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April 22, 2017
K. L. Romo

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Review of Something To Be Brave For by Priscilla Bennett

Something to Be Brave ForKatie Callahan has met the perfect man! Or so she thinks.

Claude Giraud is a brilliant French plastic surgeon who studied at the Sorbonne, and is now an associate at her father’s highly successful cosmetic surgery practice. Claude is handsome and charming, and is now a member of the Boston elite. He is enamored with Katie at their very first meeting. After a quick-as-lightening romance, she agrees to marry him, and begin her fairy-tale life.

Katie expects her marriage to be one of loving attention and respect. But she soon fears that something isn’t right. After spending the afternoon with her girlfriend, Gillian, who also happens to be her husband’s associate, Claude becomes enraged that Katie left the house without telling him. But the next morning, he is back to his charming self.

Is Katie being paranoid? Is her imagination in overdrive? She continuously questions herself and her loyalty.

[Claude] had no trace of uncertainty about himself or what he was doing. In the beginning of his career, he’d been ambitious, but now he was something else: sure. Sureness in anyone was unmistakable: in a man, it was sexy. He had it, and I had nothing resembling it.

As time goes on, Katie sees another side of her husband that scares her. Not only his treatment of her, but his moral values as well. She tries to discuss her situation with her mother, but is rebuffed by the advice that it is her responsibility to make the marriage work. Even if there is abuse involved. And her father would never believe his star associate could be anything but perfect. When she’d met Claude, her father had decreed:

[He] reminds me of myself and is just right for you.

With no moral support, Katie lives life from one day to the next, never knowing when her husband might snap. She has realized she is no longer Katie Callahan, the new enthusiastic college graduate who loves art, but Katie Giraud, the subservient wife of the famous plastic surgeon. She hopes that a baby will balance their marriage, but she couldn’t be further from the truth.

Finally, after three years of struggling to keep her family together, Katie is forced to play a hand that risks not only her marriage, but her life.

Even though the subject matter is disturbing, I enjoyed reading Something to Be Brave For. On the surface, it’s difficult to understand why a woman would stay in an abusive relationship. But this story helps us see that there are many factors that would cause a woman to keep trying, regardless of the danger. Priscilla Bennett has done a great job of taking us inside an abusive relationship, and showing us what goes on in the mind of a battered wife.

Thank you to Endeavour Press Ltd. for providing me with an Advance Reader’s Copy for review.

April 11, 2017
K. L. Romo

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Review of The To-Hell-And-Back Club by Jill Hannah Anderson

 

Peyton Brooks has a terrible marriage. With both kids now in college, she is finally ready to tell Jerry she wants a divorce. Her group of three best friends have been her life support for the last 18 or so years, but when tragedy takes them away from her, she is lost. What will she do to start living again? And without her support system, how will she ever be strong enough to end her twenty-year-old marriage?

In college, Peyton reeled from a break-up with the only boy she’d ever loved, only to have a summer fling. Jerry Brooks was just a fun distraction; that is, until Peyton realized she was pregnant. Both wanting to do the right thing for the baby, they married, and Peyton moved from Texas to his hometown in Minnesota.

Together they raise their son and daughter, but through gritted teeth.  Neither is happy in their relationship, but they stay together out of obligation.

He paced between our kitchen table and the living room. The room wasn’t big enough for our misery. Our bitter words hung over our heads, ready to slide down the pale yellow walls in a runny blur, covering up everything we hadn’t said over the years. Jerry grabbed a sunken popover and descended silently to the basement.

Peyton is finally ready to be happy, or at least that’s the plan. But when the three friends she’s made her family are unexpectedly taken from her, she doesn’t know how to survive, much less truly live again.

After months of mourning, Peyton visits Eunice, the minister of her lost friend Dana’s church, who tells her of a club she’d founded years ago. The To-Hell-And-Back-Club is made up of women who have traveled a rough road, who need sisterhood to mend and heal. Peyton is not sure what to think. She really doesn’t know how to make new friends after all these years, but agrees to give it a try. What she finds in the group is nothing short of amazing.

