Books 2 and 3 of Bette Lee Crosby’a Memory House Collection

The Loft

Book BlurbThe Loft

CAN A SINGLE MEMORY SAVE THE LIFE OF SOMEONE YOU LOVE?

Annie Doyle believes the answer is yes, but will she find it in time?

Fifty years of memories are hidden in the walls of the loft. Now Ophelia Browne is leaving the house and she’s leaving some very powerful memories behind. Annie needs to find just one… the one that will save Oliver’s life.

On the day of their wedding, Annie sees only happiness ahead, but when an accident calls her and Oliver back to Memory House, her world is changed forever.

After only three nights in the loft, Annie must now find the single most meaningful memory in Oliver’s mind. If she finds it in time, she can save his life, if she doesn’t…well that’s something she can’t afford to think about.

Readers will welcome back the much-loved characters from Memory House and enjoy a few new friends!

My Review

The Loft picks up where Memory House ended, and we are once again in the company of Annie Cross, Ophelia Browne, and Oliver Doyle.  As Annie and Oliver are starting their honeymoon, Ophelia, who is 90 years of age, has a heart attack while driving and goes off the road. Annie and Oliver return to take care of Ophelia.  Realizing she will not be able to climb to her loft bedroom that her deceased husband Edward built, Oliver decides to hire architect Max Martinelli to recreate the loft in a wing on the first floor.  He and Annie plan to surprise her with the plans when she comes home.  However, while at the rehab center, Ophelia makes new friends who all live in Baylor Towers, and begins to see that returning to the Memory House to live with Oliver and Annie would stifle their relationship.  She remembers what it was like when she and Edward were newlyweds.  Ophelia wants Oliver and Annie to experience love the way she and Edward did so many years before.

Max (Maxine) is so much like Annie they become close friends immediately; they both can detect the memories left behind.

Max is trying to get over her love affair with Julien Marceau. They met in Paris when Max was in college, and when Max returned to the U.S., Julien was supposed to follow, but Max never heard from him again. Annie understands and tries to help her move on.

Annie’s life is perfect, but then the unthinkable happens.  Is she strong enough to face this new challenge on her own? Will she be able to find the right memory for Oliver? There is much more to the story than the hints I’ve given here, but I wouldn’t want to give away any spoilers.

The Loft is the second book in the Memory House Collection. See my review of Memory House,  Book One of the series, here. You can certainly read The Loft without having read Memory House, but you will better understand the relationships if you do read it first.

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What the Heart Remembers

What the Heart RemembersBook Blurb

CAN YOU TRULY TRUST THE MEMORIES OF YOUR HEART?

Max Martinelli spent her junior year of college in Paris, and fell in love. Julien was a wickedly handsome young man who was crazy in love with her, or so she thought. He was a free-spirited artist and she an aspiring architect—impressionable, young, and standing on the brink of womanhood.

That was over three years ago but the memory of him still haunts her. Max’s life is stuck on hold because she can’t stop wondering what would have happened if she had gone back. Was Julien simply part of the magic of Paris? Or was he meant to be her destiny?

After a New Year’s Eve party that ends in disaster and bad dreams, Max decides to find out once and for all. She is going to return to Paris and search for Julien. But will her search bring forever after happiness or a truth so ugly it will change her life forever?

What the Heart Remembers is Book Three in the Memory House Series

My Review

When I finished reading The Loft, I wondered how the author could write another book in the series; Book 3 did not disappoint.

Ophelia sees the sadness in Annie’s friend Max. Max thinks her memories of Julien are happy memories, but Ophelia knows otherwise, “If she doesn’t find a way to rid herself of those memories, she’s in for a sorry life.”

Max doesn’t want to find a romantic interest. She still loves Julien and imagines the worst has happened to him. Convinced he would have come to the U.S. as promised, it’s the only thing that makes sense to her. When she tells Annie she is going to go to Paris to find Julien, Annie tries to discourage her. Max is determined to find her true love, but it turns out it isn’t who she expects to find.

While reading of the experiences Max endures in Paris, there were times I wanted to shake some sense into her, and other times I just wanted to comfort her. Her unrequited love for Julien drove her to find him, but when she did, was her feeling for him justified?  Will she ever find true love, and will it be with Julien or someone else?

Crosby creates a sense of suspense when Max is knocked down. This mysterious turn of events with Julien coming to Max’s rescue, and then later when she discovers her wallet and cell phone missing, leaves a lot of questions to be answered.

Once again, I recommend that you read Memory House (Book One) and The Loft (Book Two) before reading What the Heart Remembers (Book Three). The books in the Memory House Collection lead from one to the other. To get a true sense of who the characters are, where they’ve been, and where they are headed, it is best to read all three in proper order.

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Additional Comments

As with all of Crosby’s books, I felt as though the author was sitting beside me telling the story in her soft southern voice. As with Memory House, The Loft and What the Heart Remembers are books you will begin to read and before you know it, you have finished the book.  The plots, with a bit of magic, lots of feel good moments, and always a lovely romance, will enthrall you. Bette Lee Crosby has a wonderful ability to create characters that will continue to speak to you long after you’ve finished reading.

