Thursday, February 27, 2014

Review: The Sinister Sitcom Caper by: Sally Carpenter

Title: The Sinister Sitcom Caper
Author: Sally Carpenter
Publisher: Cozy Cat Press
Pages: 212
Series: Sandy Fairfax Teen Idol Mysteries
Format: ebook
Source: Book Tour

Description:

Sandy Fairfax, former teen idol and star of the ‘70s hit TV show “Buddy Brave, Boy Sleuth,” is now a middle-aged recovering alcoholic who realizes that making a comeback can be murder. He’s the guest star on “Off-Kelter,” a corny family situation comedy, and the lowest rated TV show of the 1993 fall season. Before rehearsals barely begin one of the actors drops dead at Sandy’s feet. He investigates, enlisting the aid of two of his new cast mates: a dwarf and an animal actor. During his snooping, we meet Sandy’s ex, his parents and his teenage son, all with their own “situations” going on. During rehearsals Sandy also encounters a beautiful choreographer—could this be love? Will Sandy solve the murder before the Friday night taping of “Off-Kelter” or will the elusive killer cancel our hero before the final credits? This book was inspired by the author’s experience working as a tour guide/page at Paramount Pictures in Hollywood.

My Thoughts:

This book starts with Sandy Fairfax heading to guest star in Off-Kelter.  Sandy is trying to get back into the sing of show biz after being out for a while.  He winds up meeting a colorful group of people. It doesn't take long before someone winds up dead and right infront of Sandy.  Now it's up to Sandy to figure out what is going on??

You can tell by reading this book that the author knows quiet a bit about Hollywood and studios.  While reading this book I felt like I was walking around with Sandy at the studio.  I think it is great when an author can pull you in and have you right there with the characters.

Can't wait to see what she comes up with next!  Definitely a fan of hers with this series and this is the second book I will definitely be looking into the first book.

Giveaway Time: 

I have one physical copy of this book to giveaway.  This contest is open to the USA all you have to do in the comments is leave your email address and to make this fun share your favorite cozy book series!!

Book Trailer Thursday #9: The Chosen by: Andrea Buginsky


The Chosen by: Andrea Buginsky
Purchase Link: Amazon 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Review: FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell

Title: FANGIRL
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 448
Format: Audiobook
Source: Personal purchase


Definition: 


In Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life--and she's really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it's what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath's sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can't let go. She doesn't want to.
Now that they're going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn't want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She's got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can't stop worrying about her dad, who's loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?


My thoughts:

I have to state from the beginning that I've never been a fan of fanfiction. Internet is a wonderful place for finding people who love the same things you do as much as you do, but I've always felt fanfiction to be unnecessary and rather dull. Especially when fanfiction writers walk around declaring themselves authors, it annoys me. Not because they can't write or don't write well, but because it's easy to pick up a story and take it somewhere if you already have the characters and the settings laid out. So, in my review, I'm going to try and not get too much into the whole fanfiction thing. 

FANGIRL is actually Cath's story. She and her sister Wren are big fans of a series of books, Simon Snow, which is a lot like Harry Potter, really. However, when they get to university, all Wren wants to do is suck it in and party it up, but Cath hold onto her fangirl-self a lot harder and becomes even more of an introvert. Instead of working on her writing assignments, she chooses to continue her fanfiction, which I felt is kind of a safe place for her. I also felt that she decided to study writing thinking, "I already love reading and am writing," which is a pretty misguided reason, but I'm not the one to judge.

I personally found Cath to be very annoying. As in VERY annoying. She wasn't even excited to be in university finally, didn't seem excited to suck all that information in, and that just didn't sit well with me. She should be thankful that she had a roommate like Reagan who had a friend like Levi who was pretty dreamy and fell in love with Cath somehow. 

FANGIRL is among our book club selections at International Geek Girl Pen Pals. Of course I shared my opinions above with them as well. And when in return those who loved the book shared their comments, it dawned on me that there are all kinds of fangirls-- I'm not judging anybody, but I'm a pretty outgoing, curious person, and those who want to hide in their shell no matter what tend to annoy me.

In the meantime, many things didn't add or tie up to anything in the end. I'm all for writers leaving the ending to the reader, but this wasn't like that. For example, Cath and Wren's dad has some mental problems, so does their mother and she stays in a home. They appear and disappear throughout the story without any real impact on characters or events, which made me feel they were put in there as an excuse for Cath's introvertness and Wren's abuse of alcohol.

I had seen other books by Rowell around, but I'm not sure now if I want to read them. If they're along the same lines as FANGIRL, then I don't think I'll enjoy them. If you've read them, please do share your thoughts.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Review: Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Title: Love in the Time of Cholera
Author: Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Publisher: Vintage
Pages: 348
Format: Turkish paperback
Source: Can Yayinlari

Description:


In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is devastated, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs--yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.

My thoughts: 

Most of us learn (or try, at least) what love is from books, movies, TV shows before we get to experience it ourselves-- if we ever do, really. Some of us believe we'll get butterflies in our stomachs, some of us think we'll be swiped off of our feet, while some of us believe we'll be able to see nobody else but "the one" when we're in love. Of course, this changes according to whose definition of love suits you better. Put on paper by my favorite author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza's love that lasts half a century is the one I myself chose to believe in the first time I read it. 

