Category: Equality In Literature

#RomanceTuesdays | the return of one of Jorie’s beloved families from #HarlequinHeartwarming (the Blackwells) feat.”Montana Welcome” (Book One: Blackwell Sisters, sequel series to Return of the Blackwell Brothers) by Melinda Curtis [of a five book series!]

Posted Tuesday, 24 November, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

#RomanceTuesdays badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I initially learnt about the Return of the Blackwell Brothers series through being part of the book blogger team with Prism Book Tours run by Tressa @ Wishful Endings. I’ve been enjoying hosting for her since [2016] and especially due to the fact by hosting her blog tours, I had the pleasure of joy of discovering the Harlequin Heartwarming line of stories and series for Contemporary Romance when I needed to fill a gap in my readerly wanderings for that genre! When it comes to the Return of the Blackwell Brothers series – I was signed on as a reviewer for the series wherein I had a bit of leeway to read the stories at my own pace and post my reviews as I read them.

My reviews ran from August 2018 through January 2019 beginning with the first novel by Carol Ross. This year, as I knew we were inching closer to the release of the sequel series for Return of the Blackwell Brothers known as BlackwellSisters, I reached out to one of the authors (Anna J. Stewart) who helped me collaborate with all 5x authors to bring together a special round robin chat via my Twitter chat @SatBookChat whilst coordinating with the authors for me to receive each of the Blackwell Sisters novels to read and review in connection with the chat itself. This review marks the first of those featured reviews which will run throughout November and December 2020.

I received a complimentary copy of “Montana Welcome” direct from the author Melinda Curtis in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: Be sure to view my #WaitingOnWednesday announcement post for the #BlackwellSisters series as well as the archives for #SatBookChat for the 14th November chat.

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a notation about where we’ve left off with the blackwell brothers:

I remember how I felt when I reached the fifth installment of the Return of the Blackwell Brothers series – it was bittersweet for me as a reader because I had become so hugged inside the series these lovely authors had written for us – those characters and the family of the Blackwells (as quirky as they were!) had become a part of my life and world. It was heartbreaking to realise my journey with them was ending – which is why in small ways I was putting it out there in the universe if there could be ‘more stories’ for this family I’d taken into my heart and hadn’t want to ‘let go’ of – to see if perhaps the authors could flex their writerly muses and sort out a way ‘back into the fold’ of the Blackwells?

I still recall to this day the JOY I had overflowing through me when Ms Webb first broke the good news with me on my blog – about how there was going to be a sequel series which I later learnt would be called the #BlackwellSisters! And, that threw me for a complete loop! As despite my ability to remember most of what I read (as a migraineur) I have lost some gaps of memory (blessed for this blog which houses my readerly memories!) when it comes to series and specific stories overall due to the higher frequencies of migraines I’ve traversed through from 2018-2020. I still remember important bits and bobbles of the stories and the series, but those minute details I love as a reader – sometimes those go by the wayside. Which is why for the longest time I was trying to drum up my memories to recollect just exactly how do we have ‘Blackwell sisters’? As from everything I did remember there weren’t any girls’ in the family!

And, then of course – it took Ms Curtis’s author’s note in Montana Welcome to set me straight and give me such an enriched new appreciation for how these lovely women are collaborating on these series for Harlequin Heartwarming! You see, the key to the whole 10x novels (spilt over 2x five novel series) is “Big E” – the infamous grandfather who meddles in his grandsons and now grand-daughters lives! Yes, you read that right – he has *granddaughters!* and can you just imagine the kind of mischief that might foretell about this new series!? I smirked to the moon when I read the disclosure of connection between the two series as honestly it was such a sweet surprise for me!

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This is a series that is both redemptive as it is empowering – as it is about ordinary people who are having these tiny interruptions sprinkled into their lives to where they can choose which direction they wish to take next – do they make a life altering choice or do they play it safe? Do they risk their heart or do they risk something more? I felt fully anchoured every bit of the journey with the Blackwells because each of the writers were bridging the gaps between installments with ‘just enough’ continuity to make this not just believable but realistically compelling. It is the kind of Western dramatic romance series you can’t put down and you hunger after new installments that might never arrive.

