Odd Child Out

Odd Child Out
Odd Child Out by Gilly Macmillian

The Western Star

The Western Star
The Western Star by Craig Johnson

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

THE LAST WICKED SCOUNDREL BY LORRAINE HEATH



The Last Wicked Scoundrel by Lorraine Heath is January 2014 Avon publication. I was provided a copy of this book from the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for a honest review.

Winnie's ball has been a magnificent success. The widow is also walking on air after a kiss from Sir William Graves, her doctor and her friend. Her happiness is short lived, however, because she has been having trouble with misplacing things and could swear she can smell her deceased husband's scent. She is afraid she is going crazy. When she confides this to Graves, he is very concerned, but not because he thinks Winnie is going crazy, but because he is afraid the evil Duke Avendale might still be alive.

This novella centers around Winnie and her road to recovery after her husband was killed in a fire. She also has had to recover not only emotionally, but physically. Not from a fire, but from a brutal beating. Sir Graves nursed her back to physical health and has watched her become mentally and emotionally stronger over time. He is in love with her, but for many reasons, he can not marry her.
As Winnie becomes more and more troubled by strange incidences, Graves and Winnie's closest friends must decide what steps to take to free her from her demons and keep her safe.
In a brief time the author manages to tell a sweet and intriguing love story and draw attention to domestic violence. Times being what they were, domestic violence was not addressed and many women simply had to live with it because they were property. The author doesn't get preachy or turn the novella into a pulpit or anything, she just allows the reader to understand the situation and empathize with Winnie and with Graves, who also has his fair share of demons.
Overall this was a very meaty novella which is a part of The Scoundrels of St. James series. I'll give this one an A.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

CRAZY FOR YOU BUY JULIET ROSETTI


Crazy for You by Juliet Rosetti is a December 2013 LoveSwept publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

It is with a heavy heart that must inform you that Ben and Mazie have not survived as a couple. After Ben is offered a job which would require moving, he and Mazie argue. Ben wants her to allow him to support her and Mazie needs to feel independent after being in prison. But, Maize's days as a school teacher are over and she is so desperate for a job she hires on as "secret shopper". Her boss, Rhonda is a real piece of work.

"Rhonda Cromwell was the kind of woman that gives cougars a bad name. She broke up marriages, seduced door to door missionaries, and sunbathed nude in her front yard, causing neighborhood guys to run their lawn mowers up trees , mothers to lock their teenage sons in their rooms, and the camping goods store to stock more binoculars."

When Rhonda is murdered, the suspects start stacking up, including Mazie and Ben. Maize had just been fired by Rhonda and Ben had been the last to see her before she was found dead.
Even though Ben and Mazie are broken up, Mazie does her best to keep Ben hidden from the police while they try to find the real killer.

Mazie finds a job in a coffee shop where the female servers are scantily clad, she investigated Rhonda's neighbors, spies on people, get involved in one of the most hilarious paint ball games, all while keeping Ben and herself out of jail without breaking any laws.

Each chapter begins with "Maguire's Maxims", laugh out loud funny quotes from Mazie..
One of my favorites was: "Never tell a man more than he needs to know. The male brain was not designed for details and can easily overload it's circuits."

I didn't think it was possible for this book to be as funny as "The Escape Diaries". It was actually funnier. Juliet Rosetti is a fresh voice in contemporary romance and I am quickly becoming one her biggest fans.
This one gets an A+


Thursday, December 26, 2013

ENTICING THE EARL BY CHRISTINE KELLEY



Enticing the Earl by Christie Kelley is a 2013 Kensington Publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

In Staffordshire, England in 1814- Mia, the daughter of a "healer" who wished to follow in her mother's footsteps, is in deep trouble. She has begun an affair with a man that was only using her to get to a treasure he is sure she knows about.
When the Earl, Simon Blakesworth discovers Mia beaten within an inch of her life, he brings her back to his estate to recover. Determined to find out who beat Mia and why he has the matter investigated, but no leads are forthcoming.
In the meantime, Mia slowly heals but finds that the Earl intends to propose marriage to her in order to protect her. Mia is not a lady of the ton and feels she is a poor choice of a bride for Simon. She has had other lovers and confesses them to Simon. Still he insist on marriage, although she makes him wait until she is sure she is not with child.
While Simon waits he struggles with his financial situation, the constant worry over Mia's safety and he knows she is keeping something important from him. He also worries she may have thought him rich when she agreed to marriage, and is plagued with doubts, but is also worried Mia may be pregnant.
Intrigue and betrayals abound and Simon will learn shocking truths about his own family before he discovers the truth behind Mia's attack.
Mia isn't the only one keeping secrets though. Simon also has been less than forthcoming about his past. If Mia knew about certain things he had done, she would may never agree to marry him.

I enjoyed this historical romance with a touch of adventure and mystery. I enjoyed the romance as well. Simon was not your typical Earl. He had many issues, one of which was a problem with numbers and doing math. The other issue is much darker. Mia was a pragmatist, but capable of great passion. She was good with numbers although uneducated. She really wanted to be like her mother and was hurt by her mother's favoring of her sister, Tia. After the beating she took, Mia is afraid of being with men. So, instead of wishing to trap the Earl, she tries give him ways out of the proposed marriage. What she doesn't know is that Simon has loved her all their lives and protecting her was an excuse he used to get her to agree to marriage. The road ahead of them was a bumpy ride, but Simon and Mia will learn to trust each other and they will finally have their happy ever after.
Overall this one is a B+

BLUE BLOOD BY SUSAN MCBRIDE- A DEBUTANTE DROPOUT MYSTERY


Blue Blood by Susan McBride is a William Morrow publication. This book was provided to me by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This book was originally published in 2004 and now available in digital format.

Andrea, "Andy" met Molly in college. Andy comes from the affluent Highland Park area in Dallas and Molly was on scholarship. The two girls forged a bond, but Molly's life became complicated when she had an affair, got pregnant and had to leave school. Now working in at a popular restaurant "Jugs", Molly is the target of one of the owners. One night he attacks her and she fends him off, scarcely escaping rape. When her attacker is found murdered, Molly is arrested for murder. She calls her old friend Andy for help.

Andy has turned her back on the Junior League lifestyle, much to her mother's dismay. When Andy begins playing detective to help her friend Molly and her son, Cissy gets involved too, but may have an ulterior motive.... like match making with the attorney they hired for Molly.
When Andy takes a job at Jugs, she uncovers a hoard of secrets. Another girl had also had an unpleasant experience with the deceased and she just dropped off the face of the earth, and the guard on duty the night of the murder is now in a coma after an attempt on his life. Something just doesn't add up. Toss in a religious group protesting Jugs and their exploitation of women and you get an outrageous murder investigation.
Money, sordid affairs, and blackmail round out the sins and crimes surrounding Jugs.

