Book Review: In Time

 

Title: In Time
Author: Christine Locke
Release Date: December 2012
Length: 161 pages
Series?: The Legacy #2
Genre: YA Paranormal/Mystery
Format: e-book
Source: author

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Synopsis

“Remember only this: magic must be used. Magic grows over time, and its time must not be wasted. Never forget that.” So warns Anna, the last witch of the Mallace family line.

Carin inherits Mallace Mansion only to learn her life there will not be what she expected. Magic grows, time slips, and Carin meets an enemy she never knew she had.

Carin’s isolation grows as Griffin pulls away and darkness draws near. Then, Carin learns a secret Anne Mallace never had time to tell her.

At Mallace Mansion, ghosts may haunt young Carin, but she’s learned to deal with them. To survive the Legacy, Carin finds she must make peace with her past. Trouble is, she’s not sure she can do it.

Review

This is the second installment of the Legacy Series. My review of the first book, Open Door, is available here.

I said the first book strung readers along and left us hanging. Well, Locke has done it again! Except this time, I had absolutely no idea where this mysterious  train of a book was headed.

Carin is now fully recognized as the heir to Mallace Mansion, and sees to its every need. Anne’s ghost is no longer the old, guiding light she was for Carin in the first book. Now she has reverted to a much younger image of herself, and is not quite the same as readers saw her in the first book.

This book largely follow’s Carin’s depression and reliving of her attack during the summer, which took place in the first book (Open Door). It was really hard for me to get through reading the first 30% or so of the book because it was all about Carin fearing her attack, having nightmares, thinking about her attack, being scared and sad, and using her anchor to Mallace Mansion as a crutch not to leave (even to go into town for needed items) even more.

I don’t know how I didn’t catch this in the first book, given how sinister it turned out to be with the unknowns of the Legacy and crazy Aunt Helen, but Mallace Mansion….Mallace…bad…evil…harm…Hmmmmm. Just a thought to keep in mind.

Carin’s mother Amanda has officially moved to town, taken up residence and is using her true name and identity: Amanda Mallace. She has bought a quaint little home and is no longer on the run from the Legacy.

Carin has her Protector, Griffin, as part of the fulfillment of the Legacy…until he tells her he is going to be away for a while, with little explanation or information.

Meanwhile, Carin has tutors come to the mansion to continue her education, and she finds two very unexpected house guests at Mallace Mansion. Anne recommends a certain journal to Carin to retrieve. Carin ignores Anne’s suggestion, and takes the journal of a notoriously infamous Legacy holder who was quite pessimistic and in my opinion just a downright prissy, dramatic brat. Reading Leticia’s journal starts to have funny effects on Carin’s thoughts about her relationships – and actually has a negative impact on her actions towards Griffin.

Carin’s first house guest is another Legacy holder – sent from another time, another country. This visitor has learned that Carin has fought the darkness – an evil thing that can take any form that has haunted Legacies – trying to control and destroy and create chaos. Carin has a few run-ins with the darkness. She has to find a way to save Mallace Mansion and its power from the darkness. She uses Anne and her new visitor as resources…as well as her second visitor, who has actually been a resident of Mallace Mansion since its inception. This resident, though, is not what she seems to be. Her motives are not pure, and she has a very ugly side that Carin soon sees.

I don’t feel that Carin had as much character growth in this installment as she did in the first, but readers do see more aspects of her life: her relationship with Griffin, her relationships with her mother, and new relationships with her new guests.

I enjoyed learning about the history of the Legacy in the first book, and more history was revealed in this book, but I will say that this book was a little harder to follow. I felt there was a jump somewhere in the storyline that was not a smooth transition. I felt like I was missing a chapter out of the book. 

About the Author

7da9d3fa0efb0ad8956ee0.L._V396534113_SY470_Christine Locke was born in California and grew up in various locations around the United States as a Navy brat. She was the oldest of six children and today is mother and step-mother to seven. She attended Texas A&M University, receiving her Master of Arts degree in Comparative Literature in 1995.

