Edelweiss

Christmas in Kilts

Christmas in Kilts
Christmas in Kilts

Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday
Flashback Friday

Thursday, June 27, 2013

HOLD CLOSE THE MEMORY


My rating: "http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/623369791">3 of 5 stars
Hold Close the Memory was originally published in the mid eighties. Open Road Media has released the book in digital format with a new nice new  updated cover. I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book and review it. Kim married at eighteen. Brian was the absolute love of her life. She got pregnant accidently soon after the marriage and had twin boys. But, Brian was drafted and went to Vietnam. Before she knew it Kim was a told her husband was dead. A body was brought back and a buried. Kim got a job as a commercial photographer and raised her two boys single handedly. Then she met Keith. After three years of dating, Keith has finally convinced Kim to at least move in with him even though he really wants to them to marry. But, the day before she is set to make the big move, her husband shows up at her house alive and well. The body that had been buried was his army friend. After long months of red tape he was finally declared alive again. Now he wants to meet his boys and resume his marriage to Kim. This theme has been explored countless times. It is always thought provoking. I have to imagine myself in that position. For Kim it was just a shock and frankly Brian didn't really give her a chance to absorb the situation fully before he just barged in and demanded she make a choice between him and Keith. One thing to remember though is that this book was written in the eighties and so some of the male characters in romance novels published in that time would be considered jerks today. So, for me Brian came on way too strong and he was a big fat hypocrite as well. He does soften up a little when Kim confronts him about his actions during the time he was a prisoner in Vietnam and with some of the things he had done when he had returned home as well. To me Brian was wrong in so many ways that I just never warmed up to him. I did try to see things from his perspective and could understand some things, but he had a double standard. Kim never betrayed him because the whole time he was gone she thought he was dead. That should have counted for something in Brian's eyes. But, he never really apologized for the things he did and never even seemed remorseful about it. Kim's situation was much easier to understand and I felt empathy for her. I understood her choice in the end and was hopeful that there was be a HEA for everyone. This was not my favorite Heather Graham novel. It was emotional and made you think about things. I just didn't like the way some things were handled which put a damper on the end result for me. The story is compelling and I do urge you to try out these older titles that are being released in e book form.  Just keep in mind the time period the book was written in and don't let the male attitudes taint the story for you. Overall I would give this one a B-/C+

"http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/5210022-julie">View

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

THE PROPOSAL


My rating: "http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/644131584">4 of 5 stars
First of all I would like to thank the publisher and Library Thing early review program for the beautiful paperback of this re-released Mary Balogh regency period romance. This version has a new cover and inside cover page. This is the first book in the Survivor's Club series. Gwen is a widow and living in relative peace and contentment. She enjoys her extended family and friends and doesn't wish to marry again. When an old friend writes and begs her to visit, Gwen feels empathy for the woman and agrees to stay for a month long visit. But, when she arrives at Vera's she finds her friend bitter and impossible to be around. After a nasty row, Gwen takes a walk along the beach, but the rocks are difficult to move around. She sprains her ankle badly and is unable to walk back to Vera's. Then suddenly a very large, menacing looking man appears and offers her assistance. Hugo has returned to Penderris Hall for his annual retreat with the other members of "The Survivor's Club". He has a great deal on his mind. His father's death a year ago deeply wounded him. He promised to provide an heir and so he feels the time has come to marry. He is also concerned for his sister who should be introduced to young men now and found a favorable match. Hugo is also still dealing with the aftermath of the war and the psychological issues he suffered. He came home a hero and was given a title although he was of the middle classes. When he sees Gwen take a fall on the rocks, he hopes she will be able to recover without his assistance. But, she is obviously unable to walk so he must come to her aid. This meeting sparks an instant attraction. Gwen is unable to return to Vera's under doctors orders and must stay in Penderris Hall until she is able to walk again. Hugo is resentful at first of her presence. He and his friends need this time to discuss their issues and draw strength from each other, but Hugo is distracted by Gwen. He is also uncomfortable around aristocrats and upper classes. So, although the two confess an attraction to each other, Hugo insist their class differences would make a marriage impossible. For the first time is a long while Gwen feels lonely. She feels her life is passing her by. Hugo has only made that feeling worse. She knows they can't marry, but Gwen's brief encounter with Hugo has made her reconsider marriage. Even though Gwen has returned home, she has not seen the last of Hugo. Mary Balogh's regency romances are always a pleasure. Hugo was morose and stern, but his blunt comments were also hilarious. He didn't mince words, which was refreshing. This man had been through hell during the war and would always carry guilt. But, Gwen also carried a great deal of guilt. He husband was ill and she had blamed herself for his death. Gwen and Hugo worked together to help each other overcome the guilt. So, this was a mature and emotional story . We were dealing with very adult issues and while there was humor there was also a sweet story of friendship as well as a bit of saucy lust. A great combination. Mary Balogh has written numerous regency romances and I love the way that she sticks to the authenticity of the period. The classes, the ton, the war, the language and dress of the time and manners are all befitting of this era of time. Her stories always have substance as well. This proves that a great story can be told with sensuality and romance without throwing in language and modern terminology that does not belong in a  historical romance. Overall this one gets an A.