While this first book in the Debutante dropout series is a little aged, with references to VCR's, and a few other things we have long since forgotten about, the story is wonderful. A light, chick lit, cozy mystery with laugh out loud moments and just a little bit of romance. For me, part of my pleasure came from recognizing the area the author spoke of. I live a few hours from DFW now, but I am fairly familiar with these areas. I could really imagine the "Cissy" character and I knew the eateries she spoke up and so on. (I'm not Highland Park material, but we know about them due to a high school football rivalry)

I am so glad this series is now in digital format. I recommend this book to romance lovers, mystery lovers, and women will enjoy it especially. Overall this one gets an A.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A GROSVENOR SQUARE CHRISTMAS WITH: Ana Campbell, Shana Galen, Vanessa Kelly, Kate Noble

A Grosvenor Square Christmas is an October 2013 release. This is a collection of four novellas by Ana Campbell, Shana Galen, Vanessa Kelly, and Kate Noble. All the stories are set in regency period England.

No.3 Grosvenor Square is rumored to be a magical place. Each year, the owner of the house, a widow named Lucy host an extravagant Christmas Ball. Anyone invited to the ball simply can not or will not miss it.
The special butler, an institution, adds just right touch to make each story special.
From a Cinderella style story, to a man that is dependable , but considered dull, being in love with the most sought after girl in ton, to a middle aged duchess finally being reunited with the man who once saved her life, to the story of a man returning home to find his friend and former crush all grown up .

All these stories are heartwarming and romantic. A really solid collection of short stories. This one gets an A.

A CHRISTMAS WEDDING TO DIE FOR BY PAT AMSDEN

A Christmas Wedding to die for by Pat Amsden is a 2013 publication I picked this novella up in the kindle store. This short cozy Christmas themed mystery is part of Death by Chocolate series.

Maxine is helping to cater a wedding. The couple have decided to get married despite the opposition of the groom's parents. Before the nuptials can take place, the bride is poisoned. Maxine's quick thinking saves her life. Now Maxine is determined to find out why someone would want to kill Julia.

With the help of Detective Shannon and Maxine's partner Heath, as well as her grandmother and her mother who has arrived for a visit, they snoop and gather information that could lead to an arrest. It's not until an actual murder takes place that the pieces begin to fall into place.

I enjoyed this holiday themed mystery. A quick read that will have your mouth watering by all the descriptions of rich chocolate. There a candy making recipes included at the end of the story. Over all this one is a B.

MIDWINTER MAGIC BY ERICA RIDLEY

After an eye-opening congressional hearing, former corporate shark Jack Morgan redirects his ill-gotten gains toward charity work. However, his attempts to bring holiday cheer to a Bolivian village meet with one disaster after another: canceled flights, crumbling luggage, implacable customs officials. His plans disintegrate further when he runs into a sexy tourist with . . . wings?

As Jack's guardian angel, Sarah Phimm has her work cut out for her. When his latest volunteer mission risks his life, she's forced to reveal herself to him—but only in part. She can't risk him knowing the truth. He's everything her immortal heart desires, but can never have. She soon discovers that keeping him safe amidst death bridges and tumbling telephone poles is far easier than guarding her heart.
 
 
 
 
 
Midwinter Magic by Erica Ridley is a fantasy novella.
Jack Morgan was once on the Fortune 500 list. But, those days are long gone. Now he is more or less a wanderer. At the moment he is in Bolivia. Instead of limos and private jets he is handing out Christmas gifts to kids that are beyond poverty. But, Jack's world really tips over on it's axle when he comes face to face with his guardian angel- Sarah Phimm.

I love that name- Sarah Phimm! Cute.  This Christmas fantasy is heartwarming story. There are touching moments, funny moments and some sexy moments too. This story makes great a addition to your holiday reading. 
This one gets a B+

Monday, December 23, 2013

A KISS FOR MIDWINTER BY COURTNEY MILAN


A Kiss for Midwinter by Courtney Milan was published in December 2012. This novella is part of the Brothers Sinister series.

When Lydia is all but fifteen years old, she fell pregnant. Her doctor passes judgment on her moral character and prescribes a cyanide derivative to combat morning sickness. A young Jonas stood by helplessly and hoped she would ignore the doctor's advice. He never knew what became of her.

Five years later, Jonas has decided he must marry. Not for love, not for children, but to have a steady source of sexual intercourse with risking a sexually transmitted disease. He makes a list of the top ten more beautiful women and then spies Lydia and she became number eleven on his list.
Lydia knows Jonas instantly, while he doesn't initially know her. Jonas has a tendency to tell the brutal truth and so offends Lydia right off. Jonas is rude and blunt and utterly in love with Lydia. She absolutely despises him. In order to make him go away she agrees to an unusual wager. If she wins he must go away and never speak to her again. If he wins he wants only a kiss.

This was a really different Christmas themed novella. Jonas at first is not easiest person to like. The more we get to know him and Lydia, the more we like him and we see how he only wants Lydia to stop hiding behind a mask of false cheerfulness and deal with her painful past. Lydia learns a good deal about Jonas and finds that while his truthfulness isn't always easy to hear, he doesn't lie to her and there is an attraction to that part of him after all. She also learns that as truthful as Jonas is, she is as untruthful with herself and her real feelings.

Overall I thing this one just get an A.

BAYOU NOEL BY ALEXANDRA IVY AND LAURA WRIGHT


Bayou Noel is a novelette in the Bayou series written by Alexandra Ivy and Laura Wright. This was a freebie in the kindle store.

Molly is tired of waiting on Garrick. Although, Molly loves caring for his mother and loves Molly like family, Molly knows it's time to move on before it's too late and she ends up spending her entire life alone.
When Garrick finds out Molly has a new job and is leaving, he hurries home to stop her. But is it too little too late?

This is very short book, but it gives you little taste of what this series is like . For those who do follow the series, this is a sweet little holiday treat. Steamy, sexy, shape shifter romance for lovers of paranormal romance.
Over all this one is an A.

