I suppose I was thirsty for historical fiction and didn’t realize it. I’m a sucker for WWII novels, German or Russian literature/history, and women thriving in non-traditional roles. This novel combined all those so needless to say, I enjoyed it immensely. It does begin a little slow and seemingly with triviality, but it soon catches the reader unaware and sucks them (that would be me) in.
The novel is told in two parts by two different narrators. The first narrator is wildly unreliable; hence the perceived vapidity in the beginning. One might conclude certain negativity about her character (okay, me again) and one would be completely wrong. Although even in her banality, there are many reasons to like her anyway, and to root for her. The second storyteller drives that home, and you’re soon heartbroken you (*raises hand*) ever doubted or underestimated her.
If I haven’t mentioned, this is a spy novel (mostly) and you should read it!
So, my thirst has been quenched. Or perhaps maybe whetted for more.
I’ve read this author before and he writes great sports romances. More than that, he actually makes obscure sports interesting and a wonderful backdrop to the romance happening between the main characters. Not to say that open-wheel racing (yup I learned a new term) is obscure. I know it isn’t however it is obscure to me having never watched a race in my entire life… and I’m a mega sports fan. After reading this story though, I actually watched racing that happened to be on when I flipped the television on Saturday. That’s the thing with this author – he doesn’t hit you over the head with the sport, but he does effortlessly weaves the action into the story where by the end, you’ve learned enough to be dangerous.
Cangany writes sweet romance so I’ll lodge my long-standing complaint there wasn’t enough heat for my liking, but there was passion between the main characters, and love. Their backstory was unique enough to pique my interest and although this was certainly guaranteed to be a HEA, I was a little concerned with our lovers’ fate.
Highly recommend for anyone who likes any romance, sweet, sports, or otherwise.
Oh, a warning. Do NOT finish this book the night before you have a 3-hour road trip. You may or may not break some speeding laws.
Full disclosure – I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
In Déjà You, five authors share stories of second chances, as varied in telling as the writers themselves.
Kelly Cain’s We’ll Always Have Oahu takes us on a whirlwind New Adult romance set in the 80s between a young woman on a high school graduation trip and a handsome Navy sailor.
Bianca M. Schwarz transports us to 1760 in The Pearl with the story of Marcus Landover, who attends a card party and ends up with more than he bargained for in the beautiful Sophia Chelmsford.
Amanda Linsmeier’s Joy and Sorrow reunites lovers separated by death in a Women’s Fiction tinged with the unusual.
The Eyes of the Heart by Jamie McLachlan gives us Rosalina, who is forced to confront her attraction and the truth about her blindness when a new gardener is hired at the Greystone house.
Finally, C.H. Armstrong brings us Mr. Midnight, where tragedy reunites two star-crossed lovers, but misunderstandings soon rip them apart. Now, six years later, the stars are realigning with the help of the smooth voice of a late night radio DJ.
Some of the stories are sweet, some sad, some steamy, but all carry the same theme. Déjà You is a collection of stories for those who believe in love, but most of all, second chances.
The Birth of Déjà You
About two years ago, a group of five novice writers signed with the same small publisher, each inexperienced in the publishing world yet committed to understanding the process and finding success. Through their mutual dive into unchartered territory, Amanda Linsmeier, Bianca M. Schwarz, C.H. Armstrong, Kelly Cain, and Jamie McLachlan reached out to one another and became instant friends, sharing laughs, tears, and the struggles of life and writing. We soon dubbed ourselves “Book Besties.”
During the fall of 2016, we decided to write a book of short stories together. As friends, we wanted to combine our talents to create a collection that would inspire hope and happiness. After much deliberation, we chose the theme “Second Chances” and decided to title this anthology, “Déjà You.” Though each story contains the same theme, they all are as unique as the author who wrote it. Including New Adult, Women’s Fiction, Fantasy, Historical, and Contemporary Romance, each short offers a different take on the theme and involves varying heat levels, from sweet to steamy.
About the Authors
Kelly Cain has published a multicultural adult and new adult romance, but she writes across genres and age groups, currently penning book one of a young adult urban fantasy series. Most of her stories are set in Texas with frequent travels to her home state of California, and all of her stories have an excess of food weaved throughout.
If she’s not writing, she’s probably reading. Or maybe cooking. Check out her website for recipes for dishes featured in her books, and some other fun stuff. She has two adult daughters and lives in a suburb of Houston, Texas.
