Archive for category Reviews

Beauty of the Beast by @RachelLDemeter

Beauty of the Beast
by Rachel L. Demeter
Fairy Tale Retellings, #1
Release Date: March 15, 2017
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance, Fairy Tale Retellings, Gothic Romance
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🥀 Book Blurb 🥀

Experience the world’s most enchanting and timeless love story—retold with a dark and realistic twist.

A BEAST LIVING IN THE SHADOW OF HIS PAST

Reclusive and severely scarred Prince Adam Delacroix has remained hidden inside a secluded, decrepit castle ever since he witnessed his family’s brutal massacre. Cloaked in shadow, with only the lamentations of past ghosts for company, he has abandoned all hope, allowing the world to believe he died on that tragic eve twenty-five years ago.

A BEAUTY IN PURSUIT OF A BETTER FUTURE

Caught in a fierce snowstorm, beautiful and strong-willed Isabelle Rose seeks shelter at a castle—unaware that its beastly and disfigured master is much more than he appears to be. When he imprisons her gravely ill and blind father, she bravely offers herself in his place.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Stripped of his emotional defenses, Adam’s humanity reawakens as he encounters a kindred soul in Isabelle. Together they will wade through darkness and discover beauty and passion in the most unlikely of places. But when a monster from Isabelle’s former life threatens their new love, Demrov’s forgotten prince must emerge from his shadows and face the world once more…

Perfect for fans of Beauty and the Beast and The Phantom of the Opera, Beauty of the Beast brings a familiar and well-loved fairy tale to life with a rich setting in the kingdom of Demrov and a captivating, Gothic voice.

Beauty of the Beast is the first standalone installment in a series of classic fairy tales reimagined with a dark and realistic twist.

Disclaimer: This is an edgy retelling of the classic fairy tale. Due to strong sexual content, profanity, and dark subject matter, including an instance of sexual assault committed by the villain, Beauty of the Beast is not intended for readers under the age of 18.

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🥀 Review 🥀

Once again, this author delivered an extraordinary novel!

I am an avid fan of Beauty and the Beast, but I feel that Rachel Demeter has completed this story for adult women.

Adam and Isabelle are imperfectly perfect.

An extraordinary adaptation of the original bedtime story, Demeter writes with a sense of realism that brings you closer to the characters and their beautiful tragedies. The true nature of the story is elevated to a more mature level with remarkable skill, making this an intense read that’s impossible to put down.  I simply love this novel, and I’m convinced that the author lives and breathes historical fiction, as it is definitely her forte.

The characters are enchanting, the story is engrossing, and the ending wraps up beautifully!  You will not regret reading this novel. A MUST READ!

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🥀 Excerpt 🥀

~ The East Tower ~

Arms sprang out from the darkness. They spun her full circle and slammed her body against the king’s portrait. Isabelle gasped, more in shock than from pain, as she stared into Adam’s deformed face. The lantern flickered behind his massive form, casting his cloaked body in silhouette. But she saw enough to know he was far from pleased. Rage and frustration radiated from his body like a palpable force.

“I warned you to stay out of here,” he said, his voice dangerously cold and deep. Those rugged vocals vibrated against her body and seeped into her marrow. “What part of forbidden didn’t you comprehend?” His voice lashed out from the darkness like a hurtled knife, and the word “forbidden” seemed to whisper another meaning altogether. Isabelle tried to answer but failed to find her voice. Indeed, her vocal cords had turned to solid ice, as numb and cold as the blood rushing through her veins. She couldn’t breathe; she felt like she was suffocating.

“My mother gave me that musical box on my fourth birthday,” he said, the sensual lull of his voice causing the fine hairs on her nape to stand erect. “And now your recklessness has destroyed it. Have you nothing to say?”

“I—I’m sorry.” He offered no reply; only the ragged sound of his breathing and the hammering blizzard broke the silence. “Please—I didn’t mean any harm.”