MURDEROUS MATRIMONY BY JOYCE AND JIM LAVENE

Murderous Matrimony
Renaissance Faire Mysteries

Book 6
Joyce and Jim Lavene


Genre: paranormal mystery


ASIN: B00GOA74N6


Number of pages: 206

Word Count: 55,000


Cover Artist: Emily Andreis




Book Description:


In less than two short weeks, Jessie Morton will marry Chase Manhattan at the Renaissance Faire Village and Marketplace. But so much can go wrong in that short time. A man is murdered in Jessie's new Arts and Crafts Museum and her assistant is being scrutinized for the deed. Chase's brother and parents have arrived and are still against their marriage. Wanda's ghost is busy making Jessie's life miserable. The Ren Faire wedding of her dreams may never take place. Can she talk Chase into eloping before it's too late?



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18748920-murderous-matrimony   


Wanda Le Fey had been murdered but her blue ghost was haunting The Renaissance Fair/ Adventureland and Lady Jessie specifically. If that wasn't unnerving enough, Jessie has found she is stuck with an outlandish wedding ceremony that has gotten out of control. She never intended for her and Chase to marry with over two hundred other couples. As the day approaches, Jessie is becoming more and more uneasy about the ceremony. Her thoughts about the wedding are interrupted when another murder takes place. When Jessie's assistant, Manny becomes the prime suspect, Jessie sets out to find the real killer. This is not an easy task due to her visiting future in laws, wedding preparations, and looking for a scorcerer to help remove Wanda from her life.

Will Jessie and Chase make it to the alter? Or will Jessie find she is in over her head and become the murderers next target?

This is the sixth book in The Renaissance Mystery series written by husband and wife team, Jim and Joyce Levane. Although a part of a series, it is not absolutely necessary to have read the first 5 books before reading this one. I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the renaissance fair and the clothes they wore, the parts they played, and the off beat characters.

As is often the case for me when reading cozy mysteries, the focus tends to shift off the mystery onto more personal areas with the characters. This book was no exception. At times I was sure I was reading Chick lit instead of mystery. But, that' s really my only complaint. Otherwise this is a great group of characters and the scenery is certainly unique and colorful, giving your imagination plenty to chew on.

I would also like to compliment the book cover. It is very eye catching with a lot of details.

I give this one a B.
 
 




About the Authors:
Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling paranormal mystery fiction as themselves and J.J. Cook. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family.







@authorjlavene


Sunday, December 22, 2013

THE FIRESIDE INN - THE BILLIONAIRE BACHELORS BY LILY EVERETT

The Fireside Inn is part of the Billionaire Brothers series. This is 2014 St. Martin's Press publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Miles gathers his "brothers" together to announce he is getting married. Not only does the announcement shock the brothers they find they are also being issued a challenge. Miles is getting married on Sanctuary Island. He wants all the brothers to attend of course, but he also thinks that magical things can happen to them too and to prove it, he offers to give his helicopter to the man that does NOT find love on the island.
The first person to come across a problem is the British born Leo. He inherited his fortune and has had everything he could ever want, but he was virtually ignored by his parents as child since he wasn't the heir. It seems that a few things about their son escaped their attention and now he needs help so he doesn't ruin Mile's wedding.
Leo enlist the pretty librarian, Serena to help him select a poem to read at the wedding. Serena agrees to help him if he will get her an invitation to wedding so she can make contact with Miles. The library needs donations and Miles' pockets are pretty deep. So, Serena and Leo strike a bargain... But they both got more than they bargained for.

This a sweet novella addressing a problem many are too embarrassed to admit to and so go on suffering. The love and help of the right person helps Leo admit his problem. I really enjoyed this story and I can't wait to read about the other "brothers" and how they find true love on Sanctuary Island. This one is an A.

POLICE BY JO NESBO

Police: A Harry Hole Novel by Jo Nesbo is a 2013 Random House publication. This book was translated by Don Bartlett. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

When we last visited with Harry his life was in terrible turmoil. This book pretty much picks back up where we left off. Harry has recovered from his wound and is with Rakel and Oleg. He has given up the type of work that puts him and his family in danger. But when policemen begin dying at the crime scenes of unsolved murders, Harry is the first person everyone wishes were still on the team.
This case obviously hits close to home. The police have very little to go on except the possibility that an old nemesis they thought was dead, may actually still be alive. Harry gets drawn into the case despite his promise to Rakel.
There are several threads going on at once that show the political climate involving the chief of police, and an old acquaintance of Harry's is back to cause him trouble, hoping to come between Rakel and Harry.
As more of their own die, the team becomes desperate, always seeming to stay one step behind the killer. Once more Harry finds his worst nightmares coming true.

This is another great Harry Hole thriller. I think that in this installment, the author has taken the time to allow Harry some personal growth and I think it's long overdue. I think it's past time for Harry to face his issues head on and find some kind of peace. That doesn't mean he won't still have his nightmares and his demons, but I think Harry deserves a break from the dark turmoil that has ruled his life up to this point. Harry faces some temptations and is able to realize his own self sabotage in time to keep from messing everything up.
In the investigation, Harry once more proves he is ahead of the game and the best of the best despite his flaws.
I loved the ending of the book. It was bittersweet for sure, but a long time coming!
My one complaint about the book was that Harry was spoken of but did not make an actual appearance until 30% into the book. The team is only interesting when Harry is with them, and I had a little bit of a hard time getting into the book at first. Once Harry arrived on the scene though, the pace picked up and it was business as usual. This one gets an A.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

THE MEMORY PLOT BY D.W. CARVER

 
 
 
BOOK BLURB
 
Two years after the car crash that killed her family, mental health counsellor Jill Garvin’s memories of the events surrounding the tragedy are beginning to resurface. And with them, a painful and ugly secret that will shatter the way Jill views her late husband. The threat of reality may be more than Jill’s fragile mind can handle. But handle it she must, because a much darker force is at work: a man who would do anything to keep her past a secret, including destroy the new family Jill has found for herself.Two years after the car crash that killed her family, mental health counsellor Jill Garvin’s memories of the events surrounding the tragedy are beginning to resurface. And with them, a painful and ugly secret that will shatter the way Jill views her late husband. The threat of reality may be more than Jill’s fragile mind can handle. But handle it she must, because a much darker force is at work: a man who would do anything to keep her past a secret, including destroy the new family Jill has found for herself.
 
 
MY REVIEW 
The Memory Plot by D.W. Carver is a 2013 Musa Publishing publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

I started this book without realizing it was part of a series. I believe I would read the book published before this one at least. I had the feeling all through the book that I was missing pertinent information about what was going on. I didn't know who to trust and who not to. Some of the main characters could have been trusted, but I didn't know that because I didn't know the back story.

