Man Overboard

Man Overboard
Man Overboard by J.A. Jance

The Somnanbulist's Dreams

The Somnanbulist's Dreams
The Somnambulist's Dreams

Saturday, May 31, 2014

LOSS OF INNOCENCE BY RICHARD NORTH PATTERSON


Loss of Innocence (Martha's Vineyard, #0.5)Loss of Innocence by Richard North Patterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Loss of Innocence by Richard North Patterson is a Quercus publication. This book is slated for an early October,2013 release.

Our story starts out in Martha's Vineyard in 2011. Carla is pregnant with her lover's child. She's an actress, recovering alcoholic, and hiding out from the media. She is staying in the guest house of Whitney Dane, a woman that shared a history with Carla's now deceased lover and father of her unborn child. Whitney is now in her mid sixties, was a WASP, and now a successful novelist.

As she and Carla meet for a get to know you chat, Whitney begins to tell Carla about her past with Ben. This takes us back to Martha's Vineyard in the landmark year of 1968.

Whitney's life was going according to plan. She as engaged to be married. Her father liked her fiancé enough to give him a job and keep him out of the draft. Whitney and her best friend Clarice have the summer to spend together and plan a wedding. The only dark clouds in the sky have to do with Whitney's sister Janine. Whitney was not her mother's favorite daughter. Janine was model material and Whitney's mother lived vicariously through her. If her relationship with her mother was strained, it was made up a little bit by her father. Whitney held her father in the highest regard.
While Whitney harbors the usual doubts about marriage and her fear of becoming like her mother, for the most part she is content. Until she meets Ben.
Ben and his brother Jack are from a violent background. Their father was an abusive man and a heavy drinker. The boys worked for caterers for the wealthy on Martha's Vineyard.
Ben is like no one Whitney has ever met. He was enrolled at Yale, but had dropped out to work for Bobby Kennedy. He was still raw from Bobby's death and now fears that he will be drafted. His politics and resentment toward those of privilege, causes Whitney to take stock of her life. She realizes that her life has been sheltered and isolated. There was more she could do and be besides someone's wife or someone's mother. For the first time Whitney begins to see things from another perfective and this worries her parents a great deal. They do not like her new friendship with Ben.
Ben stirs up things between Whitney and her fiancé, Peter as well. As Whitney grapples with her sudden restlessness regarding her future and feelings for Ben, dark family secrets come to the surface. For Whitney things may never be the same again.

The bulk of the story is set in 1968. This particular year was just mind blowing. Going back and remembering all the events of that year, it was hard to believe so much happened is such a short space of time.
The setting of Martha's Vineyard was perfect. This location was so far removed from the violence and drugs and rock festivals and all the other trappings of that year. It was like being on another planet. The upper classes were still holding on the old value system. The wife lurking in the background, while her husband provides for the family. The prejudices against race and religion, the conservative politics and the power at the finger tips of those with wealth.
Whitney was not unlike a lot of girls in that time, raised in the type of family she was. There was certain amount of innocence that really is naïve. These girls didn't march in Washington or protest openly, or any of the other things going on in that era. Whitney did defy tradition in some ways, but for the most part she did what was expected of her. It was particularly disturbing to read some to the conversations between Whitney and her mother. The expectations of wives that she felt Whitney should adhere to in her upcoming marriage.
Although Whitney was college educated, she was mostly surrounded by others like herself. Meeting Ben was the best and worst thing that happened to Whitney. He was the first person that shook her out of her own little world. Even Whitney's best friend's only ambition was to achieve status quo.
It was no wonder Ben had such an effect on Whitney.
We watch with interest as Whitney comes out of her shell and then we watch in absolute horror as she discovers horrible truths about her own family. Things don't turn out like you might expect. But for Whitney, a young girl that grows into womanhood in one summer, she takes control of her life in a way she never would have imagined herself doing.
This is a poignant story. Nostalgic , but also melancholy. It was tragic, but ironic, and ultimately Whitney wins my approval and respect. I would like to have been given a little information about Ben and Carla and the circumstances that brought Carla to this point. Maybe someday we will read about that portion of Ben's life.
This was an absorbing story. I have read Richard North Patterson's novels for many years. I always liked his style. This one is a departure from the type of books I've read by him previously. The style I like was still present, and I really enjoyed the novel. Over all a B+

SCANDAL: A MANUAL BY GEORGE RUSH AND JOANNE MALLOY- A BOOK REVIEW


Scandal Sheet: The Inside Story of America's Famous Gossip ColumnistsScandal Sheet: The Inside Story of America's Famous Gossip Columnists by George Rush
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Scandal Sheet: The Inside Story of America's Famous Gossip Columnists by George Rush and Joanna Malloy is a Skyhorse Publication. This book is slated for an October, 2013 release.

George Rush and Joanna Malloy are the famous husband and wife team of gossip columns. Neither of them set out to become gossip columnist. Each of them beginning their careers as journalist in one way or the other.
However, they created a niche for themselves with their column. Their seventeen years with The Daily News made them almost as famous as the people they wrote about.

From Sarah Jessica Parker and Sean Penn to mayors and presidents, to rappers, to rock stars this couple has seen and heard it all- then reported it.
Dinner at Elaine's to box seats at pro sports games, award shows, you name it, the couple rubbed elbows with millionaires and billionaires and the upper crust of society. While they made many friends in the business of celebrity, they also made a lot of enemies, and sometimes frienemies.
At times they showed no mercy toward a philandering husband and dissed him at every turn, but could then be very compassionate in keeping a story under their hats, so to speak. Sometimes they were thanked profusely and sometimes they were yelled at and threatened.
The stories related here are told with humor and a touch of nostalgia. You won't believe some of things George and Joanna saw and heard that never made it into print. Some of these stories are hilarious and some are shocking and sometimes I felt bad for a celebrity - though not often.
At any rate, you will have a different perspective on the world of celebrity after you read this book.
Highly entertaining, but also educational and insightful. Thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for the DRC of this book.
Over all a solid A.

Friday, May 30, 2014

THE BLACKHOUSE BY PETER MAY- A BOOK REVIEW

The Blackhouse (Lewis Trilogy, #1)The Blackhouse by Peter May
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Black House by Peter May is a 2011 Quercus publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

The Isle of Lewis is a place Fin Macleod thought he would never have to visit again. But, as fate would have it a murder has been committed on the Isle of Lewis that bears a remarkable similarity to a murder case Fin is working on in Edinburgh. So, he is told to he must check out this latest murder to see if the crimes could be related.

Fin gets more than he ever bargained for when he returns home for the first time in many years. He encounters his first girlfriend, his best buddy, and floods of memories begin to pour out of his subconscious mind. It just so happens that the murdered man was a bully that made life miserable for Fin and his friends. Over the years the man only became an adult bully and was not a popular guy. There is no shortage of suspects, some of whom were old friends of Fin's. As the memories of childhood become more pronounced and as Fin begins to uncover numerous secrets it looks as though another murder is about to happen and Fin must race against time to prevent it.

Wow! What a well woven, brilliantly told story with an incredible climax that will leave you gasping for air. Fin is a man that is a terrible place in his life when he is assigned this case. He has just lost his only son in a terrible accident and as a result his marriage is falling apart. Being in this fragile state perhaps made it easier for all those old thoughts and feeling to come to the surface. Seeing his first love now married to his best friend when he lived on the Isle and having to interview his old school mates as a part of his job is very awkward and painful, but then a bombshell is dropped in his lap which changes Fin's perceptions of things.

The author did a wonderful job of enlightening the reader about Fin's childhood- the death of his parents , being raised by his sort of eccentric aunt, and various experiences he lived through that might have damaged most of us severely. One major shock after another unfolds until the awful, terrible truth is finally revealed. The race to save a potential victim was incredible suspense and I could hardly bear it. I was literally riveted. I couldn't stop reading this once I started it. The murder mystery and the revelations of Fin's life and all the incredible guilt and bad luck he had was drama at it's finest. Fin's low key character held a great deal of pain and sorrow but he was always in control of himself. However, he felt things much more deeply than anyone realizes because for years he has buried much of his life on the Isle in the back of his mind and has never addressed all the things that happened there. After having put the reader through so many gut wrenching emotional and suspenseful moments the author somehow manages to give the reader hope for the Fin. He does an amazing thing that I felt would go a long ways toward bringing about healing and forgiveness to those who certainly deserved it after all they endured. Very well written with characters we could relate to and feel for. I also enjoyed reading about the traditions on “ The Rock” and the purpose of the black house. The scenery and locations set the stage for tone and atmosphere of the story and it fit perfectly. I highly recommend this book to those that enjoy psychological thrillers, suspense , and mysteries. There is some strong language and emotional topics that are difficult to read, also there are passages of detailed forensics, so be aware this book does have a dark tone. This is the first book in a trilogy and I have already placed “The Lewis Man” in my queue.
This one deserves the top honor- 5 stars!!




