Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday
Flashback Friday

All By Myself, Alone

All By Myself, Alone
All By Myself, Alone

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

WHEN SOMEBODY LOVES YOU BY CINDY GERARD

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a two book collection from Cindy Gerard's back list. These were originally published by Loveswept. These are not the romantic suspense novels you may be familiar with. Both of these are contemporary romances. The first book is "Temptation from the Past"- January came from an abusive family. She became a lawyer and champions abused children. When journalist Michael Hayward hears an impassioned speech January gives, he is intrigued and decides to look her up. When Michael shows up a January's office asking for an interview, January is shocked to discover the man is the journalist that made her life a living hell after her father's death. She recognizes him, but he doesn't seem to know her. January would find it difficult to trust any man, but especially Michael. She is attracted to him but is terrified of the emotional feelings she is having. Slowly, Michael begins to break down her defenses. But, January is still guarding her past from Michael. The more Michael gets to know January, the more inspired he becomes to make more of his life. He takes an interest in the cases January is involved in and takes steps to make the life of a troubled boy better. But, will January's secret past come between them? This story deals with the emotional topic of spousal and child abuse. The long term effect of growing up that environment and the difficulty in forging positive relationships with the opposite sex. January has major trust issues, which is understandable. Michael knows something has happened to her to make her so skittish, but he is frustrated that she doesn't trust him enough to confide in him. The author does a good job of depicting the scars of abuse without getting into graphic descriptions. Instead she focused on the healing and growth January was able to do with the help of a dedicated man and true love. This was is an A. The second story is "Slow Burn". Joanna is a tiny, tough, determined red head with a huge task in front of her. She is completely alone in world and needs to restore her lodge in Minnesota. When Adam Dursky shows up with information about Joanna's father, she tells him to get lost. She's not interested. But, since she has need of a handyman, Adam stays around to help her with the lodge. Joanna is bitter about the way her father left her. He was an alcoholic and felt like it was best if he disappeared from her life. But, Joanna was left with an aunt that made it clear she didn't want her around. Now, Joanna finds that her father is very ill.  As she gets to know Adam, she learns that he too has trouble with drinking, although he has been sober for over a decade. She finds herself thinking about Adam a lot. There is a definite attraction  between them, but Adam is determined to keep their relationship strictly on the business and friendship level. Adam doesn't know what to think when he meets Joanna. He is on leave from his job in Detroit. He is still recovering from his wounds in the gulf war and from the tragic death of his partner on the police force. So, with time to kill, he heads off to tell Joanna about her father's health and see if maybe she would be interested in restoring the relationship. He is stunned when he sees not a woman, but a girl. At least he thinks she is. Despite her tiny stature she is all woman, but Adam can't figure out her true age. Even when he does find out , he thinks there is too much of a difference. Adam has a lot of issues to work through. He still feels like Joanna would be better off without him. But, he is in love with her. No question about that. But, can the two of them work through their issues and find a common ground to begin a relationship? This story was also emotional, but also had a lightness to it. Joanna was funny, impulsive and determined to hold on to her stubborn pride. Adam was just damaged by life and the time he spent away from the city with Joanna did him a world of good. But, will he ultimately decide to return to his job in Detroit? There were a few surprises in this one too. A couple of unexpected twist. It was a very sweet and satisfying HEA. This one gets an A- Both of these books were published in the early 1990's, originally. The second story may be a bit un- PC at times, but otherwise both of these stand the test of time. This is a Pocket books publication. I received this book from the publisher and Edelweiss for an honest review
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SEDUCTION BY M.J. ROSE


