Tuesday 24 November 2020

Second Survivor

Leah Moyes is from Arizona but experienced many parts of the world in thanks to a career in the airlines. Now most of her time, aside from writing, is spent with her family, reading Historical Fiction novels or studying ancient cultures as a student of Archaeology.

She always believed she was born in the wrong time period, but since she doesn’t have access to a time machine she must write and read intriguing stories of the past. 

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Her secret sank with the ship.

Isabel Fontaine’s lavish lifestyle came to a crashing halt the night the General Chanzy sank. At 18, she had everything—fine luxuries, a prominent family, and an extravagant estate in Marseille. The one thing she didn’t have was her freedom. As the sole heir to the Fontaine fortune, her future was forged with a betrothal to a stranger from a foreign country, but when her family perishes at sea, Isabel sees this as a chance to hide her identity and change her fate.

Taken in by poor, elderly farmers on the Spanish island of Menorca, Isabel is torn between the growing affection for a neighbor and the guilt of living a lie. The simplicity and genuine goodness of this life takes her on a journey she never believed was possible, yet, as time passes and the threat of her untruths face exposure, Isabel must make an agonizing choice.

When that choice is taken from her prematurely and danger cultivates from an implausible guise, will Isabel accept the outcome, or fight to save those she loves?

Second Survivor is a heart-wrenching historical fiction novel set in both Algiers, Algeria during French occupation and Menorca, Spain. Told in the perspective of four characters, Second Survivor is a twist on the tragic shipwreck . . . the General Chanzy in the Mediterranean Sea. 156 people aboard the barge lost their lives on the morning of 10 February 1910. There was only one survivor. This story shares the fate of a Second Survivor.

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Second Survivor is told in the perspective of 4 different people- Isabel, Miguel, Thomas, and Francisco.


“I must be off. I have several families to visit.”

“Well, I’m sure you have time to say hi to Maria before you go.”

“Maria . . . that’s right. With all the work at the ranch, I had nearly forgotten her plight.”

“She would be delighted to see you.” Anita winked and pointed inside.

“Senyora Contreras . . . ” I gave her a stern brow.

“What?” She threw her hands up, feigning innocence. “Just come say hello,” she huffed.

“She doesn’t know me, Anita, and don’t be conjuring up any tricks.”

“Yet, she somehow remembers you.” Anita’s mouth twisted up in satisfaction as she led me through the front door.

“Of course, I will say hi. It would be rude of me not to.” I entered the kitchen. A young woman sat near the stove with her back toward me. It was nice to see she was no longer bound to her bed. She must be recovering well.

“Hello, Maria.”

She swung around and faced me, although her tiny nose pulled into a wrinkle. “Ugghh.” She groaned loudly, her fingers fighting the long-pointed tips of knitting needles. Yarn lay tangled in her lap while strings wound all through her fingers. The ball rolled off her knees and thumped to the floor. I chuckled, but when she glanced up, my mouth fell open.

Her eyebrows bent in anger. “Are you laughing at me?” Her tone came sharp, but I barely heard her. My mind whirled at the transformation before me. Images of the swollen, bruised, and broken woman I’d seen a month ago vanished into something else. I couldn’t form words. The large cut on her forehead was now a faint, jagged line, pink tinged her cheeks, and her blond waves flowed easily and cleanly down her back. She wore a simple oversized dress that most likely had been Anita’s at one time, and a torn shawl around her shoulders, but she was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen.

“No,” I choked apologetically, “I’m not laughing . . . I know nothing of knitting.”

Her face softened. “I have no idea why I even try it myself. I’m awful.”

“At least you are trying. I couldn’t even get that far.” I kneeled and picked up the wayward ball. When I handed it back to her, I found myself staring.



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Wednesday 18 November 2020

Grace by Contact

  Rachel Rossano is a happily married mother of three children. She spends her days teaching, mothering, and keeping the chaos at bay. After the little ones are in bed, she immerses herself in the fantasy worlds of her books. Tales of romance, adventure, and virtue set in a medieval fantasy world are her preference, but she also writes speculative fantasy and a bit of science fiction.

After her father uproots the family to the northern duchy of Brackenhurst, Grace Eldon and her four younger sisters struggle with a new life of hardship. Desperate to keep a roof over their heads amid mounting debts, she and her youngest sister seek employment in the Duke of Brackenhurst’s household despite fearsome rumors.

Scarred and maimed from a terrible fire Silas Isling, Duke of Brackenhurst, buries himself in his work to avoid the stares of pity and fear. When one of the new maids shows no fear at his appearance, he is intrigued. That is until his meddling steward gives her the task of cleaning Silas’ bookroom. It is a most unwelcome disruption since he prefers to be alone.

While a thief plagues his castle, an old nemesis reappears, and enemies invade in the guise of guests. Amidst the distractions and chaos, Grace brings some unexpected order. Once convinced his scars had stolen all hope for love, Silas finds his life forever changed by the quiet maid. Could she love a scarred Duke?


