Beach House for Rent

Beach House for Rent
Beach House for Rent by Mary Alice Monroe

Saturday's Series Spotlight

Saturday's Series Spotlight
Saturday's Series Spotlight

Thursday, October 31, 2013

SMALL HAND AND DOLLY- TWO CLASSIC NOVELLAS BY SUSAN HILL


Small Hand and Dolly are two novella ghost stories from Susan Hill. This book is a Random House publication. This is a September 2013 release. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

The first story is about a rare and antique book dealer that takes a wrong turn. He sees a white house with what had once been beautiful gardens. He knows it's unlikely anyone lives there, but he approached the house hoping someone could give him directions. It is at this time he feels a small hand in his.
The sensation of feeling this child's hand in his begins to occur from time to time and starts to impact the man's life. He is obsessed with relocating the house and putting to rest the reason he is being haunted.

The second story deals with a pair of cousins that are forced as children, for one reason or other to live with their aunt. Now, the cousins are adults and have been informed their elderly aunt has passed away. So they return to the house of their childhood. Memories surface regarding the wish for a certain type of doll and receiving another one instead. It seems that the aunt and the doll are not too happy about being mistreated.

Just in time for Halloween the queen of ghost stories, Susan Hill, gives us two spine tingling stories to read on a cold winter night.
Both of these tales are set in Britain and have the tone of British ghost stories. The first story was a the better one in my opinion. The second story did have a couple of twist , but it wasn't really a GHOST story per se. I suppose it could be called a haunting.
Either way, these stories are short and just right for getting into the Halloween spirit or if you are just in the mood for a good ghostly yarn.
Overall this one is a B.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

THE LAST NIGHT IN THE VIPER ROOM


Last Night in the Viper Room: River Phoenix and the Hollywood He Left Behind by Gavin Edwards is a Harper Collins Publication and was released in October 2013. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.


IF THE SKY THAT WE LOOK UPON SHOULD TUMBLE AND FALL

"Chris Chambers was the leader of our gang, and my best friend. He came from a bad family, and everybody knew he'd turn out bad- including Chris."

That was Richard Dreyfuss, narrating as the adult Gordie Lachance, described the character in Stand by Me that made River Phoenix a star.


Last Night at the Viper Room is the story of River Phoenix. His unconventional upbringing, his real passion for music, and then fame and fortune, and death at the age of 23.

River was actually his given name. His parents were in a hippie religious cult and their kids were totally cut off from society as most people knew it. River was eight years old and still had never attended school. He never did really attend a regular school. He didn't watch television or have the experiences most of us have growing up. He adhered to his parent's strict vegan diet and was an animal rights activist.

Music was always River's first love and passion. Acting came along and he didn't take it all that seriously at first. He was his family's bread winner and acting was just a means to an end.
River always had a band going and had even carried his guitar with him to the Viper Room the night he died.

As his acting skills developed and he became more famous, it went without saying that River was heading for big things in his acting career. He really did have a natural ability as an actor. At the time of his death he was just on the cusp of really breaking loose.
But, the more money he made and the more people in the entertainment business he rubbed elbows with, the more access to drugs became available. River had maintained his clean living lifestyle up to a point. Once he started using drugs he had no control over his indulgence.

The Viper Room was a famous club on Sunset. It had weathered many changes over the years. The actor, Johnny Depp had a part ownership in the club and basically used it as a VIP club for all his famous friends. The place had a reputation for always having a full house. On any given night you could find Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, or Timothy Leary, or members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, models, actresses, and other entertainment personalities.

On the night in question, River was out with his brother and sister. He was given a drink by a guitarist friend and he swallowed in one gulp. He overdosed on a what is known as a speedball, the same deadly combination of cocaine and heroin that killed comedian John Belushi.

The story is a old one. Young, rich, and independent. The moneymaker for the family, and too many people looking the other way. I don't know if his upbringing or the people he knew through fame and acting were to blame for his downfall into drugs. The shocking allegations regarding the cult his parents were members of would be enough to cause severe damage in anyone. His isolation from society and constant relocation would also make it hard for someone to fit in. Having no real parental supervision, River stayed with other families, looked for a father figure on every job, and longed to be a part of something. Once people surrounding him began to suspect he had a real substance abuse problem, no one wanted to approach him about it, not even his own mother, who appeared more interested in being his manager than his parent.
The night he died, people kept saying someone should call 911. But, they were all assured River was alright, while he was have seizures every twenty seconds and banging his head against the pavement.

This young, beautiful man was just so incredibly talented and had so much promise. Despite his lack of formal education, he was so smart and caught onto things that others couldn't comprehend. Deep down in his soul, he was a good person or wanted to be. His thoughtfulness shone through even when he was out of his mind on drugs.

Anytime I finish reading a book like this, I'm left feeling not only sad, but angry and frustrated. This was a person that people should have been watching. Someone that should never have fallen through the cracks. But, no one had the courage to step up to the plate. Yes, it is said that there were some attempts at interventions, but no one really took those hard steps that you have to with a drug addict, and on the night he died, people basically stood around and watched him die, more worried about saving his reputation as an actor than saving his life.

The layout the author used to tell the story was really unique. I liked that fact that we went chronologically through River's life. It's just easier to see how things evolved that way. But, it was also interesting that the author set the stage for each chapter in River's life by reminding us of what was happening in that time in Hollywood with other young actors. Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Leonardo DiCaprio, Keanu Reeves, and Iona Skye. Also, the music scene was explained since River was often playing music and had a group he played with, and he was friends with Michael Stipe and Flea from The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
River's association with Johnny Depp was minor and the two didn't know each other all that well. The media played up Depp's association with the club when River died on the scene.

The author did fine job of telling this story. Again, it is always important when you take it upon yourself to write this kind of book, to not only do the research and interviews etc. But, also to keep yourself from leaning toward a certain view point. The author kept his own personal viewpoint out of the book and told the story of this young man's tragic life as it should be told.

A very compelling read, and one I recommend to all who like performance arts books, non- fiction, biographies, or are a fan of this era of entertainment or if you would just like to remember River Phoenix.

Overall this one is an A.

       

Monday, October 28, 2013

THE FIRST CASUALTY BY GREGG LOOMIS



The First Casualty by Gregg Loomis is a Mysterious Press/ Open Road Integrated Media publication. The release date is scheduled for November 19th, 2013.

Jason Peters is retired and in hiding. He is trying to relax and focus on his art. But, the truth is: he's bored to death.

When "Momma" finds him and dangles a dangerous mission under his nose, he tries to fight the temptation, but of course loses the battle.

