By Linda B. Collins
Genre: Non-Fiction, How-To

* I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review.*

I had high hopes for this book. Since my blog is only a few months old I am very interested in making it more appealing to my current and potential followers.

I was put off this book right from the introduction. It is hard to take someone’s advice seriously when what they have written comes across as amateurish. An introduction is just that. It is the reader’s first impression of not only the author, but of the expected content of their book.

The introduction seems to me like it was written by someone whose first language is not english. That in itself is not a bad thing, but without a competent editor and/or proofreader it comes across as amateurish. This is not the impression an author should want to make. If you are writing a book about blogging “like a pro” then what you write should come across as professional.

For example, the author writes:

“It’s true that the more you read, the more you write better and the more you write the more you write the better.”

This is atrocious grammar. It should read: ” It is true that the more you read, the better your writing will be.” This sounds much more professional and actually makes sense.

This is just one example of many.

Another example:

“Blogging is an amazing experience to discover yourself, know new things about yourself, know about the skills you have and you never know you have.”

My response to that sentence can be summed up best with one word: Yikes!

It should read:

“Blogging can be an amazing experience of self-discovery. Through blogging you will learn more about yourself and perhaps even discover skills that you never knew you possessed.”

There are other problems with this book that need improvement as well.

The author has a horrible habit of using “smilies” such as “:D” this is just ridiculous and again comes across as childish and unprofessional.

The author writes that “… trough many trails and errors I finally started blogging.” I have to assume that she meant to say “Through (not trough) many trials (not trails) and errors I finally started blogging.”

It is errors and typos such as those I have pointed out that will turn readers away from this book. It is impossible to take advice from someone who did not take the time to proofread their product before offering it to the public.

I never want to give an author a low rating on a book. It takes quite a bit of time and effort to write and publish a book. I respect all authors and even when I feel compelled to give a low rating for the sake of honesty, I still applaud the author for their efforts.

There are some valid points and how to’s in this book, and with some polishing, editing and proof reading this book will receive better ratings in the future. In it’s current incarnation I can only rate it as 1 out of 5 stars.


By: Tracy Chevalier

I listened to the unabridged audiobook of “The Last Runaway”.

The year is 1850 and Honor Bright, a Quaker girl from England arrives in America with her sister after a sea crossing spent in misery from sea-sickness.

They have travelled to America where Honor’s sister is to wed a Quaker man in Ohio. However, shortly after arriving in America Honor’s sister contracts yellow fever and dies. Honor is now all alone in a strange land. She is forced to rely on the kindness of strangers to help her reach her new home. She is not even sure if she will still be welcome since it was her sister who was to be married, not Honor.

Honor is a talented seamstress and quilt maker and upon arrival in Ohio she meets a woman named Belle who owns a Milliner’s shop. Recognizing Honor’s talent with a sewing needle, Belle immediately puts Honor to work sewing bonnets and hats. Honor stays with Belle for several days while waiting for her sister’s fiancé to arrive to take her to her new home. During that time she meets Belle’s brother, Donovan.

Donovan is a slave-catcher and he is a handsome devil. Honor cannot help but feel attracted to him, even though as a Quaker she opposes slavery and must marry a fellow Quaker.

After moving to Faithwell, Ohio and staying with her sister’s ex-fiance for several weeks, she realizes that she cannot live with him indefinitely. She meets and marries a local farmer named Jack Haymaker.

Somehow along the way she gets involved with the Underground Railroad. She believes it is her duty to help any runaway slave that needs assistance. However, with the “Fugitive Slave Act” becoming law, her family could be fined or even imprisoned for helping runaway slaves. This presents a moral dilemma. Does she follow her conscious and heart or does she give in the wishes of her in-laws.

This book is a fascinating look at the life of a Quaker, newly arrived to America, and how she settles into her new life in a strange land.

Even though this is a fiction novel the author has thoroughly researched the era and the setting. This research is evident in the multitude of small details and make listening to this audiobook more enjoyable and fascinating.

The author has done an admirable job of writing details of the ingrained prejudices of the time period.

The Quakers of the time had a policy of opposing any and all forms of slavery. But, in practice some Quakers would rather turn a blind eye than offer assistance to runaway slaves. It is this dilemma that is central to Honor’s story.

