Sunday, May 26, 2013

REVIEW: The Wicked Wager by Anya Wylde

Title: The Wicked Wager
Author: Anya Wylde
Publisher: Kindle
Publication Date: August, 2012
Genre: Historical Romance / Cozy Mystery

Description: The infamous rake, Lord Richard Hamilton, has finally chosen his bride—the very appropriate Miss Emma Grey.

The ton approves, Lord Grey is pleased, Lady Grey delighted, and Emma is over the moon, but her uncle, (the blasted) Duke of Arden opposes the match, and Emma is ordered to move to the duke’s estate to think things over.

Richard Hamilton refuses to take things lying down and concocts a plan. A plan that should have brought the lovers together and had them married within a month. It was a simple matter of masquerading as the duke’s gardener, compromising the lady, and then having the duke rush them off to Gretna Green.

Alas, he underestimates the duke’s intelligence and the tangled situation on the estate—never had he imagined that compromising a lady could be so difficult.

His endeavours lead to a comedy of errors, charades, and knotty love affairs. Yet he forges ahead in spite of pesky house guests, a flea bitten mattress, his lovesick best friend, and a blackmailer.

Just when things seem to be going well, someone is murdered (very inconvenient), and he happens to be one of the suspects (extremely inconvenient).

His simple plan for winning the wager suddenly becomes … a tad complicated.

My Thoughts: Unfortunately, it took several starts and stops before this book and I connected. Even then, I found myself continuously wondering where this was all leading to. The majority of the story focuses on Emma and her fiancĂ©, Lord Richard Hamilton and their concocted scheme to fool her Uncle, the Duke of Arden. I thought their plan was full of holes and it surprised me that they weren’t called out on it immediately. The interesting thing about this story is the more I read, the more curious I became. This story has an Oscar Wilde feel to it. The more Emma and Richard tried to take the situation in hand and control it, the more it got away from them. At every turn, their plan seemed to unravel faster and faster so that it became quite entertaining to see what they would do next.

I mistakenly thought the murder would dominate the story but it was more of an afterthought and an event that exposes Emma and Richard’s scheme to the rest of the household. I found myself amused at the shenanigans of various characters running around the house in the middle of the night, sneaking in and out of bedrooms, searching for clues. I half expected Tim Curry to make an appearance as the butler from “Clue” to solve the mystery in the most elaborate of performances.

Fortunately for Emma and Richard, they end up together, though their plan did not work. I just couldn’t understand why an Earl would go to such lengths instead of just sitting down with the Duke, man to man, and have an intelligent and open conversation. Thankfully, the Duke is not an unreasonable man and all ends well. I thought the murder took too long to occur, initially, but came to realize that the murder was a plot device to wrap up the plot. It also gave me a better understanding of the Duke and an appreciation of how perceptive he really was. The identity of the murderer came as a great surprise, however as well as some other surprises the author throws in about secondary characters.

My Final Verdict: What started out as just an OK book by a new to me author, ended up being a good book that gives the reader a witty story of romance, murder, mayhem and a little comedy to make things interesting. I am intrigued by and enjoyed this author’s writing style enough to look for her next book. The Wicked Wager ends without loose ends, but I wouldn’t mind revisiting the characters later.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

REVIEW: The Witness by Nora Roberts

Title: The Witness
Author: Nora Roberts
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Publication Date: April, 2012
Genre: Romantic Suspense

Description: Daughter of a controlling mother, Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking at a nightclub and allowing a strange man's seductive Russian accent lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever.

Twelve years later, the woman known as Abigail Lowery lives on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she designs sophisticated security systems--and supplements her own security with a fierce dog and an assortment of firearms. She keeps to herself, saying little, revealing nothing. But Abigail's reserve only intrigues police chief Brooks Gleason. Her logical mind, her secretive nature, and her unromantic viewpoints leave him fascinated but frustrated. He suspects that Abigail needs protection from something--and that her elaborate defenses hide a story that must be revealed.

With a quirky, unforgettable heroine and a pulse-pounding plotline, Nora Roberts presents a riveting new read that cements her place as today's most reliably entertaining thriller--and will leave people hungering for more.

