Some more books on the shelves of the Cafe and Bookstore that would make great gifts this Christmas, and the first is a psychological thriller The Sleeping Serpent by Luna Saint Claire
About the book
Whether by free will or fate, Luna’s encounter with Nico provokes a storm that shatters her perceptions of identity, duty, morality, and self-worth. The storm didn’t blow in from the outside. She was the storm. Its turbulence within her, forcing her to confront the darkness, uncovers her secrets and her pain.
Luna Saint Claire has a loving husband and an enviable career as a Hollywood costume designer. Still, something is gnawing at her. Bored with her conventional and circumscribed existence, she feels herself becoming invisible. When she meets Nico Romero, a charismatic yoga guru, his attentions awaken her passions and desires. Dangerous, but not in a way that scares her, he makes her feel as if anything is possible. Infatuated, she becomes entangled in Nico’s life as he uses his mesmerizing sexuality to manipulate everyone around him in his pursuit of women, wealth, and celebrity.
Immensely erotic and psychologically captivating, The Sleeping Serpent is the compelling story of a woman’s obsession with a spellbinding guru and the struggle to reclaim her life. At its heart, it is a painfully beautiful exposition of unconditional love that makes us question what we truly want.
“She realized in an instant that being around him awakened her, stirring the sediment that had long ago settled at the bottom of her well. He made her feel a part of him–of something larger, and somehow more alive.”
One of the reviews for the book on Goodreads
Ellen Weisberg‘s review Mar 11, 2018
I thoroughly enjoyed reading THE SLEEPING SERPENT. The writing was excellent, vivid and detailed and effortlessly evoking empathy for each female character as they rapidly oscillated from intense passion to overt fear. I found the content very realistic and likely to be painfully relatable for anyone who has found themselves helplessly drawn to someone whose wants and needs come first and at all costs to those closest to them.
As an example, I could feel Olivia’s anguish after being abruptly dropped by Nico once she confided her news about the fellowship she had been awarded, and for the moment I was transformed into Olivia and experiencing her torment of being so sexually and emotionally attached to Nico that she was more than willing to give up her life’s dreams and aspirations to avoid losing him. And of course, Nico being Nico was unwilling to give her the option of having both her own life as well as a part of his, and no response to her final text was accompanied by her heart shattering into a thousand pieces.
Similarly, I was easily able to vicariously ride on the same rollercoaster as Sofia and Luna with Nico’s flattering sweetness and sensuality that would suddenly change to angry control and reprimand, sometimes insidiously interwoven with yet more sexual seduction that served to entice the women even further into his dangerous lair.
Luna Saint Claire and Virginia Bowen have created quite the fascinating page turner and eye opener that any woman with a breath and a pulse and who has found themselves under someone’s toxic, hypnotic spell can relate to.;
Read the many reviews for the book and buy: https://www.amazon.com/Sleeping-Serpent-womans-struggle-obsessive-ebook/dp/B016LUUB1K
And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sleeping-Serpent-womans-struggle-obsessive-ebook/dp/B016LUUB1K/
Discover more reviews on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14551692.Luna_Saint_Claire
Connect to Luna Saint Claire via her website: http://www.compelledbooks.com/
A recent review that would make a lovely gift is from award-winning author Jan Sikes with Two Shorts and a Snort
About Two Shorts and a Snort
This book consists of two short stories and one poem from award-winning author, Jan Sikes, in response to a writing challenge from the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.
How far will one man go to satisfy an obsession? The price could cost him his life.
Is it possible to pray up a baby? Frank and Mary Pyburn are convinced that is what they’ve done.
Friends Instead of Lovers:
Sometimes it’s better to remain friends, instead of giving in to desires and crossing a line.
One of the recent reviews for the book
Sometimes when you’re gifted an Amazon card, you become like a child of the 1950’s who’s just found a $5.00 bill in the street, and you head over to buy as much candy as you can. [Back then with most candies/gum costing less than a nickel, you got a good-sized bag loaded to the brim with this stuff.] This is how I felt getting a $25.00 card.
Usually, I wouldn’t have bought a short book like this, but like an adult kid, I went on a shopping spree for KINDLE books I wound up buying this book, a purchase which wound up not being a disappointment, but a wonderful find.
Being an author of Flash Fiction, I love being able to read stories which cuts to the chase, and gets the message it’s trying to communicate readers without wasting time with a lot of unnecessary verbiage. And author, Jan Sikes, succeeds in doing this quite well with OBSESSED and MAGGIE.
If you’ve ever been in a relationship with a guy whose got an fixation on having to marry you, and is going to unbelievable lengths in seeing that you’ll say YES to his proposal; then you’re in Nelda Sue’s shoes being confronted with Charlie Riddle being OBESSED with you and you knows precisely how she feels. As I did.
In regards to MAGGIE, anyone who has a child know it’s essentially a God-given gift. But what happens when despite numerous attempts at having one, nothing has resulted. If you can understand how a woman might feel when this happens, then you can step into Mary’s shoes and feel the elation she gets when her husband Jackson finds an abandoned baby and brings it home; if this isn’t a God-given gift for his finding the infant then what is?
