Review: So We Meet Again

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Rating: ★★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I had previously read the author’s other book, Loathe at First Sight, and liked but didn’t love it. I knew I wanted to give her books another shot, so I jumped at the chance to read this one. This book was so much better! 

First off, I liked the romance in this one. This book had more of a romantic story than Loathe At First Sight. Daniel was a swoon-worthy love interest for sure! I loved his interactions with Jess. They had the most adorable meet-cute. As soon as I read their meet-cute, I knew I was going to like them as a couple. 

I also loved that the book was more than a romance and focused a great deal on Jess’s career change. It explored all the ups and downs of starting over. It was wonderful seeing Jess grow from an unsure former investment banker into a full fledged businesswoman. 

As for the supporting characters, Jess’s parents were so precious! You could tell that they really loved Jess, even if they didn’t always show it in the best way. I could relate to Jess’s experiences with her critical mom. 

I did find the book to be a little unrealistic at times. The book wasn’t super clear on the passage of time, but it felt like Jess’s business took off too quickly. But I will admit I don’t know that much about business so maybe it was realistic. Also, Daniel did something at the very end that could have got him in trouble as a lawyer. It wasn’t anything egregious (just a conflict of interest issue). It was only something I noticed since I am a recent law graduate. Most lawyers would have foresaw that conflict of interest and handled the situation differently. 

Overall, I enjoyed this read! If you want a light and fun romance and/or women’s fiction novel to read, pick this one up! 


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Review: The Lion’s Den

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the Publisher (Grand Central Publishing) in exchange for an honest review. 

Wow. What a crazy ride! This book really took me on an adventure through the lives of the rich.

This is a summer mystery novel that kept me guessing until the very end. All throughout the novel you know something is up, but it won’t all be revealed until the end. The way it all came about was very smart and clever. I liked how there were small little mentions of things that would later become integral to the plot and mystery. 

One small issue that I had was that the book felt a little slow in the beginning. It took a bit to really get the book rolling. This was in part due to the flashbacks. The flashbacks were very important, but in the beginning I was super eager to learn more about the present day situation. As the book went on, I enjoyed the flashbacks more because they provided more insight into what was happening. 

Additionally, I wanted to know a little bit more about what happened to some of the supporting characters afterwards. The book wraps up everything with the main character, but not for the supporting characters. 

Overall, I recommend this book for anyone looking to get lost in a fun summer read! 


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Review: Expectation

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (Harper Perennial) in exchange for an honest review. 

This was an incredibly fascinating novel. 

First off, this novel is a slow burn. The book starts off on the slow side and then gradually gets more and more interesting as it progresses.

The three women in this book are all very complicated and complex. I found them to be utterly riveting. They’re all morally grey which makes them feel more real and raw. Sometimes they make decisions that others may find irritating, but to me that makes they more dynamic. 

I liked the flashbacks that were woven throughout the book. They helped highlight different things about the women. The flashbacks also gradually introduced new information about them. There’s no information dumping in this book. Everything gets revealed at just the right time. 

This book does get compared to Sally Rooney’s books (Conversations with Friends and Normal People). I’m a big Sally Rooney fan and there is merit to that comparison. The writing style, tone, and pacing are similar in a way. 

Lastly, I liked the ending because it brought the book full circle, but at the the same time I didn’t like it. To me, the ending didn’t fully resolve everything I wanted to be resolved. 

Overall, this book is a compelling character study of three women coming to terms with how their lives turned out. 


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Review: California Girls

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours as part of a review tour. 

This was my first time reading a book by Susan Mallery and I enjoyed it. 

This book was a classic chick lit novel. 

I loved the dynamic between the sisters. That felt very real and organic. The sisters did have their differences but were still able to come together when it mattered. 

I also loved how each of their stories were different. Even though they all had the commonality of getting dumped at the same time, they all went down different paths. I thought that was really important to show because everyone is different and deals with things in their own way. 

The one thing I didn’t like was how some of the situations that the characters found themselves in weren’t that realistic. For example, the way Finola found out about her husband’s affair (her husband told her right before she went on air, plus the mistress was the pop star she had to interview, who also confronted her about the affair). But this is a chick lit novel so I can look past that. Part of the fun of reading chick lit is the over the top scenarios that happen. 

Overall, this was a solid chick lit book perfect for reading while sunbathing in the warm California sun.


Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Author Links

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram



SYNOPSIS:

The California sunshine’s not quite so bright for three sisters who get dumped in the same week…

Finola, a popular LA morning show host, is famously upbeat until she’s blindsided on live TV by news that her husband is sleeping with a young pop sensation who has set their affair to music. While avoiding the tabloids and pretending she’s just fine, she’s crumbling inside, desperate for him to come to his senses and for life to go back to normal.

Zennie’s breakup is no big loss. Although the world insists she pair up, she’d rather be surfing. So agreeing to be the surrogate for her best friend is a no-brainer—after all, she has an available womb and no other attachments to worry about. Except…when everyone else, including her big sister, thinks she’s making a huge mistake, being pregnant is a lot lonelier—and more complicated—than she imagined.

Never the tallest, thinnest or prettiest sister, Ali is used to being overlooked, but when her fiancé sends his disapproving brother to call off the wedding, it’s a new low. And yet Daniel continues to turn up “for support,” making Ali wonder if maybe—for once—someone sees her in a way no one ever has.

But side by side by side, these sisters will start over and rebuild their lives with all the affection, charm and laugh-out-loud humor that is classic Susan Mallery.

Review: The Lost Carousel of Provence

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Rating: ★★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher (Berkley Books) in exchange for an honest review. 

This was such a charming and quaint story!

The book started off a bit slow. It took a while for the story to actually take shape and for the historical parts to start making sense (the book has dual storylines, one historical and the other contemporary). But once the main character, Cady, went to France, the story really took off and from there it was magnifique!

I loved the way the author described France, particularly the small village Cady visited and the chateau she stayed at. From the scenery to the food to the carousel, she made it sound so enchanting and beautiful. I wish I was actually there! 

I also loved the little nods to the Bay Area. The author is from the San Francisco Bay Area (like me) and the main character is from Oakland. Anytime Cady would mention something about Oakland, I’d always think to myself, yup that’s so true

As for the characters, I loved them all, especially Fabrice, the owner of the chateau. He was such a mystery and I enjoyed unraveling his past. 

Overall, this is the perfect historical fiction and contemporary read for anyone who wants to spend time in a chateau in the French countryside.

Review: The Fashion Intruder

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

I was so excited to read this because it was about a transactional lawyer who leaves the legal world for the fashion world. As a law student who loves fashion, this book was right up my alley!

The book started off a bit messy. There were a lot of little one or two paragraphs from other characters’ viewpoints which made the book a little confusing in the beginning since I had no idea who they were. But once the book and the story got going, it all became much clearer.

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I loved how the book showcased the intricacies of the fashion world and all the politics that go into it. The fashion world is definitely tough and this book showed that.

I also enjoyed the jet-setting atmosphere. The main character was always traveling somewhere glamorous. As an American, I envy how easy it is to travel from one country to another in Europe. 

There was a reference to Lana Del Rey that I just have to mention because it was just so perfect. The novel states, “Although Sofia could swear she’d put her phone on silent, she suddenly heard the loud sound of Lana Del Rey’s ‘Salvatore’” (156). That song was so perfect for the character since she’s Italian and “Salvatore” is such a dreamy song that makes you wish you were in Italy.

Overall, this was a fun look into the European fashion world. It’s has a The Devil Wears Prada vibe but set in Europe. 

Blog Tour: Chasing Petalouthes guest post

For today’s post I am partnering with Love Books Tours to bring you a guest post from the author of Chasing Petalouthes, Effie Kammenou. In her post she discusses how she finds inspiration for her books. Keep scrolling to read her post and to find out more about her book!


 

Guest Post Written by the Author

Inspiration

Inspiration can come from any number of sources – a life experience, a fleeting yet compelling observation, or perhaps an unforgettable dream. For me it’s been all of the above and then some. I believe every writer draws from personal experience and any creative person tends to possess keen observation skills.

My younger daughter is a graphic designer and art director. I can see her eyes light up when inspiration strikes. I might not understand what caught her attention or what was running through her mind, but when she’s done setting up her shot and I see the final product of what she created, then I understand.

The same is true for my eldest, a dance teacher and choreographer. She’ll hear a piece of music that speaks to her and it’s as though a light switch was turned on. I can almost see her eyes dancing as her mind begins to create.