Christine has worked as a writing instructor, a salesperson, and an award-winning retail manager and management trainer, among other things. Today, she co-ordinates makeovers for a local magazine. She and her husband, Mike, live with their children, two dogs, and two cats in Arkansas.

For years, Christine has been writing novels around her work and family life. Open Door is her first published novel.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Book Review: Open Door

15743009Title: Open Door
Author: Christine Locke
Release Date: June 2012
Length: 147 pages
Series?: The Legacy #1
Genre: YA Paranormal/Mystery
Format: e-book
Source: author

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis

Even the most eerie haunting is just a secret, living in a darkened room with open doors, more shunned than unknown. All around it know it well yet wish to live as if they did not. Children whisper, adults hush, and legends grow. Everyone grows up acquainted, everyone learns to hide, and nothing blasts through the hypocrisy like the entrance of an outsider—unless it is the arrival of two of them. 

Carin White, 16 and in need of a summer job, agrees to help Aunt Helen move into her inherited property, Mallace Estate. In the mansion’s sprawling attic, Carin finds a large scrapbook with a familiar photograph. The first step on a perilous journey through dark secrets, meandering passageways, hidden chambers and murderous intentions, Carin’s discovery unveils her personal destiny and its required sacrifices. Mid-way through the story, a terrifying event compels Carin to make choices about who she is and how she will allow her world to see her. 

This novel does not involve vampires, werewolves, or fallen angels; it is a story about magic. An ancient but contained force enlivens Mallace Mansion, so the gothic house is a character in the story. The mansion’s life requires food, so it does occasionally consume a visitor. But such activity is kept to a minimum when a powerful woman controls the Legacy. Is Carin strong enough? Read The Legacy Series and find out.

Review

I have never quite encountered a book like this. Locke leaves much to the imagination, and let’s face it: she strings along her readers! I had no idea where Carin was headed, or what lay ahead for her. Her book is as much a mystery as Carin’s life has been up to this point.

I couldn’t ever quite figure out how old Carin was from reading the novel, but I learned quickly that even though she was shipped off to work for her “aunt” for the summer at her aunt’s newly-inherited mansion and grounds, she strictly followed her mothers rules. Indeed, she shares a moment in her past as a young child when she was hungry and ate a candy bar in the hotel room she shared with her mom, for which she earned a stringent lashing and had to purchase the candy bar out of her pitiful piggy bank.

I immensely enjoyed Anne Mallace when she showed up, and things started falling into place. More of the picture was revealed, but Locke still kept  me on the hook. In the end, Carin is faced with a surprising foe. I was shocked; I never saw it coming.

I enjoyed reading about the history of the legacy, and all of the intricacies of it and Mallace Mansion. I also grew fond of Carin as the book progressed. She is a sweet, kind soul, but quickly shows she’s smart as a whip and doesn’t let others cow her or two-time her. She grew into a nice little character, in my opinion.

This is a rather quick read, and I recommend giving this mysterious Legacy a chance.

About the Author

7da9d3fa0efb0ad8956ee0.L._V396534113_SY470_Christine Locke was born in California and grew up in various locations around the United States as a Navy brat. She was the oldest of six children and today is mother and step-mother to seven. She attended Texas A&M University, receiving her Master of Arts degree in Comparative Literature in 1995.

Christine has worked as a writing instructor, a salesperson, and an award-winning retail manager and management trainer, among other things. Today, she co-ordinates makeovers for a local magazine. She and her husband, Mike, live with their children, two dogs, and two cats in Arkansas.

For years, Christine has been writing novels around her work and family life. Open Door is her first published novel.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Book Review: Valley of Vice

Title: Valley of Vice
Author: Steve Garcia
Publisher: Diversion Books
Release Date: August 2013
Length: 287 pages (paperback)
Series?: no?
Genre: Crime
Format: e-book
Source: agent

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Synopsis

In Hollywood, it’s not just dreams that are easily snuffed out.

When a burned body is found on a studio lot, Detective Salvador Reyes and his partner Detective Philippa Wallace are on the scene. The mystery deepens when they identify the body as a felon named Bartholomew Pearl who should have been in jail for shooting a fellow detective. Then a city official, Theodor Simons, is found dead of an apparent suicide. 