Thursday, May 29, 2014

A PHOTOGRAPHIC DEATH BY JUDI CULBERTSON- A BOOK REVIEW

 
 
 
MY REVIEW: 
 
 

A Photographic Death: A Delhi Laine Mystery by Judi Culbertson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Photographic Death : A Delhi Laine Mystery by Judi Culbertson is a 2014 Witness Impulse publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.


Delhi and her husband Colin had four children, but nineteen years ago one of their twin girls drowned in a river. When Delhi receives an anonymous note claiming her daughter did not in fact drown, she decides it's high time her remaining children are told the specifics of what happened all those years ago. Colin has not been living with Delhi for nearly a year and is adamantly opposed to bringing those painful memories back up. But, if there was the slightest chance her daughter was still alive Delhi had at least try to find out if the note was just a cruel prank or if there was more to it.

This mystery was certainly absorbing. I was invested right away and read this practically in one sitting. Delhi and Colin certainly have an odd relationship and their children are sort of caught in the middle of what is going on with their parents. When Hannah finds out she had a twin, her reaction was rather muted. It was Jane that took the interest in helping her mother discover what really happened to Caitlin. Their investigation stirs up a hornets nest and Delhi finds herself in serious danger as she begins to uncover more crimes than the possible kidnapping of her daughter. Also, quite strange was Colin's reaction to the idea that his daughter could still be alive. I never warmed up to that guy even if did finally admit the kidnapping was plausible after all. I don't know what will happen with Delhi and Colin as far as their marriage is concerned, but I kind of hope she goes her own way.

The truth about Caitlin and what really happened to her will probably become obvious to the readers at some point in the story. You won't guess the specifics and you won't realize how invested in the situation some of the characters are, which kept me turning those pages, but you will start to piece together an incredible story that will leave you feeling numb. How on earth could someone do such a thing?
The conclusion of the book leaves the reader with the task of drawing their own conclusion about how things will work from here on out. I'm not sure how I felt about the ending. I think this would make a great book club read because there are certainly many layers of in the book that would make for some lively conversation.
Overall this was a compelling read although I could sort of see through the plot. I do plan on reading more from this author. I'm super curious about Delhi's character and what she will get up to next.

This one gets 4 stars.

Picture

Judi Culbertson at Secret Garden Tea Cafe, December 2013

           

          Judi Culbertson is the author of thirteen published  books.  Soon after  graduating from Wheaton College she published GAMES CHRISTIANS PLAY (Harper & Row, 1967), followed by THE LITTLE WHITE BOOK ON RACE (Lippincott, 1970).  As well as parenthood and a day job as a social worker, she wrote stories for literary magazines and published articles in Glamour, The New York Times, Newsday, Cosmopolitan, Woman's Day, Working Mother, and others.                        
         In 1986, after a trip to Paris, Judi and her husband, Tom Randall, wrote PERMANENT PARISIANS, An Illustrated Biographical Guide to the Cemeteries of Paris, published in 1987 by Chelsea Green Press.  Other in the series include New York, London, California, and Italy.                    
         Judi's other books include a mystery, THE NURSERY (St. Martin's Press, 1996), SCALING DOWN, Living Large in a Smaller Space, with Marj Decker (Rodale 2005) and THE CLUTTER CURE (McGraw-Hill, 2007).  Since leaving social work in 1999, Judi developed her used and rare book business.  It is this background that helped create the Secondhand Prose Mystery Series.  A NOVEL DEATH, published by Avalon Books in June 2011, is the first book in the series.  AN ILLUSTRATED DEATH was published on October 1, 2013 by Harper/Collins. A PHOTOGRAPHIC DEATH is scheduled for May 27, 2014.

WHEN ADAM CAME TO TOWN BY KATE KELLY- A BOOK REVIEW


When Adam Came to TownWhen Adam Came to Town by Kate Kelly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Adam Came to Town by Kate Kelly is a September 2013 Harlequin publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Sylvie has returned home from Toronto after her father has a heart attack. She's a famous artist who is creatively blocked and suffering from panic attacks. Adam has just moved to the small town after inheriting his grandmother's home. He plans to renovate the house and is working at the café owned by Sylvie's family.
When Sylvie finds out her father intends to sell the café due to financial strain, she becomes very upset and tells her father she wants to move back home and run the café . He doesn't support this idea. For one thing he thinks Sylvie needs to move back to Toronto and use her talent as an artist and for another thing Sylvie doesn't know how to cook. So, Sylvie talks Adam into helping her learn how to cook, a task he reluctantly agrees to. Sylvie also plans on raising money to keep from having to sell the café and begins organizing a fund raiser.
Sylvie has many issues to work through, one of them being the need to uncover the story behind her mother's death in a car accident. There was more to the story and everyone has kept their mouths shut about it for Sylvie's sake. But, the time has come for her hear the truth no matter how much she may dread it.
For Adam, he is also trying to sort things out in his life. His dangerous and hardened father died and his mother is a junkie. Adam himself has had a hard time of it and thinks it's best Sylvie never knows about that part of his life. But, as the two begin to spend more time together they begin to slowly fall in love and that means a day of reckoning will come.
I thought this was a charming small town love story. Sylvie has not found happiness in the city, nor has fame and recognition brought contentment. Sylvie has a nice looking boyfriend that is very sweet and treats her well, but he bores her to tears. Obviously, there is something going on with Sylvie that is psychological and the trigger was her father's heart attack. Sylvie's family is close but complicated. Her good friend Teresa is a red headed fire ball that calls it like she sees it and has her own troubles in life. Then there is Adam. He is a bit of an enigma. We know he's not rolling in money and so we have to wonder why he's chosen to move into his Grandmother's home when there isn't a lot in this small town to challenge him once the house is renovated. I have to confess, I never guessed Adam's darkest secrets. When you do find out about his past you will feel terrible for him and also feel proud of him for getting a handle on his life and making something of himself.
Sylvie will try your patience at times. She is independent , stubborn, and a little high strung. She misses her creative side but thinks she can live without painting and make a life for herself at the café and feel contented. But, is she only lying to herself? What will happen if her creative block goes away? Will she be happy with Adam and living in a small town running a café ?
Some of the secondary characters have their own story and the only flaw with the book was that some of those issues were left unresolved. It is possible that these characters will get their own story in the future. Otherwise this was a very enjoyable contemporary romance. I give this one a B+.
Kate Kelly has had a love affair with books her entire life. Writing came in fits and starts, and she didn’t take it seriously until her forties. Now she can’t get along without it. She has finaled in the RWA Golden Heart and has been the recipient of the RWA Daphne du Maurier award. She has the good fortune to live on the east coast of Canada with her husband (the children have flown away). She writes, grow herbs and perennials and sails when the wind blows her way.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

MY WINTER BY NIKKI YOUNG- FEATURE/ SPOTLIGHT + GIVEAWAY

My Winter

by Nikki Young

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

At age ten, Leah Anderson was taught a hard lesson about life after the death of her father. Love, happiness and perfection only last so long, so why bother seeking them out.

Jaded by his death and the trauma it caused her family, Leah finds herself detached and indifferent about her life and about falling in love. In a safe and unfulfilling engagement to her demanding, perfectionist fiancé, Ellis, it all begins to wear thin. That's when a handsome stranger comes into her life causing her to second guess everything she's known and believed in.

Abruptly ending her engagement and accepting a date with the stranger, Leah finds herself in a very uncomfortable reality. Knowing that every choice has its consequence, Leah runs from her past and lies to her present to keep herself from falling in too deep.  But,  in the end ,  can she live with the choices she makes because they may ruin it all.