The smallest seemingly insignificant moments can be the most inspirational of all. Each year my family and I attend the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival. It’s a crowded park at that time of the year. Actually, it’s always pretty crowded, but during the festival there are lines of people waiting to sample food & alcoholic beverages from kiosks that represent dozens of countries. I was sitting on a bench waiting for my family and I noticed a young couple sampling some of the offerings. It was apparent that the young man enjoyed what he’d tasted and he brought the wax paper clad pastry up to his girlfriend’s lips. He watched her eagerly, hoping she would enjoy it as much as he did and smiled when her reaction was the same as his. He then sweetly brushed off a flake of pastry from her bottom lip, allowing his finger to linger long enough to caress her mouth before lowering his head to gently kiss her. The whole exchange couldn’t have been more than fifteen seconds but it stayed with me. There was so much love in the young man’s gesture. I could see from that tiny slice of their life that he cared deeply for her and it moved me. I decided I would write a similar sweet moment into one of my stories. (Hint – It’s in Waiting For Aegina)

I began writing my first novel, Evanthia’s Gift, when my mother passed away. It had always been in the back of my mind to write, but I’d always dismissed the idea until this life-altering event and inspiration was born from grief. The story I had always played with in my mind grew from as simple love story to a family saga when I created a character that honored the essence of my mother’s heart and soul.

My mother like her mother before her never wanted to leave this earth, and they especially didn’t want to leave their family. My grandmother, who we called Yiayiá, would say in heavily accented English, ‘Don’t forget me,’ years before she had to worry about dying. My mother promised to always be with us and watch over us. And I believe she has done just that. I’ve had several dreams since I’ve lost her. Ones that contained an important message. I’ve used those dreams as inspiration although I changed the details and used them in a different context.

In 2004 I reluctantly attended my thirtieth high school reunion. The committee chairperson, an old friend I hadn’t seen since those school days, contacted me repeatedly until I finally agreed to attend. I ended up having a wonderful time and reconnected with many old friends. We became a close-knit group, and fourteen years later, we still get together. Because of this, the idea came to me to write a fictionalized story about a circle of friends who grew up together. I added these friends to Book One: Evanthia’s Gift as secondary characters, but in Book Two: Waiting For Aegina they are the focus of the story and each have their own subplot.

Although there may be bits and pieces of my friends in these women they are purely a figment of my imagination. I thought back to those days when we were young and idealistic and remembered what we all thought we would be doing with our lives years later. I expected to be a successful actor. There was a 1:1,000,000 chance of that! I was certain one of my friends would be a fashion designer and another a very important politician. Neither is the case in their real lives but my teenage ideals for them was inspiration enough for me to develop completely new characters with different histories, backgrounds and physical attributes from my friends.

Although none of the characters in Chasing Petalouthes are based on my daughters or any of the children in my family, it is their generation that inspired the storylines of Evvie and Stella. In truth, a very brave young woman shared a personal and painful part of her life with me and she inspired part of the plot. And of course, like I do in the rest of the saga, I delve into the past in a way where the current generation can learn valuable lessons from the generations before them.

I’ve already started to plot the next series in my mind. As a matter of fact, I witnessed something recently that inspired me enough to have my new love interests meet in a similar manner. But I’m not saying a word just yet!


Book Blurb

Chasing Petalouthes cover

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The Gift Saga concludes with the next generation coming into the forefront of the story during their tumultuous years between adolescence and adulthood.

Evvie has lived through more tragedy than a young girl should ever endure, having lost both her father and a most beloved grandmother at a young age. Her rebellious ways are her only defense to mask the ever-present pain in her heart. Closing herself off emotionally, Evvie vows to never let anyone into her heart. But will her determination to keep everyone out see her lose the only person who could heal her broken soul?

Over-achieving, focused, talented, determined to succeed. Those are the traits Stella envies in her siblings and cousins. Her insecurities and lack of confidence stunts her ability to realize her own worth. When an older, handsome young man claims her as his own, Stella believes she has finally found who she has been looking for—someone to love her enough to mold her into the best version of herself. But has she fallen in love too quickly for a man she barely knows anything about?

 Chasing Petalouthes (Chasing Butterflies) is the coming of age story of two flawed, young women who push their way out from the confines of the cocoons they’d built around themselves and discover how to soar.

 Can be read as a standalone. For the full emotional impact on the character’s live and histories, read Evanthia’s Gift & Waiting For Aegina.