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Seduction by M.J. Rose is an Atria publication. I received this DRC from the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Mythologist, Jac L'Etoile, has had her fair share of grief. She is under the care of her mentor and counselor, Malachi Samuels. When she is contacted by her old friend, Theo about studying some Celtic ruins, Jac is very excited to go. But, Malachi warns her to be very careful. Theo had just lost his wife and he had never been really stable. But, Jac made up her mind to travel to the Isle of Jersey to meet with Theo. When Jac arrives she discovers that Theo did actually have an ulterior motive. He had discovered his grandfather had some letters or a journal of the famed novelist Victor Hugo. He wants Jac to use her special abilities to help him discover the communications between Hugo and a spirit called the Shadow of the Sepulcher. The relationship between Jac and Theo began back in their teens when they were both in an institution. The two formed a bond, but then Theo was sent home under a cloud of suspicion. Now, Jac finds Theo grieving for his wife, but at odds with his brother, Ash. The story starts out with the journals of Victor Hugo. The death of his beloved daughter has lead him into spiritualism in hopes of communicating with her again. But, what he encounters are various other spirits, and one very evil one. We alternate between the past and Victor's journals to the present with Jac and Theo hunting for more of Victor's journals and Jac having more frequent hallucinations. We finally begin to see an ironic connection between the past and the present that involves old Druid rituals, mythology, and reincarnation. It took me a little while to get into this one. I couldn't figure out how any of the various threads were ever going to come together and make any sense. The atmosphere is heavy, dark and there are few real spine tingling moments. In the end, Jac is able to understand her role and gift, but also gets to find a little of her own history, which gives her a new direction to go in. The pace is slow, but this adds to the suspense. I just think that maybe there was just a little too much going on sometimes and it was easy to get lost. The history was based in fact, and was very interesting. I don't know what I was expecting with this novel. I haven't read a lot of this author's work. It was a little off the beaten path for me and sort of defies a specific genre. I think it might really belong more in the horror genre than in mystery or paranormal romance. But, it was a certainly imaginative. Overall I give this one a B.
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Monday, July 29, 2013

THREE LIVES OF TOMOMI ISHIKAWA BY BEN CONSTABLE


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa by Ben Constable is a Simon and Schuster publication. This book was released in June 2013. Ben receives a rambling note from his friend he usually refers to as butterfly. She informs him she intends to commit suicide and by the time he gets the note she would be dead. She bequeaths him her laptop computer, which leads him to discover a letter and sets him on a massive "treasure" hunt. He starts off in Paris and winds up in New York where he meets Beatrice. The two of them continue following the clues Butterfly left Ben, revealing what appears to be the confession of several murders committed by Butterfly. But, are these stories real? Is butterfly really murderer. What is Beatrice's connection to Butterfly? Why is his friend revealing all to him? Is it so he can write a book about her or does she have something more sinister in mind for Ben? What was the nature of the relationship between Ben and Butterfly? Why all these questions?Well, these are the questions I was asking as I read the novel. These questions and a lot more. The first thing you may notice is that the author named the protagonist after himself. How interesting. The next thing that I found curious was his cat- named Cat. Not your normal domesticated pet. Then we have Ben's response to his friend's suicide. He doesn't ask if this was in character with his friend's personality or anything. He just presumes it's true despite the fact there is no body and nobody even reports her missing. Instead Ben plays the came his friend went to great lengths to plan out for him. Ben doesn't have any trouble at all finding  the clues left for him, and at times is able to think ahead of Butterfly. However, that might not be such a good idea for Ben. The author lets us get us draw our own conclusions about what ending we want to apply to the book and what was and wasn't real. As others have stated, this book doesn't really fit into a specific genre. It's a mystery, a psychological thriller, with a well paced build up of suspense. It is hard to review the book as I normally would because I don't want to give too much away. I thing it's one of the most unique and imaginative novels I've read in awhile. I was completely absorbed in it from the very first chapter and read through it in record time. This is a novel you will think about for awhile after you finish it. I think that you could read it a second and a third time and come way with a different perspective each time. A highly recommended puzzle. Overall this one gets an A.