Excerpt :

With Ellis, it was different. Simple and basic; no attempts to pursue me or make me feel special, and I did nothing in return, either. At the time I was in need of basic, and Ellis showed me that with rigidity and scheduling came control and normalcy—two things I had never had in my life that I thought I was missing. Before meeting Ellis, I had a string of bad boyfriends; I drank too much, stayed out too late and overslept on a regular basis. It wasn’t like I was a terrible person or anything; I just felt that it was high time I grew up. Ellis had long since grown up and I looked at him as a model to follow. Falling in love with him was something I never planned. I never lusted after him as I did guys I dated in the past. He was, and still is, a "to the point kind of person", which is how we met, how I ended up living with him, and exactly how we ended up engaged.

Nikki will be awarding an eCopy of My Winter to a randomly drawn commenter at each stop during the tour, and a signed paperback of My Winter will be awarded to TWO randomly drawn commenters during the tour. (International giveaway)


FOLLOW THE TOUR FOR MORE CHANCES TO WIN!!

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: 
 







AUTHOR Bio and Links: Nikki Young was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago where she still currently lives with her husband and two boys. She is a third grade teacher and spends her days forcing her love of reading and writing onto a group of poor unsuspecting eight year olds. She's a lover of books, Irish candy and ridiculously hot weather. And for some strange reason, she has a sick obsession with the Fast and the Furious series of movies.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

THIS YEAR'S BLACK BY AVERY FLYNN- FEATURE AND REVIEW + GIVEAWAY


This Year’s Black Media Kit Giveaway Info:

$500 Gift Card for Hyatt Hotels Rafflecopter Code: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link: http://averyflynn.com/books/this-years-black-killer-style-2/this-years-black-500-escape-giveaway/

Book Blurb:

A fighter since birth, Allegra “Ryder” Falcon would rather trade in her all-black wardrobe for head-to-toe hot pink than let anyone ever see the cracks in her tough exterior. But one night with a stranger changes everything. Devin Harris may have given up his MMA fighting dreams for high fashion, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t always in control. So when someone embezzles millions under his watch, he isn’t going to let the private investigator working the case go it alone—even if she is the woman who blew him away in bed and then blew him off. Just when it seems like it couldn’t get any hotter between Ryder and Devin, the case takes them to a tropical paradise where the danger increases. From the catwalk to the pineapple fields, they have to work together to track down the missing millions before the thief finds—and kills—them.

Purchase links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1sZp1XG
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1gU3GiJ
Kobo: http://bit.ly/1oWZ51d
iTunes: http://bit.ly/1pgSwEi







Author Bio:

Avery Flynn has three slightly-wild children, loves a hockey-addicted husband and is desperately hoping someone invents the coffee IV drip. She fell in love with romance while reading Johanna Lindsey’s Mallory books. It wasn’t long before Avery had read through all the romance offerings at her local library. Needing a romance fix, she turned to Harlequin’s four books a month home delivery service to ease the withdrawal symptoms. That worked for a short time, but it wasn’t long before the local book stores’ staffs knew her by name. Avery was a reader before she was a writer and hopes to always be both. She loves to write about smartass alpha heroes who are as good with a quip as they are with their *ahem* other God-given talents. Her heroines are feisty, fierce and fantastic. Brainy and brave, these ladies know how to stand on their own two feet and knock the bad guys off theirs.

Places to find Avery Flynn:

Site: http://averyflynn.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AveryFlynnAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AveryFlynn
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/AveryFlynn

MY REVIEW:

This Year's Black (Killer Style, #2)This Year's Black by Avery Flynn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This Year's Black by Avery Flynn is a 2014 Entangled : Ignite publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Ryder Falcon works in her family's security firm. When a fashion and clothing business discovers money missing, Ryder gets the job of finding out what is going on. The last person she expects to encounter is Devin Harris.
Ryder and Devin had a one night stand a while back, but Ryder is taking a break from relationships for at least a year, so she did not return Devin's calls or text messages. Now it looks as if the two of them are going to be working together to find the missing money.

Devin had a promising career in MMA fighting, but gave it up to work as a security for a man that gave him a chance when his life became a mess. Finding out that someone has been embezzling money right under his nose has his ego bruised and he's pissed. But, when he finds out Ryder is heading the investigation he's even more embarrassed. There is no way he is allowing her to take over the investigation.

When Ryder uncovers the truth behind who has been stealing money, she and Devin head out to tropical island where the culprit is hiding out with her rather shady and criminal family.

Devin is hot personified. He's built, inked and sexy. Just the type Ryder wants to avoid getting involved with. When she Devin are forced to work together each of them reveal a difficult situation they have gone through and the effect it had on their lives. For Ryder, she is trying to prove herself to her brother so he will give her better cases to work on. She is also recovering from a string of bad relationships, the last of which has her looking for a different kind of guy.
Devin's story is really sad and it's no wonder he has some issues. But, there is an undeniable energy crackling between Ryder and Devin and they will have to admit that to themselves and hopefully to one another.
The case they are working on turns into more than a white collar crime and Ryder will put herself on the line to do her job and Devin may pay the price for her decisions.

This was a really fun read. I loved Devin's character. He was alpha male with just right amount of beta to make him super hot and sexy, but he also has a brain and a big heart. Ryder was awesome. Funny, smart, and human. Not a super woman type that the average person couldn't relate to , but a real person that has made mistakes and is tired of repeating them. She's decided to take charge of her career and her personal life and she won't back down from any challenge. This book as a great blend of romance and suspense and a fashion lover's dream.
Overall this one gets 4 stars

THE CALL OF THE SIREN BY MARK FLEMING- A BOOK REVIEW

The Call of the SirenThe Call of the Siren by Mark Fleming
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Call of the Siren by Mark Fleming

In Greek Mythology a Siren is a beautiful but dangerous creature often portrayed as a femme fatale. In Mark Flemings story Eleanor is a siren and to anyone's knowledge is the last of her kind. Her talents are too good to be passed up and so Eleanor's power of persuasion in put to work.
"Sirens. Mysterious disappearances. Beautiful women taking lonely travellers into dark pools where they vanish without a trace. They beguile and tempt. They reach into your heart and find your secrets."
Eleanor is used to inflitrate and lure secrets out of people. As the blurb states and the book details a bit further, Eleanor is the perfect killer. But the Siren only wants what most beings want. Instead she gets caught between all the bureaucracy and competitive agencies. It looks like Eleanor has tangled with the wrong person though.
The author gets kudos for coming up with something original. The Siren is an ancient myth but she is transplanted in a modern world with modern issues. Someone like Eleanor could be quite a useful tool for a great many diabolical reasons. The character of Eleanor is a fascinating one. Her memories only last for a certain amount of time and she is used in one scenario after another. She is also a sad character that wants love and is only looked at for her irresistable looks and her ability to sway men and for what she can accomplish for both good and bad reasons.
The adventures are tense and suspenseful but not cohesive. It was almost like we were reading a new story about Eleanor every few chapters and they often felt disconnected somehow. The writing is lush and it's obvious the author has talent , but sometimes things were hammered on a few too many times and the prose took a little adjusting to. It was a surprise to discover this book is a part of a trilogy. So, before you start this one be aware you will have to continue on with the next book to get the whole picture.
This is an interesting read that mingles fantasy with adventure and suspense . The book has a dark tone and deep character development and is a stylish concept. For those looking for something unique and challenging for the brain instead of the same old, then I do recommend you give this one a try.
This one gets 4 stars

Mark Fleming grew up in Southport, in the Northwest of England, before moving to London in the mid 1980s to work in the film industry. He worked for Rank Films, working on the release of films including Platoon, Robocop, A Chorus Line, The Name of the Rose, and many others.
In 1988 he changed direction, leaving editing to become a visual effects designer / model maker at Shepperton Film Studios, working on films including Batman, Prince of Thieves and Judge Dredd. He directed and produced briefly before moving away from London in the early 2000s.

Mark published his first book, Firework Art (a beautiful picture book exploring the evocative artwork of British fireworks) in 2005. He published his first novel, Challerton, in 2012, and his second, The Call of the Siren, in October 2013.

FIRE Fascination, Firework and Festival (released June 2013) sees Mark revisit the fireworks theme, with a look at how an ancient autumn fire festival has evolved from its pagan origins to become our modern Hallowe'en and Bonfire Night celebration. Released first as a free pdf e-book, FIRE is a stunning and visual journey through one of Britain's most evocative and lasting traditions.

He has two completed books awaiting publication, The Dew Pond and The Making of...(Street Cleaners) and is currently completing The Ribbon and the Hawk

Monday, May 26, 2014

RUSH FAQ- A BOOK REVIEW

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rush FAQ by Max Mobley is a 2014 Backbeat / Hal Leonard Group publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Backbeat books/Hal Leonard has this fantastic series of books that feature authors, musical groups, and movies that appeals mostly to the diehard fans but is an excellent introduction to those that maybe aren't that familiar with the topic.

