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We’re sad to announce that due to personal tragedies and health issues of our reviewers, we are closing Working Girl Reviews. We’ve tried to keep going, but circumstances beyond our control has made this impossible.

We’d like to thank all our readers for visiting with us and hope you’ve found some wonderful books to enjoy. A big thanks to all the authors who so graciously donated books for us to read and review, and for coming in to guest blog or be interviewed. We wish all of you the very best with your writing and book sales.

The site and reviews will remain here indefinitely, but no more reviews will be posted. The present contest that runs until July 10, 2010 is still on. The winner will receive an email with a list of books to choose from.

Thank you all….from the girls at WGR.

The Crimson Bed

By Loretta Proctor

Matador 2010  (Imprint of Troubador Publishing Ltd.)

Author site: http://www.lorettaproctor.co.uk/

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Crimson-Bed-Loretta-Proctor/dp/1848762887

Henry Winstone and his best friend, Frederick Ashton Thorpe, are artists during the Pre-Raphaelite movement of the Victorian era. Although Henry has pretty much forsaken the snobbish materialism of polite society, Fred isn’t quite so ready to give up his fastidious lifestyle. But even Henry must eat and has taken a commission to paint Eleanor Farnham’s portrait. Seeing the half finished portrait of Ellie at Henry’s studio, Fred is smitten and returns the next day to meet her. Deciding she’s everything he’s ever dreamed of in a woman, Fred pursues her and he and Ellie wed.

But Fred can’t let go of disgraceful events from his past and this leads him down a dark path of more shameful acts. Ellie too hides a painful past that affects her relationship with Fred. Their marriage deteriorates even more when Fred allows his mother to fire his jealousy with her vicious gossip of impropriety between Ellie and her godfather, Lord Percy Dillinger. When more appalling secrets come to light, not only is Ellie’s marriage in jeopardy, but her mental and physical health as well.

When I first began reading The Crimson Bed, I was hooked within the first few pages. Ms. Proctor is a highly gifted writer and knows exactly how to draw the reader in. At first I didn’t like any of the characters with the exception of Henry. But I couldn’t stop reading and I came to realize these characters were genuine, complicated and deeply flawed, which leant them a certain charm that was mesmerizing.

With such extraordinary characterizations, a gripping plot and well-researched historical backdrop, The Crimson Bed is an excellent work of fiction. This isn’t a gene romance, but there is a love story. The historical details of the Pre-Raphaelite movement and the artists are exceptional. This is a character driven novel with elements of romance, suspense and mystery. I was so emotionally invested in the lives of these characters, I laughed, I sobbed, and I bit my nails to the quick during the tenser moments. I dare anyone to read The Crimson Bed and not be so affected.

–Willow

 

WGR is excited to welcome author, educator, and talk show host, Fran Lewis.

WGR: Fran, welcome to Working Girl Reviews. I understand you were a New York City teacher for many years. Tell us about that.

Fran: I taught in the NYC public schools for over 30 years. Working with students in grades one through six for the first part of my career. My Principal felt that I had a special skill and expertise when working with students with learning difficulties and encouraged me to go back to school for my second Master’s Degree in Reading and Learning Disabilities. I am glad that I did. As the reading and writing specialist and later Staff Developer I was able to reach many of the students who came from other countries and help them to read, understand and speak our language and excel in school. Before leaving, when my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I was the Dean of Discipline and helped create a Peer Mediation program that worked in our school.

The arts and music are two of my greatest passions. I play the piano and the violin and directed and created all of the holiday shows for the school including the ones on Black History and Women’s History. For many years I directed the orchestra and choral groups at Graduation.

I mentored many of the new teachers, was test coordinator for the school and eventually went back for my degree in Administration.

WGR: Tell us a little about Bertha. Did your experience as a teacher inspire your Bertha stories or was it more from personal experience?

Fran: I based my stories and my titles in my own experiences growing up in the South Bronx. I was always the outcast when it came to sports, dancing and was overweight. I spent my life battling with my weight and got ridiculed a lot in dancing school and when participating in many activities. I did however excel at punch ball and can still knock one out of the park. Bertha is me. Everything that I wrote in all three books if true. Many children in the schools today are subjected to the abuse caused by bullies in their schools or being overweight as I was all my life. Having difficulty walking up the stairs or not being able to participate in activities in the gym made it difficult for me to fit in with many of the other kids.

As an educator and a teacher who did spend time working with the gym teacher when my time was requested to assist him, I learned that this issue was still front and center and I refused to allow it to continue.