Convinced the deaths are connected, and not everything is what it appears, Reyes and Wallace investigate. Their inquiries take a dangerous turn, pointing to someone in the police department itself. Soon it’s hard to know who is an enemy, and who is a friend.

Review

WOW. I don’t know if I can write a review that does this book justice. Steve Garcia has written an amazing novel that will keep you on your toes. True, there’s not much in terms of character development because it is a crime novel, but the unraveling of the cases that Wallace and Reyes (and the rest of their comrades in blue) will leave you turning page after page after page to discover who is behind all of the murders.

Wallace’s husband works for the FID, and he has become extremely stressed from his work. Finally, one night he tells his wife that they are working on an investigation in two specific PD’s where they think there is a dirty cop. Wallace keeps this thought close, but as things start unraveling it becomes harder and harder to recognize who is truly the good guy, and who is out for himself. I thought several times I knew who the dirty cop was, but I was proven wrong. Very wrong. And this dirty cop? He’s also a raging psycho, but somehow keeps it under wraps while on duty.

Wallace and Reyes are thorough in their investigations into several murders. In fact, they are the first to determine that the first murder and suicide are linked – and that they were both indeed homicide cases. Since FID has stepped in and taken over, there’s little for Wallace and Reyes to actually investigate without overstepping their bounds, so they find ways around it…and as the murders start piling up, it complicates the investigations and adds more and more questions to the mix. All they need is to find a man named Duke, who’s name was left in the councilman’s schedule book. Looking for Duke seems to be a wild goose chase with no leads.

Meanwhile, another pair of partners are sent to work with vice on a male prostitution sting. It’s not the best of assignments, but it’s their job. While working and monitoring the streets, another murder happens just down the street at an infamous hotel known to benefit from the local prostitution.

The officer who went undercover as a male prostitute is the cop who actually ends up identifying the psycho, dirty cop after the FID has essentially given up their investigation and turned over their findings to Wallace and Reyes…but they may just be too late to stop the final hit on his list.

I don’t know what it’s like to be a cop, or work in that environment, but I do believe that Gracia has strongly captured this in his novel. The relationships between partners, and others in their workforce, seems to be spot-on and adds to each character and gives authenticity to the novel as a whole.

I would definitely recommend this read! It is a very well-spun and slightly chilling read. I will admit: I read the entire novel in two settings, it was that good.

Book Review: Public Affairs

Title: Public Affairs
Author: Cassandra Carr
Publisher: C-Squared Publishing
Release Date: January 2014
Length: 166 pages
Series?: no
Genre: Romance/Erotica
Format: e-book
Source: Reading Group at Back Cover Promotions

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Synopsis

Nate O’Halloran is a PR superstar, an expert in crisis management for his image-conscious celebrity clients. When his college roommate, now a hospital director in Buffalo, calls to beg for his help– a cancer researcher on staff has disappeared with millions of dollars’ worth of government research funds– Nate agrees to help right away, though this situation is pretty small potatoes for him.

Val Chase, the hospital’s PR director, is none too thrilled when Nate shows up; does it mean her boss doesn’t trust her to handle this mess herself? Against her better judgment, Val decides she and Nate have to work together to save the hospital’s reputation, though the explosive attraction they feel is making any actual “work” difficult…

Review

I loved the story line of this book. It was great, although I was disappointed with the CCC hospital board’s decision toward the end of the book. It was unfair, but as was pointed out, they needed a scapegoat.

Now, despite the story line, I felt there was too much of a push for the romance/erotica of the relationship between Val and Nate. Like, way too much. Too overdone, to over the top, given that there was little character development of either of them in this novel. Carr has used the story line as a smokescreen for the blatant erotica she dumped in this book. I was caught very off guard by the amount. Yes, the first few episodes were perfectly placed, but then it seemed as if that’s all the book was about, with Val trying to push Nate away with her own issues with casual sex. Every time I flipped a page, Val was throwing up an excuse as to why she and Nate could not be together…and then she’d end up in a steamy session with him right after the words left her lips! I can relate, I understand the battle between morals and desire, but this lady is the epitome of a hypocrite in this sense.