My Thoughts: I knew this book was going to be special to me as soon as the heroine, Elizabeth Fitch is introduced. I quickly and easily connected with and could relate to her. On the outside, she comes across as a very lonely teenager who lives in her mother’s shadow doing what she’s told. On the inside is a young girl who aches to break free and find herself. A young girl on the brink of becoming a woman, she wants to live her life on her terms. After an argument with her mother, Elizabeth does what a lot of teens do. She rebels in a big way. She cuts and colors her hair, buys clothes and makeup that she knows her mother will disapprove of and makes plans with a girl she knows from high school to go to a trendy nightclub.

Liz is extremely intelligent. At sixteen, she is already attending Harvard and it is her mother’s wish that Liz become a doctor like she is. Liz’s wish is to join the FBI. She’s what a lot of people refer to as a geek, nerd or hacker. She has extraordinary computer skills and she uses her intelligence and computer skills to create fake identification for herself and Julie to get them into the nightclub. Initially, everything appears to be going well. Liz meets and dances and later kisses a man and makes plans to meet up with him later at the nightclub manager’s home. Unfortunately for Liz, she sees things she shouldn’t and finds herself on the run with some very bad people after her. The people after Liz are very powerful and will stop at nothing to silence her. Protective custody doesn’t keep her safe and she has to go on the run.

Twelve years later, Liz resurfaces, living in a small town in the Ozarks. She is using a different name, is loaded to the teeth with several types of firearms, installed high tech security and surveillance surrounding her property and has a very large dog. She is reclusive and tries to avoid most interactions with anyone. She is even reluctant to meet any of her security systems clients face to face.

Brooks Gleason has returned home to become the new police chief. I really liked Brooks. He goes on calls with his deputies and appears to have a good rapport with most of the folks in the area. A chance meeting with a woman named Abigail intrigues him to no end and he’s determined to get to know her whether she wants to or not. I really enjoyed how real the tension between Abigail and Brooks was in the beginning. Abigail’s life depends on her keeping herself out of the spotlight and for the last twelve years, she has done very well and isn’t willing to trust anyone. Brooks senses there’s more to Abigail than meets the eye and he is determined to gain her trust and hopefully a lot more. I loved that even though Brooks is a man’s man, he isn’t afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve. I also loved that he doesn’t badger Abigail or dig around in her past looking for information. He wears down her defenses with honesty, compassion and love.

The criminals after Liz are still out there, still looking for her. She knows she will have to take a proactive step to bring this to an end so she can start living her life without looking over her shoulder every minute. I loved the whole book but when the story shifts to Liz/Abigail confiding in Brooks and as a team, they come up with a plan to resolve it, I couldn’t put the book down but I was worried that the whole plan would blow up in their face.

My Final Verdict: Overall this was a fantastic book! Excellent pacing of the story, super intense plot and intriguing characters makes this book worthy of any keeper shelf. But I’m not stopping there. This book deserves the highest rating because it pulled me out of a slump and continues to stay with me. I was feeling a lot of anticipation with how Ms. Roberts would wrap up the story and though I am extremely pleased at the outcome, I felt a sense of loss that it’s over. I heartily recommend this book to readers who enjoy romance that isn’t mushy or sappy, suspense and action that keeps you guessing at what is coming next and characters who are written so realistically they seem to come alive on the pages.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

REVIEW: It's A Girl Thing by Jan King

Title: It’s A Girl Thing
Author: Jan King
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Publication Date: September, 2000
Genre: Non-Fiction / Humor

Description: Past a certain age (let's say puberty) women start exhibiting certain traits that, well, boggle the male mind. Since the traits are genetically ingrained, we women don't think about them --- so we're not bothered by them at all. In It's A Girl Thing, Jan King has meticulously chronicled many of the "girl things" that ultimately define women's behavior.

Read Jan's hilarious take on

Chick Flicks - on average, it takes 7.6 boxes of Kleenex for the heroine to die

Lipstick and Nail Polish - on any given day, a woman has enough nail enamel to paint Graceland

The Crying Game - at her child's award ceremony you see more mascara running down Mom's cheeks than Tammy Faye Bakker's at a revival meeting

Women's Underwear - because of their corsets, women remained pretty much unconscious for the first five centuries of recorded history

The Gynecologist - cold rooms, hankie-sized "robes," cold instruments...