Don't think it'll be all "baby, baby, oooooh" just because it's a love story. Even though Fermina has met and fallen in love with Florentino when she was young, she's married to Juvenal Urbino when we first meet her in the book. When they together again 50 years later, Florentino once again declares his love to her. However, how Fermina responds is kicking the man out of her house-- only when we dive into their past do we understand why.

There are many a life lesson in Love in the Time of Cholera. We see how 50 years can change people. We observe how, with them, their relationships change. We get to witness what kind of an effect time has on people as well as places and culture, what people are capable of when they're mad with jealousy, how death might scare them as they get older, and how being old affects the body as much as the mind...

In conclusion, Love in the Time of Cholera will make you question life in general. After all, there's a reason why it's on many "books you much read before you die" lists. 

P.S. There's a movie based on the book, but I personally thought that was a whole different story; not the one I fell in love with all those years ago and all over again just recently. Do see the movie if you want, of course, but don't think you've gotten a sense of the book if you've only seen the movie and not read it. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Review: Kristy's Great Idea by: Ann M Martin

Title: Kristy's Great Idea
Author: Ann M Martin
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
Pages: 153
Series: The Baby-Sitters Club #1
Format: Kindle
Source: Purchase

Description:

Kristy thinks the Baby-sitters Club is a great idea. She and her friends Claudia, Stacey and Mary Anne all love taking care of kids. A club will give them the chance to have lots of fun-and make tons of money.

But nobody counted on crank calls, uncontrollable two-year-olds, wild pets, and parents who don't always tell the truth. And then there's Stacey, who's acting more and more mysterious. Having a baby-sitters club isn't easy, but Kristy and her friends aren't giving up until they get it right!

My Thoughts: 

This is the first book I ever read when I was reading on my own.  I loved the premise of four best friends that turn babysitters and made a club out of it.  I loved the difference all the girls had.  This book sets up all the ones to follow it tells the story of Kristy and how she came up with the idea of The Baby-Sitters Club and how they had a rough start to begin with but it all worked out in the end.

Definitely a great series for young readers who are looking for characters to identify with.  I'm going to work my way though this whole series again as there were some I never got too.  Next in the series:



Friday, February 21, 2014

Review: Body Wave A Text A Nurse Mystery by: R.V Doon

Title: Body Wave
Author: R.V. Doon
Publisher: BRY Publishing
Pages: 218
Series: A-Text-A-Nurse Mystery #1
Format: Kindle ebook
Source: Author Request

Description:

Body Wave is a cozy mystery wrapped in a romance.

From the outside, Reece Carson has it all. Inside, she's a squishy mess. She’s just launched a business, Text-A-Nurse, inherited her aunt’s home and modest savings, and has received the nod to write an historical health column for her local Sunday paper. Her aunt’s deathbed confession of covering up a murder has saddened and confused her. Until the confession, she thought her aunt qualified for saint hood. Known for solving mysteries and finding lost things, she’s both scared and motivated to unearth the truth. Then her aunt’s best friend dies, and Reece is first on the scene.

When the police and coroner pronounce the older woman dead by natural causes, Reece disagrees. Using a trusty nursing care plan instead of a murder book as a guide, she unearths more and more clues supporting homicide. When the killer turns on her, Reece learns that secrets fester like disease, and one day they’ll come back and kill you.

My Thoughts: 

Reece is a text a nurse which basically people text her cell phone and she treats them either physically or just with someone to listen to them.  When Reece's aunt Julie winds up dead and begs Reece to investigate a old murder case, it leads to more questions than answers and when another elderly lady Abigail winds up dead Reece has a hard time swallowing what everyone is feeding her.

In this book was such an adventure trying to figure out what happened so long ago on top of the current deaths and why someone is trying to silence Reece.  I felt drawn into the south with this book.  I was sad when it ended as it told a great mystery story with depth and questions swirling through my mind.

Definitely a great cozy mystery!  This book is great for those in the medical profession that are looking for a great cozy mystery with lots of action and adventure!  I also loved with a capital L the relationship between Reece and her sister Heather.  How those two are really connected!

Review: Wake by Amanda Hocking

Title: Wake
Author: Amanda Hocking
Publisher: Tor
Series: Watersong #1
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal purchase

Description:


Gorgeous. Fearless. Dangerous. They're the kind of girls you envy; the kind of girls you want to hate. Strangers in town for the summer, Penn, Lexi and Thea have caught everyone's attention—but it’s Gemma who’s attracted theirs. She’s the one they’ve chosen to be part of their group.

Gemma seems to have it all—she’s carefree, pretty, and falling in love with Alex, the boy next door. He’s always been just a friend, but this summer they’ve taken their relationship to the next level, and now there’s no going back. Then one night, Gemma’s ordinary life changes forever. She’s taking a late night swim under the stars when she finds Penn, Lexi and Thea partying on the cove. They invite her to join them, and the next morning she wakes up on the beach feeling groggy and sick, knowing something is different.