About the Author

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Effie Kammenou is a believer that it is never too late to chase your dreams, follow your heart or change your career. She is proof of that. At one time, long ago, she’d thought that, by her age, she would have had an Oscar in her hand after a successful career as an actor. Instead, she worked in the optical field for 40 years and is the proud mother of two accomplished young women.

Her debut novel, Evanthia’s Gift, is a women’s fiction multigenerational love story and family saga, influenced by her Greek heritage, and the many real life accounts that have been passed down. She continues to pick her father’s brain for stories of his family’s life in Lesvos, Greece, and their journey to America. Her interview with him was published in a nationally circulated magazine.

Evanthia’s Gift: Book One in The Gift Saga was a 2016 award finalist in the Readers Favorite Awards in the Women’s Fiction category.  Waiting for Aegina is Book Two in The Gift Saga and Chasing Petalouthes is Kammenou’s latest release, completing the series.

Effie Kammenou is a first generation Greek-American who lives on Long Island with her husband and two daughters. When she’s not writing, or posting recipes on her food blog, cheffieskitchen.wordpress.com, you can find her entertaining family and friends or traveling for ‘research.’

As an avid cook and baker, a skill she learned from watching her Athenian mother, she incorporated traditional Greek family recipes throughout the books.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater Arts from Hofstra University.


chasing-petalouthes

Review: How to Keep a Secret

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher (Harlequin) as part of their bookstagram publicity campaign. 

I loved this book!

A blurb on the back of the book from fellow author, Jill Shalvis, describes this book as being “Jane Green meets Sophie Kinsella.” I haven’t read anything by Jane Green but I definitely got a few Sophie Kinsella vibes from this (I love Sophie Kinsella if you didn’t already know). One of the characters, Lauren, lives in London at the beginning of the book, which reminds me a lot of Sophie’s characters. 

A large part of this book are the secrets and the fallouts that happen when they get revealed and I thought they were handled perfectly. I loved how the secrets were revealed one at a time. They were spaced out nicely and woven throughout the story.

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This book is about three generations of women, which is a trope I love reading about and it was very well executed. All the women were fleshed out and felt real. I liked that we are given all 4 perspectives because that allows you to really get to know the characters and their feelings. I know some people had issues with the perspective changes but I didn’t have any issue with it and didn’t find it confusing.

There is romance, but the main focus of the book are the familial relationships, and I liked how the romance didn’t overshadow that. There was a nice balance between the two. 

Overall, this was a wonderful piece of women’s fiction with a lot of heart and romance. 

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Blog Tour: Busted guest post

Today I am partnering with Love Books Group for a guest post from author, Michele I. Khoury. In her post, she talks about the story behind one of her characters and the research she did to bring that character to life. Keep scrolling to read her post and to find more information about her book!


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Guest post by the author

Busted: The Story Behind the Good Guy

While writing my debut novel, I did a ton of research, which also included interviewing people who had the same profession as the characters in Busted. The story is about three people who collide over cocaine and how their experiences intertwine.

One of the primary characters is a DEA Special Agent, named Bobby Garcia. While I created a storyline that included drugs and the drug world, I did what writers are not supposed to do: I wrote about topics that I did not know.

Through research and networking, I met a Lt. in Narcotics from the Anaheim Police Department (the same city where Disneyland is located.)

The lieutenant was wonderful. Not only did I interview him on numerous occasions, but I also emailed him at all hours the day and night, to which he responded quickly. He is an honorable individual; he is conscious and respectful of the law, and relentless in arresting drug dealers. Unlike another character in my novel, the lieutenant is committed to the war on drugs and believes that marijuana is a gateway drug.

Not having a legal background, I found myself fascinated by the intricacies of law enforcement. He educated me about the process of identifying suspects, tracking their behavior, finding proof, obtaining search warrants, and setting up stings. The dedication he exhibited became the basis for the DEA Special Agent in my story.

Bobby was a joy to create—a dedicated thirty-eight-year-old family man, who loves his job. His vulnerability comes from his daughter, a rebellious fourteen-year-old who accidentally OD’s on cocaine. Bobby didn’t need any more motivation to rid society of drugs, but when his daughter almost dies, he’s personally impacted and allows his emotions to cloud his judgment.