She struggled under the weight of Adam’s colossal body and battled to free herself. He merely gave a low chuckle and pressed her firmly against the portrait. He looked otherworldly at that moment, like an angel of death seeking vengeance. Both beautiful and monstrous, his cool, sapphire eyes overflowed with warring emotions. In spite of his harsh and ruthless exterior, she detected a quaver in his voice and saw that his large, cloaked shoulders trembled. The darkness in his soul cast a shadow that embraced her; as she peered up at him, she knew he was drowning in the turbulent waters of a past time.

“What a disappointment,” he went on, his voice growing deeper still, mocking her words from so many days ago, “You’re like any other woman.”

“I—I’m sorry. Please, Adam. I—” Her gaze shot past his body and over the wreckage of a past life. She thought of her private chamber again—of the stale perfumes and outdated garments.

Her flight or fight instinct seized hold of her. She attempted to scramble free, but he merely grabbed her shoulder and whirled her back against the portrait. Gloves wrapped his hands; his long, silk-clad fingers grasped her shoulder and kept her firmly in place.

He stood intimately close.

Far too close.

As close as Raphael had been that night.

“Going somewhere, ma belle? After you’ve worked so hard to find my East Tower?”

Hands like two steel bands held her wrists in place. Hot breaths, which faintly smelled of wine, seared her cheeks and assaulted her senses. Her breasts flattened against the pressure of his strong chest, and she felt that same chest swell and deflate in perfect sync with her own. One large hand slipped down her elbow and glided across her extended arm. The lush material of his gloves drew a shudder from her heaving chest. His breathing grew more ragged, shallower, and the erratic beat of his heart banged against her own.

Anger and desire warred on his face, twisting his features into a mess of both monster and man. “Find anything of interest, aside from my musical box? Come, come. You went through such great trouble to get here,” he asked, his voice now threaded with both anger and something else.

Yes, Isabelle recognized that something else. It was the same note that had entered Raphael’s voice that night…

She attempted to duck under his arm, but he moved swiftly, capturing her in the crook of his elbow. Reeling her toward him, he emitted a low, haunting chuckle that swelled the eastern tower to its rafters. She was back where she’d started—pinned against the portrait, Adam’s body serving as a flesh-and-blood blockade.

Hunger radiated from him, enfolding her in a current of sizzling power. His silk-clad hand grazed the curve of her breast as it moved down her body in a painfully slow caress. Even more alarming was her reaction to him. Her treacherous body responded with a crush of hot and cold pulsating waves. Then he whispered a taunt in her ear, and his liquid baritone slid down her backbone like honey; it swirled inside her, finding its home in her most intimate area.

He leaned closer still. His face’s uneven skin brushed against her neck, the black waves of his hair tickled her chin… His thick arousal expanded against her, reminding her of what he was capable of—and of her sheer vulnerability.

His lips teased the base of her throat. Cursing her traitorous body, Isabelle gasped at the gentle scraping of his teeth. His tongue and lips tormented her throbbing pulse—just barely, stirring her skin in a mere ghost of a touch.

🥀 Meet the Author 🥀


Rachel L. Demeter lives in the beautiful hills of Anaheim, California with Teddy, her goofy lowland sheepdog, and her high school sweetheart of fourteen years. She enjoys writing poignant romances that challenge the reader’s emotions and explore the redeeming power of love.Imagining dynamic worlds and characters has been Rachel’s passion for longer than she can remember. Before learning how to read or write, she would dictate stories while her mother would record them for her. She holds a special affinity for the tortured hero and unconventional romances. Whether crafting the protagonist or antagonist, she ensures every character is given a soul.

Rachel endeavors to defy conventions by blending elements of romance, suspense, and horror. Some themes her stories never stray too far from: forbidden romance, soul mates, the power of love to redeem, mend all wounds, and triumph over darkness.

Her dream is to move readers and leave an emotional impact through her words.


