Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Additions To The TBR Pile In December

The end of 2013 sees only one new arrival to my Kindle, which will be reviewed next month.

Title: Lying To Meet You by Anna Garner
Description: Does being in a relationship make you a hot commodity in the eyes of would-be suitors?

Chloe Lane is about to find out. When her childhood pal, Ethan Webster, asks her to play the part of his girlfriend in order to test this theory, she reluctantly agrees. As a work-crazed fashion designer, boutique owner and soon-to-be reality show judge, Chloe has no time for a real boyfriend, but being part of a faux pair will do just fine. Not that she has any intention of trying to attract someone else.

However…

Opportunity unexpectedly knocks when Chloe meets fellow reality judge, William Shannon. Super successful and super sexy, this high-powered entrepreneur inspires Chloe to test Ethan’s theory herself. Now, on top of keeping her fashion business productive, carving out a new role as a television personality, maintaining a fake relationship and attempting to lay the groundwork for a future relationship, she’s lying to William, lying to her friends, lying to her family and quite possibly lying to herself. Will Chloe be able to keep it all together, or are things about to explode?

Saturday, December 28, 2013

REVIEW: The Dangers Of Mistletoe by Theresa Alan

Title: The Dangers Of Mistletoe
Author: Theresa Alan
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: October, 2007
Genre: Chick-Lit

Description: A Christmas kiss can lead to so much more...

Happy Holidays? Are you kidding? For two sisters mired in part-time jobs from hell, resentful stepkids, needling parents, and disastrous home improvement projects, the Christmas season promises to be anything but merry...until they discover what a little holiday magic can bring...

Amber Taylor has no time for love this year. She's gone from corporate maven to under-paid massage therapist in record time, and right now there's nothing going on but the rent. Seems the only way she can earn a living is by handing out cheese samples at the local Cheese Haus. Pretty pathetic, huh? 'Tis the season...for cheese? Pass the eggnog...

Amber's sister Emily is the golden child. She's always seemed to have it all --- a husband, kids, and house --- everything Amber doesn't. But this Christmas she's got nothing but problems, like two bratty stepkids who can't stand her, and a mother-in-law who likes her even less. Things are looking decidedly Grinchy this holiday season...

Bah humbug! A sprinkling of Christmas magic and a whole lot of QT with that special someone under the mistletoe can still ring in a happy new year for Amber and Emily...though mistletoe can be unpredictable --- and the results may vary…

My Thoughts: Cute Christmas themed story with alternating points of view between two sisters and their struggles during the Christmas season to find perfection.

I enjoyed each perspective that really focuses overall on the message about appreciating what you have in life and it's up to all of us to find happiness because perfection is just an illusion.

Though Amber and Emily are sisters, they couldn't be more different than night day. Amber is struggling in New York City to make her massage therapy business successful while worrying how she is going to make her rent payment. Coming up with money to go back home for Christmas just adds to her financial stress.

Emily is a new bride and step-mother to two young children. In a rash decision, Emily volunteers to host Christmas in her new home, never realizing how much work the house needs to make it holiday and company ready. On top of that, she's still trying to adjust to the addition of three new people full-time in her life and her step-daughter isn't making any of the transition easy for anyone.

Each chapter alternates with a different perception so I really enjoyed seeing first hand how each sister deals with their stress and frustrations. The author does a very good job of illustrating it so well, I felt like I was there with them.

My Final Verdict: Overall, this book was very enjoyable and hits the mark on holiday spirit.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

REVIEW: The Racketeer by John Grisham

Title: The Racketeer
Author: John Grisham
Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: October, 2012
Genre: Mystery / Thriller

Description: Given the importance of what they do, and the controversies that often surround them, and the violent people they sometimes confront, it is remarkable that in the history of this country only four active federal judges have been murdered.

Judge Raymond Fawcett has just become number five.


Who is the Racketeer? And what does he have to do with the judge’s untimely demise? His name, for the moment, is Malcolm Bannister. Job status? Former attorney. Current residence? The Federal Prison Camp near Frostburg, Maryland.

On paper, Malcolm’s situation isn’t looking too good these days, but he’s got an ace up his sleeve. He knows who killed Judge Fawcett, and he knows why. The judge’s body was found in his remote lakeside cabin. There was no forced entry, no struggle, just two dead bodies: Judge Fawcett and his young secretary. And one large, state-of-the-art, extremely secure safe, opened and emptied.

What was in the safe? The FBI would love to know. And Malcolm Bannister would love to tell them. But everything has a price—especially information as explosive as the sequence of events that led to Judge Fawcett’s death. And the Racketeer wasn’t born yesterday . . .

Nothing is as it seems and everything’s fair game in this wickedly clever new novel from John Grisham, the undisputed master of the legal thriller

My Thoughts: When I want a story that keeps me on the edge of my seat guessing what is coming next before having the rug ripped out from under me, I know choosing a John Grisham novel will fit the bill.

What begins as a story about a man who has spent the last several years in prison turns into a novel of intrigue and suspense as the main character, Malcolm Bannister, finds himself in the center of a high profile case involving the murder of a federal judge. In exchange for his freedom and federal protection, Malcolm agrees to provide the identity of the murderer in addition to why the judge was killed.

The most interesting thing about this story for me is how the story takes on a life of its own with the numerous plot twists and turns. As each layer of this intricate and complicated plot is peeled back, I found myself more and more surprised.

My Final Verdict: I highly recommend this story if you are a fan of mysteries or thrillers that surprise you throughout the story.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Outlander Original Series

This is really a dream come true as I have long wished to see this wonderful series brought to life on the screen.  It's finally coming true and will air in 2014!  I cannot wait!

Monday, December 09, 2013

REVIEW: The Eggnog Chronicles by Carly Alexander

Title: The Eggnog Chronicles
Author: Carly Alexander
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: October, 2005
Genre: Chick-Lit

Description: They've Made Their Lists. . . Celeb obituary writer Jane Conner can sum up a person's life in three hundred words. She could sum up her love life in even less: Great sex = great time. Commitment = annoyance overload. But with the holidays bearing down like a freight train from You Screwed Up-ville, Jane's about to get a second chance she never expected. . .

...Checked 'Em Twice. . .

Ricki Conner has run her life on signs from the universe, and right now, she's looking for guidance about her boyfriend, Nate. He keeps reassuring her that his divorce will be final by Christmas. So why is there still no ring on Ricki's finger?

. . .But Who Says "Naughty" Can't Be Nice?

When the pregnancy test turns pink, it's a good sign. . .unless you've had wild ex-sex with your former boyfriend while the current one was out of town. Now, Emma Dee gets to ladle out the eggnog while saying, oh by the way, I'm pregnant with another man's baby--drink up, everybody!

Christmas. It's a time for going into debt, dates from hell, and maybe even a miracle or two. And for three women on the brink of potential holiday disaster, it just may be the season to toast the best times of their lives. . .

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this story that is actually three stories in one. Each story features a different central character each facing a very difficult situation. I really liked that even though each story is uniquely different, they all flow together.

Each character, Jane, Rikki and Emma are all desperately in need of a Christmas miracle and I loved how each character faces their dilemma head on.

My Final Verdict: Readers looking for the perfect Christmas theme book will enjoy this story that brings the magic and joy of Christmas alive


Saturday, November 30, 2013

REVIEW: Penelope by Anya Wylde

Title: Penelope (Fairweather Sisters #1)
Author: Anya Wylde
Publisher: Smashwords
Publication Date: January, 2013
Genre: Historical Romance

Description: Penelope Fairweather from rural Finnshire arrives in London with a hopeful heart. The dowager invites her for a season to catch a husband. Unfortunately Penelope's rustic finesse is as delicate as a fat bear ripping apart a honeycomb infested with buzzing bees. Fake moustaches, highwaymen, pickpockets, and a devilishly handsome duke follow.