I understood Nate’s character – I know plenty of guys like him – but he came to a realization and went after what he wanted, even with his change of heart…but Val…I just couldn’t buy her character. It was too much, too hard to believe in her. Not authentic.

The other negative I saw with this book was the ending. The story line was long and drug out, given the circumstances, but then all of a sudden it was like BOOM – THE END! The story line just stopped, and then it was the wrap up about Val and Nate.

With a little tweaking here and there, and toning down the overt and out-of-place erotica in this novel, I feel that I would have loved it and raved about it…but I can’t. It did not feel like an authentic read. I would still stay give it a shot for the story line, and I would be interested in other’s opinions.

4475585About the Author

Cassandra Carr is a multi-award winning erotic romance writer with Ellora’s Cave, Sybarite Seductions/Twenty or Less Press, Decadent Publishing, Siren Publishing, and Loose Id. She lives in Cassandra Carr is a multi-award winning romance writer. When not writing she enjoys watching hockey and hanging out online. Cassandra’s books have won numerous “Best Book Of” awards and her novella Unexpected Top was nominated in the E-book Erotic Romance category of RT’s Reviewers’ Choice Awards.

She thinks the best part of being a writer is how she writes about love and sex while most others struggle with daily commutes, micro-managing bosses and cranky co-workers. Her inspiration comes from everywhere, but she’d particularly like to thank the Buffalo Sabres, the hockey team near and dear to her heart.

Find the author: Website |Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Book Review: Through the Portal

Title: Through the Portal
Author: Justin Dennis
Release Date: August 2011
Length: 252 pages
Series?: Through the Portal #1
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Fantasy
Format: e-book
Source: author

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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Synopsis

When Jem and Oliver accidentally fall through a portal to another world just before their first year of high school, they quickly discover that all is not well here. The first person they meet, a creepy old man named Atychis, almost gets them killed by a ferocious, fire-breathing dragon. They’re only narrowly saved when Sierra, a shy farm girl from a nearby town, uses illegal magic to help them escape. Allowed to stay with her family while they try to figure out a way back home, Jem and Oliver begin to learn of magic and the Regime that is oppressing it.

It isn’t until the Regime kills a woman that the three kids realize they have to do something to stop the Regime from taking over completely. After being framed for a crime they didn’t commit and banished from the town, Jem, Oliver, and Sierra take off on an adventure across this strange world in an attempt to defeat the Regime. New creatures and new kinds of magic are around every corner, but so are dangers that could have them wishing they were back safe at home. 

Through the Portal is the first book in a planned trilogy.

Review

I have mixed feelings about this book. What do I mean by that?

This was a difficult book for me to get through. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a wonderful and great story. This book was a very stick-it-to-the-man, defy-the-system type, which little ol’ scrappy me likes, but it was just too slow at the beginning, and about mid-way through it started slacking off again, and then again toward the end. I would fall asleep many nights with my Kindle in my hands, trying to get through a few more pages. The chapters were extraordinarily long for a piece of fiction. Perhaps that contributed to this feeling of “I’m never going to finish this book!”

Now, with that said: this is a book that could be made into the next big blockbuster. I would actually look forward to seeing this story play out on the big screen.

Oliver is a youth from a world of privilege. His parents have money enough, he has a younger sibling that adores him. His family has got it going on. Oliver is strong-willed and outspoken. Bold.

Jem is a troubled boy from the other side of the tracks. His parents died in a skydiving incident when he was a babe, and he has been raised by his ailing and blind grandmother ever since. He is very poor and knows that it wouldn’t matter if he disappeared: his grandmother wouldn’t even notice.  :(  Jem is that cowering kid in the corner, the exact opposite of Oliver.

Growing up, kids weeded out and picked on Jem because of his background. Oliver stood up for him, and they became fast friends. Oliver’s family would take Jem with them on trips, and he became an extension of their family.

This fact, the two main characters being foils of one another, immediately made me imagine all kinds of conflict to play out in this book. Fortunately, nothing compared with what I imagined, and their friendship remained intact.