-quoted from my review of The Rancher’s Homecoming

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#RomanceTuesdays | the return of one of Jorie’s beloved families from #HarlequinHeartwarming (the Blackwells) feat.”Montana Welcome” (Book One: Blackwell Sisters, sequel series to Return of the Blackwell Brothers) by Melinda Curtis [of a five book series!]Montana Welcome
Subtitle: Blackwell Sisters
by Melinda Curtis
Source: Direct from Author

A bride on the run and a cowboy to show her the way home…

Lily Harrison’s wedding day isn’t quite what she imagined. Not only does her fiancé not love her, she’s just discovered she’s a Blackwell—a member of Montana’s well-known ranching family. Now Lily’s ditched her own wedding for a road trip with handsome cowboy Conner Hannah. But will Lily find her answers in Montana…or lose the cowboy she’s already begun falling for?

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance, Heartland Fiction, Ranches & Cowboys, Western Romance


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335889812

Also by this author: The Rancher's Redemption

Setting: Montana


Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 1st August, 2020

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 380

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The #BlackwellSisters series:

Elias Blackwell never knew he had a second son. But now that he does, he’s determined to find him and get to know his five granddaughters. But when he shows up at his granddaughter’s wedding…

Some Secrets Lead You Home.

Montana Welcome by Melinda CurtisMontana Wishes by Amy VastineMontana Dreams by Anna J. Stewart

Montana Match by Carol RossMontana Wedding by Cari Lynn Webb

Montana Welcome (book one)

Montana Wishes (book two)

Montana Dreams (book three)

Montana Match (book four)

Montana Wedding (book five)

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Read about the series via Melinda Curtis’s page for the Blackwells!

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The series which started it all:

With his 80th birthday approaching, family patriarch Elias Blackwell has done some serious soul searching and has come to the conclusion he’s made some mistakes in his life – a lot of them! As a result, the grandsons he raised after his son and daughter-in-law’s tragic death want nothing to do with him, the Blackwell Ranch they’ll one day inherit, and in some cases each other. Elias doesn’t want to go to his grave with regrets. It’s well past time for all the Blackwell men to do a little soul searching of their own. And if they have to come home to do it, so be it. No one ever claimed Elias Blackwell played fair.

Return of the #BlackwellBrothers:

The Rancher’s Twins by Carol Ross → my review
The Rancher’s Rescue by Cari Lynn Webb → my review
The Rancher’s Redemption by Melinda Curtis → my review
The Rancher’s Fake Fiancée by Amy Vastine → my review
The Rancher’s Homecoming by Anna J. Stewart → my review

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Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin

Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance, #WesternRomance & #HarlequinHeartwarming

as well as the series tag: #BlackwellSisters and the previous series is now #BlackwellBrothers

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About Melinda Curtis

Prior to writing romance, award-winning, USA Today Bestseller Melinda Curtis was a junior manager for a Fortune 500 company, which meant when she flew on the private jet she was relegated to the jump seat—otherwise known as the potty. After grabbing her pen (and a parachute) she made the jump to full-time writer. A hybrid author, Melinda has over 60 titles published or sold, including 40 works to Harlequin and five to Grand Central Forever, mostly sweet romance and sweet romantic comedy. One of her books – Dandelion Wishes – was made into a TV movie. She recently came to grips with the fact that she’s an empty nester and a grandma, concepts easier to grasp than movies made from her books or jet-setting on a potty.

(Biography updated: November, 2020)

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Posted Tuesday, 24 November, 2020 by jorielov in Book Review (non-blog tour), Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Contemporary Romance, Equality In Literature, Farm and Ranching on the Frontier, Romance Fiction, Special Needs Children, Western Fiction, Western Romance

An Audiobook Review during #RIPXV | “A Lock of Hair” by A. Rose Pritchett, narrated by Melanie Huesz

Posted Saturday, 12 September, 2020 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Audiobook Review Badge made by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring, knitting and playing solitaire agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions.

Through hosting for Audiobookworm Promotions, I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods. Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue wherein I can also request new digital audiobooks to become added to their OverDrive selections. Aside from OverDrive I also enjoy having Audible & Scribd memberships as my budget allows. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I have been able to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year since 2018.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “A Lock of Hair” via Audiobookworm Promotion who is working with A. Rose Pritchett on this blog tour in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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A Q&A with the author A. Rose Pritchett

I would normally compile questions for an author to respond to whilst hosting a blog tour, however due to the amount of personal stress & adverse medical emergencies in my family recently, I honestly had forgotten to submit questions to Ms Pritchett. Thereby, I chose a selection of the questions she responded to which were based on questions Ms Jess asked herself as I found her replies to fit in-line with topics I would have broached myself if I had had the chance to ask her questions of my own.

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Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.