Jill has lost her memory after a car accident wipes out her entire family. Now she is responsible for her niece, Sarah. Jill's husband, Paul, had been guilty of treason and there are some serious concerns that Jill will have a sudden memory recovery and then some people will be in big trouble. Jill lives on the edge coping with her memory problems, taking care of Sarah, who has had a very rough life, and worrying about the people who want to see what she remembers . She is a definite liability and getting to her is priority number one.

Thankfully, Jill does have a good guy in her life. Creel's job is to look after Jill and Sarah. The job turns personal when he and Jill begin a romance.

There is a great deal of intrigue and betrayals. The writing is sharp and the dialogue is real. These are some really bad guys, but that isn't all they have to worry about. Occasionally, Jill as severe nightmares and sometimes she has a memory come back. Most of these memories are quite traumatic.

The reader will have to be very strong and able to read about very adult themes involving child abuse and other very disturbing topics.

This book is recommended to those that like hard edged emotional thrillers and it could appeal to those that enjoy psychological thrillers as well.
Although I have not read the previous books in this series, I could still follow the plot and enjoy the book. As stated earlier, I do think I would have had a better understanding of things if I had read about Jill's husband and specifics in that situation and how she came to know Creel.
Other than that this is still a taut suspenseful read and despite some very graphic descriptions I could have done without, this was a good read.
Over all an A-
 

Friday, December 20, 2013

INTERVIEW AND SPOTLIGHT WITH LYNN RAYE HARRIS AUTHOR OF THE H.O.T SERIES




USA Today bestselling author Lynn Raye Harris burst onto the scene when she won a writing contest held by Harlequin. A former finalist for the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award and the National Readers Choice Award, Lynn lives in Alabama with her handsome former military husband and two crazy cats. Lynn writes about hot military heroes, sizzling international billionaires, and the women who dare to tame them. Her books have been called “exceptional and emotional,” “intense,” and “sizzling.”


I am beyond exited to have Lynn Raye Harris with us today!! Ms. Harris has been gracious enough to take time out her busy writing schedule to answer a few questions and talk about her super popular H.O.T series.


I LOVE the H.O.T. series. Tell us about the latest book in the series which is out now. What is the title of the book and who are the main characters?

Hi, Julie, and thank you so much for having me here! I’m very thrilled you’re enjoying the H.O.T. series! The latest story is out right now in a holiday boxed-set. It’s called HOT PACKAGE and it features Billy "The Kid" Blake and the woman who left him. Olivia Reese is a public relations expert who uncovers evidence of a conspiracy right before Christmas. The only man she can turn to is Billy – but she’s not sure he’ll help her after the way she walked out on him!
Do you plan to write more in this series?

Oh yes! I love these stories so much. I’ve always loved military heroes and wanted to write them. The H.O.T. team has been in my head for a very long time and I’m so thrilled that self-publishing came along so I could do precisely what I wanted with them. :) I’ve got ideas for at least three more books – and several novellas!
You have written for Harlequin (and still do). The H.O.T. series was a bit of a departure from what you usually write. What have you enjoyed most about writing this series?

It is a departure. But the truth is I was writing the H.O.T. series first – I just couldn’t find anyone to publish the first book (HOT PURSUIT), though it won awards. And then I sold a very different project to Harlequin and started to concentrate on those books. I love writing Harlequin Presents so much! They are very intense and glamorous. But the H.O.T. books are also intense, just in a different way. My guys get to talk like military guys do. No language-sanitizing here. A Presents alpha male can curse in Italian and it’s nice – but no way can he say f*ck. These guys can. It’s not just that, of course. I enjoy the subplots and the idea of a group of guys who are dedicated to stopping evil wherever it exists. Who is that dedicated that they would sacrifice their own life to protect the rest of us? Special Forces, that’s who. They are amazing and they deserve our thanks.
Where can readers contact you?

You can find me at my website, www.LynnRayeHarris.com. You can use the contact form there to email me, or email me at Lynn AT LynnRayeHarris DOT com. And of course you can find me on Facebook at my author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLynnRayeHarris. I’ve also started a Facebook group specifically for the Hostile Operations Team. Come join us! Just send a request, and I’ll let you in: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HOTReadersAndFans/ For other places, just check my website. I’m on Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr, and Wattpad too. And of course I have a newsletter where you can learn about the next H.O.T. book, or Harlequin, before anyone else. You can sign up here: http://bit.ly/14xyA65 As a bonus, I give away one $50 gift card per month to a random subscriber.
What are you working on now?



Right now I’m working on Kev "Big Mac" MacDonald’s story. His book is called DANGEROUSLY HOT, and I hope to have it out in the early spring. Kev has history with his best friend’s widow, Lucky San Ramos. And when he has to go to Hawaii and drag Lucky back into the H.O.T. world (very much against her will), they’ll have to deal with all the feelings still simmering between them.
Do you have a favorite quote you would like to share?

I’m so bad at this kind of thing, but I’ll share a quote from HOT PACKAGE that just about sums up Billy Blake. "If there was anything that lit Billy up like a Christmas tree, it was computers. And sex."


Thanks for having me here! Hope you continue to enjoy my H.O.T. guys. :)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks so very much Lynn for joining us today!  Keep those HOT guys coming! I can't wait for Kev's story!

See my review of Lynne's latest H.O.T novella.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND BY JU EPHRAIME - BOOK REVIEW


Footprints in the Sand: A Christmas Ghost Story by Ju Ephraime is a December 2013 Envision publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.
"Some might call him crazy, but he felt her presence. His family thought he was insane, but he knew his wife. He knew her unique scent- mint, lemon, and citron. It was always around him when he was on the beach, and sometimes, when he'd look back, he could have sworn there were four footsteps in the sand, but before he could look closer, they were always washed away by the tide."
Five years have passed since James lost the love of his life, Nicola. A tragic boating accident on Christmas day took her life. The loss of Nicola has left James a broken man. He is riddled with guilt and shame that he didn't do more to protect and save her. James never celebrated another Christmas. There was no tree, gifts or any other reminders except in his memories. This Christmas though things change for James when he rescues a woman on the beach. There is something strangely familiar about her and James finds himself drawn towards her ... maybe because she is just like his beloved Nicola. Is it possible....
The more I read of Ju Ephraime, the more I like her style. This supernatural love story is sweet and sensual. I felt terrible for James. The pain and heartbreak that he can't get past will make you want to reach through the pages and comfort him. His family worries and maybe interferes a little at times. There is just no hope for James other than to maybe someday be reunited with Nicola in the afterlife. But, maybe that isn't the only way James can reunite with Nicola. What if there was another way? Could there be a little Christmas magic after all?
If you like paranormal and contemporary romance reads with a holiday theme, check this one out. It's hot off the presses and is now available in Amazon kindle store.

