Friday Book Round-Up's Last Minute Gift Ideas #bookish #books #giftideas #FridayReads

December 14, 2018

 

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:

 

Contemporary Romance

 

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?

 

Paranormal

 

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?


Plenty.


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.

 

Fantasy

 

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?

 

Historical Romance

 

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?

 

Historical Fiction

 

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+.

 

Thriller

 

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?

 

Suspense

 

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

 

Romantic Suspense

 

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:


*Viable Threat


*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.  

 

Nonfiction

 

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!

 

Do you know the "bubble-baby" syndrome? Infants without a proper immune system typically die young; a common cold can kill. But for eighteen babies in a stem cell clinical trial, a different future: they were cured of their disease.

 

No one can predict the pace of science, nor say when cures will come; but California is bringing the fight. The reader will meet the scientists involved, the women and men behind the microscope, and share their struggle.

 

Above all, "California Cures" is a call for action. Washington may argue about the expense of health care (and who will get it), but California works to bring down the mountain of medical debt: stem cell therapies to ease suffering, and save lives.

 

Will California build on success — and invest $5 billion more in stem cell research?

 

"We have the momentum", says author Don C Reed, "We dare not stop short. Chronic disease threatens everyone — we are fighting for your family, and mine!"

 

The Inspiring Tale of Sir Edmund Hillary (Inspiring Tales) by Tory Locker

Sir Edmund Hillary lived a life of adventure. He was a mountaineer, explorer, philanthropist and statesman. When he became the first man to step foot atop of Mt. Everest his life became defined. He inspired us with his courage, persistence, vision and goal setting. This is an amazing tale. For kids aged 1-100.

 

Everyday Enchantments by Maria F. DeBlassie

Micro-meditations and celebratory reflections on actively living as a wild woman. Everyday Enchantments is a love letter to the magic of everyday life, the sweet moments and the profound that we often overlook in our hurry to get from one place to the next. This collection of essays reminds us to escape into the ordinary, find beauty in a simple cup of tea or rereading a beloved novel, and joyfully let our world turn upside down when synchronicity strikes in the form of wrong turns down forgotten lanes and unexpected midnight conversations with the moon. Everyday Enchantments is a study in what it means to live deliciously, joyfully, and magically. And it’s an invitation to conjure your own bliss, because, let’s face it, we could all use a little more magic in our lives. 'An insightful collection of short writings that make you look at the everyday in a whole new light.' Erin Elliot, The Sword of Lumina

 

Young Adult

 

The Stronghold by Sebastian Bendix

 18-year-old Bowie is the envy of his peers; the sharpest eye with a rifle, deadly as a viper in hand-to-hand combat, and set to marry the prettiest girl around. Papa Byrne, leader of the Fort Thunder militia, has high hopes for this rising star, sees him as the heir apparent to their Pacific Northwest island stronghold.

That all changes when a plane crashes into the island. Its sole survivor is Alexis, an exotic young woman who looks nothing like the fair-skinned people back at the Fort. Bowie brings her back to the stronghold, throwing the fearful community into chaos. Even his parents worry about what this will mean…

All fears are confirmed when an impromptu mission leaves a young cadet dead and Bowie wounded. Worse still, Bowie is being blamed for the death, framed by his former mentor and banished by a hung jury. The once favored son of Fort Thunder is about to have his eyes opened to the larger world – if he can live long enough to see it. 

 

Tainted Luck by Cynthia Austin

 Levi Kast was content living his life in the shadows.

He didn’t want much, just his dad ’s attention and the girl of his dreams to notice his existence.

Instead, he got more than he had bargained for.

Taylor James was the new student at Kennedy High. She was eccentric, impulsive, gothic and… dark She always got what she wanted, and what she wanted was Levi Kast. He became her obsession.
Despite Levi’s initial response to retreat from her other world presence, he was eventually drawn to this girl and her obsession of death and ghosts. 

But Taylor had skeletons in her closest, including a dead boyfriend. Before Levi could understand them, he found himself her next victim.

 

The Broken Branches by Becky Villareal

A school project begins a journey for Sarafina Garcia that will change her life forever. In an attempt to gain a scholarship to a prestigious school, she is thrown headfirst into a labyrinth of family history that will confuse and deepen her search.