As part of her grieving process, Peyton decides to read the time capsules she and her friends had buried so many years ago, and is shocked at the secrets she finds hidden within them. Will Peyton be able to rebuild her life? Will she be able to become the woman she’s always wanted to be? And will her life have room for the romance she’s spent the last twenty years without?

I enjoyed reading The-To-Hell-And-Back Club. I was touched by Anderson’s examination of a woman who had done what she felt was right for her children, sacrificing her own happiness in the process. And when the foundation of her life is ripped away, it was inspirational to witness a woman rebuilding her life, climbing up from the depths of loneliness and despair to find her true self, and the happiness that self could bring.

I recommend The To-Hell-And-Back Club for a story that will make you consider the choices you’ve made in your own life, and the strength we sometimes need to rebound into happiness.

Thank you to Pandamoon Publishing for providing me with an Advance Reader’s Copy for review.

April 3, 2017
K. L. Romo

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Free Kindle Edition of Life Before – For a Limited Time

Kirsche-Romo-HB-finalIf you love to read historical novels, stories about friendship and overcoming adversity, or about reincarnation, Life Before is the novel for you! The Kindle edition is free until Wednesday, April 5!

Two women separated by a century each discover they’ve shared a soul. Elaine suddenly experiences life as a reformed 1907 prostitute determined to stop Dallas’s dangerous sex trade. But she’s terrified when her life becomes entwined with Eliza’s crusade one-hundred years earlier. Until she uses history to change the future.

Recent empty-nester Elaine Dearborn suddenly finds herself experiencing life as Eliza Darling, a reformed prostitute in 1907 Dallas, who is determined to shut down the sex trade that has taken so many young lives.

Elaine’s life in the present becomes more and more intertwined with Eliza’s crusade one-hundred years earlier, and Elaine is tormented by the very real possibility that she’s losing her mind. That is, until she learns the truth about her past, and what it will mean for her future.

As is true today, the sexual slavery business in the early-twentieth-century was alive and well, deplorably exploiting the young and vulnerable, but hidden within plain sight. Although the characters in this novel are fictional, The Virginia K. Johnson Home & Training Center for Women was a real institution in Dallas, devoted to giving young prostitutes a way out.

Life Before is a book about personal strength and redemption – with a twist!

March 8, 2017
K. L. Romo

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My Interview on Indie Books Unleashed…

learn-more-atIndieBooksUnleashed-5Indie Books Unleashed is a new organization for Indie authors to get their independently-published books into the hands of readers, and to make it easy for readers to get their hands on indie books!

IBU is featuring an interview with me today. Click here to read what I have to say about being an Indie author and what I’ve learned so far.

Thank you, and happy reading!

March 7, 2017
K. L. Romo

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Celebrating Texas Independents: The Twig Book Shop in San Antonio

Great article about the Indie Bookstore – The Twig Book Shop – In San Antonio.

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In conjunction with Texas Independence Day, we’re partnering with some of the state’s greatest Independents to host a series of free and open events across the state throughout the month of March. These panel discussions will focus on the great opportunities for writers and readers that Texas has to offer, from independent presses, to journals, to bookstores, and beyond, while also answering writers’ burning questions about the publishing process, submitting to presses and journals, catching the eye of an editor, and more.

Last night, we had such a great time at our panel discussion in San Antonio at The Twig Book Shop. We interviewed General Manager Claudia Maceo and Events Coordinator Nancy Gebhardt to learn more about this fantastic independent bookstore and the San Antonio literary community.

Scribe:
Can you share a few thoughts with us about the Texas literary landscape? What makes it unique, and what opportunities can be found here…

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January 2, 2017
K. L. Romo

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Book Review – Days Made of Glass by Laura Drake

days-made-of-glassHarlie Cooper’s number-one mission in life is to take care of her little sister Angel. But Harlie soon learns that fierce determination and impassioned independence can’t always fix everything.

Harlie and Angel Cooper have been on their own since their mother died. Although initially placed with a relative, his death leaves them fleeing from Child Protective Services.