My Thoughts: I really enjoy this author's writing style and voice. I usually have a hard time with this time period because sometimes the characters are just too rigid and proper. They don't know how to relax. Ms. Wylde takes these characters and gives them spirit and personality while maintaining the image this time period is known for. I thought Penelope was enchanting and was rooting for her the minute she arrived. She's a hot mess but you can't help but be on her side. How many heroines keep a goat as a pet?

I had a hard time warming up to the Duke. I found him to be rude and arrogant, stiff-necked and never cracking a smile. So, I guess you could say he fit right in to the environment. I enjoyed watching his transformation to a decent human being and I especially enjoyed seeing his mother and sister stand up to him at every opportunity.

Besides Penelope, my favorite character has to be Madame, the cross-dressing modiste. This character was a riot and definitely is not what she appears.

My Final Verdict: If you are a fan of Anya Wylde, you will enjoy this book for its vibrant characters that leap off the page and near side-splitting humor throughout the story. If you have not read anything by Anya Wylde, I highly recommend you start. Penelope is a great choice to begin.


New Additions To The TBR Pile In November

More new arrivals made an appearance this month...

Title: Caught by Harlan Coben
Description: 17-year-old Haley McWaid is a good girl, the pride of her suburban New Jersey family, captain of the lacrosse team, headed off to college next year with all the hopes and dreams her doting parents can pin on her. Which is why, when her mother wakes one morning to find that Haley never came home the night before, and three months quickly pass without word from the girl, the community assumes the worst.

Wendy Tynes is a reporter on a mission, to identify and bring down sexual predators via elaborate-and nationally televised-sting operations. Working with local police on her news program Caught in the Act, Wendy and her team have publicly shamed dozens of men by the time she encounters her latest target. Dan Mercer is a social worker known as a friend to troubled teens, but his story soon becomes more complicated than Wendy could have imagined.

In a novel that challenges as much as it thrills, filled with the astonishing tension and unseen suburban machinations that have become Coben's trademark, Caught tells the story of a missing girl, the community stunned by her loss, the predator who may have taken her, and the reporter who suddenly realizes she can't trust her own instincts about this story-or the motives of the people around her.

Title: Ireland: Mythical, Magical and Mystical by Christy Nicholas
Description: Do you find yourself drawn to the magic of the Emerald Isle? Would you like to see places beyond the typical tourist traps? Come, join me on a journey through the mists of legend, into the hidden places of mystery. Immerse yourself in the legends and myths, the history that has made this island precious in the hearts and minds of millions. Along with the tales and history, there is practical information on planning your trip, budgeting your costs, and finding the best places to while away the magical hours of your holiday.

The Mythical Facet – History and Myth-tery
The Magical Facet – The Fair Folk
The Mystical Facet – Gods and Saints
The Personal Facet – Friendly Folk
The Musical Facet – A Song and Dance
The Stunning Facet – Photo opportunities
The Tasty Facet – Irish Fare
The Practical Facet – How do I…?
The Frugal Facet – Budgets, Discounts, and Deals
The Hidden Facet – Undiscovered Places

Title: The Racketeer by John Grisham
Description: Given the importance of what they do, and the controversies that often surround them, and the violent people they sometimes confront, it is remarkable that in the history of this country only four active federal judges have been murdered.

Judge Raymond Fawcett has just become number five.


Who is the Racketeer? And what does he have to do with the judge’s untimely demise? His name, for the moment, is Malcolm Bannister. Job status? Former attorney. Current residence? The Federal Prison Camp near Frostburg, Maryland.

On paper, Malcolm’s situation isn’t looking too good these days, but he’s got an ace up his sleeve. He knows who killed Judge Fawcett, and he knows why. The judge’s body was found in his remote lakeside cabin. There was no forced entry, no struggle, just two dead bodies: Judge Fawcett and his young secretary. And one large, state-of-the-art, extremely secure safe, opened and emptied.

What was in the safe? The FBI would love to know. And Malcolm Bannister would love to tell them. But everything has a price—especially information as explosive as the sequence of events that led to Judge Fawcett’s death. And the Racketeer wasn’t born yesterday . . .

Nothing is as it seems and everything’s fair game in this wickedly clever new novel from John Grisham, the undisputed master of the legal thriller.

Monday, November 25, 2013

REVIEW: So Pretty It Hurts by Kate White

Title: So Pretty It Hurts (Bailey Weggins Mystery #6)
Author: Kate White
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: March, 2012
Genre: Mystery

Description: Bailey Weggins, the Manhattan-based thirty something true-crime journalist, is in a good place. She's enjoying her regular gig at Buzz, a leading celebrity magazine, getting freelance work, and hoping her first book will garner attention. In the love department, she's finally back in the game with her recently-turned-exclusive boyfriend, Beau Regan.

When Beau heads out of town one early December weekend, Bailey accepts an invitation from her office friend Jessie to a music mogul's house in the country, hoping for a fun, relaxing getaway. But a weird tension settles over the houseguests--a glamorous crowd that includes the famously thin supermodel Devon Barr. An impending snowstorm only adds to the unease. So when Devon's lifeless body is found in her bed, Bailey immediately suspects foul play: she can't stop thinking of the day before, when a frightened Devon shivered in the woods and pleaded, "I have to get out of here. . . . It's not safe for me."

When Bailey starts to nose around, she finds herself a moving target--running closer to the truth and straight into danger. With her trademark irreverent wit, Bailey is a heroine who keeps us laughing while on the edge of our seats. New and longtime fans alike will devour this eagerly awaited mystery.

My Thoughts: I have enjoyed the Bailey Weggins series and I was really happy to see a new release. Bailey is a character that I relate to easily. She is very likeable and people seem to naturally gravitate toward her. The only problem I have with Bailey is she sometimes takes foolish risks to get to the truth. She has had so many near death attacks but she doesn’t arm herself or otherwise take precautions.

Even with the risks Bailey takes, I still enjoyed the story and I was way off-base with the identity of the killer. It’s a good thing I don’t make a living as a detective or a private investigator because I am so clueless with these things but I immensely enjoyed the ride. There is an interesting twist at the very end of the story that threw me for a loop but was a fitting end.

I am looking forward to the next Bailey Weggins adventure. This story left a few open threads involving Bailey’s writing career and her relationship with Beau. I am undecided if Beau is the best man for Bailey but I am curious to see where she goes from here.

My Final Verdict: If you are looking for a mystery with some minor romance and a few intriguing surprises, I highly recommend the Bailey Weggins series. Though a lot of people have no problem reading them as stand-alone stories, I recommend reading the series in order. So Pretty It Hurts is the sixth book in the series and I hope will not be the last.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

REVIEW: IRELAND: Mythical, Magical, Mystical: A Guide to Hidden Ireland by Christy Nicholas

Title: IRELAND: Mythical, Magical, Mystical: A Guide to Hidden Ireland
Author: Christy Nicholas
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Publication Date: June, 2013
Genre: Travel

Description: Do you find yourself drawn to the magic of the Emerald Isle? Would you like to see places beyond the typical tourist traps? Come, join me on a journey through the mists of legend, into the hidden places of mystery. Immerse yourself in the legends and myths, the history that has made this island precious in the hearts and minds of millions. Along with the tales and history, there is practical information on planning your trip, budgeting your costs, and finding the best places to while away the magical hours of your holiday.

The Mythical Facet – History and Myth-tery
The Magical Facet – The Fair Folk
The Mystical Facet – Gods and Saints
The Personal Facet – Friendly Folk
The Musical Facet – A Song and Dance
The Stunning Facet – Photo opportunities
The Tasty Facet – Irish Fare
The Practical Facet – How do I…?
The Frugal Facet – Budgets, Discounts, and Deals
The Hidden Facet – Undiscovered Places

My Thoughts: Ireland is on my bucket list of ideal places for a vacation. The great thing about this book is that not only has the author been to Ireland several times, this book gave me a wonderful sense of what going to Ireland looks and feels like. Ms. Nicholas does an amazing job of transporting the reader to the Emerald Isle with her vivid descriptions of not just the history of this magical country, but their mythology and her personal experiences.