This book is fascinating and complex. It examines many issues that faced the early settlers of America and the difficulties and challenges they faced when trying to carve a life for themselves out of a land that did not always want to cooperate.

I rate this audiobook as 5 out of 5 stars. Anyone who is interested in American history or in historical fiction will enjoy this book.


Tracy Chevalier is the author of “The Girl With The Pearl Earring.”

To learn more about the author visit

An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund – BOOK REVIEW

By: Jody Hedlund

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance

Publication Date: March 3, 2015

* I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

The year is 1390. Lady Rosemarie Montfort is one month away from her eighteenth birthday. Her parents died four years earlier and upon their death she learned that they had made a sacred vow that stated she must enter the convent upon turning eighteen.

On her eighteenth birthday she would also take on full leadership of running the lands she had inherited from her parents. For the past four years she had been running the lands with the help and guidance of Abbot Francis Michael. She was more than ready to do away with his assistance since they often disagreed, especially when it came to her determination to be a kind, compassionate and generous ruler. He did not like that she spent so much money assisting the poor and that she forbade the sheriff from torturing criminals.

With only a month to go before entering a life of celibacy in the convent Rosemarie has accepted her fate. However, a visit from a dear family friend may change everything. He has discovered that there is an exception to the vow. If Lady Rosemarie is able to find true love and marry before her birthday, she will be released fron the vow. To that end, he has brought his three most noble and trust-worthy knights with him. He proposes that the three men spend the month vying for her affection in the hope that she will fall in love with one of them.

A month to find true love? It seems impossible. Or is it?

This is a fun read. What young woman could resist the attentions of three handsome young knights? The fact that all three are trying to win her heart makes it seem like a medieval version of the television show The Bachelorette.

This book would be the perfect March Break beach read. It’s light subject matter and romantic theme make it the ultimate vacation book. Maybe it will even inspire those vacationing readers to take a chance on a holiday romance. Who knows, they may even find their own true love.

I rate this book as 4 out of 5 stars.

To learn more about this author visit





By: Elizabeth Fixmer

Publication Date: March 1, 2015

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

* I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

I have always had a strange fixation with cults and cult-like religions such as the polygamist ex-Mormon sects from Utah. The television show that was popular a few years ago called “Big Love” was a show I watched religiously (pun intended) every week. It was fascinating to me that the women on that show saw nothing wrong with the way they chose to live. Because I have no particular belief system it boggles my mind what some people can be convinced to believe.

Cults have been around for a long time and there are quite a few groups that are active in the United States to this day.

This book may be fiction, but it highlights an issue that is very much a part of the lives of thousands of Americans every day. Children raised in these isolated communities know nothing else. If they are taught to believe in a specific set of principles by their parents, they have no reason to question whether these practices are right or wrong. They quite simply do not know that they have a choice.

In “Down From The Mountain” the story begins with fourteen year old Eva attending church. The culture of fear in which she lives is evident from the very first paragraph.

“I try not to stare at the discipline paddle that hangs on the wall near the bare table we use as an altar. Fourteen swats if I mess up the Bible passage. One swat for every year of age.”

Right away the reader must ask themselves what kind of church has a discipline paddle beside the altar? I know that in Ontario, Canada where I live, it is illegal to hit a child. If a child were “paddled” in church the police would be called and child abuse charges would be laid.

Eva has been taught to believe that God talks to Reverend Ezekiel and “has given him the job of shepherding us to keep us pure.” The Reverend gives out rewards and punishments to keep his followers on “the righteous path.”

Eva and her friends Annie and Jacob live in a closed community surrounded by an electric fence. They belong to a group that call themselves “Righteous Path.” They refer to everyone who is not part of their group as “heathens.” They believe that only 444 people will survive Armageddon and go to Heaven and that they are among the chosen few.

Eva and her mother joined the community when Eva was only four years old. When they joined her mother sold their home and belongings and turned over all the money to Reverend Ezekiel. This is common practice for cults. It keeps the cults coffers full and because the members no longer have money or possessions of their own, they are reliant on the leader for everything.