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

WHAT THE DUKE DESIRES BY SABRINA JEFFRIES


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What the Duke Desires is a Pocket Books publication. This is a June 2013 release. Many thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for the ARC copy of this book. Maximilian Cale, The Duke of Lyons, received a note from Tristan Bonnaud explaining that he may have evidence that the Duke's older brother, Peter, is still alive. When the Duke arrives to meet Tristan, Tristan never shows up. Infuriated, The Duke sets out to find Tristan. This leads him to Tristan's sister, Lisette. When the Duke makes demands on Lisette, insisting she reveal to him where her brother might be, she stands her ground. She agrees to help the Duke on the condition she be able to travel with him to France. So, they pretend to be husband and wife and set off for Paris. On the way to France, the Duke and Lisette have many disagreements, but also find they can't keep from kissing each other every chance they get. As they arrive in France and locate Tristan, they find he is working as an investigator and he does indeed have information about Peter. Intrigue sets in when they seek to discover if the man Tristan located is really Max's long lost brother. To make it even more interesting, Lisette and Tristan's evil half brother is hot on their trail, trying to have Tristan arrested for thievery. The differences in classes would normally prevent Lisette and Max from  being married. Lisette is the daughter of a Viscount, but her mother was a French actress and they never married. For Max though, he doesn't want to marry anyone he is really in love with due to a family trait he fears he may be afflicted with. The agency that Tristan works for and his boss, Eugene Vidocq, was a real detective agency and a real detective, and he was well ahead of his time when he actually did hire female agents. I really enjoyed this novel. I always like to read historical romances  that go off the beaten path of Regency Period rules and society strictures, seasons and so on. This one featured two adults that were willing to put the other first over their own wants and desires. Sure, they have misunderstandings and hurt each other before they are able to resolve the issues that might be keeping them from having the HEA they deserve, but they each have the sense to see past it and forgive each other. This one was a real pleasure to read. I was in a really good mood by the time I turned the last page. Overall a solid A.
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Saturday, July 27, 2013

BUYER, BEWARE BY DIANE VALLERE


My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Buyer, Beware is an independent publication. (Polyester Press) This is a March 2013 release and part of the Style & Error Mystery Series. Samantha Kidd and her friends participate in a publicity stunt by the new retail establishment- Heist. When store host a party to announce the winner, a handbag buyer is found murdered. With Samantha's experience, she is offered a job at Heist, replacing the murdered woman. There is more to her job than meets the eye, however. She has been approached by a detective about seeing if she can uncover any information about the murder. On a more personal note, Samantha's boyfriend, Nick, is on a buying trip out of the country and they are trying out a long distance relationship. Samantha's friends are concerned about her. Since taking the new job at Heist, she has been isolating her friends. Samantha also finds herself attracted to Dante, her friend Cat's brother. Samantha is not hard up for suspects in her investigation. She hilariously jumps from one person to the next, convinced they are the murderer. The plot is built up around they buying aspect of the fashion industry, especially concentrated on handbags. The business is cutthroat and the competition brutal. Samantha finds her motives being questioned by her friends. This is a cozy type mystery with elements of chick lit. There are some pretty funny moments. The mystery is a little silly though. The plot takes an unusual twist at the end. There was no way anyone could have figured it out because there was no hint this situation was even possible. You won't guess who the killer is, at any rate. Samantha comes to a decision regarding her love life, that you may or may not feel satisfied with. Love triangles are not normally agreed upon. It was surprising in a way the advice Samantha's friends offer about her romantic relationships. This book will of course appeal to a female audience. If you are in the mood for a light humorous mystery that will satisfy the girly, girl side of you, then you will love this one.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC of  this book.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

