“Where Is My Happy Ending?” is a newly released follow up to Karen Harmon’s first book. This is a 5 Star read and the perfect, uplifting book to read in these uncertain times.

Title: WHERE IS MY HAPPY ENDING?  

Subtitle: A JOURNEY OF NO REGRETS 

Author: KAREN HARMON

Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS, HISTORY, CANADIANA

Length: 365 PAGES

Publisher: TELLWELL PUBLISHING

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: JULY 2020

ISBN: 978-0-2288-2948-5 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 978-0-2288-2949-2 (Softcover)
ISBN: 978-0–2288-2947-8 (EBook)

Price: $23.00 CDN (Hardcover)
Price: $18.00 CDN (Softcover)
Price: $8.99 CDN (EBook)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

On her mother’s urging to go on and have a big, beautiful, and adventurous life, Karen leaves her home in the country at the tender age of seventeen. Abandoning her family, her horse, and her teenage dreams, she embraces life in the big city of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Looking for love in all the wrong places while maneuvering through dead-end jobs, the night club scene, and a slew of unsavory characters, Karen finds herself perpetually searching for Mr. Right. Lacking direction in a lifestyle that involves drugs, alcohol, and the wrong men, Karen wonders when her knight in shining armour will arrive.

Where Is My Happy Ending? is a true story about a girl who enters adulthood after having been raised in a home plagued by mental illness.

Left to her own devices, Karen stumbles through the highs and lows, tragedies and turmoils of the 1970s disco scene, ’80s era of modern love, and into the 1990s, not sure how she got there or how to get out.

Karen’s wit, storytelling abilities, and simplicity in looking at life will keep you engaged from start to finish, with an evident reminder—it’s not what the world can bring to you, it’s what you can bring to the world.

MY REVIEW:

According to the author, this book was inspired by the Me Too Movement. She says that: “It dawned on me that every woman I know has had some situations, some unsavory characters in their life, and it felt right to share mine.”

Karen left home at the age of seventeen. She moved from a rural property where she had her own horse and moved to Vancouver – the big city. It was the era of disco and Karen embraced the freedom that came with life in the 1970s.

She had her share of crappy jobs and crappier boyfriends and shares her experiences with her readers.

In addition to telling of her own exploits, she seamlessly integrates the trends of the era and her detailed descriptions of the music of the day and the backdrop of historically significant events allows the reader to connect deeply with the story.

There were several times when I actually laughed out loud and ended up reading certain sections to my husband to explain my outbursts. He ended up laughing along with me.

This may be a personal memoir, but Karen is all of us, women (at least those who were born in the 60s and 70s.)

Karen was correct when she mentioned that every woman experiences scary, or at the very least, unsettling situations. I know that I have a few stories that would terrify those who love me if they knew about them.

The author’s ability to paint a picture with words is such that many other authors should be jealous of. For example, when visiting friends of her boyfriend in the resort town of Canmore, Alberta, she describes the scene with vivid clarity. I was easily able to picture the setting in my mind.

Kevin and Patsy were the caretakers for a resort that consisted of ten small cabins, keeping within the Rocky Mountain Alpine theme. The cottages looked like images in a children’s storybook; gingerbread houses that were missing the decorations of gumdrops, candy canes and Smarties. Dark brown miniature log homes, with scalloped white trim and matching window boxes, now void of flowers, were piled with snow to the bottom of the window ledges. These cozy rental dwellings all had chimneys puffing out smoke from the stone fireplaces within.”

Can you see this idyllic setting in your mind’s eye? I know I can.

In the end, although there are some not so wonderful things that Karen experiences, the overall feeling and theme of this book is HOPE.

The author’s message to readers is to “Never give up and never stop believing in yourself.” All of us could use this advice from time to time.

This true story is very much worth reading and I will be patiently awaiting the next book in her series of memoirs. Hopefully I won’t have to wait too long.

I rate WHERE IS MY HAPPY ENDING? as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and because author Karen Harmon is Canadian, I rate this book as 5 OUT OF 5 Canadian Flags

*** Thank you to the author for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Karen Harmon is an author born in North Vancouver, British Columbia, where she resides today.

Educated and employed as a Special Needs Teaching Assistant for the School District of West Vancouver, Karen can also be found teaching a variety of exercise classes as a BCRPA fitness instructor in both North and West Vancouver. Karen takes health, family and fitness seriously but can find humour in almost any situation.

As a mother of three adult children Jessica, Emma and Mackenzie, Karen shares her co-parenting with her husband Paul of twenty-three years.

Karen is passionate about reaching out to the marginalized people in
her community through health and fitness. Her main hobby has been cycling with her “bike trip friends” yearly since 1993 all over British Columbia and parts of the United States.

On social media, Karen has over 8,000 followers and has travelled to Belgium, Germany, Holland, Paris, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia to host events and speak to her many supporters.

She offers an
inspirational message of hope and how to find a successful balance
with family, friends, education, work and play.

Karen is currently accepting invitations for speaking engagements and writing festivals.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON  

LINKEDIN

CHAPTERS / INDIGO BOOKS

****************************

https://www.doogood.online/karen-harmon?fbclid=IwAR15x8L7oBCJ86-ZQFZfGXjaQc2JvB6Nh7514MVxs-z3begUgunlDHH-kXo

LOOKING FOR NORMAL by Award Winning Canadian Author KAREN HARMON is available NOW. This memoir will touch your heart and will stay with you long after the final page

Title: LOOKING FOR NORMAL  

Author: KAREN HARMON  

Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS, HISTORY, CANADIANA

Length: 268 PAGES

Publisher: TELLWELL PUBLISHING

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: 2018

ISBN: 978-0228802532 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 978-0228802525 (Softcover)

Price: $23.00 CDN (Hardcover)
Price: $18.00 CDN (Softcover)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦

DESCRIPTION:

It’s been said that we cannot choose our family members, but what do you do when the drama they bring becomes more than you want to deal with?

You hop on the train that will take you to the land of promise, an alluring place across the mountains, called British Columbia.

LOOKING FOR NORMAL is the account of two people, each struggling to leave the desperate and dysfunctional circumstances of their  lives, to establish themselves in a completely different environment and a new location.

This is a sometimes humorous, sometimes sobering, yet always intriguing true story of family drama, and love found in the midst of heartache, addiction, and mental illness.

It takes readers through the Depression Era of the 1930s, on through the War and Post-War years of the 1940s and ’50s, to the Free Love of the 1960s and ’70s.

Against all odds, Vincent and Frances find each other in the land of promise, and begin the adventure of creating a new, better family experience:  one filled with laughter, hope, and undying love.

They discover that family is not far behind, and through each new episode of dysfunction, they create a lasting legacy of strength, hope, and love within their own children.

This is a heartwarming true story that encourages readers to look on the lighter side of life, to enjoy all that life brings, and to treasure family regardless of what struggles may come.