When you meet Ophelia and Annie in the first book of the series, Memory House, you will learn about their pasts and what draws them together.  Then, enter Oliver and by the time we get to book two, The Loft, Oliver and Annie’s friendship deepens and they get married.  Enter Max and the blossoming friendship between her and Annie. What the Heart Remember elaborates on the confidences shared, the concern, and the shared celebration of that friendship.  This is a not-to-be-missed series.

Author InterviewBette Lee Crosby

  1. Who or what inspired you to become an author?

My mother, born and raised in the mountains of West Virginia, was not a writer, but, she was a wonderful storyteller. Not realizing that at heart I was my mother’s daughter, I studied art intent upon becoming a graphic designer. My first job was that of a packaging designer, but it was a short-lived career. Faced with an immediate deadline and a blank space where the copy should have been, I began to write. I never looked back, and it didn’t take long for me to realize that my love for words far outweighed any design skills I acquired along the way.

  1. You’ve written six novels, in those books, which character is your favorite and why?

I suppose I’d have to say Ethan Allen of Spare Change and the reason why is because he is the type of kid I imagine my mom being when she was his age. She came from a family of eleven siblings and they were what many of us would consider poor; so she had to be resilient and determined to survive. And although she wasn’t one to toss around obscenities indiscriminately, she could cuss up a storm when she was really mad. When Mama started cussing we knew to step aside and mind our manners.

  1. Is Ethan Allen is modeled after your mom, is there a character that you’d modeled after yourself?

There is probably a bit of me in every character, but the one most like me would probably be Olivia Doyle in both Spare Change and Jubilee’s Journey. Like Olivia, I have quirky ideas about life, I am an eternal optimist and regardless of the odds, I will always go down swinging. When life takes a turn for the worse, that’s when you need to be strong, draw on your Faith and cling to the love of those around you…which is pretty much what Olivia does.

  1. What is your favorite quote?

It probably depends upon when and where you ask me. I would love to be deep and profound like so many brilliant writers, but I’ve learned over the years that I am still my mother’s daughter – sometimes irreverent, always a story-lover, but seldom brilliant. So here is the quote that most closely reflects my own thinking…”The problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they’re going to have some pretty annoying virtues.” Elizabeth Taylor

  1. What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Be yourself. Discover what’s in your heart and create characters you love or love to hate. Never allow yourself to follow in the tracks of another author simply because he or she sold a million copies of their book. If you stumble on that pathway, your readers will know; your characters will sound shallow and superficial. But if you’re true to yourself and work to develop your own voice it will ring loud and true with believability. It isn’t something that happens overnight. I wrote four novels before the fifth was published, but the truth is that the first four didn’t deserve to be published, they were all part of my learning curve. So, stay with it and learn from the writers who inspire you, from the books you love, and from the books you hate. You learn something from every book you read, and sometimes that something is what not to do. Most of all enjoy every minute you spend writing—because if you’re not writing for fun, you shouldn’t be writing.

Author’s Social Media Links

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Email: betteleecrosby@gmail.com

Copies of these books were given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Thanks for reading! To return to the FICTION WRITERS BLOG HOP on Julie Valerie’s Book Blog, click here: http://www.julievalerie.com/fiction-writers-blog-hop-jan-2016

Have Bags, Will Travel: Trips and Tales – Memoirs of an Over-Packer

By D.G. Kaye

Have bags, will TravelMy Review

Have you ever read a book that could have been written about you? D.G. Kaye did just that.

Case#1 – She’s a shopaholic.  Well, I love to shop, though maybe not as much as she does. Christmas shopping, back to school shopping, birthdays, anniversaries – I could shop for days on end.  I love buying gifts for others, furniture for our home, the list is endless.  The author loves to buy so much more, in fact shoes are her favorite shopping item. The problem is she shops when she travels and has to have a way to get it home without customs finding out she packed more than she is allowed to bring back. As you will see, she goes to great lengths to pack creatively.

Case #2 – the suitcase.  My husband thinks my suitcases are overloaded, but I never have to pay for overweight luggage or an extra suitcase.  I have a few packing tricks up my sleeve to get everything to and from with some room to spare for purchases. Ms Kaye, on the other hand, has tricks galore.

Her friends personalities are much like the author’s, and their escapades will leave you chuckling.  Well, not exactly.  They will have you in stitches. Follow D.G. Kaye as she travels to Paris, London, Las Vegas, Greece, Venezuela, and Arizona. You will be fascinated with her description of the transition from old Vegas to the Vegas we know today.