Suddenly Gemma is stronger, faster, and more beautiful than ever. But her new powers come with a terrifying price. And as she uncovers the truth, she’s is forced to choose between staying with those she loves—or entering a new world brimming with dark hungers and unimaginable secrets.


My thoughts:

I saw this at the bookstore and bought it when I found the blurb appealing. When I see the center of the story is water or snow, I can't stop myself from going for it. Wake, first book of the Watersong series, is like a creepy Disney movie. I wasn't in love with, and the turn of events didn't really surprise me, but I liked how magical it was and want to read the rest of the series as well. 

Gemma and her big sister Harper live in Capri, Maryland with their father. Their mother is staying at a mental institution. With its endless beaches by the ocean, Capri is a big tourist attraction. When three girls--Penn, Thea and Lexi-- come into town, they're instantly drawn to Gemma. When you've read the book's blurb you can guess what it will lead to, but getting there is still rather exciting.

Knut Ekvall's "The Fisherman and the Siren"

Hocking has created realistic, very believable characters. Like I've said before, even though you can guess what's going to happen, you can still enjoy how things will unfold without getting bored. The big sister-little sister relationship between Harper and Gemma, Harper assuming the mother role because theirs isn't around to take it on, their father having to deal with two teenage girls... First love, first kiss and, at last, a girl who loves the water being able to breathe in it...

Lullaby (2nd book) and Tidal (3rd book) are already out, and Elegy will be released in August 2013.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Title: Shatter Me
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: Harper
Series: Shatter Me #1
Format: Paperback, Turkish translation (DEX)
Source: Own purchase

Description:



Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.


My thoughts:

Shatter Me is the story of Juliette, who's been claimed to be crazy and locked up in a mental institution. She's in her cell alone, and she hasn't touched or let alone talked to anyone in a very long time. We read the story through Juliette's words, and what sets her apart from most narrators is she lays everything out just as she thinks about them. Some parts are crossed out when she changes her mind, and this is something I quite enjoyed, something that made her real to me. It was refreshing to read, when, especially considering most YA narrators just try too hard.

Juliette was deemed crazy because she has powers that nobody understands. She's not at the point she can control it, therefore she ends up hurting people. Summary: she touches you, you die. She herself doesn't understand what's going on either, which is actually what pulls her toward insanity. However, everything changes when a guy called Adam shows up in her cell as her new cellmate, and they end up breaking out. Juliette slowly starts understanding that her powers aren't evil as most people think them to be, that she can be loved despite that, that there are people just like her and she's not alone. 

I imagine Juliette's story to be a sort of a metaphor: in real life as well, if someone's way too smart for "regulat" people to understand how it can be, if someone's considered too strong or powerful, they're ignored and left out. If they're considered to be "out of the ordinary" by society, nobody tries to understand them; it seems to be easier to just put them away and forget they exist. 

On a more fun note, when I got into the story a little bit, I thought I'd be all about Adam, but instead I fell for Kenji, who's fun, a bit of a smart ass and just plain cute. I must also add that Mafi really knows how to write great kissing scenes, and I learned a new word by choice while reading the book (it's not in the book in case I make it sound like it is), which I think describes it really well: 

BASOREXIA: The overwhelming desire to kiss.

I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next, and I'm definitely craving some more Kenji.

Book Spotlight: Once In A Lifetime by: JIll Shalvis



ONCE IN A LIFETIME by Jill Shalvis (February 18, 2014; Grand Central Publishing Mass Market; $6.00) 

SOMETIMES WRONG IS OH-SO-RIGHT After a wrenching loss, Ben McDaniel tried to escape his grief by working in dangerous, war-torn places like Africa and the Middle East. Now he's back in his hometown and face-to-face with Aubrey Wellington, the hot-as-hell woman who is trouble with a capital T. Family and friends insist she's not the one to ease his pain, but Aubrey sparks an intense desire that gives Ben hope for the future.

Determined to right the wrongs of her past, Aubrey is working hard to make amends. But by far, the toughest challenge to her plan is sexy, brooding Ben - even though he has absolutely no idea what she's done . . .

Can this unlikely couple defy the odds and win over the little town of Lucky Harbor?

About the author: New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill's bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

Book Spotlight:


A few snowflakes floated lazily out of the low, dense clouds. One block over, the Pacific Ocean carved into the harbor, which was lined by three-story high, rugged bluffs teeming with the untouched forestland that was the Olympic Mountains. Around him, the oak-lined streets were strung with white lights, shining brightly through the morning gloom. Peaceful. Still.
   
  A month ago, he’d been in South America, elbows deep in a project rebuilding a water system for the war-torn land. Before that, he’d been in Haiti. And before that, Africa. And before that … Indonesia? Hell, it might have been another planet for all he remembered. It was all rolling together.

He went to places after disaster hit, whether man or nature made, and he saw people at their very worst moments. Sometimes he changed lives, sometimes he improved them, but at some point over the past five years, he’d become numb to it. So much so that when he’d gone to check out a new jobsite at the wrong place, only to have the right place blown to bits by a suicide bomber just before he got there, he’d finally realized something.