This is a dangerous mission indeed. Jason would like nothing more than to battle Al Qaeda, the people responsible for his wife's death. So, part business and part personal, Jason sets out with an unlikely crew to prevent a laser like "death ray" from shooting down Air Force One. The laser was already responsible for taking down France flight 447. This laser was inspired by Nikola Tesla who had corresponded with J. Edgar Hoover once upon a time.

This is a fast paced thriller, set in unique locations, based on some real life persons and events.

Jason Peters is a funny man is some ways. He has a penchant for having conversations with himself. He has a complicated relationship with a woman, and is torn between the rush of his work and a more traditional family life.

I have heard of the possibility that lasers can be used to target aircraft, causing the plane to crash. I have also heard of Nikola Tesla, who is a real person. The oscillator was real. Just a little food for thought.

I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to those that enjoy thrillers with lots of action and not a great deal of heavy drama and dialogue.
My only issue with the book was that it might have been too rushed in places.
Overall I would give this one a B.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

ROYAL SECRETS BY KATHLEEN IRENE PATERKA

Royal Secrets by Kathleen Irene Paterka is a 2013 release. A copy of this book was provided to me by Victory Editing and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Growing up in Las Vegas, Lily couldn't wait to escape her mother's wedding chapel. But, when she spends a night with her step-father's son, Jack, and winds up pregnant, instead of getting married, Lily leaves for San Diego. Now at forty years old, Lily still clings to her idea of Happily Ever After being a myth and a fairytale.
But, when Lily's daughter, Tori, runs away and heads straight for her grandmother's in Vegas, Lily must go home and get her daughter. But, when she arrives it is only to discover that her mother, Mimi, has had a serious stroke.
Now Lily must try and figure out the shape of the wedding chapel and run a business she loathes with every ounce of her being. She deals with her mother's long time friend and assistant, Francesca who is aging and not able to do as much, and with her former step-father and her daughter's father- Jack.
The Wedding Chapel, with it's history of a royal lineage, is in deep financial straights and Tori wants to restore it to it's former glory. Tori doesn't share in her mother's disdain of all things romantic. Tori, gets her mother and the chapel caught up to the present day by using social media to attract attention to it.
As Mimi begins a long recovery, Lily is anxious to return home and get back to her life. It looks as though that may not happen and she will wind up staying in Vegas to help her mother out of her debt. As a result, Lily is stunned by some shocking revelations. Her entire world shakes on it's axle.
The mother/daughter relationship between Mimi and Lily, and Lily and Tori are examined as each mother did what they felt was right at the time, and each daughter holds resentments toward their mothers. The men in their lives become exasperated with them.
Lily has held on to her cynicism or so long, it's hard for her let go and believe in something she never thought could be true. Will Lily learn to accept her mother and the way she has lived her life, and the secrets she kept? Will she and Tori patch things up ? Will Lily be open to a second chance at love with Jack?
Things don't always turn out like we planned them and sometimes decisions we make in our youth, that we thought were right, turn out later to have some unpleasant consequences. All the characters in this novel have made huge mistakes and errors in judgment in their lives and some hold grudges they have no business holding. But, in the end all the players learn from their mistakes and many wrongs are set right.
This book was hard to categorize for me. It is a romance, but not in the traditional sense. I would have to say it would fall more in the women's fiction genre than any other.
I enjoyed all the dramas and family secrets and I loved the mother/daughter tug of wars on both sides. I give this one a B+

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT AND INTERVIEW WITH CAROL E WYER- AUTHOR OF JUST ADD SPICE

I am thrilled to have Carol E Wyer as my guest today. Carol has agreed to answer a few questions about her new book-  JUST ADD SPICE

1)      In "JUST ADD SPICE", Dawn started trying new things in her forties? What is one new thing you would like to try?
In my forties, I began going through my bucket list and took up many activities including scuba diving, kick boxing and quad biking. In fact, by the end of my forties, I had completed most of my list. However, while researching for one of my books this year; I decided I would like to take up pole dancing, burlesque or tribal belly dancing. I quite fancy the idea of seductively wobbling my ‘bits’ at Hubby while waving a tea towel at him.
2)      Do you think Dawn's situation is common? Do you think women in their forties, especially those in Dawn's situation, find younger men to be a temptation? Why or Why not?
I based the book on conversations I had with my friends of that age. The fact is that they all seemed to find younger men a temptation. (I have to say here that I have always preferred older men, so I am exempt in this discussion!) I know women who have left their husbands of some twenty-five years because they have found life becoming dull with them, and gone off with much younger men. It seems to happen when husbands begin to get grumpy, or start to become ‘difficult’, thanks to their own problems with ageing or facing retirement. Also, women like Dawn, who have spent all their lives looking after families, suddenly feel they are missing something and want to try and find it before it is too late. On a cautious note, this does not always end happily. I spoke to two ladies who have since regretted leaving home and wished they had had the patience to stay with their husbands.
3)      What is the most challenging thing about writing a novel?
Getting it typed up. Hubby insists on interrupting me. He doesn’t get that I need to be left alone...for hours if necessary and seems to think it is perfectly acceptable to wander into the room and talk to me about Global financial markets, the news, or demand that I stop to eat!
4)      Coffee or tea?
I rarely drink coffee. I have one very small cup with breakfast and after that I only drink herbal or green tea, so it has to be tea. Now if you’d written, tea or wine I would have given a very different answer.
5)      Where can readers contact you?
I am to be found almost everywhere on the internet. FB Twitter, Goodreads, Google, Pinterest...the list is endless, but the best way is via my website which has a contact form. I am always delighted to get emails and will happily respond to them. www.carolewyer.co.uk
6)      What are you reading now?
The Facebook Killer. Not my usual sort of book but having written about a Facebook stalker myself in one of my earlier novels I thought I‘d give it a go. I’m finding it a little gory though and having dragged myself through it, shaking and open-mouthed to the last few pages, I have discovered there are another two books in the series to read. I’m not sure that I’ll be getting those.
7)      What are you working on now?
I’ve just completed my second non-fiction book Grumpy Old Menopause which will be released December 1st and am editing some short stories that are about the dark and light side of love entitled Love Hurts. This is a departure for me but the feedback on them has been terrific so I might start writing a psychological thriller when I have finished writing the third Amanda Wilson novel, and the other two projects I am currently working on. (Can’t tell you about those yet as they are top secret!)
8)      Who is your favorite hero?
Snoopy. He was a hero wasn’t he?  He fought The Red Baron in his day dreams. Oh, a sensible hero in a book. Erm! That is difficult. I don’t read a lot of romance. I tend to read thrillers, humorous books,  or French books like La Peste by Camus. Can I pass on that?
9)      When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
The seeds were sown at school because English was my favourite subject but I didn’t think I could be a full-time writer for a career. I wrote stories for children when I was in my twenties. These were set in Casablanca where I was living at the time. I did nothing with them other than read them to friends. Years later, when I was living in France, I again wrote stories for children. This time they set out to teach French. I wrote a series of them and my best friend at the time did the illustrations for them. They were picked up by a big publishing house that was very interested in them. At the eleventh hour when contracts were beginning to be discussed, my friend died unexpectedly. I hadn’t got the heart to publish them without her. It had been a joint venture. I continued to write and there were other non-fiction projects, but it wasn’t until my son left home in 2010 that I started writing full-time when Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines was published. Success and much media attention followed and I got the bug badly. I now try to produce two books a year, one novel and none non-fiction.
10)   Is there a favorite quote you would like to share with us?
I have lots of quotes and if you read my blog Facing 50 with Humour on a Friday you will always find jokes and a quote. At the moment my favourite is “Smile while you still have teeth!”