I don’t know what type of time frame this book covers – it’s not very specific – and that’s something I was interested to know. Oliver and Jem fall through a portal at the bottom of Lake Sammamich (near Seattle) and wash ashore in a new world: Callisto. They are found by Atychis, a former Elder of the Argo region. Atychis is certifiable, and readers truly find out just how much so at the end of the book. They also have a run-in with the Red Dragon.

Jem and Oliver also meet Sierra and her older sister Rimaya, who’s dad is a stringent Regime follower. The Regime, under the power of Veroci, has little by little taken over almost all of Callisto and outlawed magic. And that’s where Jem, Oliver, Sierra, and Rimaya get into trouble.

The Terello family has graciously offered their home to Jem and Oliver, who help out on the farm. The boys are trying to come to grips with this new world, and what exactly is going on. They go to the local cafe to have some fizzies, and BAM! They are on “trial” for a major crime they didn’t commit. They see just how far the Regime will go to maintain control, and they flee.

Growing up in Argo, Sierra has been told all her life of legends: the legend of the Red Dragon, the Phoenix, the world of Kelados, the legend of 1000 Curses. The Regime has structured the world so that citizens remain in the region they were born into. There is no crossing the borders, for they have magnificently implemented the Legend of 1000 Curses: you cross the regional border into another region, you are cursed with 1000 curses, one of which is to grow a third leg. Obviously, Oliver and Jem see right through this ploy.

The three continue on throughout the world of Callisto, which is divided into six regions, pursued by Regime guards, all while trying to develop their magical skills. They come upon a scene that is very familiar to Oliver and Jem: a kid, Farouche, getting picked on by a gang of kids. Farouche turns out to be quiet a little inventor, and follows them in secret. The entire journey, people are constantly making unremarkable comments about Jem’s eyes being blue. It was starting to drive me crazy, because readers don’t find out why until the last quarter of the book.

Along the way, they have to make some serious choices about where they belong. They come face-to-face with Veroci himself after being betrayed by a second Elder, and end up in a land uninhabited by Regime outposts. They come to live a comfortable and safe life in the region of Luria, with an Elder who is honest, and hell-bent on defeating the Regime, but secretive. But the Red Dragon also lurks in the skies of Luria.

Jem and Sierra are a unique pair; she will stick by his side no matter what, even through her fears. Through an unfortunate set of events, Jem becomes convinced that Veroci is hoarding an army of Regime guards in the North Island, a place that is almost inhospitable, even though everyone else remains unconvinced.

The two also learn of a portal that goes to Kelados, and of course go looking for it, and are attacked by the Red Dragon…but Jem notices that the dragon has a rider. They are rescued and nursed back to health, but discover that Jem has a very unique quality about him. Scientists and doctors try again and again unsuccessfully to get him to exhibit the talents of his new quality. The determine he cannot bring these talents to fruitation, but Sierra knows they will. She jumps off the roof to test her theory, which proves correct. After this discovery, they set off for North Island…and encounter the Red Dragon and its rider.

I wish I could talk about the ending, but I can’t. My blabbermouth would give it away, but I will say that it is a fantastic ending! I will say this: Jem shares with Sierra that his parents’ bodies were never found, and I have a feeling they will show up in one of the sequential books.

I was impressed with the transformation of Jem, in particular, in this book. He starts off as only what I can imagine as the Coward of the County, and grows and develops beyond his previous limits. He sheds this outer skin, because before it seemed as if he was riding on Oliver’s coat tails. It would have been an interesting story if Oliver had stayed in Callisto, to see how things would have turned out.

2About the Author

Justin Dennis is from the rainy state of Washington but is going to college in sunny California. Soccer, which he used to play in high school, is his favorite sport, and he has in interest in creative writing, anthropology, and physics. He is a huge tech nerd who is obsessed with the newest and shiniest phones, tablets, and computers.