SOMEBODY TO LOVE BY KRISTAN HIGGINS


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Somebody to Love by Kristan Higgins is a HQN publication. This book was released in 2012. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Edelweiss for an honest review. This is a follow up the novel "The Next Best Thing". This book can be read as a stand alone, however. Parker is a single mom to five year old Nicky. She writes children's books for charity. She's a little burned out on the series and is ready to try something else. She has never had to worry about money. But, when her father, Harry, is turned in for insider trading, she finds out she is broke. No trust fund for her or Nicky, no home, no job. The only thing she has is a cottage on the Maine coast. So, with Nicky's father, Ethan, taking him on a vacation for a few weeks, Parker heads off to Maine hoping to 'flip' the cottage and make enough money for her and Nicky to have a fresh start. When Parker finds the cottage, it's a shock. The house is about to fall down and is pretty much just a shack. Parker doesn't know if she has the money to fix it up. Then her father's attorney, James, arrives offering her help getting the house in shape. Her best friend's advice about having a summer fling keeps coming to mind more and more and James appears to be game. James has been Harry's attorney and friend for good while. He and Parker have had a few moments between them, but Parker made it clear that there wouldn't be more. James really wants to have a relationship with Parker, but he is holding on to an explosive secret. If Parker were to find out about it, it would ruin his chances with her. Not only that, James has a very difficult family life. Another thing he is very secretive about. Parker also has a lot on her plate. Her mother is oft married and lives off her many marriages to wealthy men. Parker and her father do not like each other very much. James has often wondered what came between them. As work on the house gets started, James and Parker grow closer. But, Parker is worried about her son and all the sudden changes in his life. Would her having a relationship be too much for Nicky? Not only that James and Nicky seem to clash. Parker handles the turn her life has taken with courage and strength. Her thoughts are often hilarious. She is a good mom and puts Nicky's well being first. But, doesn't Parker deserve some happiness too? Both Parker and James will have to learn to come to terms with their family issues and the differences and misunderstandings between them before they can hope to have a future. The road is a little rocky, but this was one of the sweetest HEA endings I've ever read. A Solid A.
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Monday, July 22, 2013

UP IN FLAMES BY STARR AMBROSE


My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Up in Flames by Starr Ambrose is a Pocket Books publication. This book was released in July 2013. This is the third in the Barringer's Pass series. Sophie and Zane had an intense, but brief thing back when Sophie was seventeen. Their educational and class differences, not to mention Zane's rather down beat options for the future broke the two up. Sophie went on to earn an Phd. and Zane, even without an education, owns his own business. Now ten years later, Sophie and Zane meet again. Zane believes Sophie humiliated him and Sophie just had a broken heart. When Zane learns Sophie is unemployed he offers her a job. Not out of the goodness of his own heart, however. He has visions of Sophie with her highfalutin degree, out in  the hot sun lifting heavy rocks and taking heat from the crew for not being able to hold up her end. Sophie senses the challenge and shows up for work. But, things backfire on Zane in a big way when Sophie discovers a dead body buried on his property. Zane's family has been in big trouble with the law. So, people jump to conclusions and presume Zane is guilty of murder. Sophie doesn't think he's guilty and since the cops are looking for evidence against Zane, she decides to do a little detective work herself. The problem is she has gotten someone mighty upset. This a light romantic suspense novel. Sophie has an odd ball degree in Entomology, a bug doctor. Her area of expertise comes in handy eventually. She and Zane still have an attraction for each other, but it seems that circumstances are against them. Zane pretty much expects to be arrested for murder and is just waiting for them to come and get him. He doesn't do a lot to defend himself or protect himself. But, when it comes to Sophie he doesn't want his family's reputation to drag her down. The plot was certainly imaginative. I couldn't have been easy to write a story around exotic insects and spiders. The romance was alright. Zane was a good guy fighting against the town's prejudice, but he was also too quick to give in and give up. Sophie does give him a  little inspiration in that area in the long run. <br />Not a bad story all in all. I give this one C+
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Thursday, July 18, 2013

THE STORM AND THE DARKNESS BY SARAH M. CRADIT


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book from the author for an honest review. This novel is part of series but can certainly be read as a stand alone.  Ana has fled her beloved New Orleans for Maine. The circumstances are vague in the beginning as why Ana needs to have this time to herself, but we know it was something huge. There is a home on Summer Island that has been in Deschanel family and she decided this was good place to go to put some distance between herself and what happened back home. Ana has always felt a little apart from other people and has a gift of healing that she keeps close to the vest. She has a really hard time connecting emotionally with other people and rather likes her own company most of the time. Other than a really close relationship with her cousin, Nicolas, and her father, Ana isn't close to anyone. She prepares for the winter in Maine, an experience she has never had, with the help of a friendly gentleman named Alex. The other folks on Summer Island are gossipy and stand offish at first, but the vet on the island is particularly rude. When circumstance arise that force Jon, the vet and his brother Finn, to take Ana into their home, things get really strange. When Ana doesn't contact her family for a few days, then weeks, Nicolas and his best friend, Oz try to get to island despite overwhelming odds. Nicholas just can't shake the feeling that something terrible has happened to Ana. The suspense builds and builds toward a shattering climax. In the aftermath, will Ana be able to come to terms with all these cataclysmic events and move forward from shocking revelations and build a life with another person for the first time in her life? The author does a wonderful  job of slowly revealing information at a pace that builds suspense. The atmosphere of winter in Maine gives the suspense another hard edge. Winters in Maine are infamous. Even those born and raised on Summer Island can be taken by surprise in dire situations. There was one point where the suspense became very taut. I was on the edge of my seat. As the author states, this novel has elements of paranormal, suspense, mystery and a bit of an unusual romance. In the end I felt like Ana will finally find some peace and will break a dangerous cycle in her life. This was very unique story. A great imagination and a peek into the darker side of human nature. This book would appeal to fans of many genres. Overall an A

