Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Book Round-Up. Christmas Eve is ten days away and many of you are scrambling to find the perfect gift and/or stocking stuffer. When asked, I always recommend a book. The following are the best books we’ve read in 2018. We highly recommend the following:
Betting on Cinderella by Petie McCarty
Garrett Tucker inherits his grandfather's casino empire and steps into the reclusive billionaire's shoes as the "Prince of Vegas." His first act is to buy a bankrupt casino in Biloxi. When he discovers embezzling in his new operation, Garrett goes undercover. His prime suspect is the new finance supervisor—the spitfire brunette who stole his heart at first sight. Andi Ryan moves to Biloxi to care for her godmother and takes a job as finance supervisor for the renovated Bayou Princess casino. She discovers someone is skimming from the till and starts her own investigation, worried she will be blamed for the theft when the new owner discovers her godmother has a gambling addiction. A rival Vegas competitor has sent a spy in to ruin the Bayou Princess, and Garrett and Andi are forced to work together to prove her innocence and discover the identity of their casino spy.
When the Right One Comes Along by Livia Quinn
Love happens when you least expect it or want it. A former Army Ranger and CEO finds himself drawn to the woman of his dreams but an impulsive fling puts his mission and their relationship in danger. Former international model and photographer Lana Calloway is finally headed home, after attending the DC romance convention to find the perfect model, the “one” whose face and body could make her new business venture a success. She finds “Alex”, an unwilling and unlikely candidate. Turns out his appearance was a fluke, but the Calloways have a history of getting their man, or woman, and she doesn't intend to be the exception.
Her prospect is in DC to meet with Congress about a huge veterans project; in other words, he’s got higher priorities. It will take strategic measures to convince him that her goals could benefit his mission of making life better for wounded veterans and oh, by the way, that they are meant to be.
Escape From Behruz by Judy Meadows
Rashid will help Olivia and the baby she’s been caring for escape the violence in Behruz, but he must guard his heart. He can’t risk being hurt by her again. Olivia has her own reasons for keeping her distance from Rashid. If Rashid learns that the baby is actually hers—and his—the sultan of Behruz will make sure she loses everything that matters to her. Their escape involves traveling with a group of nomads across the mountains into Iran. As they trek together by day and sleep beside each other in a nomad tent at night, the attraction that has always drawn them to each other grows ever stronger, Can Olivia survive the trip without revealing her secrets and without losing her heart to Rashid once again?
The Ghost Chronicles 2 by Marlo Berliner
**If you love ghost stories and the paranormal, then THE GHOST CHRONICLES series is the perfect new read for you!** What's there to fear if you're already dead?
Michael and Sarah now know for certain, there is a destination after death.
They also know they better find their way out of the afterlife fast, before the devil claims Michael's soul.
What they don't know?
Before they can get to heaven...
they may just have to go through hell. *Inspired by the legend of a haunting at the famous Angel of the Sea bed and breakfast in Cape May, NJ. Perfect for fans of Twilight and the 90's movie Ghost*
The Cauldron Stirred (Guardians of Erin, #1) by Judith Sterling
Ashling Donoghue never dreamed moving to Ireland would rock her perception of reality and plunge her into a mystery that brings legend to life. At seventeen, she’s never had a boyfriend, but she feels an immediate connection to Aengus Breasal, the son of the wealthy Irishman who’s invited her family to stay at his Killarney estate. For the first time in her life, a guy she likes seems attracted to her. But Aengus is secretive, with good reason. He and his family are the Tuatha Dé Danann, ageless, mythical guardians adept at shifting between this reality and the magical dimension known as the Otherworld. Evil forces from that world threaten the Breasals, the Donoghues, and all of Ireland. Ashling must open her heart, face her fears, and embrace a destiny greater than she could ever have imagined.
Spirit Talk by Colleen Hein
In 1985, Fiona is a young woman from the suburbs of Chicago on the doorstep of the tidy life her parents planned for her: college, career, then hopefully marriage and children. Never mind the dead relatives who speak in Fiona’s ear. Never mind Fiona’s vivid dreams which then play out in real life. They are not part of the plan. When a series of misfortunes interrupts Fiona’s fate, she finds herself living with her grandmother in a remote town in northern Minnesota. Grandma Mary has been shunned by Fiona’s parents due to her profession: fortune-teller and medium. As Fiona begins to learn her grandmother’s trade, she is finally allowed to embrace and explore the beautiful gift her parents tried to deny her. And speaking of denial, Fiona falls for the one man in town who is off-limits. As her psychic abilities unfold, so does her heart. But is it safe for Fiona to open metaphysical and emotional doors? Probably not, but Fiona discovers she has more courage than she knew.