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Blog Tour Stop & GIVEAWAY! Obsession by Helen Hardt

 

Book: Obsession (Steel Brothers Saga #2) 

Author: Helen Hardt 

Genre: Contemporary Romance 

Release Date: 19th July 

 

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Synopsis:

 

Jade Roberts is in love with Talon Steel but no longer welcome in his home. While she resolves to move on, she still longs for the passion she and Talon shared…and when her boss asks her to dig up information on the Steels, she’s only too happy to comply. Talon and his brothers are hiding something, and Jade is determined find out what it is. 

The moment Talon saw Jade he wanted her, ached for her, craved her…and now his desire has become his obsession. He knows she deserves better than his broken soul, but he can’t stay away from her, and he finally confesses his love. If he and Jade are to have a future, he knows he must make peace with the dark shadows and horrors of his past. 

But as Talon begins his journey of healing, Jade uncovers some startling secrets… 

 

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REVIEW

I thoroughly enjoyed this read!

When it comes to a hook, this author’s a genius!  The story line contains extremely deep content, which acted as an anchor, keeping me glued to the pages.  The characters are believable, the angst palpable, and the sensual scenes are erotic, but tasteful.  The hero is one I kind of hate to love, but it’s inevitable.  With alternating POVs, I found this an intriguing story that packs a dramatic punch!

**There are triggers, for those in need of caution.  

 

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

ABOUT THIS LITERARY CHEF:

USA Today Bestselling author Helen Hardt’s passion for the written word began with the books her mother read to her at bedtime. She wrote her first story at age six and hasn’t stopped since. In addition to being an award winning author of contemporary and historical romance and erotica, she’s a mother, a black belt in Taekwondo, a grammar geek, an appreciator of fine red wine, and a lover of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. She writes from her home in Colorado, where she lives with her family. Helen loves to hear from readers.

 

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Review Blitz! Witch of the Cards by Catherine Stine

Witch of the Cards

Witch of the Cards by Catherine Stine
REVIEW BLITZ
5/23 – 5/27

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 Fiera was born a sea witch with no inkling of her power. And now it might be too late.

Witch of the Cards is historical, supernatural romantic suspense set in 1932 on the Jersey shore. Twenty-two year-old Fiera has recently left the Brooklyn orphanage where she was raised, and works in Manhattan as a nanny. She gets a lucky break when her boss pays for her short vacation in Asbury Park. One evening, Fiera and her new friend Dulcie wander down the boardwalk and into Peter Dune’s Tarot & Séance, where they attend a card reading.

Fiera has always had an unsettling ability to know things before they happen and sense people’s hidden agendas. She longs to either find out the origin of her powers or else banish them because as is, they make her feel crazy. When, during the reading, her energies somehow bond with Peter Dune’s and form an undeniable ethereal force, a chain of revelations and dangerous events begin to unspool. For one, Fiera finds out she is a witch from a powerful sea clan, but that someone is out to stop her blossoming power forever. And though she is falling in love with Peter, he also has a secret side. He’s no card reader, but a private detective working to expose mediums. Despite this terrible betrayal, Fiera must make the choice to save Peter from a tragic Morro Cruise boat fire, or let him perish with his fellow investigators. Told in alternating viewpoints, we hear Fiera and Peter each struggle against their deep attraction. Secrets, lies, even murder, lace this dark fantasy.

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 REVIEW

I enjoyed this witchy novel!

This is an excellent read for fans of H/F and the occult.  Setting is detailed expertly, and the tempo progresses with each page nicely.  I’m not particularly fond of the hero, but he started to grow on me towards the end.  I’m a sucker for the details, anything including witches, and historical fiction. This was my cup of tea.

A fun read!

ABOUT THIS LITERARY CHEF

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Catherine Stine’s novels span the range from futuristic fantasy to paranormal to contemporary. Her futuristic thriller companion novels Fireseed One and Ruby’s Fire are both indie award winners. Her paranormal-horror YA, Dorianna won Best Horror Book in the Kindle Hub Awards. Her YA contemporary Heart in a Box is an Amazon Top 100 in Teen.

