Contemporary Romance · Fiction · Romantic Suspense · Writing

September ‘Books to Read’ Lineup and More #AmReading

September is a happy month. It means cooler weather, comfortable hoodie-sweaters, warm tea…and a lot of inside reading time. This month I celebrated my 15-year wedding anniversary. My husband is happy with my book-addiction, because reading makes me a delirious and proud introvert. 😉 Since an adjustment to a part-time job that borders on full-time work-hours, I’ve especially missed the book-reading part of life. I’m sure many of you know how it is to go back into a job you HAVE to do that PAYS so you can eventually build a little nest-egg for better financial security and (fingers-crossed)-just might be able to pay some toward what you DREAM to do with your life. In case you have no idea what it is to be in the aforementioned situation – I’ll spare you the boring details.

Glad to be back to reading and reviewing, I’m scheduling in reading time, whenever possible. To get started, I read Biting Cold by Chloe Neill. I’m familiar with the Chicago Vampire series, and I knew this book would propel my reading-momentum. From paranormal/urban fantasy, I moved to contemporary romance entitled All I Want by Jill Shalvis. But after two romance books, I yearned to reach out into a different realm. I started Insidious-an FBI thriller novel by Catherine Coulter. What a change this was for me, to delve into a twist-and-turn suspense; I am inspired by all the plots and sub-plots, and I look forward to happens next! Last but not least, I’ve finished the audio-book of Jennifer Weiner’s women-fiction novel, Certain Girls; what a fabulous read! The family drama isn’t over-the top, but heartfelt tragedy and uncertainty is what makes this books shine.

Though I always enjoy supporting authors by leaving reviews, I have to admit writing reviews isn’t ENTIRELY unselfish. 🙂 Reading outside my preferred genre (romance), keeps my plot-ideas fresh and is teaching me how to keep a steady pace of events as I write. I’ve noticed in the thriller I’m reading, there are many characters, but the story stays tidy and has a tight objective. A challenge I have when writing romance is becoming so involved with the couple being in love, I miss opportunities to drive the pace of the story into a faster, more adventurous themed-setting or events. I’m going to try to continue to read suspense and thrillers because I do not only enjoy reading them, but it’s fun to see how the author unravels plot-knots.

If you have a favorite genre, what compels you to diversify your reading palette?


Trying to find your next book to read? I have a list of books I’ve reviewed on Book Escape Reviews or we can connect on Goodreads and share the book-love. Happy Reading!

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Author Interviews · Erotic Fiction · Giveaways · Guest Posts · Romantic Suspense · Uncategorized · Writing

Gift Card Drawing and Interview With Author MJ Flournoy – Inside Her Erotic Romantic Suspense Novel ‘A Matter of Trust’

Please join me in welcoming MJ Flournoy, author of steamy, emotional, suspenseful and gripping erotic romance. It’s my pleasure to share with you more about this wonderful author and her great novel, A Matter of Trust. We’ll also be giving away an Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter, so read on!

Laurie: Welcome, MJ! I’m thrilled to have you on the blog today to share more about who you are and why you write.

MJ: Laurie, thanks so much for having me today. As you know, I write romantic suspense for ARES, which is an imprint of Renaissance Ebooks. I write because I love being in charge of the outcome of my plots. I enjoy making things happen, then figuring out how to undo what I’ve done to my characters. My days are spent as a special education teacher, but my evenings are all about writing romantic suspense.

Laurie: What a great and enjoyable way to unwind after a work day 🙂 What activities/hobbies do you enjoy when you aren’t writing?

MJ: Reading is one of my very favorite things. I also enjoy travel – I’ve been to Europe three times and hope to go again soon. I adore the beach, being near the ocean inspires me to write. I also love to cook, trying new recipes is a passion.

Laurie: Oh, it will be nice as summer is approaching to enjoy some beach time. Best wishes on travels to Europe, how exciting! Your elegant blog – – brings to light your love of travel. Of all your travels, what place do you favor most and why?

MJ: I simply adore Italy and the Greek Isles. I’m a history geek and never tire of seeing all the historical sites. My favorite place however, isn’t a city, it’s a ship. I love MSC Musica. What better way to travel than to have your elegant hotel sail from one romantic city to another? Musica is a member of MSC Cruise Line’s fleet. While it isn’t the largest, it won my heart with its wonderful crew. Cruising is my passion!

Laurie: How lovely! A very beautiful way to travel, for sure. I’m all about the romance, as you can tell 🙂 Please tell us about your book – A Matter Of Trust. What type of story is it and what makes it unique?