Eva knows that she must follow all the rules set out by Reverend Ezekiel. These include not showing too much pride, keeping her heart pure, not being selfish, not wearing jewelry, being demure, not speaking to the heathens, etc. Basically she must be pure in thought and deed.

Eva loves school. Even if they only have a few textbooks and most of the information in them has been blacked out to avoid them learning worldly ways, Eva craves knowledge. They used to have a few novels including the first Narnia book, which Eva adored, but Ezekiel burned them all as being inappropriate. He believes that girls only need to learn to read so that they can read the bible.

The problem arises when Ezekiel calls Eva into his office and announces that she is almost a woman. He has already married every woman on the compound and they rotate which of them spends the night in his trailer. Eva is terrified that he will want to marry her too. Thankfully it isn’t marriage that he wants to talk to her about … Yet. He assigns her to make jewelry to sell at a local flea market to the heathens.

When Eva gets a look at what the outside world is really like, she begins to have questions. How can all the nice people she meets be agents of Satan? Is it so bad to come up with ways to make more money for the group? Why is it wrong for her to want to read books? Is the outside world really evil? And most of all, she begins to question whether or not she believes Ezekiel is right about God and heaven.

This book illustrates the brainwashing and the culture of fear that cult children grow up with. I believe that it is important that books like this are written, published and marketed to young adults. They need to know that sometimes evil comes in the guise of a Prophet or Priest. This book will open the eyes of many who read it who were not aware that cults like this exist in our modern society.

I give this book a rating of 4 out of 5 stars. It is a quick but dramatic read.

To learn more about this author go to



By: Tonya Kuper (Debut author)

Genre: Young Adult
Version of Book: Paperback
Length: 284 pages

ANOMALY is author, Tonya Kuyper’s debut novel.

Josie’s birthday already sucks, and it’s only noon. Her boyfriend breaks up with her because she won’t “put out.” Her father is off somewhere on business and she hasn’t talked to him in months and she just found out that the summer internship she had been counting on has fallen through. All in all her seventeenth birthday seriously sucks.

Two teenagers pull into the school parking lot riding motorcycles. She is intrigued and silently wishes that when the lead rider takes off his helmet that he will look like her dream guy. No sooner than she makes the wish, she experiences a brief, but intense migraine. To her surprise, when the helmet is removed, he looks EXACTLY how she hoped he would; right down to the tattoo peeking out of his sleeve.

His name is Reid Wentworth and he is there to secretly keep Josie safe. It is also his job to shatter Josie’s world. He knows all about her. In fact, he knows more about her than Josie knows about herself.

Josie is looked at by her classmates as a “nerd”. She readily admits to being different, and even a bit nerdy, but as far as she is concerned, she is not a nerd. She prefers to be called a “dork” – thank you very much.

When weird things start happening to her, Josie learns that her world is nothing like she thought it was. Josie also learns that she is special. She is capable of amazing things. She is able to “Push” objects into existence.

Reid tells her that there are people looking for her and that if they find her they will not hesitate to kill her and her entire family.

Josie and Reid must complete a special mission and stay alive, all while being hunted by a powerful organization.

ANOMALY is so well written and thoroughly thought out that readers will be shocked to discover that this is author Tonya Kuyper’s first book. Judging by ANOMALY, this author has a great future ahead of her. I am now a fan!

This book actually made me laugh out loud a few times. Tonya Kuper writes some terrific one-liners such as: “I felt like I was wearing Princess Leia’s buns at a Star Trek convention.” Those who aren’t Sci-Fi fans may not get the joke, but for those of us who are, this is a great joke.

Despite the moments of hilarity, this book has a wonderfully written dramatic side and is not only a science fiction/ adventure story but also a tale of coming-of-age.

This book is the first in a series. I hope the next book is released soon. Too bad I can’t just “Push” a copy for myself right now!
I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars.

Tonya Kuyper earned an MS in Reading Education. It was during her education when she fell in love with the Young Adult genre. She is now a married Mom with two boys and lives in Nebraska.

To learn more about this author, visit her online at

To read more of my reviews, visit my blog at

Favorite Quotes:

“She reminded me of Tinkerbell – sassy and cute until you pissed her off.”

“This ass with the action-figure hair was breaking up with me – on my birthday!”



