Sunday, January 31, 2016

New Additions To The TBR Pile In January

New arrivals to the monstrous pile to be read...

Title: Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson
Description: Born the only female in an all male race, Jessica McClain isn’t just different—she’s feared.

After living under the radar for the last twenty-six years, Jessica is thrust unexpectedly into her first change, a full ten years late. She wakes up and finds she’s in the middle of a storm. Now that she’s become the only female full-blooded werewolf in town, the supernatural world is already clamoring to take a bite out of her and her new Pack must rise up and protect her.

But not everyone is on board. The werewolf Rights of Laws is missing text and the superstitious werewolves think that Jessica means an end to their race. It doesn’t help when Jessica begins to realize she’s more. She can change partway and hold her form, and speak directly to her wolf. But the biggest complication by far is that her alpha father can't control her like he can the rest of his wolves.

When a mercenary who’s been hired by the vampires shows up to extract information about the newly turned werewolf only days after her change, they find themselves smack in the middle of a war and there's no choice but to run together. When it’s up to Jessica to negotiate her release against her father’s direct orders, she chooses to take an offer for help instead. In exchange, Jessica must now swear an oath she may end up repaying with her life.

Title: Obsession In Death by J.D. Robb
Description: Lieutenant Eve Dallas walks the thin line between love and hate in the latest thriller from #1 New York Times bestseller J. D. Robb....Eve Dallas has solved a lot of high-profile murders for the NYPSD and gotten a lot of media. She - with her billionaire husband - is getting accustomed to being an object of attention, of gossip, of speculation.

But now Eve has become the object of one person's obsession. Someone who finds her extraordinary, and thinks about her every hour of every day. Who believes the two of them have a special relationship. Who would kill for her again and again. An aggressive defense attorney who's sparred with Eve in the courtroom is the first victim, but she isn't the last. The messages left for Eve at the crime scenes chill her and turn her stomach. It doesn't get much more personal than this - and Eve refuses to hand the investigation over to anyone else. With a murderer reading meaning into her every move, handling this case will be a delicate - and dangerous - psychological dance.

And Eve knows that underneath the worship and admiration, a terrible threat lies in wait. Because the beautiful lieutenant is not at all grateful for these bloody offerings from her "true and loyal friend." And in time, idols always fall....

Title: Santa Takes A Wife by Betsy Bennett
Description: He was Santa Claus...wasn't he?

Nicholas St. Noel knew what to do to make children happy and he knew where every gift in his over-packed sleigh had to go until one Christmas when there was a gift he could not deliver.

It was time to choose a wife.

Beth Anderson believes in Christmas and in Santa Claus. She'd been relentlessly teased her whole life since she caught the real Santa as a child. But was she willing to give up her family and move to the North Pole and live with a thousand miserable elves?

Title: The Broke Hearts Book Club by Lynsey James
Description: Secrets never stay buried for long...

Lucy Harper has always been good at one thing: running from her past. But when her beloved Nana Lily passes away she has no choice except to return to the one place in the world she most wants to avoid...

Luna Bay hasn't changed much in the eight years she has spent in London. The little Yorkshire village is still just as beautiful, but the new pub landlord is a gorgeous addition to the scenery!

Lucy only intended to stay for a day, yet when she discovers that Nana Lily has not only left her a cottage but also 'The Broken Hearts Book Club', Lucy is intrigued. Her Nana never have mentioned the club and Lucy can't wait to get started, but walking into her first meeting she is more aware than ever that her past is finally catching up with her.

One way or another, Lucy must finally face the secrets she's kept buried for so long - or spend the rest of her life on the run...

Monday, January 18, 2016

REVIEW: Girls Night Out by Kate Flora

Title: Girls Night Out
Author: Kate Flora
Publisher: Shebooks
Publication Date: August, 2014
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Buy The Book: Amazon

Description: When the man who date-raped a friend is found not guilty, the women in her book group decide to take matters into their own hands.

My Thoughts: Like the description, the book is also very short and left me expecting more at the end than the abrupt ending I got. I really enjoyed the premise of women looking out for each other. They take matters into their own hands to dispense justice on the man who rapes their friend and gets acquitted for the crime. I liked their plan but, of course, it does not end the way they hoped. When the police get involved, I thought it was going to get interesting, but the story just…ends…loose ends hanging all over the place.