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THE GOVERNESS AFFAIR

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a novella by Courtney Milan and a prelude to her new series- The Brothers Sinister. Serena is fired from her job as governess. She doesn't take this lying down. She begins a protest by showing up at the Duke's residence each morning and camping out. It is Hugo Marshall's job to fix the problem. He has to get rid of her.<br />When Hugo's initial attempts fail, he begins to find himself fascinated by Serena. Serena has a feeling of safety when Hugo is around. Something tells her he wouldn't hurt her. But, Hugo insist he is not a good man. Hugo's childhood memories of his father have left him determined to become rich. This means he has to continue to ally himself with the Duke, who is a terrible person. But, when Serena enters the picture and he learns more and more about her personally and the dire situation she is in, he has to take drastic steps to insure they both get what they want. But, is the solution he proposes enough? Can he continue to ignore his feelings for Serena in his all consuming pursuit of wealth? This is a great start to this new series. In just this short story, there is depth, humor, romance, and sensuality that left me wanting more. Overall an A.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

THE STORY GUY BY MARY ANN RIVERS


My rating: <a href="http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/666157162">4 of 5 stars
The Story Guy is a novella by Mary Ann Rivers and published by Kensington/Loveswept. This was a July 2013 release. Carrie, a librarian, tries to convince herself she's content with her life. While her friends and family are mostly married or in relationships and have started families, Carrie hasn't dated anyone seriously for a long while. When she reads through the personals on Metrolink, a sort of guilty pleasure, she comes across a profile that she can't pass up.  Brian wants to meet on Wednesday for just kissing. When Carrie responds to the ad and meets Brian, the kissing turns out to be of the mind blowing variety. There is an emotional connection between them, but Brian makes it clear he is unable to commit to a real relationship. So, they continue to meet on Wednesdays. It's obvious that Brian desperately wants to be more involved, but something has a strong hold on him and he just can not go further. In the meantime, Carrie and Brian engage in some pretty hot kissing. But, eventually Brian reaches out for more. But, alas, something happens that reminds him of why he can't pursue the  relationship. For Carrie, her loneliness is more profound than she wanted to admit. She knows that something really serious is keeping Brian from moving forward in the relationship and contents herself with their Wednesday meetings. When Carrie learns the truth, her feelings for Brian intensify. The love that grows between Brian and Carrie is not the traditional set up. Both are mature adults with more than the usual hardships in life. They can't traditionally date and do the things that lovers do. The love that develops between them is much deeper. It's steamy hot and the two are really into each other, but this situation calls for a lot of patience, caring and sacrifice. I liked the way Carrie stuck with Brian and helped him to move forward in his life, even though it was really scary for him to do so. True love takes work. Not everyone would be able to emotionally commit to someone in these circumstances. Often our own needs and desires would win out. These two people were meant for each other. While I admired Carrie's tenacity, my heart broke for Brian. I really did feel how conflicted he was. Thankfully, Carrie and Brian found each other. Although their lives will continue to be a challenge, they will be there for each other. Overall a B+