The sun was nearing the horizon when Harlie and Angel stepped out of the police cruiser. Sawhorses stood sentinel, blocking the bottom of the driveway. Plywood sheets covered the windows, the raw wood garish against the sooty façade. Yellow ‘Do Not Cross’ tape wove through the slats of the porch railing like a new ribbon through a battered basket.

Harlie will see to it that they stay together, no matter what. So they run.

…when they hit LA, every neighborhood seemed old, tired and used up. People gathered on the corners, trash gathered in the gutters. Gone were the friendly faces of the valley. Unease had skittered over Harlie’s skin with repulsive little spider feet.  People there seemed foreign in a way she’d never seen before – their faces were hard, cold, dangerous. Or maybe she was just paranoid. But she and Angel were alone in the world and if Harlie made the wrong decision, they’d both pay.

At 17, Harlie barely has the resources to take care of herself, much less her troubled younger sister, but she is determined to make it work. The ranch-hand job she eventually finds pays for their meager existence, and she even gets to play a stunt-double as a cowgirl on a movie set. One day on the set, the movie-star’s dog runs into the ring and tangles with a bull; Harlie jumps into action. Without thinking, she runs into the arena and scoops up the dog, but not without getting the bull’s full attention. As the bull runs straight toward her, Harlie does the only thing she knows to do – jump right onto the bulls lowered head, and let the bull catapult her to the fence.

Because of her fearless “bull-jumping,” a scout for the Professional Bull Rider’s Association (PBR) has an idea – Harlie could train to be the first female bullfighter, saving bull riders in the ring. Harlie can’t believe it – this is her dream job. But how could she ever leave Angel?

When Harlie returns home that evening, she finds broken windows and mirrors, and Angel in a pool of blood, carving her arm with a shard of glass.  Harlie can no longer just hope that Angel’s dark moods will improve; she is broken and needs help. She now admits that Angel needs more care than she can give her – a psychiatric hospital.

Harlie knows what she must do – if she watches her pennies and skips a few meals, the rodeo circuit might barely pay enough to satisfy the price of Angel’s hospital stay, and the therapy she needs.

Harlie has always been a loner, and knows that a woman doing a man’s job is sometimes hard to overcome.  But she isn’t prepared for the venom she receives in bullfighting school, or on the rodeo circuit.

Will Harlie be able to overcome the bias against her in a man’s world? And will her sweet sister ever come back to her?  Harlie must brave the unknown to keep her family of two intact. But along the way, she might just learn that relying on someone else isn’t a weakness, and that even independent souls need friendship.

While reading this book, I felt the bond between these sisters, along with the anxiety of their situation. I admired Harlie’s fierce independence, but also felt grief over her nonexistent childhood. Harlie Cooper is a character readers can’t help but cheer-on in her struggle for survival.

In Days Made of Glass, Drake takes us into the world of Harlie Cooper’s hardscrabble life, and shows us that, in the face of adversity, having a friend to share the burden is sometimes worth the risk of sharing yourself.

December 16, 2016
K. L. Romo

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MEMBERS REVIEW: Good as Gone by Amy Gentry

Good As Gone – A suspense novel by Amy Gentry. Wow – sounds like a “must read”!

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“You’ll find yourself having to remember to breathe.”

-Reviewer Tony Burnett on Amy Gentry’s Good as Gone

GOOD AS GONE

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by Amy Gentry

Published in 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

reviewed by Tony Burnett

Eight years after Julie was silently abducted from the bedroom next to her young sister while her mother and father slept downstairs, the remaining family dynamic has persevered. Though they each carry their own private burden of guilt, the family has not quite imploded. When a young woman shows up at the door claiming to be Julie, the joy is overshadowed by the opening of old wounds, especially as Julie’s mother, Anna, begins to suspect the woman is not her daughter.

Amy Gentry’s debut novel, Good As Gone, takes the genre of domestic suspense to a level of intensity rarely experienced. The superb writing explores not only the depth of the characters but the extremes of their…

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