My Final Verdict: If you are looking for a quick read with strong female characters and don’t mind abrupt endings or loose ends, give this one a look. I would have enjoyed this story a lot more if there had been a little bit more.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Girls Night Out from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

REVIEW: Santa Takes A Wife by Betsy J. Bennett

Title: Santa Takes A Wife
Author: Betsy J. Bennett
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Publication Date: November, 2013
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Buy The Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Description: He was Santa Claus...wasn't he?

Nicholas St. Noel knew what to do to make children happy and he knew where every gift in his over-packed sleigh had to go until one Christmas when there was a gift he could not deliver.

It was time to choose a wife.

Beth Anderson believes in Christmas and in Santa Claus. She'd been relentlessly teased her whole life since she caught the real Santa as a child. But was she willing to give up her family and move to the North Pole and live with a thousand miserable elves?

My Thoughts: Very cute story depicting the human side of Santa Claus as he embarks on a mission to find his true love and convince her to become his wife. I absolutely loved Nicholas and Beth. Their chemistry is vibrant and so enjoyable to witness. I liked that they knew each other as children and now have an opportunity as adults to become more than childhood friends. I also loved Beth’s grandmother. She brings a special charm and spirit to this story and I enjoyed her wisdom and acceptance of Nicholas without requiring proof of his true identity. This story made me smile and there were a few tearful moments, but these were so beautifully written that they added to the story instead of pulling me out of it.

My Final Verdict: I highly recommend this story as an addition to any Christmas reading list, but honestly, why wait? Christmas shouldn’t be celebrated only on the last week of December, but should be commemorated in our hearts all year long.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Honorable Mentions Of 2015

For the books that didn't make the top reads list for the year, I want to give an honorable mention to the titles I read in 2015 that didn't make the cut for the best but were still good reads and recommended:

The Body In The Woods by April Henry
We Are The Goldens by Dana Reinhardt
Bound To The Highlander by Kate Robbins
Murder At Rudhall Manor by Anya Wylde
Four Of A Kind by Shannon Clayton
Rock My World by Sharisse Coulter
A Pretty Mess by Carla Caruso
Mommy Tracked by Whitney Gaskell
A Kiss & A Cuddle by Sophie Sloane
‘Twas The Nate Before Christmas by Sophie Sloane
Shoe Addicts Anonymous by Beth Harbison
NYPD Red by James Patterson
Kitty And The Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn
Christmas Wishes And Mistletoe Kisses by Jenny Hale
Mistletoe In Manhattan by Talli Roland

Annual Reading Review - 2015

Another year has come and gone and the best part of the reading year is upon me as I get to look back and evaluate what I read and how my stats measured up. I am thrilled to report that not only did I meet my goal, but I exceeded it. I read 55 books, 10 of which did not work for me and did not review. I can see that my tolerance for stories that don’t work for me has deteriorated to a non-existent level. With a to be read pile of over 1,500, I have noticed this decrease in tolerance much more. My goal was to read 50 books and I completed 110% of my goal. Hopefully, this continues into 2016, so decided to push myself a little bit and make my goal even higher.

Goal for 2016: 60 books

Review requests continued to dominate my reading and to be read pile in 2015. I was quite taken aback and surprised at how many books out there that authors and publishers are clamoring to have reviewed. I had to deny a few requests because of the backlog and I wish I could review every single book, but it just isn’t possible.

I read more Chick-Lit romances than any other genre in 2015, which isn’t a surprise considering my reviewer commitments. Cozy Mysteries continued to be absent from my reading in 2015 and hope that changes this year. I actively sought more Christmas themed Chick-Lit stories at the end of 2015 and will continue into the beginning of 2016. In comparison to 2014, Chick-Lit, Historical Romance & Young Adult went up by at least half. General Fiction more than doubled. Contemporary Romance, Paranormal Romance & Urban Fantasy remained the same. There was a slight decrease in Erotica, Mystery / Thriller / Suspense & Romantic Suspense.

I was fortunate to come across many new to me authors in 2015 which is always a joy as well as reading multiple titles by favorite authors. Here's how 2015 stacked up:

Chick-Lit: 27
Contemporary Romance: 2
Erotica: 1
Historical Romance: 2
Mystery / Suspense / Thriller: 6
Paranormal Romance: 2
Romantic Suspense: 3
Urban Fantasy: 2
Young Adult: 3
Other Fiction / Literature: 7

A big shout out to the authors who were new to me and the authors that made multiple appearances in my reading year:

New To Me Authors In 2015
Faith Bleasdale
Allison Brennan
Carla Caruso
Sophie Childs
Shannon Clayton
Sharisse Coulter
Dianne Emley
Tina Ann Forkner
Jeff Gardiner
Whitney Gaskell
Lily Greene
Beth Harbison
April Henry
Zara Keane
Sally Koslow
Chelsey Krause
Lindsay Lewis
Jodi Linton
Dianne Maguire
David J. O’Brien
Dana Reinhardt
Kate Robbins
Talli Roland
Kristi Rose
Ruth Saberton
Sophie Sloane
Vanessa Leah Stevenson
Nick Trout
Fiona Valpy
Carrie Vaughn
Madeleine Wickham
Sonja Yoerg

Authors Read Multiple Times In 2015
Michele Gorman
James Patterson
J.D. Robb
Kate Robbins
J.K. Rowling
Sophie Sloane
Nick Trout

My selection for the best reads of 2015 in the order they were read are:
Can’t Always Get What You Want by Chelsey Krause
10th Anniversary by James Patterson
House Broken by Sonja Yoerg
The Patron Saint Of Lost Dogs by Nick Trout
The Unexpected Consequences Of Love by Jill Mansell
Pretty Reckless by Jodi Linton
Dog Gone, Back Soon by Nick Trout
The Curvy Girls Club by Michele Gorman
11/22/63 by Stephen King
Love And Shenanigans by Zara Keane
Weightless by Michele Gorman
Cop Town by Karin Slaughter
Concealed In Death by J.D. Robb
The Night Visitor by Dianne Emley
Promised To The Highlander by Kate Robbins
Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
The Girl He Knows by Kristi Rose
Dead Romantic by Ruth Saberton
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Festive In Death by J.D. Robb
The Creatives by Lindsay Lewis
Poppy’s 3 Men by Sophie Sloane
Behind The Scenes by Sophie Childs
The French For Christmas by Fiona Valpy
Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
T Is For Trespass by Sue Grafton

Here's hoping 2016 will be a keeper-shelf-book year!

Monday, January 04, 2016

REVIEW: Bella's Christmas Bake Off by Sue Watson

Title: Bella’s Christmas Bake Off
Author: Sue Watson
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: October, 2015
Genre: Chick-Lit
Buy The Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Description: Bella Bradley is the queen of television baking – a national treasure. Her Christmas specials have been topping the ratings for years and her marriage to Peter ‘Silver Fox’ Bradley is the stuff of Hello magazine specials.

But this year things are going to be different.

For Amy Lane, Bella’s best friend from school, life hasn’t held quite the same sparkle. And when Amy’s husband walks out three weeks from Christmas, it seems their lives are further apart than ever.

Amy has watched Bella’s rise to fame fondly, despite the fact Bella was always a terrible cook. But when she realizes that Bella’s latest Christmas book is made up entirely of Amy’s mother’s recipes, the gloves are off…

After winning a competition to appear on Bella’s TV show, Amy is going to make sure that for Bella and her viewers, this will definitely be a Christmas to remember…

A hilarious, heart-breaking and feel good read about best friends, baking and the magic of Christmas.

My Thoughts: This was a very good story about long-lost friends reconnecting under less than joyous circumstances. After Amy discovers her best friend from childhood is using Amy’s mother’s recipes as her own, Amy decides to take a stand and confront Bella. Amy isn’t having the best Christmas holiday. Her husband has left her for a pole-dancing colleague and her children have other plans. While watching her old friend, Bella Bradley, on television, Amy learns that her friend is deceiving the world by passing off recipes as her own. Amy wins a contest to appear on Bella’s cooking show and is determined to right many wrongs.

I liked Amy very much and felt great empathy with her situation. I liked that in the middle of her heartbreak and despair, she shows great strength and courage to everyone around her. She reminisces about her friendship with Bella and how they are no longer friends due to something Amy did and the guilt that Amy carries with her all these years later. As much as I liked Amy, I was equally prepared to dislike Bella. I found her arrogant, presumptuous, conceited, selfish and haughty. In spite of all these negative personality traits, Bella intrigued me. I knew there had to be much more to Bella’s attitude and demeanor than just what Amy had done when they were younger. Once Bella’s true personality starts to emerge, I found it easy to see why Amy and Bella were friends and was hopeful they could resolve all of the issues standing between them. I liked that Amy was not impressed with Bella’s glitzy and glamorous lifestyle and willingly stood up to Bella. I liked that there are several layers covering up the real Bella and when she lowers her guard and the layers start to peel back, we get to see a character who lives in constant dread of her life being exposed to the media. She harbors many secrets in her celebrity life and has to walk on eggshells with everyone around her. I enjoyed the tension between Amy and Bella as they worked through their animosity to get back to the friendship they had lost. Numerous supporting characters add to the story to make it more intriguing and entertaining with their personalities. A few surprises are in store with some of the characters that I felt added to the story’s charm.

