INSPIRATION AND LEMONADE

The story behind Beyond the Misty Shore

by Vicki Hinze

Into every life, lemon juice does pour.  If you’re lucky, you learn to love lemonade. I’m lucky. And it’s a good thing because…

I was having a pitcher-full and a truth about life and lemonade settled in:  Loving lemonade is a choice.  I mean, we can’t avoid lemon juice any more than we can avoid challenges. We can fight it, but we are going to lose. Lemon juice will be poured; it’s inevitable. But that doesn’t mean it has to be bitter. We can make a different choice. Sprinkle in a little sugar or Splenda, so to speak, a little water, and we’ve got lemonade, which tastes quite good and, on a hot day, it’s amazingly refreshing.

So I got juiced. I was at this crossroad in my life, debating which way to go, and this lemonade truth kept stealing my attention. I refilled my glass with half-a-pitcher to go, and another thought came to mind.  We have a choice. When life throws us lemons, we can choose to make lemonade, or not. Another thought chased that one:

What if we couldn’t?

What if we didn’t have a choice. Or the choice wasn’t ours to make. We’d be stuck. Literally swimming in lemon juice without lemonade or a solution or resolution in sight!

I didn’t care for the feeling, and it shot holes in my theory that I had at least a little control in my life. Don’t you hate it when that happens?  When your illusions are shattered and as leaky as a sieve?

I more than didn’t like it, I hated it…but I was intrigued. So I thought about it.  Okay, so you have not a pitcher full of lemon juice but a barrel full. You’re already banged up.  (Can anyone get to adulthood in life without getting banged up?  Unlikely.  Rare, even.) So you’re chugging lemon juice from the barrel, eager to drain it and get the nastiness behind you.  You’ve deciphered your problems and have progressed to looking for solutions, and you’re feeling good about that because, while the bad stuff isn’t behind you yet, you’ve made progress.  You’re on your way to getting rid of it.

Only you’re not. You’ve wracked your brain and there just are no solutions. Not even one. Worse, not only have you been robbed of a solution, your choice in what to do has been stolen, too.  Now what?  What do you do?

That was the situation I found myself in that led me to write the Seascape novels, and Beyond the Misty Shore specifically.

Being stuck doesn’t exactly inspire you to be in the most receptive frame of mind. Sunshine is arrogant when you’re grieving, right? But isn’t it true that the worst possible time is always when important things happen? When life-changing things happen?

That’s been true in my life, and so I made it true in TJ MacGregor’s life, too.  He is the hero stuck at Seascape Inn in Beyond the Misty Shore.  Add more lemon juice in the form of Maggie Wright, a woman who loves to hate him, and Miss Hattie, the wise Seascape innkeeper (who seems to know everything about everything but won’t just tell anyone anything because “some things are best learned firsthand”), a colorful cast of local characters, Maine cliffs, and a little otherworldly intervention, and, well, T.J. has his work cut out for him, doesn’t he?

He did, and so did I. But don’t feel too bad for him.  We’ve all tasted the tart of the juice and, you know, sometimes when we’re broken, we have to really hurt to ever get beyond the pain. We have to figure out that we can heal before we do heal.

Eventually, we get it. And when we do, magic happens. We no longer just survive. We truly live.

Like you and me, he’ll figure it out… eventually. So will Maggie.  And what fun to watch without personally sucking lemons!

I’m getting a little misty here. I think I’ll pack a bag and go visit Seascape Inn again . . . just as soon as I finish this glass of lemonade.  Care to join me?

 

 

Vicki Hinze’s Seascape Trilogy is on sale through March 1st! Pick up these paranormal romances today!

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Beyond the Misty Shore – Free!
Whimsy. Serenity. And a Touch of Magic. The Seascape Inn.

Marketing executive Maggie Wright and artist T.J. MacGregor are linked by a mysterious car accident that killed Maggie’s cousin, Carolyn, T.J.’s fiancée. When Maggie arrives on the Maine coast determined to get answers from T.J., she discovers a tortured man who is bound to the Seascape Inn by supernatural forces.

Despite the tragedy that stands between them, Maggie and T.J. begin to fall in love, seeking answers and a healing spirit they may never achieve.

