Tag Archive | Top 10

Top Ten Reads from 2019

Welcome to 2020!


According to Goodreads, I read 73 books last year (I still have some books still to add). The shortest was When I Grow Up by Jon Hales at 28 pages, while the longest at 924 pages, was actually a five-book box set, Rebekka Franck Series: Vol 1-5, by Willow Rose.

Choosing my top ten from amongst those 73 has been difficult, as always.

I’ve read more than one book from most of the authors below and they were all amazing, but I have added only one book from each author to this list.

 

Paroled From Heaven
(The Paranormal Detectives Series #8)
by Lily Luchesi

Paroled From HeavenDeath is not the end.

The Lieutenant of Hell is dead. The vampiric Empire has fallen, and the Paranormal Investigative Division is barely surviving. With no one controlling the demons and humanity left vulnerable, it’s about to become a literal Hell on Earth.

But Heaven has a plan. Angels can’t step in to fight, and only humans can save humanity. With a little grace, and a lot of power, there’s one way to stop the demonic onslaught and impending rise of Lucifer: a temporary parole from Heaven. Who says death is forever?

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Sophie: Witch-Hunter
by K.S. Marsden

Sophie Witch HunterEveryone will betray you…

Sophie has always had a high opinion of herself. She is smart, beautiful, and meant for something more than a mundane, human life.
From a young age she’s had to weigh duty against selfish desires. Her new friend Izzy starts to break down her carefully-constructed walls, and makes Sophie question everything she thought she knew.

With witch-hunters and witches vying for a place in her future, Sophie has to decide who she can trust.

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A boy from the Streets
by Maria Gibbs

A boy from the StreetsTwo babies abandoned at birth—one grows up in a life of privilege, the other in poverty.

On the 12th of September, 1981, twin boys are born in a Brasilian hospital and left to their fate as orphans. Jose is adopted by a couple who takes him to England, but the other isn’t so lucky. Pedro ends up on the streets of Rio, left to fend for himself in a harsh and unforgiving world.

Love and betrayal.

Twelve years later Jose’s family returns to Brasil, where he learns the truth about his adoption and his twin. Thinking his adoptive parents no longer want him, he runs away to find his brother. What follows will shake Jose to the core and shape the rest of his life—if he can survive.

Murder.

Jose isn’t the only one whose life will change. Pedro is offered an opportunity beyond any of his wildest dreams, but to keep it will mean the betrayal of someone he loves. This proves to be a far greater challenge than he anticipated when the orphan finds himself suddenly surrounded by family who, unfortunately, don’t all have good intentions.

Hopes and dreams.

A Boy from the Streets will tug at your heart-strings and have you rooting for the little guy as you follow the twists and turns this multi-continental tale takes.

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Retriever of Souls
(DI Sterling Book 1)
by Lorraine Mace

Retriever of SoulsThe first title in a dark and gritty crime series.

Brought up believing that sex is the devil’s work, a killer only finds release once he has saved his victim’s souls. Abiding by his vision, he marks them as his. A gift to guide his chosen ones on the rightful path to redemption.

Detective Inspector Paolo Sterling is out to stop him, but Paolo has problems of his own. Hunting down the killer as the death toll rises, the lines soon blur between Paolo’s personal and professional lives.

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Smoke & Mirrors
(Nite Fire #3)
by C.L. Schneider

Smoke & MirrorsSecrets are a dragon’s best friend. Deception is a close second. Both provide a sturdy armor, allowing half-dragon shapeshifter, Dahlia Nite, to live undetected among the humans. Walking in two worlds, belonging in neither, she wraps herself in a shroud of lies to hide in plain sight. But nothing stays hidden forever.

When dismembered bodies of multiple species are dumped on the riverbank, the case falls to Dahlia and Detective Alex Creed. Backed by Sentinel City’s new task force, the pair find themselves urged along by clues that seem too good to be true. Bouncing from one crime scene to the next, they hunt for a clear motive in a murky sea of conflicting evidence. Already on edge from the recent string of unexplained crimes, the city begins to unravel.