MY REVIEW:

I have had the benefit of “talking” to the author and she informed me that the original idea behind this book was to create a book that detailed her parent’s lives so her children would be able to feel like they knew them. It is a wonderful idea and I love that Karen decided two things:

1. To not sugarcoat her telling of the lives of her parents,
and
2. To share their story with the world.

Too often when telling others about our parents, or even those who came before them, we edit out the warts of their lives. It is human nature to want people to like us, and somehow that seems to extend to our ancestors as well. No one wants to admit that the blood that flows through our veins or that the DNA in our makeup has any taint to it at all. But, humans are never completely good, or completely bad. And, just because our ancestor did something or had an illness, does not mean that we have the same illness or even the same tendencies.

In LOOKING FOR NORMAL, we learn that Karen’s Grandparents and parents were not perfect (whose were?) We also learn that her parents were determined to create better lives for themselves and to break the family cycle of unhappiness.

The story begins with the following:

“Frances hated her mother. She was taught by the nuns that it was not “Biblical” to hate. So, she decided to leave her mother and the Catholic Church in one fell swoop. Both forces in her life had deceived and criticized her. In Frances’s eyes, both were hypocritical.”

Now, if reading that short paragraph does not entice you to want to read more, well then, you must not have an inquisitive bone in your body. For me, that very first paragraph had we wanting to know more.

Why does Frances hate her mother? What would make someone go to the extreme of saying they hated their mother? What terrible thing or things had she done to Frances? And, why did she hate the church? What had they done to be hypocritical? What did they criticize her about?

So, on I read and what I discovered was a compelling tale which began with Frances (the author’s mother) at the train station in 1941 waiting to catch a train to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

“Frances took one last look at her family. Standing on the platform with them, she felt adventurous and defiant, with no fear of the unknown as she bravely embarked on this journey towards her future… She was physically and mentally abandoning this town, her family, and all the narrow-minded, crazy people in it.”

The courage to pick up and move to a city she had never seen, and to do it as a woman alone, was almost unheard of in 1941. That she did this at a time in history when women were viewed as property of their fathers or husbands, says multitudes about her character and fierce determination.

I do not want to give away too much of the story, so suffice it to say that every reader who picks up this book will be rooting for Frances to find love and understanding.

In addition to being a fascinating story, LOOKING FOR NORMAL also transports readers into the past. This book allows us to glimpse what life was like for ordinary people during the last few generations. It is a true gift to read a true story such as this which is set not in the United States, but right here in Canada.

I enjoyed this book immensely and was thrilled to have the next book in the “series” already on hand so that I could continue to follow the history of the author.

I rate LOOKING FOR NORMAL as 5 out of 5 Enthusiastic Stars.

I will be posting my review of the second book – WHERE IS MY HAPPY ENDING? in the next day or two.

*** Thank you to the Author for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Karen Harmon is an author born in North Vancouver, British Columbia, where she resides today.

Educated and employed as a Special Needs Teaching Assistant for the School District of West Vancouver, Karen can also be found teaching a variety of exercise classes as a BCRPA fitness instructor in both North and West Vancouver. Karen takes health, family and fitness seriously but can find humour in almost any situation.

As a mother of three adult children Jessica, Emma and Mackenzie, Karen shares her co-parenting with her husband Paul of twenty-three years.

Karen is passionate about reaching out to the marginalized people in
her community through health and fitness. Her main hobby has been cycling with her “bike trip friends” yearly since 1993 all over British Columbia and parts of the United States.

On social media, Karen has over 8,000 followers and has travelled to Belgium, Germany, Holland, Paris, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia to host events and speak to her many supporters.

She offers an
inspirational message of hope and how to find a successful balance
with family, friends, education, work and play.

Karen is currently accepting invitations for speaking engagements and writing festivals.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON  

LINKEDIN

CHAPTERS / INDIGO BOOKS

****************************

https://www.doogood.online/karen-harmon?fbclid=IwAR15x8L7oBCJ86-ZQFZfGXjaQc2JvB6Nh7514MVxs-z3begUgunlDHH-kXo

MS-13 The Making of America’s Most Notorious Gang By STEVEN DUDLEY is a fascinating read and was a complete eye-opener to me Check it out here

Information obtained from INSIGHT CRIME

Title: MS-13

Subtitle: The Making of America’s Most Notorious Gang

Author: STEVEN DUDLEY

Genre: NON-FICTION, TRUE CRIME

Length:  352 PAGES

Publisher: HARLEQUIN – Trade Publishing (U.S. & Canada) – HANOVER SQUARE PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: MAY 12, 2020

ISBN: 9781788703147

Rating: 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

The definitive account of the most notorious street gang in America—the MS-13—as seen through the lives of gang members and their families caught in its malicious web.

The MS-13 was born from war. In the 1980s, El Salvador was enmeshed in a bloody civil conflict. To escape the guerrilla assaults and death squads, many fled to the US and settled in Los Angeles. Among them were Alex and his brother.

There, as a survival instinct, Alex and a small number of Salvadoran immigrants formed a group called the Mara Salvatrucha Stoners, a relatively harmless social network bound by heavy metal music and their Salvadoran identity. But later, as they brushed against established local gangs, the group took on a harder edge, selling drugs, stealing cars and killing rivals who threatened their territories. As authorities cracked down, gang members like Alex were incarcerated and deported. But in the prison system, the group only grew stronger, and in Central America, the gang multiplied, eventually spreading to a half-dozen nations in two continents.

Today, MS-13 is one of the most infamous street gangs on earth, with an estimated ten thousand members operating in dozens of states and linked to thousands of grisly murders each year in the US and abroad. But it is also misunderstood—less a drug cartel and more a hand-to-mouth organization whose criminal economy is based mostly on small-time extortion schemes and petty drug dealing. Journalist and longtime organized crime investigator Steven Dudley brings readers inside the nefarious group to tell a larger story of how a flawed US and Central American policy, and the exploitative and unequal economic systems helped foster the gang and sustain it. Ultimately, MS-13 is the story of the modern immigrant and the perennial battle to escape a vortex of poverty and crime, as well as the repressive, unequal systems that feed these problems.

……

AWARDS SO FAR:

Winner of  the 2019 J. Anthony Lukas Prize Project Award from The Columbia School of Journalism Winners MARA: The Making of the MS13

Judges’ citation: This timely and incisive work, speaking directly to the mission and purpose of the Lukas Work-in-Progress Awards, centers on one immigrant Salvadoran family that represents the complexities of the story of Mara Salvatrucha (MS13), the notorious gang that is the U.S. government’s number one target in its efforts to rid the country of “criminal aliens.”

Without ever minimizing the brutality of this gang, the book dispels many of the myths surrounding its history and power. More important, MARA is the story of flawed U.S. and Central American policies over many years and the exploitative and unequal systems they create.


MY REVIEW:

**************************
TRIGGER WARNING:
This book contains violent scenes, both physical and sexual, and should not be read by individuals who might find themselves triggered by vivid descriptions of violence and murder.


This book is NOT for the Faint of Heart. Please exercise caution when reading and if at any time you feel you need to stop reading, I encourage you to put this book down and walk away.
**************************

MS-13 IS A CRIMINAL GANG. They are well known for their violence and brutality. 

Journalist and author Steven Dudley has spent years reporting on gangs, government and violence in Central America. In writing MS-13: The Making of America’s Most Notorious Gang, he has written a comprehensive account as to how MS-13 was formed and how that gang spread from Central America to the United States.