Bianca M Schwarz was born in Germany, spent her formative years in London, and has a US passport, but she considers herself a world citizen. She lives in Los Angeles because that’s where they make movies and she used to work on them. She writes novels because that’s kind of like making a movie in people’s heads and because she just loves books. Bianca has one son, because that’s all she can handle and she tolerates her husband because, well, she loves him and there is no help for that. Visit her on her website, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
Amanda Linsmeier is the author of Ditch Flowers and Beach Glass & Other Broken Things. Her writing has been featured in Portage Magazine, Literary Mama, and Brain, Child Magazine. Besides writing Women’s Fiction, she loves reading and writing fables, fairytales, and fantasy, and sometimes she pretends her Hogwarts letter is still coming. She can be found blogging about writing and books at amandalinsmeier.com. When she’s not writing, she works part-time at her local library and brings home more books than she has time to read. Amanda lives in the countryside, surrounded by trees, with her family, two dogs, and two half-wild cats. You can Amanda’s blog for book reviews and random musings, or check her out on Twitter or Facebook for more information.
Jamie McLachlan is the Canadian author of Mind of the Phoenix, an Amazon Bestseller in Dark Fantasy and the first novel in the Memory Collector Series. The third, Rise of the Phoenix, is set for release in summer of 2017. When not writing, Jamie reads, dabbles in various crafts, and spends time with her family. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, and her website.
C.H. Armstrong is an Oklahoma-native transplanted in the Midwest. A life-long lover of books, she made her author debut with the 2016 release of her historical fiction novel, The Edge of Nowhere, which was inspired by her own family’s struggles during the one-two punch that was The Great Depression and The Dust Bowl. Armstrong is currently working on two young adult novels and is a regular contributor to the Minnesota-based women’s magazine, Rochester Women. Visit her on Twitter, Facebook, and her website.
For more information on Déjà You or the Book Besties, visit their website, or find them on Twitter or Facebook.
February 29th only comes around every 4 years, so today I’m giving away a Kindle copy of my New Adult romance, Altered, to celebrate.
Easy to enter. Facebook like this post and share on Twitter (both buttons are at the end of this post below), then enter your name and email address in the form below.
This flash giveaway is open until midnight tonight. I’ll announce the winner Tuesday morning at 7:00 am CT.
More about Altered
A New Adult romance drawing on the author’s own experience studying law, the novel follows Liv, a young woman in her a first semester of law school. When her fiancé abruptly breaks things off, Liv is heart-broken.
Enter Nicholas, a classmate who is so withdrawn that he is an enigma to everyone around him. Nicholas is unusually young and unusually quiet, and keeps his past a tightly guarded secret.
While Liv is still reeling from her break up, Nicholas begins appearing in her life and coming to her rescue. Intrigued and grateful to this quiet young man, Liv becomes determined to unravel the mystery of who Nicholas is.
At first, I saw him as everyone else did.
But then, I saw him for who he really was.
Recognized the beauty beneath the pain.
Loved the quirks disguising the insecurity.
Embraced the man who hid behind the boy.
But there was so much more…
More I didn’t know.
And once I did, I couldn’t let
Of the boy.
…even if his past is threatening
Nothing will alter what we’ve built.
This is a favorite of LIv’s family and friends. She uses thinly sliced zucchini instead of lasagna noodles, but that’s a personal preference.
1 lb ground meat (hamburger turkey) (you can exclude meat to make it vegetarian)
Appx 10 c spaghetti sauce (Liv makes her own sauce (see below)*, but you can use your favorite pre-made sauce)
5 large zucchini, sliced thin (or 1 box lasagna noodles, al dente)
4 c mozzarella plus 1 c separated
24 oz small curd cottage cheese
3 TB fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
salt & pepper
5 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brown ground meat in a large skillet, add sauce and simmer covered. Mix the 4 c mozzarella with the eggs, cottage cheese and parsley until well blended. Salt and pepper to taste.
Assemble the lasagna by using a 13x9x2 lasagna pan and adding layers. Start with a layer of the sauce, then a layer of zucchini (or noodles), then a layer of the cheese mixture. Repeat this until near the top where the last two layers will be the zucchini then sauce on top. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and cover with foil. Place in the oven and cook for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and sprinkle the remaining cup of mozzarella cheese on top. Place back in the over for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and let cool at least 20-30 minutes. Cut into squares.
Liv’s Spaghetti Sauce
1 pound mushrooms of choice, sliced
2 large white or yellow onion, chopped
2 large green bell pepper, chopped
2 zucchini, shredded
2 carrots, shredded
8 cloves garlic, minced
4 TB tomato paste
1 c dry red wine
2 28-oz can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
6 14-oz cans tomato sauce
3 TB fresh basil, chopped
1 TB fresh oregano, chopped
Salt and pepper
Heat up large skillet and olive oil over medium high heat and saute mushrooms until brown. Add onion and bell pepper and saute for about 3-4 minutes. Add zucchini and carrots and cook an additional 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and saute another minute. Salt and pepper to taste. Add tomato paste and cook another 2 minutes or so, stirring constantly. Add wine to de-glaze skillet. Add tomatoes and tomato sauce, then season again with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and turn down low to simmer. This can simmer as long as you’d like it to. The longer, the better, just make sure to stir it once in awhile. Add the basil and oregano.