Path of the Traitors (Legends of Windemere) by Charles E. Yallowitz
Hated and distrusted, Queen Trinity must leave the shadows and reach for redemption. With their final battle on the horizon, the champions are faced with a long-lost piece of the prophecy. Unable to search for the crests that are rumored to be the key to survival, they must turn to a band of their former enemies for help. Sinister desires and hopes for redemption collide as Queen Trinity of the Chaos Elves leads the hunt and struggles to keep her companions on the path of heroism. Monsters, traps, mysteries, and their own pasts will rise up to stand in the way of these people who have spent their entire lives committing sins. Throughout it all, another old enemy is lurking in the shadows and determined to claim her own delicious prize. By the end of their journey, those who survive will learn that being a hero is more than simply stepping into the light.
Kitchen Imps by A. L. Butcher
Meet the Kitchen Imps - mischievous creatures who lurk behind the cupboard, and under the fridge.
Where do all the missing socks go? Find out with The Joy of Socks.
Learn the mysteries of the Secret Kitchen and gaze upon a rather familiar world with Free Will.
Dare you risk the king's wrath when you venture into the House of Treasure?
Short fantasy/fairy tales for readers of all ages. (Contains dark humour and some moderate mischief).
Finalist in the 2018 NN Light Book Awards
Escape From Samsara: A Dark Comedy Fantasy Adventure (Prophecy Allocation Book 1) by Nicky Blue
A comedy about a time travelling gardener, guaranteed to make you wet your plants!
"This book is HILARIOUS. If you’re looking for some humor and a fast read, definitely pick this up." Barry's been patient, but after twenty-seven years of trimming hedges for people he hates, he's had enough. All he wants to do is to find his missing father and to discover his inner ninja. But life’s not done with throwing him curveballs.
A fatal mistake catapults Barry into the adventure of a lifetime. With talking hedges, samurai ghosts, meddling psychotherapists, and an inexplicably non-linear time pattern conspiring against him, Barry must do battle to save his hide, unleash the ninja within, and rescue his father from an ancient army, a dark sorcerer and a raging inferno.
Perfect reading for fans of Tom Holt, Terry Pratchett, Robert Rankin, Christopher Moore or Douglas Adams. What is the mysterious Prophecy Allocation Department? Where is The Before and After? Even more importantly, Will Barry’s underwear hold out until he has saved the day?
Earl of Sunderland (Wicked Earls' Club #4) by Aubrey Wynne
He’s inherited the title of rake. She hides behind her independence... Fate accepts the challenge. Grace Beaumont has seen what love can do to a woman. Her mother sacrificed her life to produce the coveted son and heir. A devastated father and newborn brother force her to take on the role of Lady Boldon at the age of fifteen. But Grace finds solace in the freedom and power of her new status. Christopher Roker made a name for himself in the military. The rigor and pragmatism of the army suits him. When a tragic accident heaves Kit into a role he never wanted or expected, his world collides with another type of duty. Returning to England and his newfound responsibilities, the Wicked Earls’ Club becomes a refuge from the glitter and malice of London society but cannot ease his emptiness. Needing an escape from his late brother’s memory and reputation, Kit visits the family estate for the summer. Lady Grace, a beauty visiting from a neighboring estate, becomes a welcome distraction. When the chance to return to the military becomes a valid possibility, the earl finds himself wavering between his old life and the lure of an exceptional—and unwilling—woman.
Shadow of the Swan by Judith Sterling
Lady Constance de Bret was determined to be a nun, until shadows from the past eclipsed her present. Marriage is the safest option, but she insists on a spiritual union, in which physical intimacy is forbidden. Not so easy with a bridegroom who wields unparalleled charm! But a long-buried secret could taint his affection and cloak her in shadow forever. Back from the Crusades, Sir Robert le Donjon craves a home of his own and children to inherit it. From the moment he meets Constance, he feels a mysterious bond between them. When she’s threatened, he vows to protect her and agrees to the spiritual marriage, with the hope of one day persuading her to enjoy a “real” one. She captivates him but opens old wounds and challenges everything he thought he believed. Two souls in need of healing. Two hearts destined to beat as one.