  
Biography
Carol E. Wyer is an ex-teacher and linguist who used to tear around the streets of Casablanca on a VĂ©loSoleX avoiding donkeys.
Nowadays she has calmed down a little and is currently living in rural Staffordshire but is ensuring that her fifties are fab not drab.
A regular blogger and social networking addict, she is currently working on a series of novels which take a humorous look at getting older.
To learn more about Carol, go to www.carolewyer.co.uk or follow Carol on Twitter: @carolewyer. Carol blogs at www.facing50withhumour.com

Thank you so much for taking time out to answer a few questions for us today.
JUST ADD SPICE is available in the Amazon kindle store. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E4L8U7Q

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

MURDER ON CUE BY JANE DENTINGER


Murder on Cue by Jane Dentinger was originally released in 1992. This book is now in digital format and is an Open Road Integrated Media publication. I receive a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher and Netgalley.

Jocelyn O'Roarke is called up to be the understudy in a new Broadway play. The cast in the play is plagued by past relationships, jealousy, health issues, and a lead actress that isn't the best actress for the role.

When the actress turns up dead, it is determined that it was murder. Jocelyn is the number one suspect since she was the actresses rival for the role.
So, Jocelyn sets out to find out what really happened, with the help of a handsome detective.

This mystery is written like a classic whodunit. All those associated with play are suspects. This mystery does keep you guessing. Although written a good while back, it's not all that dated, and the setting is fun.
For me the only issue was that were maybe too many characters and some aspects of the mystery didn't really come together in the end.
This book would appeal to cozy mystery lovers, and lovers of old fashioned whodunit type mysteries. Overall this one gets a B-

THIS IS RAGE BY KEN GOLDSTEIN

This is Rage: A Novel of Silicon Valley and Other Madness by Ken Goldstein is a Storyplant publication and was released in October 2013. I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

"You kidnapped two of the most important rising star technology executives in the world, but you never meant to, it just kind of happened. You accidentally shot one in the leg, that would be Stephen J. Finkelman- and by the way, listening audience, that is breaking news, which is how you ended up at this hospital in Salinas, California, which was accurately reported by one of my callers on yesterday's show. Now you are surrounded by FBI agents, backed up by police from five area counties, and you think somehow this ends okay for you."

Dennis Swerlow and Sam Kisinski are two men just wanting to succeed. So far, they haven't had much luck, so they decided to kidnap a wealthy company owner to ransom him for enough money to start their own company. This plan goes awry and the men wind up kidnapping Steven Finkleman and Calvin Choy, two star CEO's of Envisionlink.

Enter Kimo Balthazer, a washed up radio talk show host. He just happens to be at the right place at the right time, and becomes an internet radio sensation thanks to his managing to open communications with the kidnappers.

Meanwhile, an attempted merger between Envisionlink and Atom Heart Entertainment, a merger of old and new money, is put on hold. Employees at Envisionlink worried about layoffs and the direction the company has gone since they obtained an IPO, begin to walk off the job, this causes the stock market to react, causing politicians to get involved, along with the FBI, and Kimo's long time producer and countless other disgruntled employees all over the country.
Everyone begins posturing to make the outcome of this work out in their best interest, while the country, tuning in to Kimo's radio show, are actually rooting for the kidnappers and show no empathy for the two super wealthy CEO's being held at gunpoint.
In fact, this situation is all but forgotten in the wake of walkouts and the stock market issues.

This novel is a wild ride. Many have obviously taken the novel at face value and read it as a crime thriller. That's fine, but I thought this novel screamed SATIRE. Tongue in cheek, parody and a searing look at big business in America.
The author knows his stuff. He sees human nature, the nature of business, and system's major flaws. The major gap between employees and the CEO's, the role the media plays in our lives, the attitude of the average American toward big business and the complete burn out they experience. The ineptness of law enforcement, the Washington politicians that are totally out touch, and the obvious lesson that business has no conscience. When all is said and done, did anything really change? Was a new precedent set?
There were so many things happening at once in this novel. At times it was just a little too busy. Too many events and too many people getting involved. It was also a healthy 500 + pages long.
This was a really unique novel, written by someone obviously attuned to both sides of the coin, and turning it into pure entertainment. No punches were pulled. People were portrayed quite honestly, making the whole thing seem very plausible. I could see something like this really happening.
I could recommend this book at all lovers of fiction, faction, satire, and thrillers.
Overall this one gets an A.


This is Rage: A Novel of Silicon Valley and Other Madness by Ken Goldstein is a Storyplant publication and was released in October 2013. I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

"You kidnapped two of the most important rising star technology executives in the world, but you never meant to, it just kind of happened. You accidentally shot one in the leg, that would be Stephen J. Finkelman- and by the way, listening audience, that is breaking news, which is how you ended up at this hospital in Salinas, California, which was accurately reported by one of my callers on yesterday's show. Now you are surrounded by FBI agents, backed up by police from five area counties, and you think somehow this ends okay for you."

Dennis Swerlow and Sam Kisinski are two men just wanting to succeed. So far, they haven't had much luck, so they decided to kidnap a wealthy company owner to ransom him for enough money to start their own company. This plan goes awry and the men wind up kidnapping Steven Finkleman and Calvin Choy, two star CEO's of Envisionlink.

Enter Kimo Balthazer, a washed up radio talk show host. He just happens to be at the right place at the right time, and becomes an internet radio sensation thanks to his managing to open communications with the kidnappers.

