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Whispers in Autumn

By M. Jean Pike

Black Lyon Publishing, Coming March 15, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-934912-24-9

Buy Link: Will be added when released

Author Website: http://mjeanpike.webs.com/

I was thrilled when I received Whispers in Autumn for review. I’ve read other M. Jean Pike novels and I’m particularly fond of her paranormal’s. This is the second in the Love On The Lake series and although the paranormal aspect was absent from the first (Shadow Lake), it’s back with this installment.

In this second novel we meet for the first time Emma’s friend, Dove. An expert in paranormal studies and a physic medium, Dove has just helped the Philadelphia Police Department solve a brutal murder and picked up a stalker along the way. This madman believes Dove is a witch and wants her dead. After receiving an invitation to Emma and Shane’s wedding, she decides a sabbatical is in order. She’ll go to the wedding and stay at Shadow Lake where she can enjoy the peace and quiet as well as hide out with the hope her stalker won’t be able to find her before the police find him.

Shadow Lake is everything Emma had told her it would be—peaceful, beautiful, and serene. Unfortunately the spirits haunting the park are not so at peace. They clamor for Dove’s attention, but she’s learned over the years to shut them out when necessary for the sake of her sanity. One thing she hadn’t counted on was meeting Dusty and the immediate passion she feels for him. Dusty is a man with a past; living with the grief of a heart wrenching tragedy he can’t let go of. Although he feels unworthy of loving a woman like Dove, he can’t resist the overwhelming physical and emotional effect she has on him.

Ms. Pike’s powerful characterizations, vivid imagery, and fast pace captures the reader from the first sentence and holds them until the last, making Whispers in Autumn a true winner. This is not a cookie cutter romance; Ms. Pike’s attention to detail and unique storytelling ability sets this one apart. The suspense is nail-biting in intensity at times. The love scenes are beautifully done without being too graphic and the spine tingling ghostly encounters are right on.

All the characters in Whispers in Autumn are vibrantly alive, with their own individual flaws. The main players are likable, even lovable—generating sympathy and a true desire from the reader for them to overcome the many obstacles to their happiness. I appropriately hated the villain, but still managed to feel a tiny drop of compassion for his madness.

This is a shorter novel and can be read in one sitting, which is good because you won’t want to stop reading once you start. But don’t let the shorter length fool you. Whispers in Autumn is chock full of romance, paranormal activity, and suspense. There’s something for everyone and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes contemporary romance, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense.

–Willow

https://workinggirlreviews.wordpress.com

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In no particular order–books coming up for review:

BALING by Carol Hanrahan

ONE TO GROW ON (children’s audio series) by Trenna Daniells

FOR BETTER OR WORSE by Mark Lichterman

WHISPERS IN AUTUMN by M. Jean Pike

WHAT RECIPES DON’T TELL YOU by George Erdosh

ANGEL OF PROMISE by Sam Oliver

LOVE’S ROAD HOME by Lisa Lewis

THYME IN A FLASK by Glen Quarry

LADY IN BLACK by Craig Lynn Clyde

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WFTRWaiting for the Rain

M. Jean Pike

Champagne Press, 2007

ISBN 978 1 897445 21 1

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Waiting-Rain-M-Jean-Pike/dp/1897445210/

 

This has been a rainy week in my world so it seemed the perfect time to settle in with Waiting for the Rain by M. Jean Pike. I wasn’t sure what to expect after reading the description on the back cover. The book had more depth and beauty than I expected. I found it to be a breath of fresh air in the paranormal romance genre. It is skillfully written, full of unique scenes, a few colorful characters, heartache, sacrifice, drama, suspense and of course a sexy leading man. In some ways the story reminded me of a modern, adult version of Tuck Everlasting. This book is a love story that offers hope but . . . is that hope medical, miracle or magic—readers will have to decide. If you like unpredictable books you will enjoy the many twists the author takes you on in this story.

The book is categorized as a paranormal romance novel and although it is a romance, it is not light, fluffy or full of silly sexual innuendos. The romance in Waiting for the Rain is believable and tasteful. The paranormal aspect will come upon readers slowly and quickly build into a beautiful tale. This book is easy to read in one sitting, but you better start it early in the day because you may not want to put it down until you get to the end. This is an emotional love story that shows the hope a sacrifice can offer one we love. Readers will go through a swing of emotions while reading of a love that sacrifices and heals but may not be destined to endure forever.