This book is all about the Canadian Rock band RUSH. It is important to note that these books are NOT biographies or little bits of trivia. These books are chock full of knowledge that is interesting and seldom dry reading. I think this book will really be something the true blue Rush fan can not live without. As opposed to the other books in the FAQ series, this book does have the feel of being written just for those folks that think they have heard it all from their all time favorite group and is more for the loyal fan than for those who only know one or two Rush tunes.
This seems fitting to me because Rush was never really mainstream and their fans were loyal for years, and years. This band is one that just keeps on putting out stellar music and doesn't rest on their laurels and tour behind their big hits of the past. They are coming out with new material and it's always above and beyond in creativity and musicianship. Rush never sounds the same way twice it seems. Each album stayed true to the group's ethics and they never got caught in a rut nor could they be labeled in any particular way. They took risk others were too afraid to take and occasionally it didn't pan out just right, but mostly it did. Rush never cared about the talking heads in the studios, they were WAY ahead of the game and proved it time and time again. They have been together for over forty years and show no signs of slowing down.

For me, if we go by the author's assessment of the Rush fan, I would fall into the “Second Gen” group and was and still am a “Geddycorn”. I didn't need the encouragement of a boyfriend or guy to turn me on to Rush. I like the group despite the fact that most girls might like hard rock , but they still like love, heartbreak, and topics along those lines in their music. Rush seldom ever recorded those songs. Instead they recorded concept albums, science fiction themes, anthems, told stories and touched on deep themes and topics no one in rock music ever thought about trying to tackle. They are certainly a one of a kind , unique group with a distinctive sound. I have never in my life seen a bass played the way Geddy Lee does, nor is there a better rock drummer than Neil Peart. Alex Lifeson is one of the most underrated guitarist out there. The guy is just incredible. Yes, the group did use a lot of equipment and after the first album came off with the obvious Led Zepplin sound, the group, after adding Neil on drums begin to move away from that, thank goodness. But, keyboards became a huge part of the group's sound and they were heavy into synthesizers for awhile. The amount of equipment they traveled with is staggering.
This book goes through each album calling special attention to the breakout albums of which the author names three. Then we are given an in depth look at the video, DVD markets Rush took advantage of, the tours, the live albums, the instruments, the equipment, the behind the scenes folks that are still with the band after all this time and the collaborations that mostly took place in later years with a few notable exceptions.
This book is extremely detailed and very well researched and it's obvious the author did a lot of work on this one. This book is a digital copy and it has color photos and black & White photos, plus album covers. These photos are scattered throughout. The actual paperback version could vary from the digital copy.
Even if you have books, magazine articles, DVD's and all of this groups music, you should still pick this one up. If nothing else you will enjoy looking back at all the work this group as put together through the years and it will amaze you all over again the vast talent this trio has. Writing, singing, playing multiple instruments and always giving an incredible live performance. Other than one five year break , this group has been one of the hardest working groups out there.
This book was a real pleasure to read, and I would suggest keeping this one on hand to use as a reference guide as well. Lots and lots of wonderful information is packed into this one.
Obviously, I'm gushing just a little over this one, so you know it will get it the gold! Five stars!!

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THE RAVENHOE CAULDRON BY REBECCA YOUNT- A BOOK REVIEW



The Ravenhoe CauldronThe Ravenhoe Cauldron by Rebecca Yount
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Ravenhoe Cauldron – A Mick Chandra Mystery by Rebecca Yount is a 2013 Independently published novel. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Mick is supposed to be on parental leave when he gets called back in to work the case of an infamous antiquities thief and forger. This leads Mick and his team on a wild chase and puts him in contact with various museums and collectors as well as others who had dealings with the dead man. As the story winds it's way through the murky life of Stanislaw Janus, we find that he has quite a few competitors and enemies and lovers all with an eye on the famous Ravenhoe Cauldron.

On a personal note Jess is ready to try out New York again after the tragedy of losing her first child and all nightmare of all that happened there. Elizabeth has a new look and maybe a new boyfriend.

This case has Mick in an exceeding amount of danger as the body count begins to rise. The diverse and shady characters all seem so willing to help, but could one of them be killing off anyone with knowledge of the Ravenhoe Cauldron? Schemes and red herrings abound as Mick suffers through seduction attempts to being shot at. As the investigation deepens, Mick begins to think the Janus is still alive and an imposter was killed in order for Janus to fake his own death. True? False? Only time will tell.

I confess that this is my first Mick Chandra mystery. It is a British mystery and will put you in mind of say, Elizabeth George of Debra Crombie.

This is a very interesting mystery and I was engaged through out. All the characters were fleshed out and the mystery was light without graphic violence or a great deal of foul language. There are some sexual references but nothing explicit.
My one complaint is that the author became repetitive at times and seemed to want to hammer home to the reader that Mick was no longer a ladies man. He's found his one true love in Jess and is happy as a man could ever hope to be with his wife and baby daughter and his pets. This statement is made on numerous occasions. It's almost like Mick is trying to convince himself he doesn't miss his days as a single man. It was like “He doth protest too much”. I don't think that was the message the author was trying to convey, it just got a little heavy handed and perhaps a little editing would have helped out here and there.
Overall, this was a wonderful effort and I do recommend this book to all mystery lovers but especially to those that enjoy a good British Mystery.
This one gets 4 stars

About Rebecca Yount

Who is Rebecca Yount?  I frequently ask myself that question.
This much I know for certain: I hail from a literary family.  My mother’s cousin, Julia Peterkin, was author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Scarlet Sister Mary.  Another cousin, Nella Braddy, edited most of Helen Keller’s books.  Nella also wrote the first definitive biography of Anne Sullivan Macy, Helen’s beloved teacher.
For many years, my father was an editor/journalist for UPI, as well as a writer for the Columbus Dispatch. One of his first assignments with the Dispatch was to review burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee’s act at the Gaiety Theater. Mother was not amused.
With such a literary heritage, my parents would no more allow me to write sloppy prose than walk blindfolded into heavy traffic. So I suppose you could say that writing is in my blood.
Even though I studied music from the age of eight until twenty-one at the Capital University Conservatory of Music in Columbus with the intent of becoming a concert pianist, I never shook the writing bug. From an early age, I wrote stories, poetry, and even a novel about my beloved Springer Spaniel, Mac.  When I wasn’t actively writing, I was making up stories in my brain, which rarely shut down.
After graduate school, I worked for a research center as associate editor for The Political Handbook of the World, a compendium of the world’s political systems. Afterwards, I moved to Washington D.C., where I found myself working at a series of grant-funded projects that included everything from advising members of Congress on education policy to working with the Inuits and Athabasca Indians in Alaska and the Blackfoot tribe in Montana to improve communication between state education agencies and their far-flung tribal villages.   I wrote legislative language for Title V (Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act), and through a series of private grants, worked to reduce the dropout rate of children at risk of failure in schools.
Along the way there was a bad marriage, divorce, then a good marriage,  plus three loving stepdaughters.   And what became of my music and writing?  Sadly, they both fell by the wayside while my husband, David, and I concentrated on our Washington careers and raised our three children.
Then came early retirement: me first, followed closely by David. Unlike many retirees who haven’t a clue what to do with all that free time, we both knew we would return to the thing we both loved the most: writing. And so we write, in separate home offices in our little Hobbit house just outside of Washington, D.C.  While I hammer away at my crime novels, David continues to write and publish his books on religious faith and practice.
Finally came that fateful day in Essex, England, when I sat under a solitary tree in a fallow field and developed the plot for A Death in C Minor.  After a highly diverse and scattered career, that late summer afternoon marked my true beginning.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