Footprints in the Sand: A Christmas Ghost Story by Ju Ephraime is a December 2013 Envision publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.

"Some might call him crazy, but he felt her presence. His family thought he was insane, but he knew his wife. He knew her unique scent- mint, lemon, and citron. It was always around him when he was on the beach, and sometimes, when he'd look back, he could have sworn there were four footsteps in the sand, but before he could look closer, they were always washed away by the tide."

Five years have passed since James lost the love of his life, Nicola. A tragic boating accident on Christmas day took her life. The loss of Nicola has left James a broken man. He is riddled with guilt and shame that he didn't do more to protect and save her. James never celebrated another Christmas. There was no tree, gifts or any other reminders except in his memories. This Christmas though things change for James when he rescues a woman on the beach. There is something strangely familiar about her and James finds himself drawn towards her ... maybe because she is just like his beloved Nicola. Is it possible....

The more I read of Ju Ephraime, the more I like her style. This supernatural love story is sweet and sensual. I felt terrible for James. The pain and heartbreak that he can't get past will make you want to reach through the pages and comfort him. His family worries and maybe interferes a little at times. There is just no hope for James other than to maybe someday be reunited with Nicola in the afterlife. But, maybe that isn't the only way James can reunite with Nicola. What if there was another way? Could there be a little Christmas magic after all?

If you like paranormal and contemporary romance reads with a holiday theme, check this one out. It's hot off the presses and is now available in Amazon kindle store.

4 out of 5 stars

Monday, December 16, 2013

THE MAN IN THE SNOW BY RORY CLEMENTS

John Shakespeare has been asked to inquire about the death of Giovanni Jesu an "Ethiop" found shot and stripped naked in the snow. It is discovered that Giovanni was brought over by the Earl of Oxford some years back and while many others who had long since gone away, Giovanni had remained with the Earl.
There were many rumors surrounding Giovanni's relationship to the Earl. Many presumed he was kept because of his great beauty. The Earl of Oxford, once a favorite of the Queen has now lost most of his fortune and is more often than not drunk. But, John must visit with the Earl and find out what he knows about Giovanni. His investigation will lead him to discover that Giovanni may have been leading a double life and his lover, a young woman who recently gave birth to his child, may be in grave danger. Will John find out the truth before someone else is murdered?

For a novella, this mystery has quite a bit going on. The question of the Earl's sexual preferences, his religious leanings, and those who are sure he is guilty of something is the motive behind employing John to look into the murder. With Christmas upon them, no one wants to be questioned about a murder or have the death hanging over them. So, John is under pressure to wrap the case up quickly. He enlist Boltfoot to do a little investigating as well in order to get a clearer picture of what Giovanni may have been into before his death.

A solid outing in the John Shakespeare series. A quick, but absorbing mystery, perfect for curling up with next to the fire on a cold night.

This one gets an A.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

THE HANGING JUDGE BY MICHAEL PONSOR

The Hanging Judge by Michael Ponsor is a December 2013 Open Road Media publication. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

David gets assigned to rule over a death penalty case. He has always dreaded this moment. The case is high profile involves a drug dealer, a drive by and an innocent bystander being killed, and a cop being wounded. The media is all over the case.

On a personal note, David meets a delightful teacher when he pulls a bone head move at an ATM. David hasn't been involved with anyone since his wife's death. There is a little trouble in paradise though when it comes to his job and his principles as a judge.

The author treads lightly through the minefield of the death penalty debate. He handles the story is such a way that the reader is able to see the entire drama from every angle. The judge, the defense attorney, the prosecutor, the family of the victim, the jury, and the accused.

Nothing is ever just black and white. Pressures can come from all angles. Family and friends weighing in on how you should testify or how you should rule or handle situations. There are witnesses who may not mean to lie and those that do mean to lie. The media often tries and convicts someone before the trial even starts, leaking pertinent information that the jury could find out about and cause a mistrial or help convict an innocent person.

I was really impressed by the way the story was told. It was one of the most realistic views into a courtroom crime case I have read. There is plenty of food for thought here. It is my understanding that Micheal Ponsor was or is a Federal judge. This would explain the knowledge he has of the inner workings of a trial and the effects all of this has on those involved. Often authors try to glamour up the legal thriller genre with a lot of courtroom banter and numerous twist and turns and maybe even the Perry Mason moment. But, this novel felt like a real life case and did not need all the bells and whistles to keep the reader turning those pages.

A tense and emotional read. This is one of the best courtroom style legal thrillers I have read in a while.

Overall an A+

Saturday, December 14, 2013

CAROLINE AND THE DUKE BY SABRINA DARBY

Caroline and the Duke by Sabrina Darby is an December 2013 release. I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Caroline, a widow with two sons, is free at last from a terrible marriage. She is determined to keep her freedom. Instead of being tied down in an oppressive marital situation, Caroline is looking for a lover with no emotional ties.

Sutbridge is a duke and much sought after for his title and lands. But, it was always Caroline he wanted. Now after ten years he intends to rectify the mistake he made in his youth and win her back, not only as his lover, but as his wife.

Obviously, Caroline and Sutbridge are not on the same page. Caroline loves her duke but is afraid of marriage and feels too old to produce the heir Sutbridge needs.
It looks as though they are at an impasse when a stunning revelation sends Caroline into a tailspin. Can the duke convince Caroline that he really loves her?

This is a regency period novelette. Although really short it tells a complete story of a second chance at love and you know you love that stuff! I do anyway.
This author is new to me and I am now interested in reading more of her work.
Overall this is a B+

LAVENDER DAYS BY ROBIN SQUIRE

Lavender Days: A life-affirming Anglo-American affaire in Provence by Robin Squire is a 2013 Greenwave Editions publication. I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Gabriel Reeve had viewed relationships has a hassle until he began to think his work was being affected by too much time in isolation. He began a quest to get out and meet women, but found it to be daunting. This led to a magazine article in SHE magazine he wrote venting about meet and greet dating services. The article caught the attention of an American woman with an adolescent daughter. She decided to contact Gabriel and the two decided to meet.