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Upon a Mystic Tide – Only $1.99!Upon a Mystic Tide - 200 x 300 x 72

With their painful divorce looming on the horizon, radio psychologist Bess Cameron and her soon-to-be-ex-husband, John Mystic, meet at Maine’s Seascape Inn to finalize the terms of a property settlement. Bess believes John is in love with someone else, and she’s determined to move on without him. Their marriage appears doomed until the Inn’s matchmaking ghost, Tony, and its irrepressible owner, Miss Hattie, take matters in hand.

Sometimes you have to leap upon a mystic tide and have faith the sand will shift and an island will appear . . . The second book of bestselling author Vicki Hinze’s Seascape Trilogy brings readers back to the gentle magic of a place where love is always stronger than the fragile boundaries of life.

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Beside a Dreamswept Sea – Just $5.99!

Welcome to the third book of The Seascape Trilogy, three mystical romance-mystery novels by bestselling author Vicki Hinze.

New love isn’t on the agenda for widower Bryce Richards, who comes to the peaceful Seascape Inn with his three children, hoping the ethereal setting will help them recover from the death of their mother. Likewise, fellow inn guest Callie isn’t looking for romance either; she’s recovering from an emotionally abusive marriage.

It will take all the matchmaking skills of innkeeper Hattie Stillman and her ghostly assistant to bring Bryce and Cally together.

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About the Author:

31LEQcm1WqL._SX150_Raised in New Orleans, Vicki Hinze began writing before Kindergarten but her journey to writing books included a lot of corporate pitstops. Eventually, she settled in and her first novel landed an array of awards and on the bestseller list. With nearly 40 books published, she’s been back many times with awards in multiple genres and appearances on multiple bestseller lists, including USA TODAY. Vicki is recognized by Who’s Who in the World as an author and an educator and is best known for chilling suspense, trailblazing, and creating series that genre-blend. Her works include suspense, mystery and romance. Since 1994, this former VP of International Thriller Writers has written heavily about military and military families and in nearly all genres except horror. Hinze is a Floridian married to a former Hurricane Hunter/Special Operations Officer. She constantly pushes the boundaries on existing genres, opening the door for new novel blends.

 

 

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Allegiant

Hey everyone! So this week I read Allegiant by Veronica Roth. It’s the third and final book in the Divergent Series. BIG BIG things happened and overall it was a great book. I’m going to attempt to write a spoiler free review, so here we go. 🙂

In Allegiant, Tris and the gang embark to the outside world after watching the video of Edith Prior at the end of Insurgent. They enter a place that is completely different from what they know and are used to. They soon meet with the people responsible for their lifestyles and, once there, find connections to the past as well as loved ones who were believed to be dead. As with the last book in every series, relationships are tested, betrayals are made, the amazing conflict we’ve been waiting for since the first book happens, and – of course – people die. I can’t say too much about the plot without giving things away, but let me tell you….IT GETS GOOD. haha.

I have to say, my feelings are slightly conflicted. I wanted to leave a review as soon as I finished, but I felt that would be irresponsible considering I was slightly upset with the ending. **SPOILER: There are people who die and you absolutely do not see it coming. And honestly I did not realize how attached I was to these characters. Like I said, overall it’s a great book and I understand why the people (person) died and what the author’s intent was, but I feel like it could have been written better. END SPOILER**

If you have read the book and you would like to discuss it with me further, don’t be afraid to email me! That goes for any book I post about. I love talking about books I’ve read and I’ll happily discuss one with you! Just email me at nikiflowers@rocketmail.com and we’ll chat! Talk to you soon, loves!! ❤

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green

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THE FAULT IN OUR STARS tells the love story of Hazel and Augustus. Both, incredibly funny and intelligent, and both, diagnosed with fatal diseases at young ages. For Hazel, she’s lived with her lung issues for years, everyday knowing that it could be her last. Augustus; however, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, but was classified as in remission after losing half a leg.