My Bertha stories are all true. Every one of the stories in My Name is Bertha and Bertha Speaks Out are true. The third book, Bertha Fights Back deals with September 11 and is dedicated to one of my students who died in the first tower. I wrote these stories to help teachers, parents and children of all ages learn to embrace their differences and understand that it is not what you look like on the outside that makes the person, it is the inner you and your kindness and understanding of others.

WGR: Do you have any books other than the Bertha series?

Fran: I wrote two other books dealing with Alzheimer’s. The first is Memories are Precious: Alzheimer’s Journey: Ruth’s Story. It is my mom’s story and her words when she was diagnosed with this dreaded and horrific illness. It is also a resource for anyone that needs home care, senior care or wants to really understand the illness. It has family memories, author’s memories and pictures to help bring the book and the stories to light.

My second book is titled Sharp as a Tack or Scrambled Eggs Which Describes Your Brain? This book will help the coach potato in everyone and give you ways to keep your mind and body active and alert.

WGR: You’ve been writing for a while now. Tell us what you like least about the writing process and what you like most.

Fran: I really do not like editing my work. I love when someone else reads my stories or my novels and gives me the feedback that I need. I have trouble reading on my computer because I get eyestrain. I often wonder at times what I am going to write and where my plots are going.

The best part is completing that manuscript and seeing your book in print and of course having tons of people buy it. The Alzheimer’s books were written to raise funds for research and a cure.

WGR: I know you review books for several review sites. What types of books do you enjoy reading most and who are some of your favorite authors?

Fran: I love reading a well-written mystery, thriller and historical fiction novel. A novel that grabs my attention from the first word forcing me to complete the book in a day. I love reading Paranormal and fantasy too. Children’s books are my favorite. Giving positive and great reviews to a new author and having them tell me they love my review is the best payment and way to say thank you in the world to a reviewer.

WGR: As well as being a writer and reviewer, you host a radio talk show. Please tell us more about that.

Fran: I now host two radio shows. The first is Book Discussion With Fran Lewis, which is the third Wed. of every month at 1 Eastern on Red River Radio. Authors throughout the world, usually two on each show are featured. I read their books and create questions to ask them along with my book club members who have to read the books too. The author tells our listeners about his/her writing career, short bio, answers our questions and can promote their sites, next projects and tell us where we can purchase their books.

The second show if for children’s authors and will focus on books geared for all levels. The primary focus of the show is to have authors whose books teach a positive lesson and will help children and teachers in the character education programs. These are books that should be in classroom and school libraries. There are five authors on my first show and I will ask the questions that I have created and we will discuss the books as a group. This show is the fifth Tuesday of August and November 30th so far. 

WGR: For those readers interested in being a guest on your radio show, where would they find information about that?

Fran: If anyone would like to join me on my November children’s show they can email me at riffyone@optonline.net. That show will be devoted to YA authors and books for teens. The show in August will be for early learners.

WGR: When you aren’t busy writing, reviewing, and doing your radio show, what would we find Fran Lewis doing for fun?

Fran: I love to walk, go to museums, and play basketball with my nephews even if I lose, go shopping, go to the Bronx Zoo and make people laugh with my wild sense of humor.

WGR: Fran, thank you so much for spending time with us today. Please tell all our readers where they can find more information about you and your work.

Fran: My website for anyone that would like me to review their books:

www.gabina49.webs.com

www.franlewis.webs.com

http://gabina49.wordpress.com you can read my blogs and my reviews

I review books for http://Ijustfinished.com under the name Gabina

I review for book pleasures and manic readers too.

Thank you so much for interviewing me.

Coming soon: Wrongly Accused and Bertha’s Revenge

Anyone who leaves a comment on our blog between now and July 10, 2010 will have an opportunity to win a free book of their choice from several we have on hand. So if you’re interested, just leave a comment on any post we add through July 10. Good luck!

One True Place

By Margaret Cunningham

Black Lyon Publishing: Coming June 15, 2010

When her husband, successful Orthodontist Burkett Cowley, dies suddenly in his office one bright summer morning, True Cowley is stunned. But becoming an unexpected widow is only the beginning of unpleasant surprises. When it comes to light that Burkett’s gambling debts have left her near penniless, True takes advantage of a free burial plot in their mutual birth place of Belle Hill, Alabama. True left Belle Hill as a child of four, after her mother’s accidental drowning death, and has not been back since. But when she returns for her husband’s funeral, True finds herself inexplicably drawn to the town and the family secrets it harbors. Shortly after the funeral, True sells her Florida home and returns to Belle Hill for good.

