Monday, March 31, 2014

Vintage: A Novel by Susan Gloss

Vintage: A Novel

Vintage: A Novel    
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $11.04 

5.0 out of 5 stars A Charming and Engaging Novel, March 31, 2014

Book Description
Publication Date: March 25, 2014
Vintage is Susan Gloss's sparkling debut novel in the vein of The Friday Night Knitting Club, centered around a Midwestern vintage clothing shop and   a group of women who eventually transform the store and each others' lives.

At Hourglass Vintage in Madison, Wisconsin, every item in the boutique has a story to tell . . . and so do the women who are drawn there.

Violet Turner has always dreamed of owning a shop like Hourglass Vintage. When she is faced with the possibility of losing it, she realizes that, as much as she wants to, she cannot save it alone.

Eighteen-year-old April Morgan is nearly five months along in an unplanned pregnancy when her hasty engagement is broken. When she returns the perfect 1950s wedding dress, she discovers unexpected possibilities and friends who won't let her give up on her dreams.

Betrayed by her husband, Amithi Singh begins selling off her old clothes, remnants of her past life. After decades of housekeeping and parenting a daughter who rejects her traditional ways, she fears she has nothing more ahead for her.

An engaging story that beautifully captures the essence of women's friendship and love, Vintage is a charming tale of possibility, of finding renewal and hope when we least expect it.

This was an entirely unexpected treat of a novel.  I love romance, sci-fi and speculative fiction novels and I usually only merely ‘like’ this sort of book. However, this novel just surpassed my expectations of what this type of fiction usually is and left me wanting more.

This is a charming, engaging read with well-fleshed characters and what is, for me at least, a fresh approach to the genre.

Three generations of women - one of which is a fine line between American and Indian, meet in a vintage clothing shop owned by our protagonist Violet.  All three women are suffering from problems ranging from betrayal to an unplanned pregnancy, to a loss of her business.  Although Violet is faced with the possibility of losing her shop, there are bigger issues that trouble her.

This book is filled with second chances and some happy endings. The fact that not all the endings are entirely happy made this such a realistic and pleasant read.

I do believe that I will be searching for more books by this author and then having a pleasant day loosing myself within these new worlds.

ARC supplied by publisher for reviewing purposes.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Where Aspens Quake

Where Aspens Quake
Offered by Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Price: $7.59

3.0 out of 5 stars A 1983 Re-print, March 25, 2014

According to the copyright on my ARC this is a reprint of a novel previously published by Silhouette Books by the same name.

As can be expected of this genre and from being 31 years old, it is a typical romance of its time period. It is a sweetly written and angst driven novel with both protagonists suffering from bad relationships and career problems.

What I did find unusual is that the female protagonist - Kristin is suffering from a critical review on her first solo photo exhibit - this is much like authors of late that are suffering from the same angst and then taking it out on the reviewer. So in this way, this novel is up-to-the minute!

The male protagonist, Grayson is recovering from a bad marriage and coping with a young daughter who has Down Syndrome. Kristin and Grayson meet when she applies to become a cross country ski instructor at a resort that Grayson owns. Kristin wants to forget her old life. Naturally they are instantly attracted to each other and although Grayson swears he will not get involved-what do you think happens? Yep!

As I said, this book is typical of its time period and should be read as such...without expectations that the characters are going to act like what we see in modern romance novel's. I enjoyed going back in time, but not enough to fully enjoy this book

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Chase: A Novel (Fox and O'Hare)
The Chase: A Novel (Fox and O'Hare)
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $11.47

3.0 out of 5 stars Parody Perhaps?, March 23, 2014

Book Description

Publication Date: February 25, 2014

Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg, bestselling authors of The Heist, return in this action-packed, exciting adventure featuring master con artist Nicolas Fox and die-hard FBI agent Kate O’Hare. And this time around, things go from hot to nuclear when government secrets are on the line.
  Internationally renowned thief and con artist Nicolas Fox is famous for running elaborate and daring scams. His greatest con of all: convincing the FBI to team him up with the only person who has ever caught him, and the only woman to ever capture his attention, Special Agent Kate O’Hare. Together they’ll go undercover to swindle and catch the world’s most wanted—and untouchable—criminals.   Their newest target is Carter Grove, a former White House chief of staff and the ruthless leader of a private security agency. Grove has stolen a rare Chinese artifact from the Smithsonian, a crime that will torpedo U.S. relations with China if it ever becomes public. Nick and Kate must work under the radar—and against the clock—to devise a plan to steal the piece back. Confronting Grove’s elite assassins, Nick and Kate rely on the skills of their ragtag crew, including a flamboyant actor, a Geek Squad techie, and a band of AARP-card-carrying mercenaries led by none other than Kate’s dad.   A daring heist and a deadly chase lead Nick and Kate from Washington, D.C., to Shanghai, from the highlands of Scotland to the underbelly of Montreal. But it’ll take more than death threats, trained henchmen, sleepless nights, and the fate of a dynasty’s priceless heirloom to outsmart Fox and O’Hare.
I love the writings of both of these authors. I really liked The Heist: A Novel (Fox and O'Hare) and I had thought that I would enjoy this one just as much, if not more. But as I found myself trying harder and harder with each chapter to suspend my disbelief I found myself skimming the pages.