Writing occupies almost all of his time. The Through the Portal trilogy is his effort to inspire good morals in an entertaining and exciting way. Through fantasy, he believes that important real world lessons can be conveyed effectively.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Book Review: Who You Callin’ Silly? How a Silly Woman Becomes Virtuous

Title: Who You Callin’ Silly? How a Silly Woman Becomes Virtuous
Author: Kimberly R. Lock
Publisher: TriMark Press
Release Date: June 2012
Length: 148 pages
Series?: no
Genre: self-help
Format: e-book
Source: Smith Publicity

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis

First time author Kimberly Lock challenges women to look into the spiritual mirror. A Christian book unlike any other, Lock has written an engaging and thought-provoking bible study about the nature of unconditional love, forgiveness, feminine strength, and power.

As Kimberly Lock states, “There’s no need to be ashamed of past mistakes…The beauty of it all is that Christ accepts us as we are and forgives us. The key is YOU have to be willing to forgive yourself.” By using her personal life and experiences as a prime example, Kimberly Lock encourages women to harness their feminine strength and have power over past silly experiences.

Kimberly Lock guides other women to the path of virtuousness through the three sections of her book titled: All my Single Ladies, “I’s Married Na!”, and Every Woman. Not only does Lock provide an in-depth and thoughtful analysis that can lead any silly woman back on the path to virtuousness, but also she provides interactive and introspective “Virtuous Assessments” for her readers to complete.

Review

I could not get through more than the second chapter of this book, and here’s why: this book is marketed for women of faith – women who shouldn’t necessarily need to read this self-help book. It’s divided into three parts: a section for single ladies, a section for married ladies, and a section for every woman. The book is accompanied with a forward by Eldress Rhonda Cotton.

I invite you to take this self-examination journey with me and experience a narrative so powerful through the Spirit of God that you will forever change the way you view yourself as a woman.

I gave up churches long ago. I do not believe in organized religion in any form any more, and I’ve been to many churches of various denominations. I am, however, spiritual. I do not call myself a Christian, because Christianity is a trumped up word that folks like to use as it pleases them. I have some relatives who claim to be Christians, but their actions are anything but Christ-like. I talk with my 6th graders all the time about what type of people they want to be associated with, and frankly, I do not want to be associated with Christians. I do not have to attend church to worship the Lord. I do not have to attend church to read the Bible. My mother taught me how to do both, and as long as I’ve been alive, she has never but once attended an actual class at the church I grew up in (and only as a last-ditch effort to get me to go back). I can live my life by example without the duality of Christians.

Jesus made me credible, so there you have it!

Now, with that said, Kim Lock’s book dripped religion. Yes, she has a strong base in religion, being a pastor’s wife and filling in as the church’s technical person (Unity Gospel House of Prayer, Milwaukee Wisconsin). She left her job of Project Manager/Systems Analyst for National Life Insurance Company to raise her children, which, given all the things happening in the world, I would do so as well. But this book seriously pushes the religious envelope. If you are like me, and you do not like having religion or politics pushed on you, this book is not for you.

When I TOTALLY submitted my life to the Lord, HE changed me. 

LockAfter contemplating some things, I went out to Goodreads and Amazon to see what others were saying. I was dumbfounded to find that Lock had submitted a “review” to Goodreads in which she gave her book five stars, and was pushing more book-related material. The Publicist, which I reviewed recently, touched on this very item of authors faking reviews for better looks and sales. It is a BAD thing in the publishing world, like a huge black mark against a writer…and here’s Lock, submitting her own review. This severely annoyed me.

I was also quite annoyed with what I had read, but after thinking about what I’d read, I realized this book isn’t for me. I’m not a woman who needs this book – I’m already there. I know my self worth and don’t need validation. Ever get annoyed with someone trying to tell you how to do something, and you already know? After brooding on this a while, I realized that’s kind of where I was at with what I had read.

Perhaps at a later date I will give this book a second shot at reading. Maybe I’m just not at the age where what Lock is speaking about can “sink in.”