Drowning in missing creatures, slaughtered remains, masked men—and the search for her sidekick’s missing sister—Dahlia burns the candle at both ends. Seeking answers, she employs her empathic abilities, and uncovers something deeper and more sinister than a simple serial killer’s web. As the dots connect, and worlds collide, she struggles to shields her friends from the truth. But secrets can be deadly. And Dahlia’s not the only one who keeps them.

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Blinded by the light
by Joe Kipling

Blinded by the lightIn the near future, when the world’s population has been decimated by disease, the fortunate few live inside the Boundary, while the unlucky ones are left to die on the Outside. MaryAnn is one of the privileged. It doesn’t matter that her friends can sometimes be cruel or that the boy she likes just threw up on her shoes, it’s all about being noticed at the right parties. But it takes a single event to rip her life apart.

Struggling with physical and psychological scars, MaryAnn must face up to the truth about the foundations of the Neighbourhood and the legacy of her family. Once she learns the truth she can never go back, but can she really put her faith in the Union?

“Blinded by the Light” is about death and coming to terms with loss, the abuse of power, discrimination and the fear of the unknown. It is the first book in The Union Trilogy.

This dystopian young adult fiction book set in the near future critiques aspects of society such as a preoccupation with celebrity, materialism and privilege. It shows that in real life good and evil are never clear cut and we all have to decide what it means to ‘do the right thing’. Told from the point of view of a girl from a privileged background, it follows the course of MaryAnn’s awakening as she learns the truth about her life and the lies she has been told by her family and by her government, leading her to question everything she believes in. But whilst things may seem black or white to some, MaryAnn learns that there are grey areas too – nothing is as clear cut as it might seem. In real life people are not always good or bad, sometimes they just are.

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D: Whitby’s Darkest Secret
by Chris Turnbull

Whitby's Darkest SecretLESS than 3 years after the release of Bram Stokers novel Dracula, Whitby is tormentedby a diehard fan who sees Dracula as his role model; and it isn’t long before women are being murdered, and the residents of Whitby are scared to leave their homes.

WHEN a young lady from London, who has travelled to Whitby with her new husband, is targeted, it is a race against time to catch this cloaked monster before he kills again.

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The Lost Sentinel
(Silent Sea Chronicles #1)
by Suzanne Rogerson

The Lost SentinelThe magical island of Kalaya is dying, along with its Sentinel.

The Assembly controls Kalaya. Originally set up to govern, they now persecute those with magic and exile them to the Turrak Mountains.

Tei, a tailor’s daughter, has always hidden her magic but when her father’s old friend visits and warns them to flee to the mountains she must leave her old life behind.
On the journey, an attack leaves her father mortally wounded. He entrusts her into the care of the exiles and on his deathbed makes a shocking confession.
Struggling with self doubt, Tei joins the exiles search for the new Sentinel who is the only person capable of restoring the fading magic. But mysterious Masked Riders are hunting the Sentinel too, and time, as well as hope, is running out.

Against mounting odds it will take friendship, heartache and sacrifice for the exiles to succeed in their quest, but is Tei willing to risk everything to save the island magic?

Follow Tei’s journey through the magical land of Kalaya and the Astral Plane in The Lost Sentinel – Book 1 in the Silent Sea Chronicles.

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The Case of The Curious Client
(Bow Street Society #1)
by T.G. Campbell

The Case of the Curious ClientThe Bow Street Society is a fictional group of amateur detectives operating in London in 1896. Each of its civilian members has been enlisted for their unique skill or exceptional knowledge in a particular field. This ensures the Society may work to solve cases on the behalf of their clients regardless of their client’s social class or wealth; cases that the police either can’t or won’t investigate. From an artist to an illusionist, from an architect to a veterinary surgeon, the Bow Street Society is justice by all and for all.

