New to Me Books

After-anthologyI just love it when these little gems from the past turn up and surprise me.  Found this anthology with a Carrie Ryan story in it today.




A Doll for Christmas

bunnyhugs.jpgI have a book to review for you.  It’s romantic suspense.  And it’s around here somewhere, I just know it.  Tiny little thing.  I will find it.  Promise.

Until I do, I just wanted to show you the doll I’m getting for Christmas.  I’m a collector, you know.  I’m going to name her ‘Merrily,’ as in ‘Merrily, merrily, Christmas bells are ringing.’

I always *strongly recommend* that you watch a YouTube video of any doll you order that you cannot see in real life.  This is because a doll is a *three-dimensional* art form, a sculpture.  What she looks like in real life will be very different from what she looks like in a *two-dimensional* picture.  You can see the Bunny Hugs doll’s face at about 2:00 minutes into the following video.  It’s always the face which sells me.

At the moment, I have Evangeline who is a ‘Moment in My Arms, Forever in My Heart’ doll.  I have a JC Toys doll my mother gave me, but I don’t have her picture and I still need to do some restoration work on her.  I also have a Chatty Cathy doll who is over fifty years old who needs to be completely restored.  This is Evangeline and her link is below the picture.


By the way, I have a story in the works based on the true story of how my mother-in-law escaped East Germany after World War II.  She was a little girl at the time and lost her beloved doll in the process.

Laurie A. Green – An Enduring Author

Farewell_Andromeda-Final-200x300Okay, now it’s Laurie’s turn.  Sorry about the mix-up last week.

Laurie’s been a busy girl the last few years.  Here’s what she sent me-


Hi! Thanks for the opportunity to catch up from days of yore on CritiqueCircle. Let me start by backtracking about six years.

In 2011 and 2012, I was a three-time finalist in the RWA Golden Heart© Awards for three different unpublished science fiction romance novels. Since then, my first novel, (originally titled P2PC) was published as Inherit the Stars in 2015.


Inherit the Stars won the 2016 Carolyn Readers Choice Award and was named by as one of the Best Books of 2015 in E-Originals.

But my novel wasn’t actually my first published work. That was a novelette, Farewell Andromeda, a romance between a female deep space charter pilot and a famous astronomer (…or is he)? It’s currently available at no cost via InstaFreebie as a special bonus for my newsletter subscribers, so I’ll extend that invitation to your readers, too. Here’s the link:

Last year, I was invited to take part in a themed science fiction romance collection called Pets in Space. You got it, the central theme of each story in the collection had something to do with a pet. My story, StarDog, took place in the same universe as my previous books. In fact, it’s set just six months before the beginning of Inherit the Stars and that allowed me to explore the Inherited Stars Universe at a time when tensions were just starting to come to a head between the Ithian Alliance and the rest of the known galaxy.


I was thrilled when also chose Pets in Space as one of the Best Books of 2016 in E-Originals Fiction. In addition, it won two SFR Galaxy Awards. Sadly, Pets in Space went off sale at the end of April and it’s no longer available. But…


This year, I’ll be releasing Courting Disaster: StarDog2 which will be part of the second Pets in Space collection titled Embrace the Romance. This new story will be a sequel to both StarDog and Inherit the Stars, and involves another high stakes adventure and conflicted romance in the aftermath of the history-altering event known as Operation Reset. It features two of the minor characters from the novel who were always destined to end up in an adventure of their own. Here’s a teaser:

Captain Navene Jagger, commander of a mysterious, derelict starship, must pretend to be married to Ketsia Tayah, the woman he is escorting through a dangerous section of space. As he deals with threats that might get them both killed, he’s unaware of the power of the StarDog at her side.

Embrace the Romance: Pets in Space 2 will be out this October.

In the midst of all this, I also retired from my day job after twenty-one years as a military budget director, so being an author is my career now and I have a lot more time to devote to it. I plan to release many more titles in the years to come.

Thanks for allowing me to check in with news about all my authorly doings!


You’re welcome, Laurie.  Thanks for catching me up!

Princess Charlotte & the Nanny

Wedding Of Pippa Middleton And James MatthewsYeah, yeah, I know everybody else was going crazy over the wedding of the sister of the Duchess of Cambridge.