She also writes new adult fiction as Kitsy Clare (see her separate GR Kitsy Clare page for 18+). Her Art of Love series featuring artist Sienna Karr, includes Model Position and Private Internship.

She suspects her love of dark fantasy came from her father reading Edgar Allen Poe to her when she was a child. Learn more at www.catherinestine.blogspot.com,www.catherinestine.com, and on her Catherine Stine and Kitsy Clare FB author pages.

More Ways to Contact Catherine Stine:

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NEW RELEASE! THE GIRL IN MY DREAMS by LOGAN BYRNE

the girl in my dreams

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When your girlfriend is a ghost visiting you in your dreams, life is anything but ordinary.

Seventeen-year-old Theodore Quinn has never had it easy. His dad recently left his mother and him, he’s not exactly Mr. Popular at school, and he’s never had a girlfriend—that is, until a chance encounter leads to a reconciliation with his childhood best friend and neighbor, Annabelle, whom he’s loved for as long as he can remember.

It’s only after they start dating that his life seems to be heading in the right direction. But that all changes one snowy night when Annabelle is instantly killed in a car accident, leaving Theodore devastated and emotionally crippled. In the midst of his desperation to see Annabelle again, she visits him in his dreams, and life suddenly becomes worth living again. With things starting to look perfect once more, Theodore must decide between living in his dreams forever, or facing reality and moving forward with a life he knows he’ll never truly have with her.

 

REVIEW

I received a copy of this novel from Kindle Scout in exchange for an honest review.

I was so excited to hear this novel was chosen to be published, as the excerpt on Kindle Scout had me extremely intrigued. The writing immediately pulled me into Theo’s little world, which was quite wonderful. As Belle was introduced, she was the beautiful addition that made this novel complete. They’re just lovely, both individually and as a couple.  I was also quite impressed with the maturity of the entire cast, which helped make them relatable.

While the blurb explains the gist of the story, I was not prepared for the emotional punch in the gut. I cried. I cried reading a YA novel. Maybe I cried because I have a son about their age, or because I know the pain of losing a first love. I can say with certainty that this author captured raw emotion brilliantly.

To put it bluntly, my heart just broke for the main character. The narrative is from his POV, and he is a very sweet young man. He starts off with one friend, goes through a few months of being on top of the world, then, he ends up right where he started; madly in love with the girl he can’t have. I do, however, love the resilience he exhibits.

In today’s society, this is a clean novel I would definitely approve for ages thirteen-plus.

 

ABOUT THIS LITERARY CHEF

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Logan Byrne is an author of young adult fiction. He currently resides in Northern Illinois, though has aspirations to move to a large city, one where most of his stories take place.

If you want to know when he releases new books the very second they go live, sign up for his e-mail newsletter! It’s free!

 

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REVIEW: A KINDLED WINTER by @RachelLDemeter

Black Lyon Publishing, LLC

Released: November 1, 2015

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A week before Christmas, Jeseca Reed sets off for Blue River, Oregon—her childhood home and a vault of tender memories. However, fate takes an unexpected turn when she’s left stranded in the mountains’ vast, untamed wilderness. Desperate and alone, she seeks shelter at a cottage and finds herself in the arms of a mysterious stranger.

Dr. David Drake was once a renowned cardiovascular surgeon. But a devastating tragedy has left him scarred both inside and out, unable to use his hands to operate again. For the past five years, his Blue River cottage has been his sole escape—a safe haven where he can shut out the world, bury himself in his grief, and reunite with his son’s memory.

Together they are summer and winter. Fire and ice. And yet a poignant connection forms between them. Jeseca awakens David and thaws his heart with a romance hot enough to melt snow. But before David and Jeseca can fully embrace each other, they must wade through darkness and confront the ghosts of their pasts…

Equal parts steamy and heartfelt, A Kindled Winter brings the spirit of the holidays to life with a passionate story of second chances and healing love.