It is not that this isn't an exciting book, one that has some witty dialogue and very dry humor. It isn't even that at times it read more like a dime noir novel of old or a parody of all mystery/thrillers. It is just that after a while I got a little tired of the characters being in tight spots and then - miracle of miracles finding a sometimes complex and always an unbelievable way out of them. Sometimes with help, other times alone but always in an unbelievable way.

After a while it just gets old. There is little real interaction between the characters. Oh, don't get me wrong - they do interact, but not in any sane or sensible way.

I don't know...maybe it is just because it is nearly non-stop action with no breathers in between that left me wanting.

I did love the secondary characters that had been brought into this book and hope they show up in future books by these authors - I just don't know if I'll be around to read about them. I most likely will though, because I really like punishing myself!!!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Ghost Train to New Orleans (The Shambling Guides)

Ghost Train to New Orleans (The Shambling Guides)
Offered by Hachette Book Group
Price: $8.89

4.0 out of 5 stars Book 2 in Series: 4.5 Stars, March 21, 2014

Book Description

March 4, 2014

Zoe Norris writes travel guides for the undead. And she's good at it too -- her new-found ability to talk to cities seems to help. After the success of The Sbambling Guide to New York City, Zoe and her team are sent to New Orleans to write the sequel.

Work isn't all that brings Zoe to the Big Easy. The only person who can save her boyfriend from zombism is rumored to live in the city's swamps, but Zoe's out of her element in the wilderness. With her supernatural colleagues waiting to see her fail, and rumors of a new threat hunting city talkers, can Zoe stay alive long enough to finish her next book?

This book picks up a short time after The Shambling Guide to New York City (The Shambling Guides) (book 1) and gives us a very interesting look into New Orleans. We see Nola through Zoes' eyes. Zoe is a human who recently found our that she is also a 'citytalker', a very very rare human with power. Zoe and gang are researching NOLA for the next book in the travel series they are writing, plus her boyfriend Arthur is coming along to see if he can get some help with his zombism since he has 'lost' the drugs that slow down the 'disease'.

Be prepared for a better crafted and faster paced book than the last one. This book doesn't get bogged down with anything that is over the top - at least over the top for speculative fiction. Also be prepared for changes.

There is plenty of fun, dry, acerbic and witty humor as well as some astonishing changes in some of the characters, relationships and story line.

There is plenty of growth through-out this entire novel,not only on Zoes side, but the whole crews side. NOLA was the perfect place to showcase this novel and Ms Lafferty does a wonderful job of making you feel like you are really there.

The characters are likeable and mostly ones that I would want to see as a real life friends. Ones that I would want at my back!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Night Broken (A Mercy Thompson Novel)

Night Broken (A Mercy Thompson Novel)
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Please Pardon Me For Doing This..., March 12, 2014

Book Description

March 11, 2014
#1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson series has been hailed as “one of the best” (Fiction Vixen). Now, Mercy must deal with an unwanted guest—one that brings a threat unlike anything she’s ever known.

An unexpected phone call heralds a new challenge for Mercy. Her mate Adam’s ex-wife is in trouble, on the run from a stalker. Adam isn’t the kind of man to turn away a person in need—and Mercy knows it. But with Christy holed up in Adam’s house, Mercy can’t shake the feeling that something about the situation isn’t right.

Soon, her suspicions are confirmed when she learns that Christy has the farthest thing from good intentions. She wants Adam back and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen, including turning Adam’s pack against Mercy.

Mercy isn’t about to step down without a fight, but there’s a more dangerous threat circling. Christy’s stalker is more than a bad man—in fact, he may not be human at all. As the bodies start piling up, Mercy must put her personal troubles aside to face a creature with the power to tear her whole world apart.

OMG! This has to be the second best (maybe the first best) book in this series! Write faster. I loved, loved, loved it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I could NOT put it down! Squeeeeeeeeeee!

OK now that I did a horrible imitation of a squee fan, I have to tell you that all of that, was really how I felt. I think I'm going to re-tread it today at a more leisurely pace. I read this book in one seating from 12 noon to 9 pm with not too many breaks. I really could not put this down. I spent a lot of time crying at the near the end of this book.