Not only does this book prepare the traveler for what to expect while visiting, but it goes one step further and gives excellent recommendations for the many sites to visit to include local businesses to give the tourist a sense of fitting in.

My Final Verdict: If you are planning on visiting Ireland, I highly recommend this book as an excellent resource before your trip. The knowledge you will gain about Ireland will be beneficial and enable you to get the most out of your trip.


Monday, November 11, 2013

REVIEW: Genuine Lies by Nora Roberts

Title: Genuine Lies
Author: Nora Roberts
Publisher: Bantam
Publication Date: August, 1991
Genre: Romantic Suspense

Description: A book to die for...

Eve Benedict is the last of the movie goddesses, a smoky-voiced sex symbol with two Oscars, four ex-husbands, and a legion of lovers to her name. There is no secret, no scandal she doesn't know. Now Eve has decided to write her memoirs--no holds barred. All Hollywood begs her not to. But Eve has her reasons....

Julia Summers is the biographer Eve has handpicked to tell her story. Transported from her quiet life in Connecticut to glitzy Beverly Hills, Julia hates the limelight but loves her work--and the home it built for the ten-year-old son she's raising alone. How can she refuse this chance of a lifetime?

But Eve's elegantly sexy stepson, Paul Winthrop, will challenge Eve's determination to tell her story--and Julia's resolve to guard her heart. And as Julia learns just how far Eve's enemies will go to keep her book from publication, she also discovers that Eve has one last, dark secret to share. It is one that will change Julia's life--and could cut it brutally short.

My Thoughts: Although this story was very predictable without many surprises, I still enjoyed it. I think this story is a good choice for any fan of Nora Roberts or for someone who isn’t familiar with her work.

Julia and Eve were exceptional characters and I liked both of them immediately. It took me a little longer to warm up to Paul, but once I did, I thought he was perfect for Julia and her son.

I really enjoyed the premise of a celebrity movie star deciding to write her memoirs and the secrets she plans to reveal are jaw-dropping and some of the characters would do anything to keep those secrets buried.

My Final Verdict: If you are looking for a good story with interesting characters, romance, suspense and mystery, then I recommend this story to provide the perfect choice.


Friday, November 01, 2013

New Additions To The TBR Pile In October

Unfortunately, the departure of the summer heat did not inspire me to dive into my reading pile, but two new additions found their way in...


Sisteria by Sue Margolis

Description: If Beverly Littlestone knew what was good for her, she would steer clear of her sister Naomi, who's just got in touch after a five-year silence. Hasn't Beverly got enough to contend with --- like her husband Melvin, invariably engaged in a lunatic scheme with "failure" written all over it in mile-high neon. Or her daughter Natalie, for whom PMT means Permanent Menstrual Tension.

But Beverly can't say no to her sister --- and Naomi's self-serving plans are going to launch her out of suburbia and into a whole new world of drama and desire...

So Pretty It Hurts by Kate White

Description: Bailey Weggins, the Manhattan-based thirtysomething true-crime journalist, is in a good place. She's enjoying her regular gig at Buzz, a leading celebrity magazine, getting freelance work, and hoping her first book will garner attention. In the love department, she's finally back in the game with her recently-turned-exclusive boyfriend, Beau Regan. When Beau heads out of town one early December weekend, Bailey accepts an invitation from her office friend Jessie to a music mogul's house in the country, hoping for a fun, relaxing getaway. But a weird tension settles over the houseguests—a glamorous crowd that includes the famously thin supermodel Devon Barr. An impending snowstorm only adds to the unease.

So when Devon's lifeless body is found in her bed, Bailey immediately suspects foul play: she can't stop thinking of the day before, when a frightened Devon shivered in the woods and pleaded, "I have to get out of here. . . . It's not safe for me." When Bailey starts to nose around, she finds herself a moving target—running closer to the truth and straight into danger.

Monday, October 14, 2013

REVIEW: Kill For Me by Karen Rose

Title: Kill For Me (Daniel Vartanian #3)
Author: Karen Rose
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: July, 2009
Genre: Romantic Suspense

Description: Five teenage girls have been murdered. One survived, and only she can reveal the secrets of a disturbing ring of people who kidnap and sell teenage girls on the black market. But those responsible for the crimes will do whatever it takes to maintain her silence.

Susannah Vartanian and Luke Papadopoulos have both sworn to stop the murderers for their own reasons. Susannah, the sister of the hero in SCREAM FOR ME, suffers from a mysterious past that is connected to the sinister black market. Luke is an investigative agent and a computer expert who refuses to let another child predator get away.

Susannah and Luke are instantly attracted to each other, but their troubled pasts prevent them from immediately acting upon their feelings. The case will lead them to the shady realm of Internet chat rooms, where anyone can mask their identity. As Susannah and Luke draw closer to the criminals, they discover a chain of deception so intricate they don't know who to trust. Susannah and Luke find comfort in one another's arms, but the killers are ruthless and determined, and will take extreme measures to insure their anonymity and keep their business intact.

My Thoughts: Karen Rose is my go-to author when I want nail biting, heart-pounding, edge of the seat, unexpected plot surprises romantic suspense. I have yet to be disappointed with any of her titles. Kill For Me is her ninth romantic suspense title, but is the third in her Daniel Vartanian series that began with Die For Me, and followed by Scream For Me. This book picks up practically where the last one left off and focuses on Daniel’s sister, Susannah and his partner, Luke. To be honest, I didn’t feel much of a connection when I first met Susannah. I thought she was intriguing, but I knew there was a lot more beneath the surface. I suspect the author intended the readers to feel that way. Susannah is a very angry woman and the reader won’t understand the true reasons behind it until book #2, but this book really shook me with just how deep it went. I developed a greater understanding and empathy for this character.

I liked Luke immediately, but my respect for him and the strength of character he demonstrates consistently impressed me. The things he has seen and endured in his career would cripple most people and cause them to implode and become self-destructive. I couldn’t blame him one bit if his character demonstrated any flaws, but he doesn’t and his strength and courage and determination made me more impressed with him. I actually felt more connected to him than any of the other characters and I loved the scenes involving his family and the stray dog.

Parts of this story were difficult and shocking, but considering the subject revolves around human trafficking, I really could appreciate that the author didn’t try to cover up any lack of knowledge or research by blowing smoke signals at the reader. I felt the author did an excellent job of researching her subject matter and connecting it to her characters and plot. Her dedication to her craft shows in the end product with a story that hits hard and draws on many emotions from the reader. The story is so good that I was able to set aside any aversions to the subject matter.

My Final Verdict: This was a fantastic story that will appeal to fans of not just the romantic suspense genre. Fans of thrillers and mysteries will find this intense story very enjoyable. A word of caution to the reader: make sure you read this trilogy in order. The character development and timeline of the events surrounding the Vartanian family will be hard to understand if you don’t read them in order. On the other hand, I highly recommend reading all of Karen Rose’s titles. You can’t go wrong with Karen Rose if you are looking for stories and characters that stay with you after the last page has been turned.


Monday, October 07, 2013

New Additions To The TBR Pile In September

September turned out to be a good month as Chick-Lit remains my favorite genre and I adore Karen Rose for romantic suspense.

Christmas Carol by Michele Gorman
Description: One winter wedding, two happy couples, three ex-boyfriends. And a very uncomfortable weekend.

Carol hates Christmas. Being recently dumped, she’s not crazy about weddings either. So her sister Marley’s nuptials, over the Christmas weekend, are making her positively Scrooge-like. When she arrives at the stately home in rural Scotland to find her three ex-boyfriends in attendance, Carol has no choice but to face her ghosts to discover what really happened in those relationships, learning a lot about herself in the process. As the snow falls outside and the fire crackles in the hearth, might one of the wedding guests become the harbinger of Christmases to come?

This wickedly funny re-imagining of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol will warm the cockles of even the coldest heart.


Kill For Me by Karen Rose
Description: New York Times bestselling author Karen Rose delivers another pulse-pounding suspense novel that ties into SCREAM FOR ME.