Thus began a torrid two week affair in France. Kathryn and her daughter Jodi quickly embedded themselves in Gabriel's life. But, Kathryn is bent on having an affair with a rich French lover and soon makes her choice between the rich man and Gabriel.

This all takes place back in the early 1990's. Now years later, Gabriel climbs up into his attic on an entirely mundane errand and stumbles across some old mementos and journal pages from the time he was involved with Kathryn.
In the beginning he is amused by his younger self and maybe a little embarrassed. As he continues to read the journals and breathes in the scent of lavender placed in the bag with all the notes, his memories come back to him all too vividly.
At times he almost feels like an intruder into someone else's life. He barely even recognizes himself in these writings.
As the memories began to flood back in great detail, Gabriel begins to wake up as if from a long sleep. This one afternoon brings back to him the time in his life when he felt the most alive, when he almost had in his grasp the thing he most needs, only to somehow find it just outside his grasp. But, this day will change that for Gabriel as he decides he has been asleep far too long and it is time to take charge of his life and the love of his life as well.

This book has a basis in fact. The article that appeared in SHE magazine was real and was reprinted here in the novel. (with permission, of course)

The story deals with a highly sexual affair between Gabriel and Kathryn and the story is somewhat erotic. I don't mean there is extreme graphic sexual content, but this for Adults only.
This relationship is like no other for Gabriel. He is at Kathryn's mercy from the get go. He even comes to feel a bond with her daughter, very much like a father would a daughter. But, Kathryn is still unsure of what it is she wants. She feels that her daughter's future would be better served if she were to seek out a man of some social status and with an ample bank account.
But, she does care for Gabriel and never really leads him to think they have a chance at a long term romantic relationship.
Over time Gabriel buries the memories of that two week period deep into his self conscience. He is stunned by the force of them when they begin to return with the help of his discovery in the attic.

A very compelling story, well written and visual. It was hard for me to form a like or dislike with some of the characters. I felt Gabriel gave up too easily and let Kathryn just go with out a fight. A realization that hits him in the present day, enough to want to right that wrong.
Kathryn was also just all over the place, seemingly playing a game with Gabriel and knowing full well how deeply he felt for her. The most likeable character was Jodi who seemed the most effected by the decisions her mother makes.
A nostalgic feeling will grab you as you too may remember an intense love affair or can imagine one like this one and finding evidence of this time causing you to relive the highs and the lows all over again, leaving you with a bittersweet taste in you mouth.
Will Gabriel find his lost love?

I would recommend this to fiction/literature fans and romance lovers.
This one gets an A.

Friday, December 13, 2013

THE SECRET OF MIRROR HOUSE BY JENNIFER BLAKE (CLASSIC GOTHIC COLLECTION)



The Secret of Mirror House by Jennifer Blake is a Steel Magnolia Press Publication

In the deep south during the 1870's, Amelia's mother dies and she finds herself nearly destitute. When an invitation is offered from distant relatives for Amelia to come stay with them, she doesn't hesitate to accept the offer.

Upon arrival however, Amelia begins to regret her decision. She encounters a house full of relatives that do not really seem to like her. Neville, a man who never married, a rude, blunt and even cruel man at times, a cousin, James that seems friendly on the surface, and several other relatives, none of whom are overly friendly. In fact, they are all downright strange with all their secrets and hidden agendas.
The situation Amelia is in becomes a little clearer when she discovers the family would like her to marry either James or Neville. It is obvious they have a preference too. Amelia doesn't want to marry at all and especially not to either one of these two odd ducks.
Tension builds as the family becomes more and more nervous and more and more desperate about Amelia and the threat she represents to their future.
Who can Amelia trust? Will she learn all the secrets of Mirror House?

This book was written back in the hey day of Gothic romance/mystery novels. In the 1960's and 70's and even into the very early 80's, these novels were super popular. Their popularity died out in the wake of the "Bodice Ripper" novel taking romance novels to a different level.
In this case the Gothic mystery has a historical setting which to me makes the story more atmospheric and tense. The hot and humid climate also gives the reader the impression that things are about to boil over. A girl with vey little resources , still mourning her mother's death, finds herself in a large plantation house surrounded by people she doesn't really know and who all seems to be on edge. They play mean tricks, lie to her, try to manipulate her and eventually she begins to fear for her safety.
I thought the author did a great job of building the suspense and keeping the reader feeling tense. The romance is limited to kissing, which was common in this genre. There are adult themes but that's about as far as it ever got.
I am thrilled that these earlier novels by Jennifer Blake are being released in digital format. You can find these at Amazon.com - http://www.smarturl.it.smp
This one is an A.

ENTANGLED THORNS: THE CEDAR HOLLOW SERIES BY MELINDA CLAYTON



Entangled Thorns by Melinda Clayton is a 2013 Thomas-Jacob publication. This book was provided to be by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Raised in Cedar Hollow, West Virginia, Beth and her sister, Naomi left home right after the death of their thirteen year old brother, Luke.
Luke died in an accident and Beth has never really dealt with the tragedy. When she receives a letter from Cedar Hollow from an hold friend explaining that her mother is in severe health, Beth and her sister come together for the first time in years and head back to West Virginia to deal with the past once and for all.

This the story of a dysfunctional family mired in a tradition of alcohol stills and drinking, physical abuse and mental cruelty out in the backwoods of West Virginia.

Beth started to drink at a very young age and is now a full fledged alcoholic. Her marriage is in a rut, her teenage daughter is living through the trauma of losing her once very hands on and involved mother to alcohol.

Naomi grew up to be a bestselling author and swore off booze, never wanting anything to do with it once she left home.

But everyone in the story was traumatized by the death of Luke, even if they never knew him.

The really unique thing about this book is that each person involved gets to tell the story from their own unique perspective. Beth is the main focus of the book, but her daughter, sister, mother and husband and the owner of a local diner who knew the family all their lives all get a say in how they perceive things.
This is an emotional story, but one that gives us hope for all those involved. The one thing they all need to face will bring about a long needed closure to many open wounds and the healing process can begin for all of them , but especially for Beth.

This is a new to me author. I must say I'm quite impressed. I loved this story! I recommend this book to lovers of fiction/literature, family drama, and women's fiction.