Dear Reader, What about you? Have you ever taken on a project where you had no clue as to what you were getting into? If so, what was it? What happened? How did you learn what you needed? Were you successful? Or not? What value did you gain?

Warmest Regards,

Michele I. Khoury

Please feel free to contact or follow me:

Mkhoury18@gmail.com

http://www.michelekhoury.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMicheleKhoury/

Twitter: Michele Khoury@MicheleIKhoury

Subscribe to my blogs: http://michelekhoury.com/blog/


Blurb 

Impacted by the recession, twenty-four-year-old artist Gina McKenna is down to her last few dollars and days away from living in her car when a successful businessman buys a painting and commissions another. As their relationship evolves, she’s seduced by his charm and mesmerized by his luxurious lifestyle until she discovers he’s a drug kingpin. As her world turns upside down, she struggles to survive vicious brutality. 

Miguel Lopez is a cocaine supplier with a weightlifter’s physique and ‘the rules do not apply to me’ attitude. Maniacal and ruthless, he has no qualms about killing anyone who interferes with his distribution network, including Gina. 

Dedicated to eradicating illegal drugs, DEA Special Agent Bobby Garcia spent months and hundreds of thousands of dollars working undercover to buy his way up a dealer chain to identify the moneyman. When his fourteen-year-old daughter overdoses on cocaine, he traces the blow to Lopez. As Bobby’s mission becomes personal, he makes emotional decisions, which negatively impact civilians and his job. Unable to let go, he risks his career to orchestrate the biggest drug sting in Southern California. What happens isn’t what he expected. 

When a deputy district attorney meets Gina at a party, he is smitten. As his attraction grows, so does Gina’s involvement with the DEA’s case, of which he is the designated prosecutor. Mindful of his professional ethics, he tries to stifle his feelings. 

Sex and violence permeate the twists and turns of this cautionary tale about choosing one’s friends well.


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About the Author

Writing is Michele I. Khoury’s third career. After graduating from the University of California at Riverside with a Masters degree in Economics, she worked at Xerox, where she set multiple sales records, and Apple Computer, where she received the Business Development Manager of the Year award. For twenty-one years, she was an international business consultant and taught technology companies around the world how to sell.

Her writing career began when she took the Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Novel Writing Classes offered through the University of California Irvine’s extension program. She was one of three out of the fourteen students her professor choose to mentor and attended weekly critique sessions for six years. BUSTED is her debut novel, and she is currently writing her second book, which is about domestic violence and abuse.

She lives in Orange County, California with her husband and rescued dogs, Bubbles and Thriller.

For more information, please visit http://www.michelekhoury.com.


Busted

 

Blog Tour: Waiting for Aegina guest post + excerpt

Today I am partnering with Love Books Group for a guest post from author, Effie Kammenou. In her post, she talks about the characters in her series. Keep scrolling to read her post, an excerpt, and to find out more information about her latest book!

Waiting for Aegina

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Guest post written by the author 

My stories are character driven. I’ve given each character a history that molds their personality, preferences, fears and dreams. The Gift Saga is mainly told from the point of view from the women in this multigenerational story, yet the men that love them, raise them and support them are just as interesting and often as complex as the women they love.

Evanthia’s Gift opens with Anastacia’s story, but in essence it’s the beginning of Sophia’s storyline. Everything that happens to Anastacia and all the decisions she makes directly affect Sophia throughout her life. The first third of the book, Part I, is Anastacia’s story and the backstory for Part II, which focuses on Sophia as she blossoms from an impressionable teenager to an independent woman.

Throughout the chapters, the reader is introduced to Sophia’s closest friends, both as teenagers and adults. The friendships between these women are strong and unbreakable.

This bond between these five women is what’s explored in Waiting
For Aegina. Each one leads separate lives and have all followed their dreams, but when trouble steps into their paths, the friends stand by each other.

Sophia is dealing with the repercussions that plagued her from the first book. She seemingly got her happily ever after, but there was so much she had yet to come to terms with—the death of her mother, a surprise revelation over her paternity, and her children’s resentment of her new husband.

Amy has a secret that only Sophia was privy to. She gave a child up for adoption shortly after her graduation from college. Her husband and son had no knowledge of this and neither did her other friends. When the truth unexpectedly comes out, it affects her family, her relationship with her husband and threatens her position as a United States congresswoman.