Pritchett responds: When I first published my book a year ago, I knew I wanted to turn it into an audiobook, but didn’t know how to go about it. It seemed expensive and I already invested so much into editing and publishing. Then, after some research, I discovered that ACX has a royalty-share program, which means that I pay nothing upfront, but just split my royalties with the narrator. I auditioned a few narrators, and ended up choosing Melanie Huesz because she gave each character a unique voice, which I knew was a major challenge. After all, there are characters from Boston, Ireland and the South. Some are young, some are old, and one has Down Syndrome. After a couple months of back-and-forth, we got an audiobook produced.

Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?

Pritchett responds: Mildred’s dog, Nightshade, is inspired by my dog, Isabel. Even though they’re different breeds, Nightshade acts a lot like Isabel. Also, I took a Meyers-Briggs test from Mildred’s POV for the heck of it, and she’s an INFJ like me, so there’s that.

How do you manage to avoid burn-out?
What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?

Pritchett responds: Contrary to popular advice, I don’t write every day. A lot of times, I’ll switch my focus to one of my many, many hobbies. In fact, part of my routine on days that I write is to take a break to draw or cross stitch, just to be away from the screen. I also allow myself to take “lazy days”, which are days (usually Sunday) where I just do nothing at all except watch cheesy movies and play Sims. It gives my mind a rest so that I’m not half-dead the next time I stare at the little blinking line on the blank screen.

What’s next for you?

Pritchett responds: I have a completed draft of my second book set during WW2 that I’m trying to get published, and I’m currently working on my third book, which is a fantasy that I’m really in love with. I’ve also dabbled in screenplay writing, with a pilot for a miniseries inspired by my childhood growing up in the restaurant industry and a script that I’m working on-and-off based on my experiences going from my preppy middle school to my arts high school (total culture shock!). All of my works have the same snarkiness that A Lock of Hair has.

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An Audiobook Review during #RIPXV  | “A Lock of Hair” by A. Rose Pritchett, narrated by Melanie HueszA Lock of Hair
by A. Rose Pritchett
Source: Audiobook via Audiobookworm Promotions
Narrator: Melanie Huesz

Boston, 1846. Eighteen-year-old Mildred Parish, a barber's daughter, practices practical witchcraft using locks of hair obtained from her father's customers. She's very selective about who knows her secret and the kinds of spells she casts. Only people she trusts can know, and she must never cast a spell to harm another person.

One of her father's clients is Theodore O'Brian, an Irish immigrant whose family is fortunate enough to be wealthy. Mildred is head over heels in love with him, but he's destined to be with someone else. One day, a woman named Trinity Hartell comes knocking on Mildred's door. She has a vendetta against an entire family and wants Mildred to cast a death spell on them. The family? The O'Brians, including Theodore. Mildred refuses, but Trinity is set on getting what she wants, one way or another.

Mildred now feels she must protect the O'Brian family and the man she loves, but she must also protect herself. How can she make sure Trinity is stopped without telling the entire city of Boston that she's a witch?

Genres: Feminist Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Women's Fiction


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B089YD7759

Published by Self Published

on 11th June, 2020

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 6 hours and 7 minutes (unabridged)

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Formats Available: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #AudioReads, #Audiobook and #AudiobookwormPromotions

as well as #HistoricalFiction and/or #HistFic

About A. Rose Pritchett

A. Rose Pritchett

A. Rose Pritchett's writing career started in kindergarten when she daydreamed about being a fairy princess instead of learning subtraction. Her childhood obsession with American Girl turned her into an avid history lover.

At seventeen, she moved from her hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, to Savannah, Georgia, where she earned her BA in writing with a history minor from Georgia Southern University. She continues to live in Savannah, still daydreaming about princesses wearing gorgeous dresses. A LOCK OF HAIR is her debut novel.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 12 September, 2020 by jorielov in 17th Century, African-American History, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Balance of Faith whilst Living, Blog Tour Host, Boston, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Down Syndrome, Equality In Literature, Historical Fiction, History, Indie Author, Self-Published Author, Special Needs Children

Blog Book Tour | “Solstice Shadows” (VanOps Series, Book Two) by Avanti Centrae also featuring the audiobook courtesy of #NetGalley!

Posted Wednesday, 12 August, 2020 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: This is marks my first blog tour I’ve hosted for Random Things Tours as a new book blogger working with them to either review and/or host guest author features on behalf of their authors. I was thankful to join their book blogger team and look forward to joining the tours which are highlighting the stories I actively enjoy reading and discovering.