“Don’t dig up old bones,” was the response Sarafina received from her mother when she asked for help. What was it in the family history that was so horrible that she wouldn’t discuss it? Only by delving into historical records will she solve the lingering mystery of her parentage and mend the broken branches of her childhood one last time. 

 

Erotic Romance

 

In Deep by Stacy Gold

 Sophie Tremore is trying to build a career in the male-dominated world of Ski Patrol. Hard to do when her new boss is her smokin’ hot ex-lover. She hasn’t forgotten how he made her body tingle and her heart pound, although he’s making it a lot easier by treating her like she’s incompetent—when he’s not ignoring her existence altogether.

Emerald Mountain Ski Patrol Director Max Demford has been doing his best to avoid working with his feisty former flame, given his judgment is clouded by those eight mind-blowing weeks two years ago. Ski patrol is dangerous enough, and no way could he handle another person he cares about getting hurt on the mountain.

Forced to work together, their simmering attraction becomes difficult to ignore. When Sophie gets caught in a slide, an adrenaline-filled day could turn into a spectacular night they will never forget—one that could risk both their careers.

 

Playing With Power by Vanessa Liebe

Playing with power can land a girl in all sorts of trouble with her man, as six ladies soon discover. Whether she’s a witch who disobeys the no-magic rule, a fairy making lust cakes, an amateur sorceress casting a spell on her boyfriend, a victim of an enchanted necklace, a revenge fairy messing with a deity, or a pleasure fairy abusing her abilities…

Once they’ve experienced the sensual consequences of playing with their magical powers, can these ladies find their happily for now with a hint of forever? Or have they spoiled their chances?

Publisher’s Note: This steamy anthology contains elements of power exchange.

 

Paranormal Romance (two-way tie for third)

 

Debriefing the Dead by Kerry Blaisdell

 The only thing Hyacinth wants is her life back. Literally. She and her sister were murdered by Demons, leaving her young nephew, Geordi, to his father’s family in the brutal Sicilian Mob. Then Archangel Michael offers her a deal: recapture a powerful rock the Demons stole, and she can live long enough to find Geordi a safe home. Refuse, and she’ll continue up (or down) to the Afterlife.

So, slightly more alive than dead, she heads for Turkey and the Demons, taking Geordi, her mysterious neighbor Jason, and a sexy dead guy only she can see with her. But the hardest part won’t be battling Demons, meeting Satan, or dodging Middle Eastern customs—it will be later, when Geordi is settled, and Michael rips her away again. How can she abandon her nephew? Or can she outwit the Angel of Death himself, and stay with Geordi forever?

 

Haunted Hearts by Kimberly Dean

Does a ghost from the past want the man of her future? 

Callie is thrilled when she inherits a house in the small town of Shadow Valley. The house is old and creaky, but she’s not afraid of hard work. Unfortunately, no matter how many repairs she makes, the strange noises won’t go away. Cold spots appear. Lights flicker. Footsteps sound down the hallway. Her nerves are soon so frayed that she resorts to calling the one person in town she hasn’t been able to get along with, bullheaded police chief Carter Landry. 

Carter doesn’t have time to investigate things that go bump in the night—although, with Callie, the idea is tempting. He’s busy working with the governor’s task force on a major case and dealing with a rash of petty Halloween crimes. He knows that Callie’s house isn’t haunted… no matter what town legend says. 

Still, when her distress call comes in, Carter is quick to respond. He may not believe in ghosts, but someone is intentionally scaring the sassy blonde. And he doesn’t like it. As he investigates, the friction between the two of them ignites into passion… and the strange occurrences in the house subside. But could Carter’s presence be the reason? Callie fears that her sexy cop may be the one the ghost has wanted all along.

 

Oath of a Warrior by Mary Morgan

"You met them in the Order of the Dragon Knights. Now, journey to the realm of the Fae and witness their legends!"

Fenian Warrior, Rory MacGregor’s love conquests are legendary, but he has never spoken of the one mortal female who captured his heart. After his dark secret is finally revealed, he is ordered to return and seal the wounds left open by her death. Yet, he finds the timeline altered and swears an oath to rewrite fate, even if it brings about his own death.