MJ: A Matter of Trust is a romantic suspense/thriller with paranormal elements. The unique thing about it is the plot idea came to me when I heard about a teacher who encountered a child and felt something just “wasn’t right,” her concern and the fact that she acted on her intuition saved the life of a kidnapped child. With that story, Jolie Wyngate sprang fully formed into my mind and along with her, the Maniac who is the voice in Jolie’s head.

Laurie: Wow. Absolutely amazing. I’m sure your mind went into overdrive to create this terrific story. That is what captured my attention the most as I read this book – the unique plot and characters. What was the most challenging part of writing this story and why?

MJ: The most challenging thing about this book was the Maniac’s dialogue. I had to retype it from all caps, to Italics, to regular type and back to Italics. Everyone who read the manuscript, including the final editor had a different idea of how it should be done.

Laurie: Yes. I remember you previously mentioning the Maniac was the voice inside Jolie’s head. I can see where it would be quite challenging to differentiate the dialogue between the two, but I think you pulled it off nicely.
What is your goal as a writer, concerning how people perceive and receive your work?

MJ: The most important thing for me is to be entertaining and offer escape. I read for escape and I hope that my readers will enjoy the adventures and obstacles I throw at my characters.

Laurie: I agree. There’s nothing better than escaping into a great book. Your book is very much an escape as Jolie is thrown into obstacles during her adventure.
Who and/or what are your main influences in pursing writing and why?

MJ: My favorite book is Shanna, by Kathleen Woodiwiss. When I finished reading it, I sighed and whispered, “This is what I want to do.” It took me a long time and several false starts, but I finally achieved that goal.

Laurie: A very great accomplishment, indeed, to finish writing a great book. I’m sure there are many readers who will read your book and be inspired, also. Are there any other memorable books that are your all-time favorites?

MJ: As I mentioned above, Shanna is my all-time favorite. I also enjoy reading romantic suspense by many of my friends who are members of Kiss of Death.

Laurie: For readers and writers not familiar with Kiss of Death, it is a chapter of RWA (Romance Writers of America), specifically centering on romantic suspense. To visit their “place on the web for murderously inclined romantics,” here’s the link to their site:
Do you have any favorite quotes? If so, please share!

MJ: “If it is to be, it’s up to me,” is my motto and my favorite quote is “I don’t give them hell, I tell the truth and they think it’s hell”—Harry S. Truman

Laurie: A great motto and quote. Are there any current projects or interests that you’d like to mention or include before we leave everyone to ogle over the excellent cover to your book and hopefully indulge in Jolie’s and Mac’s romantic suspense adventure?

MJ: I’m currently working on the second book in the NVC series (A Matter of Trust was book 1). This book finds Jolie and Mac working for New Ventures Consulting and has a big surprise in store for the Maniac.

My other Work in progress is tentatively titled, the Serpentine Thread and has an Autistic Savant, a special education teacher, and a former SEAL turned FBI agent working undercover to infiltrate a homegrown terrorist cell. (I am retiring this year after a twenty year career as a special education teacher and I look forward to having much more free time for writing!)

Laurie: Oh, wow! I’ll certainly be looking forward to seeing what big surprise you have in store in the continuance of this series. Once again, you’ve left me intensely curious about your unique works in progress. Early congrats on your retirement. What a great and meaningful accomplishment, as I’m sure you’ve played a great role in molding many young minds. I look forward to reading more of your stories!



Her paranormal abilities had always caused her grief. But can they save the life of a child who has been spirited away fro her parents and the life of the man she loves?

Jolie Wyngate is a middle school teacher with an extraordinary gift—or is it a curse? Throughout her life, she’s been never been sure. Now, when she is implicated in the disappearance of a child, the ultimate value of her powers will be put to the test.

Mac Carlson, former Navy SEAL and security expert, is tasked with rescuing the girl, Rachael Anne. From the moment he meets Jolie, his suspicious and protective nature sets its sights on her as a prime suspect. Can Jolie clear her name and gain this man’s hard-won trust?

More importantly, can she save the girl before time runs out? She won’t be able to do it without her psychic abilities—but Mac has a hard enough time trusting Jolie as it is, let alone trusting her powers to lead them to Rachael Anne.

As Mac and Jolie realize they have no choice but to work as a team—and as they slowly warm to each other in the process—they realize they have a new problem: the man they are after has set his sights on Jolie. Now Jolie will need all of her abilities, and all of Mac’s strength and skill, to stay out of the fiend’s hands and bring Rachael Anne back home.