In The Case of The Curious Client, the Bow Street Society are hired by Mr Thaddeus Dorsey to locate a missing friend he knows only as ‘Palmer’ after he fails to keep a late night appointment with him. With their client’s own credibility cast into doubt mere minutes after they meet him though the Society are forced to consider whether they’ve been sent on a wild goose chase. That is, until events take a dark turn and the Society have to race against time not only to solve the case but also save the very life of their client…

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Knowing His Madness
(Secrets of Windy Springs Book 4)
by Valarie Savage Kinney

Knowing His MadnessLife hasn’t gone the way Dashiel Winston once thought it would. His ability has destroyed his marriage, wreaked havoc on his mind, and left him weighted by the burdens of his past decisions. At fifty-seven, he lives alone with little company beyond the voices vying for attention in his head. For too many years, he’s buried himself in the fantasy life he’s created; everyone who knows him sees him as the flamboyant, addled pirate, Captain Dash. He’s loving, he’s jovial… and his heart is about to break from the terrible pain it carries.
When his deepest secrets are forced out in the open and his most treasured relationship threatened, he’s left with a choice: come clean about the decades of lies he’s built his life upon, or risk losing both his family and his sanity.

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Autumn/Halloween Countdown Blitz 2019

Day 11

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Married at Midnight by Arabella Sheraton

 

A sparkling traditional Regency romance to enchant fans.

Day 11 ACB CoverWhen the young and handsome Earl of Pennington discovers the inheritance from his great-uncle depends on him marrying at midnight on the eve of his thirtieth birthday, he is irate. Marriage is not part of his plan to save his impoverished estates. He crosses paths unexpectedly with the beautiful Roxanne Chesney, who is fleeing from her abusive husband.

He offers her a contract: marriage for six months to help him fulfil the conditions of his great-uncle’s will, enabling him secure his inheritance. In return he will pay her a small fortune.

Can Roxanne resist this offer? What about the revolting Edgar Doyle who forced her into a loveless marriage that has not been consummated? Roxanne has escaped Edgar’s clutches, but she wonders how long she will manage to evade him. The earl’s contract has no strings attached. The offer is irresistible except for the fact that Roxanne is already married!

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Day 11 ACB AuthorArabella Sheraton grew up on a diet of Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, and many other writers of that period. From Jane Austen to Georgette Heyer, Arabella has found both enjoyment and inspiration in sparkling, witty Regency novels. She also loves history and generally finds the past more fascinating than the future. Arabella wrote her first Regency romance to entertain her aged mom who loved the genre. Arabella is honoured to share the adventures of her heroes and heroines with readers.

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Top Ten List:

10 Fun Facts

1.     Arabella Sheraton is a pseudonym but if I tell anyone who I really am, I’ll have to kill them…

2.     The image I use for Arabella is a portrait my grandmother painted many years ago of her best friend. It seemed a fitting tribute to my wonderful grandmother and her friendship.

3.     I love anything olde worlde, which means that since I write in the genre of Regency romance, perhaps I lived once upon a time in Jane Austen’s era. Who knows? I like to think so.

4.     Pride and Prejudice is my favorite Austen book and book to series adaptation. I just love Mr. Darcy, even when he is acting like a starched shirt.

5.     I have always loved reading romances set in the Regency era, and I think that has a lot to do with the fact that apart from my mom having all the Austen books, she was also an avid Georgette Heyer fan, and as a result, so am I.

6.     I am never short of ideas for a Regency novel and sometimes a title just pops into my head and from that comes a book.

7.     I wrote my first Regency romance to entertain my aged mom, now passed on, who loved the genre.

8.     I generally find the past more fascinating than the present.

9.     My second favourite book to series adaptation is North and South starring the divinely sexy Richard Armitage.

10.     I can’t start the day without a pot of English tea to get me going.

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Autumn/Halloween Countdown Blitz 2019

Day 10

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Cursed Collectibles, an anthology by Jace Killan

 
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Spend an afternoon antiquing and it’s not hard to figure out why picking has become one of America’s fondest pastimes. It’s treasure hunting while connecting with history. But what if those treasures hunt us back?

From old books, to vinyl records, antique mirrors, vintage figurines, or a Bob’s Big Boy piggy bank, curses have no limits.

