Kimberly Stuart tops today’s Buffet with the Christian-themed Stretch Marks, part romantic comedy, part mother-daughter war.

Kimberly is particularly fond of Dutch cheeses and dark chocolate. She turned to writing to cope with the isolation and charming chaos of motherhood. A few vignettes turned into the seeds for a novel, which turned into a two-book contract.

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Stretch Marks: A Novel

Christian Fiction > Romantic Comedy > Mothers & Children
Author: Kimberly Stuart
Stretch Marks: A Novel

Mia is a granola-eating, sensible shoe–wearing, carbon footprint–conscious twenty-something living in a multicultural neighborhood in Chicago. Her mother, Babs, is a stiletto-wearing Zsa Zsa Gabor type who works as an activities hostess on a Caribbean cruise line … and if you guessed there’s some tension there, you’d be right. Factor in an unexpected pregnancy and Mia’s idealistic boyfriend—Lars is such a visionary he doesn’t believe in the institution of marriage—and the mother-daughter relationship is, well, stretched very thin. As is Mia’s sanity when Babs shows up to … help.

Actually, Mia has a whole neighborhood of quirky characters who want to help, including her BFF Frankie, a magenta-haired librarian; Silas, the courtly gentleman of indeterminate age who lives downstairs; and Adam, proprietor of the corner grocery store where Mia shops. But it’s Adam—endearing, kind, possessed of a perfect smile and impeccable Persian manners—who ultimately charms Babs and rescues Mia from more than one mother-induced meltdown. Could it be that Mia and Babs might actually be able to get along?

With Kimberly Stuart’s trademark irreverent humor and a surprising and satisfying take on romance, Stretch Marks is an authentic but tender story about family, grace, and the importance of a good grocer.

The Haunting

 Romantic Suspense > Coming of Age

The Haunting

Ever wonder how much your life would change if you won a million dollars? Well, that fantasy is about to become reality for one lucky winner of the new reality game show, The Haunting. Six people will enter the contest, but not everyone will win. In fact, there can only be one winner. A drug dealer, an exotic dancer, a drug addict, an entrepreneur, a district attorney, and a rich kid, are all desperate in some way. Whether they need the money, or are looking for something different and need a break from their boring everyday life. It may seem that these contestants have nothing in common, but that’s not the case. They have one very important thing in common, their desperation to win the prize . But, winning the money is going to be anything but easy. Not only will they have to spend a full twenty-four hours together in a haunted mansion, but they will have to overcome their weaknesses and make alliances with their competitors just to survive.

Sylvia Plath: A Biography

 Biographies & Memoirs

Sylvia Plath: A Biography

It has been just over 50 years since Sylvia Plath committed suicide, and her place in American letters is secure. Today she is widely recognized as one of the outstanding poets of the century. When her Collected Poems was published it won the Pulitzer Prize. Her only published novel, The Bell Jar, has become a modern classic.

Because Plath drew so heavily on her own life in both her poetry and her fiction, the outlines of her life are familiar to readers. But, like most writers, Plath changed the facts of her life in her writing.

In this biography, the first to draw on unpublished journals and letters recently made available, Linda Wagner-Martin examines the ironies and contradictions of Sylvia Plath’s life, as well as her achievements.

Everyone who knew Plath described her as talented, attractive, out-going and seemingly self-assured. Yet in her diaries and letters Plath reveals herself racked by insecurities and doubts. An outstanding and popular student, she attempted suicide while she was still in college, and ten years later she was only just beginning to achieve recognition as a writer when she ended her life. Yet she had a remarkable ability to transform her suffering into art: her anger at the collapse of her marriage, for example, became the remarkable poetry of Ariel, most of which she wrote in a single month.

Linda Wagner-Martin traces the origins of Plath’s lifelong emotional problems to the untimely death of her father and to the complex relationship that Plath and her mother developed.

The Very Best of Charles de Lint

 Fantasy > Paranormal & Urban

The Very Best of Charles de Lint

When asked to choose his “very best” stories, Charles de Lint went directly to his fans, who helped him select this collection of timeless, magical tales. From his beloved Newford to the streets of modern Ottawa, these stories take you effortlessly to a place where mystery and myth are right next door. To quote his readers: “His stories are good for the heart and soul…he reminds you of hope and strength and Beauty and Grace that you may have forgotten.”

