Tuesday, July 31, 2012

REVIEW: Rhythm Of My Heart by Kemberlee Shortland

Title: Rhythm Of My Heart
Author: Kemberlee Shortland
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Publication Date: July, 2012
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Rating: 9/10

Description: Artist Representative, Eilis Kennedy, gave up a singing career so that other women could have a fair chance at having their music heard. Having suffered rejection from callous men in the industry, she thought she would get away from ‘casting couch’ mentality. But when she finds herself in the office of Fergus Manley, all bets are off. Disgusted by his continual come-ons and lewd invitations, Eilis is looking for ‘the one’ who will take her career to the next level, getting out from under Fergus’s controlling thumb.

Aspiring blues guitarist, Kieran Vaughan, is looking for his big break. But after suffering near bankruptcy at the hands of an unscrupulous business partner, Kieran is left picking up the pieces. He’s unsure if the debts will ever be paid or if he’ll ever have a chance to do something with his music. At his whit’s end, he’s about ready to throw in the towel and find a full-time job with real hours.

When Eilis discovers Kieran playing in a seedy pub in Dublin’s Northside, she knows he’s the one rare talent she’s been searching for. With her know-how and his talent, Eilis will finally get everything she’s been waiting for. Neither of them count on the powerful attraction from first meeting. Eilis is so rocked by Keiran’s forthright words that it sends her running. Kieran risks being arrested as he chases Eilis across Ireland.

Seeing what’s happening between Eilis and Kieran, anger wells inside Fergus and he steps up his pursuit of Eilis. Refusing to let Kieran get in his way, Fergus vows to add Eilis’s notch to his bedpost, whatever it takes.

Will Kieran be able to protect her?

My Thoughts: First of all, take a look at the cover of this book. I don’t know what the Irish word for “WOW” is but that was my reaction when I saw it. If a guilty pleasure read is what you are looking for, then you don’t need to look much further once you see the eye candy on this cover. Women will want a Kieran Vaughan of their own. What’s not to love, ladies? He’s hot, hot, hot, he sings and plays blues guitar, he loves his little sister, he’s nice, he worships the ground Eilis walks on (lucky wench), he rides a Harley, he cooks (fanning face) and last but not least, he’s Irish so he’s got the accent going on and you know that’s going to be music to the ears. If I didn’t already have a Scottish guy, then an Irish guy would be high up on the list. With Kieran Vaughan, Kemberlee Shortland has created a character that makes a lasting impression that remains long after the book is done.

Upon meeting Eilis Kennedy for the first time, my first impression of her is that she is extremely critical of herself and has a very poor sense of worth. Most women can certainly relate to Eilis. She has gotten knocked down quite a bit in love and life, unfortunately, and isn’t very trusting with her heart. She honestly doesn’t see what Kieran sees when she looks in the mirror. She gave up her own career as a singer so she could find new talent and represent them towards successful careers of their own. Regrettably, the “casting couch” scenario still pursues her, only now, her boss Fergus is the one she needs to be cautious around. I would have liked to see her get agitated and fight back, especially where Fergus is concerned. She does tell him off but I would have enjoyed seeing her mop the floor with his behind.

For me, Kieran and Eilis are truly two halves of one whole. Upon meeting, the connection they feel is strong and almost psychic. They know when the other is near, hurt or frightened, the way identical twins are connected. Unfortunately they are human and the reader is made to wait longer for them to get together because they both experience “the big misunderstanding” more than once. I found this to be extremely frustrating because it’s so obvious to me they are meant to be together but they both have a lot of pride and jump to conclusions about each other instead of just talking. Happily, years do not go by before they work it out, as is the case in a lot of books.