Featuring stories from D.J. Butler, Joy Auburn, Martin L. Shoemaker, Jessica Guernsey, John D. Payne, Jen Bair, Karen Pellett, Steve Ruskin, Tanya Hales, Lauren Lang, Frank Morin, Mike Jack Stoumbous, Kelly Lynn Colby, Jace Killan, Jo Schneider, Gama Ray Martinez, Martin Greening, Chris Abela, A.J. Mayall, Heidi A. Wilde, Shannon Fox, Lauryn Christopher, and Mark Leslie Lefebvre.

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All proceeds of this book go to the Don Hodge Scholarship Fund for writers

 

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Day 10 ACB Author
Jace lives in Arizona with my family, wife and five kids and a little dog. He writes fiction, thrillers and soft sci-fi with a little short horror on the side. He holds an MBA and work sin finance for a biotechnology firm.

Jace volunteers with the Boy Scouts, plays and writes music, and enjoys everything outdoors. He’s also a novice photographer.

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Q & A With the Jace Killan:

1.     When did you write your first novel?

a.     2017

2.     What drove you to write / why did you become an author?

a.   Always wanted to be an author. Meeting a tribe of writers helped it along.

3.     How do you create your characters?

a.     I use those around me for inspiration.

4.     What is one thing you love about Fall / Autumn?

a.     It’s almost not hot.

5.     Who is the person or group of people that most support you in your writing?

a.     The Superstars Tribe.

6.     What is your favorite Halloween Memory?

a.     Binging Season 1 of Stranger Things.

 

 

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Autumn/Halloween Countdown Blitz 2019

Day 9

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Death at the Dakota by Marni Graff

A Trudy Genova Manhattan Mystery

 
Day 9 ACB CoverNurse Trudy Genova is making plans to take her relationship to NYPD detective Ned O’Malley to the next level, when she lands a gig as medical consultant on a film shoot at the famed Dakota apartment building in Manhattan, which John Lennon once called home. Then star Monica Kiley goes missing, a cast member turns up dead, and it appears Trudy might be next. Meanwhile Ned tackles a mysterious murder case in which the victim is burned beyond recognition. When his investigations lead him back to the Dakota, Trudy finds herself wondering: how can she fall in love if she can’t even survive?

Readers of Death Unscripted, the first book in the Trudy Genova Manhattan Mystery series, will find the same pleasures in this sequel: fast pacing, engaging characters, twists and turns on the way to a satisfying close. From the award-winning author of The Nora Tierney English Mysteries, this second series is a winner. Once again M.K. Graff reveals her talents in crafting this delightful mix of amateur sleuth and police procedural.

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Part procedural, part cozy, Death at the Dakota is a well-crafted and highly entertaining mystery.
Bruce Robert Coffin, #1 bestselling author of the Detective Byron mysteries.

I fell in love — not only with co-protagonists, Trudy and Ned, the richly detailed and historic setting of The Dakota, and the unique cast of characters, but with the unusual plot of Death at the Dakota.
Sherry Harris, Agatha Award nominated author of the Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mysteries

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Day 9 ACB Author

 

Marni Graff writes two award-winning mystery series: The Nora Tierney English Mysteries and The Trudy Genova Manhattan Mysteries. She teaches writing workshops and mentors the Writers Read program, and is Managing Editor of Bridle Path Press.

Graff also writes the crime review blog Auntie M Writes.

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Top Ten List:

  • My dogs, Radar, a 10 yr old Italian Spinone and our new Aussie Doodle puppy, Seamus
  • Mysteries to read, esp. a series
  • Pizza, well done with pepperoni
  • Vodka gimlet, heavy on the lime juice
  • Black and White movies from the 30-40s, esp Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn
  • The hour before sunset when everything it lit with a subtle glow
  • The UK; a real Anglophile for travel
  • New York City
  • Crisp new stationary
  • Clean sheets

 

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Autumn/Halloween Countdown Blitz 2019

Day 8

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The Temple of the Exploding Head Omnibus by Ren Garcia

 
Three books in one:

The Dead Held Hands
The Machine
The Temple of the Exploding Head

Day 8 ACB CoverStarfarers and explorers, the League settled on Kana thousands of years ago. They found it to be a paradise, a perfect, virtually uninhabited planet waiting just for them in the cradle of space.