He didn’t always have to be the guy on the front line. He could design and plan water systems for devastated countries from anywhere. Hell, he could become a consultant instead. Five years of wading knee deep in crap, both figuratively and literally, was enough for anyone. He didn’t want to be in the right hellhole next time.

So he’d come home, with no idea what was next.

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Book Trailer #8: Sweet Lenora by: Ute Carbone


Sweet Lenora by: Ute Carbone
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookstrand

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Review: Murder She Barked by: Krista Davis

Title: Murder She Barked
Author: Krista Davis
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Series: Paws & Claws Mystery #1
Pages: 304
Format: Kindle ebook
Source: Purchase

Description:

The Sugar Maple Inn in Wagtail, Virginia, is the country's premiere vacation hot spot for pet owners who can’t bear to leave their furry friends behind. But this tourist town smells trouble when a killer goes on the prowl....

Holly Miller's life has gone to the dogs. She has no job, her boyfriend's former flame is sniffing around, and a scruffy but loveable Jack Russell Terrier is scattering crumbs all over her borrowed car. Just when she thought things couldn't get worse, a troubling phone call about her grandmother sends her rushing home to the family inn on Wagtail Mountain.

The staff—and a frisky Calico kitten named Twinkletoes—adopts Holly and her new dog on arrival. But someone in this friendly town is bad to the bone. One of the employees at the inn has been killed in a hit-and-run accident—which is looking anything but accidental. Now Holly and her furry companions will have to nose out the murderer before someone else gets muzzled.

My Thoughts: 

This book was such a great story after reading all the Domestic Diva's and loving them I was so happy when Ms. Davis introduced us to Paws & Claws Series.  The ability to weave a story heavily ladened with animals of all kinds made it that much more enjoyable.

This book follows Sugar Maple Inn and the residents there when Holly Miller goes home to her grandmother and finds some weird stuff going on such as death and all it's up to Holly and her pets Twinkletoes and Trixie to find out what is going on and who is committing murder.

While Holly is there she realizes that her love life is a mess that her boyfriend Ben isn't what she needs it's all ok, no fireworks or butterfly syndrome.  Holly makes some tough decisions about her life and the direction it's headed in.  Whether to go back to her boring job or stay at Wagtail and work with her grandmother at the inn.

I just loved the animals along with the mystery and adventure and seeing Holly make these tough decisions she needed to make in life.  I really felt like I was there with everyone in Wagtail and loved every minute of it!

Review: Rubbed Out by: Riley Adams

Title: Rubbed Out
Author: Riley Adams
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Series: A Memphis BBQ Mystery #4
Pages: 272
Format: Kindle ebook
Source: Purchase

Description:

Even Lulu Taylor—proprietress of Aunt Pat’s Barbeque Restaurant in the heart of Memphis, Tennessee—needs to get out of the kitchen now and then. But at the Rock and Ribs festival, she finds more than a taste of trouble…

Reuben Shaw rubs a lot of people the wrong way—including Lulu’s best friend, Cherry, who has the misfortune of being in the booth next to his at the festival. The pigheaded pit master thinks he’s a shoo-in to win the barbeque competition, but he spends more time stirring up trouble than seasoning his spare ribs. Hours after she gets into a quarrel with him, Cherry finds Shaw dead with a butcher knife in his chest. Now it’s her turn to get grilled—by the police. Lulu sets out to clear her friend’s name and finds Shaw had more secrets than his BBQ recipe. She’ll need to act fast, because the real killer will spare no one…including Lulu.

My Thoughts:

In Memphis there is a cooking festival going on which all the girls of the Graces are participating in.  Lulu is visiting with her grandkids and Derrick.  Lulu witness Cherry get into a heated fight with the tent next to the Graces not long after that the pit master of the tent winds up dead.

Lulu and Cherry set out to clear Cherry's name and find out who killed Reuben.  Of course not long into that another body winds up this one connected to Reuben a customer he screwed over with his contracting company.

In this book there are so many possible suspects was it the teammates Sharon and Brody who were fighting alot with Reuben?  Was it Reuben's ex-wife that he was screwing over?  Or their son who was living a very broke life?  Or was it Aunt Pat's waitstaff Tim who was seen arguing with Reuben?  And what is going on with Derrick's disappearing act?

This book was great with the ups and downs, and all the mysteries going on it went by way too fast a book for me, before I knew it the book was done.  I really feel drawn into this series, I love the homeyness it has.



Review: Days of Wine and Roquefort by: Avery Aames

Title: Days of Wine and Roquefort
Author: Avery Aames
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Pages: 320
Series: A Cheese Shop Mystery #5
Format: ebook ARC NetGalley
Source: Author and Tour

Description:

Murder, like Roquefort, stinks...

Cheese Shop owner Charlotte Bessette’s life seems quieter than ever with her fiancĂ© out of town and her cousin Matthew and his children out of the house. But before she can put up her feet and enjoy a glass of chardonnay, Matthew asks her to play host to Noelle Adams, a bright sommelier visiting to help grow business for the local winery.

