Author: karenbaron

Sweet Reality Summary and Expert Reveal

Posted August 14, 2017 by karenbaron in Review / 0 Comments

Release Date: September 5, 2017

 

Synopsis

SUGAR, SEA SALT, AND SHOW BIZ

Jen Reid’s life after walking off a reality show has been great–she’s gone from being a broke twenty-four-year-old Seattleite with no love life and no job to the twenty-five-year-old who got the guy, moved to Miami, and is starting a bakery with her best friend. She thinks her showmance love might be about to propose. And with mouthwatering goodies based on everyone’s favorite shows, her business, Sweet Reality, is destined for success.

That is, until a killer competitor opens right across the street. If she’s going to save Sweet Reality, Jen has to come up with a secret ingredient–like the recipe that won Totally 80s Bake-Off. Jen can get it–if she steps back into the spotlight. Soon she and her boyfriend are out to sea on a cruise ship full of reality stars, including her nemesis, Ariana; her lying, cheating ex; and some wicked producers looking to bring the drama. Separate cabins, “surprises” from her past, and scenarios tailor-made to spark fights are just the beginning. But with her self-respect, her business, and her future on the line, the fallout from this made-for-TV plotline will be all too real . . .

Goodreads

 

Excerpt

 

Sarah kissed both our cheeks before pulling away and handed me a small, clear plastic container. “You’re the best, both of you. I gotta go before they tow my car. Love you all, I’ll see you next Sunday. Bring me alcohol, and try not to get into any trouble. Especially you, Ed.”

He winked at her, and Justin pulled her aside, supposedly to talk about their mother for a minute before dropping our suitcases with the porter. I suspected he had another reason for this conversation, which made me grin far more than I should at the prospect of having my luggage checked.

This excitement would not be contained. Nearly two years ago, I’d been so sure my ex-boyfriend planned to propose right before I found out he was married. I’d been excited then, but the thought of spending my life with him never sounded as perfect as marrying Justin. He was my other half, the absolute best partner for me.

Sarah winked at me over his shoulder, her way of telling me she’d slipped him the ring. I shifted my weight from one foot to the other, wishing I could share my excitement with someone, but got distracted by the massive ocean liner casting shadows over the dock. More specifically, by the lifeboats.

Eyeing the orange rubber vessels lining the sides, I turned to Ed. “Do you think they brought enough lifeboats?”

“Yes. Also, this isn’t the Titanic. We’re not gonna sink. We have communications devices to call for help. And you, Jen, have your very own hunky stud in Justin to save you if anything goes wrong. Relax. Take your Dramamine.”

I rooted around in my carry-on for a moment before giving up. “My Dramamine must be in my big suitcase . . . which I probably shouldn’t have given to him to check. At least not without putting this Tupperware in first. The carry-on is about to burst.”

Ed gestured at the container Sarah handed me before leaving. “What’s that for?”

“So I can bring her one of Tammy Rae’s cupcakes. They’re doing a tasting after the bake-off tomorrow, remember?”

One of the onboard events pitted reality stars against each other in a baking competition, which Ed apparently forgot to sign up for. Hopefully, he wasn’t going to wing it. My friend created excellent meals for everyone while we were in the Fishbowl, but his laissez-faire attitude to cooking wouldn’t produce the same delicious results in baked goods.

Instead of competing against Ed, I signed up to judge with Justin. Partially as a way of getting on Tammy Rae’s good side, and partially because rumors said everyone involved got to sample her winning cupcakes after the event. I needed to be in the right place to snag one. Well, two. One for me, one for Sarah. Then I could verify whether these things tasted as good as the inter-webs claimed and butter Tammy Rae up by raving about what a baking genius she was before begging for a favor.

Where was Tammy Rae? Hopefully she hadn’t changed her mind and canceled at the last minute. According to E-Entertainment News Online, she’d mysteriously pulled out of Celebrity Poker Match a few years back, despite being a favorite to win. I scanned the docks, looking for her.

With luck, the recipe would be in my hand and I’d be lounging by the pool before the ship arrived in our first port. But one thing at a time. First, Justin and I needed to thoroughly explore and “enjoy” our cabin. Our glorious private cabin where we wouldn’t have to worry about my boyfriend’s sister or his somewhat creepy roommate hearing us through the paper-thin walls of our respective apartments. Or well, at least we wouldn’t know the people on the other side of our walls, so it wouldn’t matter what they heard.

Ed’s voice called me away from those thoughts, back to our conversation.

“What?” I asked.

“I said, calm down. Justin will be back soon, Tammy Rae will arrive before the ship leaves, and your suitcase, with Dramamine, will be delivered to your cabin sooner rather than later.”