About the Author

Kim-1Kimberly Rochelle Lock was born August 23, 1975, in Milwaukee Wisconsin. Being the only child of her mother and dad, she was preserved. She was so fascinated with learning, that at the age of 5 during a blizzard she walked to school only to find it closed. It was not uncommon for her to participate in State wide spelling Bee contests. Since she was so advanced academically for her age, she began taking pre-college courses at the University of Wisconsin at the age of 11. In her spare time she cheered, played basketball and musical instruments, such as the flute, baritone, harp, clarinet, and her favorite, the cello.

After graduating from Pulaski High School at the age of 16, the University of Wisconsin welcomed Kim as a student to pursue a Bachelors Degree in Management Information Systems. After taking a year off, she completed her Master’s Degree in Telecommunications at Keller Graduate School of Management.

In 2002, she married the love of her life Pastor Marlon Lock. They have four beautiful daughters and a baby boy. Kim has built a spiritual atmosphere in her home, where she balances the delicate tasks of nurturing and guiding her children. This dedicated mother resigned her position as Project Manager/Systems Analyst for National Life Insurance Company to raise her children.

Kim Lock assists her husband in the business aspects of their church, Unity Gospel House of Prayer, Milwaukee Wisconsin. She also manages and implements many of the technical designs within the church including the website, Facebook and Twitter. Many women are drawn and assigned to her for spiritual guidance as she sends out daily devotions to encourage many.

Her character is calm and meek. Her style is simply “classy.” She is a woman of very few and selected words with a smile that brightens the room. Clearly, Kim Lock has an unquestionable commitment to developing women spiritually.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Book Review: The Colors of Blue

20744355Title: The Colors of Blue
Author: Lance McCulloch
Release Date: November 2013
Length: 264 pages
Series?: no?
Genre: romance, chick lit
Format: e-book
Source: Smith Publicity

Find the book: Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Synopsis

In the new inspirational novel The Colors of Blue, Colorado native and chemical engineer turned fiction author Lance McCulloch introduces his readers to a compelling narrative of two emotionally shattered and vulnerable people, who gain a second chance at love and life through finding each other.

Sara Field has a unique gift – she can see the auras of others.  However, her gift for picking up colors fades after her fiancé betrays her in the most heartbreaking way possible.  Meanwhile, Rick Wheeler has suffered the tragic loss of his wife, and finds himself collapsing under the pressure to build his financial empire. Together, Sara and Rick connect, feel comfort in one another, and fall in love during one extraordinary weekend in rural Colorado.

As the story unfolds, readers see two very broken people fall in love as McCulloch ties together the beauty of nature and the human spirit.  The themes of adventure, love, intrigue, passion, and happiness are woven together tightly in this epic romance. Through strongly developed characters and rhythmic prose, readers are taken on a riveting journey that joins two hearts together and provides a renewed promise of true love and lasting happiness.

This emotional, inspirational, and uplifting novel also reveals:

  • How the purity and beauty of nature can restore our spirit
  • The power of finding a love that transcends time
  •  The importance of mourning the loss of a loved one
  • Why we need to understand and overcome grief to move forward
  • How to revive our identity and true colors after a devastating loss
  • How taking up a simple hobby such as fly-fishing can help us look inward and gain an introspective view of life

“Although The Colors of Blue is fiction, it is loosely based on the true story of my father’s recovery from my mother’s death,” said McCulloch. “I also wrote it as a means of escaping the depression of my failing company.”

Review

When Lance’s rep at Smith Publicity asked if I’d join on his blog tour and sent the book, I was very intrigued by the title. I had no idea what it meant, and now I know that it means everything. Everything that is important, at least.

Lance has written a beautiful novel that is not a typical romance novel. If you’re looking for a typical romance, this is not it. This is SO much more.

Sarah Field can see and feel the world in colors. No, she’s not crazy. After she begins growing up, she loses her colors. They come back when she becomes a kindergarten teacher. She lives with her fiance, who has business ties to her sister’s fiance. Right there should have given me a tip off: business and family don’t mix.

Greg asks her a funny question one morning during the regular routine of getting out the door to work…and Sarah finds a bobby pin in the closet.