Ms. Shortland writes amazing characters that come to life and leap off the page. Even the villain, Fergus, as nasty and disgusting as he was, is very realistic. I got a very good sense of what Eilis felt having him around. Ms. Shortland takes it one step further and makes Fergus truly vile, which gives the story some very suspenseful moments. The story moves at a good pace, even with the big misunderstandings and delivers some exciting and heart-racing moments towards the end. I can’t spoil the ending for you, so you are just going to have to read this book to find out what I am talking about. I’m sure you will agree that Rhythm of My Heart is magical.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

REVIEW: Chaos In Death by J.D. Robb

Title: Chaos In Death (In Death #33.5)
Author: J.D. Robb
Publisher: Jove
Publication Date: September, 2011
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Rating: 10/10

Description: Eve Dallas is the tough lieutenant hot on his trail, but this is unlike any case she’s ever been assigned - or any killer she’s ever pursued. A police sketch based on eye-witness testimony reveals the killer has green skin, swollen red eyes, goblin ears, and a dislocated jaw-structure that defies the human form. Is it a mask? Is it make-up? Or is the explanation more sinister?

Dallas faces off against multiple suspects - all of them students of medicine capable of precisely slicing the ears, noses, and eyes of the three victims. But who had the motive? More importantly, what kind of rogue science are these healers practicing?

My Thoughts:Chaos In Death is one of the short stories offered in The Unquiet anthology and with the other short stories in this series, I only read the Eve Dallas story. Chaos finds Eve and the gang on the trail of a sadistic killer who leaves notes at the scene of his crimes signed as Dr. Chaos. Witnesses who have seen him report seeing a monster, distorted green skinned face and fangs. He is also observed to be laughing and dancing after the killings. The victims are mutilated with the precision like skill of a surgeon or someone who has medical training. Eve has never faced someone quite like Dr. Chaos before and doesn’t know who or even what Dr. Chaos really is.

I finished Chaos in Death with a mixture of anticipation and sadness. Anticipation because I am always anticipating what the next book will bring. But now, I am experiencing some sadness because I am now only one book away from completing the series. This may not mean much to a lot of people but it does to me. I resisted starting this series for a very long time and it’s taken me over ten years to get to this point. What can I say…I really wanted to savor this series. I resisted this series for so long because I honestly thought I would not enjoy a series set in the future. Never had any trouble reading and loving books set in the past, but for some reason, a story set in the future held no appeal for me. On one hand, I never thought I would arrive at this moment so quickly, but on the other hand, Chaos in Death is #33.5 in the series and as I have already mentioned, it’s taken me over ten years to get to this point so it hasn’t been that fast, come to think of it. It feels like it has though. Oh, and just to clarify; saying I’m completing the series isn’t really accurate. The series is still ongoing. The 35th book in this series, Delusion in Death, will be available in September, 2012. It just feels like it’s over because now I will no longer have a handful of Eve Dallas titles at the ready to tide me over. I will become just like everyone else suffering in their anticipation waiting for the next new release.

As always, Eve is in top form on this case, which takes on a horrific Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde twist when the killer’s identity is revealed. It’s probably one of the reasons I enjoy this series so much. J.D. Robb is fearless and shows no hesitation in stretching the limits of her imagination to create the evil and depraved filth that ultimately she will throw into Eve’s path. Fortunately, Eve isn’t left on her own to solve the riddle with each case. She has surrounded herself with a crack-shot team of professionals who know their stuff and get the job done quickly and efficiently, making the streets of a not so distant future New York City safe…at least for the moment.

Thank you, J.D. Robb for a great ten years of reading. It’s been a great ride and I am eagerly anticipating more.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

REVIEW: Girl's Guide To Witchcraft by Mindy Klasky

Title: Girl’s Guide To Witchcraft (Jane Madison #1)
Author: Mindy Klasky
Publisher: Red Dress Ink
Publication Date: October, 2006
Genre: Chick-Lit
Rating: 7/10

Description: Which is more unlikely?

Meeting a single, straight, reasonably attractive, willing-to-commit man?

Or discovering a secret cache of magic books?

For good girl Jane Madison, neither has a shot in hell of coming true--until the day she finds a hidden room....

Now she's done a bit of experimenting and found a spell that makes her irresistible to men--even those who have previously ignored her. And another that turns a cat into her witch's familiar (a snarky, critical, self-absorbed man--pretty much a typical male). Though her impulsive acts of magic have brought a warder (sexy, grouchy, elusive and determined to stop her from using magic) down on her, Jane's not willing to let go of this fantastic new life.

Though she wonders about having things that aren't "real," she's having too much fun to stop. After all, no one ever said being a witch was easy...