My Final Verdict: Sue Watson delivers up another sparkly Christmas filled winner with all the festive trimmings and is an author that readers should be on the lookout for. I am looking forward to next Christmas and Sue Watson’s next book. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy feel good stories sprinkled with the magic of Christmas.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of Bella’s Christmas Bake Off from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, January 01, 2016

New Additions To The TBR Pile In December

Happy New Year! December saw the arrival of many new arrivals to the teetering pile...

Title: A Christmas In Disguise by Katie Fforde
Description: Treat yourself to some extra romance with this exclusive, straight-to-digital short story from the Sunday Times No. 1 Bestseller.

When Jo’s friend Andi asks if she’ll stand in to cook Christmas lunch for her employer, Jo reluctantly agrees. She knows Andi will lose her job if she doesn’t, and wants to help out her friend.

Jo is nervous because Andi’s boss is a well-known celebrity diva, who outright refuses to have anyone but Andi cook for her. But she also insists Andi wears full chef's whites so the girls think they’ll get away with it … it’s the perfect Christmas disguise.

But when Jo runs into one of the guests - good looking and very smart Anthony - things get even more complicated…

Title: Falling For Prince Charles by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Description: Daisy Silverman has always been obsessed with His Royal Highness, Prince Charles. When the underachieving 30-something cleaning lady wins a million dollars, she follows her lifelong dream to go to London. Once there, she meets Prince Charles—the real Prince Charles.

Through a series of misunderstandings, the Royal Family doesn't realize that Daisy's Jewish or that she's spent her life up to the elbows in the wrong kind of toilet water. By the time they do, Daisy is in love with Charles, Charles is in love with Daisy, and the Queen's white gloves are off.

FALLING FOR PRINCE CHARLES is an offbeat alternate-universe romantic comedy showing the heir to the British throne in a light quite unlike any he's been seen in before.

Title: Hide by Lisa Gardner
Description: You have good reason to be afraid. . . .

It was a case that haunts Bobby Dodge to this day—the case that nearly killed him and changed his life forever. Now, in an underground chamber on the grounds of an abandoned Massachusetts mental hospital, the gruesome discovery of six mummified corpses resurrects his worst nightmare: the return of a killer he thought dead and buried. There’s no place to run. . . . Bobby’s only lead is wrapped around a dead woman’s neck. Annabelle Granger has been in hiding for as long as she can remember. Her childhood was a blur of new cities and assumed identities. But what—or who—her family was running from, she never knew. Now a body is unearthed from a grave, wearing a necklace bearing Annabelle’s name, and the danger is too close to escape. This time, she’s not going to run. You know he will find you. . . .

The new threat could be the dead psychopath’s copycat, his protégé—or something far more terrifying. Dodge knows the only way to find him is to solve the mystery of Annabelle Granger, and to do that he must team up with his former lover, partner, and friend D. D. Warren from the Boston P.D. But the trail leads back to a woman from Bobby’s past who may be every bit as dangerous as the new killer—a beautiful survivor-turned-avenger with an eerie link to Annabelle. From its tense opening pages to its shocking climax, Hide is a thriller that delves into our deepest, darkest fears. Where there is no one to trust. Where there is no place left to hide.

Title: Match Me If You Can by Michele Gorman
Description: Ever thought about recycling your ex?

Best friends Catherine, Rachel & Sarah are fun, smart, successful and single – just like millions of women with a low tolerance for idiocy in their dates.

Mr. Right hasn't turned up yet, and Mr Right-Now isn't worth booking a wax appointment for. So when Catherine, London’s finest matchmaker, gets Rachel and Sarah to join her dating site where they can recycle their ex-boyfriends in exchange for an upgrade, they soon realise that anything could happen . . .

Three best friends, proving that sometimes it really isn't you… it's him

Title: Suddenly Sorceress by Erica Lucke Dean
Description: PMS can be a real witch.

Ivie McKie isn’t your run-of-the-mill kindergarten teacher. After an encounter with a horny goat, followed by a confrontation with her lying, cheating fiancé, Ivie is shocked when the big jerk suddenly transforms into a skunk—the black and white furry variety.

Enlisting the help of her shopaholic friend Chloe and sexy club magician Jackson Blake, Ivie is forced to play a literal game of cat and mouse as she races against the clock to change her ex back before she's arrested for his murder.