“Why didn’t I take seasick pills before leaving home?” I moaned. “Why am I doing this?”

“You mean, freaking out over nothing? I couldn’t tell you.” Ed hugged me. “Really, Jen, you’ll be fine. I’ve cruised before. You won’t feel a thing.”

Finally, Justin walked toward us, sans luggage. I found myself relaxing as he put an arm around my waist and squeezed. I kissed him.

“Ugh. Lovebirds!” Ed moaned. “Get a room!”

“Hey, Ed, isn’t your boyfriend around here?” Justin asked good-naturedly. “Why don’t you go find him?”

Ed met his boyfriend Connor, formerly known to me only as Curly Beard, while filming The Fishbowl. Although the Network strictly prohibited staff from socializing with the contestants, they still found a way to make a connection. More importantly, they’d managed to keep it going ever since. The Network promoted Connor from production assistant to camera operator, and Ed recently moved from Boston to Los Angeles to be with him while pursuing a stand-up comedy career. I couldn’t have been happier for them.

“He’s doing some pre-boarding filming. I’m not allowed,” he said to Justin. “Besides, someone had to keep your belle here from having a panic attack. Did you know she gets seasick?”

Justin tilted his head at me the way he did when he didn’t want to say he thought I wasn’t being one hundred percent truthful. “You never mentioned that. You do?”

“I don’t know. When I was in high school, I threw up on the swan boats at the local fair.”

“Wasn’t that right after you bought tacos out of some guy’s van? Because I’m not sure that was the boat’s fault.”

This was the problem with dating someone long enough for them to hear all your stories. “Maybe…”

“You’ll be fine!” Ed said. “Now, let’s go before they take off without us.”

“Depart,” I said. “Or set sail.”

“Whatever.” Ed took off for the ship, luggage in tow.

“What’s really wrong?” Justin asked.

He gazed into my eyes until I realized I’d been freaking out over nothing. “I don’t know. I’ve been on edge all week. Partially it’s the bakery. What if Sarah can’t come up with new recipes? What if Tammy Rae hates me?”

“You are a resourceful, brilliant woman. You can be very persuasive. Plus, Sarah’s a genius in the kitchen. Even if Tammy Rae says no, the two of you will come up with something.”

I sighed. “You’re right, I’m sorry. I’m being stupid. I don’t know why I’m so jittery.”

Behind me, someone walked by wearing a t-shirt showing a woman with long, dark hair, pouting out from the inside of a clear fishbowl. And suddenly, I realized exactly why I felt so on edge: Ariana. The one person who could always make me act like my brain took a vacation without my body. No one confirmed whether she’d be onboard. I couldn’t relax until we set sail without her.

 

 

Giveaway

$20 Amazon Gift Card

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About the Author

 

Laura Heffernan is living proof that watching too much TV can pay off. When not watching total strangers get married, drag racing queens, or cooking competitions, Laura enjoys travel, baking, board games, helping with writing contests, and seeking new experiences. She lives in the Northeast with her amazing husband and two furry little beasts.

 

Connect with Laura

 

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Beyond Death by Deb McEwan

Posted August 6, 2017 by karenbaron in Adult Fiction, Death, Drama, Fantasy, Fiction, Ghosts, Mystery, Paranormal, Paranormal People, Review, Series, Supernatural / 1 Comment

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Beyond Death by Deb McEwanBeyond Death (Afterlife, #1) by Deb McEwan
Published by Createspace on June 18th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal
Pages: 190
Format: ebook
four-stars

A DEAD WOMAN'S STORY
“With so many supernatural tales on the shelves it’s hard to find something genuinely original yet Beyond Death fits the description well, with author Deb McEwan bringing a distinctive new voice to this ever popular genre.” Book Viral
What really happens when we die? Twenty-something Claire Sylvester is about to find out. The morning after the best night of her life she is taken before her time.
Claire is suspended in her strange new world. She watches as the secret lives of those she loves unravels, and sadistic villains are punished on the road to their own personal hell.
All the while a higher authority ponders her ultimate fate.
More than Claire knows depends on her actions and those of the unlikely partner who accompanied her on her journey.
What will be her final destination?
Beyond Death - a supernatural thriller of love and loss, deceit and revenge, with a little romance and humour.

My take on this book:              Beyond Death by Deb McEwan is a pretty interesting read. What first caught my interest is the plot then the book cover. The plot was well-crafted and made me interested in reading the book. Since this book isn’t what I normally read and everyone who knows me and has read this blog knows that. I do know that this is bad to say but I also sometimes judge a book by its cover but not all the time. Anyways I’m giving this book a four-star rating because it did keep me entertained but it did have something keeping it from being five stars.