Five teenage girls have been murdered. One survived, and only she can reveal the secrets of a disturbing ring of people who kidnap and sell teenage girls on the black market. But those responsible for the crimes will do whatever it takes to maintain her silence.

Susannah Vartanian and Luke Papadopoulos have both sworn to stop the murderers for their own reasons. Susannah, the sister of the hero in SCREAM FOR ME, suffers from a mysterious past that is connected to the sinister black market. Luke is an investigative agent and a computer expert who refuses to let another child predator get away.

Susannah and Luke are instantly attracted to each other, but their troubled pasts prevent them from immediately acting upon their feelings. The case will lead them to the shady realm of Internet chat rooms, where anyone can mask their identity. As Susannah and Luke draw closer to the criminals, they discover a chain of deception so intricate they don't know who to trust. Susannah and Luke find comfort in one another's arms, but the killers are ruthless and determined, and will take extreme measures to insure their anonymity and keep their business intact.


The Christmas List by Chrissie Manby
Description: What if you got exactly what you wished for?

It’s the 1st of December and Milly Arnold is facing a miserable Noel. Newly single, the last thing she wants to do is join her settled sister and her young family for the first of their traditions: the writing of the Christmas lists. However Milly’s nephews have other ideas and insist she writes a list of her own (with illustrations to help Father Christmas decipher her terrible handwriting). Milly duly makes a request for a bunch of flowers, a kitten, and a heartfelt declaration of love. She doesn’t expect to get any of them.

However, the following day, a bunch of flowers duly appears. They were sent to the wrong address but the florist says Milly can keep them. And when Milly somehow gains custody of a puppy just a couple of days later (her nephews had complained that her picture of a cat looked like a dog), she begins to wonder if there’s something in this Christmas cosmic ordering. However, as Christmas gets closer and the items Milly requested appear in increasingly unexpected ways, she starts to worry that Santa might be taking her list just a little too literally.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

REVIEW: The Christmas List by Chrissie Manby

Title: The Christmas List
Author: Chrissie Manby
Publisher: Notting Hill Press
Publication Date: October, 2013
Genre: Chick-Lit

Description: What if you got exactly what you wished for?

It’s the 1st of December and Milly Arnold is facing a miserable Noel. Newly single, the last thing she wants to do is join her settled sister and her young family for the first of their traditions: the writing of the Christmas lists. However Milly’s nephews have other ideas and insist she writes a list of her own (with illustrations to help Father Christmas decipher her terrible handwriting). Milly duly makes a request for a bunch of flowers, a kitten, and a heartfelt declaration of love. She doesn’t expect to get any of them.

However, the following day, a bunch of flowers duly appears. They were sent to the wrong address but the florist says Milly can keep them. And when Milly somehow gains custody of a puppy just a couple of days later (her nephews had complained that her picture of a cat looked like a dog), she begins to wonder if there’s something in this Christmas cosmic ordering. However, as Christmas gets closer and the items Milly requested appear in increasingly unexpected ways, she starts to worry that Santa might be taking her list just a little too literally.

My Thoughts: This book was provided to me by the author and publisher in exchange for an honest review. As soon as I saw the cover, I knew this was going to be a lot of fun. How could it be anything but fun, when Santa’s backside is front and center?

I liked Milly immediately and felt a lot of empathy for her. An unexpected break-up is very traumatic, but to have it happen right before the Christmas holiday celebration is worse, especially since Milly has to put on a brave face and carry on with the celebration when all she wants to do is hide out in her sister’s house until after the New Year. Who could blame her?

Instead, Milly finds herself spending time with her family, including her young nephews are happily carrying on the family Christmas tradition of writing letters to Santa and sending them up the fireplace. When her nephews insist Milly had to also write a letter, Milly makes a half-hearted attempt not really believing any of it. Things begin to get interesting when Milly quickly begins to receive the items on her list through very unexpected circumstances.

I really liked this book and had a lot of fun while reading it. The only problem I had with this book is the book’s description. For the life of me, I cannot recall anywhere in the story of Milly gaining custody of a puppy and it doesn’t mention anything about a car being on her list. This is just a minor snag that took me out of the story only long enough to scratch my head, wrinkle my forehead and go back to the book.

My Final Verdict: Overall, this was a fast and charming read. If you are looking for Christmas themed titles to add to your holiday reading list this year, you can’t go wrong with this book. I recommend this one with some eggnog on the side.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

REVIEW: Christmas Carol by Michele Gorman

Title: Christmas Carol
Author: Michele Gorman
Publisher: Notting Hill Press
Publication Date: September, 2013
Genre: Chick-Lit

Description: One winter wedding, two happy couples, three ex-boyfriends. And a very uncomfortable weekend.

Carol hates Christmas. Being recently dumped, she’s not crazy about weddings either. So her sister Marley’s nuptials, over the Christmas weekend, are making her positively Scrooge-like. When she arrives at the stately home in rural Scotland to find her three ex-boyfriends in attendance, Carol has no choice but to face her ghosts to discover what really happened in those relationships, learning a lot about herself in the process. As the snow falls outside and the fire crackles in the hearth, might one of the wedding guests become the harbinger of Christmases to come?

This wickedly funny re-imagining of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol will warm the cockles of even the coldest heart.

My Thoughts: This book was provided by the publisher in return for an honest review. I am not a fan of Christmas myself, so my inner Scrooge really could relate to this story. I loved this story. To begin with, the wedding is in Scotland, my favorite place in the whole world. Send me to Scotland at Christmas time and my Scroogeness will melt away. However, our heroine does not share that feeling with me. Carol has to attend her sister’s wedding after a recent breakup where she will have to spend a weekend stuck in a house with no 3G and her exes in attendance. Bah Humbug…

In addition to the ex-boyfriends, Carol also has to spend time with many extended family members that she seems to have no affection or tolerance for. Throughout the weekend, Carol finds herself trying to find out why her relationships with these men didn’t work. Somehow, in her mind, Carol has equated happiness with perfection. She has strived to make her life perfect believing that she will be happy, but it never works out. Carol has closed off her feelings, believing if she has feelings, she can be hurt. It’s absolutely true, but she is missing out on so much of the joy life can offer.

I really admired Carol for making the effort to find out what went wrong even though it meant she would have some difficult lessons to learn about herself. Most of us couldn’t be that brave. Carol realizes that shutting off her feelings kept the pain of being hurt away, but she stopped feeling everything and was unable to find true happiness. I loved the moment when Carol realizes that feeling emotions, even painful ones, doesn’t kill her or make her a weak person. She also realizes that the world is still the same and that it’s okay to be flawed. I truly feel this is a message all of us can relate to.

My Final Verdict: Overall, this book is a fantastic chick-lit version of Dickens’ classic tale that offers a wonderful blend of humor and romance to thaw out even the most Scrooge like of hearts.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

REVIEW: Calculated In Death by J.D. Robb

Title: Calculated In Death (In Death #36)
Author: J.D. Robb
Publisher: Putnam
Publication Date: February, 2013
Genre: Mystery / Thriller

Description: On Manhattan's Upper East Side a woman lies dead at the bottom of the stairs, stripped of all her valuables. Most cops might call it a mugging gone wrong, but Lieutenant Eve Dallas knows better. A well-off accountant and a beloved wife and mother, Marta Dickenson doesn't seem the type to be on anyone's hit list. But when Eve and her partner, Peabody, find blood inside the building, the lieutenant knows Marta's murder was the work of a killer who's trained, but not professional or smart enough to remove all the evidence. But when someone steals the files out of Marta's office, Eve must immerse herself in her billionaire husband Roarke's world of big business to figure out who's cruel and callous enough to hire a hit on an innocent woman. And as the killer's violent streak begins to escalate, Eve knows she has to draw him out, even if it means using herself as bait. . . .