Donna married her high school sweetheart. She was the cheerleader who married the star football player, her first boyfriend. But her seemingly perfect marriage frays thread by thread as her husband becomes a man she can no longer respect. When tragedy strikes, Donna must find the strength to go on.

Demi and Sophia have grown up as though they were siblings. Demi is bold where Sophia is cautious and, Demi, outspoken in contrast to Sophia’s more diplomatic manner. But these two opposite personalities bring out the best in each other. Demi begrudgingly endures her intrusive mother-in-law, while also been letting her imagination run wild where her normally loving husband is concerned. Her mouth and insecurities get the best of her, landing her in a bit of marital disharmony.

Mindy has it all, or so it would seem. She has devoted her life to her craft, becoming a respected and well-known fashion designer. But to get there, sacrifices were made and she let the love of her life slip through her fingers. Her fear of being alone places her in the hands of the wrong man, but her friends come to her aid.

Each of these five women are very different with distinctly unique personalities, but the bond they had formed from childhood is cemented for life and they are loyal to the core, seeing each other through good times and bad.


Excerpt

Chapter 1

Sophia

October 2004

Sophia was seated at the edge of a worn leather chair with her eyes fixed on Dean, tears streaming down her cheeks. Ignoring the sting from the cuts and bruises on her forehead and nose, the soreness on the left side of her body, and the sharp pains coming from her casted arm, she gently gripped her husband’s hand, hoping her touch would will him into consciousness.

Not twenty-four hours ago, they were having the time of their lives—reconnecting with old friends, dancing, and maybe drinking a little too much. Which is why Sophia took the keys from Dean and insisted she drive home.

Their joyful night came to a crashing end when a bright light reflecting from her side view mirror blinded Sophia. It was as though everything after that happened in slow motion—the sound of crunching metal and screeching tires, a surreal feeling that the car may have flipped over and over, and the shattering of breaking glass when a car struck theirs, slamming into the passenger door where Dean was seated.

When their vehicle came to a sudden halt, Sophia found that the car had not turned over as she thought, yet somewhere in her confused and disoriented mind, it had registered that they must have spun around.

Clouds of white surrounded Sophia and she screamed out to Dean, afraid he was unconscious or severely injured from the impact the car had taken.

Her door flung open. “Sophia, I have to get you out of the car. Help is on its way.”

“Dino! Help Dino!” Sophia desperately pleaded, not sure to whom she was speaking. It was so dark and she was blinded by fear.

Slapping away the airbags obstructing her view, she called out to her husband. “Dino! Talk to me. Say something.”

Struggling to open his eyes, Dean groaned, but his lids remained closed.

Michael, who had been following in the car behind, could see that metal from the car had compressed around the lower half of Dean’s body and, without help, he would not be able to pull him from the wreckage.

Sophia reached for Dean, but Michael stopped her.

“It’s better not to touch him until the EMTs get here.”

Panic-stricken after watching the erratic driver crash into her brother’s door, Demi helped Sophia out of the car and clung to her.

Within minutes, the dark road was polluted with flashing lights and the sound of blaring sirens. Rescuers came swiftly, assessing the situation quickly deciding to rely on the ‘Jaws of Life’ to cut Dean out of the car. Another medic came to Sophia’s aid, placing her arm in a splint and tending to the open gashes on her face and arm.

“Forget about me! Take care of my husband,” she demanded, her voice strained from fear.

“Your husband is in good hands.” The female medic looked up after she finished wrapping Sophia’s arm. “They’re about to load him into the ambulance now, ma’am.”

“Take me to him.”

“Of course.”

The uniformed woman guided Sophia to where Dean was strapped on a stretcher and about to be lifted into the back end of an ambulance. Too many people surrounded him, making it impossible for Sophia to get close.

Movement, noise, lights, and voices shouting commands—it was all happening at lightening speed, yet at the same time the moment seemed to drag on forever. Sophia became agitated. There was too much fasaria around her. Her yiayiá would say that when there was too much noise and commotion. It was the first word that came to mind as witnesses dramatically recounted the accident, mangled cars were pulled onto flatbeds, and police officers gave the drunk driver, who had sped across three lanes before hitting them, a breathalyzer test. The son of a bitch didn’t look as though he had a scratch on him, and Sophia’s Dino was—she didn’t want to think about what his condition was. She just needed to get to him, but no one would let her.

