, Steven Manchester as our guest blogger today.    In THREE days, his latest book, The Changing Season will be released!!    It is more than awesome!!!

My review of this coming of age story can be found here:  http://bethartfromtheheart.blogspot.com/2016/01/the-changing-season-by-steven.html

In 1991, I served in Operation Desert Storm—and experience that proved to be a brutal one for

me on all fronts. I remember making myself a promise in the desert, “If I make it home, I’m

going to chase my dream of becoming an author.” And I did.

After returning home from the war, I worked as a prison investigator in Massachusetts. Needless

to say, there was great negativity in my life at that time. I decided to return to college to finish

my degree in Criminal Justice. During one of the classes, the professor talked about police work

but nothing else. I finally raised my hand and asked, “The criminal justice system is vast. What

about the courts, probation, parole – corrections?” He smiled and told me to see him after class. I

thought I’d finally done it! In his office, he explained, “There’s no written material out there on

corrections or prisons, except from the slanted perspective of inmates.” He smiled again and

dropped the bomb. “If you’re so smart,” he said, “why don’t you write it?”

Nine months later, I dropped the first draft of 6-5; A Different Shade of Blue (under the pen

name, Steven Herberts) on his desk. From then on, I was hooked. I was a writer.

Fast forward 24 years and I’ve written a dozen and a half books, with four of them (The Rockin’

Chair, Twelve Months, Pressed Pennies and Gooseberry Island) becoming #1 national


In the spring of 2014, I met with my publisher (as well as mentor and friend), Lou Aronica in

Connecticut to discuss my next project—an emotional, highly-relatable novel for you and old, as

well as male and female. After a two hour lunch, I drove home story boarding The Changing

Season in my head.

I decided I wanted to write a coming-of-age story that addresses the time frame between high

school and college (which two of my children have recently experienced, while a third on his

way). I’d set the story in New England and create an endearing tale between a boy (Billy) and his

loyal dog (Jimmy), as they experience a summer of firsts: first love, first job and the first time

the weight of responsibility is felt. Amidst the twists and turns, I’d make Billy (with Jimmy by

his side each step) learn how one wrong decision can change the outcome of a lifetime and how

the right decision can bring as much pain as it does joy.

After several months of research, I started the writing to discover that the greatest challenge for

me would be time. First and foremost, I am a dad and my children come first. After that, there

are other responsibilities that need my attention. To overcome the obstacle of time, I made

writing a priority over watching TV and sometimes even sleeping. Once my family is taken care

of and the world closes its eyes, I’m up for a few more hours each day—creating Billy and

Jimmy’s world on paper.

In the end, The Changing Season took me eight months to complete. It is, by far, one of my

favorite novels to date—as I truly believe it is a tale that most people can relate to and feel


On Sale Date: February 23, 2016
9781611882261, 1611882265
$26.95 USD, $26.95 CAD
Fiction, Coming Of Age
The Story Plant
300 pages - 6 in | 9 in

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Miss Demeanor Suspense Series by Joanne Jaytanie. Angela Ford. Jackie Marilla, & Lauren Marie---A review


Four women meet in an internet group called “Lady Cops.” All work for police departments in small towns and realize that they have no hope of being promoted over their male counterparts. They band together and buy a private investigation business in Seattle and name it “Miss Demeanor Private Detective Agency.” Follow the women on their journeys as they are thrown into the dark under belly of drugs, murder, kidnapping, counterfeiting, and all the lies and unthinkable deeds the big city draws. 

From My Perspective:

Four distinct characters; four authors creating those personalities and mysteries---one book that draws the reader in from start to finish.   

Each of the four PI's were new to Seattle...each was beautiful in their own right and each had a different case to solve.   Each met an attractive male while working their respective cases.    These stories were full of suspense and romance.    Each PI handled their cases in their own style and reacted to the men  in their lives uniquely.    

This was a fun quick read and quite enjoyable.

I rated this a four wink read.

Disclaimer:  I read for my pleasure.   I may receive ARC copies for review purposes, but I am not compensated for my reviews .  I like to read and I like to share my reviews.   I post my thoughts without prejudice or bias.  The words are mine and I write reviews based on my humble opinion.  I will admit, I seldom meet a book I don't like.  I received a copy of this book from the author or their representative in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


Welcome to Megan Tayte's release day party!     Darkly, Deeply, Beautifully releases today; it is the 5th in the Cerulean series and the conclusion!     All five of these lovely editions are meaty reads and build the suspense beautifully right to the end of this fantasy series.