An affable wine aficionado, Noelle is paired well with the cheese expert Charlotte—but something seems to be troubling the secretive houseguest, and Charlotte’s life is upended when she finds the sparkling woman dead. Between Noelle’s hotheaded ex, the cagey owners of the winery, its jaded manager, and a wily reporter, Charlotte has her pick of suspects, but she needs to act fast—this is a mystery that only gets more dangerous with age.

My Thoughts:

This is the first book in this series I've read and I loved it.  Charlotte is having a quiet time in her life with her fiancĂ© away her cousin and his kids out of the house Charlotte has begun working on things in her garage that need to be done and having a guest in her house Noelle Adams.  Of course like any great mystery someone always winds up dead.  This time it is Noelle in Charlotte's garage.

Charlotte groups up with Rebecca, Matthew her cousin, and others around town to find out what happened to newcomer Noelle.  Of course not much is known about her.  While they are investigating this there is always the craziness of the locals like Prudence who's trying to monopolize the town by buying up all the properties for sale.

I really enjoy the spin this series has centering around a cheese shop and Matthew and his wine.  I think having these things really makes this series stand out from others ones.  I know I enjoyed it immensely.  Definitely have to read those other 4 books in the series which I have on my kindle just need to get to them.



Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Review Limoncello Yellow by: Traci Andrighetti

Title: Limoncello Yellow
Author: Traci Andrighetti
Publisher: Gemma Halliday Publishing
Pages: 283
Format: Paperback
Source: Cozy Book Tour

Description:

Francesca "Franki" Amato is a tough-talking rookie cop in Austin, Texas—until an unfortunate 911 call involving her boyfriend, Vince, and a German female wrestler convinces her once and for all that she just isn't cut out for a life on the police force. 

So Franki makes the snap decision to move to New Orleans to work at her friend Veronica's detective agency, Private Chicks, Inc. But Franki's hopes for a more stable life are soon dashed when Private Chicks is hired by the prime suspect in a murder case to find out what really happened to a beautiful young boutique manager who was found strangled to death with a cheap yellow scarf. 

When she's not investigating, Franki is hoping to seduce handsome bank executive Bradley Hartmann, but most of her time is spent dodging date offers from a string of "good Italian boys"—make that not-so-good aging Italian men—that her meddlesome Sicilian grandma has recruited as marriage candidates. As Mardi Gras approaches and the mystery of the murdered shop girl gets more complicated, Franki must decipher the odd ramblings of a Voodoo priestess to solve both the murder and the mystery of her own love life.

My Thoughts: 

This book was sent to me via book tour for a honest and fair review.  This book was great in this story we meet Franki whose having the worst luck in life a cheating boyfriend and a job she can no longer handle.  She quits and moves to New Orleans to work with her old friend Veronica.  

Veronica is owner of Private Chicks Inc.  A detective agency where they help all sorts of people the major one being a murder that happened not long ago and it's up to Franki and Veronica to find out what is going on.

In New Orleans Franki meets Bradley whose almost too good to be true and Franki learns about Bradley's secret and spends a good portion of the book blowing him off not wanting to be with another cheater.

As for the murder of Jessica Evans who killed her?  Was it an old flame of hers?  Or someone she was blackmailing?  Or was it an old friend?  With Franki and Veronica on the case it's only a matter of time before the case is exposed.

I enjoyed this story alot with the action, adventure and of course the humor.  Watching Franki deal with her "nonna" whose trying to set her up with all sorts of good Italian boys.  Unfortunately Franki doesn't want any of them.

Review: Hot & Adorable by: P.T. Macias

Title: Hot & Adorable
Author: P.T. Macias
Publisher: Kindle Edition
Series: De La Cruz Saga #6
Format: Kindle ebook
Source: Purchase

Description:

Alejandro Andres De La Cruz is the doctor in the familia (family). He’s always there to help everyone in need. Alex loves to ride Luna a palomino on the familia’s hacienda. He's hot, sexy and very warm caring hombre (man).

Carolina Crystal Reyes is a beautiful, sweet, young Medical Physician. She lives in the shadows and steals his heart.

Alex lives a double life. Can anyone help him in his time of need before losing his amor?

My Thoughts: 

This book follows the romance between Alejandro Andres De La Cruz referred to as Alex and Carolina as they meet at work and feel a deep connection.  Carolina lives with her grandmother who dies not long into the book and Alex can't bare to leave Carolina alone in the bad area of town so he spends every moment he can with her protecting her.

Realizing he could loose her when a man tries to break into her house Alex sweeps her off to Vegas to get married and on their way back they get into a horrible car accident will the two survive?

I really love these stories they are great and not only for the romance but also the story they tell of siblings and the people they love.  They pull you in and give you a front row seat to what they are going through.  It's told in the here and now which is great you don't have the back flash sequences at all.  Which I really enjoy.  You feel like you are there with the De La Cruz kids seeing what they are dealing with.  This book was definitely a hot, steamy ride I thoroughly enjoyed!