Meanwhile, an attempted merger between Envisionlink and Atom Heart Entertainment, a merger of old and new money, is put on hold. Employees at Envisionlink worried about layoffs and the direction the company has gone since they obtained an IPO, begin to walk off the job, this causes the stock market to react, causing politicians to get involved, along with the FBI, and Kimo's long time producer and countless other disgruntled employees all over the country.
Everyone begins posturing to make the outcome of this work out in their best interest, while the country, tuning in to Kimo's radio show, are actually rooting for the kidnappers and show no empathy for the two super wealthy CEO's being held at gunpoint.
In fact, this situation is all but forgotten in the wake of walkouts and the stock market issues.

This novel is a wild ride. Many have obviously taken the novel at face value and read it as a crime thriller. That's fine, but I thought this novel screamed SATIRE. Tongue in cheek, parody and a searing look at big business in America.
The author knows his stuff. He sees human nature, the nature of business, and system's major flaws. The major gap between employees and the CEO's, the role the media plays in our lives, the attitude of the average American toward big business and the complete burn out they experience. The ineptness of law enforcement, the Washington politicians that are totally out touch, and the obvious lesson that business has no conscience. When all is said and done, did anything really change? Was a new precedent set?
There were so many things happening at once in this novel. At times it was just a little too busy. Too many events and too many people getting involved. It was also a healthy 500 + pages long.
This was a really unique novel, written by someone obviously attuned to both sides of the coin, and turning it into pure entertainment. No punches were pulled. People were portrayed quite honestly, making the whole thing seem very plausible. I could see something like this really happening.
I could recommend this book at all lovers of fiction, faction, satire, and thrillers.
Overall this one gets an A.

Monday, October 21, 2013

THE WARRIOR'S WIFE BY DENISE DOMNING


The Warrior's Wife by Denise Domning is a Medieval historical romance, originally published by Avon under the title The Warrior's Damsel. The book has been reissued under this title- The Warrior's Wife and is published by Steel Magnolia Press.

Kate's sire is practically obsessed with finding a match for his widowed daughter.
There are several choices available, but it never crossed his mind that Kate would find Rafe Godsol to be the one she wished to marry. The Godsol family and the Daubney family were mortal enemies. The lands of Glevering were stolen from the Godsol's by the Daubney's. If Rafe could win Kate over, the land would belong to the Godsol's once more. He is encouraged by his family to pursue her on these grounds.

This is a "Romeo and Juliet" type setting. Kate is treated very poorly by her father, who will get rid of her as quickly as possible and to the highest bidder.
Kate thought she may be married to her father's steward, a man she thought was honorable. But, the sinful passion she feels for Rafe, keeps her confused.
Kate is in constant danger from many men. She suffers a great deal at their hands. Her only hope is to somehow escape with Rafe. But, does Rafe love her or is he just after revenge against her family?
Will Kate escape the fate her father has arranged for her?

I love medieval historical romances. This one was probably an accurate portrayal of how vulnerable women were in those days to the whims of men. Thankfully, Kate had a good friend and some people looking out for her.
Kate's experiences with men had thinking all men were horrible and that intimacy was never pleasant for women, only men.
I couldn't help but feel sorry for women that lived in that period. Many of them probably had the same experiences Kate did. Thankfully, this Romeo and Juliet story has a much happier ending. Overall I give this one an A.
This novel is the first in a trilogy and I am looking forward to reading the other two.
This book and many other of Denise's backlist are now being released in digital format by Steel Magnolia Press and are available in the Amazon Kindle Store.

THE LAST LORD OF PARADISE BY VIVIAN LEMAY



The Last Lord of Paradise by Vivian Lemay is a self published short story originally published in 2011.
This is a historical novella. The focus of this first part of a continuing saga, on Jeanne and Anton.

Jeanne, at the ripe old age of sixteen is allowed to marry Anton before he goes off to war. But once the war is ended, Anton does not return home. He is gone for nine long years. At last, Jeanne is reunited with Anton, and at first it was like the years had melted away. Anton is the leader of a small community and he hopes he and Jeanne will have be able to begin a family. But, Jeanne learns some disturbing things about her husband and is beginning to hear her name on the wind at odd moments.

This idea of a continuing a saga in parts is a good idea. I like the concept. There is a very vivid and atmospheric quality to the writing that opens up the minds eye and we are find ourselves in the mist hearing Jeanne's name being called out.
A feeling that something isn't right with Anton prevails. Why didn't he come for his young wife after the war? Why has he started up this township?
A series of events finally opens Anton's eyes, but by this time will it be too late?
This book is historical fiction, but also has a strong paranormal element to it as well.
I enjoyed the author's writing style and I am interested in continuing with the series. It's very different and unique, the author certainly has a good imagination.
Over all a good solid A.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

JUST ADD SPICE BY CAROL E WYGER



Just add Spice by Carol E. Wyer is a 2013 publication. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Dawn's husband Jim, was forced into retirement. Their only son is beginning his life on his own and may even be about to pop the question to his girlfriend.
The long, comfortable relationship Dawn and Jim had has become increasingly strained. Jim is miserable now that he no longer has a job.
Dawn on the other hand is beginning to enjoy a new time in her life when she is able to explore her love of writing and has decided to get her body in shape.
A character in the novel Dawn is writing, Cinnamon, is always in Dawn's ear. As Dawn takes writing and exercise classes, deals with her marriage and stepping out of her comfortable life, Cinnamon sort of cheers her on or plays devil's advocate.

The story alternates between Dawn's real life world and the fictional world of Cinnamon. Of course there just so happens to be a similarities between Dawn's life and Cinnamon's. Will reality and fantasy collide?

This is a really unique story about a woman in her forties, going through some difficult changes. Her life had been at least contented until Jim lost his job. She raised her son, took care of her home, enjoyed her own company and looked after her dad.
But, now her husband is an old grouch, and her son doesn't need her anymore. She doesn't have any close friends to talk to. So, she escapes into the novel she is writing. Taking her classes introduces her to a new people and encourages her to continue with her hope of finishing her novel. She even attracts the attention of a younger man, who becomes a real temptation to Dawn, especially given the circumstances of her home life.

I think the story is one many women can relate to. Having your husband under your feet after retirement can be a shock. Men in particular seem to have trouble adjusting to those life changes, but when it's forced on you, it's really hard to take. Dawn finds that she and her husband don't really have that much in common anymore and now the cracks are starting to show.
After her son has moved into adulthood, Dawn is forced to examine herself and isn't really all that happy with what she sees. Instead of moping and falling into a depression, she sets out to discover who she is now and where her future will lie. Some of those things are decided for her, but Dawn proves to be resilient. We know that both Dawn and Cinnamon are fighters and will both will survive, and maybe they can still have a much deserved HEA. Overall I think this in a B+

Thursday, October 17, 2013

THE GORDONSTON LADIES DOG WALKING CLUB BY DUNCAN WHITEHEAD








The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club by Duncan Whitehead, is a short novel that sort of defies a specific genre. I suppose one could place it in the mystery suspense thriller group and be OK. But, there is touch of satire thrown in as well.
This book has about 196 pages, and I believe the publisher is Dog Ear Publishing and is a 2012 copyright.