What this book achieved for me was that it dispelled the notion that MS-13 is a strictly structured unit and that there is one singular person at the top and that all other members were co-ordinated  and part of a whole. This is simply not true. Each clique of MS-13 essentially acts on its own and sometimes cliques will war with other MS-13 cliques.

What does seem true of almost every MS-13 gang member, who spoke to the Author, is that that person grew up surrounded by violence and chaos, and had joined the gang (at least initially) as a way to protect themselves from outside forces.

President Donald Trump seems woefully misinformed about this gang and in fact gives them more credit than they deserve. By labelling MS-13 as Public Enemy Number One, all the President has done is that he has given potential gang recruits an additional reason for joining the gang. Many (even most) of the current MS-13 gang members living in the United States have fled their war-torn homelands to seek a better way of life. The problem is that when they arrive in the States, they realize that their lives are not much better than the lives they had fled.

MS:13 has been added to the list of Most Dangerous Gang Organizations in the United States.

I believe that anyone who wants to work with gang members on finding a new way of life should view this book as required reading. It is impossible to effect change if the history and dynamics of life as part of an MS-13 mara are not understood. 

I rate this book as 4 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

It is a fascinating read, but I also need to warn potential readers that the violence and brutality detailed in this book may be triggering for some people.

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Steven Dudley is the co-director of InSight, a joint initiative of American University and the Fundación Ideas para la Paz in Colombia, South America, aimed at monitoring, analyzing and investigating organized crime in the Americas. Based in Washington D.C., Dudley works with a team of five investigators and various contributors throughout the region to give the public a more complete view of how organized crime works in the Americas, as well as its impact on public policy and communities from the Rio Grande to Patagonia.

Before launching InSight, he worked as the Bureau Chief for The Miami Herald in the Andean Region and wrote a book: Walking Ghosts: Murder and Guerrilla Politics in Colombia (Routledge 2004). Dudley has also reported from Haiti, Brazil, Nicaragua, Cuba, Venezuela and Miami for National Public Radio, The Washington Post, and the BBC’s The World; and written feature articles for The Washington Post Magazine, The Economist, Columbia Journalism Review, The Progressive, and The Nation. His current projects include a documentary film, which aired on Colombia’s RCN Television in September 2010.

Dudley has a BA in Latin American History from Cornell University and an MA in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. He speaks Spanish and Portuguese fluently. He has taught high school as well as worked in Human Rights.

His range of experience, languages and reporting skills give him the tools to perform in any environment.

Honors and Awards:

Knight Fellowship: Stanford University : In 2007, Dudley was awarded the prestigious Knight Fellowship for professional journalists.

Society of Professional Journalists Sunshine State Award : Dudley was part of a team that won second place for international reporting in 2006 from the Society of Professional Journalists at its Sunshine State Awards for a series on land mines in Latin America.

Overseas Press Club Malcolm Forbes Award for Best Business Reporting from Abroad

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

WILSON CENTER

CONVERSATION.COM

AMERICAN UNIVERSITY

LINKEDIN 

TWITTER

AMAZON  

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

GOOGLE BOOKS

SOME INFORMATION ABOUT MS-13 FROM INSIGHT CRIME:

An MS13 linked gang in El Salvador known as the Black Widows has been convicted of forcing women to marry men and then killing their new husbands as part of a complex life insurance scheme — a case which helps shed light on women in organized crime in Central America. – Photograph and Information Obtained from INSIGHT CRIME.
The Mara Salvatrucha, or MS13, is perhaps the most notorious street gang in the Western Hemisphere. While it has its origins in the poor, refugee-laden neighborhoods of 1980s Los Angeles, the gang’s reach now spans from Central America to Europe.
While they are largely a predatory criminal organization, living mostly from extortion, the gang’s resilience owes to its strong social bonds, which are created and strengthened via acts of violence against mostly their rivals and one another.
Their activities have helped make the Northern Triangle — Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras — the most violent place in the world that is not at war. In October 2012, the US Department of the Treasury labeled the group a “transnational criminal organization,” the first such designation for a US street gang, but their criminal proceeds do not even approach those of their counterparts on that list. Photograph and Information Obtained from INSIGHT CRIME.
Marvin RECINOS/AFP/Getty Images – National Post June 2018
Marvin RECINOS/AFP/Getty Images – National Post June 2018 Toronto man’s boast of being in notorious MS-13 gang leads to deportation order

FRAGILE REMEDY by Maria Ingrande Mora is an upcoming 2020 Young Adult Dystopian Fiction novel with LGBTQ characters and written by a Queer Author. It is a 5 STAR Read that I was unable to put down.

Title: FRAGILE REMEDY

Author: MARIA INGRANDE MORA

Genre: FICTION, YOUNG ADULT FICTION, SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY, LGBTQ, QUEER YOUNG ADULT FICTION, DYSTOPIAN FICTION,  SPECULATIVE FICTION

Length: 400 PAGES

Publisher: FLUX BOOKS – A Division of  NORTHSTAR EDITIONS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: JUNE 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63583-057-6 (EBOOK)

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

*

DESCRIPTION:

Sixteen-year-old Nate is a Gem—a Genetically Engineered Medical Surrogate—created by Gathos City scientists as a cure for the elite from the fatal lung rot ravaging the population. As a child, Nate was smuggled out of the laboratory where he was held captive and into the Withers—a quarantined, lawless region. He manages to survive by becoming a Tinker, fixing broken tech in exchange for food or a safe place to sleep. When he meets Reed, a kind and fiercely protective boy that makes his heart race, and his misfit gang of scavengers, Nate finds the family he’s always longed for—even if he can’t risk telling them what he is.

But Gathos created a genetic failsafe in their Gems—a flaw in their DNA that causes their health to rapidly deteriorate as they age unless they are regularly dosed with medication controlled by Gathos City. When violence erupts across the Withers, Nate’s illegal supply of medicine is cut off, and a vicious attack on Reed threatens to expose his secret. With time running out, Nate is left with only two options: work for a shadowy terrorist organization that has the means to keep him alive, or stay—and die—with the boy he loves.
.
.

MY REVIEW:

“His kind had been developed by scientists to fight the lung-rot outbreak, and later — when the lung-rot was gone — to be used up. Harvested by the wealthy. Kept endlessly asleep or left awake to participate in the horror of it. At least that’s what people said when they whispered about GEMs…Genetically Engineered Medi-tissue. He wasn’t supposed to be here.”

Nate is sixteen and an abomination. At least, that is what he had been told. He knew he wasn’t like everyone else in the Withers. He was starving and scraping together a meager existence, just like everyone else who had the bad luck to live in The Withers – a slum filled with people who would not hesitate to kill you for food, or for anything they could use to trade for Chem to feed their addiction.

Nate knew that if the members of his gang discovered he was a GEM, they would either kill him for putting their lives in danger, or they would turn him over to the Breakers – never to be seen again. He didn’t want to put his friend’s lives in danger, especially Reed’s, but he loved being a gang member, they were the closest thing he had to a family. And, although he had never admitted it out loud, he not only loved Reed, he was also IN LOVE with him.

