You Can't Fight Fate (Locked Hearts)

You Can’t Fight Fate, the third and final installment of The Locked Hearts Series, wraps up an intricate plot creatively woven by author, Marie Drake. Her mixture of imperfect misfits and seemingly flawless characters go through the motions of everyday life, building dreams, surviving traumas, living after loss, and plotting better futures. The series starts with Kimberly and Jordan, but by book three there are multiple key characters with different life interests and motivations. I like the way the author worked in Kimberley’s love of plants and OCD tendencies. I think she represents someone that a lot of us know. The infatuation she has for Mark is a situation that plays out in everyday life. It made me think of the film/self-help book, He’s Just Not that Into You. Just when the reader sees the threads of the novel wrapping up in a more healthy and stable direction, fate blows a disturbing breeze into the story, making you think Jordan and Kimberly will topple under the weight of it all. After reading the first two books, I couldn’t wait to see what Marie Drake had in store for these mistreated youths, now hardworking adults. The author is honest about the characters’ short comings and even paints a picture that’s hard to embrace with empathy, but she brings you back to the beginning with a reminder that every action starts a reaction even in love. You can’t Fight Fate is a compelling story with decisive characters that make this series a real page turner. 

Concordant Vibrancy 4: Inferno is an eclectic collection of stories about everything from forbidden to ordinary love and pushing past the limits of burning desire. I don’t usually read anthologies, but I wanted to read Carol Cassada’s Not Always Like This. I loved this story of true love found, lived, lost and revitalized. It was a realistic expression about a young couple who marries and finds that gardens untended will wilt. Amanda and Daniel have a great life together, but the drudgery of daily toil has crept in like a weed and tangled itself around their romance. Amanda takes a subtle approach to get back on track, but can their love be rekindled, or will months of neglect burn their marriage until everything they cherished is extinguished? I was taken in by the diversity of this fourth book. Harmony Kent’s, The Fireman, was a brilliant building of an inferno that started with a blaze and flashed back to the tender that ignited the conflict in the beginning. Everything from a three-ring circus, Dante’s inferno, or just the day in the life of a guy enjoying a cup of joe, I really enjoyed these enticing short stories that are philosophical, thought provoking literature that stokes the flame of creativity and what ifs in life. I look forward to reading more of this series. Perfect for reading when crunched for time. Very satisfying and worth downloading.

As sweet and perfect as the title of the book, Crowns, Coffee and Cake, by Carol Cassada is the perfect diversion for an afternoon read. This novella has all the delights of a sugarplum fairytale and delivers happily ever after on a golden platter. When Princess Amelia’s tiara starts to feel like a twenty-pound brick on her head, she takes a trip to her grandparent’s place in the country with her best friend Holly. Away from the paparazzi, she takes a breather to visit family and feel a small amount of normalcy. When they step inside a local coffee shop, Amelia and Holly run into a dreamy hunk that interrupts the princess’s ability to think. Sparks fly and Amelia’s interest is more than piqued. Dylan is just the kind of guy Amelia hopes to be with, but how can someone normal deal with all the hype and responsibility that comes with a crown? Leaving out her title and the details of her life, Amelia skips over the princess story and savors the time she has with Dylan. Her grandparent’s sage wisdom and memories of her parents make her want to hold onto the possibilities of a real relationship with a good guy. But what will she do when it’s time to return to reality and palace? It’s not really a lie if you’re trying to protect the man you love, right? When the sash is pulled and all is revealed in a media frenzy, will Dylan have what it takes to be her knight in shining armor? A quick page turner to lift spirits and fuel fantasies. Don’t miss this sweet treat!  Going Home Again by [Carol Cassada] Going Home Again, by Carol Cassada, is a feelgood romance wrapped up in the torn paper of Rachel’s loss, heartache and hardship. Things were perfect until her mother died and left Rachel, her sisters and grandmother struggling with grief. When Rachel goes home for the funeral, her current love, Jeremy, goes MIA. Trying to be the strong sister, she muddles through the weekend reconnecting with her siblings and grandmother. Though Jeremy doesn’t answer her calls or text, she makes it through without his support. Rachel’s career as a fashion photographer at Vogue is important to her, and she feels that she made the best decision by refusing her high school sweetheart’s proposal. The chance to have a different life in The Big Apple is worlds apart from the small town she grew up in. Rachel knows leaving Virginia was the right thing to do, but when former sweetheart, Cole, shows up at the funeral, Rachel is transported back to the memories she left behind. As Rachel’s employer nips at her heels and her assistant tells her about Jeremey’s possible infidelities, Rachel’s ties to New York unravel. An email from Cole opens the door to a connection she thought was long severed, but fate seems to draw them together again. Caught up in her own emotions from the past, will she be swept home again? With all the warmth of a Hallmark Original Movie and characters that blend like Little Women, Carol Cassada weaves a feelgood romance that is a balm to the reader’s heart.