M.J. Flournoy is an author of erotic romance. MJ writes stories laced with suspense, paranormal adventure, love, lust and sensual details. MJ’s stories are steamy, emotional, suspenseful and gripping.
When not crafting hot stories for Sizzler Intoxication line, MJ enjoys travel. Cruising is a particular pleasure for MJ and she loves cruising the Mediterranean. So far, MJ has visited, Austria, Italy, Greece, France and Spain.
Follow MJ on Facebook at authorMJFlournoy or contact her at

Also, be sure to subscribe to her NEWSLETTER to know of her latest progress, announcements, or updates.

MJ also enjoys hanging on Facebook on Sundays with her critique partner Mary Marvella to celebrate their new releases and writing in general. Be sure to stop by A Romance Caper with Mary Marvella & M.J. Flournoy so you can join in on the fun!

Special thanks to MJ Flournoy for taking the time out of her very busy schedule to be a guest on LaurieWriting today and so generously offering a $5 Amazon gift card to a lucky random commenter on the blog.

To be entered into the drawing, simply leave your name, an email address where we can send the gift card, and reply to this question in the comments section of this post:
What makes a hero unforgettable?


Thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful day!

Book Reviews · Fiction · Historical Romance · Humor · Paranormal Romance · Romantic Suspense · Sci-Fi Romance · Time Travel Romance · Uncategorized

Time Travel Romance Book Review – Kiss Me, I’m Irish by Bella Street

A horseshoe, a shamrock, a lady bug … (no, this isn’t a pathetic bar joke, unless you want to buy me a Green Machine juice instead of beer…)

I believe in luck to a certain extent (I love the idea of Serendipity), but most of the time the work put forth reflecting a job thoroughly done usually results in an equally splendid and thoughtful result.

Best effort + Consistent action = Desired best outcome

…And that, friends, is the extent of my math capabilities before 12pm. I can, however, ramble up a storm during an introduction to a book review by having a teensy bit of caffeine.

Luck was with me as I picked out this time travel and suspenseful romance by Bella Street. Romance is always a must for me. It could be sweet (this book is), sensual, hot, or scorching – but it has to have strong romantic elements throughout to keep me there.

Kiss Me, I’m Irish had a beautiful cover that caught my attention (Bella designs covers, and this one was a WINNER.) The blurb won me over, essentially, but as I got further into the story I couldn’t help but think – what the heck is going on here? NOT confusion, but this lady writes some KILLER simmering suspense, keeping readers on their toes the entire story. Best of all, it didn’t overshadow the romance between Liam and Emily. Here’s the blurb and my review:

KMII Bella Street Org Cover


Emily Musgrave is heading a direction she never wanted to go in Regency England–namely a convent to turn her from her waywardness.

Liam Jackson is going nowhere fast in modern-day Tennessee. Playing his Dobro in seedy bars and backward dives along with his fiddling sister, Tinker, is doing nothing for his music career–and even less for the dark places in his soul.

Pixie dust and thieving mischief can not only change time-lines, it can change hearts–because a girl can only get so far without a little magic in her life.

The Twists and Suspense In This Story Had Me Consistently Intrigued

I was blown away by this wonderfully written story where Emily escapes her fate of banishment dictated by her Aunt in Regency England to a convent for her unacceptable behavior. Liam, the hero who is in modern day Tennessee and is a musician, is the yin to Emily’s yang as they are an entertaining couple to read. The conversation between both of them had me turning pages because the dialogue was written appropriately for both time periods, giving the story that extra kick it needed to really pull someone into the scenes and become connected with the characters.

I also loved the humor because Emily was very proper. It gave her an edge of wittiness without coming off as too naive in a modern time (because she had time-traveled to the future.) Liam had a Southern vibe about him that made him sexy and insecure without seeming inadequate to truly be the man for Emily.

The twists and suspense in this story had me consistently intrigued. I could tell Bella enjoys suspense by the way she writes it. I am normally not a big fan of suspense, but this book did it for me because of the romantic elements and fantasy weaved throughout. It’s like nothing I’ve ever read, and I’m looking forward to reading more of Bella’s books! I highly recommend this book to people who love fantasy, time-travel, a sweet romance, and/or suspense…it’s really hard to pin this book down into one category, except to say it’s a must read for anyone who loves any or all of those elements in the stories they read. It’s exceptionally well written.

 Laurie Kozlowski

HAPPY SAINT PATTY’S DAY!   roxienashromancePIC

More Titles By Bella Street:

Apocalypse Babes Series



Tennessee Waltz Series

Kiss Me, I'm Yours TWSeries Bella Street Cover Pic



#1 Amazon Bestselling author in Time Travel Romance!

Living so close to Nashville has provoked Bella to take up fiddle lessons. Until her tunes no longer sound like amorous alley cats, she writes weird romance (which includes Gothic science fiction romance, apocalypse, time travel, paranormal romance–and possibly Sasquatch…