The Ceruleans: mere mortals infused with power over life and death. Five books; one question: If the might of the heavens were in your hands, would you be sinner or saint?

With her mother’s life hanging in the balance, Scarlett is devastated – and done with being in the dark. She wants answers, all of them.

But when was her pursuit of the truth ever straightforward?

Pulling a single thread impels a great unravelling. And each revelation will force Scarlett to rethink what she thought she knew about the Ceruleans, the Fallen, her family – herself.

All that came before was a mere prelude to this, the last journey. From London to Twycombe to Hollythwaite to Cerulea, Scarlett will be stalked by the ghosts of what has been, what may have been and what may come to pass. Until she reaches the place where it all began, and it all must end.

But in the final reckoning, none will survive unscathed. And some will not survive at all.

In this explosive conclusion to The Ceruleans series, all must be defined by their actions: sinner, saint… or something more beautiful entirely?


I kissed Luke then. I kissed him. Like I hadn’t kissed him in more than a week – since before London,

since before Hollythwaite, since Barcelona: when we’d been just a regular couple on a city break,

wrapped up in each other. Through the kiss I heard his sigh, the release of emotion. And then he

pulled me to him, onto his lap, and I kissed his lips, his jaw, his collarbone, his shoulder, and he

kissed my lips, my earlobe, my neck, my –


My robe had slipped, exposing my back, and I struggled off him and wrestled with the fabric

entangled at my waist.

He stood up. Put his hands on my shoulders. Said my name with so much tenderness that I had to

stop. Had to look at him. The room was steamy, the glass doors occluded. No one could see. Only


‘Trust me,’ he said.

I did.

Slowly, he turned me. I steeled myself as he took it in, the brand I now wore. Non Serviam. I will not

serve. Emblazoned on my back in the form of angry, jagged scar tissue.

When I felt his lips on the nape of my neck, I jerked in shock. But his hands on my hips held me still

as he traced the path of the scar, one kiss at a time, from its very top to its termination just above

my bikini bottoms.

‘Beautiful,’ he said.

I turned to him. He smiled up at me.

Sinking down so that we were both kneeling, I said, ‘How could you…?’

‘How could I not?’ was his answer. ‘I was there, Scarlett. I saw what you did for your mother. That

scar: it’s beautiful.’

‘But it’s a punishment, Luke. Because I sinned. That’s not beautiful. It’s dark. Wrong.’

‘No! Don’t you say that. Trying to save your mother – that could never be wrong. If I’d had the

chance, I’d have done it. My mum, my dad, Cara… I’d have saved them all. And you. I would always

save you.’

His eyes were glistening, and I lunged for him and hugged him hard.

‘So stop hiding it from me,’ he finished, his voice muffled in my hair. ‘Please. Because I love that scar

on you so goddam much.’

I nodded into his shoulder and he squeezed me.

It was calm in our little haven. Still. Warm. Nothing existed but Luke and me. We held each other for

a long time, drifting in the haze.

And then Luke sat back and said, ‘So, you and me. We’re good?’

‘We’re good,’ I told him. Then I frowned and added: ‘For now. You know, Gabe, the Fallen: I have 

no idea what we’re getting into.’

‘Me either.’ He reached out a finger and drew, in the condensation on the glass door, a little

lightbulb. ‘But whatever lies ahead,’ he said, ‘it has to be better than living in the dark.’


I hungrily devoured the pages of this last book in the Cerulean series;  I wanted to read the conclusion and see if it fell into place seamlessly or if it would be rushed and an ill-fitting ending.    That sometimes happens in a series.    Kudos to Megan Tayte, the ending was a great fit for a wonderfully entertaining series.  
The stories are definitely paranormal fantasy in nature, but Megan created characters we were drawn to, characters we could love and wanted to follow from start to finish.   And this the last in her series was a beautiful conclusion, so very much was explained and revealed.    Scarlet could hardly have reacted differently as many mysteries were exposed for the lies they were.

Tayte thrives with a complex storyline and realistic and endearing characters.   Hers is some of the best escapism writing I have read and thoroughly looked forward to!