My Thoughts: One of the things I loved about Harlequin’s Red Dress Ink line was the diversity. Within the chick-lit genre, Red Dress Ink offered a nice variety in the Red Dress offerings. Some of them are straight chick-lit, some are suspense or mystery, and some, such as Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft, has a paranormal twist. Combining two of my favorite genres, chick-lit and paranormal romance is brilliant. It’s such a shame that there are no longer any new Red Dress Ink releases. Girl’s Guide to Witchcraft is the first book in the Jane Madison trilogy about a librarian who learns she is also a witch.

Jane Madison is a reference librarian at a small library in Washington, D.C. After her boss informs her that the library is cutting her salary by 25%, Jane is offered free room and board in the cottage behind the library. Jane accepts (what choice does she have?) and moves into the cottage. After several hours of intensive scrubbing and scouring, Jane begins to feel the charm of the cottage. Jane inadvertently finds a key that opens the door to the basement and she discovers a collection of antique books. Jane is thrilled and when she reads from one of the books, a statue of a cat turns into a man named Neko, who informs Jane she is a witch and he is her familiar.

From there I was hooked. I had to know what would happen. Mixed into the yoga sessions with her best friend, Melissa, which Jane hates, the mojito therapy sessions with Melissa and Neko that I would personally love to participate in and the gorgeous warder, David, who is assigned to give Jane witchcraft lessons are several side stories. Jane is infatuated with a college professor who spends a lot of time in the library. Jane learns that the mother she thought was dead is actually alive and abandoned Jane as a baby and now wants to come back into her life. Jane is dedicated to her job and works hard trying to obtain funding for the library. There is really so much going on that one book just can’t cover it all.

I really liked the characters. Jane is self-conscious and comes across as a little scatterbrained and awkward, which I felt only added to her charm. Melissa is the best friend we would all love to have. She accepts Jane for who she is, cheers her on when things are going well and is ready to pick her up with mojito therapy when things are not. I loved Neko. As Jane’s familiar, he is there to assist her with all things witchy but I loved that he has such a vibrant personality on his own. He also retains his feline tendencies, which causes Jane to fear for the safety of her pet fish. As her warder, David is more than just Jane’s witchcraft mentor and teacher. There’s an attraction between Jane and David that I hope will be explored in more detail in the remaining books.

Overall, a good start to a trilogy. I look forward to reconnecting with Jane and her friends in the next book, Sorcery and the Single Girl.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

REVIEW: The Art Of Racing In The Rain by Garth Stein

Title: The Art Of Racing In The Rain
Author: Garth Stein
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: June, 2009
Genre: General Fiction
Rating: 10/10

Description: Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver. Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn't simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life's ordeals.

On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoƫ at his side.

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life...as only a dog could tell it.

My Thoughts: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein was recommended to me by a very good friend and is nothing at all like the books I normally read. For starters, the narrator of the book is a dog named Enzo and the story is told entirely from his perspective. It’s given me a whole new insight on animals and what they are really thinking and how they feel and the fact that they understand so much more than we give them credit for.

The story begins on the eve of Enzo’s death. He’s an old dog, you see, and as we all have done and will do, he’s reflecting back on his life with his master, Denny, a race car driver and his family. Enzo’s view of the world is very funny and thought provoking. Enzo shares with us his love of television and watching car races as well as a documentary that people in Mongolia believe when a dog passes from this life, he will be reincarnated as a human. Enzo is very clear that his ultimate dream is to come back as a man, find Denny and shake his hand.

Through Enzo’s eyes, we are introduced to Denny’s future wife, Eve and meet their daughter Zoe. With Enzo’s help, I learned more about racing cars than I ever did. Most importantly, we learn from Enzo exactly how loyal a dog is to his pack master and the love he feels for his entire pack. When Denny faces the ultimate adversity, we see it through Enzo’s eyes and feel his helplessness that he can’t fix it. You can’t help but love Enzo. While reading this book, I wished he were with me several times so I could hug him.