Gordonston is a nice neighborhood in Savannah. On the surface it's a place anyone would feel comfortable living in. There's a nice park where on any given day you can see the citizens walking their dogs. You might notice three older middle aged women, sipping cocktails out of paper cups and enjoying each other's company while they gossip and let their dogs play.

However, appearances can be deceiving. These lovely ladies just lost one of their best friends to cancer.
Other residents of this quite neighborhood have their own problems as well. Doug and Veronica are having money problems. Tom and Kelly are just too good to be true, both beautiful and healthy and in love, until Kelly wins a trip to Paris and Tom can't go.

Elliot just lost his wife,Thelma, to cancer and his running for mayor. He's worried about something from his past coming out before the election.

Then there is a gentleman that refuses to pick up after his dog after walking him in the park.
The ladies vow they will have address this issue.

Slowly, we see this idealistic, charming neighborhood become a hot bed of jealousy, greed, dark secrets, lies, and maybe even murder.

I had no idea what to expect when I started reading this novel. This is I believe the first novel for this author and if that's true, then I'm impressed.
No one is what they appear to be on the surface and I promise you will never figure out what is going to happen next. Dark humor and quirky characters, twist and turns abound.
The tension builds to a climax that you never see coming.
This is a unique, imaginative story, very different from anything I have read in while.
I recommend this on for those who love a good satire, mystery , and a litte dark humor. Overall I would give this one a B.
Thanks Netgalley for the the ARC




















Wednesday, October 16, 2013

WILDEST DREAMS BY JENNIFER BLAKE



Wildest Dreams by Jennifer Blake is a 1992 publication.
What a great story. Joletta has her world turned upside down when her fiancee decides he's not ready for marriage after all and then her grandmother dies suddenly, taking with her the formula for their most famous perfume. Joletta' s relatives are dying to get their hands on the formula so they can sell it to a large cosmetic company, making them quite wealthy. But, Joletta doesn't want to sell and her grandmother left her an old journal written by one of their ancestors that might hold a clue about the formula. So, Joletta sets off to Europe hoping to research the places in the journal . She soon finds she has a lot of familiar company.
Rone meets Joletta in New Orleans. He then follows her to Europe. Joletta begins to care for Rone, but he has a secret that will have to come out. When it does , Joletta will not feel the same about him.
As Joletta travels through Europe, she constantly refers to the journal written by her great, great, great, etc. grandmother, Violet. We are taken back in time to Violet' s dull marriage and an illicit affair which leads to the discovery of the now famous perfume and an epic love story.
We switch back and forth between past and present . The two stories parallel each other. Both women are let down by men , both women are put in grave danger ,and both women find true love.
I wish there were more stories like this one. Overall a A.
This book is now in digital format, available at Amazon.com. The url for this book and for other Steel Magnolia publications is : http://www.smarturl.it/SMP
 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

THE CURSE OF MALENFER MANOR BY IAIN MCCHESNEY

The Curse of Malenfer Manor by Iain McChesney, is a 2013 release and is published by Wayzgoose publishing. I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Irish mercenary, Dermont Ward, watches his best friend Arthur Malenfer, die during World War one. Consumed by guilt for not being able to do more, Dermont has taken to drink and hasn't been able to settle.
When he sees Arthur again he thinks he's gone mad. But, Arthur's ghost is there and he needs Ward's help.
Ward is to return to Malenfer Manor, Arthur's home, and meet with his surviving family and issue proof that Arthur was the father to twin boys that grew up at the Manor. Arthur's father had discreetly taken care of the situation when the boys were born and their mother died in childbirth.
With the only male heir having recently died of the Spanish flu, Arthur's boys could inherit. If not, the bulk of the inheritance would go to the lovely Simonne, the odd young woman that is Arthur's niece. If that weren't sticky enough there appears to be a curse on the Malenfer family, especially the males in the family. If it is revealed that the twins are in fact Arthur's, they could become another victim to the curse.
Ward, finds himself in the middle of a family grieving the loss of a family member, reeling from Ward's bombshell announcement, and the domino effect that causes. He also becomes attached to Simmonne. This beautiful young lady seems to have the ability to sense things and see things that border on the paranormal. She enlightens Ward on the subject of the infamous family curse, some who believe in and others that do not.

All I can say about his book is right now, as I have just finished it, is Wow! This is my kind of book !!!! Finally, an author that can right Gothic mystery like it should be written. All the rules of Gothic mystery were adhered to. There is the old manor house, dark family secrets and relationships, a young women in danger, and a ghost story, plus a murder mystery and romance!!!
Terrific writing! This author knows how to weave a tale, let me tell you. Historically, the book is well researched, the dialogue fits the period of 1900's France. The atmosphere is palpable, tense, suspenseful, and at times heavy with gloom. There is a sadness that dwells in this manor and we can feel it.
Ward is able to see the situation from a neutral standpoint, well, to a degree. His love for Simonne, and his guilt over Arthur's death has him beating himself up, but as far as the mystery goes, Ward is able to where the real danger is and prevents further injustices. Could this be the end of the Malenfer curse? Could over a hundred years of back luck finally be over for this family?
Well, you will just have to read this book to find out. I for one was completely engaged, finding it hard to stop reading it.
This book will appeal to mystery lovers, paranormal fans, horror fans, and historical fiction fans. For those like me, that have a passion for Gothic mysteries, this is a true masterpiece. I Loved, Loved, Loved it!!! Please write more like these Iain!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

HUNTED BY EMLYN REES

Hunted by Emlyn Rees is a Witness Impulse publication, originally published in 2011. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Daniel is a former CIA operative, now freelancing his unique services. Seven years ago his life was forever changed by the murder of his wife and son. His daughter, Lexie, is the only family he has left. At sixteen, Lexie is attending an exclusive private school in London.

Daniel receives a job prospect and also heads to the UK. However, things go awry when it appears his contact set him up. Now Daniel is on the run and being hunted by Russian terrorist. Daniel only manages to escape because of the help of his long time sidekick, a guy known as "the kid".
Things go from bad to worse when Daniel becomes not only hunted by the Russians, but all of London when his face is flashed all over the television. This development puts his daughter in the direct line of fire. Now Daniel is not only desperate to save his own life, but the one person in this world that he loves more than anything or anyone, his daughter.

To say this thriller is fast paced would be a disservice. It's more like maybe you should wear a neck brace so you don't get whiplash.