One of those things is how the first act seemed a bit choppy especially with introducing so many characters at first in the beginning and then not seeing them again until the middle act. She did have a lot of subplots going on and she did finish them all up which is a good thing. Ms. McEwan is a pretty good author and a bit of the book seemed like it still needed some work to truly be a good book. What I mean by that like she could have gone back to reread it and make sure that it flowed nicely with the rest of the book.

All the character in the book were very well developed and I liked them all. Even the ones that are evil because of how well developed they all are. I especially liked the transformations of Claire, Ken, and Ron. Claire because she did it the most. She died at a young age and has to go through with the fact that she isn’t alive anymore and that she needs to let go and forgive the people that she loves down on Earth. Ken also did the most as well. He was first introduced as a bad guy and then he died. He has been going through more of a tough time than Claire and Ron ever did since dying and he is hoping to redeem himself. Ron kind of did as well. The reason for that is because he is also trying to learn to let go and forgive the people that he loves down on Earth while trying to figure out if he should do a hard thing at the end of the book.

I do recommend this book to my more adult readers of this blog if they are interested in this book. Beyond Death is a good book and I am glad that the author contacted me to read it. I am also at this moment unsure if I will be reading the rest of this series.

Anyways until the next time enjoy this review brought to you by

Baroness’ Book Trove.

four-stars

About Deb McEwan

Following a career of over thirty years in the British Army, Deb and her husband moved to Cyprus to become weather refugees.

She’s written children’s books about Jason the penguin and Barry the reindeer and adult books about aliens, the afterlife, soldiers, and netball players.
The first book in the latest series ‘Unlikely Soldiers’ is set in nineteen seventies Britain. The second covers the early eighties and includes the Falklands War, service in Northern Ireland and (the former) West Germany. ‘Friends and Revenge’ is the third in the series, and takes a sinister turn of events.

‘Court Out (A Netball Girls’ Drama)’ is Deb’s latest book. Using netball as an escape from her miserable home life, Marsha Lawson is desperate to keep the past buried and to forge a brighter future. But she’s not the only one with secrets. When two players want revenge, a Tsunami of emotions is released at a tournament leaving destruction in its wake. As the wave starts spreading throughout the team, can Marsha and the others escape its deadly grasp, or will their emotional baggage pull them under, with devastating consequences for their families and team-mates? ‘Court Out’ will be published in August 2017.

Deb spends her time writing, avoiding housework and playing tour guide. She occasionally blogs about her books and (tongue in cheek) from Donut the dog’s point of view. She also tries – and mostly fails – to keep the pounds off.


Heirs of Grace by Tim Pratt

Posted August 5, 2017 by karenbaron in Audiobook, Fantasy, Mystery, Review, Romance, Urban, Witches / 0 Comments

Heirs of Grace by Tim PrattHeirs of Grace by Tim Pratt
Narrator: Leslie Hull
Published by Brilliance Audio on June 17th 2014
Pages: 10
Format: Audible Audiobook
four-stars

Recent art school graduate Bekah thought she’d hit the jackpot: an unknown relative died, and she inherited a small fortune and a huge house in the mountains of North Carolina.
Trey Howard, the lawyer who handled the estate, is a handsome man in his twenties and they hit it off right away—and soon become more than friends. Bekah expected a pleasant year to get her head together and have a romantic fling. Problem is, the house is full of junk...and siblings she didn’t know she had are willing to kill her for it.
More important, the junk in her new house is magical, she’s surrounded by monsters, and her life seems to be in mortal peril every time she ventures into a new room. As Bekah discovers more about her mysterious benefactor and the magical world he inhabited, she’s realizes that as tough and resourceful as she is, she might just be in over her head...
Heirs of Grace is a tale of family and magic, action and wonder, blending the strong heroine, cheeky humor, and dark fantasy that have become the hallmarks of Tim Pratt’s writing.

This must be what it is like to go from a normal only child to…

Heirs of Grace by Tim Pratt is full of magic, personalities and finding your way in life. Bekah is the main character and the main heir. She is going to art school and seems quite lost. She has lots of attitude and opinions, some self-righteousness going on too. She is also independent with a touch bravery.

I liked the characters and there were many of them. The interaction between the siblings was crazy at times. The oldest daughter and the matter eating brother are ones no one would want on their family tree. The things that Bekah had to learn about magic and the way her father tried to assist from the beyond were insane but very entertaining.