Monday, June 24, 2013

LIE STILL

"http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16099154-lie-still"
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Lie Still by Julia Heaberlin is set for an early July release and is a Bantam publication. Emily and her husband Mike move from New York to Clairmont, Texas. Mike has taken the job of police chief here. Emily is expecting their first child and is constantly on guard because of several previous miscarriages. Her home is still a mess, with boxes unpacked when she is pushed a bit by her husband to accept an invitation to a party by one of the town's wealthiest residents. Emily reluctantly attends and finds herself in a surreal situation. The women attending this gathering are all very well off, dressed to the nines and catty. But, the hostess, Caroline, seems to be all powerful. She holds something over each woman and knows their deepest darkest secrets. As it turns out, Emily has a few of those deep dark secrets and somehow Caroline has found out about them. These are things that even Mike isn't aware of. When Caroline goes missing, there are an abundance of suspects. However, Caroline's disappearance could somehow or other be connected to Emily's past. Caroline, the keeper of others secrets, may have had a few whoppers of her own. For Emily this means opening up a chapter of her life she would rather forget. Emily and her unborn child are at risk from a stalker and maybe even a murderer. As Mike investigates the disappearance of Caroline, Emily begins to look into her past to discover who may have killed the man that raped her and several other girls and to find who is stalking her. She doesn't not know if the past and present are about to collide. This is a taut, dark, edgy mystery suspense novel. I could not put this book down. Once I read the first chapter I was hooked. The story moves fast with one revelation after another until you don't know who can be trusted. Everyone seems to have a sinister quality about them. This town is just plain spooky with some really off the wall characters. The wealthy group of women desperate to be a part of Caroline's club, the Mayor, the other policemen, the people in Emily's past, all have secrets, all have motives, all are not what they appear to be. Emily was a person that was easy to relate to. I felt empathy for her, and admired her courage. I also liked her husband, even at times when he was mad at her or preoccupied with his job. He was blindsided a few times and handled the big reveals from Emily better than I would have. I found myself feeling upbeat about the way things all turned out for Emily. I think that even though this experience was painful, she and Mike are stronger and Emily may now find the peace and closure she badly needed.I'm very impressed with this author and I highly recommend this book. A+ Thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for this digital review copy!

Friday, June 14, 2013

THE HUNTER


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Hunter by Monica McCarty is a Ballantine/Random House publication set for a June 2013 release date. Wow! This was a really good Highlander Historical romance. Ewan Lamont is a proud, honorable member of the Highland Guard. Ewan is determined not to end up like his father, a man that had caused a scandal by marrying for love no matter what the cost. Ewan didn't really think a great deal about women. He was more concerned about preserving his clan and lands that he blamed his father for losing. He was loyal to Bruce and fought the English. But, when he encounters a nun in a dangerous situation, he is determined to see her to a safe place despite her protestations. Along the way he finds himself fighting an attraction to the nun. The two have a hot and cold relationship until they are finally separated. But, the two are destined to encounter each other time and again. Janet has been presumed dead for three years. She wears the disguise of a nun and works as a courier. She fully intends to eventually become a nun so she can continue her work, which she would have to give up if she ever married. To her, marriage was like a death penalty and she intended to avoid it at all cost. That is until she meets Ewan. While both are determined to do their jobs, they find themselves in dire danger from the enemy and from falling in love. Will history repeat itself for Ewan?  This was an absorbing story with intrigue and danger either in the fore front or lurking in the background at all times. The back and forth between Ewan and Janet was sharp and funny and at times emotional. Two very determined adults  have all they hold dear on the line as they fight for their leader and their personal values as well as for the love that is forbidden. I really, really liked this one. You will finish this book with a big smile on your face. I also enjoyed the author's notes at the end which detailed some of the history the story was built around. A+ all the way. Thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for the ARC.