Lovely Kana … it was too good to be true …

But, all was not as it seemed. Simmering beneath the ground was a demented god who had soaked Kana in blood for untold ages, luring in victims, lying to them, and rejoicing in their suffering as they died at the hands of his dark angels.
And there will be blood again … From his Temple in the ground, the Horned God stirs.

When Lord Kabyl of Blanchefort, a young man troubled by the weight of the world, dares give his heart to a girl from a mysterious ancient household, one that pre-dates the League itself, he comes to know the shadows of the past that hover over her.

He comes to know of the Horned God, and for love he is destined to face him. All roads lead to the Temple of the Exploding Head, a place of evil and death, rooted in the ancient past, but also tied to the distant future.

“We were evil once,” she said, “and the gods are still punishing us…”

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Day 8 ACB AuthorRen Garcia is a Science Fiction/Fantasy author and Texas native who grew up in western Ohio. He has been writing since before he could write, often scribbling alien lingo on any available wall or floor with assorted crayons. He attended The Ohio State University and majored in English Literature.

Ren has been an avid lover of anything surreal since childhood. He also has a passion for caving, urban archeology, taking pictures of clouds, and architecture. He currently lives in Columbus, Ohio with his wife, and their four dogs.

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Top Ten List:

10:  Ren was once engaged to a woman 25 years his elder.

9:    Ren visited New York City and admired the World Trade Center towers just a month or so before the tragedy of 9/11.

8:    The FBI once put a gun in Ren’s face.

7:    Bad hearts run in Ren’s family. He’s already outlived most of his paternal grandfathers, all of whom died in their 30’s.

6:    Ren’s poor eyesight went undiagnosed until he was in the 3rd grade. Up until that point, he was considered “mentally challenged”.

5:    Ren broke his neck playing volleyball in college.

4:    Ren often sleeps on the floor, finding it more comfortable than the bed.

3:    Ren was once held at gunpoint and frisked by the guards of the Prince of Saudi Arabia.

2:    Ren was introduced to his wife via Match Makers International.

1:    In a vast extended family of exclusively brown-eyed people, Ren somehow managed to get blue eyes.

 

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Autumn/Halloween Countdown Blitz 2019

Day 7

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Love is Death by L.P. Masters

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Gina’s plan for her afterlife is simple: survive as long as possible. The afterlife is a ghost-kill-ghost kind of place. When she meets newly-dead Alec, she can’t help her desire to protect him. Before she knows it, she finds herself falling for him, despite the little voice in her head telling her it’s a bad idea.

Alec’s goals don’t mesh well with Gina’s plans. Determined to save his living sister from a murderer, he’s willing to disobey the laws of a well-established cult in the afterlife. If the cult finds out, they’ll kill him. Again. He’s hesitant to accept Gina’s help and threaten her afterlife, but he’s guaranteed to fail without her. Together they embark on a perilous mission, but the most dangerous aspect of all is the threat of falling in love. Because in the afterlife… love is death.

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Day 7 ACB AuthorBorn and raised in the rainy streets of the Seattle Area, L.P. Masters spent her fair share of time staring out rain-streaked windows and writing books. Masters has always had extremely vivid dreams, which often spark inspiration for her novels. In 1999, after one such dream, Masters began her first writing project. She has participated in National Novel Writer’s Month every November since 2010. Writing isn’t the only thing she can do with a pen in her hand, she also enjoys sketching and drawing—with varying degrees of success. Masters now lives in the slightly-less-dreary city of Spokane Washington with her husband, four wonderful daughters, and two crazy dogs.

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Top Ten List:

1. As a kid, I used to write 20 books at a time. I could keep them all straight. I would sit down at the computer and open five or six books that I wanted to work on. I’d write one for a few minutes, get an idea for another one and go work on that one. I was always bouncing around between stories and ideas.