My Thoughts: I should have known something would happen that would interfere with the movie premiere. Silly me for thinking that Eve and the gang could have a night out on the town enjoying the excitement and hype of the premiere dressed in their glitterati with the flashbulbs blasting away. Wait a minute, what was I thinking? It’s Eve so OF COURSE, it would happen and I really think Eve prefers it that way. With Calculated In Death, Eve and her team are investigating the death of an accountant who also happens to be the sister-in-law of a judge. At first glance, it appears the murder is due to a random mugging, but Eve quickly picks up on clues left at the crime scene that lead her to believe the murder was actually a professional hit. Once again, Eve quickly pieces together clues that lead her and Peabody to the killer.

Not enough Roarke or Summerset in this story, unfortunately, but one of my favorite parts of the book involves a scene with Eve and Summerset after she comes home pretty banged up after a foot pursuit with the killer gets ugly. Summerset actually convinces Eve to take a blocker and she actually listens to him! I was so shocked that there wasn’t more of a fight. Is Eve getting soft where Summerset is concerned? Is she starting to care about him? Nah, probably not, but as much as I enjoy their snarky poke and jab sessions, I love love love the scenes where they actually have a civil conversation and where there’s a hint of some compassion, empathy or other human emotion. Just a hint, however. Anything more wouldn’t be believable. Then again, anything is possible. They certainly have come a long way since the early books, where their animosity was mutual and vibrated off the pages with a such a resounding energy, that it was impossible to misinterpret the depth of their dislike of one another as anything else.

I also enjoyed that Eve didn’t seem to be as haunted by the demons of her past as she usually is. I won’t go so far as to say she has finally turned a corner, but I think she has a much better handle on it than she realizes.

My Final Verdict: Overall, a very good and entertaining installment that delivers the usual blend of mystery, thriller, romance and humor. I am looking forward to the next offering as Roarke’s family from Ireland is coming for a visit and I so enjoy seeing Eve try to navigate her way around what having a family means.


Thursday, September 05, 2013

REVIEW: Bella Summer Takes A Chance by Michele Gorman

Title: Bella Summer Takes A Chance
Author: Michele Gorman
Publisher: Notting Hill Press
Publication Date: February, 2013
Genre: Chick-Lit

Description: Bella's career and relationship are her life's foundationwear: not glamorous and perhaps a bit binding, but supportive enough... until she realizes that they are not enough. Her life is sagging badly. She's never been in love with her boyfriend, despite a decade together. And somehow she stopped being a musician-with-a-day-job and became a consultant-who-was-musical. So she takes a terrifying leap of faith, leaving her relationship and resolving to follow her musical dreams no matter what.

Unfortunately, the life you walk away from doesn't always let you walk away.

With a wonderfully warm and witty cast of friends, all navigating between their ideals and the realities they face, together they'll find out what love and compromise really mean in this empowering tale about grasping life with both hands.

My Thoughts: This book was provided by the publisher in return for an honest review. With Bella Summer Takes A Chance, new-to-me author Michele Gorman introduces the reader to a character who grabs her life by both hands and gives it a thorough shake and toss despite no guarantee that she will end up successful. When we first meet Bella, she is coming to the realization that her life has become stagnant. She is not in love with her boyfriend of ten years and never has been. She wants the grand passion and romance and in spite of her best friend Kat’s assertion that there is no such thing, Bella is determined not to settle. Not with love or her career. Bella also decides to begin seriously pursuing her singing career.

She moves in with Frederick after she answers his advertisement for a roommate and begins pounding the pavement looking for singing gigs. I really enjoyed reading Bella’s story. I found it to be a fast read and very entertaining with several laugh out loud moments. Many of my favorite parts of this book were scenes that Frederick was in. Bella is convinced he is gay, despite his insistence that he’s “as straight as George Bush.” Several times while reading, I laughed until tears ran down my face. From the outrageous things Fred says to Bella’s first post-breakup hook-up to the birth of a baby, I had to keep my tissue box nearby at all times to wipe my eyes and my glasses. There’s even a reference in this book to Sliding Doors, which is one of my all-time favorite movies.

Bella’s best friends, Kat, Clare and Faith brought a different but also wonderful angle to the story. Kat is Austrian and very direct. Clare and Bella work together. Faith works at a newspaper and by all outward appearances seems to be frivolous with shopping and going through boyfriends like water because they possessed irritating personality characteristics. I was actually prepared to not like Faith because I thought she was judgmental, but she turns out to be the most grounded of Bella’s friends and I found myself quickly liking her. Bella also befriends Marjorie, a ninety year old woman living in a care facility where Bella volunteers. Marjorie has lived a full and quite colorful and exciting life that she gleefully shares the details of with Bella.


My Final Verdict: Overall, I loved this story. I hated to see it end and I didn’t want to say goodbye to any of the characters. This book had a lot of surprises and left me with a good feeling for the direction the characters were all heading in. I highly recommend this story if you are looking for a hilarious chick-lit that pulls the reader in immediately for outrageous fun. Michele Gorman definitely knows how to tickle a reader’s funny bone and she has made me a devoted fan.


Wednesday, September 04, 2013

New Additions To The TBR Pile In August

Sometimes, books don't have time to languish on my TBR after acquiring them. I am currently reading Bella and listening to Calculated...lol



Title: Bella Summer Takes A Chance by Michele Gorman
Description: Bella's career and relationship are her life's foundationwear: not glamorous and perhaps a bit binding, but supportive enough... until she realizes that they are not enough. Her life is sagging badly. She's never been in love with her boyfriend, despite a decade together. And somehow she stopped being a musician-with-a-day-job and became a consultant-who-was-musical. So she takes a terrifying leap of faith, leaving her relationship and resolving to follow her musical dreams no matter what.

Unfortunately, the life you walk away from doesn't always let you walk away.

With a wonderfully warm and witty cast of friends, all navigating between their ideals and the realities they face, together they'll find out what love and compromise really mean in this empowering tale about grasping life with both hands.




Title: Calculated In Death by J.D. Robb
Description: On Manhattan's Upper East Side a woman lies dead at the bottom of the stairs, stripped of all her valuables. Most cops might call it a mugging gone wrong, but Lieutenant Eve Dallas knows better.

A well-off accountant and a beloved wife and mother, Marta Dickenson doesn't seem the type to be on anyone's hit list. But when Eve and her partner, Peabody, find blood inside the building, the lieutenant knows Marta's murder was the work of a killer who's trained, but not professional or smart enough to remove all the evidence.

But when someone steals the files out of Marta's office, Eve must immerse herself in her billionaire husband Roarke's world of big business to figure out who's cruel and callous enough to hire a hit on an innocent woman. And as the killer's violent streak begins to escalate, Eve knows she has to draw him out, even if it means using herself as bait. . . .

Thursday, August 15, 2013

REVIEW: Fourplay by Jane Moore

Title: Fourplay
Author: Jane Moore
Publisher: Broadway
Publication Date: January, 2001
Genre: Chick-Lit

Description: At age thirty-three, Josephine Miles is forced to come up with a brand-new life when her husband leaves her for "the cliché"--his very young, very pretty secretary. Suddenly she's single and back in the dating game with the added complication of children in tow. But Jo's no wallflower, and she soon finds herself with not one but four eligible bachelors vying for her time and affections. Add her two kids and her now booming interior design business to the mix, and she winds up with a nightmarish schedule but a dreamy love life.

So who are the contestants? There's Sean, the sexy foreign affairs correspondent who sweeps Jo off her feet and proves to be masterful in bed; Martin, the music industry mogul who offers luxury, stability, and a glamorous lifestyle; and Conor, Jo's trusted confidant, who knows just what to say to make her smile (why hadn't she noticed his irresistible smile until now?). Then there's Jeff, her ex-husband: she wouldn't consider hooking up with him again, would she? It could happen--especially when Jeff's romance with the sweet young thing sours and he launches a full-scale campaign to win Jo back.

My Thoughts: One of the reasons I am a fan of the Chick-Lit genre is how the stories resonate with me. The plots, characters, emotions, wit, sarcasm, and the humor are all elements I find so easy to relate to. Fourplay was no exception. This story and the lead character, Jo, drew me in quickly. Anyone who has had a long term relationship end unexpectedly and badly can see themselves in this story. Anyone who has had their trust betrayed by their spouse and has to pick up the shattered pieces of their lives and start over will easily connect to this story.