Guest Post by: Anna Therrien author of Seperated


How I wrote Seperated by: Anna Therrien

I wrote ‘Separated’ for the simple fact that I love writing. I’ve always wanted to write a good book and publish it, so I guess you can say it’s a dream come true, a “check” off my bucket list. I chose to write this book, because I can relate to some of the topics I covered, including bullying and relationship issues, good and bad. I did a lot of research for this, so the places and issues I talked about are real.

I wanted my characters to be likeable with real goals, dreams, and problems. As I really got into the book, I felt a closeness to the characters, especially Connor and his best friend Nick, who happens to be gay. They were two of my favorite characters.

The story starts out with Connor expressing to his adopted mother that he wants to find his birth mother. He knows her name and where to find her, he just doesn’t know why he was given up for adoption or if he has siblings. As the story unfolds, he learns that everything is not as it seems. He eventually finds out the truth and why that part of his life was kept hidden, while living his life with his best friend Nick, new girlfriend, and new friends.

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Review: Banana Brava by: Jose Mauro de Vasconcelos

The first book I ever read by Vasconcelos, “My Sweet Orange Tree”, is still among my all-time favorites. There were two follow-up  books to that, which I found haven’t been translated into English. I read those at certain stages of my life, so you could say Vasconcelos’s characters and I kind of grew up together. It was an amazing journey, I must say—these stories that dress up reality and see beauty even in tragedy, these simple stories that throw human emotion in your face with all their might have pulled me away from the fairytales and put me into the magical world of reality.

Banana Brava has all these elements while following around a group of garimpos (men who dig for diamonds). They’re such an unusual group of people that Vasconcelos even apologizes in the foreword of the book, saying he’s sorry for even keeping their curses the same in the book. They do heavy work, real heavy work, as they eat bad food, drink bad drinks, wear dirty clothes and drift around with no money. What they eat and drink especially caught my attention because I’m a lover of eating and drinking. The footnotes have explained very well what exactly it is they’re consuming. I didn’t at all understand how they can eat so badly yet have all that energy to do the work they have to do. And looking at the worn-down places they stay in, I have no idea how they manage a good night’s sleep and can actually get up so early in the morning.

One of the most interesting parts of the book for me was the characters’ stories outside of being a garimpo. For example, Joel is a pianist who ran away from his family. As I read more and more into his history, I found myself thinking what it means to be a “man” in a society and how that changes from culture to culture. The one in Banana Brava, in Brazil is very similar to how it is in Turkey: a “man” should be strong, should be able to do things that require a lot of physical strength, should be tough… When that’s the way people look at it, it’s not surprising that a pianist with soft hands would give it up to become a garimpo.


From what I’ve seen, this book hasn’t been translated into English either, but I really hope it does soon because Vasconcelos is an author everyone needs to meet.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Book Spotlight: Ghost, Razor 8 by: P.T. Macias




Ghost is an old-fashioned Southern boy fighting hard to forget his pain. He’s forced to protect his Mama and sister from their abusive Pa. Ghost is strong, silent, and soft spoken. He works hard against all obstacles and hurt. 

Ghost grows up to become a Delta Force. He meets and falls for a hot Latina who sets him on fire! She captures his soul and brightens his world. He would do anything to protect her. 

Duty calls and he’s forced to leave her unprotected. The unspeakable happens! Ghost calls on Infinity. Infinity aids to extract his woman from the clutches of a soulless prostitution mob. Time is running out!

Get Your Book Today it's climbing Amazon's charts Purchase Link

Review: Hot & Spoiled by: P.T. Macias

Title: Hot & Spoiled
Author: P.T. Macias
Publisher: Createspace
Series: De La Cruz Saga #5
Format: Kindle ebook
Source: Author Request

Description:


Sebastian Antonio De La Cruz is the familia architect. He’s the classic traditional macho Mexicano. He enjoys being single until the primos (his cousins) start falling in love.

He contemplates seeking the chica (girl) of his dreams. Cynthia walks into his demanding, independent, and unconventional rocking his world. He deals with her father’s objections, issues, and abuse. Tony believes Cynthia’s father is the source of his family’s troubles. 

 Quote ~ “She’s hot, sexy, and makes me burn like no one ever has. I just can’t be with her. She’s a spoiled demanding chica and I will not be her toy!” Sebastian Antonio De La Cruz

My Thoughts: 

This book was great and had me going from hot to cold in no time at all.  In this book we watch the relationship between Cynthia Lopez and Sebastian Antonio De La Cruz mostly called Tony, who is trying to find the girl of his dreams little does he know she is right in front of him and can set his heart on fire.  

What I really enjoy about this story is the family aspect, that the siblings all have each others backs especially in times of trouble.  The bonding connection they all have and how they are open when one of the children fall in love.  I especially love the aspect of Family dinners.

I am so hooked on this author she does a great job of weaving incredible romance, with the proper amount of steam to get you coming back for more.  Her books are heavily influenced with spanish and it just makes the romances that much steamer, reading phrases in spanish I think really add to the romance and steaminess!