I rated this last of the Ceruleans series a 5 wink read!





Once upon a time a little girl told her grandmother that when she grew up she wanted to be a
writer. Or a lollipop lady. Or a fairy princess fireman. ‘Write, Megan,’ her grandmother advised. So
that’s what she did.
Thirty-odd years later, Megan is a professional writer and published author by day, and an indie
novelist by night. Her fiction – young adult romance with soul – recently earned her the SPR’s
Independent Woman Author of the Year award.

Megan grew up in the Royal County, a hop, skip and a (very long) jump from Windsor Castle, but
these days she makes her home in a village of Greater Manchester. She lives with her husband, a
proud Scot who occasionally kicks back in a kilt; her son, a budding artist with the soul of a
palaeontologist; and her baby daughter, a keen pan-and-spoon drummer who sings in her sleep.
When she's not writing, you'll find her walking someplace green, reading by the fire, or creating
carnage in the kitchen as she pursues her impossible dream: of baking something edible.

You can find Megan online at:



a Rafflecopter giveaway Darkly, Deeply, Beautifully Release Day Party: 16 February

Monday, February 15, 2016

Juliette by Anita Claire---A Review


Meet Juliette Cole, she’s just arrived back to Silicon Valley after three heartbreaking months following her grad school love to London. Moving in with childhood friend turned blond bombshell she gets introduced to Cassie’s crazy over the top lifestyle. Taking a job at a Silicon Valley startup she learns that work is more than just hoodies and free gourmet food. Thankfully she has The Princesses, her close group of girlfriends from college who all went as princesses to a Halloween party their freshman year. 

They don’t call San Jose- Man Jose for nothing. Juliette’s heart is not lonely for long. Swimming before work she sees a guy with the most amazing six pack get out of the pool. Now she has a new quest – to meet him. While playing soccer she gets knocked out by an opposing player. The player’s hot doctor brother helps her to the sidelines then starts texting her. As things start heating up in Juliette’s personal life she now has two guys vying for her attention. Who will it be sexy swimmer Zach or hot Dr. Nate? 


Juliette began as a three part book, but when I was asked to read and review it, the three books were combined as one.    It was a lengthy read at 514 pages.   Chapters were short and it is definitely a new adult romance read.   Sex scenes are definitely explicit, so beware.....not for teens or children.

Anita Claire has a fun story to share with readers and it all begins with Juliette.   She has built some very strong characters in this first book--young women who met in college, partied as princesses and have joined the adult world.   Juliette is an engineer, working in a man's world with all the encompassing problems of being the new kid on the block.   But she knows who she is and what she wants in a relationship and she is searching for it...diligently.

I liked the premise of the story and I enjoyed meeting the main character Juliette.   I liked her relationship with her parents, her friends, and I liked how she was able to be direct and honest with her roommate, Cassie.  I found her appetite for the male species to be a bit extreme, but there are a lot of individuals in this same status in real life.

I rated the book a 3 wink read.

Disclaimer:  I read for my pleasure.   I may receive ARC copies for review purposes, but I am not compensated for my reviews .  I like to read and I like to share my reviews.   I post my thoughts without prejudice or bias.  The words are mine and I write reviews based on my humble opinion.  I will admit, I seldom meet a book I don't like.  I received a copy of this book from the author or their representative in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, February 5, 2016

NEVER NEVER III by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher

Once upon a time, fairytales were told and the main characters of the fairy tales, lived happily ever after.   Once upon a time, I fell in love with the work of Colleen Hoover and I have read a lot of her books, but not all.....she writes faster than I can read and I can not keep up with all of it.     Then once upon a time, Colleen wrote a book with Tarryn Fisher and it was called Never Never.

Never Never became a trilogy.   The first book was intriguing and left us wondering in suspense.    The second book was more of the same.     Every 48 hours Silas and Charlie, (Charlize), loose their memories of themselves and each other and every thing they know about their world.    Sort of reminiscent of the Bill Murray movie, Groundhoig Day, which I hated.

Now the third book has been released and it is time for me to review it after having read through it.


New York Times bestselling authors Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher are back with the much-anticipated final installment in the Never Never novella series. 
Together, Silas Nash and Charlize Wynwood must look deeper into the past to find out who they were and who they want to be. With time ticking down, the couple are in a race to find the answers they need before they lose everything. Can they regain what they once had? And will it restore who they once were?