This is an A+

Thursday, December 12, 2013

CHRISTMAS AT THE GINGERBREAD CAFE BY REBECCA RAISIN



Christmas at the Gingerbread Cafe
Rebecca Raisin


Genre: Contemporary Romance


Publisher: Carina UK (Harlequin)


Date of Publication: November 12th 2013

ASIN: B00GBZ3YD8

Number of pages: 52

Word Count: 17, 750

Cover Artist: Carina UK

HYPERLINK "http://goo.gl/MiJrdE" Amazon US HYPERLINK "http://ow.ly/qvis0" Amazon UK



Book Description:

Christmas is the season the Gingerbread Café was made for…but owner Lily couldn’t be feeling less merry if she tried. She’s spent another year dreaming of being whisked away on a sleigh-ride for two, but she’s facing festive season alone – again. And, just to give her another reason to feel anything other than candy-cane perky, a new shop across the road has opened… Not only is it selling baked goods, but the owner, with his seriously charming smile, has every girl in town swooning.

But Lily isn’t about to let her business crumble — the Gingerbread Café is the heart of the community, and she’s going to fight for it! This could be the Christmas that maybe, just maybe, all her dreams – even the someone-to-decorate-the-Christmas-tree-with ones – really do come true!





About the Author:
Rebecca Raisin is a true bibliophile.
This love of books morphed into the desire to write them. She’s been widely published in various short story anthologies, and in fiction magazines, and is now focusing on writing romance. The only downfall about writing about gorgeous men who have brains as well as brawn, is falling in love with them – just as well they’re fictional. Rebecca aims to write characters you can see yourself being friends with. People with big hearts who care about relationships, and most importantly, believe in true love.
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MY REVIEW OF CHRISTMAS AT THE GINGERBREAD CAFE BY REBECCA RAISIN




Christmas at the Gingerbread Café by Rebecca Raisin is a Carina UK publication released in 2013. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Netgalley in conjunction with Bewitching Tours.

It's Christmas at the Gingerbread Café and usually a busy time for Lil and her partner CeeCee. However this year it looks like the café is going to have a little competition.

Damon has returned home from New Orleans. He appears to be horning in on Lil's business and Lil has decided she will have done of it. She approaches him and lets him know under no uncertain terms how she feels about him.
But CeeCee sees a possible business venture and maybe even a little romance in the situation. When Lil isn't moping over her ex-husband or fuming at Damon, CeeCee is trying to convince her to forgive Damon and show a little Christmas spirit.

Lil and Damon are both hurt and lonely people whose paths cross in the most unlikely way. Will Lil be able to get over her broken heart and will Damon be able to convince her to give him a chance?

This is a really great Christmas novella! Lil is a likable person and someone we can relate to. Damon is also recovering from some things and is often sad and we just want to give him a big old hug! He is a little mysterious though.
CeeCee however, nearly steals the show. A great friend with a lot of love for her friend, Lil.

If you love Christmas, romance and HEA then you will love this sweet novella.
This one gets an A.!



Wednesday, December 11, 2013

SHADOWS ON THE MIRROR BY FRANCES FYFIELD


Shadows on the Mirror by Frances Fyfield is a Witness Impulse publication. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

This novel is , I think, the first in the Sarah Fortune series.
Originally published in the late 1980's this book has been released in digital format and is available at Amazon.com
Sarah, an attractive red head, with a law background, meets a man at a gathering named Malcolm. He is an attorney, very personable and funny, but he is very overweight. Sarah, a widow with major trust issues, sees something in Malcolm others don't. They have an dalliance, but Malcolm want to be better for Sarah and so he begins improvement on his weight issues, but he loses contact with Sarah for two long years.
He could never imagine the way in which he would eventually find her again.
A client of Malcolm's father , a wealthy man, has lost his wife to suicide. But, the death is suspicious. When the wealthy widower begins to take an interest in Sarah, her friends thinks she is nuts for not going for it.
Sarah may have an instinct about the guy that keeps her at a distance from him. It turns out his good looks and money helps him to slide under the radar and hide a very dark side to his personality. Sarah's lack of interest only adds fuel to the fire and soon she will meet the darker half of her suitor.

This is the second book by Frances Fyfield I have read recently. The first was a solid Helen West mystery. This one was a complete 180 compared to the other series.
The story is murky and very slow moving. There isn't really a great deal of action or suspense for that matter, since we already know whodunit. It's just a matter of time before he makes his move. The rest of the book deals with Sarah's career and her personal issues and friendships and well as Malcolm's career and desire to find Sarah and his conflict with his step-father.
This was a crime novel that may actually qualify for the psychological suspense genre. I would keep in mind that the book was written in a time frame when this style of writing wasn't all that uncommon. These days we crave more action and forensic details as well as more courtroom banter. The case may not even wrap up in the way you like. I personally felt a little unsettled about the way things ended with case. The personal issues that Sarah and Malcolm had will tie up quite nicely.
Overall this one gets a C.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A BREATH OF WINTER BY HAILEY EDWARDS AN ARANAE NATION NOVEL


A Breath of Winter by Hailey Edwards is the fourth book in the Araneae Nation series. This book will be released December 10, 2013 and is a Samhain Publishing ,LTD publication. I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher and Bewitching Book Blog Tours/Roxanne Rhoads in exchange for an honest review.
"There's no easy cure for a love of epidemic proportions"
Zuri and her brothers have been commissioned to transport a captured harbinger to Erania. Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong. The mission goes awry from the start. The prisoner nearly escapes, the border guards cause a scuffle, and to put the cherry on the cake, Zuri and her brothers are quarantined due to the plague.
Enter Henri, a healer and scientist. His plan was to study the harbinger. He wants to find a cure for the plague, but his experiment doesn't work out the way he planned.
While Zuri recuperates from an ankle injury, she and Henri forge a bond. Although Zuri isn't as trusting of Henri's men, she does trust Henri. She will have to trust someone when a conspiracy comes to light that could topple the Araneae Nation.
I must confess that I have not read the first three books in this series. I seem to make a habit of picking a book that is the latest in the series and hoping I will be able to follow along. That's a risk in any series, but especially in a fantasy series.
However, I picked up the thread right away was carried off into another time and place. While I would highly recommend reading the first three books in the series first, which I plan to do, if you see this one listed as a new release, by all means don't hesitate to pick this one up.
This book is, in my opinion, high fantasy. It could be labeled as paranormal romance, even Urban Fantasy, but for me I think that's a stretch.
I loved Zuri's spunk and bravery and loyalty. She has the ability to think and act with grace under pressure.
Henri is kind of an odd duck. Initially, his intentions were well meaning, but he actually put Zuri and her family at great risk. However, he more than makes up for his mistake and it looks as though fate brought Zuri to him for a reason.
There are many creatures and unusal persons in this book which challenges the reader to use their imaginations. The author does a great job of opening up my mind visually.
I highly recommend this book to fantasy lovers and romance readers.
Overall this one is an A.