TAKING THE REINS


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Taking the Reins is a Kensington publication. This book was published in Dec. 2012. This is a contemporary western romance written by Kat Murray. I received a copy of this book from the publishers and Netgalley. Peyton is the middle child. Her older brother, Trace is a rodeo star, and her younger sister, Bea is an actress living in California. That means that Peyton has been running the ranch and trying to keep the place profitable. This life is in her blood and she loves it, but when her mother had no head for business and has let the ranch run down. When Sylvia dies in an accident, Peyton learns the true extent of the damage her mother did and not only that, but her father is the only one that left a will. The ranch would be split three ways amongst the children. The ranch really belongs to Peyton and everyone knows it, but she has to contact her siblings and work out the details. Meanwhile her horse trainer is fired and Peyton desperately needs help.  Red is the best trainer around. He has lots of offers and can pick and choose. But, when Peyton approaches him with a job offer, he is stunned. The two don't exactly get along so well. Trace comes home and brings along a child and is mum about the details. He won't discuss the situation about the mother with anyone, but does the best he can to help Peyton and be a good parent. Bea on the other hand come back  and doesn't appear to have matured much over the years. But, she's also at loose ends and she and Peyton start to repair their relationship. Peyton has to live down her mother's reputation and get the ranch back on it's feet. But, her attraction to Red is distracting. She is afraid of getting involved with him for several reasons, but the two just can't seem to keep away from each other. This was a fast, light romance. Nothing too dark or heavy. Red is easy to like and Peyton learns to bite back her pride and to live a little. Trace and Bea will most likely be featured in future books. Both of them remain a bit of a mystery in this book though. Entertaining and enjoyable. Over all a B.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

THE DARK WINTER

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley and the publishers- Blue Rider Press. McAvoy,  works in the North England city of Hull as a Detective Sergeant. While on an outing with his young son, McAvoy witnesses the brutal murder of a young black girl. As a witness and a detective, McAvoy wants to plunge right into the case. But, there are some issues. First of all he is called away to inquire about a man that disappeared on a voyage. This is mere political stuff since the man's sister's husband has some pull. The other issues are that McAvoy is just starting out in this new position. He was at the center of a corrupt police inquiry as the chief whistleblower. In the end, he got left flapping in the wind. So, all he wants at the moment is to put his head down and do whatever is asked of him. But, when his missing persons case, turns into what appears to be a suicide, he begins to see some connection between the murdered girl and this case, as well as other cases where each victim happened to be the sole survivor of a tragic incident .McAvoy is a  wonderful character. He is a large, barrel chested man, with the heart of a tech geek. He is happily married with a small son and another child on the way. He is honest and principled, even when he faces challenges that puts temptation in his face. The mystery is very unique, and you will NOT guess the ending. The secondary characters are also interesting and they all want to crack McAvoy and get him to reveal what happened to him in the past. Hopefully, we will see all these characters again in the near future. I recommend this book to anyone who likes mysteries, especially to those that like British mysteries and detectives.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

THIS TIME FOREVER


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I received this book from Netgalley. This is a digital copy of a book originally published in 1992. This is a Belle Bridge publication. Cleve Black Horse was a one time rodeo champion. But, he had fallen on hard times and was cash strapped. He was traveling to a rodeo in hopes of earning a little money when his truck broke down. He was given a lift by a man and then later after a few bar stops and a few beers they picked up a stranger and the next thing Cleve knows the owner of the truck is dead and stranger is gone and Cleve is the number one suspect. Susan, a nurse, gets selected for jury duty. She is determined to take her job seriously and tries to do what she thinks is the right thing. She is not convinced that Cleve murdered anyone and wants to vote "not guilty". But, she is the only one holding out. Eventually, she is bullied into a guilty vote. Cleve is sentenced to life, then some. But, the paths of these two people are destined to cross again. Susan tries to put the trial behind her. One night an accident victim arrives at the hospital. The young woman is 6 months pregnant. The girl dies, but they are able to save the baby. The baby's only relative is an aunt , Vera, that has a house full of her own kids and off again, on again relationship with her husband. Vera knows that she can not care for a special needs child. So, when Susan becomes attached to Sam, Vera supports her intention of adopting the baby. However, there is a big hitch. The judge on the reservation is adamant that the child be raised by his own people and not a white woman. Vera finally confided to Susan that her sister named Cleve Black Horse as the father of her baby. Now Susan needs to get Cleve to acknowledge the child and help her become Sam's mother. So, Susan begins to visit Cleve in prison. This novel holds nothing back when dealing with the stark realities of prison life, racism, and life on a reservation. Although Cleve and Susan are from vastly different backgrounds, and Susan was partly responsible for Cleve's wrongful imprisonment, the two form a friendship. With little Sam's needs and best interest at the center of their relationship they work together to overcome their fears, learn to accept the hand they were dealt and find love and contentment as well as personal growth and maturity. Sam, Cleve and Susan get their happily ever after, but not all loose ends get tied up, which is more realistic and fits this book's tone. But, have no fear, if you read this book, you will love it. Overall a solid A