I purchased the audible book on sale because it sounded interesting. I mean who wouldn’t want to inherit a magical house and find out that they had magical powers too. I am glad that I did as I found the quirky story was just what I needed for a business trip.

The story was narrated by Leslie Hull. I think she did a good job. She definitely brought the story to life. Her accents were pretty good. However, I still went back and forth between the narration and actually reading the kindle book myself.

My rating is 4 stars, I love the story and narration. If you are looking for a fun read or would prefer to listen this is a great book for some summer reading.

**Where to find Heirs of Grace **

** Goodreads **

This is a Guest Review for Baroness’ Book Trove. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book for your site. ~Jen

four-stars

About Leslie Hull

“I have always heard actors talk about their ‘artistic home’ and it has always seemed like a strange concept to me. Actors are, by nature, nomads – gypsies – people of the night, here one show and gone the next, but when I was afforded the opportunity to work at Williamston Theatre I finally understood what that meant. It is a place where you feel respected, for your craft, for your time, for your input and ideas. It is a place where you feel comfortable, cared for, and free to create beautiful, fun and funny moving art. It is a place where you love the people you work with and are inspired by them, beyond the project or performance you are a part of. These are all things I felt while working with the folks at in Williamston.” Leslie’s Credits at the WT: Onstage in The Usual: A Musical Love Story and A Charlie Brown Christmas Fundraiser, dialect coach for Ebenezer, ASM for While We Were Bowling. Leslie currently splits her time between Chicago and Detroit, as a teacher, acting coach, audio book narrator and photographer.

About Tim Pratt

Tim Pratt was born in Goldsboro, NC, and grew up in various places in the American South. He relocated to Northern California in 2001. His fiction has won a Hugo Award, and he’s been a finalist for Sturgeon, Stoker, World Fantasy, Mythopoeic, World Fantasy, Scribe, and Nebula Awards, among others. His other books include three short story collections; a volume of poems; contemporary fantasy novels The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl and Briarpatch; gonzo historical The Constantine Affliction under the name T. Aaron Payton; fantasy roleplaying game tie-ins; and, as T.A. Pratt, eight books (and counting) about sorcerer Marla Mason. He occasionally edits anthologies, including the Rags and Bones anthology co-edited with Melissa Marr. He works as a senior editor for Locus magazine, and lives in Berkeley, CA, with his wife Heather and their son River.


Murder at Redwood Cove by Janet Finsilver

Posted August 3, 2017 by karenbaron in Audiobook, Cozy, Dogs, Review / 1 Comment

Murder at Redwood Cove by Janet FinsilverMurder at Redwood Cove by Janet Finsilver, Reba Buhr
Series: Kelly Jackson Mystery #1
Series Rating: four-stars
Narrator: Reba Buhr
Published by Tantor Audio on March 21st 2017
Genres: Cozy
Format: Audible Audiobook
four-stars

If it weren't for the fact that she's replacing a dead man, Kelly Jackson would love her new job managing the Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast on the coast of Northern California. But Bob Phillips did plunge off the cliff to his death, and Kelly's starting to think it may not have been an accident. Bob's retired friends-The "Silver Sentinels"-are also on the case, especially when Kelly is attacked . . . and another body turns up. Kelly has her hands full with overseeing the B&B's annual Taste of Chocolate and Wine Festival, but she's also closing in on the killer . . . who's ready to send Kelly on her own permanent vacation.

Redwoods, the ocean, great food, fine wine and murder…what more could a girl want?

Murder at Redwood Cove by Janet Finsilver is witty and fun. I think she did a great job with the mystery. Her red herrings were superb. She did a wonderful job of introducing the northern coast of California. I grew up there and love the portrayal of the locals and the use of local culture and crimes.

Kelly Jackson is the temporary manager of the Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast. She is our typical noisy busybody sleuth. She is there to replace the previous manager who fell from the coastal cliffs. Or did he? Kelly and a group of senior citizens investigate his death. They may have found more than they were looking for. Kelly is extremely nice and seems to be a very hard worker. She seemed kind of lost at the beginning of the story, but she feels truer to herself by the end. I love that she wears a cowboy hat and has a slight accent.

Ms. Finsilver’s descriptions of the cliffs, ocean, and fog were excellent. She even made me home sick a few times. I think I would like to visit the Redwood Cove Bed and Breakfast. 🙂

I enjoyed the story. The narration by Reba Buhr was lovely. I loved the accents that she added and the way she brought the suspense to life was wonderful. I will look for other books narrated by her on Audible.

My rating is 4 stars, I love the story and narration but alas I hate when I figure out the bad guy in the first quarter of the book. It is a great read and I will look for the 2nd book in this series.