One of the things I liked about Jo was her determination to move forward through her husband’s adultery. She allowed herself to shatter and fall apart, but she didn’t stay there. She got up and began rebuilding her life. She restarts her career, takes care of her children, and takes her life back. Healing is a long process that doesn’t happen overnight, but Jo is a wonderful example of a woman who does exactly that. I loved that Jo is receptive to new relationships but that she doesn’t rebound commit to the first man who crosses her path. I had a lot of anticipation reading the book trying to figure out who she would ultimately end up with.

A very interesting aspect of this story was Jeff, Jo’s ex-husband. I found his character defects and flaws quite interesting and witnessing his behavior and treatment of Jo is typical of a man who is weak and selfish. His attempt to win Jo back when his fling fizzles out came as no surprise to me. As Jo’s life seems to shine as she becomes stronger and more self-confident, Jeff’s seems to become the opposite. I enjoyed seeing Jeff eating some Karma pie, but I also pitied him. I thought it was sad that a self-made successful attorney on the outside was so weak and pathetic on the inside that he threw everything away instead of working on his problems with Jo. I especially loved it when Jo actually tells him that she should thank him for walking out on her and the kids.

I also enjoyed all of the other supporting characters. Jo’s brother, her best friend, her parents and the prospective love connections added to the story in unique ways. Jo’s brother was entertaining and her best friend was a god-send. Jo depends on them a lot and I loved that they were there for her. I empathized with Jo about the relationship she has with her parents. Jo’s mother was overbearing and hard to tolerate and Jo struggles with it for most of the book. Towards the end, we get a wonderful twist that gives Jo a whole new outlook on her relationship with her parents, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I liked each of the men Jo dates, some more than others. They were all unique and being with each of them brings Jo a wonderful opportunity to figure out who she is once again.

My Final Verdict: Overall, a very good story of one woman’s journey to rebuild her life after betrayal ends her marriage. I recommend this for readers of romance who enjoy strong female characters who refuse to let life’s roadblocks keep them from pursuing happiness.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

REVIEW: Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost

Title: Once Burned (Night Prince #1)
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: June, 2012
Genre: Paranormal Romance / Urban Fantasy

Description: She's a mortal with dark powers...

After a tragic accident scarred her body and destroyed her dreams, Leila never imagined that the worst was still to come: terrifying powers that let her channel electricity and learn a person's darkest secrets through a single touch. Leila is doomed to a life of solitude...until creatures of the night kidnap her, forcing her to reach out with a telepathic distress call to the world's most infamous vampire...

He's the Prince of Night...

Vlad Tepesh inspired the greatest vampire legend of all—but whatever you do, don't call him Dracula. Vlad's ability to control fire makes him one of the most feared vampires in existence, but his enemies have found a new weapon against him—a beautiful mortal with powers to match his own. When Vlad and Leila meet, however, passion ignites between them, threatening to consume them both. It will take everything that they are to stop an enemy intent on bringing them down in flames.

My Thoughts: Jeaniene Frost is one of my favorite picks when I want a little “bite” to my romance. I love her Cat and Bones series. I didn’t love Vlad when I first met him in the earlier books. I found him to be very arrogant with an extremely large chip on his shoulder. With Once Burned, readers are given an inside and very in depth look into Vlad’s life. He’s not the typical vampire hero that readers will instantly fall for, but without realizing that it’s happening, readers will find themselves drawn to him, wanting to know more and get to know him better. I’m still annoyed that Ian has not gotten a story yet and still hoping for one, but by the end of this book, I found myself firmly a fan of Vlad.

Leila is also not your typical heroine. I really liked that she thinks quickly on her feet and makes the most of a bad situation to turn it around. I knew Leila would be an interesting character as soon as she is kidnapped in the beginning of the book, Instead of being a blubbery and withering victim, she turns the tables on her kidnappers. I found her gifts of telepathy and electricity very intriguing as well. Ms. Frost does an excellent job of bringing in the background of both of these characters to give the reader a better idea of who they are without digressing too much from the main story.

A lot of new characters are introduced that I really liked, especially Maximus, a vampire who works for Vlad and who befriends Leila. This story has a great mix of action, passion, intrigue and even some funny moments. Cat, Bones and Mencheres also make an appearance so there really wasn’t anything I could complain about too loudly. The story ends with a big unfinished twist that I hope will be addressed in the next book, Twice Tempted.

My Final Verdict: I found this to be a very good start to an interesting series that should appeal not only to fans of Cat and Bones, but also to all fans of vampire romance. Vlad and Leila are very strong willed characters that I enjoyed getting to know and look forward to what they face next.


Thursday, August 01, 2013

REVIEW: The Accidental Virgin by Valerie Frankel

Title: The Accidental Virgin
Author: Valerie Frankel
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: March, 2003
Genre: Chick-Lit

Description: From: Venus, Goddess of Love, 120 Main, Mt. Olympus

To: Stacy Temple, lapsed temptress

Stacy, Stacy, Stacy.

You were so promising at the beginning: Sexy, smart, personable and funny. Great on dates and really great afterward-if you know what I mean. But this is a sad state of affairs; or, in your case, non-affairs! It's been nearly an entire year and you haven't had your way with even ONE eligible male. You've been working so hard concocting sexy lingerie for Thongs.com -- and really, Stacy, if that little pink velvet bustier didn't put you in the mood, I don't know what to say! -- that you haven't even tried to be coaxed out of your own thong.com!

Are you listening, Stacy? Seven days to find the perfect man -- or else!

Happy hunting!

My Thoughts: To begin with, the description of this book completely misled me as the Goddess of Love made no appearance in this story, whatsoever. I quickly got over that, however, and became so immersed in Stacy Temple’s life that I finished this book in 5 days! I’m still surprised by that because I’m a notoriously slow reader and there just haven’t been many books that I literally inhale so quickly.

Stacy Temple is your typical young working gal who has had her share of ups and downs in the relationship arena. After her last relationship ended nearly a year ago, Stacy’s focus turned to her career at an Internet start-up company selling sexy lingerie that she has neglected her sexual needs. No big deal, right? Apparently Stacy discovers it is a very big deal. She learns through a sex column emailed to her by a friend that after one year of celibacy, a girl gets “re-virginated.” No, “it” doesn’t grow back, but according to the column, it may as well as you are officially a virgin again. This sends Stacy on a quest to get lucky before the one year mark. With failure after failure with several prospective partners (one of which is a paid escort gifted to Stacy by her boss!!!), Stacy’s desperation rockets upward.

This book was hilarious. I laughed out loud throughout the book while shaking my head combined with a little bit of eye-rolling at what was waiting on the next page. However, I couldn’t help but cheer Stacy on. I had to give the girl points for seeing it through despite the odds of overall failure. Who knew it would be so hard to find someone to have sex with in New York City? Finding out how this would all shake out kept my anticipation level rising at the same pace as Stacy’s desperation.

My Final Verdict: This was a very fast read for me that made me laugh out loud several times. I highly recommend this to fans of both the chick-lit and contemporary romance genre who are looking for an entertaining and humorous book to escape into…eye-rolling optional.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

New Additions To The TBR Pile In July

Two new books acquired in July, but they are both audiobooks so do they really count since they take up no space? :o)

Title: Angel's Tip by Alafair Burke
Description: Thrilled to spend the final hours of her spring break in the VIP room of an elite Manhattan club, fresh-faced Indiana college student Chelsea Hart remains behind when her girlfriends call it a night. The next morning, joggers find her body in East River Park, her blond hair brutally hacked off.

NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher believes the group of privileged men last seen plying Chelsea with free-flowing alcohol most likely includes a murderer. But after building a tight case against a young hedge-fund manager, Ellie has her doubts, because Chelsea's slaying is eerily similar to three other murders from nearly a decade ago. Continuing the investigation long after the department brass is satisfied with their case, hard-headed Ellie plunges into a late-night party world of conspicuous wealth and hedonistic consumption to catch the real killer—unaware that a psychopath is watching her every move...and eager to kill again.