 

 

REVIEW

 

I’d like to apologize to Rachel Demeter for the delay in reviewing this wonderful novel. 

I was a lucky enough to receive a copy of this beautiful novel in exchange for an honest review.
Simply, a wonderful story that’s hard to put down! The focus stays on the couple, with no interruption, and flows quite smoothly. Sensual scenes are naughty and divinely descriptive, but tasteful. There was a point in the story in which I wanted to put this down because it tore me apart, but I just couldn’t stop reading.  Jeseca and David were well written, and easily acceptable as every-day people.  Their struggle resonated with me, and the emotional impact was powerful.

Demeter has the unique gift of making the emotion stand out, and has delivered another sweet romance born from the ashes of tragedy. I’ve yet to walk away unaffected by her writing.
Definitely recommend!

**Mature readers due to adult situations, death, and sex.**

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

RachelDemeter_portrait-680x1024

Rachel L. Demeter lives in the beautiful hills of Anaheim, California with Teddy, her goofy lowland sheepdog, and her high school sweetheart of eleven years. She enjoys writing poignant romances that challenge the reader’s emotions and explore the redeeming power of love.

Imagining dynamic worlds and characters has been Rachel’s passion for longer than she can remember. Before learning how to read or write, she would dictate stories while her mother would record them for her. She holds a special affinity for the tortured hero and unconventional romances. Whether crafting the protagonist or antagonist, she ensures every character is given a soul.

Rachel endeavors to defy conventions by blending elements of romance, suspense, and horror. Some themes her stories never stray too far from: forbidden romance, soul mates, the power of love to redeem, mend all wounds, and triumph over darkness.

Her dream is to move readers and leave an emotional impact through her words.

Find Out More

Website    Twitter    Facebook    Amazon    Amazon UK

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REVIEW: BLEED by @daxvarley

Bleed

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LIFE IS A NIGHTMARE for Miranda Murphy. Without knowing when or why, blood oozes from her palms—an anomaly that makes her feel like a freak. But her abnormality is now the least of her worries. She’s just enrolled at “Suicide High.” Three deaths in three months—one occurring just days before her arrival.

When she bumps into a cute boy named Jake, things don’t appear so glum. Especially since Jake’s a psychic who can predict the immediate future. But his gift of sight can’t prepare her for the horrors that await.

Through Jake, Miranda meets three other extraordinary students:

Topher – who can heal by touch.

Sam – who eats the sins of the dead.

And Xyan – who speaks and understands all languages.

It’s then that Miranda learns the secret behind why she bleeds.

When it becomes evident that supernatural forces are at play, the five determined friends team up. Now it’s up to them to destroy the evil that’s infecting their school.

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A great YA Horror!

This is not your usual good vs. evil novel, as Dax Varley is an exceptional YA novelist! I’m always amazed with the skillful manner in which she connects with all ages!

 

Immediately, the story packs a punch! We’re given narration from several view points, including that of a very nasty culprit, with remarkable precision. The writing is so good, there is no lull, no confusion, and definitely no lack of imagination. The rag tag team representing the good is an authentic version of kids today, and the evil is concealed brilliantly.

I enjoyed this immensely, as I’m a fan of horror. There was comedic relief to balance the terror, the gory scenes were perfectly gross, and there’s even a sweet little romance involved. Highly recommend.

 

**I recommend for High School aged YA & above due to violence, subject matter, and language.**

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ABOUT THIS LITERARY CHEF

Dax Varley

Dax Varley writes the kind of young adult novels she wishes were around when she was a teen. She’s a lover of humor, horror and all things paranormal.

When Dax isn’t writing, she’s collecting odd photos online, reading
recaps of her favorite shows or kicked back with a good book.