 **Where to find Murder at Redwood Cove **

** Goodreads **

This is a Guest Review for Baroness’ Book Trove. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book for your site. ~Jen

four-stars

About Reba Buhr

Reba Buhr grew up in the Pacific Northwest and now lives in Los Angeles, working in theater, film, and television. She has degrees from Occidental College in theater and classical voice. Reba began recording audiobooks in 2012 and has turned her love for performance into a passion for narrating characters that jump off the page.

Reba is an accomplished voice actor and has lent her voice to many commercials, video games, and animated projects, including Popples and Knights of Sidonia for Netflix, Toonami’s Hunter x Hunter, and Zagtoon’s Zak Storm.

Her theater credits include Stage Door (Terry Randall), The Count of Monte Cristo (Mercedes), Boeing Boeing, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Sally), Kiss Me Kate (Bianca), Les Miserables (Cosette), and Princess Jasmine in Aladdin!: A Musical Spectacular at the Disneyland Resort.

About Janet Finsilver

Janet Finsilver is the USA TODAY best-selling author of the Kelly Jackson mystery series. She worked in education for many years as a teacher, a program administrator, and a workshop presenter. Janet majored in English and earned a Master’s Degree in Education. She loves animals and has two dogs—Kylie and Ellie. Janet has ridden western style since she was a child and was a member of the National Ski Patrol. One of the highlights of her life was touching whales in the San Ignacio Lagoon. MURDER AT REDWOOD COVE, her debut mystery, was released on October 13, 2015. Her second book, MURDER AT THE MANSION, became available on June 7, 2016. The third book, MURDER AT THE FORTUNE TELLER’S TABLE, is scheduled to be out on March 14, 2017.

Janet Finsilver and her husband reside in the San Francisco Bay Area. She enjoys cooking, and a recent attempt to reduce the number of cookbooks in the cupboard wasn’t very successful. She’s an avid reader—of course!


Giovanni Meets A Coven by Kathy Bryson

Posted August 2, 2017 by karenbaron in Comedy, Fantasy, Guest Post, Review, Series, Short Stories / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Giovanni Meets A Coven by Kathy BrysonGiovanni Meets A Coven by Kathy Bryson
Series: The Med School #2
Series Rating: four-stars
Published by Kathy Bryson Books on September 15, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Humor
Pages: 90
Format: Kindle
four-stars

Having successfully dealt with his first zombie, Giovanni is looking forward to the upcoming semester. Then the accidents start, costing Giovanni two jobs, no end of embarrassment, and multiple contusions and abrasions!

Is it just bad luck or is the curse of the zombie out to get him? And which of the voodoo queens suddenly surrounding him can he trust to help out?

Surprise, not everyone is what they seem to be.

Giovanni Meets a Coven by Kathy Bryson is a wonderful read. Giovanni is a med student with numerous jobs. He is so busy, he doesn’t have a place to live and he has a big dog. Studying has become the easiest part of his life that is when he can find the time. However, living in a morgue isn’t the greatest way to save money.

I like Giovanni, he loves coffee. He’s from New Jersey going to med school in Atlanta. He seems to be handling the cultural shock fairly well. He is stronger than he seems. He has a good heart and sense of humor. I would most definitely be his friend.

Gio has made many friends in Atlanta. However, I like the sassy, bossy and intimidating Astral. She isn’t perfect. She’s got some jealousy and anger issues. But hey, who doesn’t? She knows what she wants and she is working towards it, even though she thinks she is entitled. I believe that she can handle whatever is thrown at her, preferably with a little help from her friends.

I enjoyed the story. I was caught off guard by the ending, which only makes the story better. It was fast paced, with no poor pitiful me from Giovanni. Oh yes, the floor buffer incident made me laugh out loud. I was laughing about it for hours. My husband must have thought that I had lost my mind. That will haunt Gio for a long time.

My rating is 4 stars, and I plan to fit the first book Giovanni Goes to Med School into my TBR list. If you are looking for a clean story with a touch of paranormal this is one for you.

**Where to find Giovanni Meets a Coven**

** Goodreads **

This is a Guest Review for Baroness’ Book Trove. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book for your site. ~Jen

four-stars

About Kathy Bryson

Kathy Bryson is the award-winning author of a series of leprechaun romances as well as the adventures of a hapless med student. She has degrees in both advertising and literature as well 20+ years in business that came in handy for exposing leprechauns. For, the zombie stuff, she shamelessly exploit her coworkers. A recent transplant to Texas, she also runs a college writing center and caters to the whims of spoiled cats.