Ms Briggs used this book to do so much with her characters. So much advancement as far as the pack goes. She did so much in using this book to introduce a very believable new evil character. One that I wonder if it will be back someday. She introduces us to two NEW characters and brings them into the pack. AND she proves without a shadow of a doubt, just what an evil *itch Christy, Adams former wife, really is.

It is going to kill me to wait for the next installment, but they do say patience is good for the soul...right?

I'm sorry that this is not the best review I have ever written, but it isn't everyday that a book has kept me so captivated and left me so breathless that I can barely think straight.

Happy Reading! Enjoy!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Evening Stars by Susan Mallery

Evening Stars by Susan Mallery


Book Description

Kindle Edition March 1, 2014 /Paperback Edition February 25th
New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery returns to Blackberry Island with the poignant tale of two sisters on the verge of claiming their dreams.
Small-town nurse Nina Wentworth has made a career out of being a caretaker. More "Mom" than their mother ever was, she sacrificed medical school—and her first love—so her sister could break free. Which is why she isn't exactly thrilled to see Averil back on Blackberry Island, especially when Nina's life has suddenly become…complicated.
Nina unexpectedly finds herself juggling two men—her high school sweetheart and a younger maverick pilot who also wants to claim her heart. But as fun as all this romance is, Nina has real life to deal with. Averil doesn't seem to want the great guy she's married to, and doesn't seem to be making headway writing her first book; their mom is living life just as recklessly as she always has; and Nina's starting to realize that the control she once had is slipping out of her fingers. Her hopes of getting off the island seem to be stretching further away…until her mother makes a discovery that could change everything forever.
But before Nina and Averil can reach for the stars, they have to decide what they want. Will Averil stay? Will Nina leave? And what about the men who claim to love them? Does love heal, or will finding their happy ending mean giving up all they've ever wanted?

Susan Mallery rarely writes a bad book and Evening Stars is no exception. It was fabulous, thought provoking, anger producing, and giggle worthy. The added bonus of having two men from Nina’s past pursuing her, was icing on the cake.

Nina has always been the older sister, the sensible one, the mother in her family. Oh, Nina and her sister Averil had a mother, but not one that took her mothering job very seriously. Now Nina needs to get a life, stop making decisions for everyone else, and simply worry about herself. However, how can she when everyone around her screws up so much? How can she think only about herself and her needs when that would be so selfish of her…or would it?

Nina really needs to learn that she doesn’t always know best and that sometimes others need to make mistakes.

What will really get you about this book is exactly how real these characters feel…how real the situations are (to a point). Perhaps I can relate to this novel on a more basic level because I too am an older sister with a mother who was not the best at being mature. Yes you do have to leave your disbelief behind since some things that happen in this book, happen in such dramatic and unbelievable ways, but Ms Mallery is such a wonderful story-teller that it won’t be painful to do at all!*ARC provided by publisher for reviewing purposes*

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison 5 Solid Stars

The Undead Pool (Hollows) by Harrison, Kim (Feb 25, 2014)

Book Description

February 25, 2014
Supernatural superhero Rachel Morgan must counter a strange magic that could spell civil war for the Hollows in this sexy and bewitching urban fantasy adventure in acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison's Hollows series.
Witch and day-walking demon Rachel Morgan has managed to save the demonic ever after from shrinking, but at a high cost. Now, strange magic is attacking Cincinnati and the Hollows, causing spells to backfire or go horribly wrong, and the truce between the races, between Inderlander and human, is shattering. Rachel must stop this dark necromancy before the undead vampire masters who keep the rest of the undead under control are lost and all-out supernatural war breaks out.
Rachel knows of only weapon to ensure the peace: ancient elven wild magic, which carries its own perils. And no one know better than Rachel that no good deed goes unpunished . . . 

The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison

Although much of this book centers on what is happening to Cincinnati’s various Vampire populations, the rest of it is about the long anticipated story of Rachel and Trent.  There is so much happening to the humans as well as the Vamp, Demon and Elvin population that at times it can be a little stressful.  That stress can hit hard especially when Ms Harrison tries to ‘teach’ us too much stuff at one time.

This book can be a bit confusing at times, because there is so much action of the ‘hurry up and wait’ variety.  However once you get to the 50% point things take off on a full gallop.  Once I got to that point, I could not for the life of me put this book down.

The character growth is amazing in this novel.  The emotions are raw and honest between all of the characters that you just want to weep at times.  Old friends (?) or enemies depending on how you want to look at it will seem to be permanently taken out of future books.Or will they?  But since I hear that this is the second to last book in the series...I guess these changes are permanent.

I cannot say too much more for fear that I will be giving away the best part of this book…I will just say that this was what I consider to be the best book yet. I am deeply troubled that se only have one book left to this series and I am eagerly looking forward as to how Ms Harrison is going to tie everything up and keep her readers happy!*ARC supplied by publisher for reviewing purposes*