This book will make you smile, laugh and cry. This book will make you angry (I absolutely hated the twins and if I had been Enzo, I would have bit them). For me, only a book that truly speaks to my heart is capable of bringing out so many emotions when I read it and The Art of Racing in the Rain did that and more. Get this book, but don’t just read it…savor it. Life is short and Enzo showed me how important it is to make every moment count.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

REVIEW: Fatal Fortune by Elizabeth Delisi

Title: Fatal Fortune (Lottie Baldwin #1)
Author: Elizabeth Delisi
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Publication Date: June, 2012
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Rating: 5/10

Description: No one in Cheyenne, ND believes in Lottie Baldwin's psychic abilities; especially not Harlan Erikson, Lottie's boyfriend, and sergeant in the Sheriff's Office. When a friend's husband disappears, Lottie can't leave it to Harlan. Armed with her courage and her tarot cards, she tries to solve the mystery herself, regardless of who attempts to stop her: Harlan, her friend -- or the criminal.

My Thoughts: Fatal Fortune by new to me author, Elizabeth Delisi, is marketed as the first in a series. This book was just O.K. for me. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it. While reading, I felt myself being pulled out of the story due to the repeated references of past events. It made me feel like I was missing the beginning of the story and because of that I didn’t feel connected to the characters as much as I would have liked.

I did like Lottie and Harlan. Their relationship is comfortable and you can tell they have been together for a while. They are so different from one another, but fit together perfectly, like peanut butter and jelly. They are also both equally stubborn people, though as a cop, I expect Harlan to be. A pet peeve for me in any mystery or thriller or suspense is when characters that are not trained as investigators, go off and investigate on their own. Sometimes, they invite more trouble and danger to themselves, than if they had just stayed out of it, especially when they aren’t that great at it. Lottie narrowly misses becoming another victim because she doesn’t stay out of it. I get she wants to help her friend and in her place, most of us would do the same thing, but were it not for Harlan’s timely appearance, Lottie would be dead.

The mystery was decent and held a few surprises for me. I was way off on my pick for the villain, but there were many possible candidates to choose from, which I like. A mark of a good mystery is when the reader is not able to figure out the entire plot in the first chapter. It took me most of the book and I was surprised, not only at who it was, but why.

Avid mystery fans will enjoy the mystery, but overall, this book is a rocky start to a series that hopefully will develop into something more with the next book.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Where Am I Reading?

Thanks to some researching and some "creative borrowing" I have created a map at Google to track my reading destinations for 2012. As I read a book, I will pin the location on the map and as part of my year end review, I will discuss the breakdown of my reading travels to see where I traveled...

Feel free to check it out and let me know what you think!  :o)

View Sherri's 2012 Reading Destinations in a larger map

Sunday, July 01, 2012

REVIEW: New York To Dallas by J.D. Robb

Title: New York To Dallas (In Death, #33)
Author: J.D. Robb
Publisher: Putnam
Publication Date: September, 2011
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Rating: 10/10

Description: The new novel from the #1 New York Times-bestselling author, which takes readers deeper into the mind of Eve Dallas than ever before.

The number-one New York Times-bestselling author J. D. Robb presents an intense and terrifying new case for New York homicide cop Eve Dallas, one that will take her all the way to the city that gave her her name-and plunge her into the nightmares of her childhood.

When a monster named Isaac McQueen-taken down by Eve back in her uniform days-escapes from Rikers, he has two things in mind. One is to pick up where he left off, abducting young victims and leaving them scarred in both mind and body. The other is to get revenge on the woman who stopped him all those years ago.

My Thoughts: A long time ago, long before any of us knew who Eve Dallas was, she was a rookie patrol officer who inadvertently stumbled across Isaac McQueen's path and subsequently put him away for abducting and raping dozens of little girls. Since then, Eve has never given him a second thought until he escapes and begins a cat and mouse game with Eve, designed to exact revenge on her for the twelve years he spent incarcerated. Unfortunately for Eve, she will have to go to Dallas, TX not only to face Isaac, but to face the demons of her past as well.

Before I even began this story, I knew it was going to be an emotionally draining one for me to witness Eve battling her demons. Sadly, but as usual, Roarke takes the brunt of her aggression and anger and is able to handle it better than anyone else could. I don't know how he does it, to be honest. Sometimes I wonder if Eve is deliberately trying to push him away. Even knowing he is the other half of her soul, she resists as if she is punishing herself for finding even a smidgen of happiness.