Readers will enjoy the way the author gets right to the heart of the story. It only took me a page or two to be hooked. The leading lady, twenty-eight year old Willow (Willy) is diagnosed with cancer. Before telling her husband, Tom, her sad news, he announces that he wants a divorce because he has found someone new. Having no desire for his pity, Willy refrains from telling him her medical news and instead agrees to the divorce and turns to the help of her friends. Realizing her time on earth may be coming to an end she desires to follow one of her dreams. Always an admirer of the majestic eagle, she wants to photograph one before she is too frail to do so. Her journey into the woods proves to be a life-altering trip. After experiencing car trouble and lack of cell phone reception, she meets Darby, a reclusive, gruff but handsome stranger with plenty of tragedy of his own. War veteran Darby lives in Baker’s Gully away from humanity with his faithful dog Lucky as his main companion.  The beautiful art work on the book cover gives a brief glimpse into the world that will captivate Willy who is strangely drawn to Baker’s Gully and can’t seem to rest until she finagles a way to stay in the abandoned rose covered cabin not far from Darby’s place.

Readers won’t be surprised when Willow and Darby begin to fall in love, but will be surprised by the direction their love takes them.  Both have lost a first love, neither is looking for a new love yet they are drawn to each other as in a fairy tale. If you believe in true love, if you believe miracles or magic can get you where you want to go, this book is for you.

The book is well written with accurate portrayals of the time period involved.  The main characters are fully developed and the scenes are beautifully described.  Through clear and vivid descriptions, readers will feel like they have been to Baker’s Gully before. I enjoyed getting to know Willow and I was fascinated by Darby. I appreciated the depth of both characters. Willow’s situation is easier to figure out but readers will have questions as they get to know Darby, his past and his beautiful property. Could Darby have the secret to the fountain of youth? Will he be able to help Willy? Will Willy let him? These are questions that come to mind for the reader. The author introduces to some colorful minor characters with interesting pasts and hearts of gold. Some readers may not approve of the lifestyles and choices of certain characters but will find them believable and true to form throughout the story. Readers will sense a heart of friendship in Sid, the loyalty of hard as nails lawyer Zoe, the jokester in off-color, disgruntled Toots, and the weakness in the loves of Tom and Marilyn.  The development of these characters allows the author to insert scenes written with humor, sarcasm, grief, romance, sacrifice, sorrow and love.

The ending of the book causes one to stop, think and review the story as a whole. If you are like me, you will reflect upon it for a time. Willow and Darby stayed with me for several days after I left Baker’s Gully. This is a thought-provoking story that reminds us that into every life some rain must fall. Rain is there for all of us. Our lives can be spent remembering the rain, waiting for the rain or embracing the rain. A choice is offered.

Jean Pike has given us a fresh, unique love story: A love for all times.  Waiting for the Rain is a keeper! I predict that readers will want to return to Baker’s Gully to read this story more than once.

–Pearl

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shadowlake

 

Shadow Lake

By M. Jean Pike

Black Lyon, April 1, 2009

Contemporary Romance

ISBN: 978-1-934912-14-0

Author website: http://mjeanpike.freewebs.com

 

 

Finding time to read is a priority for me—after the hubby, the kids, the house, errands, work…ect. I’m sure every woman out there is in the same fix. Finding time to do anything just for us is nearly impossible and for all us avid readers with a huge TBR (to be read) pile, it can be a little frustrating. Once I start a really great book, it’s hard for me to put it down and then come back to it later. I want to read it straight through, but that’s not always possible, especially with the longer stories. That’s why finding those shorter, little gems is always a thrill. M.Jean Pike’s Shadow Lake is a true gem. It’s the perfect length for unwinding with at the end of a long day or relaxing with on the weekend. Best of all, although a stand-alone story, it’s the first in a series.

 

In the year since her husband’s death, Emma Beckman has tried hard to regain some control over her life. After paying the hospital bills and other debts, she’s broke and living in a horrible apartment in an even worse neighborhood. Several failed job attempts have only added to her frustration and feeling of insecurity. Determined to give it one more try before being forced to seek help from her controlling mother, Emma drives out to Shadow Lake to apply for a position in the camp store.

 

A disastrous interview with the owner, sexy Shane Lucy, sends an angry Emma scurrying. Although hesitant when Shane offers a second chance and a new beginning, Emma knows she has little choice. Settling into her new job and making friends with Shane’s teenaged son, Mick, Emma is filled with hope that she can finally put her painful past behind her and move on.

 

When his ex-wife walked out on him and Mick years before, Shane built a protective wall around his heart and he intends to keep it intact. But then he hadn’t counted on meeting someone like Emma. He tries to fight his desire for her beauty, but her vulnerability and caring personality cracks his protective shell as nothing else could. Unfortunately Emma’s heart is still bruised and although terribly attracted to Shane, she isn’t ready for another relationship.