With every new spell comes a fresh wave of sexual desire, drawing Jack further into Ivie’s troubles—her panties, the car, the kitchen, and assorted seedy bathrooms along the way.

Ivie soon discovers what every witch worth her spell book knows: There’s nothing worse than a bad case of Post Magical Syndrome.

Title: Swimsuit by James Patterson
Description: THE BEACH...

A breathtakingly beautiful supermodel disappears from a swimsuit photo shoot at the most glamorous hotel in Hawaii. Only hours after she goes missing, Kim McDaniels's parents receive a terrifying phone call. Fearing the worst, they board the first flight to Maui and begin the hunt for their daughter.


Ex-cop Ben Hawkins, now a reporter for the L.A. Times, gets the McDaniels assignment. The ineptitude of the local police force defies belief--Ben has to start his own investigation for Kim McDaniels to have a prayer. And for Ben to have the story of his life.


All the while, the killer sets the stage for his next production. His audience expects the best--and they won't be disappointed. Swimsuit is a heart-pounding story of fear and desire, transporting you to a place where beauty and murder collide and unspeakable horrors are hidden within paradise.

Title: Switch A Wish by M.B. Earnheardt
Description: Chris and Amanda Claridge are that couple. They look happy. They live in a well-kept house, have three little girls and fit squarely into the traditional roles of a husband and wife.

Chris is a handsome college professor, and easily charms most everyone he meets. He loves his job and can’t wait to go to work each day. Amanda is a dedicated mother and caretaker. She tends to the kids and appreciates how important her job is, even if others don’t get it.

Underneath the surface of this functioning family, things are unraveling. Their marital problems are about to split them apart when something magical happens. Chris and Amanda make a bedtime wish that forces them to live the life of the other person.

Chris must pretend to be his wife as he takes on childcare and household chores. Amanda steps out of her heels and into Chris’ shoes to tackle his job as a college professor. The role reversal is a revelation for the couple. Neither one has it as good, or bad, as they expected.

Can Chris and Amanda’s newfound understanding of each other survive when the secrets come out? Or, did a magical wish just cost them their marriage? Will they be able to switch back?

Switch-A-Wish examines the complexity of a stressed relationship through the eyes of partners who are required to live as each other. This unique perspective allows Chris and Amanda a chance to find their way back to the feelings of the love they once shared.

Title: T Is For Trespass by Sue Grafton
Description: trespass \'trespes\ n: a transgression of law involving one's obligations to God or to one's neighbor; a violation of moral law; an offense; a sin -Webster's New International Dictionary, Second Edition, Unabridged

In what may be her most unsettling novel to date, Sue Grafton's T is for Trespass is also her most direct confrontation with the forces of evil. Beginning slowly with the day-to-day life of a private eye, Grafton suddenly shifts from the voice of Kinsey Millhone to that of Solana Rojas, introducing readers to a chilling sociopath. Rojas is not her birth name. It is an identity she cunningly stole, an identity that gives her access to private caregiving jobs. The true horror of the novel builds with excruciating tension as the reader foresees the awfulness that lies ahead. The suspense lies in whether Millhone will realize what is happening in time to intervene.

Though set in the late eighties, T is for Trespass could not be more topical: identity theft; elder abuse; betrayal of trust; the breakdown in the institutions charged with caring for the weak and the dependent. It reveals a terrifying but all-too-real rip in the social fabric. Once again, Grafton opens up new territory with startling results.

Title: Twice Upon A Time by Lisa Ann Verge
Description: IRELAND. 513 A.D.

Born on Samhain Eve to the most powerful priestess in Ulster, this bold warrior king's conquests are legendary. But Conaire knows he is no ordinary man. Some whisper that he is not a man at all.

The daughter of a vanquished king, exiled from her tribe, Brigid possesses the sacred gift of prophecy. Enchanted by her solemn beauty and magical powers, Conaire defies his people to make her his queen -- only to lose her in a shattering act of treachery....

FRANCE. 1249 A.D.

Doomed to wander the world alone, Conaire is brought by a stunning twist of fate to a stranger's bedside. Her name is Deirdre, and in her mystical green eyes he recognizes his lost love.

Now, in a land seething with dark intrigue, murderous passions and ancient secrets, Conaire and Deirdre must fight to reclaim the passion kindled so many centuries before -- an immortal love destined to bind their souls through all eternity....


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About Me

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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 Happy Reading! :o)