Earlier this year, in late Winter (February) I joined NetGalley for the first time as they finally announced they were going to be offering full-length audiobooks for reviewers. I was never able to join NetGalley due to having chronic migraines and being unable to read ebooks. I started requesting audiobooks to review as soon as they opened their audiobook catalogue in July, 2020. I am an eclectic reader and thereby, you will see all genres in Fiction explored from both markets of interest: mainstream and INSPY as well as from Major Trade, Indie Publishers & Press and other routes of publication, too. There might be the occasional Non-Fiction title appearing in my NetGalley queue of reviews as well. This marks a new adventure for me seeking stories for review consideration and I look forward to seeing where the stories lead me to venture.

I received a complimentary digital and temporary audiobook copy of “Solstice Shadows” direct from the publisher Thunder Creek Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All audiobooks via NetGalley are able to be heard via the NetGalley Shelf which is why I was thankful to be gifted an android tablet by my parents to celebrate my 7th Blog Birthday on Jorie Loves A Story.

I also received a complimentary ARC copy of “Solstice Shadows” direct from the author Avanti Centrae in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein on either the complimentary ARC edition of this novel nor the NetGalley audiobook edition.

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On how I came to have this in both print and audiobook:

I have chronic migraines and the interesting thing about chronic migraines is how they can sometimes rob you of your short-term memory! In this particular case, I was excited to start requesting audiobooks via NetGalley. I had already confirmed a print copy of this novel was available for review on the blog tour which I celebrated as I knew this won’t always be the case as their not always available to request. I knew this series had a first novel ahead of “Solstice Shadows” and I was hopeful I could have found a copy of the first novel ahead of reading this sequel but my efforts were a bit in vain as I had two severe migraines back to back in mid-to-late July. And, this is around the time NetGalley was starting to offer their audiobooks for review.

I am a new member of NetGalley this year as previously I could not participate as the only editions they offered were ebooks which I cannot read per the aforementioned migraines. As I was browsing the audiobooks available, I noticed the author’s name for this audiobook was the same for an upcoming blog tour except I mistook the names of the titles in the series and ended up requesting the audiobook for “Solstice Shadows” which is the same book I received for review via an ARC for the blog tour. I was a bit mystified about how I made that error and mistake as it was a first for me to confuse the books in a series and which I was receiving for a blog tour. I consider that was owed to the dual migraines and the severity in which they were afflicting me.

However, this became the first audiobook I listened to via NetGalley and was able to review shortly after receiving it and for that I was grateful for the experience. Also, as I have had such a slow shift back into reading this past week – whilst reading “Magnolia Storms” (see also Review) and “Josette” (see also Review), I appreciated having the audiobook to listen to as I was reading the print copy of “Solstice Shadows” as it helped me work through the last fragments of a third migraine which afflicted me this past weekend.

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On why this novel appealled to me to read and listen via the audiobook:

It is a bit of a luxury to have a book in hand whilst I’m listening to an audiobook of the same book – as generally I colour as I’m listening to audiobooks to better help me ‘tune into the narrator’s voice’ however, there are times where I’ve been blessed to have both the book and the audiobook – this particular time round, I wasn’t expecting to have the audiobook which became an unexpected blessing. What drew me into the novel itself though – aside from the fact I overlooked not being able to read or listen to the first novel in the series (as I couldn’t source a copy from either my libraries and/or Scribd until it was too late to listen to “The Lost Power” – which is currently available on audiobook via Scribd) is the fact this is a Contemporary Thriller.

I’ve been reading Technothrillers and Contemporary Thrillers for a long while – in fact, I have the tendency of either reading them and/or seeing them on film or through a tv series. I still remember what it was like to see “Sneakers” for the first time starring Robert Redford (at the time of release!). This has been compared to Indiana Jones and by extension I would believe it might suit audiences of Lara Croft – though for me, Croft is Angelina Jolie’s role as she owned it so dearly well. Plus the only Dr Jones for me is Harrison Ford. Those were the nudges of what the story would be about prior to reading and listening to Solstice Shadows and why I was drawn into the premise.

After reading and hearing Tim Campbell narrate the story I can summarise the book in this way:

As the story begins on the premise of supercomputers and super conductors, a vague memory came back to me about this as I have read and seen other stories which talk about this part of technology. It is intriguing in some ways as it involves quantum computing on a superspeed level of accuracy and computation. Generally I enjoy reading about Quantum Physics, Quantum Mechanics and Supersymmetry – as it applies to AstroPhysics and beyond – however, when it comes to supercomputers and the speed in which information is both processed and assessed and then used by those who are behind the computer(s) themselves leads into a very cunningly thesis on how far afield technology is leading us and how much of ourselves and our privacy might be put into questionable risk therein.