Don't get me wrong...I love Eve Dallas and there's so much more to her than what she endured as a child that makes her the top-notch character she is. However, I am hoping very hard with fingers and toes crossed that finally, with this book, she and the rest of us will get some closure so she and Roarke can move forward with their future.

So now we find Eve and Roarke in Dallas, at Isaac's insistence, trying to stop him before more innocent lives are destroyed. Choosing Dallas was no accident, however. He knows about Eve's past and has orchestrated, in his mind anyway, the perfect plan to come out on top and Eve paying the ultimate price.

Peabody and the gang are all in the background in this book. They stay back in New York, working the case from there. I think I was as hurt and despondent over Peabody staying in New York as she was. I missed their banter and Eve tends to take herself to total exhaustion working a case that I think leaving Peabody behind was a big mistake. Roarke brings Mira out to run interference, and though it turns out very well, it was a big risk that could have damaged their relationship. Eve does not like to ask for help and she would never admit to being weak, hurt or in need and usually lashes out at the people closest to her, unfortunately for them. I can only hope that Roarke sees through her facade and continues to push back, as that seems to be the only way of getting through to her sometimes.

Without spoiling any of the book, I will say that Eve does get some closure on her past, but to what extent it helps her I cannot say for sure. This was not my favorite in the series, but I'm hoping it will be the mark of a major turning point for Eve and Roarke, to finally shed the past and embrace the future.

New Additions To The TBR Pile in June

June saw the arrival of another Eve Dallas book.  I am shocked that I am nearly caught up on this series.  The other new arrival is a new to me author, whose book I was asked to review.  I love the cover.  It's very intriguing and I'm hoping the story is as well.

New York to Dallas by J.D. Robb

Description: It was one of Eve Dallas's earliest takedowns, back in her uniform days. A monster named Isaac McQueen had been abducting young victims and leaving them scarred in both mind and body. Thanks to Eve, he wound up where he belonged, removed from civilized society in Rikers. But he's not behind bars anymore.

After his escape, McQueen has two things in mind. One is to take up where he left off, preying on the young and innocent, with the help of a female partner all too willing to be manipulated and to aid and abet his crimes. His other goal: to get revenge on the woman who stopped him all those years ago, now a high-profile lieutenant in the NYPSD and married to one of the city's richest men.

Commanding Eve's attention with a chilling and brazen crime, McQueen sets off the chase forcing Eve down a road marked with blood and tears, a road that eventually leads southwest to Dallas, Texas, the home Eve fled long ago. And each new twist brings her closer to the harrowing memory of when she wasn't a hardened detective but a vulnerable girl just like McQueen's innocent prey. As her husband, Roarke, tries to rescue her from the nightmares that claw at her mind, and her partner, Peabody, doggedly works to support her, Eve must confront and call upon the darkest parts of her own soul in order to survive.

Promise Me Eternity by Ian Fox

Description: Dr. Simon Patterson is a successful and well-respected neurosurgeon at Central Hospital in the town of Medford. Married, though without children, he keeps himself so busy that one day is not much different from another. Until, that is, he saves the life of the powerful mobster Carlo Vucci.

At a dinner in honor of Dr. Patterson, Carlo Vucci introduces him to his alluring wife Christine. Simon is entranced by her beauty.

Three weeks later, Christine shows up at the hospital, complaining of terrible headaches. Dr. Patterson offers to help her, but Christine did not come to see him just because of her headaches. A series of shocking events follow that turn Dr. Patterson’s life into a nightmare. Among other things, he finds himself in court being accused of murder in the first degree …


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I am not a professional reviewer, but I love to read and share my opinions on my reading with others who are interested. I work full time but my ideal perfect day would be to curl up with a good book. The majority of the books I review here are from my private collection and my reviews are provided purely for entertainment purposes. I receive no compensation whatsoever for sharing my thoughts and review on any book. If you would like me to review your book, please email me at sharalsbooks@yahoo.com Happy Reading! :o)