For giving her readers these two delightful stories and a bonus poem, I’m glad to give Ms. Sikes, the 5 STARS she’s gotten from this reviewer.
Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DY8FSWL/
And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Two-Shorts-Snort-Jan-Sikes-ebook/dp/B07DY8FSWL
Also by Jan Sikes.
Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK
And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jan-Sikes/e/B00CS9K8DK
And find more reviews and follow Jan on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7095856.Jan_Sikes
Connect to Jan via her website: http://www.jansikes.com
Now for a real treat… a boxed set from Kristina Stanley at an extremely attractive price for three of her popular novels – Stone Mountain Mystery Bundle.
About the Stone Mountain Series.
A majestic mountain resort in the middle of nowhere, a newly-appointed security officer and malicious killers make this trio of thrillers a roller-coaster ride through ice and snow…
DESCENT – Book 1
When Kalin Thompson is promoted to Director of Security at Stone Mountain Resort, she soon becomes entangled in the high-profile murder investigation of an up-and-coming Olympic-caliber skier. There are more suspects with motives than there are gates on the super-G course, and danger mounts with every turn.
Kalin’s boss orders her to investigate. Her boyfriend wants her to stay safe and let the cops do their job. Torn between loyalty to friends and professional duty, Kalin must look within her isolated community to unearth the killer’s identity.
BLAZE – Book 2
Instead of exchanging vows, Kalin Thompson spends her wedding day running from a forest fire near Stone Mountain Resort, and the pregnant friend trapped with her has just gone into labor. Meanwhile, Kalin’s fiancé, Ben Timlin, hangs from the rafters of a burning building, fighting for his life. Can the situation get any hotter?
When the fire is declared as arson, finding the firebug responsible becomes Kalin’s personal mission. In the course of her investigation as Director of Security, she discovers that some people will go to extreme measures to keep her from exposing their secrets.
AVALANCHE – Book 3
On a cold winter morning, the safe at Stone Mountain Resort is robbed, and Kalin Thompson’s brother, Roy, suspiciously disappears. As Director of Security, Kalin would normally lead the investigation, but when her brother becomes the prime suspect, she is ordered to stay clear.
The police and the president of the resort turn their sights on Kalin, who risks everything to covertly attempt to clear Roy’s name. As threats against her escalate, she moves closer to uncovering the guilty party. Is Kalin’s faith in her brother justified? Or will the truth destroy her?
One of the reviews for the series
Although Kristina Stanley says at the end of the novel that she wrote Avalanche first, this became the third book in the series. Having read and enjoyed the first two Stone Mountain mysteries, I recommend them all and suggest reading them in order. Once again, Kalin Thompson is the main protagonist, but characters from previous books return and previous incidents are cleverly referred adding to the backstory.
From the fast-moving opening when Kalin’s brother, Roy, suspiciously disappears, the plot twists and turns with enough clues and suspects to keep the reader thinking to the end.
There are multiple suspects when the safe at Stone Mountain Resort is robbed, but with Ray as the prime suspect, Kalin must act covertly to clear his name. How she handles her discoveries and her torn feelings about her brother’s guilt drive the main thread of the novel.
The story is tightly plotted, well-structured and, as I noted down while reading, it’s ‘edge of my snowmobile tense’. There are various suspects when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police begin investigating from Ray to Kalin via other employees at Stone Mountain Resort. I kept wondering, ‘Who will be next?’, ‘Who is guilty of what?’ and ‘Who do you trust?’. Not only Kalin needed to be wary but others caught up in the events as the threat level escalated.
The suspects were gradually narrowed down, although there were enough remaining as the end drew near. Plus, the accusations against Kalin were ongoing, adding to the tension. Twists kept coming, leading to the final confrontation that I only half-guessed in advance. Key elements were cleverly foreshadowed.
The author’s characterisation is excellent in that everyone has something to distinguish them – even the lift-girl from New Zealand. The reader sees the other characters through Kalin’s eyes and through other characters’ viewpoint. The use of various POVs enhances the story and adds to the subplots, diversions and to the red herrings that I always enjoy in a mystery.
The resort offers an evocative setting and Kristina Stanley’s knowledge of that world rings true without creating unnecessary detail. From my time in Canada and my winters skiing on different hills, Stone Mountain Resort and the intrigues came alive for me.
Avalanche was a fast-paced and easy read, and, as I’ve come to expect from Kristina Stanley, and from Imajin Books, it’s well-edited. A definite recommendation if you want a pacey mystery. But read Descent and Blaze first for maximum enjoyment – not vital but best.
Buy the boxed Set for just $7.32 : https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075DK4864
And on Amazon UK for £2.35 : https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mountain-Mystery-Bundle-Kristina-Stanley-ebook/dp/B075DK4864
Buy the novels individually and other books by Kristina Stanley.
Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Kristina-Stanley/e/B0106J097I
And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kristina-Stanley/e/B0106J097I
Read more reviews and follow Kristina Stanley on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14130411.Kristina_Stanley
Connect to Kristina via her website/Blog: http://kristinastanley.com/blog/