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

SPEAK NO EVIL BY TANYA ANNE CROSBY


My rating: <a href="http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/582470046">4 of 5 stars
Speak No Evil by Tanya Anne Crosby is a Kensington publication. This was a March 2013 release. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the digital copy of this book. Caroline returns home to South Carolina after her mother's death. She and her two sisters are stunned to discover their mother's will had a codicil that required them all to stay in S. Carolina for one year to receive their inheritance. Caroline will run the newspaper her mother owned. The newspaper is a "dying breed". There is stiff competition and Caroline will learn some hard lessons about ethics and journalism. Then there is Jack. Caroline and Jack almost got married ten years ago. Neither of them have really been able to move forward with other relationships. Now, that Caroline is having to see Jack face to face, old feelings have begun to surface. A young college student is found murdered and another child has been reported missing. Caroline thinks the two cases could be connected. Jack, a cop, isn't so sure. He and Caroline butt heads over how to report on the case, while at the same time they grapple with the feelings they have for each other. Caroline's two sisters also have issues they are dealing with. Their mother was a driven, career oriented woman, that had also suffered greatly when her only son disappeared. The girls had each other to cling to, but over the years they grew apart. Now each girl must learn how to deal with their mother's death, and the new lives they want to start for themselves. This was a really good romantic suspense novel. I love the idea of coming home after an absence and reconnecting with family and friends, and in this case the second chance at romance. Caroline's heart is in the right place, but like all of us, she makes some regrettable decisions. How she dealt with her mother's death was poignant. She had feelings of walking in her shadow, but also discovered her mother's sentimental feelings. I could also relate to Caroline's having to deal with a new job and trying to put her own personal stamp on things, while trying to appease long term employees. The romance was also done perfectly. Initially, Caroline remembers the hurt Jack caused her, but gradually she begins to  put those feelings to rest. Things don't go smoothly for the couple though. I liked Jack and felt for him too. He had a job to do and did the best he could, using his experience. The only thing I didn't like was how hard Jack could be on himself. Hopefully, if we get to bump into Caroline and Jack in the future, Jack will have regained some of his confidence. There was a good plot, a nice balance between mystery, romance, and family issues. Overall a solid A.

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Friday, July 12, 2013

MAKING IT LAST BY RUTHIE KNOX


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Making it Last by Ruthie Knox is a Kensington / Loveswept publication. This is short story/Novella. This is an update on Tony and Amber after ten years of marriage. I think the first novel they were featured in was "How to Misbehave". This book is set for a July 15th, 2013 release. When Tony's brother gets married in a tropical location, the whole family is invited. Things don't work out for Amber the way she had hoped. No spa treatments, no time alone, no fun. Tony spent the whole time on the phone conducting business and their three boys kept Amber busy the whole time. When it was time to go back home, Amber's mom generously offered to let Amber and Tony stay a few more days on her dime. But, Tony misinterprets the gesture, thinking Amber needed time alone. But, when his mother-in-law sets him straight, he goes to get his wife. This was a great romantic love story. If you are in a committed relationship/marriage and have kids, a demanding career and all the other things life throws at you, you will relate to this couple's struggle to keep their own identities outside of the roles as spouse, mother etc. The rut Amber and Tony find themselves in is an easy trap to walk into. When our parents age and their health declines, we have kids with allergies , and insecurities, plus money problems and career pressures, not to mention in this case a terrible family tragedy. If you are a mom, you know the kids become a priority in a marriage and all the conversations you have are about them or work or family. This story reminds us that sometimes, no matter what money issues or whatever else is going on, you have to make time to remember you and your significant other. Yes, it may mean that Gran has to babysit or that you miss out on a  little overtime pay or something, but in the end saving a good marriage is worth the extra effort. Thankfully, this couple gets a chance to have some time to alone to deal with the issues they never have the time to talk about at home. I loved the game they played. It gave them a chance to tell his or her side of things without accusations and bitterness and pity parties and so on. It was showed that hot sex can still happen even after ten years of marriage and three kids. This was a real warm and fuzzy feeling book with some pretty sizzling sex, for an old married couple. (Grin) Highly recommend even if are a newlywed and you think this will never happen to you. I rate this one an A.
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Thursday, July 11, 2013