The duo meets at an illness support group that Hazel’s parents make her go to. The chemistry between them is undeniable and they soon start spending all of their time together and learning more about each other. This leads to Hazel having Augustus read her favorite book – An Imperial Affliction – which ends abruptly with the reader asking questions. Hazel desperately wants to meet the author and find her answers before it’s too late for her, so when Augustus offers her his “wish” from the Make-a-Wish Foundation, they go on their adventure to Amsterdam to meet Peter Van Houten, the author with all the answers…..or so they think.

After a less than productive meeting with Van Houten, Gus and Hazel spend some quality time growing closer in Amsterdam. This is when Hazel finds out that Gus’s osteosarcoma has come back. Once the pair is back home, Hazel spends the time she has left with Augustus showing him how/why his life has turned out exactly the way he’s wanted it to.

 

Never has a book made me laugh so hard to the point of tears and then cry just as hard, but from sadness. This was a good book. I read it in two days and when I wasn’t reading it, I was trying to figure out when I would get to read it again. I loved the characters, all of them – even Van Houten. I also really wish An Imperial Affliction was a real novel cus I wouldn’t mind reading it.

I was hesitant at first to read TFIOS because I had heard that it was so sad. But I am so glad I did. It has become one of my favorite books and I’m sure that if I were to reread it – no matter how many times – that I would still laugh and cry in all the spots I laughed and cried in before. That, to me, constitutes an amazing book. And who are we kidding, could John Green ever write a bad book? No. Probably not. 🙂

SMOKE by Ellen Hopkins

**WARNING. THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS. PLEASE READ BURNED OR MY REVIEW OF IT BEFORE PROCEEDING TO READ SMOKE’S REVIEW HERE.**

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On the run, alone, and haunted by her ghosts. Pattyn Von Stratten is desperately trying to hide from everything that has happened to her. The deaths of Ethan, their baby, and (now) her father. She hops on a bus and ends up in Vacaville, CA where she meets a Hispanic girl named Adrianna and her family. After protecting Adrianna from a robbery and an – almost – rape, she is invited back to her home to stay. After a few weeks, Adrianna’s brother, Angel, comes home from the farm that he works at and it is decided that Pattyn (or Patty, as she’s going by now) will go with him to work as a maid for the family who lives on the farm. The family is relatively normal, except for the fact that the teenage daughter has some deep seeded anger issues, hangs out with two destructive guys who are not afraid to kill, and who could blow up at any moment. Despite this (small?) danger, Pattyn finds acceptance and even new love with Angel, if only she could get past the secrets so built up inside her.

As for Jackie, Pattyn’s once upon a time best friend and closest sister, her secrets are eating up at her as well. The night their father died, he had walked in on Jackie being raped by one of the boys from their church. He didn’t believe it when she told him what happened and he began to abuse her. Hitting her, kicking her, telling her she was ruined and that she deserved what she got. Pattyn walked in with her gun and after an altercation, their father ended up dead. Although Jackie wants desperately to relieve herself of this terrible secret inside her, she’s forced to keep quiet. By the bishop at the church, by her rapist’s father, and even by her own mother. She has no friends and no Pattyn, no one to turn to, until she meets Gavin. He’s a senior – and her math tutor – and he sees the beauty and honesty she carries inside her. He gives her the love she’s been needing, but she’s sure that once all of her secrets come out, he’ll be on his way out the door.

SMOKE was phenomenal. I was a little worried because sequels aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be; but as always, Ellen Hopkins did not disappoint. This time around, she let us in, not only on Pattyn’s side of things, but on Jackie’s as well. With both girls speaking, you get the full picture of what’s happening in their lives. There’s a lot of turmoil within this novel, but the ending message is of hope. Not only that, but it gives a full and rounded story, which works so well coupled with the prequel – BURNED.

Overall (and as always) a superb read from Ellen Hopkins. Everyone needs to check out this book whether you enjoyed BURNED or not, it’s fantastic. 🙂 Look out for my next review!

BURNED by Ellen Hopkins

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Hey guys! 🙂 So I just reread BURNED by Ellen Hopkins. Now, this was my third time reading it, but since I hadn’t done a book review on it, I figured I would do that.