Title: Once Burned by Jeaniene Frost
Description: She's a mortal with dark powers...

After a tragic accident scarred her body and destroyed her dreams, Leila never imagined that the worst was still to come: terrifying powers that let her channel electricity and learn a person's darkest secrets through a single touch. Leila is doomed to a life of solitude...until creatures of the night kidnap her, forcing her to reach out with a telepathic distress call to the world's most infamous vampire...

He's the Prince of Night...

Vlad Tepesh inspired the greatest vampire legend of all—but whatever you do, don't call him Dracula. Vlad's ability to control fire makes him one of the most feared vampires in existence, but his enemies have found a new weapon against him—a beautiful mortal with powers to match his own. When Vlad and Leila meet, however, passion ignites between them, threatening to consume them both. It will take everything that they are to stop an enemy intent on bringing them down in flames.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

REVIEW: Everything In Its Time by Dee Davis

Title: Everything In Its Time (Jove Time Passages #2)
Author: Dee Davis
Publisher: Jove
Publication Date: July, 2000
Genre: Time Travel Romance

Description: While on vacation, Katherine St. Claire shared a night of passion with a stranger she's never been able to forget. Now, she'll meet her mysterious lover once again -- in 15th century Scotland.

AN EARRING, A MURDER, A LEGEND...

Katherine St. Claire has never forgotten the passionate night she shared with a stranger while staying at a castle hotel called Duncreag. He even haunts her dreams. Tired of loving "Fantasy Man," as her brother Jeff refers to him, she decides to go back to Duncreag in search, literally, of the man of her dreams.

Iain Mackintosh wears the cairngorm earring of the only woman he will ever love. Eight long years ago she came to him in the night like a vision. News of his father's death brings Iain home to Duncreag where he finds himself questioning the circumstances surrounding his father's demise and wishing for the woman his cousin Ranald is convinced is a fairy.

Iain and Katherine arrive at Duncreag each longing to find the other. There is however a seemingly insurmountable problem. A five hundred and thirty-year barrier separates them. What follows is the story of a love so powerful it crosses the boundaries of time. Complicated by murder and abduction in the fifteenth century their love will be tested even after they finally reunite. Only Jeff's twentieth century discovery of events from the past can save them.

My Thoughts: Publishers like Jove made it possible for readers like me to gorge themselves on various romance sub-genres like time travel. After reading my first time travel romance, I was completely smitten with the idea of true love crossing the barriers of time and space. I was so smitten, in fact, it bordered on obsession as I trolled every bookstore in my path looking for every time travel romance I could find. When Jove began publishing their Time Passages line, I was determined to acquire a copy of every single title they published. Though I was not able to achieve that goal, I did manage to find quite a few, but many of them, this one included, got buried in my “to be read” mountain over the years. When I switched to reading on an e-reader, I was excited to discover this copy available for my Nook so it prompted me to finally read it. My biggest regret is that I waited so long to read such a wonderful story.

Katherine and Iain were absolutely wonderful characters. The passion and love they feel for one another is written with such clarity and emotion, I felt for them and the despair they felt at not being together. A 500+ year gap does not diminish their certainty that they would find their way back to one another eventually. It made me realize that it’s that kind of devotion and commitment that is missing in so many relationships here in the real world. Over the years, Katherine has never forgotten about her night of passion with Iain and refuses to let go of her belief that it was real and not a vivid fantasy or dream. It’s this kind of determination and persistence that makes Katherine such a strong and amazing character.

The same is true for Iain. He has never forgotten Katherine and has even spent the years since searching for her, hoping to find her, knowing absolutely nothing about her, not even her name. She has haunted his dreams and he doesn’t feel whole without her. He is convinced they are meant to be together and would move Heaven and Earth to make it happen. I really enjoyed getting points of view from both Iain and Katherine. As the story unfolds, getting glimpses into both past and present gave me a wonderful sense of each character’s reality and helped me to see how the past and present are connected. Even after Katherine’s return to 15th century Scotland, the reader is still connected to present day Scotland and the role Katherine’s brother is placed into.

I can’t recall reading a time travel story where the past and present are so tightly connected and interact with one another. I really enjoyed it, especially when Katherine’s brother, Jeff, discovers what has happened to his sister and becomes involved in setting the past right. I don’t know why I am so drawn to time travel romance, especially if it involves kilt wearing Scottish highlanders, but I just can’t get enough of them. I don’t think I want to experience the 15th century personally myself, but if I were going to cross the barriers of time and space, Scotland would be at the top of my travel destination. Dee Davis has done a wonderful job of bringing 15th century Scotland to life, so well in fact, that it is very easy to see in my mind’s eye the beauty of the place as well as the hardships people endured back then. But it doesn’t stop there. In addition to the excitement of being in the presence of kilt wearing Scottish men and a romance that made my heart swell from its sheer intensity, Dee Davis takes it even further and throws in mystery, intrigue and murder. This story definitely has something for everyone. In case you didn’t already know, Dee Davis is no stranger to writing mystery, intrigue and murder and she does it quite well.

My Final Verdict: Overall, I highly recommend this book for everyone because it will speak to all readers. Fans of most any genre will find something enjoyable in this story. You will root for Katherine and Iain to find their way back to each other and cheer them on despite the adversity they face. You will enjoy the secondary characters like Katherine’s brother and Iain’s cousin because they add to the story and make you care about them and what happens to them as much as you care about Katherine and Iain. You will want to raise a Claymore and fight the despicable villains side by side with these characters. My only problem with this book is that the story ended and I still want more.


Friday, July 19, 2013

REVIEW: Bad Heir Day by Wendy Holden

Title: Bad Heir Day
Author: Wendy Holden
Publisher: Plume
Publication Date: January, 2000
Genre: Chick-Lit

Description: After being dumped by her rich, handsome boyfriend, Anna vows to give up men forever. She takes a job as a nanny in the ritzy Kensington home of the Knights. Armed with a Hoover in one hand and Harry Potter in the other, Anna finds herself living with the family from hell: Cassandra, a social-climbing romance novelist with writer's block; Jett, Cassandra's cheating rock-star spouse; and Zak, their spawn-of-Satan son. So when Anna meets Jamie, the dashing heir to a castle in Scotland, she figures he's too good to be true. And she just may be right . . . Featuring an irrepressible heroine and a story that bounces along at the speed of laughter, Bad Heir Day is the hilarious follow-up to Wendy Holden's irresistible debut novel. It is a witty and delightful romp certain to captivate readers on both sides of the Atlantic.

My Thoughts: I immediately got a clear sense of how miserable Anna’s life is when I began this book. The author doesn’t waste precious time or pages dragging the reader through a maze of miscommunication and inner dialogue to bring us to the conclusion that Anna’s life is crap. I rather enjoyed that this information is thrown into the mix right from the start. It’s important that I learned this sooner rather than later because only then would I understand how Anna could end up working for Cassandra Knight, a vile, cruel, rude beyond belief, arrogant witch of a woman who is so full of herself it will make you sick. Anna takes a job with this horrible person, thinking the position will be as an assistant to a best-selling author. Instead, she somehow gets roped into being the nanny to Cassandra’s son, Zak, who is just as vile as she is. Unfortunately, desperate times call for desperate measures on Anna’s part.

Even as horrible as Anna’s time under the Knight household is, this book made me laugh deeply and loudly at some of the antics going on. Cassandra takes center stage with her drunken outbursts and anger management issues. Her son, Zak, is a spoiled brat who behaves like a troll, while managing to deflect it back onto his mother. Then there’s Cassandra’s husband, Jett, an aging rock-star, who can’t seem to keep his trousers on. Throw into the mix several supporting characters who I found to be quite interesting makes for an enjoyable story.

My Final Verdict: I liked this book. The story does a good job of making the reader forget her troubles for a while by bringing to light a whole new dysfunctional group of people. It made me laugh a lot and I am still amazed that there wasn’t any bloodshed in the Knight home. I cheered Anna on when she finally gets the opportunity to leave but continued to empathize with her situation when it appears she jumped from the frying pan straight into the fire. This story has many twists which make the plot so interesting.