On December 10th, join the Bewitching Book Blog Tours for the Book Blitz release of A BREATH OF WINTER. Stop by my blog at http://www.cluereview.blogspot.com for a chance to win a copy of A HINT OF FROST by Hailey Edwards.

Monday, December 9, 2013

KISSES, SHE WROTE by KATHERINE ASHE

Kisses, She Wrote (The Prince Catcher, 1.5) by Katharine Ashe is a December 2013 Avon Impulse publication. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Princess Jacqueline is a plain, quiet wallflower that should have been married before now, but her brother has shirked his duty in that area. Now the queen has demanded that the princess marry at Christmas.

Cam Westfall, the Earl of Bedwyr is a notorious rake. He also has his good points, like rescuing a woman from an abusive husband and becoming the guardian of her daughter after she dies.

Cam and Jacqueline are not all that interested in marriage, but both of them find they are about to be forced to marry people they don't care one wit for whether they want to or not.

But, when Cam happens upon Jacqueline's diary, he is stunned at the erotic and sensual language written in it. Every chance he gets he reads a little more of the diary. He also spends as much time as possible with the diary's owner.
Jacqueline and Cam become very good friends. Cam loves her forthcoming nature. But, he finds himself feeling something else as well. A feeling in his chest he has never experienced before.
As a result he finds he is able once more to put pen to paper and write some of the most stirring poetry.
But, his poetry tells a story that keeps the feelings between himself and Jacqueline alive. Is their love story doomed to remain on the written page or will they find a way to really be together?

I loved this short story/ novella. The writings in Jacqueline's diary are sensual and erotic for the period of time they were written in. Quite bold actually, since most ladies didn't know anything about sensuality until they were married.
By the same token, the Earl, known for his many affairs and doomed to be engaged to a cold beauty, writes some of the most bittersweet poetry.

I loved how the romance proceeded from a genuine enjoyment of one another's company to friendship to falling in love.
This story is a sigh worthy romance.
Overall this one an A.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

THE CANDIDATE BY DANIEL PEMBREY-A KINDLE SINGLE

The Candidate by Daniel Pembrey is a Kindle Single released in 2013. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Nick Thorneycroft wakes up one morning with a massive hangover and finds a pair women's panties in his apartment. He has no memory of what he did the night before or with whom.
Going into work, he is tagged as the person to help snag an up and comer to become the VP of the company, which may be on the verge of a merger.
Kate Novakavich is stunning. Nick feels some sort of connection to her as he parades her around from interview to interview.
Meanwhile, Nick deals with his girlfriend/ex-girlfriend calling him and texting him in panicked demeanor that leaves him with a sense of dread.

Set in Luxembourg, the political climate in Russia, with election campaigns going on, sets the backdrop of this tense thriller involving spies, double crosses, politics, and a little corporate wrangling.
Nick gets sucked into the vortex unwittingly and gets the shock of his life as a result because no one can be trusted.
The story is atmospheric, leaving a chill in our bones thinking of the climate. The landlords are odd, Nick friend and co-workers all behave paranoid and on edge. The "Candidate" is also rather aloof and never seems to answer a question directly.
Novellas and short stories can be tricky to pull off. Sometimes it works out great and sometimes not so much.
This one falls in between. I was engaged and the story really held my attention, but then it just stopped. We don't know what takes place after it finally clicks in Nick's brain what has actually happened.
So, we know the set up , we know the players, we know the motives, but we don't get to find out what the total outcome will be after all is said and done.
It could be a good idea for the author to pick this story up at some point and make it into a series of Kindle series, or use this one as a prelude to a full length novel.
The writing was fine. I just wish the story had been a little longer without the sudden stop at the end.
Overall a C+

A YEAR OF TEARS BY NIKKI KNIGHT

A Year of Tears: Learning to Trust and Accept Love Again by Nikki Knight is a short story told as if reading from a journal, detailing an entire year of in a life. Initially, there is great heartache and we read as the writer slowly comes to terms with things and gradually open themselves back up and allows themselves to have fun, laugh, trust and love again.

"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That's why we call it a present."

For such a short story there is a powerful message here. We lose love in one form or another and it's alright to grieve the loss. It's normal to feel pain, but we must be willing to move forward from to the promise of bright day and a better future.
I will give this one an A.
Thanks to Nikki Knight for lending me this book from Amazon kindle.

BACK TO REALITY BY DANIELLE ALLEN

Back to Reality by Danielle Allen was just released this week- December 2013. I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Back to Reality is the follow up novel to Back to Life. This book picks up right where the first one left off.
It seems that Sahara can't catch a break. She was finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel when BAM! she gets blindsided. So, now Sahara is right back in the same hole she was before. Emmanuelle or Tyree?
After Sahara reacts to tragedy and pressure the same way she always has, both men are at their wits end with her. Thankfully, Sahara seeks counseling. She meets another young man at the hospital and for the first time, Sahara feels capable of having a friend. But, even here things are not all they appear to be.

Meanwhile, Sahara's best friend and Manny's sister, Emily, is getting married!
While this is exciting and Emily is getting to live her dream out, Sahara is once more on the verge of finding peace, until ..... you guessed it- another bombshell.
So, once again Sahara finds herself in limbo. She still can't think things out or find that elusive peace she so longs for until she has the forgiveness she needs from the men in her life.
Thankfully, she makes progress through her therapy in dealing with the past and is able to begin to find closure in those areas of her life. If only her love life would work itself out!!



As with any love triangle, people reading the book will naturally chose a side. It's pretty much unavoidable. I also chose sides, but not until I got about half way through this book. While some may judge Sahara for being indecisive, I understood her completely. She did actually love both men. She also felt things so deeply and had internalized things for so long, she didn't know any other way to cope. But, of course she will really pick one of these guys and for me, although I had the inevitable mixed feelings, I was super happy with the ending.
I strongly recommend that you read the first book so you really understand the characters and why they do the things they do.

Danielle did a great job bringing deeply wounded and flawed characters to a place of hope and healing , back to life and to reality. A really uplifting ending no matter whose team you were cheering for.
Overall this one is an A.

I would like to invite everyone to check out the book release party going one this week for Back to Reality. The blog tours will be going all this week through 12/8/13. Check out my blog post on the 8th at http://www.blogspot.com
WARNING: ADULTS ONLY! These guys are HOT! HOT! HOT! Don't miss it!