2. Thanks to fun fact #1, by the time I was sixteen years old, I had started 134 books and had finished 12 of them.

3. I used to read books the same way, usually only 2 or 3 at a time.

4. I never finished Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, even though it was interesting and I wanted to read it. I got distracted, set it down, and never picked it up again. I always tell myself that some day I’ll finish it. I do have to know what question 42 answers!

5. A lot of my stories are inspired by my dreams. My dreams are very vivid, and often have large chunks of the beginning, middle, and/or end of a story incorporated into them. Sometimes I’ll dream the beginning of a book, and days or weeks later dream the middle or end of the same book.

6. I unfortunately often experience hypnopompic dreaming, which is a condition in which a person wakes up but continues to dream, so I often will wake up and see things in my room in the middle of the night. They’re usually scary things. No. They’re usually terrifying.

7. Thanks to fun fact #6, I could write horror stories if I wanted to. I would never run out of ideas. So Many Horror Stories! I’ve decided not to embrace those types of dreams that way, but I have written one or two short stories inspired by my dreams.

8. Someone can say a single word and inspire a novel, or a simple sentence and inspire an entire scene. My mind hooks onto things and runs with them.

9. When I first got started reading novels, I often lay in bed thinking about what the author might do next in the story. A lot of times I’d only be halfway through the book and I would already have come up with two or three possible endings in my head. The stories rarely turned out the way I imagined they would, but it was always fun to think of all the different options.

10. Maybe #9 is the reason why I am obsessed with some day creating a series of choose your own adventure sci-fi novels. I’ve already got a ton of them plotted out. I just haven’t sat down and finished them.

 

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Autumn/Halloween Countdown Blitz 2019

Day 6

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Unmasking the Duke by Donna Hatch

 
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The last thing Hannah Palmer wants to do is flirt with men in a crowded ballroom, but when her sister, the Countess of Tarrington, throws a Masquerade Ball, Hannah can’t say no to the invitation.

Taking comfort behind her disguise, she dances with a charming masked gentleman, matching him wit for wit. When the glorious evening culminates in a kiss, and the two remove their masks, Hannah is horrified to discover the man she’s been flirting with all night is her most despised neighbor, the Duke of Suttenberg.

No matter how charming the duke was at the ball, and how wonderful the kiss, he is the last man she could ever love.

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Day 6 ACB AuthorDonna Hatch is the author of the best-selling “Rogue Hearts Series,” and a winner of writing awards such as The Golden Quill and the International Digital Award.

A hopeless romantic and adventurer at heart, she discovered her writing passion at the tender age of 8 and has been listening to those voices ever since. She has become a sought-after workshop presenter, and also juggles freelance editing, multiple volunteer positions, and most of all, her six children (seven, counting her husband).

A native of Arizona who recently transplanted to the Pacific Northwest, she and her husband of over twenty years are living proof that there really is a happily ever after.

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Top Ten List:


1. I adore cats–kittens are even more fun.

2. Claustrophia is one of my biggest challenges.

3. My favorite sports are water sports. I love swimming, boating, wake surfing, rowing around on a canoe, and simply walking along the beach of an ocean or lake.

4. I enjoy horseback riding and hope someday to take lessons so I can learn how to do it well. I’d also love to learn how to ride side saddle.

5. One of my favorite ways to have a good time with friends is having a tea party. I also love to play board games and card games.

6. Due to moves in my childhood, I attended 9 different schools including 3 junior high schools. Being the new kid isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

7. I love chocolate. Chocolate has seen me through many brutal revisions. But please hold the dark chocolate–in most cases, it’s too chalky and bitter. I love MILK chocolate, with or without caramel, and with or without nuts. Mmmmm. Salted caramel is a very close second.

8. My favorite color is blue scruffy shade of blue is beautiful. I also adore pink but there are a lot of ugly shades of pink so I’m pickier on that one.

9. Though I’m not a real gardener, I love flowers, and I find it rewarding to plan and then carry out ways to add color to my yard.

10. I love to dance–any kind–but most especially ballet and ballroom. I would dance every day if I could.

 
 

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