Fans of chick-lit will enjoy the snarky British humor laced throughout the story, but be prepared for the profanity that comes along with it. It didn’t offend me or pull my attention out of the story at all, most likely because I, myself, was directing quite a few profane statements in Cassandra’s direction. This was my first book by Wendy Holden and I am looking forward to reading more from her.


Tuesday, July 02, 2013

REVIEW: Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich

Title: Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum #19)
Author: Janet Evanovich
Publisher: Bantam
Publication Date: November, 2012
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Mystery

Description: New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is certain of three truths: People don't just vanish into thin air. Never anger old people. And don't do what Tiki tells you to do.

After a slow summer of chasing low-level skips for her cousin Vinnie’s bail bonds agency, Stephanie Plum finally lands an assignment that could put her checkbook back in the black. Geoffrey Cubbin, facing trial for embezzling millions from Trenton’s premier assisted-living facility, has mysteriously vanished from the hospital after an emergency appendectomy. Now it’s on Stephanie to track him down. Unfortunately, Cubbin has disappeared without a trace, a witness, or his money-hungry wife. Rumors are stirring that he must have had help with the daring escape . . . or that maybe he never made it out of his room alive. Since the hospital staff’s lips seem to be tighter than the security, and it’s hard for Stephanie to blend in to assisted living, Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur goes in undercover. But when a second felon goes missing from the same hospital, Stephanie is forced into working side by side with Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, in order to crack the case.

The real problem is, no Cubbin also means no way to pay the rent. Desperate for money—or maybe just desperate—Stephanie accepts a secondary job guarding her secretive and mouthwatering mentor Ranger from a deadly Special Forces adversary. While Stephanie is notorious for finding trouble, she may have found a little more than she bargained for this time around. Then again—a little food poisoning, some threatening notes, and a bridesmaid’s dress with an excess of taffeta never killed anyone . . . or did they? If Stephanie Plum wants to bring in a paycheck, she’ll have to remember: No guts, no glory.

My Thoughts: First of all, ask and you shall receive! Janet Evanovich must have heard my desperate plea for more Ranger after I read Explosive Eighteen because I am happy, no, not happy. I am deliriously ecstatic to report that where Eighteen left me with an extreme Ranger withdrawal, Notorious Nineteen more than made up for it and provided me with the Ranger fix I have been desperately needing!

One of my favorite things about this series is how Stephanie has several sticks in the fire. With every book, Stephanie has several FTA's she is actively looking for and occasionally she will have the opportunity to get involved in something exciting. Notorious Nineteen gave me more than I dared to hope for. In addition to looking for Cubbin, Stephanie finds herself saddled with a wooden Tiki carving that she confiscates from another FTA. There are several amusing scenes where the FTA continues to try to steal Tiki back and I loved how Stephanie resolved this FTA’s situation. The best part of this book for me was that Stephanie gets to work for Ranger as a bodyguard, of all things! I’m sure I sound like a broken record, but I think Ranger is one of the best written heroes in contemporary women’s fiction. I don’t think we have yet learned any of Ranger’s faults or shortcomings. And if there are any that have already been revealed to the loyal members of Team Ranger, we have blocked them from our minds because of all of his extraordinary traits dominate everything else. The man is either a saint or a god. He would have to be to put up with Stephanie’s crazy antics, especially when he has got to be out at least ten vehicles (though it’s probably more), due in large part to Stephanie. Unfortunately, for Joe, he loses a car in this book too, so these things seem to have a way of spreading out and sharing the love, so to speak. There’s definitely a lot more story there between Ranger and Stephanie and I’m anxiously waiting to see what happens next.

Another great part of this book is Lula really steps up her game in this story. On more than one occasion, Lula thinks outside the box and with some fast thinking actually brings about some interesting and hilarious results. I really like seeing this side of Lula. She’s great as a sidekick, but I think she would be brilliant as Stephanie’s equal partner.

My Final Verdict: If you enjoy light mystery, campy comedy, drool-worthy heroes and a wacky heroine who is a hot mess but manages to succeed and comes out ahead in spite of the odds, then I recommend this series. I believe they are best read in order. Notorious Nineteen may not be the best story of the series, but this book gave me hope that the series does not appear to be on the way out. That’s a very good thing.


Monday, July 01, 2013

New Additions To The TBR Pile In June

Still unable to resist the urge to acquire and I have come to the conclusion having both a Nook and a Kindle are not helping reduce the paper mountain either...

Vision Impossible by Victoria Laurie
Description: Abby Cooper's next mission may truly be impossible...

Abby Cooper, the FBI's newest Civilian Profiler, is adding Spy to her resume. The military's digital photography software that captures one's aura- just like Abby can-sits in a drone aircraft that's been stolen. It's a major breach in security as every country's leader can be identified by their aura...

Abby springs into action to stop the criminals before they set their diabolical plan into motion, while making herself a prime target.



Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich
Description: New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is certain of three truths: People don't just vanish into thin air. Never anger old people. And don't do what Tiki tells you to do.

After a slow summer of chasing low-level skips for her cousin Vinnie’s bail bonds agency, Stephanie Plum finally lands an assignment that could put her checkbook back in the black. Geoffrey Cubbin, facing trial for embezzling millions from Trenton’s premier assisted-living facility, has mysteriously vanished from the hospital after an emergency appendectomy. Now it’s on Stephanie to track him down. Unfortunately, Cubbin has disappeared without a trace, a witness, or his money-hungry wife. Rumors are stirring that he must have had help with the daring escape . . . or that maybe he never made it out of his room alive. Since the hospital staff’s lips seem to be tighter than the security, and it’s hard for Stephanie to blend in to assisted living, Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur goes in undercover. But when a second felon goes missing from the same hospital, Stephanie is forced into working side by side with Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, in order to crack the case.

The real problem is, no Cubbin also means no way to pay the rent. Desperate for money—or maybe just desperate—Stephanie accepts a secondary job guarding her secretive and mouthwatering mentor Ranger from a deadly Special Forces adversary. While Stephanie is notorious for finding trouble, she may have found a little more than she bargained for this time around. Then again—a little food poisoning, some threatening notes, and a bridesmaid’s dress with an excess of taffeta never killed anyone . . . or did they? If Stephanie Plum wants to bring in a paycheck, she’ll have to remember: No guts, no glory.



The Soulmate Experience by Mali Apple
Description: "Create the Love of Your Life--Keep the Life in Your Love"

Single, in a relationship, and married: people of all walks of life and all ages are finding this new book on enlightened relationships inspiring, accessible, and truly transformational. This revolutionary guide will help you create and sustain a relationship that is intimately connected on all levels--emotional, intellectual, sexual, and spiritual--and a continual source of love, inspiration, and joy.

In Part 1, chapters like Loving Your Body, Reducing Your Baggage, and Raising Your Soulmate Potential will help you release anything that might be preventing you from experiencing a deeply connected relationship. As you read, you will quickly begin to feel more loving and compassionate toward yourself, more connected to those around you, and more confident about and creating your own soulmate experience.

In Part 2, chapters such as Creating a Context, Turning Expectations into Invitations, Transforming the Energy of Jealousy, Exploring the Edges, and Connecting on a Soul Level will give you everything you need to approach even the most challenging aspects of relationships in ways that will actually deepen your experience of love and intimacy. You will discover the secrets to keeping the love, passion, and connection in your relationship fully alive--every single day. And you will learn how to lovingly guide each other to release limiting beliefs, heal the past, rise above perceived limitations, and unlock the potential in every area of your lives.

Whether you're on a quest for your soulmate, looking for deeper connection in the relationship you have right now, or just want to experience much more love in your life, the groundbreaking ideas in this book--and the many stories of real people putting them into practice--will fill you with love, inspiration, and possibility.

The Soulmate Experience isn't just a book. It 's a great way of living life.

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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)