 

Pattyn Von Stratten is the oldest of seven girls, born and raised in a Mormon household, they have been taught to fear and revere God and any other male they come into contact with. Of course, a fear of males is easy when your father likes to drink his demons away and focus his anger on your mother. Because their mother accepts the abuse and doesn’t fight back, the girls feel powerless to do anything about it. They don’t even feel as though they can tell anyone because it’s seen as “a woman’s role” to respect her husband’s wishes….even if that means submitting to him when he is obviously wrong. 

Pattyn also feels powerless to something else….boys. A seventeen year old girl, she wants to know what it feels like to be kissed, touched, loved. She’s excited by the prospects of it, and her wants are just about met when she meets Derek; a non-Mormon boy who is everything she’s not supposed to be and who does everything she is not supposed to do. Now, she knows she’s not in love with him and she also never has sex with him, but that doesn’t stop her from getting caught in a very compromising position with Derek in the woods, by her father of all people. Her father, in a rage, threatens Derek and forces Pattyn to come home. Afterwards, Derek breaks up with her, spreads lies about her, and gets back with his ex, Carmen. Pattyn is royally pissed and ends up busting a window and Carmen’s nose. This gets her sent to live on a farm with her father’s estranged sister for the summer in order to “exorcise the demons that have {apparently} possessed her” according to the bishop of their church.  

Pattyn is nervous to be in a different place with people that she doesn’t know too well, but that all changes almost as soon as she gets there. With her aunt, she finally finds someone who understands her and who understands how insane and frightening her father is. She begins to question everything she’s ever learned and known and she starts to search for answers. She also finds the “forever love” (that she never really thought would exist) in a man named Ethan. Ethan enables Pattyn to see who she really is and what she can do. He helps her believe in herself and to believe in a love between soul mates, the kind that lasts forever. Pattyn finds a perfect family on this farm and at the end of the summer, when she has to go home to her own dysfunctional family, she’s frightened that she’ll lose everything she’s gained…

 

So I adore this book. Actually, that’s probably redundant by the fact that I admitted to this being my third time reading it. Haha. But it’s true. It’s always interesting to get inside the mind of someone who has such a different life than what I’m used to, to try and look at the world through their eyes. Ellen Hopkins always manages to write her characters in a way that lets the reader connect with them. In BURNED, it gets to the point where you’re so invested in what happens to Pattyn, that you can feel the outpouring of love and happiness when she’s with Ethan and with her aunt, and her sadness and fear (and you feel fear, yourself) at what might happen once she’s forced to return home. BURNED is a powerful, emotional novel that makes you question your own life and that also makes you hope that you never lose what you have. It’s truly stunning. 

 

**Sidenote, I’ll be reviewing the sequel to BURNED, SMOKE, next time. 🙂 That was part of the reason I needed to reread BURNED. haha. It’ll be my first time reading SMOKE, so let’s all get excited! 😀 

Collateral by Ellen Hopkins

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Collateral is Ellen Hopkins’s newest novel. It tells the story of Ashley, a grad student at San Diego State University. She’s studying to be a social worker, but she’s not sure that’s really the path she wants to take. Something else she’s not sure about is marrying her Marine beau, Cole. They had met in a bar five years earlier. It wasn’t love at first sight like with their friends Darian and Spencer, but it did turn from lust to love pretty quickly. Together, they’ve survived four deployments, a death of a parent, and an old flame coming back into the picture. But a war can easily change a person. It can turn a once sweet, loving, poetry writing man into a paranoid, angry, bitter death machine. As Ashley witnesses this change in Cole, she starts to second guess her time spent with him and her plans for a future with him. She also meets another man, a professor, who shows her what it could be like to be with someone who LIVES – and not just for the war, but for other things. For doing what he loves. 

This was an excellent book. Mrs. Hopkins had me gripped from the very first page. She is my favorite author for a reason and that is because she really knows how to put you inside the characters’ minds. And not just the main characters, but the supporting ones too. She makes such a connection between her readers and the people in her stories to the point where you feel as though you’re reading about yourself. 

Collateral shows the struggle of being a military wife AND of being a military man. It describes the sacrifices and challenges that go with loving someone and doing all you can for them, while learning to do what you need to do for yourself. This novel makes you think up until the very end when Ashley finally makes her choice. I can’t wait to read Mrs. Hopkins’s next tale. 🙂