THE EXECUTIONER'S HOOD BY LORETTA JACKSON AND VICKIE BRITTON- A BOOK REVIEW


The Executioner's Hood (High Country Mystery Series #4)The Executioner's Hood by Loretta Jackson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Executioner's Hood by Loretta Jackson and Vickie Britton is a 2014 self published/ independent publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Seven years ago a man committed suicide amid allegations he accepted a bribe that would give a lucrative contract to a man named Keefe. Nothing was ever proven but now a prominent judge has been murdered and a local committee member named Dawson suspects it ties in with the bribery charges from years past. But, the judge had enemies and one of them was Keefe. The judge had thrown the book at Keefe and given him a harsh sentence, and now Keefe is back home looking for revenge.
With Dawson feeling guilty for never having come forward with his suspicions all those years ago, he has now decided to help the Sheriff find out who murdered the judge. This part was really funny since Dawson didn't really have much tact and his interrogation skills were a little too blunt. Plus, he made no secret about his feelings which made him a target and the sheriff has enough to worry about without having keep his eye on Dawson all the time.
To further complicate matters, Jeff's girlfriend has been avoiding him and he thinks she may be seeing another man. Career ambitions and commitment issues are causing problems in the relationship and poor Jeff may not have gotten the best advice about how to deal with his personal issues.
In the background of all this drama is a the interesting history of the area and the various collections of guns and in the case of one collector an executioner's hood. The gruesome story behind the artifact is chilling and seeing it hanging from a wall has Jeff a little haunted by it. I enjoyed this part of the story and found the history very interesting. I love history being woven into stories. The mystery was really good and I think that this book will appeal to the cozy mystery lovers especially but all mystery readers would find the book appealing. The language is mild , there is no detailed graphic violence and the romance is kissing only. This makes the book a character driven novel and Dawson became my favorite because he was so smart, but so eccentric. He also has a heart of gold and although he got on the sheriff's nerves he was brave and did help the sheriff more than he might want to admit. I think these two will have a closer friendship from now on.
I give this one 4 stars.

 
 
 
Vickie Britton lives in Hutchinson, Kansas with her husband, Roger, a geologist and computer consultant. Their son, Ed, and his wife Emily live in Salt Lake, where he works as game level designer.  Vickie has a degree in British Literature and has taken many courses in criminal justice and forensics. 
 
 
 

Loretta Jackson resides in Junction City, Kansas.  She taught English and Creative Writing at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota and at Mission Valley near Eskridge, Kansas.  Her interest include Native American culture and the history of the Old West.  She enjoys traveling with Vickie and researching the settings for their novels.
 

THE NIGHTINGALE GIRLS BY DONNA DOUGLASS- A BOOK REVIEW

The Nightingale GirlsThe Nightingale Girls by Donna Douglas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Nightingale Girls by Donna Douglas is a 2012 Arrow- Random House publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publishers and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Set in 1934 at the Nightingale Hosital in the East End, story follows a group of young ladies in training to be nurses. Each comes from a very different background and each has their own set of problems at home. By far, Dora has the worst home life due to the very poor living conditions. But, more than that, she has a step father that is hounding her and her ding bat mother doesn't appear to have a clue. So, for Dora the chance to be an nurse feels like a do or die situation. She has to make it or return home to the conditions she doesn't think she could bear any longer.
The other girls- Amelia- "MIllie" is a girl that is expected to marry well and and since she comes from gentry, a career as a nurse in not what is expected of her. However, Millie is determined to fight against tradition and go her own way in life, with her father's blessing but to the chagrin of her grandmother. But, Millie struggles with her studies and has to fight an uphill battle just to stay in the program.
Helen's mother is on the hospital board and therefore she is often suspected of being a spy and is treated with disdain. She is quiet and just as much of a victim of her mother's rules as the other nurses.
The secondary characters provide conflict and romances, as well as the Sisters that run the hospital with rigid standards and are always keeping a very close eye on the girls. Behind the scenes politics provide a glimpse into the administration and how things were done back in this time period.
The rules and regulations, the procedures used on patients , the difficulties each of the nurses faced all combined to make this book more than just a historical romance or fiction novel. The deeper you go the more sucked into the lives and dramas of these girls . Since this is British fiction, it is very noticable in the language and mannerisms and expectations of the characters and for me this was part of the charm. This is an adult novel due to adult situations, but there is no harsh language or explicit sex. The author keeps things true to the time period and does an excellent job of giving each girl an equal share of attention and fleshing out the characters for the reader. You will love some and dislike others and you will cheer for some and feel pain for others. Overall this is a great start to the trilogy and I am looking forward to the next book!
This one is 4.5 stars rounded to 5

I’ve always loved telling stories. Even before I could hold a pen, I would sit on top of the coal bunker in our south London back yard, making up tales in my head. My greatest joy was when my grandmother bought me an exercise book, which I could fill with stories (a shiny new notebook still gives me a thrill now – oh, the endless possibilities of those empty pages!).
I read voraciously, too. There were no books in our home and my grandfather disapproved of reading, but my grandmother would sneak me off to the local library, which opened up a whole new world. I also loved comics, especially Bunty, with its wonderfully melodramatic serials. How I used to look forward to my nan coming home on a Saturday lunchtime so I could get the next instalment!
When I was 19, I landed my dream job – writing photo love stories for a teenage magazine. Suddenly I was being paid for doing what I’d always done, making up stories. A few ‘real’ jobs in journalism followed, but I always longed to go back to my first love of storytelling.
When I was 40, I published my first novel, Waiting in the Wings, under the name of Donna Hay. The novel won the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers Award. Seven contemporary romantic comedies followed. But although I loved writing romance (and still do!), I always wanted to try something a bit grittier. So when my publisher suggested I might like to write some stories set in an East End hospital, I jumped at the chance.
I researched endlessly, talking to former nurses, reading books and journals and raiding archives. And the more I read, the more fascinated I became. I decided to start at the beginning of the story, with three students taking their first steps into nursing. I also decided to give them very different backgrounds, to see how they coped. And so The Nightingale Girls was born.
There are so many more stories to be told, and the more I research, the more I find. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES BY SHARON C. COOPER- FEATURE/ SPOTLIGHT

Hospital Chief of Staff Natasha Lockham’s life has been all about work and no play. That is until a one-night stand with a man who lives his life on the edge, turns her sexual fantasies into reality. She never expects to see him again, but their paths cross when Natasha suspects an esteemed doctor of committing an unspeakable crime against his patients and danger lands at her doorstep. The closer she gets to the truth, the more she realizes she’s not prepared for the truth – or the consequences. 

Former Navy SEAL, Malik Lewis, will always remember the night he spent with Natasha. It was the single most amazing night of his life. So when Natasha narrowly escapes a brutal attempt on her life, Malik stops at nothing to protect her, including hunting a man whose skills match his. Can Malik and Natasha outsmart a vicious assassin who has nothing to lose? And will they ever get to explore the sizzling passion between them that neither can deny? 

EXCERPT:

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Malik glanced up from reviewing the documents Wiz had just dropped off, surprised to see Natasha. He hadn’t been able to stop thinking about her. His anger had lingered, but seeing her curvy figure near the door began to slowly thaw the ice running through his veins.
“Hi,” she said shyly, keeping her distance.
Malik, though still pissed, had never been happier to see anyone in all of his life. Stan told him about the reporters at the hospital and how shaken she was when more media people showed up at her house. Malik almost went to her. Almost.
He stood, but didn’t move from behind his desk. His gaze traveled over her body from her hair loosely piled on top of her head, down to the short-sleeved wrap dress that hugged her hourglass shape. He didn’t stop his perusal until he got to her slender feet, which were encased in high-heeled orange strappy sandals that matched her dress. Her favorite color was orange and it was quickly becoming his favorite, too.
Damn she looks good.
Seeing her now, dressed as she was, he couldn’t help but think about something he once heard someone say. The first step in getting what you want is looking like you mean business. And damn if she wasn’t dressed to get whatever the hell she wanted from him.
“Hey,” he finally said. He wasn’t going to make this easy for her, yet it was taking everything in him not to bolt across the room and pull her into his arms.What helped him stay put was the fact that she’d kicked him out of her house. Never had a woman dismissed him, especially twice, and it was about time she understood exactly what he wouldn’t accept.
“I’m surprised to see you here. What can I do for you?” he asked coldly.
She didn’t move from where she stood and her nervousness showed with the death grip she had on the strap of her handbag.
“Thank you for having the house alarm installed. I just wanted to stop by and pay for the system and the services.”
He studied her for a long time. He didn’t want her money. He wanted her.
“The bill has been taken care of. Anything else?”
“Uh,” she glanced around the room, still standing near the door, “I’d like for you to call off the bodyguard.”
“That’s not going to happen,” he said. The media had backed off, but he still wasn’t comfortable with her roaming around the city alone.
“Why not?”
“Because it’s not.”
He wasn’t convinced that she wasn’t in danger. Sheldon and his men still didn’t have much on Halsey’s death. Knowing that, not only was Malik going to keep eyes on Natasha, but he had also decided to start his own covert investigation.
“Malik, I’m sorry, all right?” Natasha said, taking a step toward him.He looked up just as she captured her lower lip between her teeth. “I know you’re mad, and you have every right to be. I was wrong asking you to leave.”
Malik said nothing. The only reason he could come up with of why she asked him to leave instead of Martin was because she was still in love with her ex. And there was no way in hell he was sharing her with anyone else.
“You scare me.”
Malik drew his eyebrows together. “Excuse me?” Her voice was so low he wasn’t sure he’d heard her correctly.
“You make me nervous. We come from two different worlds. You’re like the star basketball player being pursued by a hundred colleges to play for their school, and I’m the geeky nerd who always gets looked over by the popular kids.”
Malik frowned, not knowing what she was talking about, but he had to admit she was damn cute.
“I don’t understand.”
She sighed and narrowed her eyes at him as if he was the one who’d done something wrong.
“Why are you making this so hard?” She raised her voice and put her hands on her hips. “I like you, all right? I really like you and I can’t stand the thought of you being angry with me.”
The jerk in Malik wanted to let her stew, but Malik the man wanted to pull her into his arms and taste those sweet, pouty lips. There was something about this woman that stirred things within him that had never been touched, and he wasn’t sure how he felt about that.
Her shoulders drooped. “Malik, don’t look at me like that. Say something.”
He laid down the file and walked around the desk, one hand stuffed into his pants pocket and the other rubbing his forehead. It was no wonder he didn’t do relationships, because whatever was transpiring between him and Natasha was frustrating as hell. He couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be seriously involved, or even married for that matter.
“Let’s get something straight. I don’t play games,” he said, staring into her beautiful brown eyes. “I mean what I say and I say what I mean. So whatever the hell type of game you and your ex are playing, count me out. I like you,” he eased up on her, “but I will not come second to some punk-ass professor, who doesn’t know how to move on when it’s over. Do we understand each other?”
Her jerky nod came without words so he continued, “I want you. Baby, I want you in every way a man wants a woman. If you’re not ready for what you know I can offer, then you need to tell me now. Otherwise, I’m going to pursue you to no end.”

Bestselling author, Sharon C. Cooper, spent 10 years as a sheet metal worker. And while enjoying that unique line of work, she attended college in the evening and obtained her B.A. from Concordia University in Business Management with an emphasis in Communication.
Sharon is a romance-a-holic – loving anything that involves romance with a happily-ever-after, whether in books, movies or real life. She writes contemporary romance, as well as romantic suspense and enjoys rainy days, carpet picnics, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. When Sharon is not writing or working, she’s hanging out with her amazing husband, doing volunteer work or reading a good book (a romance of course).


Sharon’s Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

  • Buy Links: Amazon
  • Genre: Contemporary Romance
  • Release Date: April 6, 2014
  • Length: 229 Pages
  •  

    Friday, May 23, 2014

    COMPROMISING MISS TISDALE BY JESSICA JEFFERSON- REVIEW+ GIVEAWAY



    BLURB:


    Ambrosia Tisdale is the very picture of propriety and the epitome of what a respectable young lady should be. Haunted by a memory and compelled by her family, she pursues perfection to a fault.


    The Earl of Bristol, Duncan Maddox, has returned to London after years of familial imposed exile. As the second son, he has led a life filled with frivolity, leisure, and a healthy dose of debauchery. Now his older brother has died, leaving the family’s flailing legacy in Duncan’s unwilling arms.


    At the behest of his uncle, Duncan is advised to do the one thing that could provide instant fortune and respectability – he must marry. But there is only one prospect who meets the unique requirements to solve all the Earl’s problems – the lovely Miss Ambrosia Tisdale. But securing the prudent daughter of a Viscount’s hand proves to be more challenging than this scandal ridden second son of an Earl has bargained for.


    With scandal, extortion, treachery, and even love itself threatening to keep him from his goal, will Duncan succeed in compromising Miss Tisdale?





    EXCERPT :

    James tapped his finger to the cleft in his chin. "So, I am to assume that you need financial prosperity, respectability, honor, and security virtually overnight? That is your dilemma?"



    Duncan chuckled at the absurdity of the situation. "In so many words, yes."

    He shrugged. "Should be simple enough."

    Duncan laughed outwardly now. "Simple? You call that simple?"

    James arched an eyebrow. "Such a quandary is hardly original to noble men like us."

    "How do you figure?"

    "Your predicament is nothing new. Men of our station have been combating that very issue for years. And the solution is hardly novel. I’m quite surprised someone with your acumen hadn’t thought of it earlier."

    "Clearly, I am ignorant, so please-enlighten me."

    "You need to marry."

    Duncan deflated. "Is that all?"

    "Well, you couldn’t just marry anyone. She must be rich, but not noveau riche. And her family must be prominent. She needn’t be from a ducal house necessarily, but with rivaling status in its age and reputation. And since you’re such a cad, your wife will need to be the picture of morality. We’re talking the personification of righteousness-no skeletons in the closet, no relatives from the other side of the blanket, no scandals amongst third cousins. The gossip rags must have nothing on her or her family."

    Duncan felt his nostrils flair. "Yes, simple indeed. So, where exactly do you suggest I find this rich Lady Madonna?"

    A slow smile crept up James’ face. "You’ve already met her."

    Confused, Duncan thought for a moment. Then he smacked into the great stone wall of realization at just what it was his friend was implying. "Miss Tisdale? You’re suggesting I marry Miss Tisdale? The Miss Tisdale who you just finished telling me is waiting for the perfect husband–who no doubt has far more prestige and fortune than I? You’re cracked." Duncan turned and started walking back towards the curtain.



    AUTHOR INFORMATION:


    Jessica Jefferson makes her home in northern Indiana, or as she likes to think of it – almost Chicago. Jessica originally attended college in hopes of achieving an English degree and writing the next great American novel. Ten years later she was working as a registered nurse and reading historical romance when she decided to give writing another go-round.


    Jessica writes likes she speaks, which has a tendency to be fast paced and humorous. Jessica is heavily inspired by sweeping, historical romance novels, but aims to take those key emotional elements and inject a fresh blend of quick dialogue and comedy to transport the reader into a story they miss long after the last page is read. She invites you to visit her at jessicajefferson.com and read her random romance musings.


    HYPERLINK "http://www.jessicajefferson.com/" \t "_blank" http://www.jessicajefferson.com/


    Like me at  HYPERLINK "https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jessica-Jefferson/" \t "_blank" https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jessica-Jefferson/


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    a Rafflecopter giveaway Compromising Miss TisdaleCompromising Miss Tisdale by Jessica Jefferson
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    Compromising Miss Tisdale by Jessica Jefferson is a 2013 Soul Mate Publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
    This Regency period historical romance was a delightful read. The dialogue is sharp, witty, and funny. It's hard to believe this is Jessica Jefferson's debut novel.
    Duncan was never supposed to inherit a title but after his brother dies quite suddenly and Duncan's uncle Richard's health is failing rapidly, it looks like the fun and games are over for Duncan. He enjoyed his undisciplined lifestyle and saw no reason to marry or produce an heir. Now, his uncle is beseeching him to restore the family name and honor.
    Ambrosia Tisdale is suffering from a little survivors guilt. She and her brother Thomas were both sick with a fever at the same time. Ambrosia lived but Thomas didn't pull through. Now, as the oldest daughter of four, she feels like she must chose the absolute best match so that her sisters will also marry well. This attitude has resulted in Ambrosia's fourth season. Fourth! She swears there will not be a fifth no matter which way things go.
    When Duncan confides in a friend that he needs a bride, Ambrosia 's name comes up. Duncan knows she would never agree to marry him with his rakish reputation, so his friend suggest he put Miss Tisdale in a compromising position so she will have no choice but to marry him. This idea appeals to Duncan since he is rapidly running out of time to find a bride. But, when he puts his plan into motion he realizes Miss Tisdale deserves better . Now, he finds he can't pursue things with her under false pretenses.
    Duncan and Ambrosia will face their flaws and frailties and learn to put the past where it belongs and allow themselves to find peace and happiness. Now if only Ambrosia's sister could be as lucky! Stay tuned! For fans of Eloisa James or Julia Quinn I think you will find this book most charming. Highly recommend!