Being a retired nanny, I was more fascinated by the children, and of their nanny.  See the brown skirt and sensible shoes?  That’s the nanny helping out.  Go, nanny!  You can see her full self at the Princess’ christening.  That’s her between the Queen and Prince George.  She’s a Norlander, of course.2A4075C200000578-3148350-image-a-9_1436190219223

AFTERTIME by Sophie Littlefield

aftertime-pb-200Back when I was bored outta my mind with the endless parade of sameness in the New Release aisle (seriously, someone needs to dismantle the Alpha Male Cloning Facility pronto,) I remembered the LUNA imprint at Harlequin from a few years back.  Thanks to Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings movies and books, I suspect, the Fantasy genre had a boom in the early 2000s.  That’s kinda fizzled, sadly.  There was so much more variety than just the blood-sucking dead guys you find in straight-out Paranormal Romance.  But, anyeway…

So, I went searching back through LUNA’s booklist and found some previously unnoticed gems and Aftertime is one of them.  I’m not a trendy girl.  I like all great stories all the time.  This one’s from the zombie trend, which is still hanging in there with The Walking Dead.  I dislike the gore and pointless violence of this kind of story, but am utterly fascinated with how the characters handle their world turned upside down and also the world-building.  I get that thrill from any story with those two aspects, like Titanic.  I’ve read World War Z, the book the movie is based on.  The movie is great, but the book is better.  That’s almost always the case.  I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed Carrie Ryan’s series which starts with The Forest of Hands and Teeth.



Aftertime takes place in the months following the zombie apocalypse.  Before that, Cass made a mess of her life.  She chose her addictions over her baby daughter and lost custody.  With all of humanity hitting rock bottom along with her, what really matters in life, what makes it worth living, becomes vivid, front and center for her.  She becomes driven by one of the most primitive and powerful instincts.

Motherhood.  Totally get that.

With her fractured memories of the past and the present in shambles, Cass struggles with making sense of it all.  She staggers relentlessly towards the goal of finding and getting her daughter back.  Guess only that kind of determination can meet or exceed a zombie.  Huh?  Yes, she does have flashes of serious doubt, times when it’d be so easy to just let herself get killed.

One of the problems with zombie novels is the believability.  If you have any scientific knowledge, you know how most of them just don’t make sense.  I mean, come on, human bodies decompose too quickly for the buggers to be still staggering around after several years.  Aftertime doesn’t have that problem.  The explanation for the zombies’ existence is entirely believable.

Cass is stumbling along and makes the desperate choice to take a young teen hostage to try to get into a survivors’ stronghold to see if her daughter’s there.  Thankfully, it’s recognized that she’s not a zombie herself (they’re mostly called ‘Beaters’ in this fictional universe) and that she had no intention of harming the girl.  She gets to eat, sleep, and even bathe.  She also meets Smoke, a very male survivor.

It comes to light that Cass somehow survived a Beater attack on her previous community, a group of survivors holed up in an old library.  Her now-toddler daughter was somehow rescued, but Cass was somehow separated out and lost on the roads during the chaos.

Of course, Cass wants to get back to the library to reunite with her daughter, but Smoke and the others let her know that it’s been taken over by the Rebuilders.  They pass themselves off as the saviors, but, really, the Rebuilders are just trying to seize an opportunity to take over.  Never waste a good crisis, you know.

Cass sets out for the library with Smoke and they encounter interesting people along the way, like Lyle, the dude held up along in a building.  He saves them from a Beater attack and offers hospitality afterwards.  And on they go.

Cass and Smoke do make it to the library, and into the custody of the Rebuilders who do not like Smoke one bit.  Cass likes Smoke though.  And their grow relationship is believably portrayed.  Their goose seems cooked, but they’ve got friends on the inside.  From them, Cass learns where her daughter is now.

Okay, so as if the Beaters and the Rebuilders aren’t enough, poor Cass now has to deal with a bunch of religious wackoes too.  They’re taking in females only, and one of them is her precious baby girl.  To get her back, Cass’ll have to pretend she’s just as nutty as the rest of them.  But, there’s no stopping a mommy, you know.


Sophie Littlefield has an extensive backlist, including three more novels in this series.  I heartily suggest you pop over for a look-see.  You won’t be disappointed, promise.