Just surviving the streets of The Withers was challenge enough, but Nate had another problem, his genetically engineered DNA (and that of all GEMs) had been modified so that his body would deteriorate and he would perish before ever reaching adulthood. He needed to find a way to survive, and he knew it would not be easy.

The world-building in FRAGILE REMEDY is second to none. With vivid descriptions of the slums known as The Withers so descriptive it is impossible not to form pictures of it in your mind. I love the fact that the world in which Nate lives is comprised of islands, and instead of water separating each island, and each social class, from the other, there is a vast ocean of toxic sludge which is fatal once submersed in it.

There are numerous parallels between our own society and the issues planet Earth is currently experiencing to the world of FRAGILE REMEDY. For example:

The society in FRAGILE REMEDY is segregated between the ‘Haves’ and the ‘Have Nots.’  The high class citizens live in the Towers of Gathos City and never leave their perfect lives to see how anyone else lives. It is these people who create and keep GEMs so that they can extend their own lives by using the GEMs blood and body parts. This may sound far fetched, but cloning already exists, and stem cells are already being used in medical treatments. Is it really so unbelievable that in humanity’s quest to extend human lives, something like creating a clone for the purpose of using ‘it’ as a personal organ bank may be inevitable.

Of course, it would be expensive to create a clone, so only the uber-rich would be able to afford such a luxury, thus creating another socioeconomic division amongst the world’s population.

Once the clones are created, the rich clone owners would want to protect their assets. This could easily lead to physical segregation similar to that of the islands on which Nate has spent the entirety of his sixteen years of life.

ADDICTION is another of the central themes of FRAGILE REMEDY. Instead of being addicted to alcohol or opiods, the addicts in this story are fiends for a substance known as Chem. “They’d all been regular people once. People who’d made choices – good and bad. Chem had wrenched those choices out of their hands.”

Another theme is HOPE. In FRAGILE REMEDY, Nate may not have many possessions, and he is aware that he will die sooner rather than later, but he still has hope. He hopes that he can do some good before he dies. He hopes that Reed feels the same way about Nate as Nate feels about Reed. And in a wider sense, the inhabitants of The Withers scrounge a meager living on a daily basis, but they still have hope that at some point, the doors to Gathos City will open to admit them.

I love the fact that the characters in this story are diverse and multi-faceted. Sparks is Trans, Nate is Gay, Alden is Queer, and other characters are Cisgender. Skin color is so rarely mentioned that I chose to believe that it was not a factor in their society.

Central to the story and to life in both Gathos City and in The Withers is the ethics of cloning as well as the question of what it is that truly makes a person human. With the increasingly complex technology and the numerous companies and laboratories working on the advancement of A.I. (Artificial Intelligence,)

There are plots and subplots, there are individual histories for each character, there is the storyline where  their lives intersect. There are romances and romantic entanglements that will satisfy even the most diehard romantic. And, finally, there is the theme of Family, and the fact that sometimes the people you choose to invest your emotions in make a more loyal family than those who share your DNA.

I started reading  this book yesterday morning and was unable (and unwilling) to put it down. I spent twelve straight hours reading FRAGILE REMEDY and they were hours well spent.

There is only one rating I would even consider giving to this book and that is the best possible one. So, I rate FRAGILE REMEDY as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and am sincerely hoping that author MARIA INGRANDE MORA is planning to write additional books in this series. I will be first in line to grab a copy of any book she writes.

*** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book ***
.
.

FAVORITE QUOTES:

“He [Nate] longed for the simplicity of believing in something good. He’d seen too much of the bad to have faith.”
.
“He had no right to love Reed. But the soft, private smile on Reed’s lips when their eyes met still sent a current of affection through him.”
.
“Nate approached slowly, the way hungry kids stalked sludge-rats.”
.
“‘They’ll make him sleep like they do in Gathos City.’ His voice went ragged. ‘They’ll cut him apart. What were you thinking coming here?'”
.
“I feel the need to remind you that my grandmother also believed that the cockroaches in her bedroom were trying to get a look at her knickers.”
.
.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Maria Ingrande Mora (she/her) is Content Director at Big Sea, a digital marketing agency in St. Petersburg, Florida. A graduate of the University of Florida, she has been working in digital media since 2002. Maria specializes in identifying brand narratives and translating them into messaging that doesn’t feel like marketing.

Maria is the single mom of a tween and a teen, and the roomate of two cats and two dogs.

She identifies as bisexual, and hopes that it isn’t super weird of her to outright say, because representation and visibility matter.

If she isn’t writing, revising, or at work, please tell her to go to bed.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://www.mariamora.net

GOODREADS  

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

AMAZON  

CHAPTERS

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE
.
.
https://t.co/Av9RMbehc8
.

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NIBI IS WATER / nibi aawan nbiish BY Award Winning Indigenous Author JOANNE ROBERTSON is a must have for your library. Read below to find out why…

Title: NIBI IS WATER / nibi aawan nbiish

Author & Illustrator: JOANNE ROBERTSON

Translators: SHIRLEY WILSON and ISADORE TOULOUSE

Genre: CHILDREN’S NON-FICTION, CANADIAN NON-FICTION, INDIGENOUS NON-FICTION, ENVIRONMENT, WATER, INDIGENOUS AUTHOR

Length: 28 PAGES

Publisher: SECOND STORY PRESS

Received From: NETGALLEY

Release Date: APRIL 14, 2020

ISBN: 9781772601329

Price: $10.95 Hardcover with Jacket

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

A  first conversation about the importance of Nibi—which means water in Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe)—and our role to thank, respect, love, and protect it.

Babies and toddlers can follow Nibi as it rains and snows, splashes or rows, drips and sips.

Written from an Anishinaabe water protector’s perspective, the book is in dual languages — English and Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe). 
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Joanne Robertson reads her new book about Josephine Mandamin to a class in Thunder Bay. They want to inspire kids to protect clean water.
(Photo by Jackie McKay )

MY REVIEW:

Beautifully yet simply illustrated, NIBI IS WATER is a gorgeous primer about water and it’s sacred role in Indigenous culture.

This book is being marketed as a children’s book, but it is also a terrific resource for those who are interested in learning a few important words in the Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) traditional language.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if people in Canada (and elsewhere) picked an Indigenous language and learned to speak it fluently. I, for one, would love to learn to speak this lyrical and gentle language. After reading this book and repeating the words outloud over and over again, I have made my first steps to making this a reality.

As I was reading through the pages and enjoying the incredible artwork, I was wishing that there was a pronunciation guide. Little did I know that my wish was about to be granted. On the final page of the book is a pronunciation primer that spells out each word phonetically. I was very pleased.

Canada’s shameful history of it’s treatment of Indigenous peoples has been exposed, but has not yet been fully stopped. Water is life and too many Indigenous lands contain polluted and contaminated water supplies. This needs to be fixed and reading and purchasing books such as this one is a start.

I rate NIBI IS WATER as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and would like to thank NetGalley and Orbit Books for providing me with a free advance copy of this book.

Pre-Order your copy today and come back and let me know what you thought of it once it officially releases in April 2020.
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https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XY8Diu9sgdU
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Joanne Robertson is AnishinaabeKwe and a member of Atikameksheng Anishnawbek.