    Thursday, May 22, 2014

    THE MILESTONE TAPES BY ASHLEY MACKLER-PATERNOSTRO-FEATURE/ REVIEW+ GIVEAWAY



    The Milestone Tapes


    by Ashley Mackler-Paternostro


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~


    BLURB:


    The only thing Jenna Chamberland ever wanted in her life was to be a good wife and a good mom. In death, she’ll find that she still wants the same things.

    With stage-four breast cancer, a terminal diagnosis and six months to live, Jenna fears what awaits her family after she is gone: Her husband, Gabe, will be left to raise their daughter alone, and Mia, only seven years old, will be forced to face a world without her mother.

    Ten blank tapes to teach her daughter everything she’ll ever need to know. Dead before Mia ever really got to know her, Jenna exists now only in pictures and watercolored memories, and Mia finds herself struggling to remember her mother in a way that feels real. But on the ninth anniversary of Jenna’s death, she will return to her daughter through a series of audiocassettes. One tape each of the milestones of Mia’s life, and with them, a letter explaining that Mia should only listen to the tapes when the time is right.

    With the help of her mother’s long-gone voice, Mia may just learn how to embrace the challenges and triumphs of her ever-changing life with humor, grace and a lot of hope.

    Rereleased for its second anniversary, the novel that book bloggers have called "beautiful" and "unforgettable" returns with new content and tapes never before read.



    The Milestone TapesThe Milestone Tapes by Ashley Mackler-Paternostro
    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    The Milestone Tapes by Ashley Mackler-Paternostro is a independent publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
    The first part of this book chronicles Jenna's struggle with advanced breast cancer. She has a good marriage and beautiful daughter and fights the good fight. After an exhaustive fight Jenna passes away peacefully on a beautiful fall day leaving behind her devastated family. But, because Mia was only seven years old and she would not have her mother around for all those milestone moments when a girl needs a mother, Jenna has the foresight to record a set of tapes for her daughter to listen to as she goes through the various stages of her life.
    The second half of the book deals with life without Jenna. We are privy to the words that Jenna recorded for her daughter and we see how things turn out for Gabe as he eventually moves past grief and realizes that Jenna would want him to be happy and so he begins to date and live his life once again.
    This book is a difficult read due to the rather depressing subject matter. I usually read for entertainment purposes and I am not prone to consider this type of book escape reading. It is a touching book that of course is very emotional and sad, but it's also uplifting and shows there can be no greater love than that of a mother for her child. I do recommend being prepared for the realistic depictions of living with cancer and the high emotional level can have one feeling worn out. I decided the next book I read will be something light and fluffy in order to shake off the aftermath of this one. I don't know if this book is for everyone. If you have had an up close look at cancer and the effect it has on the patient and the family then you might find this book cathartic, but for me I just couldn't help but fall into a funk after the first few chapters. I may feel things a little too much especially since these are fictional characters, but I did feel like I was experiencing everything right along with them. For me this is a one time read as I don't know if I could put myself through a second reading of it. But, don't let my depressive attitude keep you from reading this book. Again, it is sweet, and painful, and emotional, but I couldn't help but think that Mia was a lucky girl in that she had a mother that thought so much of her and prepared in advance this way for them to share their lives together although Jenna was no longer with them in body. Jenna's spirit though at peace still flows through the hearts of those she left behind and you can't ask anything better than that. This one is 4 stars. a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

    INTOXICATED BY MONICA MURPHY- A BOOK REVIEW


    Intoxicated (Billionaire Bachelors Club, #3.5)Intoxicated by Monica Murphy
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    Intoxicated by Monica Murphy - A Billionaire Bachelor Club novella is a 2014 Avon Impulse publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

    This novella touches base with Gage and Marina on their wedding day. Marina has evidently turned into a bit of a bridezilla, and when she finds out her sister Ivy has gone into labor she's not happy. Ivy feels guilty about missing the wedding but soon she has other things to worry about once the labor continues for much longer than she thought it would and Bryn is in a little bit of a panic over how serious her relationship with Matt has become.
    There is a lot going on in this very short story and not a lot of time to enjoy the major life events for Ivy and Marina. The wedding goes by in a blur, Ivy's labor is very difficult, and Bryn and Matt are still in that intense stage of the relationship where fear of the magnitude of the relationship has Bryn running for cover. I like all these characters even though Marina was a little off her game. I think this book was just a little bit of tidying up and so it's not fleshed out as much as I would have liked. All the same, for a lunch time or break time read it's enjoyable enough. This one gets 3 stars.

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

    THE OLD BLUE LINE BY J.A. JANCE


    The Old Blue Line (Joanna Brady, #15.5)The Old Blue Line by J.A. Jance
    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    The Old Blue Line by J.A. Jance is a 2014 William Morrow/ Witness Impulse publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
    This short story/ novella is technically a Joanna Brady novel. If you are expecting the usual Joanna Brady mystery then you will be disappointed. This is a story that is all about Butch Dixon, Joanna's husband, only this story takes place before the two were romantically involved.
    Butch is in hot water when his ex-wife is found murdered and from the grave she seems to have fingered him as a suspect. Thankfully, Butch has some friends he can turn to, to help him keep from being framed for murder. I enjoyed reading a little bit about Butch's background and this was an interesting aside from the usual Joanna Brady mystery. Having said that, the story could be a let down for those that are looking for Joanna to make an appearance. It's not until the very end of the book she makes a small cameo, but that's the extent of her contribution to this one. For those who are very big J.A. Jance fans and want to read any and everything she writes you might wish to add this one to your collection if for no other reason than to have all of her work and to get a little peak into Butch's past. Other than that, this one left me with a " I can take it or leave it" attitude. This one is a 2.5 rounded to 3.

    Monday, May 19, 2014

    MIND GAMES BY CHRISTINE AMSDEN-FEATURE AND CHARACTER INTERVIEW










     
    BOOK BLURB:
     

    Mind Games (Cassie Scot Book 3) Beware your heart and soul… Evan broke Cassie’s heart two months ago, and she still doesn’t know why. She throws herself into family, friends and her new job at the sheriff’s department, but nothing helps. The only thing that finally allows her to heal and move on is the love of a new man, mind mage Matthew Blair. Cassie finds him…irresistible. Matthew may also be the only one who can help keep the non-magical residents of Eagle Rock from going crazy over the murder of a beloved pastor’s wife. It looks like a sorcerer is to blame, but while Cassie tries to figure out who, others take matters into their own hands. With tensions running so hot, a single spark might set Eagle Rock ablaze.

      First Chapter: http://christineamsden.com/wordpress/?page_id=3118
      (Warning: Contains series spoilers. New readers to the series would be better off checking out the preview of book one below.)

    Buy Links Amazon Barnes and Noble Print release June 15. Audiobook release TBA. Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JLRNZ3C
    Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mind-games-christine-amsden/1119167384

    a Rafflecopter giveaway


    Other titles in this series:
     
    Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective Cassie Scot is the ungifted daughter of powerful sorcerers, born between worlds but belonging to neither. At 21, all she wants is to find a place for herself, but earning a living as a private investigator in the shadow of her family’s reputation isn’t easy. When she is pulled into a paranormal investigation, and tempted by a powerful and handsome sorcerer, she will have to decide where she truly belongs. First Chapter: http://christineamsden.com/wordpress/?page_id=1712

    BUY LINKS FOR CASSIE SCOT PARANORMAL DETECTIVE
    Amazon:
    http://www.amazon.com/Cassie-Scot-ParaNormal-Christine-Amsden/dp/1606192752/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1368971523&sr=8-1&keywords=Cassie+Scot Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/cassie-scot-christine-amsden/1115049717?ean=9781606192757 Audible (audiobook): http://www.audible.com/pd/Mysteries-Thrillers/Cassie-Scot-Audiobook/B00FA89FZ8/ref=sr_1_1?qid=1379697202&sr=1-1

     
    Secrets and Lies (Cassie Scot Book 2) Cassie Scot, still stinging from her parents’ betrayal, wants out of the magical world. But it isn’t letting her go. Her family is falling apart and despite everything, it looks like she may be the only one who can save them. To complicate matters, Cassie owes Evan her life, making it difficult for her to deny him anything he really wants. And he wants her. Sparks fly when they team up to find two girls missing from summer camp, but long-buried secrets may ruin their hopes for happiness.