  You Can’t Fence Time is the second book in the Locked Hearts Series, by Marie Drake. This continuation of Jordan and Kimberly’s story is joined by Sam and Mark’s budding romance. As Kimberly sets out to build her own nest, right on top of Jordan’s apartment, she surprises the reader by spreading her wings and flying all on her own. Meeting Sam is a new turn in Kimberly’s life, or is it? Like Kimberly’s high school BFF, Sam is nice and cares about what happens to her new friend and everyone that encompasses her life. Pure of heart and trying to stay independent of love, Sam weaves an exciting but normal life as a glamorous model. Kimberly fails at an acting career but lands a fun job at an agency where Sam and Mark are employed. When Kimberly sets her sites on Mark, things get complicated in this double love triangle. Jordan loves Kimberly, but it’s unrequited. Kimberly is infatuated with Mark, but her sizzle is too much for the man who wants more than just a flash in the pan. I love that the author of this series writes flawed characters. It almost makes you wonder what the “normal” characters might be hiding behind their perfect facades. This is a fast-paced, seductive and dramatic romance with multi-faceted characters that plays out in the environment surrounding the agency. We don’t see as much of Jordan in this book as expected, but the secretive splashes of scenes that the author teases the reader with paint a tantalizing picture of what’s to come. Filled with steamy flirtation and packed with what if moments, You Can’t Fence Time is a thought-provoking novel that made this reader contemplate savoring the present. Next stop, You Can’t Fight Fate. I predict it will be the best yet

All the obsession of Fifty Shades and Twilight, PF pins a romance that will leave you wanting..,

Do you remember your first love, a college crush, that “someone” who made it impossible to think about anything else? In PF Karlin’s Shattered Fate, Belinda Davies has just met the one man she can’t live without. Robert Pennington is everything she’s ever dreamed of and he is Belinda’s first. Strong, handsome, from a family with position, part of a popular fraternity, and in love with her, Robert is the knight in shining armor she’s been dreaming of, but should Belinda heed the warning of others? His family is wealthy and upon meeting them, she feels out of her league. Robert’s ex-girlfriend, Laura, of two years doesn’t go away easy, and a few misunderstandings could lead Belinda astray. Robert says he’s made his decision and is willing to run the gauntlet to have Belinda as his forever. Getting pinned is only the beginning of the commitment he can offer, and before long they are so much more. I would love to tell the twists and turns of this poignant romance, but I don’t want to spoil the depths of the love and loss shared between these soul mates/star crossed lovers. I must say I was surprised and intrigued by the twist at the end. Didn’t see it coming and what a thrill. All the obsession of Fifty Shades and Twilight, PF Karlin pins a romance that will leave you wanting more. Don’t miss this young and in love story that will leave you routing for happily ever after.    

In Marie Drake’s, You Can’t Force Love, Locked Heart Series, Book One, the title is a true testament to the story and a good piece of advice for life. The book starts with Jordan’s story. A wayward teen with a list of hardships in his world, he struggles with a desire he can’t understand or control. Abandoned by his mother, who has recently remarried, Jordan struggles to make a life with his grandfather in a remote cottage in the country. His time with grandpa reveals that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Torn between the revelations of his own sexual desire and the anger and repulsion he feels, he grapples with trying to fit in and not upsetting the older man. When he loses his battle for control, things go awry, and Jordan finds himself in a new living situation. Kimberly is shuffled around in her mother’s toxic world, dragged from one abusive boyfriend’s home to another. Trying to stay safe and afloat, with desires for normalcy, she finally allows herself to fall for the man her mother is sleeping with. When life is turned upside down for her drug addicted mother and the man they live with, Kimberly finds herself living in foster care with a nice family who truly worries about her, but is it too late? When Jorden arrives at the same foster home, the reader has to think they know what will happen, but don’t be so sure. This heart twisted tale of two troubled teens on a road to destruction or redemption without a place in-between is filled with trauma and passions only a professional can understand. I have a degree in social work, so I recognized the writer as someone who either lived a similar experience, knew others who had, and/or was probably a professional somewhere in the mental health system. I think it is great that she has a story to tell and she didn’t make it PC or PG. In, You Can’t Force Love, the characters are good and bad, but the author offers redemption at a price. Empathy for a murderer, charmed by an abuser, seduction for a girl who doesn’t know love. This story addresses serious issues that are realistic, heartbreaking, and make the reader want to understand the psyche of the character’s choices. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