She received her Fine Arts degree from Algoma University and Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig. Joanne is the founder of the Empty Glass for Water campaign to bring attention to the drinking water crisis in Indigenous communities across Canada.

She produced a film about the water crisis called “Glass Action”. Today she works as a research assistant at the Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre and continues to support the water walks through live GPS spotting to make sure the water is safe.

Joanne was chosen as the winner of a writing award. Read the article by clicking HERE.

Joanne lives near Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
http://www.emptyglassforwater.ca/home.php

GOODREADS

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

FACEBOOK

WIKIPEDIA  

AMAZON

BARNES AND NOBLE

CHAPTERS

STRONGNATIONS.COM

PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE

#NibiIsWater #NetGalley #Indigenous #IndigenousAuthor #environmental #waterislife #waterisaright #Canadian #Canlit #ojibwe #Anishinaabemowin #nibiiswater #water #waterrights #idlenomore #nonfiction #indigenousnonfiction #indigenouschildrensbook #childrensbook

Indigenous Literary Studies Association


https://indigenousvoicesawards.org


Award recipients, finalists, and jurors after the 2019 Gala at the UBC Longhouse. Welcome page, and 2019 gala.
Photographs by Justine Crawford

LINKS THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST:

Two Anishinaabe Grandmothers, and a group of Anishinaabe Women and Men have taken action regarding the water issue by walking the perimeter of the Great Lakes. Along with a group of Anishinaabe Kwe and supports, they walked around Lake Superior in Spring 2003, around Lake Michigan in 2004, Lake Huron in 2005, Lake Ontario in 2006 and Lake Erie in 2007, Lake Michigan in 2008, and the St. Lawrence River in 2009.
http://motherearthwaterwalk.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=47&Itemid=53

Mother Earth Water Walkers

Shingwauk Anishinaabe Students’ Association (SASA)

The objectives of SASA are:

  • To provide cultural, social & academic support for all Anishinaabe students.
  • To increase Anishinaabe student participation in all aspects of the university.
  • To encourage communication with other Anishinaabe post-secondary organizations.
  • To assist Anishinaabe students with adjusting to the university environment.
  • To strengthen cultural awareness between Anishinaabe students and non-Anishinaabe students.

In May, 2010 history was made when a document was signed between SASA and the Algoma University Students’ Union. It is a commitment to promote Anishinaabe self-determination. “This monumental agreement stabilizes and recognition for the Anishinaabe Student Association, and will promote and encourage students to self-identify as Anishinaabe. It is meant to build a stronger Students’ Union and movement. This ‘commitment to solidarity’ (Gwii Nandogikendaanaan) will also lead to greater inclusion of Anishinaabe students as representatives on Union and University Subcommittees.” (see Media Release  http://www.algomau.ca/news/2010/05/03/279)

http://www.algomau.ca/current-students/anishinaabe-students-assoc

Algoma University Students’ Union (AUSU)

The Algoma University Students’ Union represents over 1,000 students on both the Sault Ste Marie and Brampton, Ontario campuses of Algoma University. AUSU is Local 82 of the Canadian Federation of Students.

www.ausu.ca

Canadian Federation of Students (CFS)

The Canadian Federation of Students and the Canadian Federation of Students-Services were formed in 1981 to provide students with an effective and united voice, provincially and nationally. At the time, it was recognized that for students to be truly effective in representing their collective interests to the federal and provincial governments, it was vital to unite under one banner. Today, over one-half million students from more than 80 university and college students’ unions across Canada belong to the Federation.

www.cfs-fcee.ca

The Council of Canadians, Water

http://www.canadians.org/water/index.html
The Right to Water
http://www.canadians.org/water/issues/right/index.html
Safe Water for First Nations
http://www.canadians.org/water/issues/right/index.htm
Making Waves Blog, Analysis of Canadian water politics by the Council of Canadians’ national water campaigner.
http://rabble.ca/blog/17461

Katie Ungard, Women and Environment Youth Eco-Intern, Muskoka YWCA

Katie Ungard is the Women and Environment Youth Eco-Intern at the YWCA in Muskoka. As part of her work she will be speaking with women in the Muskoka district about water. Keep up to date with her work through this link…

http://ywcamuskoka.com

<a href="<iframe width="200" height="167" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wPega7E8Lhg&quot; frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen>
Water Walk

HE’S A BRUTE – BOOK BLITZ and GIVEAWAY – ENTER TO WIN A $25 AMAZON GIFT CARD – Open Internationally

Title: He’s a Brute

Author: Chloe Liese

Series: Tough Love, #1

Publication date: May 6th 2019

Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

DESCRIPTION:

One dark and handsome control-freak sports star meets one smarty pants bioengineer with hair to match her fiery temper. It’s an experiment straight out of sexual thermodynamics.

Every good scientist knows the second law of thermodynamics: the universe’s disorder, entropy, is always increasing. Professionally and personally speaking, Nairne’s familiar with the principle. After a streak of costly fame, now she’s set on saving the world, microscope in hand, and there’s no time for romance. Problem is, when a rude, despicably sexy Adonis shows up to run their board meeting, chemistry and its ensuing chaos become more than a formula—now they’re a burning hot reality.

Mafia prince. Professional footballer. Bad boy demeanor and a reputation for being as talented between the sheets as he is on the pitch. Rumors are the man’s an absolute brute. And he turns out to be just as demanding, controlling and vicious in person as he is on paper. The Law of Attraction’s proven true, as Nairne finds herself accepting Zed’s proposal: rough, wild stress release, more orgasms than she can count, and most importantly—no falling in love.

Agreement in place. End date secured.

No attachments. No forever.

What could possibly go wrong?

Book One in the Tough Love Series—an enemies to lovers, suspenseful romance, full of sexy Italians, bedroom negotiations, feisty heroines, and an ending that’ll both satisfy you and leave you ready for more!”

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

I took a few careful steps toward her because something about her made me uneasy. From the other end of the table, she’d been lovely. A pretty face with a pouty frown. By the time I was one third the way down the conference table toward her, she was devastating. I stopped because she was affecting me plenty from twelve feet away. Long and glossy dark auburn hair. Ivory skin. Fine bones, a smattering of freckles, and a warm glow to her cheeks. Her eyes were the real showstopper, though. They were an unfairly high chroma green, like blades of grass darkened after rain. They glittered with defiance and not a little contempt for me as she spoke.

“Understood, Mr. Salvatore. I look forward to showing you how misplaced your concern is. Until then, I’ll remember not to take such stingy optimism personally.”

No one spoke to me like that. I was Zedekiah Lazaro Salvatore, Deirdre O’Shea and Brando Salvatore’s firstborn. Boston fucking royalty, king of the soccer field, and prince of the city’s Italian criminal underworld. People kissed my ass and rolled out the red carpet. They bowed their heads and averted their eyes. Nobody gave me shit. Except Nairne MacGregor, apparently.

I dropped my grip on my jacket to hide the boner her sharp mouth gave me and feigned a smile. “You’ll excuse me.”