The suspense and action are not stop, and the twist and turns will have you holding on for dear life.
Not only that, but we are taken back in time seven years, through flashbacks as Daniel recalls the situation that got his wife and son murdered, how it was the he became somewhat estranged from Lexie. As he relives the agony of being helpless to save his wife and son, we are also drawn to Daniel's humanity and are not only caught up in the plot, but rooting for Daniel and Lexie. It is making sure he doesn't let Lexie down that keeps Daniel motivated throughout.

I highly recommend this book to lovers of suspenseful, on the edge of your seat, action thrillers.
Just be ready for the adrenaline rush!
Overall a good solid A.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

BRIDE OF A STRANGER BY JENNIFER BLAKE- CLASSIC GOTHICS COLLECTION

 

Bride of a Stranger by Jennifer Blake

by
          
Bride of a Stranger by Jennifer Blake was originally published in 1990. This book is now available in digital format and is published by Steel Magnolia Press LLC.
This book is part of the Gothic Classics Collection.

Living in New Orleans, Claire has her life planned. Although there has been no formal announcement, it is common knowledge that she will marry her cousin, eventually.
However, when a dark, disfigured man of wealth and mystery sees Claire at a gathering, he makes Claire's aunt an offer she can't refuse. Claire now has no other choice but to marry Justin.

Justin was scarred as a child by a cousin, leaving him with a "C" shaped scar on his face. But, Justin runs a plantation and is wealthy and powerful with a sinister reputation. When he sees Claire, he knows instantly that he must have her.

Claire moves to Justin's plantation home, leaving behind New Orleans. Before they arrive however, there is a near fatal accident and Claire spends her first months in bed recovering from her injuries. But, she is also ill and can't see to gain strength.
Voodoo and Justin's strange family relations, keeps Claire in a nervous state, believing that someone is poisoning her and she believes her new husband is also a murderer.

Determined to keep Justin at arms length, Claire refused to accept her attraction to this man that forced her into marriage.

Written in true southern Gothic style, Jennifer Blake combines the traditional Gothic elements with the cultural history of Louisiana. Voodoo, magic, quadroon mistresses, arranged marriages, family secrets, and large plantations create the backdrop of mystery and romance.
Anyone that knows me, will tell you that if a novel has the word "Gothic" attached to it in any way, I'm all over it.
Jennifer Blake is a favorite author of mine, but I had no idea this book was out there. Thankfully, Steel Magnolia Press has re-released a sizable backlist of these books in digital format.

The more modern reader may not appreciate this type of novel, having completely missed out on the Gothic mystery/romance rage so very popular in the 1960's and 70's. Blake puts her own stamp on the genre by using the Gothic 'rules', but instead of a creepy castle or mansion, the setting is in the south on a large plantation home. But, the sinister occupants of the house with their many secrets and hidden resentfulness and motives, on top of the accurate depictions of voodoo rituals and beliefs make this take on the Gothic novel really unique.
I'm really glad I was able to get this one for my kindle. I don't know if you can still get the old paperback version anywhere, so thankfully we can still read these classics.
Overall this one gets an A.
http://smarturl.it/smp for more great novels from Steel Magnolia Press.

SAHDOWLAND BY C.M GRAY- A TALE FROM THE DARK AGES

Shadowland by C.M. Gray

by
          
Shadowland by C.M. Gray is a self published novel released in February 2012.

People have gathered together on a Winter's Eve to hear a fantastical tale woven by an old man adept at story telling. Before he can get started, a visitor arrives and sets the old man on a different course, telling a true story instead of a made up story.

Two teenage boys, Usher and Cal, witness the burning of their village and countless deaths. Vowing revenge, they meet up with Merlyn and the battle begins that will lead to one of them becoming a king.

For most of those gathered to listen to the old man tell a story, it's just that- a story. But, something magical is taking place and will lead us to a surprising end.

There are breaks in the story as we return from the dark ages, back to the gathering and the old man. As the story develops it becomes clear that the man telling this story was the king and he had a son named Arthur. But, the old man's memory is just now coming back to these events as he tells his story.
This is the story of the epic battles between Britons and Saxons, the magic of the druids, wolf shapes shifters, and the beginning of a new age for the Britons.
The author does a wonderful job of putting us in the middle of the dark ages. I could feel the cold and damp, see the mist, and fog, imagine the characters as they face fear with courage and honor. This book had been promoted as YA, but I think this book would appeal to all readers that enjoy historical fantasy and especially those that like the round table type fantasy tales.

Overall this is a B+

Monday, October 7, 2013

IN TOO DEEP BY BEA DAVENPORT

In Too Deep by Bea Davenport is a Legend Press publication and was released in the summer of 2013. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Maura and Nick live in the small town of Dowerby. Things are underway for the annual Dowerby Fair. One of the traditions of the fair is a medieval tradition that only women are subject to and that is a dunking booth. Nick is very involved in the planning of the fair. Maura is offended by the dunking but she is just blown off by the committee.
When a young, attractive reporter, Kim Carter, moves to town, she turns Maura and Nick's conventional life on it's ear.
Maura who has never connected with the people in Dowerby, makes an instant friend out of Kim. The two of them couldn't be more different. But, Kim sees the reality of Maura's life better than Maura. Kim helps Maura get a job and begins helping to advance herself.
Maura is also the mother of a young daughter and is beginning to have a very strained marriage. Her time with Kim is most fun she sees in life.

But, Kim is not all that popular in Dowerby. She is too open minded, to unconventional, too attractive, too outspoken and too career minded. Even Maura has a hard time with Kim's lifestyle and attitudes at times.
But, when life is really looking up for Kim, a terrible thing happens and Maura feels responsible and also feels like she could be in danger. There are people, including her husband, who do not want Maura telling her side of the story.
Maura feels as though she has no choice but to go into hiding, leaving her daughter behind.

Now five years after the events in Doweby, a reporter has found Maura. Once more she finds her life turned around.

Told from Maura's point of view, we alternate between the past and the present as she tell how she met Kim, got a job, her marriage issues, and the Dowerby fair. We then fast forward to current events and Maura deals with being found by Paul, a reporter that claims to have new information that could help Maura reunite with her daughter, Rose. But does she dare trust him? Could he lead Nick to her? Was it really possible that she could be a mother to Rose again?

