Book Review: “Something Lost” by Bernadette Marie

Good morning ladies and gents. Once in a while, especially now that I’m trying to carve out more time in my packed days for reading, I like to offer up a review of some of the books I’ve read. In particular, I love being able to share authors with you who are great a story telling (fiction), offer excellent advice (nonfiction), and who’s styles are captivating, whether in fiction or nonfiction.

It makes it even more fun when it’s an author I’ve met and like, because I get more insights into their creative process, their style, and the quality of their work.

So, today, I’m reviewing “Something Lost” by Bernadette Marie, the first book in her Funerals and Weddings Series. Bernadette is an incredibly accomplished and prolific writer with more than 50 books published (Jesus, I’m slacking over here). She is also the head of 5 Prince Publishing as well as a mother of five (all boys…ya’ll this woman has raised 5. Boys.) And somehow, in her spare time she’s also earned a 2nd degree black belt in Tang Soo Do. So, she’s just all-around awesome. To find out more about her, her books, and audiobooks, please visit the links above.

Now onto “Something Lost“.

The book begins at the funeral of Coach Diaz, a beloved basketball coach, father and mentor. His favorite five players, now grown up, return to pay their respects. Among them, is Craig Turner, a once troubled youth who found balance and stability on his team and with Coach’s support. He also once dated the coach’s daughter, Rachel, despite being warned not to. The two meet and rekindle the flame after having lived through some rough and terrible events.

The book is so well written that the story almost plays out like a movie in your head. Readers experience the ups and downs of a relationship that has painful ties to the past, while hope for a different kind of future. Bernadette’s ability to connect readers to her characters through their emotional honest and head-on exploration of hard topics like suicide, depression, self-harm, and abusive parents deepen this book into more than just an average romance novel. “Something Lost” explores what it is to be human, what we do to survive terrible loss, and how we come back from it to be stronger people still capable of honesty and love. The story moves quickly and the chemistry between Rachel and Craig is playful and heated.

I love that Bernadette Marie gives such sexual power and freedom to her female leads. One of my favorite parts about the book is how Rachel admits and prides herself on the fact that she means to seduce Craig and make him hers. And she’s strongly determined in this goal. Another brilliant and timely theme in the book is about the awareness of mental health, the openness of the characters in talking about it, supporting one another, and justifying the importance of it with seeking help and being active participants in their healing process. It’s an important concept that is long overdue to be accepted and practiced in mainstream. I’ve always believed that genre fiction stands as a bellwether for societal change and Marie approaches it with love, respect, and honesty.

The character dynamics between the main characters are wonderful, passionate and sweet, but the dynamics between the side characters (the other members of the team, Rachel’s mother and brother, and her best friend) help to build an interesting world of connected lives that are each unique. This is an art for any author writing series as it makes the reader want to know more about the ‘side’ characters, and promotes the next books focusing on them.

All in all, I loved being able to wind down at the end of a busy day with this book. It wasn’t that it was mindless–quite the contrary, it was a way for my overworked brain to relax and let someone else tell a good story to me. I’ll definately be checking out the rest of this series and all of her titles. With over 50, it should keep me in books for at least a couple of years.

Westbury Falls is Live!!! And Other Cool Stuff

Two promotion blogs back to back? What the hell have I become? A corporate lackey? No–just an artist who’s excited to share her work as well as the work of some really stellar writers.

First things first. Westbury Falls is now available per chapter on Vella and here’s the link:

Westbury Falls

But why read it, you say, if I’ve gotten it up to chapter 10 for free here?

Well, because I’ve added things, changed the chapters around, and you’ll actually get to know what happens when things get steamier beneath all those layers of clothes and propriety. It’s a beautiful and intriguing mystery/sci-fi/steamy romance and I can’t wait to see how it ends (I’m mean–I’m pretty sure I know how it’ll end) Also, per legal reasons, I’m removing it from my website.

The good news is: You can read the first three episodes for free, and the tokens for subsequent chapters are really…really…inexpensive. (Like, I’ll make maybe $3.49 for everytime someone reads the whole book) So if nothing else, you’ll be supporting your friendly neighborhood author for a price less than a cup of coffee.

Second: My charming, delightful and wonderful co-paneling author and friend, Courtney Davis just released her newest book “Princess of Prias” (click on the title to take you directly to the order page). Davis is an author with 5 Prince Publishing, a wonderful small publishing company founded here in Colorado that has a fantastic and diverse line up of romance writers. Check out more of their titles here:

5 Prince Publishing

I’ll be doing some book reviews in the next few weeks of some of 5 Prince Publishing’s major authors as well as some of the cool writers I met with over Fan Expo.

Because I don’t want this to be entirely about promotion, here’s a little writing advice for the week:

I’m in the thick of my first real edits for my 8th novel and I’m realizing that I’m rewriting a great deal of it from scratch. But although its labor-intensive, I’m crafting a story that I like even more than the original and building a world that I want to spend some time in (say two more novels at least?) At the same time I’m trying to multi-market my work as much as possible. I sometimes wonder if I’m spreading my creative energy too thin. This is a new world for writers and authors. We are our own marketing staff. We have to have an online presence and a platform, and still manage to find the time to actually write and edit books.

Don’t forget your purpose. Don’t get so bogged down in the business side of writing that you forget to come back to the joy that drove you to start. I once heard someone say, “Don’t let your ambition get in the way of your joy” and that really struck me. I also believe that when we start with our joy, it is easier to believe in it and feel good about sharing it with others. So here’s the advice…let your joy be the source of your ambition, but make time to enjoy what you love without the endgame always being financial success.