Today I am one of the stops on the blog tour for Island of Secrets by Diane Demetre. I will be sharing an extract from the novel.
Two love stories separated in time. Two women following their dreams. In a paradise littered with painful secrets, will love turn the tide?
1973: Cecilia “CiCi” Freemont has a restless soul and the voice of an angel. Leaving her privileged upbringing behind, she chases her dreams to the sandy beaches of an unspoiled Hawaiian paradise, Harbor Island. But life takes an unexpected turn when she falls for the island’s young heir-apparent and her newfound adventure becomes too much to bear…
2017: Investigative journalist Tina Templeton has dedicated herself to the pursuit of truth. But when she inherits Harbor Island, her career plans take a confusing twist. Managing the sprawling island estate is tough business even with the help of aging cabaret singer, CiCi Freemont. Especially when a massive ecological disaster threatens to destroy her beautiful beaches—and the responding coast guard captain steals her heart.
As the investigation into the disaster reveals a 40-year-old mystery that could change their lives forever, will Tina find love among the secrets, or will CiCi’s painful past dash her dreams on the rocks?
Island of Secrets is an epic love story. If you like generations-spanning drama, characters with hidden pasts, heart-warming romance and intrigue, then you’ll love Diane Demetre’s powerful romantic mystery in paradise.
1973 – Required to lead the Sunday service on Harbor Island, Cecilia unleashes her voice to the amazement of all.
With all the morning’s commotion, the service now ran over two hours late. The staff sat perched in prim rows in the great pavilion, fanning themselves. As added evidence of the escalating heat, the fresh bunch of flowers Cecilia had pinned on her hat that morning had wilted. Her pretty lemon dress, now splattered with ugly brown marks, no longer shone with bright vitality. She gazed at the fine layer of dirt coating her feet and huffed. She looked a bedraggled mess. Not someone to be singing the hymns.
“And now, I call upon Cecilia to lead us in our first hymn, ‘All Creatures of Our God and King’.” Mr. Reginald nodded at her and vacated his place at the lectern-cum-pulpit.
With the required reverence she’d learned as a young church-going girl, Cecilia walked over. Beneath the long curls trailing down her back trickled an uncomfortable stream of perspiration on its course to her buttocks. Like an ice-cream, she melted under the heat and the pressure.
With a quick fidget of her sheet music and a smile, she silently pitched and prayed her voice would not let her down. “All creatures of our God and king, lift up your voices and with us sing. Alleluia! Alleluia! . . .” Clear, fluting notes pierced the hot dullness of the service. Heads snapped up with faces stretched in white-toothed grins. Even Mr. Reginald sat agape and blinked at her. Emboldened, she opened her voice for the next lines. “Thou burning sun with golden beam, thou silver moon with softer gleam.”
Obviously inspired, Bartholomew shot to his feet and joined his baritone voice with Cecilia’s lyric soprano on the next alleluias. She cast him a grateful wink. Up jumped Loretta, and Albert, and Robert, and Elsie and then all the staff sang out in worship. Their participation carried her to new confidence. With lungs bursting, she raised her voice to the rafters of the great pavilion. By the time the hymn finished, her body buzzed. A rush of euphoria flooded her senses. Triumphant, she opened her eyes, returning from the ecstasy of singing. Only then did she hear the thunderous applause. She spied Victoria and Dickie clapping wildly. They were seated beside their father, who by the look on his face, was both overwhelmed and disgruntled by her performance. Could it be he was jealous of her singing?
Clearing his throat, he returned to the lectern and resumed in dramatic manner. “And now today’s lesson. It is taken from Luke 10:25–37, the parable of the Good Samaritan. This is a most apt lesson for today considering what has befallen Mrs. Reginald this morning . . .” While Mr. Reginald droned on, the congregation once more fell into the drudgery of listening to him wax lyrical on the Bible’s message. It wasn’t until twenty minutes later, when he introduced Cecilia once more to lead them all in the second hymn, that the congregation rediscovered their interest in the Sunday service.
For readers of contemporary fiction, Diane Demetre is a fresh, passionate voice in storytelling. She is an award-winning author of genre-busting romance novels with a twist. Her dramatic flair, sense of place and evocative style create an entertaining escape for her readers. Diane’s works feature empowered heroines who live life to the fullest on their terms, much like the author herself.
About the Author:
Diane began her career as a school teacher before moving into the entertainment industry as a choreographer, director, event manager, dancer and actress, working in television and live theatre, and managing multi-million dollar productions.
Following her onstage career, she spent many years as a stress & life skills therapist, keynote speaker and presenter, appearing on national radio and television.
When she launched into a writing career, Diane’s debut erotic romance series, the Dance of Love was voted Luminosity Publishing Readers’ Choice Best Books and Best Covers for 2015 and 2016.
Her romantic suspense, Retribution won the Romance Writers of Australia Emerald Pro Award 2017 for Best Unpublished Manuscript. Diane loves to write genre-busting stories with a twist. Her works are packed with emotional punch and feature empowered heroines who live life to the fullest, much like the author herself.