A REASON TO LIVE

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I picked up "A Reason to Live" from the kindle lending library. This is the first in the Marty Singer series.When Marty is diagnosed with the "Big C", he retires from the police department. Now, only a few months into his retirement, he is approached by Amanda, a young lady that Marty met when he was investigating her mother's murder twelve years ago. Amanda is all grown up now, a teacher at a local university. Amanda had been receiving flowers from someone she is sure is from the man that killed her mother, a former police officer. The guy dropped off the map after he got away with murder. Now it seems he is back and Amanda is his new obsession. Marty faces a whole new set of obstacles trying to find Michael Wheeler and protect Amanda. First of all he is not on the force anymore, so doors that would have been opened to him before, are no longer an option. Secondly, he is about to start his first round of chemo and the effects of the treatment hits Marty pretty hard. So, Marty looks up his old partner and the two work together to  keep Amanda from becoming another victim. Opening up a twelve year old case naturally brings old memories to the front of Marty's mind. Wheeler's attorney, the prosecutor, the trial, disappearing evidence and the aftermath of losing such an obvious open and shut case. The last person Marty expected to become an ally was Wheeler's attorney. But,  that case ruined her career and Wheeler scared her. She too  could be a target, so she also joins in the chase to find Wheeler. This is a motley group of comrades that try to prevent a crime without much help. This novel has a great balance of modern hard boiled detective, dark humor, and human frailty. The detectives are not reliant on forensics or other  modern tools. They must depend on their wits and brains and little old fashioned leg work to get the job done. There's plenty of action, suspense, and few nice twist to keep you on your toes. The areas where we must face Marty's cancer are done especially well. Realistic, yet not morose. This case gives Marty something to focus on other than his illness and changes he will face in his life. He can still contribute and enjoy life and love despite his illness, which gives us hope that Marty will continue fight his disease successfully.I am looking forward to the next book in this series. Overall a solid A.
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Monday, July 8, 2013

THE FORGOTTEN QUEEN


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Forgotten Queen by D.L. Bogdan is a Kensington Publication. The release for the book was January 2013. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the digital copy of this book. The Forgotten Queen is a historical novel about Margaret Tudor, Henry the 8th's older sister. Margaret becomes a bride at the ripe old age of 12, married by proxy to King James of Scotland. At the age of thirteen she is on her way to Scotland to become the queen. Margaret adores James, but it's a little while before he views her as woman. They suffer many heartbreaks, until at the age of 23 Margaret finds herself a widow, betrayed by her own brother and left with virtually no trustworthy counsel and must take on the role of Queen Regent until her son comes of age. It's at this point Margaret goes off course and makes one crucial mistake after another. Her heartbreak, her loneliness, her role thrust on her although she never desired it, and the toll so many losses takes on her, makes her yet another queen during the Tudor period that suffers a tragic life. Although, we do see glimpses of her sense of entitlement at times, the duty that must always come first is a burden to Margaret. All she ever really wanted was to love and be loved and have a family. Her endless pursuit of this causes her more heartbreak than happiness. This is an interesting portrayal of this queen that we rarely hear spoken of or written about. Times were hard in those days and people were ruthless. I can't imagine being a woman in that time and having the duties and responsibilities Margaret had, but none of the respect and power the men had. Yes, she schemed and yes, she was unhappy no matter where she managed to land. She was restless, disillusioned, and worn out by loss. She was far from perfect and self absorbed  a great deal of the time. However, she wasn't prepared for the death of her first husband and didn't really know how to move forward at such a young age, especially since most of the time she was pregnant and giving birth. She was both successful and a failure at parenting. She was never successful at marriage or relationships with men, even with her brother Henry. We do get the feeling though that she did make it to a time in her life when things did slow down for her and she found some sort of peace with Harry and the role she played in her son's life. This was a very absorbing read. The Tudor period is just filled with schemes, power struggles, wars, great romances, and tragic deaths. f you like this period of history, you will really enjoy this book. A fascinating life story. Overall this one gets an A