    Buy Links for Secrets and Lies: Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FX4C0YM/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00FX4C0YM&linkCode=as2&tag=chrisamsde-20
    Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/secrets-and-lies-christine-amsden/1117158667?ean=2940148499534
    Audible (Audiobook): http://www.audible.com/pd/Mysteries-Thrillers/Secrets-and-Lies-Audiobook/B00HFDO8BC/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1395684489&sr=1-1

     
    Author Bio:

    Christine Amsden has been writing fantasy and science fiction for as long as she can remember. She loves to write and it is her dream that others will be inspired by this love and by her stories. Speculative fiction is fun, magical, and imaginative but great speculative fiction is about real people defining themselves through extraordinary situations. Christine writes primarily about people and relationships, and it is in this way that she strives to make science fiction and fantasy meaningful for everyone. At the age of 16, Christine was diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, a condition that effects the retina and causes a loss of central vision. She is now legally blind, but has not let this slow her down or get in the way of her dreams. In addition to writing, Christine teaches workshops on writing at Savvy Authors. She also does some freelance editing work. Christine currently lives in the Kansas City area with her husband, Austin, who has been her biggest fan and the key to her success.
    They have two beautiful children.

    Social Media Links:
    • Website • Newsletter • Blog • Facebook • Twitter • Goodreads • Google+ Web site:
    http://christineamsden.com/wordpress/
    Newsletter: https://tinyletter.com/christineamsden Blog: http://christineamsden.com/wordpress/?page_id=200
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Christine-Amsden-Author-Page/127673027288664?ref=hl Twitter: https://twitter.com/
    ChristineAmsden Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/117845642477854934607/
    posts Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1030664.Christine_Amsden

    Praise for the Cassie Scot Series From Publisher’s Weekly:

    “Amsden continues the story of the only mundane member of a supernaturally-gifted family in this middling sequel to Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective. Cassie, stubborn and proud, is bravely trying to live on her own after her family disowns her. Struggling to make ends meet, she accepts a case involving a pair of magical girls who disappeared from summer camp. With the aid of the handsome Evan Blackwood, to whom Cassie is attracted despite her family’s disapproval and her own better judgment, she follows the trail of the missing girls. What she finds is a dark side of the magical world, and the hidden depths of her family’s past force her to reconsider long-held assumptions. The growing complexity of Cassie’s world makes this an entertaining installment, focusing as much on the will-they, won’t-they romantic chemistry between Cassie and Evan as on the primary mystery. An inconclusive ending is clearly intended to feed into the next volume.” Kim Falconer, bestselling author of The Spell of Rosette, Quantum Enchantment Series, had this to say: “When sorcerers call the shots, what’s a girl without powers to do? Get ready for a ripper of a murder mystery full of romance and intrigue, where magic potions bubble, passions spark and vampires are definitely not your friend. Cassie Scot: ParaNormal Detective grabs you by the heart and won’t let go until the very last page. Well written, immersive and unputdownable. This is urban fantasy at its best. More please!” Book Specifications Title: Mind Games: a Cassie Scot novel Author: Christine Amsden

    Author web site: http://www.christineamsden.com
    Publisher: Twilight Times Books url: http://twilighttimesbooks.com/ Genre: paranormal fantasy
    *Print ISBN: 978-1-60619-279-5     Format: 5.5x8.5 trade paperback; 276 pages; $17.95 USD *eBook ISBN: 978-1-60619-278-8; $6.50 USD Format: ebook in pdf, ePub, Kindle, Mobi, PRC, etc. Distributors: Amazon Kindle; Apple iBookstore; BN.com Nook; Kobo Books; OmniLit, etc Release date: April 15, 2014 ebook; June 15, 2014 trade paperback
    Mind Games by Christine Amsden
    My rating: 5 of 5 stars


    WOW!  EVERYONE GIVE A WARM WELCOME TO CASSIE SCOT WHO HAS TAKEN TIME OUT DURING A VERY DIFFICULT TIME TO ANSWER A FEW QUESTIONS FOR US!!
    THANKS CASSIE!

    Interview with Cassie Scot- Normal Detective

    1) How is your job coming along? I understand you have a new partner?

     

    I like the job at the sheriff's department. It's ... well, I don't love it. I'm not sure if I feel that way because my attempt to go solo as a private eye failed, or if it's because I still haven't found my calling. Most of the people I work with are great, especially the sheriff. And now that my old partner, Rick, is gone, the atmosphere has improved a ton! I'm reserving judgment on my new partner, Wesley. He's new to town and still taking things in. At least he is taking things in and not snapping to any judgments. Not even about magic. I respect that.

     

    2) What has Nicolas been up to?

     

    My brother surprised me, actually. Oh, not because he got a magical apprenticeship – he should have done that months ago instead of trying to become a firefighter right off – but because he went with Clark Eagle as his mentor. I figured he'd go with Henry Wolf, who was our dad's mentor. And Mr. Wolf has an opening, now that Evan's graduated. But he went with Clark Eagle. He's almost as well-regarded in the community as Mr. Wolf, but Mr. Eagle is a combat sorcerer. Nicolas has a temper, but combat? I figured he was more into search-and-rescue. But times are changing. I think I've been a bit naive about how much evil exists in the world. For all that he's three years younger than me, Nicolas may have figured that out sooner.

     

    3) I cannot imagine how you are feeling right now towards Evan, but you must have some understanding of his point of view.  If the circumstances were reversed how would you handle it?

     

    I can't talk about Evan right now. He ... what he did to me ... and he didn't even tell me the truth! The coward! If our positions were reversed, I would at least have told me the truth!

     

    4)  Do you think you are a stronger person because of your lack of magical abilities?

     

    I'm not sure I understand. How could not having magic make me stronger? Everyone around me is stronger than I am. I've been trying to make potions lately; I'm not bad at it, but I still have to ask for help at key steps when the recipe calls for magic.

     

    5)  Evan is so protective of you.  Do you think he feels this way because of a guilty conscience or do you think it might be something deeper than that?

     

    Guilty conscience. Definitely.

     

    Almost definitely.

     

    The thing you have to understand about Evan is he's really full of himself. He'd love to think that he can have everything he ever wanted – including me. As for protecting me, that sort of thing really boosts his ego. Okay, so there are a lot worse ways to boost your ego, but it's not love. Not that I'm an expert on love or anything, but it's too easy for him to protect me. That's just a natural extension of who he is. I don't know, but I think real love is harder than that.

     

    6) You are in vulnerable state of mind at the moment.  Is it a good idea to start dating so soon?

     

    Evan and I were together for what, two weeks? I'm fine. Besides, what better way to get past a broken heart than to move on? Matthew is a great listener, he's very supportive, and I don't know ... he makes me feel good. The world doesn't seem like such an overwhelming place when I'm with him.

     

    7) Do you think Evan's father should bear the brunt of responsibiltiy for what happened? What should he do to make ammends?  Do you think he ever will feel remorse?

     

    Oh it is definitely his fault! I cannot say enough vile, hateful things about Victor Blackwood. Make ammends? It's decades too late for that. As for remorse ... I doubt he knows the meaning of the word.

     

    8) Do you believe in the predictions some have about your future?

     

    You mean Abigail Hastings, who still thinks I'm going to marry her grandson, Evan? The woman's got half a foot in the grave and I think her brain is in that foot.

     

    9)  Evan gets sucker punched several times in Mind Games.  His trust in certain people could come back to haunt him .   Do you have any predictions about how this will effect the community or you personally?

     

    Are we still talking about Evan? All right, all right ... I haven't given this a lot of thought, to tell you the truth. Yeah ... yeah, you're right. And I did warn Alexander DuPris about what might happen there at the end but he didn't listen. But what will happen? The future is tough to predict, even for a seer. (Abigail Hastings is proof of that!) There are so many possibilities, and so many angles to consider.

     

    Did I mention Evan's arrogance? I think Alexander may have a fight on his hands. The only thing is, and I don't mean this in a bad way, that Evan isn't really a leader. Oh, he's got certain alpha qualities like super extreme magical power  and a desire to protect the people who are close to him, but he's more the lone wolf type. That makes it hard to predict what's going to happen next. Evan won't take these betrayals lying down, but he's going to need some help to make it happen, which means he's going to have to get over himself and accept that help.

     

    But I don't think it can have anything to do with me, can it? My current plan is never to see or speak to him again. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that won't work.

     

    10) Do you have a motto or a quote you would like to share with us?

     

    I should have a motto, shouldn't I? Maybe I'll have one, someday soon, but right now even I know I'm a bit too confused about who I am.

    Thank to Christine Amsden for setting up the interview with Cassie.  I can't wait for find out what happens next!! Stay tuned!!