When the Marquess Returns by Alanna Lucas
A Marquess in Waiting and the Cursed Heiress… The ton is abuzz and mamas are lining up their daughters; identical twins Maximus and Lucius St. Albans are making their entry into society. But they’re not just eligible―they’re the missing grandsons of the Duke of Warrington, stolen as infants. However, Maximus doesn’t relish the battle with his cocky, reprobate brother to be the next Marquess. And he has no time for the simpering misses now vying for his attention. Only Miss Sabina Teverton has his interest. She was resigned to life as a spinster but from the moment Sabina meets Lord Maximus, her heart is torn. She dreams of a match with him―but how can that be when she’s been branded as cursed…and she knows secrets of that night long ago when Maximus and his twin were snatched from their cradles?
Stone Circle by Kate Murdoch
Is the Ability to Read Minds a Blessing or a Curse? When Antonius’s father dies, he must work to support his family. He finds employment as a servant in the Palazzo Ducal, home of Conte Valperga. Sixteenth-century Pesaro is a society governed by status and Antonius has limited opportunities. When a competition is announced, Antonius seizes his chance. The winner will be apprenticed to the town seer. Antonius shares first place with his employer’s son. The two men compete for their mentor’s approval. As their knowledge of magic and alchemy grows, so does the rivalry and animosity between them. When the love of a beautiful woman is at stake, Antonius must find a way to follow his heart and navigate his future.
Searching for Gertrude by D.E. Haggerty
How far would you go to find the woman you love? Nazi Germany. While growing up in Germany in the 1930s, Rudolf falls in love with the girl next door, Gertrude. He doesn't care what religion Gertrude practices but the Nazis do. When the first antisemitic laws are enacted by the Nazi government, Gertrude's father loses his job at the local university. Unable to find employment in Germany, he accepts a position at Istanbul University and moves the family to Turkey. Eight Years Later. As war rages in Europe, Rudolf arrives in Istanbul to search for Gertrude. With Rudolf finally living in the same city as Gertrude, their reunion should be inevitable, but he can't find her. During his search for Gertrude, he stumbles upon Rosalyn, an American Jew working as a nanny in the city. Upon hearing his heartbreaking story, she immediately agrees to help him search for his lost love. Willing to do anything in their search for Gertrude, they agree to work for a British intelligence officer who promises his assistance, but his demands endanger Rudolf and Rosalyn. As the danger increases and the search for Gertrude stretches on, Rudolf and Rosalyn grow close, but Rudolf gave his heart away long ago.
The Du Lac Prophecy by Mary Anne Yarde
Two Prophesies. Two Noble Households. One Throne.
Distrust and greed threaten to destroy the House of du Lac. Mordred Pendragon strengthens his hold on Brittany and the surrounding kingdoms while Alan, Mordred’s cousin, embarks on a desperate quest to find Arthur’s lost knights. Without the knights and the relics they hold in trust, they cannot defeat Arthur’s only son – but finding the knights is only half of the battle. Convincing them to fight on the side of the Du Lac’s, their sworn enemy, will not be easy.
If Alden, King of Cerniw, cannot bring unity there will be no need for Arthur’s knights. With Budic threatening to invade Alden’s Kingdom, Merton putting love before duty, and Garren disappearing to goodness knows where, what hope does Alden have? If Alden cannot get his House in order, Mordred will destroy them all.
"The Du Lac Prophecy is a future classic, with an ending I'm sure even George R. R. Martin would be proud of." ~ Amazon Reviewer.
The Du Lac Prophecy has a recommended reading age of 16+.
The Road to Armageddon by Clabe Polk
MARK BISHOP OPENED A NEW BANK ACCOUNT...AND DISCOVERED HELL ON EARTH! Mark Bishop has too much month left when his money runs out. Seeking relief, he opened a bank account at new bank, International Financial Services (IFS) He never suspects that he is buying into a strategy for world domination operated by the Antichrist…or that his world is plummeting toward the War of Armageddon. He never suspects he and his family will be homeless, hunted and have an IFS bounty on their heads. He never suspects he and his family will endure starvation, imprisonment, slavery and natural disasters. Or that he will lose all he has has…in order to gain the only thing that counts. Mark and his family are victims. CAN THEY RISE TO BECOME VICTORS? The Road to Armageddon is a compelling story of struggle, survival and redemption during the Great Tribulation.
