Book Review & Author Interview: Valerie Taylor of What’s Not Said

How did you decide to write the WHAT’S NOT Series?

Initially, I wrote What’s Not Said as a standalone book. It was only when my early readers asked, “What’s next for Kassie and Chris?” did I consider writing a series. Luckily, I could conceive of an ongoing saga, and thus What’s Not True was born.

How did you become a novelist?

I could say I became a novelist one word at a time, but that would be a bit snarky! In reality, I spent most of my career as a writer creating and editing marketing communications for financial and investment services firms from Boston to Seattle. Pretty important, but not your next great American novel!

In 2002, just after my divorce, I read Good In Bed by Jennifer Weiner, and I shouted out loud, “I could write that!” So, I would say that is when I decided I really wanted to write a novel. Of course, it took about 16 years, and several starts and stops, for me to write What’s Not Said and publish it in 2020.

How many revisions do you do on your books?

Before I started writing What’s Not Said, I took an online novel writing course. The instructor, who is a famous writer, explained his process of revising as he goes. So before he starts his writing for the day, he reviews and edits what he accomplished the day before. In this way, he gets his head back into the story and corrects anything that needs to be. I’ve adapted that somewhat to my process. However, once my manuscript is complete, I probably do two or three “revisions” even before I send it to the publisher for layout and proofreading. With each read through, I focus on something different, like dialogue on one pass through, punctuation on another, verb tenses on another. Bottom line, I’ll revise however many times it takes to be comfortable that I’m sending off the best manuscript possible.

What’s the worst review you ever received?

One reader exclaimed that she didn’t know why she finished the whole book (What’s Not Said). At first, I grimaced, of course. It stung like a bee, but only briefly. Because she finished the book! While I take reviews seriously, I’ve found for every negative review, there seems to be four or five positive ones. Just as I don’t love every book I read, I’ve come to accept the fact that my style of writing and the stories I tell may not be for everyone. But there are 85 million mature women in America. More than enough women to reach and lots of time in which to do so!

What’s next after What’s Not True?

The third and last book in the trilogy is underway. Some of the same characters continue on their journey, while a new villain appears to upend the apple cart. Hopefully, I’ll submit the manuscript to the publisher early in 2022, and then they’ll determine the publishing date. I have a working title for it, but I’m hesitant to reveal it too early because there’s a chance it’ll change!

You Can Reach the Author At:

Twitter: @ValerieEMTaylor
Instagram: ValerieETaylor

And please do subscribe to her newsletter, Behind and Ahead, which she writes with readers in mind:

Why Should You Read This?

Kassie O’Callaghan’s meticulous plans to divorce her emotionally abusive husband, Mike, and move in with Chris, a younger man she met five years ago on a solo vacation in Venice, are disrupted when she finds out Mike has chronic kidney disease—something he’s concealed from her for years. Once again, she postpones her path to freedom—at least, until she pokes around his pajama drawer and discovers his illness is the least of his deceits.

But Kassie is no angel, either. As she struggles to justify her own indiscretions, the secret lives she and Mike have led collide head-on, revealing a tangled web of sex, lies, and DNA. Still, mindful of her vows, Kassie commits to helping her husband find an organ donor. In the process, she uncovers a life-changing secret. Problem is, if she reveals it, her own immorality will be exposed, which means she has an impossible decision to make: Whose life will she save—her husband’s or her own?

I felt the character development was a bit weak. In multiple instances, Mike’s character description seemed at odds with the way he reacted. None of the characters left a mark, and I didn’t really end up vouching for any of them to get their happy endings. The characters kept being bombarded with lies and deceit, and their responses to most of these seemed lackluster. It also felt that almost everything that could go wrong was going wrong for the characters. Too many things happening at the same time.

However, the author has done a great job of dealing with a sensitive issue. For sure, worldwide, there are marriages where one partner manipulates, and controls the other. Also, multiple instances where two people stay together, in spite of being worlds apart. Kassie and Mike’s marriage is authentic and relatable in that sense. Mike is controlling, selfish and obnoxious in many ways. But worst of all, he is manipulating, and a cheat. The author does for sure succeed in making the reader hate Mike. I wish the author had given ample time and space for the characters and the story to play out. The end seemed hurried, and I hated the climax.

I give the book 3/5 stars. It is good fit for people who like books that address issues of modern womanhood.

Blog Tour: Snowflakes Over the Starfish Café by Jessica Redland

Welcome to The Starfish Café – where you will find stunning views, delicious food and lifelong friendships.

Two broken hearts.

Since she inherited The Starfish Café, Hollie has poured her heart into the business, striving to keep her mother’s traditions and warm-hearted spirit alive. But behind closed doors Hollie is searching for true happiness, as she grieves the tragic loss of her family who were once the beating heart of the café…

An unexpected meeting.

Jake lives by two rules: don’t let anyone get close and don’t talk about what happened. Little does he know that a chance meeting at The Starfish Café, facilitated by a fluffy lost dog, is about to turn his world upside down…

The chance to love again.

Can Hollie and Jake break down the barriers that have been holding them back from finding love and happiness, before Christmas comes around? After all, with courage, nothing is impossible…

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Author Bio

Jessica Redland writes uplifting stories of love, friendship, family and community set in Yorkshire where she lives. Her Whitsborough Bay books transport readers to the stunning North Yorkshire Coast and her Hedgehog Hollow series takes them into beautiful countryside of the Yorkshire Wolds.