Friday, June 7, 2013

THE 1ST VICTIM


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The 1st Victim by Tami Hoag is published by Penguin Group. This is a short story/novella that is the prelude to The Ninth Girl scheduled for release sometime this summer. Sam Kovac and his partner Nikki Liska get a call about a body found on the side of the road on New Years Day. Jane Doe has apparently never been reported missing. Meanwhile a mother in another state is frantic that she hasn't heard from her daughter. While she gets the run around from the cops, Jeannie Reiser knows deep down that something has happened to her daughter. Set in the frigid atmosphere of winter in Minneapolis, the detectives find two odd details. One is the killer seems to strike around a holiday and that he seems to be killing in more than one state. This novella sets the stage for what appears to be a long, gut wrenching investigation. The killer is depraved and clever. I love the novels of Tami Hoag. This one is a little bit on the dark side. I'm looking forward to the upcoming full length novel featuring Kovan and Liska. Thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for the digital ARC of this book. Over all an A

Thursday, June 6, 2013

EVIDENCE OF LIFE

5 of 5 stars
This book was provided for me by Harlequin MIRA and Edelweiss. The book was published in March 2013. This book is a thriller/mystery with just a mild touch of romance.  Abby's daughter Lindsey and her husband Nick head off to Hill Country in Texas for a camping trip. Abby is looking forward to a little time to herself. But, when her daughter calls from a gas station sounding scared and crying, and then is disconnected, Abby panics. Heavy rains have fallen in Hill Country causing flooding and people died. All those were eventually accounted for except for Nick and Lindsey. Now Abby is having a terrible time coming to terms with the situation. She falls into a black depression, unable to even function. Her mother, mother-in-law , her son Jake, and her good friend Kate all try to be supportive, but they want Abby to give up hope of ever finding out what happened to Nick and Lindsey. <br />Nick is an enigma. He is a principled lawyer, but is also under suspicion of embezzlement. He had been under a lot of pressure before he took off on the camping trip. The cops seem to be treating this disappearance a little differently even though Nick had been cleared of a all charges. Jake is Abby's college aged son. He and Nick were at odds with each other over Jake's career choices. Jake is so worried about his mother but he is also an enigma. Does he know more than he is telling his mom? This storyline is always absorbing for me. When someone disappears without a trace and the family is left in a kind of limbo wondering if they should move on, but unable to without knowing what happened one way or the other. While Nick's law firm is ready to take measures to move on without Nick and Nick's mother also wishing to have some kind of memorial service for her son, Abby resist taking these measures because it would be admitting they were dead. It would be incredibly hard to give up on your husband and daughter even when the evidence is making it clear that something bad happened and they aren't coming back. Nick harbored many secrets and now everyone is Abby's life seems to hold a piece to the puzzle, but unable or unwilling to help her find closure, while pressuring her at the same time to move forward and start a new life for herself. The story peels back a layer at a time the relationship between Abbey and her husband and the friendship between herself and Kate and the situation with Nick's law firm. The story has an unsettling atmosphere. The weird way people treat Abby, her son's support, then his withdrawal. The secrets Nick had, the police investigation, the reporter stalking Abby, and Abby's flashbacks of her life with Nick and her past with Kate had me riveted. I rarely ever let a book keep me up late at night unable to  let it go until the next day, but his one did. I just couldn't stop until I knew what had happened to Lindsey and Nick. The ending is shocking and I never saw it coming.  I would recommend this book to lovers of mystery, suspense and psychological suspense. A+