In Exposed, book four, Tip of the Spear Thriller Series, Belle Ami brings the reader to the pinnacle of espionage, love and danger. Iran’s ongoing determination to stockpile weapons of mass destruction, and determination to destroy Israeli and its other enemies, lands Cyrus back in action. When an Iranian diplomat is put on a hit list, a professional assassin is sent to murder the entire family. The diplomat that changed sides against his own regime is silenced, but his daughter, Jazmin Amin, survives the blast. After losing everyone she loves, including her fiancé the night before her wedding, she pushes forward to find Cyrus Hassani, the only man she can trust. Cyrus’s wife, Layla, returns from self-defense training with the IDF to see her beloved daughter and husband, only to be thrust back into the heat of an Iranian threat. Posing as tourists on a vacation in London the couple meets with other Mossad agents in an attempt to help Jazmin recover important information left by her father. At the time of her father’s death, Jazmin’s cousin and his girlfriend are leading a resistance in Tehran against the Iranian government. When the couple’s identity is blown in the coup, Zara and Mustafa are sent in to extract them to safety. These characters with a past, from book three, return to the fray at Aryeh’s request in exchange for a clean slate. Mustafa’s previous life as a terrorist can finally be put behind them, and they can finally live a normal life, but at what price? Zara has a secret, but she’s willing to put things on hold to help the man she loves. Aryeh might have loved Zara in the past, but realizations of what could have been clash with the new prospects of her life and his. Assigned to protect young Jasmin, he attempts to find common ground between them, revealing his past and opening his heart. When Jasmin is captured under his watch and a plan to recover her goes wrong, Aryeh tries to understand what he sees in the fallout. Confused by her relationship with her captor and his own passion to be with her, everything is riding on what happens next. Belle Ami weaves a non-stop action thriller that will keep you guessing. I had the sense of a ticking bomb in the background, which made it hard to put down. With so many characters, government factions, good guys and bad it was surprising and impressive that the author could keep everything in sink. Though it is a series, the author makes the stories from the past clear with seamless clues. Even the bad guys had a story to tell that bent your ear to listen and empathize. All the key elements for success. Romance, intrigue, action, danger and everything riding on the tip of a spear.

I recently saw a great review of, Greenlights, by Matthew McConaughey, just as I was looking for my next Audible. I like McConaughey’s movies, and I have a place in the Austin area, too. So, I thought I’d give it a go – see what this Texas celebrity has to say about his life. At first, it sounded like a self help book, and I worried I had downloaded it too soon. There is a preacher-like intro that had me on the fence about continuing to listen, but I am glad I did. Matthew, at fifty, has a lot to say and an impressive resume of thought provoking philosophies and an abundance of life experience. He’s funny, down to earth, someone who takes dedication to succeeding to a whole different level, but the average Joe can learn something from the stories Matthew tells. Not afraid to laugh at himself or confront his flaws, I found myself appreciating his talents even more than I did in, True Detective, one of my favorites shows to this day. If you don’t like the book in the first 30 min, keep listening! You will laugh, be amused, envious and even impressed by this celebrity memoir. I thoroughly enjoyed this audio, written and narrated by Matthew McConaughey. 

A Murder of Principal, by award winning author, Saralyn Richard, has all the drama, intrigue and suspense needed to pull off this intense, inner-city high school mystery. Lincoln High is struggling with the usual issues surrounding students and faculty, even before the new principal, R.J. Stoker, shakes things up. Gangs, grievances, sexual harassment, and other tensions cause conflicts and rivalries. Stoker makes waves, and his new right-hand assistant struggles to balance the schedule before faculty grievances sink their maiden voyage. Just who has put a target on Stoker’s back? Plenty of characters have motives, but this suspense-filled mystery will keep you guessing who done it until the very end. Lots of clues and a few scattered red herrings will keep you engaged and trying to identify the killer. A Murder of Principal, is a nostalgic page turner that you won’t want to miss.

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May
2021

Latest Blog

You Can’t Fight Fate, Locked Hearts Series, by Marie Drake

You Can’t Fight Fate, the third and final installment of The Locked Hearts Series, wraps up an intricate plot creatively woven by author, Marie Drake. Her mixture of imperfect misfits and seemingly flawless characters go through the motions of...

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