Top Ten List

Rachel Rossano’s Top Ten Favorite Fairytales

In no particular order:

1) Beauty and the Beast (no surprise, right?)

2) East of the Sun West of the Moon (Also in its other forms, Cupid and Psyche, etc)

3) The Month Brothers (Something about twelve men representing the months of the year willing to bend the rules for a poor lost child as appeal)

4) Seven Swans (Something about her vow of silence always fascinated me)

5) Stone Soup (More of a folk tale than a fairytale, but still, I like the message)

6) Rumpelstiltskin (Gotta love that the bad guy gets his just reward, and it all ends well for the girl despite everyone’s manipulations.)

7) Snow White and Rose Red (Two sisters overcoming with kindness)

8) Rapunzel (I really wanted super long hair as a kid. It is very impractical sounding now.)

9) Bluebeard (Yeah, this is a strange one, but somehow it always fascinated me.)

10) Thisbe and Pyramus (There is something appealing about falling in love with a person’s soul instead of their exterior. I really would like to give them a happy ending.)

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Monday 16 November 2020

The Funeral Murder Review

In The Glass House, the first book in the PIP Inc. Mysteries series Pat Pirard, recently downsized Santa Cruz Law Librarian, needed to find a new job in a hurry. She printed business cards announcing she was Private Investigator Pat and crossed her fingers, hoping she could earn enough money working for attorneys as a PI to survive.

Pat’s first investigation went well, so she’s excited when she gets a call from an estate attorney who offers her a second job. The attorney tells Pat his client died at a funeral and he needs help sorting out who is entitled to inherit her estate. 

Pat quickly discovers the dead woman’s past is as complicated as her estate. And when an autopsy indicates she had two deadly toxins in her body when she died, Pat’s new case becomes not only complicated, but dangerous. 


Nancy Lynn Jarvis left the real estate profession after she started having so much fun writing the Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries series that she let her license lapse. She’s enjoyed writing about Regan and her husband, Tom, but decided it was time to do a new series.

PIP Inc. introduces protagonist downsized law librarian and not-quite-licensed Private Investigator Pat Pirard. “The Funeral Murder” is the second book in the series.

After earning a BA in behavioral science from San Jose State University, Nancy worked in the advertising department of the San Jose Mercury News. A move to Santa Cruz meant a new job as a librarian and later a stint as the business manager for Shakespeare/Santa Cruz at UCSC.

Currently she’s enjoying being a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Santa Cruz Women of Mystery. 

5 Out of 5 Stars

I enjoyed this book. It was fun with enough twists and red herrings that it was enjoyable and left me guessing multiple times. The main character has skills and knowledge that easily and realistically allow her to investigate. It makes her nosing into things effortless. It isn’t one of those mysteries that the main character has no reason to be investigating, This makes me happy. The only thing I struggled with (and I find it irritates me in any murder mystery book so it is a personal issue and not the Author’s fault) I hate when, near the end, the main character thinks that they are invincible and don’t need any support nor protection aside from their own abilities. I don’t know why it drives me mental, but it does. However this irritation didn’t effect my ability to enjoy this book, it just made me roll my eyes and go right on enjoying the story.


I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a cozy murder mystery. It is clean, entertaining and well written. I look forward to reading more books from this Author, especially as this series develops. 


The sound began softly, so distant and light that those waiting didn’t notice it at first, or if they did, they attributed it to a large truck or convoy of vehicles passing on the nearby freeway. But the sound grew louder and more insistent, demanding that it be noticed. It was uneven and buzzy―uncomfortable even―like a massive swarm of yellow-jackets furious that their nest had been disturbed. A minute later, black dots appeared on the horizon, grew larger, and closed over the broad parking lot and manicured lawn and gardens surrounding the church, heading toward the mourners.

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Tuesday 10 November 2020

Pieces to Mend

Can enduring love heal her shattered soul and his broken body?

In their small agricultural town, Scarlett’s family is the picture-perfect variety. The mother encourages juvenile delinquents at the local detention center and her father coaches the church’s youth group.

All is right until Scarlett lets a shameful secret slip. Blaming her for the indiscretion, the family silences Scarlett’s accusation but the arrival of a new high school student threatens the delicate balance.

Everett’s giant frame and fractured skull are compliments of his father, but his world shifts after an accidental touch from Scarlett. Starved for affection, they forge an inescapable bond. Their relationship is encouraged by Everett’s grandmother, Marjorie Ashley, a woman with an unnatural gift, the ability to witness painful memories of those around her.

Fifteen years later, Marjorie is fading, her impending death a blow to Scarlett. Everett enjoys a flourishing legal career while Scarlett writes weekly investigative articles—keeping her own secrets hidden. An old police report is found in Marjorie’s house, revealing a web of deception spun by Scarlett’s family.

