Roses & Thorns

Roses & Thorns

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Once and Forever by M.S. Kaye @MSKosciuszko #Contemporary #Christmas

The Plot:

Eden, a nun, is constantly struggling against her dark past of living on the streets, and her attraction to Trace, an ex-convict farm worker. After a twelve-year separation, Eden is finally reunited with her brother, Thomas, but why hadn’t she reached out to him in all those years? As Eden and Trace grow closer, confessing their pasts to each other, will they be able to resist getting too close?

About the Author:

M.S. Kaye has multiple published books and awards under her Black Belt. A transplant from Ohio, she resides with her husband Corey in Jacksonville, FL, where she does her best not to melt in the sun. Find suspense and the unusual at


As her biography states, M.S. Kaye writes books that are unusual. Her books are also compelling with complicated characters you care about, and they’re pretty much guaranteed to make you cry. Father Thomas teaches at a seminary near Baltimore and mentored both Jonathan and Aiden in the books Once and Once and Again. He never mentioned he had a much-younger sister, partly because he hadn’t heard from her in several years.

Eden’s father and brother disapproved of her boyfriend, so she left home with him. And when she realized just how abusive he was, she left him and lived on the streets—doing whatever it took to survive and fight off the men who thought a lone girl was fair prey. Eventually she finds herself in a small town fighting off two men in an alley, losing consciousness, and waking up in a convent where she finally stays. All’s well, except for one thing. Eden is attracted to a farm worker/handyman. She suspects there’s much more to him than meets the eye. And her life gets even more complicated when her brother, Father Thomas, shows up in town with his friends, Jonathan and Aiden.

As I’ve said, the characters are compelling, the pacing is good, and you’ll probably read this novella in one sitting. Have the tissues ready.

Author Website:
Warnings:  None
Length:  111 Pages
Digital Price:  $2.99

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Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Good Spy Dies Twice by Mark Hosack @markhosack #Suspense #Thriller #PageBurner


Jake Boxer, investigative journalist and host of the conspiratorial news show Bullseye, is in serious trouble. Not only is his soundman murdered by Russian intelligence agents while reporting on a secretive New World Order, but his network cancels his show, leaving Jake humiliated and spiraling into a deep dark depression.

Years later, a condemned murderer, who claims he was abandoned by the CIA, and who starred in an early episode of Bullseye, is finally executed for killing two supposed Soviet spies back in the 1970’s.

Jake Boxer, still trying to piece his life back together, is on his honeymoon in a posh ski resort in the Alaskan mountains when he gets word of the inmate’s execution…and the old killer’s final words: “The good spy dies twice.”

Those five words, seemingly meant for Jake, draw the ex-reporter out of his forced retirement and into a complex and deadly global conspiracy involving his newlywed wife, the secretive New World Order, and the hotel’s hundred or so “guests.”

Everyone is a suspect.

Described as James Bond in a Stephen King novel, The Good Spy Dies Twice is the explosive first book in the Bullseye Series. Part spy thriller, part whodunit, this fast-paced novel introduces an exciting new hero, the intrepid, conspiratorial journalist, Jake Boxer.

About the Author:

Mark Hosack is the author of The Good Spy Dies Twice (Book 1: The Bullseye Series), and Identity (Simon & Schuster). He also wrote on the web series Sequestered for Sony Crackle, the screenplay for Give Em Hell, Malone (Thomas Jane, Ving Rhames), and he both wrote and directed the award wining independent film Pale Blue Moon. Mark lives in Los Angeles with his wife and a brood of gremlins who insist on calling him Dad.

Sign up for Mark’s newsletter at: Follow Mark on Twitter @markhosack or find him on Facebook -


The Good Spy Dies Twice was a pretty good read. At times it was difficult to tell what was real and what Jack Boxer was hallucinating, but as he followed the bodies and the clues uncovering a conspiracy that reached back to the 1970s, it was difficult to tell the good guys from the bad. He wasn’t even sure he could trust his bride. After all, she’d been in love with his soundman who was killed in Russia. Why had she chosen a remote mountain in Alaska that had ties to the Cold War? Why did she insist on skiing a double black-diamond trail knowing he wasn’t that good? Where did she disappear to the rest of the day?