Book one was 159 pages, Book two was 158 pages and the third and final installment was 92 pages long.   To me, this should have been released as one full length novel, rather than as a trilogy.     I hate suspense to be drawn out in such a manner, waiting for part two which felt a bit repetitive of book one and then waiting for the conclusion in part three which was only a short story ending.    

I didn't know what to expect for  an ending in this series, but I knew I had to finish it.   Seriously, who can leave it hanging?    Certainly not moi!   I am glad I was able to finish the story.  It was more or less a happily ever after ending and the main characters did grow to know and understand who they were previously and made the choice to be better people in the present and future.

Was it quirky?   Yes, it had that quirky Colleen Hoover element.   Was it enjoyable?  Yes      Was there a twist that surprised me?    yep....especially toward the end.    My preference however, is for Colleen to stick to her own authoring of books with the quirks and surprises and enjoyment that comes from her own well of creativity.

I rated this a 3 wink read.

 Disclaimer:  I read for my pleasure.   I may receive ARC copies for review purposes, but I am not compensated for my reviews .  I like to read and I like to share my reviews.   I post my thoughts without prejudice or bias.  The words are mine and I write reviews based on my humble opinion.  I will admit, I seldom meet a book I don't like.  I purchased a copy of this book for my personal kindle collection.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

All Roads by Peter Murphy--a review


Danny Boyle isn't all here. Years of destructive behavior have left him in an alcoholic coma. Meanwhile, his marriage is over, one of his children wants nothing to do with him, and the other suffers by his bedside.

And while the complexities of life swirl around him, Danny, in his halfway state, comes face to face with his demons and struggles to understand them. He must confront the ghosts of his past – ghosts who have unfinished business with him.

No one can be certain of where Danny's road is leading. But where it actually leads is far more surprising than any could have anticipated.

The resounding conclusion to the Life & Times TrilogyAll Roads is a stirring ode to life's resilience and possibilities.


All Roads by Peter Murphy is the third and final book in the Life and Times Trilogy.  Itis the story of Danny Boyle, born Irish and raised in the Catholic Church, Danny grows into a young man and witnesses the murder of his friend Anton.    Life for Danny isn't easy....he makes good and bad choices, but it is never easy and he is always at war with himself.    It came as little surprise to the other characters or to the reader that he would become an alcoholic.

There are many very well developed characters in the Life and Times Trilogy.   From the heirachy of the Catholic Church, to the church body, family members, in-laws and children and ex wives, characters fill the book and interact in one way or another with Danny Boyle.   Each has a perspective, an opinion and perhaps an agenda.....but each was touched by Danny Boyle in one way or another.

This installment was a long read and I struggled with Danny's darkness until he made a friend in his son's father-in-law.   It was then, that I saw glimmers of hope for this truly sad human being, Danny Boyle.  The story does end on a positive note.   As a work of fiction, it is a very accurate portrayal of the sorrows an alcoholic faces.

I rated this book a three wink read!

  Disclaimer:  I read for my pleasure.   I may receive ARC copies for review purposes, but I am not compensated for my reviews .  I like to read and I like to share my reviews.   I post my thoughts without prejudice or bias.  The words are mine and I write reviews based on my humble opinion.  I will admit, I seldom meet a book I don't like.  I received a copy of this book from the author or their representative in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, February 1, 2016

January 2016 Reading Recap

Greetings fellow readers!   My January reading was somewhat affected by the fact I had major surgery, so I apologize to authors and peeps alike who may have expected more.   But life interrupts when least expected.   For any curious minds, so far so good!   And my reading should be back on track soon.

Here's what I did get read in January:

Lilliana Anderson's Drawn to Fight--contemporary romance--dreamy


All Roads by Peter Murphy--an Irish fiction read, third in the series.

A Great Conclusion to the Cerulean Fantasy series by Megan Tayte  Darkly Deeply Beautifully....review to post on February 16---awesome series!

And last but definitely not least, my favorite read of January by Steven Manchester, The Changing Season...a coming of age story for a boy and his dog.
This was a masterful portrayal as only Manchester could provide us with!

So as few books as I was able to read in January, they were all very enjoyable and satisfying....a little something for everyone!

I hope your January was just as enjoyable!

Happy continued reading my friends!

Miss Beth