The deeper Scarlett digs, the more unsettling the discoveries. No longer aided by Marjorie’s gift, Scarlett is given an impossible ultimatum, she must choose between the family who raised her and the man who loves her—or risk losing both.


Clarissa Kae is a preeminent voice whose professional career began as a freelance editor in 2007. She's the former president of her local California Writers Club after spending several years as the Critique Director.

Since her first novel, she's explored different writing genres and created a loyal group of fans who eagerly await her upcoming release. With numerous awards to her name, Clarissa continues to honor the role of storyteller.

Aside from the writing community, she and her daughters founded Kind Girls Make Strong Women to help undervalued nonprofit organizations—from reuniting children with families to giving Junior Olympic athletes their shot at success.

She lives in the agricultural belly of California with her family and farm of horses, chickens, dogs and kittens aplenty.

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A whisper of a smirk appeared on Scarlett’s face before a mask of innocence slid back down. With the paper hidden, Everett assumed in her back pocket, she reached for his schedule.

Scarlett hadn’t looked at him yet, allowing him to study her. Her hair, thick and dark, was streaked with auburn highlights. She’d pulled it up into a messy ponytail, obviously caring little for her appearance. From her profile, she seemed ordinary, normal nose, chin, and lips. She would be easy to draw. And easy to forget.

“Sophomore …” Scarlett held out his schedule but instead of facing Everett, she smiled at his grandmother.

The expression lifted her cheekbones, highlighting her near perfect face. Her eyes, large and brown, glinted with something more, something deep. Her brows and lashes, thick and black as ebony. A delicate strand of hair fell from the tie and in an instant, she was extraordinary.

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Living Sacrifice

Separated, but still joined, they strive for freedom.

Left behind at the sept son’s compound, Zezilia Ilar struggles with the after effects of her prolonged commisceo-link with Hadrian. She devotes herself to caring for the wounded arriving almost daily from the battlefields. Pressed to perform procedures and make decisions far beyond her training, Zez grows in confidence and skill. All the while, she wonders if she'll see Hadrian again, fearing the worst possible news will arrive any day.

Sept Son Hadrian Aleron fights to bring peace to his home nation. Allied with the new high king, he and a small army of Talented struggle to retake the capital city. Elitists, though scattered, continue to pick off the strongest of his men. As he battles the remnants of the commisceo-link and tries to organize the campaign, he begins losing himself to exhaustion. Only a miracle will keep him alive.


  Rachel Rossano is a happily married mother of three children. She spends her days teaching, mothering, and keeping the chaos at bay. After the little ones are in bed, she immerses herself in the fantasy worlds of her books. Tales of romance, adventure, and virtue set in a medieval fantasy world are her preference, but she also writes speculative fantasy and a bit of science fiction.



 I resumed my work, half fearing I had done something wrong. However, by the time my shift was finished, I had convinced myself otherwise. No one had told me not to speak with patients.

When I presented myself before Madame Arnata’s desk, I held myself tall, ready to present an account of myself.

Sit, Defender Ilar.” She waved to a seat off to the side.

Once I was seated, she pinned me with an evaluating look.

“When I told Master Silas that I had pressed you into service in the wards, he informed me that it would be a waste of your skills.”

“I am not above menial tasks.” I felt good, unlike what I had been feeling of late. My teaching sessions with Ariana were long and dreary exercises in frustration for both of us. Lotus hadn’t returned.

Madame Arnata continued. “We have some difficult cases of mind-trauma. Puzzles that require someone skilled in mind-work to unravel.” She sighed and folded her hands before her. “All of our mind-trained healers have been called out to support the troops at the front. Don’t tell anyone this, but the Elitists are still out there, or at least their techniques are still being used. Between the sato cases and the strippings, we are struggling to keep up with the needs. Some of our best healers have returned babbling incomprehensibly or dead. The saboteurs and assassins are working their way through our ranks.” She shivered.

“That man in the small room?” I asked.

“He was one of our best healers.”

“And the name he called?”

She grew pale. “His daughter. They lost her to the Elitists. She is still missing.” She took a deep breath. “He had finally decided that she must be dead right before he left for the front. Now he spends his days calling her name.”

“How can I help?”

Madame Arnata visibly gathered herself before answering. “Comfort them. See if you can help them. Communicate with them if you can.” She frowned. “To be honest, I am not completely sure how you can help them, not being defender-trained as you are, but I would like you to try.”

“I am not trained in mind-healing.” I could trigger a sato, which would cause a patient to harm others or himself. Or worse, I could harm someone without intending to.

Madame nodded. “I know. But you have an advantage above us all. You have training. You can speak to them with your mind. None of us can do that and none of the Talents remaining in the compound are willing to risk touching thoughts with one who has been in contact with an Elitist.”

Unease stirred in my gut. “I need to speak to Master Silas.”

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