Gallows Field by Brendan Gerad O'Brien
A Murder Mystery set in Ireland during World War Two.
War is raging in Europe. Ireland is struggling with the consequences – the blockade of vital resources, the rationing of food and fuel, the influx of refugees, the shortage of jobs are causing unrest.
Dublin barman Eamon Foley sees his boss murdered over a missing ledger. Now the killers mistakenly think Foley has the ledger, but he escapes home to Tralee.
Nine months later Foley is in a crowded pub when his brother-in-law Joe McCarthy is shot dead.
In the chaos Foley thinks he sees the Dublin killer rushing through the door. Is this a message? Have they caught up with him at last, looking for the ledger?
Or is it as the local Gardaí suspect – Joe was killed by a jealous husband, given his reputation as a notorious womaniser?
They dismiss Foley’s concerns. With dreadful results.
The next day Foley’s sister Mary is found dead in the town park.
And his son is taken away by a nun in a car.
Game Six by Judy Bruce
Haunted by danger and tragedy, a woman must solve the mystery of her mother's murder then fights to the death against the killer. GAME SIX is a contemporary drama flavored with action, romance, baseball, and Nazis.
When a neighbor’s house explodes, it injures a woman, Brit, and kills her mother. With the help of her autistic friend and a handsome detective, Brit discovers the identity of the murderer. When the killer pursues Brit, she is given the chance to avenge her mother. Is she strong enough to act?
Malthus Revisited (Lindsey McCall #4) by Lin Wilder
Eighteen-year-old Morgan Gardner did not seem like someone who could save the world—unless you took the time to notice her eyes. And most people didn’t.
Morgan’s exceptional gifts were known only to her and to the animals she could understand better than people. For a long time, she told no one about her nightmares. Embarrassed and afraid that no one would believe her, Morgan waited until it was almost too late. Then she confided in her mom’s best friend, Dr. Lindsey McCall.
Lindsey and her husband Rich had worked hard to reestablish their lives and careers after their last harrowing escapade. Relocated in a beautiful California home and newly reunited with Lindsey’s biological daughter LJ, all seemed to be going smoothly—until an enemy from their past returned with as deadly a plan as they could imagine.
The fourth novel in Lin Wilder’s popular Lindsey McCall series is her best one yet—combining the innovative medical research her readers have come to admire with a new and terrifying threat to the world’s population: a biological timebomb. Vivid characters old and new rampage across the continents of Europe, Asia, and the U.S. to stop the contagion, picking up steam as they head toward a life-or-death climax in the remote Qinghai province of China.
Malthus Revisited adds a dystopian element to Wilder’s evolving Lindsey McCall mystery series, and is guaranteed to captivate both her loyal fans and eager newcomers to its last riveting page.
Fire on the Mountain: A Detective Mike Eiser Novel by Clabe Polk
The Havens, a family with roots growing deep in the muck of Southern mountain bootlegging have progressed from selling illicit corn whiskey through marijuana farming to (in the current generation) methamphetamine production. A set of triplets; Jack, a meth producer and wife of Susan, Jason, another meth producer, who hooks Susan to infuriate Jack, and Jake, a local handyman who creates unholy alliances against Jack and Jason…and a father playing each against the other for his own profit, combine to light a fuse destined to blow the Haven family apart. Two murder investigations; one by Detective Mike Eiser, and one by a detective in a neighboring county, coupled with a DEA clandestine drug lab investigation combine to pressure the Havens.
Susan’s in the middle. Is she a victim? Is she a survivor? Or is Susan the flame that ignites the powder keg to blow the Haven family apart?
Centrifugal Force by Lisa J. Lickel
Former lovers attempt to rectify the past to save their children and preserve the fragile world in crisis.
Rachel Michels made a poor choice which resulted in her biggest blessing, her daughter, Maeve. When the father of that blessing returns decades later, she knows he wants something she’d taken from him. Rachel has lived in near seclusion and mistrust, fearful of losing the one person who’s kept her life from coming unglued.