She is soon befriended by eccentric octogenarian, Maisy Downey, and Maisy’s handsome- beyond-belief nephew, Jackson Bean. The pair promises to aide True in her quest to understand the mother she never knew. But in her search for her roots, True uncovers more questions that must be answered and issues she must come to terms with if she is to resolve the past and move ahead into the bright, happy future that is offered. 

I enjoyed this story tremendously. True Cowley is a flawed but loveable character who I could sympathize with and cheer for with each turn of the page. I loved the interaction between her and Jackson and the way the romance developed slowly and sweetly. I also enjoyed the touching relationship True shared with her grandchildren. Having also enjoyed the author’s debut novel, Lily in Bloom, I was excited to return to southern Alabama and reconnect with some of the characters from that first book. The author’s skillful descriptions, both of people and setting, seemed to transport me into this charming village filled with unusual people and beautiful flora.

Margaret Cunningham writes with humor and grace, weaving a tale that is filled with romance and surprises. One True Place offers its readers so many things — romance, mystery, and a lovely story of a woman’s quest to reconcile herself with her past. I recommend this story to anyone who enjoys a light, humorous, Southern love story.

– Honeybee

Why Austria? By Carrie Lofty

It started out so simply. For my historical romance titled SONG OF SEDUCTION ( http://www.carrielofty.com/Song.html ), available on June 7 from Carina Press, I began with two musicians. He was a renowned composer and piano player with a dark secret. She was a violin virtuosos whose scandalous birth compelled her to hide her talent.

Where in the world should such a story be set?

I’ve been a fan of the 1984 masterpiece Amadeus for such a long time. Greed, jealousy, brilliance–all there. Tom Hulce’s unmistakable laugh. F. Murray Abraham’s painful-to-watch despair. Throw in costumes and gorgeous sets and Mozart’s incredible, undeniable music, and you have one of my favorite movies of all time.

Perhaps it was no surprise, then, that I chose Mozart’s birthplace of Salzburg, Austria, for SONG OF SEDUCTION’s setting.

Part of the appeal had to be how completely unknown Salzburg was to me at the time. Beyond that tidbit about Mozart, I knew nothing else. I’d just come off about 15 years studying the American Old West, which had culminated in my master’s thesis on Jesse James and Wild Bill Hickok. To say I needed a change of pace is an understatement.

The more I learned, the more I became enamored of this faraway city. Its customs and people were so very different from the rough-n-ready frontier towns I’d studied for years. Salzburg had history going back to Roman times. It had culture and art and war and a tremendous sense of independence. And of course it remains a simply gorgeous city.

But to find the right publisher to take a chance on Austria…that took a little while. While many editors agreed that the story was worth publishing, they didn’t necessarily share my faith in the idea that readers would grow to love Salzburg too. Some suggested that they’d take a second look if I changed the book’s setting to England, a suggestion that made my heart sick. To my thinking, such a drastic change would’ve sucked all the personality out of it.

Hmmm…so what’s a girl to do?

I trunked SONG OF SEDUCTION and moved on to other projects, such as my medieval adventure romances from Kensington. But then came Carina Press, “where no great story goes untold.” The rest, as I frequently think, is history!

Knowing what I know now, I might think twice about setting a romance in Austria. But then I’d proceed along on my merry way and write it how anyhow. I’m stubborn, maybe, but I’m also having a great time indulging in the whims of my imagination.

If you could read a romance novel set in any time or place–someplace daring and unconventional–where and when would it be?

It’s time!!!  Author Maria E. Schneider has announced the sequel to Executive Lunch–but Executive Retention needs a cover!  Executive Retention is the second book in the Sedona O’Hala series.  Three covers are available over at www.BearMountainBooks.com Stop over and vote for your favorite cover.
 
Executive Retention Summary:
 
After solving one case of corporate crime, Sedona expected to get her peaceful life back.  Problem:  She is still a manager at Strandfrost, and there is still rampant jealousy over her promotion. Is the danger of being railroaded by her not-so-illustrious colleagues worse than taking a new undercover job from Steve Huntington?
 
Crooks are coming out of the woodwork and family troubles are stewing. Sedona needs to keep her sanity intact, piece together mismatched clues and dodge more than one stray bullet. If she can manage all of that, maybe she’ll have time to figure out whether her love life stands a chance.

Executive Retention will be available in ebook form on Amazon on or around June 23, 2010.  It will be available at Smashwords.com in formats for other readers and then available at B&N, Sony, Kobobooks and Apple iStore soon after.
 
Review and early copies are available exclusively via Smashwords.com.  Excerpts are available at the author’s blog: www.BearMountainBooks.com.   Stop by www.BearMountainBooks.com and help choose the cover for Executive Retention!

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