Hold on to your hats in this book it is going to be a very steamy ride.  With all the ups and downs Tony and Cynthia do it's a miracle they get it all together on the same page!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Review: Tax Cut by: Michelle Lynn Seigfried & Giveaway

Title: Tax Cut
Author: Michelle Lynn Seigfried
Publisher: Createspace
Pages: 258
Format: ebook
Source: Book Tour

Description:

You'll L.O.L. because Municipal Clerk Chelsey Alton is at it again! Working for a government riddled with crime, she and her sidekick Bonnie investigate to find out the answer to the pressing question: Who killed Vinny Buttiglieri? She finds herself entangled with dangerous mobsters and corrupt politicians. She thinks she's doing the right thing, but can she save herself when she becomes entrenched too deep in this Jersey shore mystery?

My Thoughts: 

This book follows Chelsey Alton as she finally goes back to work when a city clerk winds up dead Chelsey's friend convinced her to get the job, when she does she finds out she gets more than she bargained for.

Chelsey and her good friend Bonnie end up looking into the death of Vinny.  Who was really out to get him?  This book also was told from a two angle one angle was Chelsey the other are the bad guys who committed the murder.  Which made it a very interesting story, as we are quick to find out who is involved with the death of Vinny then to watch Chelsey piece it together. Will she solve it before she winds up like Vinny?

I really enjoyed the twists and turns this book took plus learning about the people in Chelsey's life, it was great to have a single mom being a detective so to speak.  I also loved her banter with her friend Bonnie and how she handled Mike Nero Chelsey's stalker who seems to think they are destined to be together.  Can't wait to see what this author comes up with next!

GIVEAWAY:

I have one copy of this book to giveaway it's a Kindle copy so in the comments below include your email address, and I will select one winner at random to win a copy of this great book!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Book Trailer Thursday #7: The Promise of Provence by: Patricia Sands


The Promise of Provence by: Patricia Sands
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Book Trailer #6: The Wingmaker by: Lynette Louise


The Wingmaker by: Lynette Louise
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Book Spotlight: Taken In by: Elizabeth Lynn Casey


Elizabeth Lynn Casey is getting her next book in the Southern Sewing Circle ready to premire.  Here's the cover for the book!

Description:


When a trip to the Big Apple ends in murder, the sewing circle searches for a killer who’s rotten to the core. . .

Winning an appearance on a top-rated, New York based morning show means the trip of a lifetime for librarian Tori Sinclair and the Sweet Briar Ladies Society Sewing Circle. Anxious to experience Manhattan with her friends, Tori is less than excited when fellow member Dixie Dunn opts to use the vacation as an opportunity to rendezvous with a man she met online.

Still, Tori never imagined her friend would be taken in by a con man specializing in scamming vulnerable older women—or that Dixie would be arrested for his murder.

Now, as the sewing circle goes up against Gotham’s elite to prove Dixie’s innocence, they will have to unravel tangled secrets and alibis, patch together a mess of clues, and put a clever killer in the city’s hottest spotlight . . .

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Elizabeth Lynn Casey Social Sites:



Review - The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Title: The Snow Child
Author: Eowyn Ivey
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books
Pages: 389
Format: Paperback
Source: Personal purchase


Description:

Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.

My thoughts:

You know how there are books that you randomly pick up at the bookstore, make them wait on your shelf for quite a while, and when you finally do read them, you get mad at yourself for having waited that long? Alaskan Eowyn Ivey’s The Snow Child was one of those books for me. I feel I’ve already read this year’s surprise, and in January of all months.

The Snow Child takes place in Alaska, in the 1920s. Jack and Mabel are an old couple (although their exact ages aren’t given, I’m guessing they’re somewhere between 50 and 60) without a kid. Mabel had a miscarriage back in the day, and the couple just couldn’t get over it because they want children so badly. They move to Alaska to start a new home, a new life together. However, I got the feeling they didn’t fully take into account what a menace Alaskan weather can be.

One day, a little girl shows up on their land out of nowhere. In the beginning, she doesn’t really get close to them, but then she becomes part of family. She mostly refuses to stay with them at their house, and she can very well take care of herself despite the bad weather conditions. The girl, Faina, is the child that Jack and Mabel have always wanted but couldn’t have. Faina doesn’t show up for anyone other than the couple for a while, but then she wins the hearts of the couple’s friends as well, especially the young boy Garrett.

We can’t tell for sure if Faina is real or if she’s a product of the characters’ imagination. For example, the author doesn’t use quotation marks in any of the characters’ speeches whenever Faina is around, which I thought was a very clever touch. Therefore, we can’t tell whether they’re really talking to the girl or if it’s in their imagination.

The book includes the short story “Little Daughter of the Snow by Arthur Ransome, which inspired Ivey to write The Snow Child. My favorite part about the book was that even though the people look like its main characters, the actual one is Alaska itself with its climate and wonderful landscape. The Snow Child is definitely a good example of magical realism, and I recommend it to everyone who love a bit of magic mixed in with their reality.

I should also mention that this book was among the 3 Pulitzer finalists in 2013.



Book Spotlight by: PB Morlen

In the dawn of a new age, ancient wisdom needs a modern girl.