Professor Gervas Friedemann returns to Wisconsin, seeking a missing ancient artifact, along with help for his oldest daughter who is suffering from a rare genetic blood disorder. With the European Union at stake, blackmail could negatively impact a crucial vote in the German Parliament unless Gervas recovers an irreplaceable relic he left in the United States on a lecture tour a lifetime ago. He knows who took the piece of history he once flaunted—the woman who had stolen his soul. He only hopes she still has the ring
Gray’s Promise by Anni Fife
Zoey Morgan seems to have it all as a successful surgeon in Boston. However, perfection lies only on the surface. Plagued by nightmares and amnesia from a tragedy that ripped her family from her fourteen years ago, she finds the courage to reach out to the only man who can make her feel safe. She’s buried the memory of their love, but her heart—and her body—responds to the ex-marine in ways that are all too familiar. Grayson “Gray” Walker’s heart shattered when Zoey chose another man over him. Since then, he’s built an impenetrable wall around his emotions. But from the moment she implodes back into his life, her vulnerability breaches his defenses. His skills as an elite member of the King Security team cannot shield him from the devastation of learning he might have left Zoey high and dry when she needed him most. Now, Gray must navigate the tripwire of helping her heal while protecting himself from being hurt again. As the embers of their potent love reignite, an old threat awakens, leading to greater danger than ever before.
Smoke and Mirrors (Outbreak Task Force Book 2) by Julie Rowe
Someone scratched a death threat in the paint of CDC nurse Kini Kerek’s rental car. She’s in Utah researching Hantavirus, but damaging rumors about the CDC have left residents suspicious and uncooperative. Thank goodness for hot, sexy, former soldier Smoke, a man of few words, who’s assigned to protect and help her navigate the isolated desert town as she races to identify a deadly virus before more people die.
Memories from the combat zone leave ex-Special Forces soldier Lyle Smoke in a constant state of battle readiness, and he finds no solace, even after returning home to Small Blind. When he meets Kini Kerek, he discovers his heart isn’t entirely dead. But, that might not last long, because this outbreak is no mistake, and he’ll need to use all his survival skills gleaned from the military and his Native American upbringing to keep him and the beautiful, but secretive, Kini alive.
Each book in the Outbreak Task Force series is STANDALONE:
*Smoke and Mirrors
The Haunting of Hillwood Farm by Kathryn Knight (featured in Love Under Fire boxed set)
After tragedy strikes, Callie Sinclair is left with a gift she never wanted—the ability to communicate with ghosts. But when a desperate widow begs for her help, she reluctantly agrees to investigate the strange occurrences at Hillwood Farm. She quickly realizes she’s dealing with a dangerous presence beyond anything she’s ever experienced, and something else becomes equally clear—the only other living person in the house, Mrs. Turner’s handsome grandson, thinks she’s a scam artist. While she’d prefer to just ignore him, her heart beats a little faster every time he’s nearby.
Luke Turner doesn’t believe in spirits. He’s moved back to restore the family farm, but living on the property serves a dual purpose—he can watch out for his grandmother. He’s not happy about the sudden appearance of a self-described psychic, or his inexplicable attraction to her. His initial suspicions crumble as evidence points to an actual haunting, but he’s still determined not to fall for Callie—the past has taught him it’s best to avoid relationships.
As Callie is drawn deeper into the mystery, she becomes the target of a vengeful spirit, and Luke can no longer fight his feelings for her. Unable to resist their desire, passion ignites…even as the paranormal activity escalates to a final deadly confrontation.
California Cures!: How the California Stem Cell Program Is Fighting Your Incurable Disease! by Don C Reed
Thirteen years ago, America faced an epidemic of chronic disease: cancer, paralysis, blindness, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes and more.
But California voters said "YES!" to a $3 billion stem cell research program: the awkwardly-named California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). Born into battle, the scrappy little state agency was immediately blocked by three years of anti-science lawsuits — but it defeated them all. And then?
A quiet triumph. With a focused intensity like the Manhattan Project (but for peaceful purposes, not to build a bomb), scientists funded by CIRM took on the challenges: disease and disability called chronic: incurable.
In a series of connected stories, accurate though written to entertain, "California Cures" relates a war: science against disease, with lives on the line. Think what it means for a paralyzed young man to recover the use of his hands, or for a formerly-blind mother to see her teenaged children — for the first time!
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