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Blog Tour: A Christmas Wedding in the Cotswolds by Lucy Coleman

What could be more festive than a winter wedding in the picturesque English countryside? Join us for Christmas in the Cotswolds with the bestselling Lucy Coleman.

Imogen Tolliman and Gray Adams can’t wait to get married after getting engaged the previous year, when they were stranded by snow in a blizzard. Now they are busy planning their wedding, but when the date slips six months because Gray is working on a huge film project, it seems like fate that after their snowy start, they will end up getting married at Christmas.

The couple are living in Immi’s grandfather’s picturesque lock-keeper’s cottage at the Aysbury marina in the Cotswolds, which they are renovating to become their forever family home. As well as building work, full-time jobs and wedding planning, Immi is in charge of raising money to build a children’s playground, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of The Santa Ahoy Cruises – her grandfather Tollie’s life work.

When Gray is suddenly forced to travel abroad, Immi is left to cope with everything alone, and before long, even the best-laid plans start to wobble. When a terrible betrayal is uncovered, the whole community of Aysbury is left reeling, and Immi is left wondering if there will be a wedding after all…

Let Lucy Coleman transport you away to an unforgettable Cotswolds Christmas full of romance and laughter, friendship and family and much-loved festive traditions. Perfect for all fans of Trisha Ashley, Holly Martin and Sue Moorcroft.

Purchase Link –

Author Bio:
Lucy Coleman is a #1 bestselling romance writer, whose recent novels include Snowflakes over Holly Cove. She also writes under the name Linn B. Halton. She won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award and lives in the Welsh Valleys.

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Why Should You Read This?

If you love festive romances, this is the book for you. Just a word of caution, the book is preceded by “Christmas at the Lockkeepers Cottage”. While it can be read as a stand-alone, there are multiple references to the previous book. You may want to read them in a sequence. For sure, a lovely storyline with with delightful characters.

Blog Tour: Of The Lilin by Paulette Hampton

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the OF THE LILIN by Paulette Hampton Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

About the Book
Title: OF THE LILIN (The Sage Chronicles, #1)
Author: Paulette Hampton
Pub. Date: August 27, 2021
Publisher: Paulette Hampton
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 317
Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, Kindle
Kindle Unlimited members will be able to read this for FREE!

While dealing with depression, Sage attempts to pull herself into the light. What she finds is better left in the dark.

After the loss of her mother and her stepfather’s mental breakdown, Sage Frankle agrees to move in with her aunt and cousin at the Englewood Inn. Soon, her aunt arranges for Sage to begin working through her trauma with a psychologist. As time passes, Sage finds that she is far from healing and begins to slip from reality into a realm of darkness she is unable to escape. After the arrival of her cousin’s intriguing acquaintance, Sage is forced to realize she is indeed trapped, not by her mind, but by her bloodline.

Why Should You Read this?

It is for lovers of YA Paranormal Fantasy. The book has underlying dark themes and deals with topics such as anxiety, depression, and even the magic depicted in the book is dark. The book is along the lines of fighting darkness within oneself, and focuses on an individual’s inner battles between good and evil. The pacing is also good, and while some parts may seem slow, overall, the book is engrossing.

About Paulette Hampton:
Paulette is an indie author who holds a Master of Arts in reading education. Her writing inspiration stems from watching fantasy and paranormal movies, as well as her real-life experiences with mental health issues. She hopes her readers will find humor in her stories, become curious about seeking peace through the present moment, and consider reaching out for help if they are struggling with their own issues.

Paulette loves drawing, watching a good thriller, kayaking, and eating chocolate…lots of it. She and her husband live in North Carolina with their two cats, Linda Hamm and Bree. Of the Lilin is the first book in her new upper YA paranormal series, The Sage Chronicles.

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Giveaway Details:
2 winners will receive an eBook of OF THE LILIN, International.

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Upcoming Tour Schedule:

Week Two:

9/12/2021Review Thick & ThinReview
9/13/2021The Reading DevilExcerpt
9/15/2021The Phantom ParagrapherReview
9/15/2021@nzgeekchicIG Post
9/16/2021Rajiv’s ReviewsReview
9/16/2021Rajiv’s ReviewsIG Post
9/17/2021Fyrekatz BlogReview

Blog Tour: Lil’s Bus Trip by Judy Leigh

It’s always a good time for a road trip…

When 82-year-old Lil decides to book herself, her 65-year-old daughter, Cassie, and her friend Maggie on a bus trip across Europe, she hopes for a little adventure to counteract the monotony of life in sheltered accommodation.

Along with three members of the Salterley Tennis Club and the Jolly Weaver five-a side football team, whose ideas of a good time are rather different to Lil’s and strikingly at odds with each other’s, the merry band of travelers set out on their great adventure.

From moving moments on the beaches of Normandy, outrageous adventures in Amsterdam, to the beauty of Bruges and gastronomic delights of France, the holiday is just the tonic Lil, Maggie and Cassie needed.  And as the time approaches for them to head home, Lil makes an unexpected discovery – even in her advancing years, men are like buses – there isn’t one for ages then two come along at once. Is Lil ready to share her golden years, and can the ladies embrace the fresh starts that the trip has given them. Or is it just too late to change…

Purchase Link –

Author Bio

Judy Leigh is the bestselling author of A Grand Old Time and The Age of Misadventure and the doyenne of the ‘it’s never too late’ genre of women’s fiction. She has lived all over the UK from Liverpool to Cornwall, but currently resides in Somerset.

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Why Should You Read This?

Filled with quirky characters. A multi-generational book with an octogenarian protagonist. A refreshing and up-lifting read.