And much, much more!

Wasn't it Jan King who first said "The thong? For Pete's sake, I've spent my whole life pulling my underwear out of there!"

My Thoughts: It’s A Girl Thing by new to me author Jan King brings a very funny insight to what is going on inside the female mind and why we behave the way we do. I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading this. I only picked it up because my Kindle had died and I needed something to read while it was charging. It’s A Girl Thing turned out to be a good choice. I saw myself in several of these chapters and believe that every woman can relate to at least one, if not several, of these chapters as well. I wish I had read it sooner and it should be mandatory reading for every girl and woman.

My Final Verdict: Everything from lipstick, nail polish and our underwear to shopping and dieting, Jan King shines a hilarious spotlight on topics that have confused men for centuries and reminds me that I’m not alone, it’s a girl thing. This is a good book that is funny and entertaining. I recommend this to anyone who is curious why girls do the things girls do.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

REVIEW: 50 Ways To Hex Your Lover by Linda Wisdom

Title: 50 Ways To Hex Your Lover (Jazz Tremaine #1)
Author: Linda Wisdom
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication Date: March, 2008
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Description: Jazz can't decide whether to scorch him with a fireball or jump into bed with him.

Jasmine Tremaine, a witch who can't stay out of trouble.

Nikolai Gregorivich, a drop-dead gorgeous vampire cop on the trail of a serial killer.

The sizzling love affair between Jazz and Nick has been off-again, on-again-for about 300 years. Mostly off, lately. But now Nick needs Jazz's help, and while Jazz and Nick try to figure out their own hearts and resist their ever-increasing attraction, they must steer clear of a maniacal killer with super-supernatural powers. They are surrounded by a hilarious cast of oddball paranormal characters, including Irma, the chain-smoking ghost who haunts Jazz's sports car, Dweezil, her ghoul of a boss, and Fluff and Puff, a pair of bunny slippers with sharp teeth and short tempers (watch your ankles)!

My Thoughts: With 50 Ways To Hex Your Lover, new to me author Linda Wisdom introduces her series starring a feisty witch named Jazz and a vampire named Nick who have been in an on then off relationship for several hundred years. Unfortunately, most of it has not been good and the last time Jazz and Nick were together several decades ago, he had her arrested. Understandably, Jazz is a tad cranky when she and Nick cross paths. He is definitely the last person, dead or alive, she wants to deal with and I was given a very good idea just how angry she is with him when she conjures up fire balls and wooden stakes ready to end his existence mere seconds after laying eyes on him again. Jazz doesn’t need any more trouble. Her temper and bad behavior have gotten her in trouble with the Witches Council and she was banished so she is trying to walk the straight and narrow. I was very intrigued to say the least.

Fortunately for the future of this story, Nick doesn’t give up so easily and continues to try to persuade her to help him track down who is responsible for several vampires going missing. I liked Nick and his persistence. I liked that he and Jazz have an extensive history and they always manage to find their way back to one another. Jazz has a lot on her plate already and the last thing she wants is Nick back in her life. In addition to hiring her witchy services out to disarm curses and her job as a driver for a limousine company she has to deal with Irma, a chain smoking nag of a ghost, who haunts Jazz’s T-Bird, her ghoul boss, Dweezil, who walks a very fine line between good and evil and her carnivorous bunny slippers, just to name a few. On top of that, her boss insists she is the only one who can drive his best customer (because he pays in gold bars), who also emits an odor so noxious that Jazz has to throw away the clothing she wears when she drives him. For Jazz, having Nick show up again after all these years is like the final straw for her. Of course, Jazz eventually agrees to help him, especially when she discovers that the most evil and foulest of creatures she thought had been destroyed in the ‘30s is actually still around.

I would have liked a little more background history with Jazz (and whatever names she used throughout the years) and Nick. How they met, more detail about her banishment and the relationships with her sister witches Stasi and Blair, how Nick became a vampire and his history with the Protectorate. There were a lot of references and inferences to these issues and a lot of jumping back and forth between past and present, but it left me with more questions that pulled me out of the story many times. Even still, these issues did not keep me from wanting to know more and connecting with the characters.