Waiting for her polite acknowledgment was out of the question. If I stuck around, she’d know exactly what her sass did to my body. I stormed out, knocked shoulders with someone and muttered an apology, then barreled toward the exit. I wasn’t normally clumsy—both of my professions were predicated on exceptional coordination and hyper-awareness—but I chalked it up to ninety-five percent of my blood gathering in my dick rather than my brain. Finally, I landed outside where I sucked in a breath and oriented myself.

Observing her during the meeting had been torture. Elbow on the table, jotting things down then setting her pen exactly parallel to the paper’s edge. Precise. Perfectionist. She’d listened while her wide green eyes darted between people as they spoke. Nairne was neurotically observant, cunning even. Watching her gears turning had turned me on. Big time.

She hadn’t spoken much, but when she had, I’d noted her vowels were off. She had an accent, and it wasn’t Southie. I couldn’t place it, and just like her hair that wouldn’t make up its mind between mahogany and rich red, her speech was another wrinkle in my morning. I’d never been this simultaneously annoyed and aroused.

Author Bio:

Chloe’s always been a sucker for a suspenseful steamy romance, ever since she managed to find the one saucy mystery series hiding in her high school’s prim little library. Nothing drives her crazier than a story that cranks up the heat, then closes the door on the reader’s face, so don’t read her books if you don’t want to know what actually happens when the lights fade to black…

When she’s not writing, Chloe’s busy reading books of all genres, rereading Harry Potter (which she can’t help but make her characters similarly obsessed over), and playing catch-up with her bad@$$ little girls. She’s also been known to scramble around the pitch for a pick-up soccer match and run along the river while dreaming up her next book.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

GIVEAWAY!

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BREAKING THE RULES BOOK BLITZ and GIVEAWAY – Win an Amazon Gift Card plus a Bookish prize package – Giveaway Open Internationally

Title: Breaking the Rules

Author: Tinthia Clemant

Publication date: April 15th 2019

Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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DESCRIPTION:

Love isn’t supposed to hurt.

Hedge witch Shannon Baldos isn’t looking for love. She isn’t even looking for sex. She’s looking for the courage to finally leave her gaslighting husband’s ass. So the last thing she needs is a distraction, like the town’s land-grabbing yet oh so sexy property developer, Adam St. John.

Then again, maybe a little distraction is exactly what she does need.

Growing up under the domineering thumb of her maternal grandmother, and then married to a misogynistic husband, thirty-nine-year-old Shannon Baldos has learned that love hurts. For almost seven years she’s lived under the thumb of her abusive husband, all with the guise of wanting to give her son a stable home. The truth? She’s stayed because she’s a coward. Still is. But maybe, with heart fluttering, groin throbbing, Adam St. John by her side, or on top of her, under works too, she might discover some hidden courage and finally take her son and escape. As for falling for St. John and his pirate grin, not a chance. Rule #1: Don’t fall in love.

Referred to as an emotional train wreck, Wexford’s successful developer, Adam St. John, has rules. A lot of them. Created to keep him well-insulated from further pain and disappointment with regards to life, and love. At forty-nine, he’s quite happy with his life of solitude. With three divorces under his belt, he’s in no hurry to add a fourth. Besides, there are more than enough women willing to keep him warm at night. But when he meets the town’s green-eyed witch with the freckles splattered across the bridge of her nose, and the hips that sway under her flowing skirts, one night of passion leaves him craving more. Maybe it’s time to break a few rules.

In her newest novel, Breaking the Rules, Tinthia Clemant has woven a story about one brave woman’s determination to take back her life as she learns that love doesn’t always hurt.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT:

Prologue

September 2005

Shannon fiddled with the buttons of her dress as she and Justin waited for their coffees. Outside, rain fell on people rushing by the window of the coffee shop. She moved her attention from the scene outside to her two-month-old son in the carrier next to her. He was the most beautiful baby she’d ever seen, and it still amazed her that he’d formed inside her body.

“Are you listening to me?”

She looked up at her husband of one year sitting on the opposite side of the booth and nodded. A sense of hopelessness washed over her. She’d tried to do everything right—paid for the train tickets with cash and not her credit card, hadn’t used her real name, all the little tricks she’d picked up from watching movies over the years. She’d even cut her hair. Yet Justin had found her after only two days. She wouldn’t make a very good spy.

“Say something,” Justin demanded, loud enough that the people across from the booth glanced over.

Shannon rubbed at her forehead. “I’m sorry, my head is pounding.” Hopefully, the lie would keep his anger at bay.

“Do you have anything you can take?”

“Yes.”

He reached across the table and grabbed the diaper bag. After rifling the contents, he removed a pocket-sized tube of Advil, along with her cell phone.

She watched her phone slide into his coat pocket. “What are you doing?”

“I’ll hold on to your phone. Now that I’ve found the two of you, you won’t be needing it.” He poured four pills into his palm and held them out. “So, what do you think?”

“I need my phone.”

“Why?”

“I…I’m expecting a call.”

“From who?”

She struggled to come up with a name that wouldn’t set him off. “Maureen,” she lied a second time, hoping he didn’t know she hadn’t spoken to her coworker since quitting the ad agency.

“If she calls, I’ll give it to you. Now, back to what I said. What do you think?”

“What do I think about what?”

She received a severe frown as a response before he said, “You’re doing it again.”

“Doing what?”

“Not listening to me. How about thinking about me for once and not always yourself?”

“I…I’m sorry?”

“Yeah, you’re always sorry after you do something.”

She glanced at the baby. Satisfied he was still sleeping, she adjusted his blanket and returned her attention to the table, where she stared at her coffee.

Justin’s tone softened. “You make me do and say things. If you acted better, I wouldn’t be so hard on you.” He reached across the table again, this time offering his hand.

Shannon bit into her lower lip in the exact spot she’d recently opened with her right canine. Blood meandered through her teeth, and she slowly placed her hand in his.

“That’s my girl. What I said was, if you and Chad come back home where you belong, I’ll go to couples counseling like you asked. I can change.”

“I don’t know.”

“You don’t know what?”

“I don’t know what to do.”

He lifted her hand and kissed her knuckles but then squeezed her fingers, driving her wedding band into the side of her pinkie. “I’m not the bad guy, Shannon. Most of the time I’m only joking around, but you take things much too serious. You know what your problem is? You’re too sensitive. You need to lighten up.”

The baby squirmed and drew her attention. Chad scrunched his face, coloring the round cheeks so that he resembled an angry plum. “I have to clean him.” She moved from the booth and looped the strap of the diaper bag over her shoulder. “I’ll be right back.”

Justin pushed his chair back from the table and walked with her to the bathroom. “I’ll wait right here,” he said, positioning himself against the wall. She pulled on the door, but he blocked it. “I’m taking you back, Shannon. You need me—you’re too weak to raise a kid on your own.”

He released the door, and she entered the bathroom.

While changing Chad’s diaper, distant voices filled her ears, voices that belonged to ghosts who wouldn’t stay vanquished. In her mind she was a child of six and hiding under her grandmother’s heavy, wooden desk.

‘Don’t you walk away from me, young lady.’

The memory of the voice was like a cold wind, the kind that could get under her coat and raise goosebumps up her back.

She knew her mother would speak next; the memory was always the same—never changing because the dead wouldn’t allow it.

‘For Christ’s sake, Mother, I just buried my husband.’