When Jack was injured in a ski-lift accident, I found it somewhat difficult to believe some of the feats he mastered with a broken back. I was amazed he didn’t manage to become at least a paraplegic. But then, I guess it depends on the type of fracture the vertebrae sustained, and he didn’t get up until after a surgeon removed the splinters from his spine. Still, even popping pills and fighting the pain strained a bit of my credibility.

At any rate, if you’re looking for a rather eerie thriller, The Good Spy Dies Twice is it.

Author Website:
Heat Rating:  R
Length:  336 Pages
Print:  $15.95
Digital:  $4.99
Hardcover:  $29.95

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Sunday, December 11, 2016

My Bad Boy Summer by Ann Herrick @ann_herrick #YA #Romance #Adolescence


Why do good girls fall for bad boys?

17-year-old Vija Skalbe wants to be an all-American girl—no matter how hard her parents try to impose their strict Latvian standards on her. She feels unsure of herself with one foot in each country.

Then Nolan, a folksinger, steals her heart at a coffeehouse. When Nolan stops at their table, it’s Vija’s friend, Caprice, who does all the talking. But it is Vija who gets his phone number—and later the back seat of his motorcycle. Soon she is cruising from one adventure to another, dizzy with joy, her new-found freedom and the excitement of being with the kind of guy who is a challenge.

However, when her father has a heart attack, Vija must take over running the family lawn-care business. She feels overwhelmed until sweet brainiac Joel volunteers to help. He shares the workload and lifts her spirits with his humor. But it is Nolan who fills her heart.

It doesn’t matter that Nolan wants everything his way. Or that he’s constantly eyeing other girls. Or that he can be pouty and punitive. Or that he says she’s seeing things all wrong. Until it does matter. But Vija’s in so deep. Will she deal with Nolan’s controlling tactics, or is she too far under his spell? Or will Nolan give up his bad boy ways for her?

About the Author:

Award-winning author Ann Herrick grew up in Connecticut, where she graduated from The Morgan School and Quinnipiac University. Her books have received the ALA Recommended Book for Reluctant Readers Award, the IRA/CBC Children’s Choice Award and EPPIE Young Adult Finalist Award.

The vast majority of Ann’s books are HFN (Happily For Now, with the possibility of Happily Ever After. The characters are in their teens, after all, so Ever After would be a *really* long time.) Two books have positive endings, but not the standard HFN or HEA, but with those possibilities if the reader reads very carefully between the lines at the end of the story.

She now lives in Oregon with her husband, who was her high-school sweetheart. Their daughter is grown, married and gainfully employed, and has given them their only grand-dog, Puff, a bloodhound-rottweiller-beagle mix, and six grand-kitties. While Ann misses the East Coast, especially houses built before 1900, she enjoys the green valleys, fresh air and low humidity in Eugene, Oregon.


Maybe it’s because I candy-striped when I was in high school and had a patient my age in a body cast from a murder-cycle accident. Maybe it’s because I was terrified of my mother and of heights, so climbing out a bedroom window and running out to meet my friends wasn’t an option. Besides, there was nothing out there to break my fall from the second floor.

But all I could think about while I read this book was, “That girl needs to be grounded.” And, “Vija’s in an abusive relationship with that Nolan kid. She needs to get away from him. Why can’t she see how much Joel really cares about her?” Am I really that far over the hill? Although, at seventeen and even thirty I admit I was pretty desperate for affection and allowed myself to be used. So maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on Vija.

The fact that I had such a visceral reaction to the characters shows how real they were. And I did keep reading. But Vija really should have been grounded. And I guess I am getting too old for YA books.

Author Website:
Heat Rating:  PG
Length:  151 Pages
Digital Price:  $2.99

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