Erina MacIntyre is known for her healing herbs and love charms. Determined to aid others, she refuses to listen to the whispers that call her a witch. When a Highlander steps forth into her path, he ignites a thread of strange familiarity and sparks a flame of desire she is unable to control. 

Can the destiny of two lovers find love once more among the ashes of death and betrayal? Or will history repeat itself, leaving a scorching path of destruction for both mortals and Fae alike?

 

Rogue Dragon Rising, part one (Outside the Veil #1) by T.J. Shaw

 Twenty-three-year-old, Amari Hawke, is thrust into the world of two-soul shifters when she is injured and kidnapped by trackers outside the veil, beyond the safety of her homeland. Unable to remember her past, she trusts no one and relies on instinct to survive. As her awakening approaches, the first time she will transition into her animal, she must evade rogue shifters trying to capture her.

Now free from the King’s Army, powerful dragon lord, Jaxon Blackthorn, seeks a peaceful life. Intent on building his lands into a viable plantation, away from war and bloodshed, he is reluctantly pulled back into the fight when he defends the mysterious shifter with no past against an unseen enemy. 

As evil threatens to destroy the entire realm, can the battle-hardened warrior and coming-of-age noblewoman accept their differences to forge an alliance that will ultimately unite the shifter nations?

Please note: Both Rogue Dragon Rising and the subsequent novel, Sleeping Dragon Stirs, end in cliffhangers. The third book in the serial trilogy, Alpha Dragon Awakes, provides a satisfying conclusion to Jaxon and Amari’s story, but broader story arcs continue into the Outside the Veil series. Sleeping Dragon Stirs has an early November release date and Alpha Dragon Awakes is set to release in late December, 2018.

 

Science Fiction/Science Fiction Romance

 

The IX: Prelude to Sorrow by Andrew P. Weston

 "Prelude to Sorrow," wherein the bitter end determines how all will begin again.

Fight or Die -- again! The task force dispatched to eradicate the Horde menace on far Exordium has failed, and for those left alive, that axiom rings true as never before... Marooned out of time and out of place, survivors lick their wounds and struggle to recover while the fate of the galaxy hangs in the balance. But fate is not yet finished with the Ninth . . . Defenders of humanity mount a last-ditch attempt to end the enemy onslaught once and for all. Will the IX and its allies vanquish their foe, or will their heroic resistance end in defeat? The IX: Prelude to Sorrow, the final installment of the bestselling "The IX" Trilogy

 

Undercurrents in Time (Detours in Time #2) by Pamela Schloesser Canepa

 Time travel took Tabitha and Milt to places they could never have imagined….


Now it seems the very things that cemented their bond will also drive a wedge between them emotionally. Travel to the future, discovery of a long-lost, troubled family member, and an unplanned baby all have taken a toll. Tabitha struggles to accept her new identity as a mother while remaining a strong, independent woman. She longs for a getaway, even a short one, but that getaway puts her on a collision course with danger. 


Milt is busy trying to prevent a horrible future disaster at the hands of an enemy he has not yet met. While concerned, Milt doesn’t even suspect Tabitha’s plans, the very plans that will have her facing Milt’s nemesis.


Tabitha risks it all on a brief escape. How will she handle the unforeseen dangers she faces and make her way back home? How far will Tabitha and Milt go to prevent tragedy?

 

Operation Ark by Pauline Baird Jones (featured in Pets in Space 3 boxed set)

A not quite routine mission to return rescued prisoners to their home worlds turns deadly for unlikely allies, a USMC Sergeant and a raised-by-robots pirate. Is the Sergeant’s unusual pet the wild card that will save or doom them?

 

Women’s Fiction

 

Once Broken by D.M. Hamblin

Jackie Martin develops abandonment issues when her dad dies suddenly when she is ten years old. As a teenager, those abandonment issues translate into an attraction to illusive men, particularly, Tony Salvucci. After a seven year on and off relationship, Jackie becomes pregnant and is immediately abandoned by Tony. As a single mother, Jackie has two objectives: First to raise her daughter with her self-esteem unscathed by her father’s abandonment; Second, to see Tony suffer for his abandonment. Once Broken follows Jackie’s story over a span of forty years. Set in Metrowest Boston, Once Broken is an inspirational story about love, hate, forgiveness vs. revenge and living one's life moving forward, no matter how painful the past.