‘Keep your voice down, Katherine. Do you want everyone to think you’re hysterical?’

‘I don’t care what people think. This is not the time to have this conversation.’

‘This is the perfect time. What are you planning on doing? Raising the child on your own? You know you’re not equipped for that.’

‘I’m perfectly capable of taking care of my daughter.’

‘No, you’re not; you’re too weak. You need me.’

In the restaurant bathroom, Shannon squeezed her eyes closed, recalling the spider that had crawled up her young shin and how she’d placed her hand in its path and lowered it back to the floor. It had scurried out from under the desk, and her grandmother’s thick-soled shoe had turned it into a black splotch. That was how she felt now, like a spider with a dark shadow hanging over her head, ready to drop and crush both her and Chad.

“Shannon.” The doorknob rattled. “Hurry up.”

“I’ll be right out.” She unbuckled Chad from the changing table, returned him to his carrier, and paused to stroke his dark brown hair. In exchange for her tender touch, he cooed. She kissed his cheek and whispered, “I’m sorry munchkin. I tried.”

Author Bio:

Tinthia Clemant was born in Medford, Massachusetts, over sixty years ago. Her childhood was a happy one. She lived in a loving home with her three siblings, mother and father. Her imagination soared as she passed the days enacting the scenes from the stories that spun through her mind.

Tinthia always wrote. From the time she first picked up a pencil, or perhaps it was a crayon, she wrote. Stories about searching for secrets. Stories about joy and sadness; friendship and betrayal; and, of course, stories about true love.

She self-published her first book by stapling six pages together. Her marketing plan was simple–give the book to her mother for Mother’s Day. Marketing her indie-published books has gotten a whole lot harder but she pushes on, knowing the worlds she creates will take each reader on a magical journey.

A romantic women’s fiction author, Tinthia fell in love with romance when she witnessed, at the impressionable age of five, the power of true love. On the silver screen of the Meadow Glen drive-in, she watched Prince Phillip defeat Maleficent’s tangled web of thorns and the fire-breathing dragon so he could save his lady love. As Phillip pressed his lips against Sleeping Beauty’s, she understood the power of true love’s first kiss.

As a hopeful romantic, Tinthia has searched far and wide for that special someone who will take her breath away. Unfortunately, she has yet to find love’s magical kiss. However, she learned a lot about herself along the way and uses these lessons to weave her stories and the strong (and older) heroines she brings to life.

Tinthia lives on the banks of the Concord River and spends her time teaching science at a local community college, gardening, painting, tending her flock of Mallards (follow her natural history blog at: concordriverlady.com), reading, and, of course, writing about journeys, disappointment, joy, and true love. Her two favorite men are Ben and Jerry and she wishes they would bring back the summer flavor, Blueberry Cheesecake.

To learn more about this author visit the following links:

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / YouTube / Blog

GIVEAWAY!

Blitz-wide giveaway (INT)
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“IN OTHER WORDS” by Jennifer Woodhull BOOK BLITZ & GIVEAWAY – Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card – Open Internationally

Title: In Other Words
Author: Jennifer Woodhull
Publication date: April 30th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

DESCRIPTION:

Dexter

We became close friends in college. When Sinclair returns home to Dallas after two years in New York, I introduce her to my best friend Cole. The good-looking playboy ballplayer is the perfect kind of guy for the woman I’m sure would never be interested in me…even if seeing them together breaks my heart.

Sinclair.

He was the nerdy PhD candidate. I was the cheerleader. We made unlikely friends. Moving back home after two years away, he looks hotter than ever. When I start dating his ballplayer best friend, things get complicated. He doesn’t see me as girlfriend material…but I can’t get him, or my feelings for him, out of my head.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

EXCERPT:

There are not enough words. I don’t mean that in a dramatic way as if there are not enough words to express something with which I’m momentarily frustrated. I mean there are often times when the optimum word for something simply does not exist.

Fernweh is a German word that describes a feeling of homesickness for a place you’ve never visited before. The Swedish word, lagom, describes taking not too much nor too little, but just the right amount of something. To wear or use something for the very first time is expressed in Spanish by the word estrenar.

I love words more than anything. I love hearing someone intelligent use the absolutely perfect, most fitting word at exactly the right moment. I love anagrams, crossword puzzles, and riddles. I love how they make me think about language and how people use it. Perhaps most of all though, I love awful puns—even dad-level terrible ones. I only know one person who loves language as much as I do, and he also happens to be the very person I can hardly wait to see.

The Portuguese have a word for the sensation of nostalgia and longing for someone who is far away. Saudade. That’s what I’ve been experiencing since I moved to New York. I have saudade for Dexter Flynn, but that’s about to come to an end.

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I walk into The Tipsy Alchemist, an upscale hipster place Dexter chose to start our reunion evening. I visually scour the space, and am disappointed when I don’t see him. I walk the length of the bar and just as I’m about to turn and head back toward the front, a man leans in close behind me and says, “Excuse me, miss, but might I buy your first libation of the evening?”

I turn, ready to tell the guy to get lost so I can call the person I want most in the world to see. When I turn around, though, I’m met with a pair of sweet, soulful brown eyes hiding behind tortoiseshell frames. My heart darts around my chest. I throw my arms around him so hard, I nearly send us both tumbling to the floor.

“Dex!” I squeal, squeezing his neck. His arms wrap around me, and they’re far stronger than I remember.

“It’s about time you came back,” he whispers into the side of my neck as he squeezes me tightly. “I’ve missed you, Clair.”

I feel an instant wash of relief, being here in his arms. The feel of his cheek against mine and the smell of his aftershave trigger an eruption of happy memories. My brain floods with late night talks and board game marathons. My circuits overload with shared stories and supporting each other through tough times—with gushing over books and documentaries at the independent theatre. He has been such a huge part of my life for so long, and now, with him, I finally feel like I’m really home.

When we finally break from our embrace, we both realize we’re standing in the highest traffic area of the bar, and the place is so packed we might be physically in danger from rowdy patrons clamoring for beer.

“Come on,” he says, grabbing my hand. “I reserved us a booth.”

He leads me through the trendy, dark-paneled space to the back where tiny, high-walled booths, are situated. This area of the bar is quieter than the rest, and the high walls of our booth offer some much-appreciated privacy.

The booth to our immediate right houses what I can only assume is a bachelorette party judging by the volume and frequency of the word woo, coming from their direction.

When the server arrives, I order a cocktail, and Dex orders a beer. “Miss, can I ask, the group of ladies in the booth next to us…is one of them a bachelorette, by chance?” He smirks in my direction.

“Actually, yeah. Are they being too rowdy?”

“Not at all. I was just curious,” he replies. I snicker and he winks in response.

“It’s a cool story, actually,” the server pauses to tell us more detail. “She just got out of the military. She met her fiancé while they were stationed together. He was injured, and she’s a nurse.” She puts her hand to her chest. “They fell in love while he recovered in her hospital.”

Dex and I look at each other, and each make the universal face that any red-blooded human with feelings makes when seeing a baby, or a puppy, or hearing a sweet love story. “Aww,” we say in unison, laughing.