The writing style is very unique in this novel. The author manages to build suspense at a slow pace that keeps you turning pages, impatient to find out how Maura's life came to this point and what has her feeling so guilty and so afraid.
The witch dunking is an actual event in fairs and this tradition was based in fact. Issues such as domestic violence, small town prejudices and politics are examined. If not for these barbaric traditions and the judgments passed by the folks of Dowerby, the events that led to this terrible tragedy would never have taken place.
Thankfully, Kim's influence on Maura was long lasting and Maura could have a second chance at a productive life and career.
I really enjoyed this book. It was difficult to read some of the passages regarding domestic violence, but I loved the slow build of suspense and the way Maura finally blossoms. Maura's transformation would never have happened if not for the friendship she nurtured with Kim. While Kim was not always the most moral person, she was the best thing that ever happened to Maura. It appears that Maura also makes some new friends that will be there for her in the future.
Overall this a good solid A.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

BITTER LIKE ORANGE PEEL BY JESSICA BELL


Bitter Like Orange PeelBitter Like Orange Peel by Jessica Bell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Bitter Like Orange Peel by Jessica Bell is a 2013 release, published by Vine Leaves Press.

This story is told from the perspective of the wives, lovers, and daughters of one man named Roger.

Ivy's mother, Eleanor, was married to Roger when he began an affair with one of his students, Ailish. Ailish has a child by Roger named, Kit. After Eleanor's divorce, Ailish and Eleanor become friends and raise the two half sisters together as a family. Now, as adults, both girls are emotionally stunted. Ivy especially, is incapable of maintaining relationships, holding a real job, or knowing just what it is she really wants in life.
Kit is only a tiny bit better. Kit, though has decided she wants to find and meet her father, Roger. It seems that Roger had married once again and had yet another daughter. However, Kit is unaware she has another sister. None of the women seem to know where Roger is presently.
Kit's insistence on finding Roger and begging for Ivy's help in doing so, opens up a plethora of long kept secrets. They ALL have a piece to the puzzle and all have their own reasons for keeping these secrets.

Sadly, each person involved is left feeling betrayed. Harsh words and actions result and Ivy seems to sort of come unhinged.

These people take dysfunctional to a whole new level. How many ex-wives deliver their ex-husband's child with another woman? How many former wives/lovers are actually friends and allow their offspring to grow up together? Is it OK for one to keep a secret from the others?
More shocking revelations develop as we go along. Not only do the main characters harbor secrets, but some secondary characters are also less than forthcoming, including a guy Ivy begins dating named Brian.
So, do you have all that? It sounds like a giant soap opera, and is in a way. There is a REALLY big shocker at the end. This big reveal leaves it up to the reader how to interpret these revelations. There is no neat, all tied up in a neat bow, conclusion. We know that some people will find a kind of peace that will allow them to move forward with their lives, others will remain just as they are, most likely, and some will most likely need some professional help before it's all said and done.
Hopefully, all these women will continue to lean on each other and become closer now that some of the secrets are out in the open. But, I think maybe there is still more to be told in this story, and I hope the author will consider an update on what becomes of these characters in the future.

The author did an excellent job of keeping the reader on the edge of their seat, wondering what will happen next. It was hard to put this book down. I kept thinking about the characters and maybe was a little worried about them from time to time. If an author can evoke that sort of reaction from readers, they are a real talent. A very skillful author indeed.
A+



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VALLEY OF VICE BY STEVE GARCIA


Valley of ViceValley of Vice by Steve Garcia
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Valley of Vice by Steve Garcia is an August 2013 release and is published by Diversion Books.

Salvador Reyes and his partner Philippa Wallace are attending a welcome back party for their fallen comrade when they get a call about a possible arson. They find a body on the constructions site. It turns out the dead guy was the one that had arrested for shooting their fellow law officer. He had been released and now he was dead.
Somehow, all of this ties into a bidding war between two construction companies, blackmail and drug dealing, and somewhere in the mix are some dirty cops.

To make matters more difficult, Philippa's husband is with FID. This time he may be looking into Philippa's squad and that makes things a little awkward.
Then a prominent city council member commits suicide, taking the investigation in all sorts of directions.

This mystery, police procedural, was interesting. I think for me, what it was lacking was more character development. I'm really not sure if this is part of series, but I didn't find any other books by this author on Amazon. I did get the feeling that the reader was supposed to know some background on these characters prior to reading this novel. There were too many characters as well, in my opinion. At times I had to stop and remind myself where a particular character came in at and what they had to do with the plot. The other thing was that the dialogue was dull and flat. There was some banter between characters from time to time, but it really wasn't all that interesting or funny. The plot was well thought out and I was curious about how everything was going to turn out. So, if you like police procedural mysteries that do not dwell on the character's personal relationships and friendships a great deal, a book that sticks to the mystery and pretty much keeps things real, then this one is for you. It wasn't a bad effort, but it needed a little spice. Some car chases, or more internal drama between Phil and her husband or something. It was just a little dry. Overall this one is a C.

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Friday, October 4, 2013

NECASSARY LIES BY DIANE CHAMBERLAIN


Necessary LiesNecessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain is a St. Martin's Press publication, released in September 2013.

Jane is a young, idealistic, woman, newly married to a doctor, but going against the convention of the day by maintaining employment. But, she doesn't have just any job, she is a social worker in the field.
Set in south, during the fifties, Jane wants to be more than a just a mother and a member of the Junior League. She really wants to help people. Her husband, however, is dead set against it. He initially humors her, but is very embarrassed that his wife is working outside the home and not only that, she rubs elbows with those living in the worst poverty areas and may even have to go inside "colored" people's homes.

One of the families Jane is responsible for is the Hart family. The grandmother, suffering with diabetes and arthritis, is raising her two teenage granddaughters. Mary Ella, the oldest became pregnant at age fourteen. Now, they have another mouth to feed. So, to prevent any further pregnancies, Mary was sterilized and told she had to have an appendectomy.
Ivy, only fifteen, is also considered "slow", and she has epilepsy. Her grandmother and the social workers fear Ivy may also become pregnant and are pushing paperwork through at lightning speed to have her sterilized as well. Ivy also would have no clue about what the surgery really was.

Once Jane becomes more involved with the family and bonds with Ivy, she begins to think the forced sterilization is not right for her. Jane hates the lies these girls have been told. They should at least be told the truth. But, to rob a young girl of the chance to marry and have a family of her own without her knowledge was more than Jane could bear.

Jane finds herself fighting her social circle, the one her husband desperately wishes she would become a part of, and of course her selfish husband who hates her having a job and belittles her regularly and complains continuously about it. She does make one friend though, and is inspired by her to continue with her job.
Jane also must fight the social services employees. Her boss and supervisors are furious with her because she is dragging her heels on Ivy's paperwork and she has become too emotionally involved with the family.