By: Sarah Dalton

* I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Firstly I have to mention the book cover. It is creeptastic. It is eye-catching and makes you want to instantly pick it up.

Mary Hades is 17 and her best friend, Lacey is a ghost.

Their friendship didn’t start off as ghost-human, they were actual friends. Mary and Lacey had both been admitted to a mental institution. That is where they met.

Lacey was killed when the pair faced off against a murderous psychopath who also happened to be a doctor in the mental hospital. The night that Lacey was killed Mary was injured in a fire and the psychopathic doctor was killed by ghosts that only Mary could see.

Now Mary is trying to return to some semblance of a normal life. Her parents book a “camping” holiday out in the moors of Nettleby. This is not Mary’s idea of the ideal vacation. Staying in a caravan (known as an RV or trailer to those of us in North America) and being surrounded by old people does not sound like fun. At least Lacey will be with her. There are some advantages to having a ghost as your best friend.

I love the character of Lacey. She is a bundle of energy and even being dead doesn’t seem to have slowed her down. The author has done a terrific job of having Lacey’s vivacious personality come through.

Apart from seeing ghosts, Mary also sees “things”. “Standing like a scarecrow in the middle of a crop field, is one of THEM. Its skull shines through its face, and haunting sunken eyes stare at me, dark as night. A chill passes over my body. This is a warning.”
Mary calls them “things,” she sees them only when bad things are about to happen. She was institutionalized and drugged because of these visions, now she knows to pay attention to these warnings.

Shortly after arriving at the campground two very significant things happen. First, she meets Seth and second, she learns about the death of a young girl named Amy five years prior. Supposedly the little girl is killing men in revenge for her murder.

Mary, Seth and Lacey must find a way to banish Amy’s ghost before she kills again.

This book is expertly written with the perfect amount of gothic creepiness. The relationship between Mary and her ghost friend Lacey is a great addition.
The dynamics of living vs. dead and how that complicates their relationship are complex and compelling. Will Lacey become bitter over time? Is she jealous of Mary being alive? Is she jealous of Mary’s budding relationship with Seth? How could she not be jealous? But what exactly can Mary do about it?

The relationship between Mary and Seth comes about organically and readers will find themselves rooting for the two to become a couple. Seth is portrayed with the perfect amount of nice guy mixed with enough mystery and danger to make him exciting.

The writing is fast paced and the build up to the climax will have you on the edge if your seat.

This book is targeted to Young Adult readers, but adult readers will also enjoy this creepy tale and will look forward to reading more adventures including Mary Hades.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars.

There is a prequel novella available now and the second book in the series entitled “Posess” is also available.

Learn more about Sarah Dalton’s books at or at


Dais Dark Valentine Cover3

“Dai’s Dark Valentine” by Dariel Raye


What happens when a sheltered cat-shifter and a dark fey come together?

Three-hundred years is a long time, but left to its own devices, what began as the vendetta of one man can grow to encompass even more formidable hatred.

Daitre Salons is a beautiful but naïve heiress whose true heritage has been kept secret even from her. Now, her abilities are emerging and her father’s enemies want her dead, but what bothers her most is that her new husband “in name only” insists on treating her like a child.

Joban Beaucoup, professional guard to the Salons family, and dark fey (alternate spelling from Vodouin origin), has chosen to leave the quaint yet suffocating French town of his orphan-childhood and venture to the Americas, but he needs one thing he cannot concoct, despite his magical abilities – a wife.

When Joban agrees to marry Daitre and take her to the Americas with him, he carries her three-thousand miles away, then whisks her three-hundred years into the future to assure her safety, but while Daitre struggles to adjust to this strange new world, manage her newfound powers, and make peace with her feelings for Joban, Joban learns that even here, their enemies have followed them, now more deadly than ever.

Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes and Noble | Kobo


New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A. – Present

Daitre instinctively wrapped her arms around Joban’s neck, wonder overshadowing every other thought and emotion.

Before she could blink, he slid her arms from him and took a step back. She blinked again and glanced around, the environment too strange for comprehension. What seemed like millions of images flashed around her synapses at once.

She closed her eyes again and did her best to ignore the rocks in her stomach, but the feeling of rejection would not go away. She’d over-stepped. He made it clear he did not want to be touched. Apparently he’d meant what he said about their marriage being a union in name only, and God alone knew where he’d brought her.