“Just as Charles de Lint’s pen drips magic and enchantment, he is also never afraid to write about the darker and painful side of life, and he writes it in a way that moves you. Give this wonderful book a chance; I promise you it won’t disappoint you. Even more, I can assure you, you won’t be the same person when you are done with it: de Lint will have changed you with his magic.”

Avenging Angel

 Romance > Mystery & Suspense

Avenging Angel

Living undercover and on the edge, Dylan Jones has seen damn few things to give him hope – until he sees her, Johanna Lane. But when the beautiful lawyer lands in the middle of his investigation, she also lands at the top of a powerful man’s hit list. Out of luck and out of time, Dylan only has one chance to save her, and he only has one plan – kidnap the beauty.

Frightened senseless, Johanna is shocked when she recognizes her captor, the bad boy bodyguard who had once worked for her powerful boss. She had been dangerously attracted to him, and now she’s in his clutches and at his mercy. But with the night heating up and the hitmen closing in, passion will have to take a back seat to survival…or will it? With these two, the only safe bet is on scorching desire and endless love!

Bangkok Rules

 International Mystery & Crime

Bangkok Rules

Thailand is terrified. A sadistic serial killer has been abducting young innocents for his ritual horror and the authorities are clueless. Carl Engel is an enigma. The blunt Londoner has forged a thirty-year career as a private investigator amid the chaos of Thailand’s political history. Struggling with advancing years and a decreasing workload he is approached by an elderly American with a lucrative missing persons case. The case descends into the sordid world of the elusive serial killer and a menacing web of political intrigue dating back to the Vietnam War. Carl must use his guile and experience to stay alive, find the killer and negotiate the dangerous military interests that lurk behind the scenes. Based on a real person Carl Engel lives in a world rarely seen by outsiders and hauls the reader on a pulsating ride to the explosive conclusion.

Cowboy’s Kiss (Heartthrob Heroes, Book 1)

 Romance > Contemporary

Cowboy's Kiss (Heartthrob Heroes, Book 1)

Tanner Avery has a working ranch to run and two wild kids to raise. The last thing he needs is a sexy big-city etiquette consultant instructing him on how to civilize his kids.

Jackie Taylor has arrived from Washington D.C., at the behest of Tanner’s wily father. Her instructions are clear: teach Tanner’s small children some manners. She never dreamed her biggest challenge would come from Tanner, the children’s ruggedly handsome cowboy father.

Then, Tanner’s chilly welcome turns into warm embraces and searing kisses.

Now what really needs taming is Jackie’s heart, especially since she’s promised to another.

Getaway

 Romantic Comedy

Getaway

When Vancouver Police Officer Shelley Newland is involved in a shooting on the job, she finds herself in need of a getaway, to clear her head. She heads to the Oregon Coast, but rather than stay in a hotel, she opts to take her parents’ old Terry trailer.

While at the RV park, she meets handsome Portland Police Detective, Jake Castle, who has some things to work out in his own life. She also meets a group of senior citizens, who are determined to help the younger couple solve their problems.

Unfortunately, Shelley’s excursion becomes a ‘getaway’ in the real sense of the word when she learns she’s the target of a hit man determined to avenge his friend’s death.

Concerned for her new friends’ safety, she isolates herself. Unfortunately, keeping her distance from them becomes impossible, since the helpful seniors have never met a problem they can’t fix. And when Jake discovers Shelley is in danger, he steps up, determined to protect her since…he’s fallen for her.

TODAY’S BARGAINS……………What’s this?

I Am Livia

 Historical Fiction > Biographical

I Am Livia

Her life would be marked by scandal and suspicion, worship and adoration…

At the tender age of fourteen, Livia Drusilla overhears her father and fellow aristocrats plotting the assassination of Julius Caesar. Proving herself an astute confidante, she becomes her father’s chief political asset—and reluctantly enters into an advantageous marriage to a prominent military officer. Her mother tells her, “It is possible for a woman to influence public affairs,” reminding Livia that—while she possesses a keen sense for the machinations of the Roman senate—she must also remain patient and practical.