 

Children’s Fiction

 

The Checkered War: An Infested Story in Three Parts by Aunt Haggis

 A feud is raging between three colonies. Although the Harvesters, Carpenters, and Blood Red Slave Hunters have been fighting since last year, this summer will secure a lasting victory for only one of them. This is the story of war and feast and … no, not famine… more feast! 

And of Willy, our unlikely hero who has been adopted by the Harvesters. He is from the Black-Haired Garden colony and is nothing like them. Small and young, he knows nothing of war. How can he possibly help prepare for the big battle? 

Willy learns that some species are parasites who never work, wandering around feeding off other colonies. Others are thieves and robbers, or killers and cannibals. And it’s always about war. 

Does Willy merely try to survive, or does he figure out how to be a useful member of the colony? Can an insignificant like Willy help to win an unstoppable war?

At the end of each chapter, real science information called “Ant Facts” provide fascinating knowledge about the real lives of different species of ants. 

And they explain why Willy is going to do what Willy is going to do!

 

Mrs. Murray’s Ghost (Piccadilly Street #1) by Emily-Jane Hills Orford

 It's 1967 and Mary’s family has moved into a huge Victorian mansion. She loves her gigantic new house, especially her room. But then she begins to meet the house’s other residents. Mrs. Murray was murdered in Mary’s new house. At first she tries to scare the new residents away, but there seems to be a force connecting the ghost to Mary. Even the stranded Brownies, the little people who live between the walls, feel that connection. When Mary becomes deathly ill, the Brownies and the ghost team up to try to rescue her, only to encounter a witch and her evil dragons and minions. Time is running out. They must rescue Mary from a fever-induced dream world before she is trapped there forever.

 

Hockey Wars by Ben Jackson and Sam Lawrence

When hockey and friendship collide!

 

An old friendship is pushed to its limits as Millie and Cameron face off against each other in a grudge match to finally see who’s got the best hockey team in Dakota.

 

Millie and Cameron grew up as close as any two friends could be, playing together on the same hockey team and hanging out together after school.  However, when the hockey team was split between boys and girls, their friendship began to change, and not for the better.

 

Now, Millie and Cameron are rivals, playing against each other to finally settle who has the best hockey team, boys or girls?

 

Holiday Romance

 

Dante's Gift (A Chicago Christmas #1) by Aubrey Wynne

Kathleen James has put her practical side away for once and looks forward to the perfect romantic evening: an intimate dinner with the man of her dreams—and an engagement ring. She is not prepared to hear that he wants to bring his grandmother back from Italy to live with him.


Dominic Lawrence has planned this marriage proposal for six months. Nothing can go wrong—until his Nonna calls. Now he must interrupt the tenderest night of Katie’s life with the news that another woman will be under their roof.

When Antonia’s sister dies, she finds herself longing to be back in the states. An Italian wartime bride from the ‘40s, she knows how precious love can be. Can her own story of an American soldier and a very special collie once again bring two hearts together at Christmas?

 

A Highland Moon Enchantment by Mary Morgan

Irish warrior, Desmond O’Quinlan has never surrendered his heart to any woman. He has no wish to have his soul tortured by love. Yet, the moment he locks gazes with Ailsa, his fate is destined for an adventure he never fathomed. He may have battled alongside a Dragon Knight, but his greatest challenge will come from within his own heart.

Ailsa MacDuff, a warrior among her clan, has no desire to have a man chain her to a life of obedience. However, that is before she meets Desmond. The temptation to allow this warrior inside her heart is a risk she dares to take, but one that could lead to a future of emptiness and sorrow. 

When betrayal looms from within, the battleground of love is no match for these two warriors. Can the power of a Highland full moon be strong enough to unite or destroy them? 

 

Have you a last-minute stocking stuffer recommendation? Share in the comments below and don’t forget to share using the buttons below.

 

MRS N, Book Addict

 

 

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