Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Danielle Dresser | Most Anticipated New Releases: Fall-Winter 2020!
Author Guest / August 10, 2020

This has been a roller coaster of a year when it comes to books and reading. I don’t think a read a full book in the month of March, but I read over 10 books in July! With Fall quickly approaching, here are a bunch of wonderful and intriguing titles coming out this month through the end of the year, and I cannot wait for everyone to read them. AUGUST Here to Stay by Adriana Herrera – Two New Yorkers get together while they’re both working in Texas. There’s some workplace drama, instant attraction, and much more. Sexy, fun, and low angst. You Had Me at Holaby Alexis Daria – This felt like reading an entire season of Jane the Virgin. Clever, funny, and ultimately, uplifting. Out on the Ice by Kelly Farmer – So we can’t go to hockey games, but we CAN read about them. badass ladies to boot? Sign me up. Also look for: Marriage by Arrangement by Sophia Singh Sisson, Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles *** SEPTEMBER When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole – I am not a thriller reader. I repeat – I am NOT a thriller reader. but I stayed up…

Debbie Wiley | Cozy Mystery Recommendations
Author Guest / July 13, 2020

Canceled plans, social distancing, and masks are a regular part of our lives nowadays. Can we all just give a huge round of applause to the authors, editors, and publishers out there who have kept the books coming even as the world has seemingly shut down? In fact, I’m supposed to be just returning from an Alaskan cruise right now, sharing pictures and memories of what was to be a trip to rival my outstanding trip several years back to Ireland. Thankfully, there are a plethora of phenomenal books out there to keep me entertained (and keep my mind off that missed Alaskan cruise LOL!). Daryl Wood Gerber adds a dash of the paranormal to the cozy mystery, A SPRINKLING OF MURDER, where readers enter a world where fairies exist and they have to complete certain goals to earn their wings. Courtney Kelly loves sharing her belief in the world of fairies with others through her store, Open Your Imagination, where she teaches and sells various items to help with landscaping, including how to design fairy gardens. Her own personal fairy, Fiona, is visible to those who are willing to believe. Can Courtney and Fiona uncover a murderer? Readers will…

Debbie Wiley | Finding Welcome Distraction in Urban Fantasy/Dark Fantasy Recs
Author Guest / June 18, 2020

Senior Reviewer Debbie Wiley 2020 has been a difficult year–a global pandemic, economic turmoil, and racial injustice finally being called out. . . Discussions about how to move forward are hard to comprehend, let alone actually have. As a social worker, I am in a position to see and hear about these issues firsthand, and there is much more work to be done. While I find myself scrolling through news posts and continuing to work through the things I want to improve on, I turn to my favorite way to find solace during difficult times–books. Urban fantasy and dark fantasy may not be the genres for everyone during all of this, but for me, escaping to a different world is a welcome distraction for a little while. Thankfully, there are a plethora of phenomenal books out there to keep me entertained! DEVOLUTION by Max Brooks is one heck of a scary thriller, particularly when read during this quarantine, and I can guarantee you’ll think twice about all those modern conveniences we take for granted (looking at you, Amazon one-click shopping, lol). Mt. Rainier has erupted, and the tiny ecological experimental town, Greenloop, is now cut off from the rest of…

Miranda Owen | Visiting Alien Worlds
Author Guest / June 4, 2020

With COVID-19, nowadays “quarantine”, “social distancing”, and “isolate” are common parts of our everyday vocabulary. While isolating is necessary right now, it can lead to varying levels of depression and other unexpected emotions – even for an introvert like me. As I was sitting in the quiet of my apartment, with my cat keeping vigil next to me, I was longing for any type of travel and human interaction. Travel and human interaction are not normally things that are normally high up on my “must haves.” While dystopian films and novels might seem like a natural for readers to gravitate right now, a lot of my friends have avoided those types of entertainment because it seemed off-putting. It’s as I was sitting at home in isolation that I thought of some of my favorite romances that take place in far off worlds and unique characters and bizarre situations that seem like just the thing to perk up a reader longing for travel, adventure, fun, and excitement. You might not be able to go far right now, but books provide an entertaining alternative. Although I don’t normally read sci-fi, something about the Cat Star Chronicles books by Cheryl Brooks intrigued me….

Debbie Wiley | Blackbird Singing in the Dead of Night…
Author Guest / May 21, 2020

by senior reviewer Debbie Wiley Four and twenty blackbirds, baked in a pie. When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing- wasn’t that a dainty dish to set before the king?  I have a love/hate relationship with birds that started with Mother Goose and the Song of Sixpence nursery rhyme. Sure, there are birds I dearly love, like the graceful Sandhill cranes and the majestic owls, but it is the mystery of those blackbirds that has left me with a healthy dose of fear for birds. I know I’m not alone as look at Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, or Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (shudders). Several authors recently have challenged me to rethink how I feel about some of these maligned birds and I’d like to share their wonderful books with you. Heather Webber tackles the Song of Sixpence directly with a bit of magical realism in MIDNIGHT AT THE BLACKBIRD CAFE. Anna Kate Callow has arrived in Wicklow, Alabama, to bury her beloved Granny Zee. Unbeknownst to her, she inherits her grandmother’s entire estate, including the Midnight Cafe under one condition- she has to remain in Wicklow and run the cafe for a specific amount of time. Anna Kate has preconceptions about Wicklow….