“Would you please take them a bottle of Dom Perignon and put it on my tab? Anonymous, though, please…with thanks for her service, and her fiancé’s,” Dex adds.

“Wow, that’s really nice of you! Absolutely, I’ll take care of it,” the server replies.

When she walks out of Dexter’s line of sight, she catches my eye and mouths the words, “Lucky you,” with a wink. It makes me smile unreasonably wide.

Lucky me that such a kind, thoughtful, generous man is in my life and cares so much for me. Lucky me that he’s my friend. Unlucky me that he’s not more than just a friend.

“That was very generous of you,” I tell him.

“I had the good luck to meet an inventor whose work I really admire once at a party. Knowing I was new to success, he told me, “I always say, if you’ve got it, spread it around. Nobody likes a successful, stingy asshole.” I’ve always tried to remember that,” he says with a shrug. We toast to successful good guys.

“You look amazing, Sinclair.” Dex is grinning at me, his brown eyes sparkling.

I reach across the table and take both his hands in mine, giving them a squeeze. “You look amazing too. By the way,” I say, stifling a giggle. “I didn’t know I’d need tickets.”

“Tickets? For…what, exactly?” He cocks an eyebrow up in question.

“The gun show,” I reply, pointing to what I can see is a pronounced bicep on each arm.

His cheeks flush with crimson as he looks down and away. The expression belongs to the shy, gangly guy I met in school, not the hunky, successful entrepreneur sitting across from me.

“So, have you been hitting the gym, or did you invent some magical neurotransmitter that passively enhances muscle tissue?” I tease. “Because if you have, please sign me up as a test subject. Pilates is torture, but I like to eat far too much to ever give it up without some sort of alternative.”

He chuckles. “I like to think of the fitness thing as my transformation to Dexter two-dot-oh. I have to say, I don’t hate that my efforts are producing noticeable results. I told you about my business partner Cole, right?” He asks sheepishly.

“Your friend Cole, yes,” I reply, rolling my eyes.

I think he still has a little trouble wrapping the high school part of his brain around being friends with a jock.

“Yeah. Anyway, since he pitches for the Frontiersmen he knows all the best personal trainers. He convinced me to start working out with one he recommended. I go to the gym almost every day now. Turns out I’m not as unathletic as I thought I was.” He grins wide, pride evident on his face.

“You certainly seem like you’re feeling pretty good,” I reply. I stand up enough to reach across and squeeze his bicep. “Yep, feeling pretty darn good to me.”

He smiles, then he shakes his head and chuckles. “I really do feel good…and even better now.” Something flashes briefly in his chocolate-brown eyes, then he smirks. “I’m just so happy you’re back, Clair.”

Clair. No one but him calls me that. The way he says it is familiar and makes me feel special that he has a nickname just for me. It’s the same way I call him Dex. Those terms of endearment are just for us, like they’re special words all our own.

By the time we finish the drinks the server brings over my stomach is growling, so we head down the street to a Mexican place that has always been one of my favorites.

As we walk the four or five blocks to the restaurant, a group of girls walking the opposite direction toward us are all checking Dex out as they pass. I turn to look over my shoulder and see them all looking back, whispering and giggling. When I look over at him, he seems oblivious.

And this is why he has trouble finding the right girl. He has no clue when a woman is into him.

I bump his shoulder with mine.

“They were checking you out,” I say with a smirk.

“Who?”

“That group of girls that walked by. They were cute, too.”

He rolls his eyes.

“So, not seeing anyone?” I ask.

“Not at the moment.” He lets out a sigh. “Maybe I’m too picky.”

“Maybe you are,” I agree.

And that’s the other reason he can’t find the right girl. He has never fully explained the criteria with me, but he seems never to have found a girl that checks all the boxes on the list of Dex requirements for the perfect girl.

Someone as genuine and kind, as smart and as funny as Dex deserves someone wonderful, though—someone who can see him for everything he is. I have tried to resign myself to the fact that I’m not that girl in his eyes. I only hope that one day he finds her, and she deserves him.

That brings me to another word that should exist, but doesn’t. There should be a word for enjoying something you have, but still wishing it was much, much more.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Author Bio:

Jennifer Woodhull is based in the Southern United States, spending time in her second home of England, and traveling as often as she can. Her love of travel permeates her work, and her characters often find themselves exploring new and foreign surroundings.

A keen observer of human behavior, Jennifer often draws inspiration from something as simple as a fleeting connection, or the glimpse of a unique trait or characteristic. Her favorite place to write is on airplanes.

“The drone of the engine, the scores of people, all traveling to something or from something, and being disconnected from digital distractions are a combination that provide the perfect place to write,” she says. “If you see a woman in seat 9F who is balancing her Macbook on her lap because it’s time to close your tray table, please have patience. I’m just trying to finish one more sentence.”

To learn more about this author visit the following links:
Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

GIVEAWAY!

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FAITHFUL BOOK BLITZ PLUS ENTER FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A $100 AMAZON GIFT CARD

Title: Faithful

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Series: The Mountain Man’s Babies : Book 10

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Author: Frankie Love

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Publication date: April 18th 2019

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Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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DESCRIPTION:

The moment I saw her I knew.

Knew that we would have a future, a family, a forever.

Her father says she’s too young, too naive, too innocent.

But she is more than he knows.

She’s the love of my goddamn life.

Then she’s gone in the blink of an eye.

But this mountain was made for miracles, and I’m fighting for ours.

I have faith in the impossible.

Faith in us.

And nothing will stop me from being the man she needs.

Dear Reader,

FAITHFUL is the epic conclusion to the most romantic series to ever land on your Kindle.

I didn’t hold back with this one.

Suspense. Secrets. Steam.

But most of all, babies.

I promise you, Jonah is the baby-daddy of the year.

Get ready, sweetheart…

This trip to Miracle Mountain is gonna be one heck of a ride!

Goodreads / Amazon

Book one in the series, TIMBER is FREE

from Apr 18-22 only!

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EXCERPT:

My hand moves against her opening, she is slick and wet, my fingers at her center, her whimpers louder as I circle her clit. I need to taste her, and I ease down Faith, between her legs, my tongue running over her entrance. Her fingers run through my hair, her thighs trembling. I look up. “You okay, golden girl?”

“Yes,” she says, her eyes meeting mine. “It’s just… I’ve never felt so many things at once.”

My hand stills against her. “Neither have I, Faith.” She understands what this means. Not just for her; for her virginity. But for me. “This isn’t how it normally goes.”

“What do you mean?”

“I just met you, just tasted you, and fuck, I love you.”

Her eyes stay locked on mine. “Me too.”

It’s simple and true and crazy and ours. And when my mouth returns to her cunt, I lavish her with love. It’s fucking fast, this rush of emotions, but I don’t give a shit. I’ve spent a long ass time looking, waiting, wanting. Now I found Faith and I won’t let go. When you know, you fucking know.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Author Bio:

Frankie Love writes filthy-sweet stories about bad boys and mountain men. As a thirty-something mom who is ridiculously in love with her own bearded hottie, she believes in

love-at-first-sight and happily-ever-afters. She also believes in the power of a quickie.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS AUTHOR VISIT THE FOLLOWING LINKS:
Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram / Pinterest

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