I’m not about to go into detail about her shopping trips, the size of her suitcase, or how she manages, or not, to get through customs. You have to read the book to find out. However, I promise, you will be laughing from page one to the end. Written with such vivid detail, you will feel you are right there watching the spectacle of someone who loves to shop too much, trying to get everything home without chucking it on the way to airport.  A delightful story, HAVE BAGS, WILL TRAVEL, is a short book that can be read in one sitting.

Do I recommend HAVE BAGS, WILL TRAVEL? Absolutely!

Excerpt From Have Bags, Will Travel

Airport Security

Returning home from a vacation is always a nerve-racking event for me. Instead of flying home and basking in the memories of the wonderful time I’ve just had on vacation, I repeatedly go through my receipts from the trip so I can carefully calculate how not to exceed the fixed limit we’re allowed to bring back without penalty. I must remember which receipts correspond to the tags I’ve already cut off so I can take them out of the pile. More math!

Most people don’t worry about such things—but I have to. It’s practically like my face is on a milk carton: HAVE YOU SEEN THIS WOMAN SHOPPING? For decades now, I’ve been consistently pulled over at customs. A planeload of people pick up their luggage and sail through the exit doors to freedom, and one person (and her husband) get singled out for interrogation. This happens on ninety percent of my trips. Why is it that I’m picked out of two hundred and fifty passengers to be interrogated? I lament, but I’m familiar with all the tricks by now: don’t wear flashy jewelry, don’t dress up, try to blend in. I can’t help it, though. I have what I’ve identified as shopping face. . .

Author’s Note

When I began writing this book, it didn’t start out as a travel memoir. After many drafts and revisions, I realized I had been writing two books in one, and decided to keep the one book as a short stories memoir about some of pitfalls I endure when I travel. Throughout the years, friends and family who found my escapades humorous, and sometimes unbelievable, urged me to write a book about some of my adventures, and so this book was born. Many who have read this book are tagging this book as the perfect airport read.

About the AuthorD.G. Kaye Author

Debby Gies is a Canadian author, and writes her books under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. 

I’m a nonfiction memoir writer who likes to write about life, matters of the heart and women’s issues. My intent is to inspire others by sharing my stories about events I encountered, and the lessons that come along with them.

I love to laugh, and self-medicate with a daily dose of humor. When I’m not writing intimate memoirs, you’ll find me writing with humor in some of my other works and blog posts.

When I was a young child, I was very observant about my surroundings. Growing up in a tumultuous family life; otherwise known as a broken home, kept me on guard about the on-and-off-going status of my parent’s relationship. I often wrote notes, and journaled  about the dysfunction that I grew up in. By age seven I was certain I was going to grow up to be a reporter.

Well life has a funny way of taking detours. Instead, I moved away from home at eighteen with a few meager belongings and a curiosity for life. I finished university and changed careers a few times, as I worked my way up to managerial positions. My drive to succeed at anything I put my mind to, led me to having a very colorful and eventful life.

Ever the optimist, that is me. I’ve conquered quite a few battles in life; health and otherwise, and my refusal to accept the word ‘No, or to use the words ‘I can’t’, kept me on a positive path in life.

I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences.

MY BOOKS:

At a young age, I began keeping journals to keep notes about my turbulent childhood while growing up as an emotionally neglected child. Tormented with guilt, as I grew older, I was conflicted with the question of whether or not I was to remain obligated to being a faithful daughter, feeling in debt to my narcissistic mother for giving birth to me. My first book, Conflicted Hearts is a memoir, written about my journey to seek solace from living with guilt.

My writing relates to my experiences in life, and I like to share the lessons and ideas I acquired along the way. Meno-What? A Memoir, was written based on my own passage and experiences going through menopause. In that book, I share some of the many symptoms I encountered, hoping to shed some light and humor on what women may expect or experience at that unpredictable time. I also offer up some of my helpful hints I found useful for relief.

Words We Carry focuses around women’s self-esteem issues; how and why the issues evolve, and how I recognized my own shortcomings and overcame my own insecurities.

My newest book Have Bags, Will Travel is based on memoirs of tales and reminiscings from some of my more memorable trips, which all factor in the same ongoing issues for me – too much luggage!

I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.

QUOTES:

                 “Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”

                  “For every kindness, there should be kindness in  return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.

My favorite genres to read: biographies, memoirs, books about writing, spirituality, and natural health. I love to read stories about people who overcome adversity, victories, and redemption. I believe we have to keep learning—there is always room for improvement!

I love to cook and concoct new recipes (and I don’t believe in measuring cups), travel, and play poker (although I seldom get the chance), oh, and did I mention travel?

Please feel free to connect with me on social media and any of my author and blog pages at:

www.dgkayewriter.com

www.goodreads.com/dgkaye

www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7

www.twitter.com/@pokercubster
(Of course there’s a story to this name!)

www.facebook.com/dgkaye

www.about.me/d.g.kaye.writer

www.linkedin.com/in/DGKaye7

www.google.com/debbydgkayegies

BOOKLINKS:

Conflicted Hearts

MenoWhat? A Memoir

Words We Carry

Have Bags, Will Travel