I wish I could say that all the things that took place in the book was a figment of the author's imagination, but we know that these sterilizations did actually take place. Initially, these were done to the very poor white women, and even some men, but eventually, the majority of these sterilizations were done to poor black women. To some of these women, it was a blessing, but mostly these sterilizations were not something these women chose to do, or were correctly informed about.
The story of Ivy was something that could really have happened. Of course, you can't help but think of Nazi Germany when you read this book. It's really hard to digest that people really thought this way.
Not only was the story of Ivy and the Hart family realistic, but so was the attitude of most men about their wives working outside the home and having their own careers. The man felt his wife's whole world should evolve around him!!

So, this is the set up. Jane is faced with heart and gut wrenching choices and decisions. While, this is not a mystery or suspense novel, I found myself on the edge of my seat. There are so many sad and tragic stories in this book, all due to extreme poverty, ignorance, prejudices, racism, and a society that condoned these actions.
It takes a lot of courage to stand up and fight an entire system without any support from family, friends, or the community as a whole. But, that is just what Jane did.
Her tenacity and internal strength to make the right decisions impacted so many lives for generations to come.
Jane's life didn't really turn out like she had envisioned it, but she was given a life far more rewarding than if she had simply given in and given up.
This is a very emotional read. There is sympathy, anger, fear, and sadness, but there is also a very uplifting and inspirational conclusion that will pull on the heart strings.
I highly recommend this book for all fiction/literature readers. This would also appeal to historical fiction fan. This is a resounding A++

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THE RENT A GROOM BY JENNIFER BLAKE


The Rent-A-GroomThe Rent-A-Groom by Jennifer Blake
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Rent-A-Groom was originally published in 1994 . This is a novella with a little over a hundred pages. This is a contemporary romance.

Gina finds her fiance in bed with her maid of honor. The wedding is off, but the honeymoon suite was booked and paid for so Gina checks in by herself. Then she finds out that her former fiance is there with his new wife. So, when a handsome man comes calling claiming he is a rent a groom, and knowing way to much about Gina's personal situation, she is initially wary, but the temptation to show off in front of her former lover is too great, so she goes along with the sham.
Before long though she begins to suspect Race is not who he claims to be.
Sure enough there are some sinister activities, but is Race involved?

This is a cute story. The theme being that we have to take risk sometimes despite the fact we might get hurt. Things were wrapped up in a bit of a hurry, but there is a HEA.

This book would make a nice lunch hour escape. Oveall a C+

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

HOT MESS BY LYNN RAYE HARRIS


Hot Mess (Hostile Operations Team #1.5)Hot Mess by Lynn Raye Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hot Mess by Lynn Raye Harris is a September 2013 release. I was provided a copy of this book by Victory Editing and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Georgeanne is Rick's younger sister, and Rick is Sam's best friend. Rick's family took Sam under their wing when his own parents were less than a loving family unit. Sam has put them up on a pedestal. When Georgie was a kid, she bugged Sam and Rick all the time. But, when Sam comes home on leave from the military, he finds Georgie is a sexy eighteen year old and still has a massive crush on him. But, when you are talking about your best friend's little sister, well, there are just some lines you don't cross.
Twelve years later, Georgie is teaching military personnel. She has a failed marriage and now leads a quiet life. But, when one of her students fails to attend class, after being so diligent in the past, she becomes concerned.
Rick is worried about Georgie and sends Sam to check up on her. While she has the chance, she ask Sam if would check on her student. Perhaps he had been deployed suddenly? Sam agreed to do her this favor, and uncovers a hornets nest.
Sam is now a member of one of the most secretive military operations groups- The "Hostile Operations Team" otherwise known as HOT. Someone now believes Georgie knows something she doesn't. It's Sam's job to protect her.
Well, this book is HOT for sure!!
Sam feels like he is doing the honorable thing by keeping Georgie at arms length. Georgie is insulted and hurt. She's been less than confident since her marriage crumbled and she's a little sensitive.
But, the two of them wind up having to spend a great deal of time together. Georgie uses this opportunity to try and convince Sam that a relationship between them could work.
But, Sam is one stubborn guy.

Sam is one of those rare guys that has set of principles he lives by and sticks to them. This makes him an excellent addition to the HOT. But, these principles don't always work out when it comes to love. Sometimes you have to bend the rules a little.
The chemistry between Georgie and Sam sizzles, and mean SIZZLES!. Physically, these two have no problems, but emotionally, they struggle.
Can the two very different people, from very different walks of life, manage what would be a very unconventional life together?

This the second book in the HOT series and is actually a novella. A quick, sexy read, I absolutely recommend- especially to those of you that enjoy hot romantic suspense, and military heroes.. and who doesn't?
Overall this one gets an A.

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

SECRET SISTER BY EMELLE GAMBLE

 My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Secret Sister by Emelle Gamble is  a 2013 release, published by Soul Mate Publishing. I received a copy of this book from the publisher/author and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Roxanne and Cathy were best friends since they were kids. They were so close in fact, that they were more like sisters. Cathy and Nick were happily married. Nick has had some issues with alcohol in the past, but has been sober for years. He has a troubled sister, Zoe, that is trying to stay straight. But, when tragedy strikes. Cathy, Roxanne, Nick, Zoe, and extended family and friends are thrown off course totally. Everyone has secrets. People you think you know, may not be who you thought they were. Cathy learns things about Roxanne, Nick, and other people on the perimeters of her life, she never knew. Roxanne had always been a stunning beauty that men would kill to be next to. She was also very troubled and had experienced dark bouts of depression. There were many areas of her life that Cathy was unaware of. Now, dealing with both her emotions and Roxanne's she is on a roller coaster ride. Nick, must dig deep, deep, deep into himself to believe in something that just can not be possible. He loves his wife, and wants badly to hold on to what they had, but just can't seem to see what others have seen. As Nick goes from utter despair, to anger, to sympathy, to anger again, to utter disbelief, to surrender, to acceptance, we watch him go through an incredible transformation as well. This is story of true love, a story of seeing beauty from the inside out, and a classic tale of faith. This type of story has been touched on by others in various ways over years. I can think of several examples right off the top of my head, and I'm sure there are countless others. However, this one was a fresh take  on a classic love story. I rode the emotional waves of Cathy and Nick and all the other characters in the book. All the characters were flawed in some way, which made them easy to relate to. Putting myself in Nick's shoes I could sympathize with his pain and anger and confusion. Roxanne's mother was a sad character that held dark, explosive secrets. But, the person with the most to lose, was Cathy. She was in the most difficult situation a person could ever imagine themselves in. How on earth could she ever convince Nick  to believe her? This book would appeal to lovers of contemporary romance, women's fiction and those that enjoy a touch of paranormal romance. A very absorbing story that will leave you with the feeling that may love can conquer all. Overall this one gets an A.
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