The magical orb resurfaced in her mind and she watched Joban in awe. She’d always known he was a time bender, and he’d even flashed her from one place to another before, but his particular species of fey were so rare, she’d never met another, and no matter what she thought she knew, experiencing the phenomenon was no less overwhelming and amazing.

Everything seemed to happen in a flash, glimpses of familiar and unfamiliar things slowly registering as the light faded. Joban told her they were in The Americas, the United States of America to be exact, three-hundred years in the future, the twenty-first century, and he began showing her odd clothing.

“Things are very different here and now, Daitre. You will need to adjust as fast as possible. I got these for you after your father told me your size. They will take some getting used to, but dressing is much easier in this century, I imagine.”

“What part of America are we in?”

“We are in a place called New Orleans, Louisiana. I should have family here, and so should you.” He waved across his left hand and a picture appeared.

“This is a map of the United States. We are here,” he said, pointing to the bottom tip of Louisiana.

Daitre frowned.

“What is it, Princess?”

She placed her hands on her hips and folded her arms. “The picture in your hand. That’s something else I did not know you could do.”

“And why does this trouble you?”

She waved him away, the frown morphing into a scowl as she raised her voice. “I do not know. You are all I have, yet I know nothing about you for certain. I find it very troubling.”

He sighed, but otherwise said nothing.

Daitre fingered her gown and glanced warily at the pants, dresses, and other garments he’d purchased. All of her beautiful things were left behind – gowns, jewels, everything left in Monsieur Beaucoup’s carriage.

She wrapped her arms around her midsection. “No.”

“’No,’ what?” His ominous tone did nothing to help the situation.

“No, I will not wear those. They are the garments of a harlot, and all of my things have been left in another place and time.”


About the AuthorDariel Raye profile

Dariel Raye writes powerful IR/MC (Interracial/Multi-cultural) paranormal romance and dark urban fantasy with alpha male heroes to die for, and strong heroines with hearts worth winning. Her stories tell of shifters, vamps, angels, demons, and fey (the Vodouin variety).

For more about Dariel, follow her blog or website. She also publishes a new release newsletter and daily newspaper. You can contact her on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Stay with us for the entire launch tour. Click the link below to join the Facebook party and view the tour calendar!

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“Dai’s Dark Valentine” Launch Tour Calendar


22836233toxic love

By: Jax Garren

* I received a free copy of this book from in exchange for an honest review.*

This is a unique book. It is published by SilkWords. “Silkwords is the go-to source for interactive women’s fiction.”

This book is like the choose-your-own-adventure stories that I remember reading as a kid. The introduction at the beginning of the book describes it best.

“Blurring the line between fiction and gaming, SilkWords offers quality romance and erotica that allows individual readers to choose how stories proceed.”

Wow! What a great idea. This is a unique reading experience and one that I highly recommend to everyone.

TOXIC LOVE is a novella about a woman named Chloe Parikh.

The air all across the United States is filled with Tox75, a poison which causes almost instantaneous death. Chloe has not been outside since she was three years old, back when the air was still clean enough to breathe.

Chloe has just moved to Las Vegas from Oklahoma City. She has taken the job of a performer. It took a lot of hard work and effort to obtain a one year visa to work in entertainment in Vegas and Chloe wants to make the visa permanent.

A freak event exposes Chloe to Tox75 and she finds out that she is one of a small number of people who are immune to the toxic air.

When GenFriends finds out about her immunity they offer her a permanent visa. They want her to partner with another immune and make babies. After four babies she can “retire” with a modest income.

Chloe must decide what to do.

It is at this point that readers must choose the direction the story will take. As the story progresses the reader must make more choices.

As a reader it can sometimes be frustrating when a character makes a decision that the reader disagrees with. This book gives the reader all the power.

I absolutely LOVED reading this novella and there was no way I could stop at reading it just once. I had to go back after finishing each version of the story & make different choices just to see what would happen.

It is not just the fact that readers get to make choices that makes TOXIC LOVE such a great read. It is also the quality of the writing and the fact that the romance is well written. I also admire the detail of the world the author was able to include in such a short span of time. I also love that the author calls the setting the atoxalypse rather than the apocalypse. Very clever!