“Ma’am, we have another ambulance for you if you’ll come with me.”

Sophia pushed away from the EMT. “I don’t need one. I want to go with my husband.”

“That’s not possible, ma’am.”

“You’re hurt,” Demi said. “You need to go with them.”

“I want to stay with you. Michael, drive me to the hospital. I want to be there when Dino arrives.”

“We’ll follow along behind the ambulance you’re in,” Michael said. “You’re in shock, Sophia, and you need to be examined. Let’s be on the safe side.”

*****

Leaning over the hospital bed, Sophia prayed. “Please, God, don’t take him from me now,” Sophia begged in an inaudible whisper. “Dino, oh, my Dino.” She bent over him and caressed his cheek. “Don’t leave me. Not after all we’ve been through. Squeeze my hand. Move your eyes. Give me a sign that you’re still with me. Anything.”

Comforting arms wrapped around Sophia. “Sweetie, you need to take a break. Get some sleep. I’ll stay with my brother.”

She turned to look at Demi and, collapsing into sobs, she shook her head. “No. What if he wakes up and I’m not here?” Sophia’s face grew pale and her lower lip quivered. “Or what if—”

“Don’t say it,” Demi ordered. “Don’t even think it.” Demi wrapped her arms around Sophia. “The doctor said he’ll be unconscious for a while. If anything changes, I’ll call you.”

Sophia pulled away and shook her head adamantly. “I can’t.”

“If you don’t, I’ll get your doctor in here to order you to go home and rest. Your body took quite a beating also. You can’t help Dean if you don’t take care of yourself.” Turning Sophia by the shoulders to face the entrance to the room, Demi said, “Look. Everyone is here. Any one of them will be happy to take you home. I’ll stay with my brother until you get back.”

Sophia waved weakly, her heart melting at the sight of them. In the doorway stood Amy, Mindy, and Donna. They were there when she needed them—always at her side without question—her oldest and dearest friends. The Honey Hill Girls were loyal to the core.


Blurb 

Book Two in The Gift Saga: The continuation of Evanthia’s Gift…

In 1961, five little girls moved into a suburban neighborhood and became inseparable, lifelong friends. They called themselves the ‘Honey Hill Girls,’ named after the street on which they lived. As teenagers they shared one another’s ambitions and dreams, secrets and heartaches. Now, more than thirty years later, they remain devoted and loyal, supporting each other through triumphs and sorrows.

Evanthia’s Gift follows the life of Sophia Giannakos. In Waiting for Aegina the saga continues from the perspectives of Sophia and her friends as the story drifts back and forth in time, filling in the gaps as the women grow to adulthood.

Naive teenage ideals are later challenged by harsh realities, as each of their lives takes unexpected turns. Now nearing their fiftieth year, Sophia, Demi, Amy, Mindy and Donna stand together through life-altering obstacles while they try to regain the lighthearted optimism of their youth.

Can be read as a standalone. For the full emotional impact on the character’s live and histories, read Evanthia’s Gift.

Buy link: Click here

Author Bio

cover photo 2

Effie Kammenou is a believer that it is never too late to chase your dreams, follow your heart or change your career. She is proof of that. At one time, long ago, she’d thought that, by her age, she would have had an Oscar in her hand after a successful career as an actor. Instead, she worked in the optical field for 40 years and is the proud mother of two accomplished young women.

Her debut novel, Evanthia’s Gift, is a women’s fiction multigenerational love story and family saga, influenced by her Greek heritage, and the many real life accounts that have been passed down. She continues to pick her father’s brain for stories of his family’s life in Lesvos, Greece, and their journey to America. Her interview with him was published in a nationally circulated magazine.

Evanthia’s Gift: Book One in The Gift Saga was a 2016 award finalist in the Readers Favorite Awards in the Women’s Fiction category.  Waiting for Aegina is Book Two in The Gift Saga and Chasing Petalouthes is Kammenou’s latest release, completing the series.

Effie Kammenou is a first generation Greek-American who lives on Long Island with her husband and two daughters. When she’s not writing, or posting recipes on her food blog, cheffieskitchen.wordpress.com, you can find her entertaining family and friends or traveling for ‘research.’

As an avid cook and baker, a skill she learned from watching her Athenian mother, she incorporated traditional Greek family recipes throughout the books.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theater Arts from Hofstra University.


waiting for aegina

 

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