 

Romance lovers of all genres will adore Shadow Lake. It’s a true romance, but delves into the deeper issues of family, divorce, betrayal, loss, and suicide. M. Jean Pike’s writing has a magical way of drawing the reader in and holding them there until the final page is turned. The skillful plotting, lush descriptions, and charming cast of characters are enchanting. When turning that last page, readers will be left with a wonderful sense of satisfaction and will eagerly look forward to the next in the series.

 

Willow

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jean_pike_208_thumbThe girls at WGR are thrilled to welcome multi-published author M. Jean Pike! Jean, thanks so much for agreeing to chat with us today.

 

1.) I noticed on your Authors Den website that you grew up in a big family in a very small town. Has your upbringing impacted your writing, and if so, how?

 

I think everyone’s upbringing impacts their adult life to some degree. Growing up in a family of six, you learn a lot of important life lessons very early on, like how to share, how to be a good sport, how to stand up for yourself, and mostly that it’s not always about you. Growing up in a small town, I learned to use my imagination to keep myself entertained. We had our church, our school, and a two-block business district that pretty much rolled up the sidewalks at five o’clock. Books were my favorite source of entertainment and I developed a love of reading and writing at a very young age.

 

2.) Who is your favorite author of all time, and who has influenced your writing the most?

 

John Steinbeck and John Steinbeck. No one has ever described their characters more aptly, or turned a phrase more beautifully.

 

3.) How did you get started as a writer?

 

I started writing poetry and short stories in high school just for fun. Somewhere around age thirty I realized I wanted more out of my writing than just personal entertainment. I spun my wheels for awhile in a vicious cycle of writing, submitting, and rejection letters. After a couple of years of that, I decided it was “now or never” and took a writing course through Long Ridge Writer’s Group. It was the best investment I ever made in my writing. My instructor showed me how to improve upon my strengths and overcome my weaknesses and my writing finally started to sell. With more than two hundred short stories and inspirational essays in print I decided it was time to move on to novel writing.

 

4.) What is the best part of the novel writing process?

 

I’ll be struggling along, inch by inch, page by page, and then suddenly, usually out of the blue, the story turns a corner and my characters start talking to me. I love that! After that point the story usually takes on a life of its own and often takes unexpected twists that surprise even me!

 

5.) What’s the worst part of the writing process?

 

That hazy, scary in-between place that begins around Chapter Five. That place where I go from, “I have the greatest idea…” to “Oh, God. I have absolutely no idea!”  

 

6.) Tell us a little bit about your newest novel, Shadow Lake.

 

I’ve been criticized because some of my books, though love stories, did not contain traditional “happily-ever-after” endings.  I tried really hard to do that in Shadow Lake. That’s not to say that the characters don’t have their moments J A contemporary romance, Shadow Lake takes on some very contemporary themes; depression, suicide, divorce. My characters are flawed people facing some very tough struggles, and I think that gives Shadow Lake the quality of realness that I strive for in all my stories.

 

7.) Say Shadow Lake was going to be made into a major motion picture and you got to choose the actors! Who would play Shane Lucy?

 

Oh dear! I don’t think anyone watches less movies than me. I’m pretty far out of the loop when it comes to who’s hot and who’s not these days, but the first person that comes to mind is a young Richard Geere (Think An Officer and a Gentleman!) 

 

Who would play Emma?

 

For Emma I would choose someone whose beauty is the natural, down-to-earth kind. I’m picturing a redheaded Gwyneth Paltro!

 

8.) What’s next in the Love on the Lake Series?

 

The second book, Strange Magic, will be a paranormal romance of the ghost variety. I’ve strayed from the paranormal genre in my last two books and I’m so enjoying getting back into all things spooky!

 

9.) Where can readers go to find out all the latest MJP news?

 

Readers can visit my website at www.freewebs.com/mjeanpike or my blog at http://mjeanpike.wordpress.com. I also keep a site at Authors Den featuring news, reviews, and a number of my short stories, poems and inspirational essays. http://www.authorsden.com/jeanpike

 

Thanks so much for chatting with us today, Jean, and best of luck with the Love on the Lake series!

 

 

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Reviews coming next:

Simple Wishes by Lisa Dale

Sarah’s Journey by Ginger Simpson

Shadow Lake by M. Jean Pike

And our next author interviews will be with E. G. Parsons and M. Jean Pike.

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