I heartily rate this novella as 5 out of 5 stars.

To read the first chapter free online go to:

To learn more about this author visit



* I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


For those of us living in North America, who have little to no contact with the people of Japan, it is difficult to visualize exactly where the tsunami hit on that fateful March day in 2011. The images we all saw on television while watching the international news will not soon be forgotten. However as we go about our daily lives most of us give little thought to what the long term impact of the tsunami has been on the coastal villages of Japan. Charles Pomeroy’s book will help to bring this disaster back into the forefront if people’s hearts and minds.

This book contains maps which highlight the affected areas and focus on the author’s adopted hometown of Otsuchi. The maps give the reader a sense of place which in turn gives the reader a sense of perspective.

Charles Pomeroy was born in the United States and is originally from Beloit, Wisconsin. He joined the U.S. Navy at the age of seventeen in 1947. He participated in the Korean War and in 1955 he left the Navy to pursue a higher education. He then moved to Japan on a student visa. After graduating he eventually began a career as a successful journalist, retiring from that career in 2004. Upon retirement he moved with his wife Atsuko to her hometown of Otsuchi and also maintained an apartment in Tokyo.

As luck (or fate) would have it, Charles and Atsuko were staying at their Tokyo apartment on March 11, 2011 when the massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck Japan’s coast.

In the first chapter the author uses excerpts from ‘real-time’ emails sent to and from family and friends during the first few days following the disaster. This is an effective method for communicating the growing concern of those effected. I was riveted by the author’s descriptions of the situation and his concern for family and friends left behind in Otsuchi.

This book does not focus solely on the tsunami and it’s devastation. In fact the author spends several chapters describing the history and culture of the area. He has included many pre-tsunami pictures of his home, it’s surrounding gardens as well as pictures taken at local cultural events. It is these pictures and their accompanying descriptions that give a true sense of what was lost when the town was destroyed.

Yes, there are stories and pictures included of the disaster as it happened, but the author is still somehow able to convey hope in the midst of tragedy. He has included many internet links to videos and pictures that can be clicked on by readers. A few of the links are no longer active, but there are several links that are still ‘live’. These include a link of a video taken on the mountainside above Otsuchi that it is impossible to watch without feeling the terror of those watching the water sweep away not only buildings and vehicles, but also washing away people who were attempting to flee to higher ground. More photos and videos show the devastation days, weeks and months afterward.

This book is not only an accounting of a natural disaster. It is also a memoir of the author’s life in Otsuchi and an accounting of what has been achieved so far in the reconstruction as well as the story of just how much is still to be done.

This book should be added to everyone’s must read list. It is a vivid reminder of the power of Mother Nature and of the resilience and spirit of the people of Otsuchi, Japan.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to anyone who is interested in a personal perspective on the tsunami of March 11, 2011 and it’s impact on one family and their community.


This second book in the series takes the reader further into the life of Alicia Trent and her friends. Magic, forgery, betrayal, and fabulous jewels surround Alicia as she struggles to find the reason for her friend’s death.

Buy Links:

Wings e Press I Amazon I Barnes & Noble


We were nearly halfway up the stairs when I heard Lawrence groan. I turned to see what had happened. He was deathly white, and while I watched, he sank down on the closest step. He was sweating heavily and clutching his stomach. He didn’t seem coherent enough to answer any questions, so I ducked into my room and called for an ambulance. They only took about ten minutes to arrive, but it was horrible to wait. Lawrence was obviously in great pain, but couldn’t tell me what was wrong.

The ride to the hospital took an eternity. They wouldn’t let me ride in the ambulance, and I was so afraid of what would happen before he arrived. I was shaking and behind the wheel of a car was the last place I should have been, but as the ambulance tore through the streets with the siren blaring, I was right behind them.

I ran from the parking lot into the emergency room just in time to see them take Lawrence through a set of swinging doors where I couldn’t follow. I slumped into a chair, and for the next two hours I sat in a waiting room with dull green walls and hard metal chairs. I never moved while I waited. My mind was busy begging Lawrence to hold on.

Since I was the only one waiting, when I saw an exhausted-looking man dressed in scrubs walk into the room, I took a deep breath and hurried to his side.