Monday, June 3, 2013

THE MYSTERY OF MERCY CLOSE


My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes is an Adult Viking publication. The is the fifth Walsh Family novel.This book centers on Helen Walsh. Helen is going through a really hard time. The economy is forcing folks to cut back and people are not calling of private detectives much these days. Her once thriving detective business has come to a halt. She loses her apartment and must move back home with her elderly parents. Helen has a nice boyfriend, but their relationship is complicated by an ex-wife that still comes and goes like she still lives with him and his three children. When Jay, Helen's ex-boyfriend, shows up wanting to hire her to find a missing person, Helen can not refuse that kind of money. So, she starts work on locating Wayne- "The Wacky One", a former member of a wildly popular boy band called Laddz. It seems the group is reforming for a one time reunion show, but Wayne is AWOL. The other members of the band are all desperate to find Wayne because if the show doesn't happen they will all lose a lot of money. Helen hits one brick wall after another searching for Wayne. But, it's particularly hard on Helen because she is suffering from a recurrence of clinical depression. She fights hard to overcome her urges of suicide and seeks help, but the illness is nearly debilitating at times.The backstory of Helen and Jay's relationship keeps us wondering what went wrong between them and if Helen still has feelings for him. Helen also begins spending a great deal of time at Wayne's house, feeling some sort of a connection with him.I loved the setting- Ireland. The humor mixed in with the dark depths of an uncomfortable topic was pulled off with aplomb. There were some laugh out loud moments, and some poignant moments as well as a compelling mystery. This a unique novel. I have not read any of the other Walsh Family novels, but I would like to some time in the future. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC of this book. Overall an A-

Saturday, June 1, 2013

THE COUNTERFEIT PROPOSAL/ THE NOTORIOUS RAKE BY MARY BOLOGH


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Thanks to Librarything and the publishers for the early review copy of this book. This is a re-issue of two of Mary Balogh's best loved novels, together in one volume. The first novel is The Counterfeit Betrothal. This book was originally released in 1992, I believe. This is an ageless and timeless novel. Lady Sophia loudly and proudly proclaims to a group of her closest friends that she will never, under any circumstances, marry. When pressed about this by her friends, she gives them the example of her own parents failed marriage. This conversation leads the group to concoct a plan that would bring Lady Sophia's parents together for the first time in fourteen years. What is the plan? Lady Sophia and her childhood tormentor, Lord Francis Sutton, a man with  a wild reputation, will pretend to be madly in love and on the verge of a betrothal. Olivia and Marc separated fourteen years ago after a betrayal on Marc's part that drove a wedge between them that could not be overcome. Eventually, they decided on a marriage in name only. Now their daughter is about to make the same mistake they made, by getting married too young. So, the parents agree to meet with their daughter together to take measure of the situation. This is two love stories in one. The light, fun and silly young couple and the more mature couple dealing with pain and heartbreak. Will Sophia's plan work? A classic regency romance. The young couple are getting themselves deeper and deeper into the pretend relationship until they begin to feel trapped into actually going through with a wedding. In the meantime, Olivia and Marc find they are still attracted to each other and are still in love, but after fourteen years they do not know if they can ever come together again. I LOVE this story! It's sweet, emotional and funny at times. It's regency romance at it's best. The second story is "The Notorious Rake". In this novel we meet Lady Mornington again. She plays a role in the first novel, but we never really get to know her. Mary is mourning the loss of her close friendship with Marc. She is lonely. After accepting an invitation to a social event, she finds herself caught out in a storm with the most notorious rake there ever was, Lord Edmond Waite. As they seek shelter, Mary is overcome with her fear of storms and Lord Waite is only too happy to offer comfort.<br />After the storm clears and they are back in their own homes, Mary hopes that will be the end of it, but Lord Waite experienced something with Mary he had never felt before. He is determined to win her over. Mary on the other hand longs not to be someone's mistress, but to have a stable, respectable marriage, and maybe even start a family. So, she begins a courtship with a Viscount. But, when she is placed in a weeklong birthday celebration with Lord Waite, she learns some terrible truths about Lord Waite's past that has her thinking of him in a new way. This is another wonderful regency period romance of a mature nature. The terrible tragedy that haunts Lord Waite is a sad and emotional story that will tug at the heart strings. Will Mary be able to help him put the past behind him and look to the future with hope and promise? Mary Balogh is the queen of regency! No one does it better. A+ all the way!