Author: Keira Drake
Published: March 27, 2018
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
For her sixteenth birthday, Vaela Sun receives the most coveted gift in all the Spire—a trip to the Continent. It seems an unlikely destination for a holiday: a cold, desolate land where two nations remain perpetually locked in combat. Most citizens lucky enough to tour the Continent do so to observe the spectacle and violence of battle, a thing long vanished in the peaceful realm of the Spire. For Vaela, the war holds little interest. As a smart and talented apprentice cartographer and a descendent of the Continent herself, she sees the journey as a dream come true: a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve upon the maps she’s drawn of this vast, frozen land.
But Vaela’s dream all too quickly turns to nightmare as the journey brings her face-to-face with the brutal reality of a war she’s only read about. Observing from the safety of a heli-plane, Vaela is forever changed by the sight of the bloody battle being waged far beneath her. And when a tragic accident leaves her stranded on the Continent, Vaela finds herself much closer to danger than she’d ever imagined—and with an entirely new perspective as to what war truly means. Starving, alone, and lost in the middle of a war zone, Vaela must try to find a way home—but first, she must survive.
I found this book at the Barnes and Noble 50% Book Haul. The cover was nice and the description sounded interesting. I decided to move it up my list and read it relatively soon after buying it. It was ok. That’s the only word I can think of to use. It wasn’t bad and it wasn’t good. I had high expectations at the beginning; it had all the makings of a great story. But as the story progressed, the more disappointed I was. Vaela was a boring, rich girl. Noro could have been interesting, but Vaela brought him down. The political allegory of savagery vs. privilege was obvious and somewhat true, but when the Spire was condemned for minding its own business and not getting involved with the warfare on the Continent, I was done. Even the action was just ok. It held my attention only marginally. I was very glad when I reached the end. Snowflakes definitely won’t like this book, the ones on Goodreads made that very clear! I didn’t think it was offensive, just mediocre. I’m glad I read it, but I don’t recommend it to anyone.
Today Kim and I are bringing you a double review of JT Lawrence’s short story collection Sticky Fingers 3. We have really enjoyed these complications and really hope Lawrence keeps writing these short story collections. Again, this collection was sent to us from Lawrence in exchange for an honest review.
Author: JT Lawrence
Published: June 15, 2018
JT Lawrence is back with more short stories that are creepier than ever. You won’t be able to get these deliciously twisted tales out of your head…
Grab them while they’re hot and sticky.
This collection includes:
Tears of a Dead Man
A man tries to convince his doctor that he is dead.
Would you take the noose around your neck if it meant saving everyone you knew?
The Children in the Walls
The storm tried to keep her out; she should have listened.
Death is a Woman in a Blue Dress
What happens if you let Death in the front door?
A viking is called to fulfill his bloody destiny despite his desire to stay home with his love.
Witch panic spreads like wildfire in this poignant tale of a midwife accused of saving a baby.
Jeffrey Sacks is back, and this time he’s taking no prisoners.
Kim’s Rating: 5 Stars
I am writing this review based off the listening of my free Audible copy, provided by the author. This is easily my favorite of all the Sticky Fingers short story compilations. I could not stop listening and found every excuse to drive just so I could have it playing. Once again, Lawrence builds on the first two collections and I love it! And these stories were actually slightly longer, which I didn’t think I was going to like, but I did. We find out the end of Jeffrey Sacks’s strange online review obsession. Believe it or not, I actually like Jeffrey!
My favorite of this volume is The Shelter . . . whoa! Lawrence needs to write an entire book, just based off that story. I seriously want to find out what else happens to Anna and Simon! Fenrir (the Viking story) was also brilliant! Such a great ending to a great collection . . . unless of course, we get more Sticky Fingers volumes!! Cuz I am all for that!!!! I would actually recommend, not just this volume, but all the Sticky Fingers collections to pretty much everybody.
Jessica’s Rating: 4 Stars
JT Lawrence is back with volume three of Sticky Fingers! I really hope she keeps these books going as I have truly enjoyed all of this short story series. They can be read as standalones, but I would recommend reading them consecutively as there are appearances from ‘repeat characters’. This was a pleasant surprise to experience.
The narrator for all three Sticky Fingers volumes is Roshina Ratnam, and like Lawrence she is also South African. Once you adjust to her ‘accent’ you will love her voice! She does a superb job with the narrations.
As with the previous volumes, I will share some mini-reviews of some of the stories I enjoyed:
OMG, this one was excellent and I need more of this story! This is the kind of story that pulls me in. If you enjoy dystopian stories, this will be one to read!
A good one: be careful who you might double cross!
The Hostage Situation:
This one is every parent’s worst nightmare. I am thinking it must be autobiographical when Lawrence dealt with a sick child.
Every Breath You Take:
A prison interview: I really enjoyed this disturbing story on obsession/love.
Another disturbing story I did not want to end. A witch hunt….. I find those kinds of stories fascinating.
Jeffrey Sacks is back and sharing more reviews: This one is a continuation and very enjoyable!!!
If you enjoy short stories that are a bit twisted, this is the series of books to read. You will not regret it. I hope Lawrence continues to bring us more Sticky Fingers volumes!
**Special thanks to JT Lawrence for sending us an Audible copy to listen to in exchange for an honest review. PLEASE write more Sticky Fingers!**