Debbie Wiley | Cozy Mysteries are the Perfect Escapist Reads!
Author Guest / May 11, 2020

by Senior Reviewer Debbie Wiley With the long days of quarantine both behind and still in front of us, if you’re like me you’re tired of hearing nothing in the news but gloom and doom. Luckily for us as readers, we have a great selection of cozy mysteries to curl up with and take our minds off seeing only the people we’ve been quarantined with. So, sit back, pretend it’s a cold day inside by the fire where staying inside is fun, and let’s look at a couple great books to choose from! Amanda Flower is one of my go-to cozy mystery authors and what could be better than a novella including an appearance by Jethro, the support pig? In BOTCHED BUTTERSCOTCH, a Mother’s Day fundraiser goes awry and now Bailey King is determined to uncover a thief. Amanda Flower offers up just the kind of heartwarming mystery we need, as BOTCHED BUTTERSCOTCH showcases Abigail’s Farm, a program opening up in the Amish community to help women recovering from substance abuse. We have a lot of fun bantering the wedding that isn’t even an engagement yet and yes, we have a great Jethro scene!  SIX CLOVES UNDER by Gin Jones features…

Marissa Backlin | Recommended Reads from LOVE’S SWEET ARROW + a Giveaway!
Author Guest / April 16, 2020

Hi everyone! I thought this week, I could talk about what I’ve been reading lately and why I think I am reading these things. Just like everyone else, I am struggling a lot with the social distancing and isolation as a result of the Corona Virus Pandemic. I moved out three years ago to my own place and I currently live alone with my two dogs (a big reason I picked the place I did – it allows up to two pets). Normally, that’s not so bad and I like having my own space, but it’s been difficult this past month. Also, my younger dog, Lady, has been having trouble too because she’s very social and misses my family too. We’ve had some recurrence of accidents and she is easily scared more than usual by things. If anyone else is dealing with this with their pets, one thing that has been helping immensely is having special body massage time and extra cuddles! I have always taken comfort in reading. When I was in junior high and struggling to make friends, I reread Anne of Green Gables and Tamora Pierce over and over, finding comfort in the found families and the…

Debbie Wiley | Urban Fantasy and Fantasy Escapist Reads
Author Guest / April 9, 2020

Times are stressful right now. Parents and teachers are learning how to implement distance learning, going to the grocery store feels like a live version of Pac-Man, and we’re all desperately hunting for toilet paper. Nerves are frayed as everyone fears that even the slightest cough could mean a dangerous virus has entered their home. Quarantines are the norm. Who would have thought this is what 2020 had in store for us? Now, more than ever, is time to stop, take deep breaths, and read some good books that take us all away to other places right now. Urban fantasy and fantasy are two of my favorite genres and fortunately, there are some phenomenal new books out there right now to dive into. Here are a few of my recent favorites: The Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs is one of my go-to series when things seem depressing as Mercy Thompson Hauptman is one of the best kick-butt, loyal, and compassionate characters out there. SMOKE BITTEN is the latest in the series and things are definitely in a chaotic state in the Tri-Counties. Mercy’s mate and Alpha wolf, Adam Hauptman, has been emotionally distant, a rarity for a werewolf. There’s…

Miranda Owen | Fierce, Fabulous Heroines
Author Guest / April 6, 2020

Heroines in romance novels: let’s discuss. A frequent topic among romance readers and authors involves heroines and the unequal way they can be viewed. There are two bones of contention to pick. The first is that a heroine’s life choices are viewed with a more critical and unforgiving eye than a hero’s choices. Secondly, that a heroine’s flaws and personality quirks are viewed more harshly than those of a hero. I believe that both things are very real, but I will only admit to unconsciously doing the latter. If a character – whether male or female – makes life choices that I disagree with, as long as the character is fleshed out and well-written, I won’t judge and I’m still able to enjoy the story. However, if there are aspects of a character’s personality that rub me the wrong way, it’s difficult for me to put that aside and focus on where the author is taking me. As a woman, I often identify more with a female protagonist, and therefore have caught myself being overly critical of that character. This is something I’ve picked up on and tried to snap myself out of doing. Every reader has their pet peeve…

Debbie Wiley | Crafty Cozy Mysteries + My Own Hobby!
Author Guest / March 9, 2020

Loom knitting is one of my favorite hobbies, besides reading, of course! The creativity and joy in finding the right yarn to match a pattern has ignited my creative senses and inspired me to seek out other crafts. Whether it’s a scarf, a shawl, or a blanket, each crafty adventure I take is both relaxing and inspiring. I thought it would be fun to share a few of my recent favorites with you guys before jumping into the books. Each one of these lovely loomed items is an act of love, as I often donate my work to charity, especially since I like using some of the thicker yarns and I live in Florida! And now onto the books. . . Peggy Ehrhart’s upcoming release, A FATAL YARN, is the fifth book in the Knit and Nibble series, and knitting is at the heart of the mystery. I love that the local trees are suddenly gaining sweaters, even better than the sweaters are to hide the dreaded X marks that signal the tree is marked for removal. Peggy Ehrhart has created a likable cast of characters and the entire concept underlying A FATAL YARN is sheer fun. Never mind that…