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Friday, July 5, 2013

THE CLEVER FOX: A DANI FOX NOVEL

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Clever Fox: A Dani Fox Novel by Jeanine Pirro is a Hyperion publication. This book was released in July 2013. I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for the digital copy of this book. It is New Years Eve 1979. Dani and her reporter boyfriend, Will, are celebrating in Times Square when they both paged. A woman was brutally murdered and mutilated. Dani , one the first women to become an ADA, is assigned the case along with an Irish cop named O'Brien. When the victim is identified as the daughter of a mob boss, the FBI tries to stick their noses into the investigation. They are all convinced that a rival mob boss killed the girl, but Dani is having doubts despite the mounting evidence. As the probe deepens, Dani and Will begin to have problems in their personal relationship. Their jobs are a major conflict between them. To make matters worse, a very charismatic FBI agent has started to horn in not only with the investigation, but with Dani. Politics also rears it's ugly head because Dani's boss likes to yuck it up in front of the TV cameras. As two rival mob families dance around a mob war, Dani finds that she only has one other person she can trust besides herself. She is pressured to file charges against a man she is not convinced is guilty, she gets caught in the cross fire of the mob, and deals with her crumbling personal life and the very persistent FBI. A very smart plot. The mob, the attitudes toward women in the work place, the politics in the DA's office, the courtroom drama, Dani's personal life, and police work all melded together to take us on a rip roaring ride through the dark murky waters of the justice system, the unapologetic journalist attitude, the mob, gross abuse of power, and the courage and bravery of one person that brought it all to an end. <br />I read several books at a time, but when I got started on this one, I just kept right on reading it until I finished it. I couldn't put it down. The author knows just how to bait you at the end of each chapter. I read a lot and I can be a little jaded, so if you can sucker me into staying up way past my bedtime, then you deserve a five star rating. Part crime drama, part legal thriller, part mystery and all the way authentic. I never questioned the likelihood of the plot. It was like I was reading about an actual case. I loved it. I recommend this to all lovers of mystery/thrillers.  A+
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Monday, July 1, 2013

WHAT DARKNESS BRINGS BY C.S. HARRIS


My rating: <a href="http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/561922855">4 of 5 stars
What Darkness Brings is the eighth installment in the Sebastian St. Cyr series by C.S. Harris. This is a Penguin Publication and was released in March 2013. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the digital copy of this book.Set during the Regency Period in England, this historical mystery starts off with a bang. A particularly nasty, evil, diamond dealer is murdered. Russell Yates, Kat's husband is arrested for the his murder. The rumors are that the old man had the infamous "Hope Diamond" and that the diamond is now missing. Before Sebastian is informed of this situation, he is saddened to learn that his old friend Major Rhys Wilkinson has passed. The death disturbs Sebastian because it appears the man may have committed suicide. On a more personal note, Sebastian is settling into married life with Hero. She is pregnant, but this is still being kept a secret. Hero is the daughter of Jarvis, Sebastian's worst enemy. This makes for an even more uneasy situation between the newlyweds. Hero is supportive of Sebastian offering to help Russell Yates, even though it will put him in direct contact with Kat, the greatest love of his life. As Sebastian begins looking into the death of the diamond dealer, he finds that the man was pure evil and no one is sad about his death. The man was into all sorts of occult rituals, and blackmail. So, any number of people are suspect. But, the rumor that the diamond may have been a part of the crown jewels, and that Napoleon will stop at nothing to retrieve it, takes the intrigue up a few notches. This series is so multi layered. All the old familiar characters are back. Jarvis, "Prinny", Kat, Tom, Hendon, and Hero. Also, Knox, the man that bears a striking resemblance to Sebastian. Sebastian's parentage is still unknown, the real relationship he has with Kat still feels unresolved. The new marriage  to Hero and the many secrets that each still carries threatens the fragile relationship. However, Hero doesn't allow her insecurities to show and actually jumps into the investigation and helps Sebastian with some research, among other things. These are darker toned British mysteries. Very atmospheric and utterly absorbing. If you have not read any of the previous books in this series, it would be beneficial to go back do a little catching up. The backstory of Kat and Sebastian is explained in this book to some extent, but to get the whole story  and a better understanding of all Sebastian's relationships, it would be a good idea to get a little more background information. This book can be read as a stand alone, but I think it would make a lot more sense if you had some previous knowledge about some of the characters . This is an outstanding series and I would recommend it to anyone that loves mysteries. This series would especially appeal to those that enjoy British mysteries and historical mysteries. This one gets an A.