She lives in Richmond, Texas with her husband, a shelf full of action figures and about a dozen imaginary friends

LINKS:

Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

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REVIEW! WINNIE DAVIS: DAUGHTER OF A LOST CAUSE by Heath Hardage Lee

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Synopsis

Varina Anne “Winnie” Davis was born into a war-torn South in June of 1864, the youngest daughter of Confederate president Jefferson Davis and his second wife, Varina Howell Davis. Born only a month after the death of beloved Confederate hero general J.E.B. Stuart during a string of Confederate victories, Winnie’s birth was hailed as a blessing by war-weary Southerners. They felt her arrival was a good omen signifying future victory. But after the Confederacy’s ultimate defeat in the Civil War, Winnie would spend her early life as a genteel refugee and an expatriate abroad. 
 
 
After returning to the South from German boarding school, Winnie was christened the “Daughter of the Confederacy” in 1886. This role was bestowed upon her by a Southern culture trying to sublimate its war losses. Particularly idolized by Confederate veterans and the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Winnie became an icon of the Lost Cause, eclipsing even her father Jefferson in popularity. 
 
Winnie Davis:  Daughter of the Lost Cause is the first published biography of this little-known woman who unwittingly became the symbolic female figure of the defeated South. Her controversial engagement in 1890 to a Northerner lawyer whose grandfather was a famous abolitionist, and her later move to work as a writer in New York City, shocked her friends, family, and the Southern groups who worshipped her. Faced with the pressures of a community who violently rejected the match, Winnie desperately attempted to reconcile her prominent Old South history with her personal desire for tolerance and acceptance of her personal choices.
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Review

My roots run South in this country; therefore, I was instantly intrigued by this novel.

I’m very familiar with The Daughters of the Confederacy, and the prodigal daughter that started it all, but this author has taken an extraordinary approach by reintroducing Winnie Davis to the world in a most intimate manner. Starting from her birth, we get a detailed background on how Winnie’s future was forged by the chaotic world to which she was born. This young woman was thrust into situations that exceeded her limitations both physically, and mentally. The relationship she had with her mother is one in which many in the South can relate, and her timid behavior was that of a true lady.

Although Winnie is the main subject, she is by no means the only person of which whom we become familiar. The whole family is introduced, as well as the love of her life, which later gives reference to Winnie’s somber and emotional state.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, but I must warn that some may feel as if the entire southern gentry are portrayed as one group of like-minded idiots. Readers must keep in mind, the anger and frustration after the war towards “The Yankees” was so intense, it still resonates today. There are also a couple of “hmm” moments in which the lost Confederate Money conspiracies do not seem so far-fetched. The historical details are extraordinary; however, and the research involved is evident.

My heart ached for Winnie Davis, as the writer has depicted her life with great care.  A tragic tale from a tragic time.

Recommended read.
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About This Literary Chef

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Heath Hardage Lee

Heath comes from a museum education, historic preservation, and writing background. She holds a B.A. in History with Honors from Davidson College, and an M.A. in French Language and Literature from the University of Virginia.

She started her museum career at the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte, North Carolina, as the Director of Education and Programs. Heath has since worked as a consultant for southern house museums such as Stratford Hall, Robert E. Lee’s birthplace, and Menokin Plantation, once home to Francis Lightfoot Lee. She is currently working as the Coordinator of the History Series for Salisbury House & Gardens, a 1920’s house museum in Des Moines, Iowa.

Potomac Books, a division of the University of Nebraska Press, published Heath’s first book, Winnie Davis: Daughter of the Lost Cause, in 2014. This biography about the fascinating youngest daughter of Confederate President Jefferson Davis was one of Potomac Press’s bestselling books for 2014. Winnie won the 2015 Colonial Dames of America Annual Book Award as well as a Gold Medal for Nonfiction writing from the Independent Publisher 2015 Book Awards.

Heath is currently working on her second book, a group biography entitled Vietnam War Wives about the courageous Wives of men who were Prisoners of War or Missing in Action during the Vietnam War. Stay tuned for more news on that book this fall.

Links

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