She teaches a large number of kindergarten students. Her principal tells her they will be absorbed into the remaining two kindergarten classes because she is losing her job due to budget cuts. She points out there would be over 50 kids in each class, which is not possible because there is a cap in the low 20s for the lower grades. That was one major flaw I saw in McCulloch’s writing, but I knew that losing her job would allow Sarah to make some changes in her life, and it would also be something for her moneybags fiance to hold over her, to use to entice her back. Although, I don’t think the man knows the definition of entice, or seduce. He is not suave in the least.

Sarah’s sister is getting married, and her moneybags fiance’s family is footing the bill for the entire bridal party to indulge for a week at a Tres Padres outdoor resort. The men are all about fly fishing, and the women all about gossip. Sarah doesn’t quite fit in with her sister’s friends, and the one she knows will give her moneybags fiance the ammunition for a shattering blow.

While Sarah is relaxing and resting, she gets to know the Tres Padres manager, Huff. They share a love for the history of the land, and they develop a close relationship. She meets his wife Maria, who also has the colors.

Also there to relax for a while is Rick Wheeler, billionaire in disguise. All, especially moneybags fiance, take him for a fishing guide. He has a gentle nature and disposition, has quick wit and sees a spark with Sarah. He has been caught in the grief and emotions ever since his wife’s death, and he’s just not ready to move on. Or so he thinks.  ;)

Sarah and Rick build a gentle romance within the vast expanse of the beautiful Colorado mountains. McCulloch knows what he’s writing about, and he paints vivid pictures of the landscapes and the adventures. Rick and Sarah are both well-rounded characters in their own right, but bringing them together brings out even more from them. He leaves  readers to come to their own determinations about their true character, and Sarah’s sister is the one who set me up with two very wrong thoughts about Sarah and Rick. I underestimated them both, and I find that they are indeed very strong and resilient.

Meanwhile, moneybags Greg has also been invited on the trip so that he may rekindle his ego with Sarah. She puts him off and puts him off and he thinks he’s making headway, then realizes he might be losing out to Rick, and delivers Sarah with a shattering blow that has some serious ramifications. I thought there would be more detail about those ramifications, but there weren’t. Greg thinks he’s won her back, put field guide Rick in his place, but now everyone just thinks he’s an asshole.

Since this novel is third person point of view, McCulloch has taken liberties and given readers a semi-omniscient viewpoint. Readers will be exposed to Rick’s dreams. Most of them are about his past, especially about his wife, and one of them is so sadly sweet and beautiful that I cried. Rick was an amazing and wonderful husband, and it broke my heart to read the way their lives played out to the end. It was beautiful and heartbreaking. It was also the last dream Rick had about his wife in the novel, so I feel that it was closure for him and a sign from his wife, urging him to follow through with her last words to him.

Rick never tells Sarah who he really is, very much like the two leading characters inSaltwater Kisses (review coming soon!), although this novel had strong characters so they did not behave the same was as the main two in Saltwater Kisses, for which I was immensely grateful.

I don’t want to spoil it, but one woman laughs herself all the way to the magazine stand and back when Rick appears in a segment about the richest and hottest men. The magazine is mailed to Greg’s business office. Oh, you will enjoy that part!  :D

I’m left asking myself a few questions about Lance McCulloch and his debut novel. Will there be more Colors books? Will we hear Nancy’s story? Will we hear Maria’s story?

I’m looking forward to more Colors books. I want to hear Maria’s story very badly. She is a vivacious and energetic woman, and I want to hear her and Huff’s love story.  I also want to hear Nancy’s story (the MIL of Sarah’s sister).

Oh, and the colors of blue? That’s love.

7731618About the Author

The Colors of Blue is Lance McCulloch’s first novel.  He wrote this novel as a way to cope with the loss of his parents.  He lost his mother to cancer and then his father in the crash of Egypt Air 990 in 1999.

McCulloch has one brother who currently manages his family’s cattle ranch.  He worked for Fujitsu Microelectronics for several years in Portland, Oregon, followed by Cirrus Logic in the San Francisco Bay area. Then, he launched his own business in 2003.

Born and raised in Durango, Colorado, McCulloch holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from University of Colorado.  Currently, he resides in Colorado with his wife Jennifer and their three wonderful daughters.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Goodreads

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