My Final Verdict: Overall, this was a good start to a series that has three more books and one short story. Jazz and Nick will return in the next book, Hex Appeal and Stasi and Blair will each get their story. I am hopeful more will be revealed and explained as we go forward. If you like your vampire heroes to be hot and your witch heroines to be smart, feisty and full of snarky attitude, with vibrant supporting characters throughout that threaten to take over the whole story, then I recommend 50 Ways To Hex Your Lover as a good place to start.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

New Additions To The TBR Pile In April

As I close the chapter on another month that seemed to fly by way too fast, I am left with the familiar task of making room on physical and digital shelves for my new additions...

Title: Immortal Eclipse by Sherry Soule

A devoted fashionata and practical New Yorker, Skylar Blackwell doesn’t believe in the supernatural—until she inherits Summerwind Mansion. . . . When her uncle is brutally murdered, and the cops seem uninterested in following up the case, Skylar journeys to California to seek answers. Her search for clues is soon overshadowed by haunting nightmares of a young woman also murdered in the house.

Now the inhabitants of Summerwind are mysteriously dying, leaving no evidence as to how or why, and Skylar finds herself in a deadly race against time to expose the killer—before they strike again.

Armed with only wit and Pradas, Skylar begins questioning the servants, but the growing list of suspects includes the sexy and brooding caretaker, Dorian Delacroix, a man desperately trying to forget his tragic past. And a major distraction for Skylar.

Determined to play detective—instead of the fashion police—and unravel the dark history of the mansion, Skylar is plunged into an otherworldly mystery that not even she can explain away. As the boundaries between reality and dreams blur, Skylar’s greatest challenge is to stay alive long enough to learn the truth.

Title: Nightshifted by Cassie Alexander
Description: From debut author Cassie Alexander comes a spectacular new urban fantasy series where working the nightshift can be a real nightmare. Nothing compares to being Nightshifted.

Nursing school prepared Edie Spence for a lot of things. Burn victims? No problem. Severed limbs? Piece of cake. Vampires? No way in hell. But as the newest nurse on Y4, the secret ward hidden in the bowels of County Hospital, Edie has her hands full with every paranormal patient you can imagine—from vamps and were-things to zombies and beyond...

Edie’s just trying to learn the ropes so she can get through her latest shift unscathed. But when a vampire servant turns to dust under her watch, all hell breaks loose. Now she’s haunted by the man’s dying words—Save Anna—and before she knows it, she’s on a mission to rescue some poor girl from the undead. Which involves crashing a vampire den, falling for a zombie, and fighting for her soul. Grey’s Anatomy was never like this…

Title: The Sixes by Kate White
Description: From the "New York Times" bestselling author of "Hush" and the Bailey Weggins mystery series comes a thriller set in a college town where a student's death sends one woman on a search for the truth and into the clutches of a frightening secret society.

Phoebe Hall's Manhattan life has suddenly begun to unravel. Right after her long-term boyfriend breaks off their relationship, she's falsely accused of plagiarizing her latest bestselling celebrity biography. Looking for a quiet place to put her life back together, Phoebe jumps at the offer to teach in a sleepy Pennsylvania town at a small private college run by her former boarding school roommate and close friend, Glenda Johns.

But behind the campus's quiet cafEs and leafy maple trees lie evil happenings. The body of a female student washes up on the banks of a nearby river, and disturbing revelations begin to surface: accusations from coeds about abuses wrought by a secret society of girls on campus known as The Sixes.. To help Glenda, Phoebe embarks on a search for clues--a quest that soon raises painful memories of her own boarding school days years ago.

As the investigation heats up, Phoebe unexpectedly finds herself falling for the school's handsome psychology professor, Duncan Shaw. But when nasty pranks turn into deadly threats, Phoebe realizes she's in the middle of a real-life nightmare, not knowing whom she can trust and if she will even survive.

Plunging deeper into danger with every step, Phoebe knows she's close to unmasking a killer. But with truth comes a terrifying revelation: your darkest secrets can still be uncovered . . . and starting over may be a crime punishable by death.


Blog Archive

About Me

My photo
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 Happy Reading! :o)