Yet, instead of feeling invested in the pursuit of this technology, I spent my time trying to sort out the characters and the overall scope of the story instead. There are a lot of information dumps in this novel where you feel like there is a reason you’re being shown all of these scenes but they don’t quite interconnect the way I’d had hoped they would. I was left with more questions than answers and somewhere in the mix, I started to lose traction with the overall plot and the reason I first thought this might sound interesting to read.

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Blog Book Tour | “Solstice Shadows” (VanOps Series, Book Two) by Avanti Centrae also featuring the audiobook courtesy of #NetGalley!Solstice Shadows
Subtitle: A VanOps Thriller
by Avanti Centrae
Source: Audiobook Direct from Publisher via NetGalley, Direct from Author via Random Things Tours
Narrator: Tim Campbell

DA VINCI CODE meets TOMB RAIDER in this multi-award-winning thriller series.

A computer-app designer. An encrypted relic. Can she decipher the dangerous code before extremists trigger a high-tech apocalypse?

Software expert Maddy Marshall isn't sure she's ready for a hazardous role in black ops. But when an armed Russian thief makes off with a rare ancient star chart, the aikido black belt has no choice but to join her VanOps boyfriend and twin brother in the pursuit. If her royal Spanish family legends are true, the chart leads to a superconductive treasure trove capable of powering a quantum computer used as the ultimate instrument of global destruction.

Setting off on a mad dash to uncover the secrets of a Mexican archeoastronomy site, she and the VanOps team unearth a clue dating back to biblical times. But as they race across the globe to the Sahara, Turkey, and Egypt, they find themselves only a half-step ahead of sinister assassins.

Before millions die at the hands of an anti-American Russian government, can Maddy crack the secret code?

Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Thriller


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on NetGalley

ISBN: 978-1-7349662-2-0

Published by Thunder Creek Press

on 11th August, 2020

Format: Audiobook | Digital Review Copy (NetGalley), Paperback ARC

Pages: 404

Length: 9 hours and 28 minutes and 25 seconds (unabridged)

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The VanOps Series:

SOLSTICE SHADOWS is the second book in the fast-paced, multi-award-winning VanOps thriller series. If you enjoy smart edge-of-your-seat suspense such as James Rollins THE LAST ODYSSEY, the Sean Wyatt series by Ernest Dempsey, the NOWHERE MAN by Gregg Hurwitz, ORIGIN by Dan Brown, Steve Berry’s Cotton Malone series, the Atlee Pine series by David Baldacci, or THE ORACLE by Clive Cussler, you’ll stay up late turning the pages of Avanti Centrae’s high-stakes novel.

VANOPS: THE LOST POWER was an instant Barnes and Noble best seller. A rare multi-award-winning novel, it took home a genre grand prize blue ribbon at the 2017 Chanticleer International Book Awards, an Honorable Mention at the 2018 Hollywood Book Festival, and a shiny bronze medal at the 2019 Wishing Shelf Book Awards.

The Lost Power (book one)

Solstice Shadows (book two)

Published by: Thunder Creek Press

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #Contemporary #Thriller as well as #VanOps and #SolsticeShadows

About Avanti Centrae

Avanti Centrae

International award-winning author who blends intrigue, history, science, and mystery into non-stop action thrillers.

Avanti Centrae is the author of the international multi-award-winning VANOPS thriller series. An instant #1 Barnes and Noble Nook bestseller, THE LOST POWER took home a genre grand prize ribbon at the Chanticleer International Book Awards, a shiny bronze medal at the Wishing Shelf Awards, and an Honorable Mention at the Hollywood Book Festival. Her father served as a U.S. marine corporal in Okinawa, gathering military intelligence during the first decade after the Korean War. Her work has been compared to that of James Rollins, Steve Berry, Dan Brown, and Clive Cussler. She resides in Northern California with her family and German shepherds.

Visit the author's website - First six chapters FREE!
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Posted Wednesday, 12 August, 2020 by jorielov in 21st Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Adoption, ARC | Galley Copy, Audiobook, Blog Tour Host, Book Spotlight, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, Brothers and Sisters, Contemporary Thriller, Content Note, Equality In Literature, Espionage, Fly in the Ointment, Foster Care, Indie Author, Men's Fiction, Modern Day, Motherhood | Parenthood, Random Things Tours, Siblings, Spy Fiction, Vulgarity in Literature