But patience and practicality disappear from Livia’s mind when she meets Caesar’s heir, Octavianus. At only eighteen, he displays both power and modesty. A young wife by that point, Livia finds herself drawn to the golden-haired boy. In time, his fortunes will rise as Livia’s family faces terrible danger. But her sharp intellect—and her heart—will lead Livia to make an unbelievable choice: one that will give her greater sway over Rome than she could have ever foreseen.

Into Darkness (A Night Prowler Novel)

 Science Fiction > Dystopian

Into Darkness (A Night Prowler Novel)

In New Vienna, capital of the oppressive global government formed after the Flash, three things are certain: the sun is poisonous, speaking out is dangerous, and being different will get you killed.

And Lumina Bohn is extraordinarily different.

Living in terror of discovery, Lu knows nothing of her past—but she knows she must pretend to be human to survive. When an incident at work triggers her astonishing powers, she becomes the target of an international manhunt. Only one person can save her: Magnus, the enigmatic stranger haunting her dreams.

Magnus rescues the outcasts called Aberrants from capture and torture. As Lu begins exploring her powers among her people, her feelings for Magnus intensify. He’s determined to stay emotionally distant, yet their smoldering passion soon becomes impossible to resist.

But when a shocking revelation threatens the lives of every remaining Aberrant, Lu and Magnus must risk everything, confronting their enemies in an explosive final stand to save their kind from the darkest fate of all: extinction.

The Art Forger: A Novel

 Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

The Art Forger: A Novel

Almost twenty-five years after the infamous art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum—still the largest unsolved art theft in history—one of the stolen Degas paintings is delivered to the Boston studio of a young artist. Claire Roth has entered into a Faustian bargain with a powerful gallery owner by agreeing to forge the Degas in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But as she begins her work, she starts to suspect that this long-missing masterpiece—the very one that had been hanging at the Gardner for one hundred years—may itself be a forgery. The Art Forger is a thrilling novel about seeing—and not seeing—the secrets that lie beneath the canvas.

Intimate Deception

 Historical Romance

Intimate Deception

When Lady Grace Warren’s father sells her in marriage to the depraved Lord Fentington, she knows only the most drastic action will save her from a life of misery. In Victorian England, a woman possesses only one item of value: her virtue. Without it, Fentington will not want her—nor will any other man. But at least she will be free. Now she must find a man with whom to pass the fateful night, a man who will ask no questions, make no other demands. Because for a woman preparing to risk everything, no ordinary man will do…

After losing two wives in childbirth, Vincent Germaine, Duke of Raeburn, vows never to marry again. Racked with guilt over the lives lost in his quest for an heir, he is careful now to take his pleasure only with London’s most discreet courtesans. Yet when he learns that a passionate encounter with a bewitching stranger may have put yet another life at risk, Vincent sets out to find the unsuspecting girl—and discovers a woman of incomparable courage, beauty, and strength. But can two strangers brought together by desperation find true love against all odds?

The Stone Man – A Science Fiction Thriller

 Science Fiction > First Contact

The Stone Man - A Science Fiction Thriller

Nobody knew where it came from.

Nobody knew why it came.

When an eight feet tall man made of stone appears in the middle of a busy city centre one July afternoon, two-bit (and antisocial) reporter Andy Pointer assumes it’s just a publicity stunt.

Indeed, so does everyone else … until the Stone Man begins to walk, heading silently through the wall of the nearest building, flattening it and killing several people inside as a result.

As efforts by the local police – and soon, the government – to halt the Stone Man’s inexorable progress prove futile, only three questions are on the watching world’s lips:

Where has it come from, where is it going, and what does it want?

Andy is determined to be the first person to answer those questions; after all, he was there when it arrived. Surely the headaches and visions he’s experiencing are proof of a mental connection to The Stone Man? Clearly his dreams of champagne and notoriety are all about to be fulfilled once he uncovers the truth … and the scoop of a lifetime.

… See the rest of today’s Editor’s Picks here on page 2