18-year-old Crystal Blue, a child from the stars, has answered a call to earth so that she may spread her light by opening the door to the new age and closing the door on the old one.
But she doesn’t now this…yet. 
When she discovers an ancient manuscript in the basement of a bookstore buried deep within a box, she inadvertently unleashes a powerful energy which activates the eleventh layer of her DNA, a polarized energy of lightness and dark, harnessing her with unique powers so she can walk between worlds, an ability attained only by masters, shamans, medicine men and women.   
 The Fourth Age is passing away, entering the Fifth: an age where ancient prophesies claimed the world would come to an end.  But it won’t.  Not the way most humans think it will. These are indeed the end of times for century old belief systems and structures, and it might seem like the end is near, but a new world is dawning, transitioning from the old into the new.  The Earth and Mankind are poised on the brink of the greatest compassionate shift in the history of humans… and it’s going to get intense.  
Crystal’s mission, to travel the world and unveil the ancient’s well-guarded secrets—secrets of the divine feminine human—is paramount to a successful transition. But Crystal would rather not go. She’s just found a bit of happiness with the handsome Adam Walker, she loves her new job at the Blue Crystal bookstore, and has just rekindled her relationship with her older sister, Claire.  Only after being saved from a botched kidnapping by a certain green-eyed stranger is Crystal convinced she must go, otherwise Earth and Mankind are certain not to survive the imminent changes ahead.  
It is now up to Crystal, but a dark force that has killed thousands to keep the ancient secrets hidden over the last century now follows her, intent on Crystal’s destruction.

Will she go? Will she harness her gifts? Will she leave the one she loves behind?  

Guest Post: Marilynn Larew

How I came up with idea for The Spider Catchers by: Marilynn Larew


When I was working out the plot of The Spider Catchers, I didn’t have one big ah ha! moment. I put the plot together like a jigsaw puzzle out of pieces I had laying around in my past. My protagonist, Lee Carruthers, is modeled after the heroine of a book I wrote shortly after I finished my PhD. That woman was a hard-boiled detective. Lee works for the CIA, although she’s increasingly weary of that. I lived in Baltimore at the time, and the original novel was placed in Baltimore. Lee’s office is in Paris, largely because I like Paris, but also because it allows her to range over North Africa and the Middle East, because she’s a Islamic specialist. I can’t any longer remember why I chose Fez, Morocco, for the site of The Spider Catchers. Possibly because I wanted to go there.

I knew I wanted to write an international thriller. I like to read books that are set in places I’ve been or places I’d like to go. I also knew I wanted to write a book about matters relevant to today’s news, not one about a Vatican conspiracy or the Knights Templar. I sat down to list the things I know that are prominent in today’s news. The first thing I came up with was terrorism. I’ve taught about and studied terrorism since the days of the Red Brigades in the 1970s. The next thing I thought about was money. How it gets to the terrorists. I did a field in money and banking for my PhD, and I know something about money and its ways. So I wrote down money laundering. Two other topics I considered were gun running and drug smuggling, but in the end I settled on human trafficking, the smuggling of women and children up from sub-Saharan Africa to the brothels of North Africa and Europe. Terrorism, money laundering, and human trafficking would be the three sides of the triangle of my plot.

The next thing I had to do was research. I’m historian, so research is no problem. The problem is always making myself stop doing it. I probably did too much of it for The Spider Catchers, but I was having so much fun! Current money laundering techniques. Financing terrorism. Current trends in the sex slave trade. Morocco. I’ve never been there, so I had to work hard to make the reader think I had. The bloody history of that country, all the information about people I could find, and pictures. The Internet is alive with everything I needed to know, and I downloaded what seemed like hundreds of pictures of Fez and the Moroccan environment, and of Moroccans, until I knew what Morocco and Moroccans look like.

Then I moved to Google Earth, which is a great program for studying the land, its cities, and its waterways. My plot goes from Morocco to the Algerian desert and back, so I needed to know something about the Algerian desert, too. By the time I finished with Google Earth, I believe I know more about Morocco than most Moroccans do.

I made one serious error. I used a real terrorist group for my villains. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb was a very small group, on the run from the Algerian Army, and almost defunct when I first started. By the time I was ready to do the final draft of my book, that terrorist group had become one of the richest and most powerful of the Al Qaeda offshoots. By kidnapping people for ransom, the group had become rich enough and thus powerful enough to carve out a fief in Mali that it took the French army to recapture and to hold an Algerian oil refinery hostage. That took the Algerian army to settle. It was clearly not a group that one woman could mess with, however competent she was. It was then that I learned what perhaps the single most valuable lesson I learned from writing The Spider Catchers. As I say, I’m a historian. I’m used to re-creating reality as best I can. But you make up fiction. To do that, I had to forget all I knew as a historian. I created my own terrorist group, admittedly an offshoot of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, but small enough for Lee to deal with, if she was very careful.
Putting a plot together is like doing a jigsaw puzzle. You get the corner pieces, and then the ones with straight lines on one side, and put them together until you have the frame. And then you fill in that frame with anything your heart desires.