He said, “Are you the relative who brought Lawrence Hall in tonight?”

Afraid they wouldn’t tell me anything if I confessed to not being a relative, I just nodded.

“Mr. Hall is a very sick man. He’s been poisoned, and we think he must have eaten poisonous mushrooms. Our tests indicate they were probably green-spored lepiota.”

At this point I wanted to scream at him to just tell me his condition. He could explain the details after I knew how Lawrence was.

However, he wasn’t finished explaining. “This particular mushroom doesn’t normally cause death, but among its other symptoms it can dangerously lower blood pressure. Mr. Hall must be on some type of medication that has the same effect, or at least exacerbated the effect of the mushroom, because we nearly lost him. It’s a good thing you got him here when you did. We have him stabilized now, and he should make a full recovery.”

I barely heard anything the man said except the last statement. Lawrence was going to be all right! My knees weakened with relief and I sank into the nearest chair.

He continued, “He’s awake, and we need to monitor him closely for a while. We want to keep him tonight and tomorrow for observation, but he can probably go home after that. If you want to see him, you can visit for a short time, but first, can you tell me what type of medication he’s taking? He was still pretty confused when I talked to him and wasn’t able to tell me.”

“I don’t know the exact medication. Lawrence is bi-polar, so it has to be something for that. I’ll see if I can find out the name for you.”

I got the room number and was practically running in my need to see for myself that he was alive and recovering. I burst into the room, nearly knocking over a nurse on her way out. She cautioned me the patient needed rest and, with a frown in my direction, left the room. I pulled a chair up next to the bed and took Lawrence’s hand. “You look so much better already. You have some color back.”

He said, “You look terrible. You can relax. I’m going to be fine. I was a little worried in the beginning because the confusion felt the way some of my episodes used to begin. The confusion is gone now, and I really am fine. It’s left me very tired, but they don’t want me to sleep yet. Tell me exactly what happened. I’m sure the gory details will help keep me awake. The last thing I remember is starting up the stairs, and then brief moments in the ambulance.”

I wanted to answer in the same matter-of-fact way he’d asked the question. I tried, but before I could begin, tears were running down my face and I couldn’t find my voice. I didn’t sob or howl. Strangely, I didn’t make any noise at all. I just stared at Lawrence, horrified because he might have died trying to help me. All the while the silent tears kept coming.

He said, “Ali, we can’t have this. I’ve seen you go through some horrible times, but I’ve never seen you cry. There’s no need for you to be so upset. I promise you I will be out of here tomorrow, and all will be well. Even the doctor says so.”

I gulped a few times trying to find my voice. It didn’t sound good, but I managed to say, “I couldn’t bear it if anything happened to you. When you get out of here, you’re going right back to Scottsdale! I should never have involved you in any of this.”

“Whoa there, girl! In the first place, I’m a grown man and you can’t involve me in anything I don’t choose to be involved in. In the second place, you and your crazy mixed-up life are the main thing keeping me from getting old and bored. Bad things happen sometimes, but none of this is your fault. Now dry those tears and tell me how I got here.”

I hiccuped a few times but got myself under control. “Okay, I’m not trying to take the blame for what happened, but I was so scared. It seems you were poisoned. I wasn’t in much shape to listen to the doctor, but it was some kind of mushroom. There were mushrooms in the food we ate at supper, but we both ate those. Someone targeted you specifically. At the moment, I have no idea why they did it, but I don’t think whoever did this was trying to kill you. The doctor said the symptoms were severe but not normally fatal. The problem seemed to be a reaction between the poison and your medication. Whoever did this couldn’t have known that you take anything, or at least not that your medicine would react with the mushrooms. The doctor asked me to find out the name of your prescription.”

“I vaguely remember him asking me, but I was pretty confused then and couldn’t remember. It’s Geodon. They tried dozens before, but nothing worked until this came along. I’m one of the lucky ones, because it not only keeps the problem in check, but I don’t suffer from any severe side effects. This reaction with poison mushrooms is something I certainly never expected. I should have told you ages ago in case of a relapse or some bizarre circumstances like these.”

“I’ll let the doctor know the name of the medicine. I don’t know if your medication lowers your blood pressure, but it dropped dangerously low. That’s what had the doctors worried.”

“I don’t know either, but the doctors will figure it out. I understand I have to be in here until tomorrow evening, even though I tried to talk them into letting me go sooner. You need to promise me you won’t do anything the least bit dangerous until I get back. One day isn’t going to make any difference. Whoever did this may have planned it to separate us for some reason. So promise me you’ll be careful and not spend time alone.”

The frowning nurse came back and warned me I needed to leave. Visiting hours were over and the patient needed rest.

I said, “Don’t worry about me. I promise I will take every precaution until you’re out of here. I’ll be back tomorrow afternoon and will drive you to the house when they release you. Just get well!”

Outside the room, Detective Wilton was waiting for me.


By: Eileen Harris* I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

This mystery story has everything that a great book requires. Likable characters, a unique setting, a genuine mystery, lots of suspects, surprising twists and turns, a bit of magic, a bit of romance and a whole lot of great writing. Eileen Harris has created a winning combination with Alicia Trent and her Antiques business.

Alicia Trent is the co-owner of an upscale Antique Shop called Eclectic Treasures in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Janice and Arthur are the closest thing that Alicia has to family, excluding her business partner and dear friend, Barry. After Alicia’s father died, Janice and Arthur took both Alicia and her mother into their home. So, when Janice’s sister passes away and Janice decides to sell the mansion and guest house she inherited, she needs the jewelry collection removed from the house prior to the sale. Naturally they ask Alicia to appraise and organize the jewelry collection. There is no way that Alicia can refuse their request and she agrees to travel to Pennsylvania.

In the first book Alicia comes into possession of a two seemingly magical items. “The first was a thick glass bottle … swirling colors of what resembled smoke…inside, and the colors represented what could only be a reaction to events occurring close to the bottle.” The bottle had even provided answers to a few of Alicia’s questions in Book One – “Antique Magic.” The second item is a ‘Future clock’ that gives predictions on future events. However, these predictions are mostly vague and contain very little useful information. “This clock was the underlying reason for my apprehension about the upcoming job. It has predicted I would find a friend’s body on February twelfth in Pennsylvania.”

Desperate to keep the prediction from becoming reality Alicia ensures that none of her friends have plans to be in Pennsylvania on the date in question. She even goes so far as to ensure that Janice and Arthur will be out of state on February 12th.

However, despite her best efforts the ‘Future Clock’ is accurate and she does find the body of a friend on the day the clock predicted it would happen.

Alicia is devastated. She has no idea why anyone would want to murder her friend. There seems to be no motive behind the murder. Her friend had no connection to the house or to the jewelry collection.

Alicia wants answers and she is determined to get them.

This book takes many twists and turns as Alicia discovers more and more bewildering secrets.

Her amateur sleuthing is a dangerous habit and when another dire prediction is made by the Future Clock, Alicia realizes that time is running out.

This book does not go into detail about Alicia’s romantic relationship with Nick and his role in this book is nominal. The couple is able to have a few brief encounters which prove to the readers that they are still together and are committed to their long distance relationship.

Lawrence (who was introduced in the first book) takes on a much more involved role in this book and I foresee him being integral to the plots in the next few books in the series.

At the end of each book, the author cleverly has Alicia consult the future clock. The clock gives a date a few months away as well as a cryptic prediction – effectively setting the stage for the next book in the series. I have to say that the ploy works. I am intrigued and can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of Book Three.

Eileen Harris has created a terrific work of fiction with characters that are both likable and relatable. I love the fact that Alicia is an adult. I like the fact that she does not perpetually worry about her appearance. I like the fact that she is a strong, independent woman with a professional career that she enjoys and that she excels at. I like the fact that she is tenacious and won’t take no for an answer. Popular fiction needs more heroines like Alicia Trent. It is women like this (regular, everyday women) that readers can relate to and are able to see a bit of themselves in the character. It is this quality that will help to ensure that the “Antique” mystery series will be around for many years to come.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars.

About the Author:

From living off the grid in the Arizona desert, Eileen has moved to the woods of upstate New York. She has authored a standalone adventure novel called Desert Shadow. She is also the author of Alicia Trent Series. The Black Cane : Dowager Diaries Book 1 is her latest release.

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