Monday, July 30, 2012

One Breath Away
One Breath Away
by Heather Gudenkauf
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.50
Kindle Price:$8.51
Availability: In Stock

61 used & new from $5.42

4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 StarsJuly 30, 2012

This review is from: One Breath Away (Paperback)
One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf

You reach about the sixth paragraph and read (paraphrased) -- "I love you Mom.""I'm at school....He has a gun. He has PJ and he has a gun." "I'm in a closet. He put me in a closet." Then you hear gunshots.

Now mind you the Mom who is hearing this is in the hospital in Arizona with horrible burns, under heavy sedation and is over 1000 miles away from the school in Iowa where her son and daughter are being held hostage.

This is the story of the people of Broken Branch and what they endured on this snow filled spring day just before the kids spring vacation.. This is really is a story as seen through the eyes of the main 7 or 8 characters. These people range from one of the hostages, the police, grandparents etcetera.

I really hate using a cliché, but this cliché is so apt - I could NOT put this book down. I even took it into the powder room with me.

I have never before read this author I have never even heard of her, but I will be interested in seeing if her past books are as riveting as this one.

This book is filled with taut suspense, excellent timing, vivid characters and a story that is less a suspense novel, than it is a horror novel. After all what could be more horrible than a possible massacre at a school filled with kids? The dialogue was realistic and using so many people as possible suspects was exciting. The only issue I had with the plot line was why the FBI or the IBI couldn't get there to help, it was a hostage situation after all...damn the weather!

The author did manage to eventually work that out in the story and the book ended on a wonderful note.

As far as reviewers and even her press review excerpts are comparing this author to Jodi Picoult...I wouldn't know since I've never read that author. However, I don't think we should be making comparisons between them. I think that this author is most likely in a league of her own.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Perfect Is Overrated
Perfect Is Overrated
by Karen Bergreen
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.19
Availability: In Stock

3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 - Stars Not Quite PerfectJuly 29, 2012

This review is from: Perfect Is Overrated (Paperback)
Perfect is Overrated- Karen Bergreen


So, here we have yet another book about the somewhat over-privileged, self-absorbed, over-indulgent mommies of New York City. Mommies who feel that they just have to get their perfect kids into the perfect pre-school. Or do we?

What at first glance looks like that is what this book is going to be about, we quickly come to learn that it is is about post-partum depression and murder. It is about misunderstandings, half-truths, and subterfuges.

This book had me going for quite a while. I never did figure out who-dun-it until they actually showed their hand. This was an entertaining book, but not the funny romp that it is touted to be.
Although the characters are well written and the narrative is adequate, this book was written in a way that just rubbed me wrong. There were so many side stories, that I started wondering if they had been added just to fill in for something the book was lacking. Too many side stories that left too much unsaid. And one side-story in particular really does seem to have been thrown in there just to have a convenient person around to help during the climax.

This is by no means a horrible book, it was entertaining and I never once thought to not finish it, I just think that this author could have done so much better.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Product Details

Perfection Unleashed (Double Helix) by Jade Kerrion (Kindle Edition - Jun 23, 2012) 

 In this novel, we meet cloned, genetically altered, mutated, bettered, perfected "people". We read this story through their eyes. In this story, full humans seem to be the new `minority' and left feeling that they are second-class citizens with no rights or laws to help them. This dissatisfaction brings about a class breakdown with the `humans' creating havoc to get their points across. A person whose father happens to adore creating these `creatures', heads them. He adores creating to the point of alienating his biological son.

This book does have a lot of action and bloody action too; but the author chooses not to overly describe the goriest scenes to us.

I would like to tell you more but I'm afraid that I would spoil the book for you. The synopsis given is fairly true to the book and quite adequate.

What I will tell you is that while the writing is solid, the character descriptions vivid, the interactions between the antagonists and protagonists is interesting but sometimes lacks real emotions. However the lack of back-story left me confused and unhappy. The technical aspects of this book will be a benefit to those readers who really grasp the high tech biology argon but will be a possible deterrent to those who are looking for pure entertainment. We get a lot of pop -culture references which makes you think the story is set in the `now', but others have claimed that this is a futuristic story. I don't quite see it.
However, the fact remains that back-story would not have been remiss.

I also have to wonder why, if most of the heaviest action is taking place in and around Washington DC. Why didn't the President and his entourage call out the army, National Guard or at least some competent cops? If the US is different due to a time change or of this being a dystopian society, then I think the author should have made that clearer. I love using my imagination, but not when I have to work too hard at it. There are many question left that haven't been answered that I hope will be in future novels.

I would have like to have known more of the the how's and why's of this society. How did the mutants come about, why is this partivular Empath unable to sheild himself and those around him better, who or what created the majority of these human/creations,what wasa the point of these creations or are they a natural occurance between two humans.

This author has quite a bit of talent and I'm happy to have had her work brought to my attention, but I am not sure that without some of my questions answered whether I will keep reading the trilogy/series.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Product Details

Release date (Jul 31, 2012)

The Lady Is a Vamp: An Argeneau Novel [Mass Market Paperback] Lynsay Sands 

Price:$7.99 Eligible for free shipping with Amazon Prime.

Kindle Price:$6.99 includes free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet 

The Lady Is a Vamp – Lynsay Sands


This long running series could be getting stale and tired, but I found that with this book and the last one “Under a Vampire Moon” Ms Sands seems to be taking the series in several new directions.  These directions are ones that I am whole-heartedly happy for.  The last book was quite humorous as is a lot of Ms Sands novels.  The “Lady is a Vamp” takes a bit more serious approach to what it means to be a vampire who falls in love with a mortal. It also delves into what a vampire can do for a mortal that is dying before her eyes.

Jeanne Louise Argeneau has been kidnapped---that is it may be kidnapping only until she realizes that the kidnapper may be her beloved life partner.  This is the most pleasant kidnapping I have ever read about!

Paul Jones who has worked for the Argeneau Industries is in need of a vampire.  That is, he is in need of a vampire to help his daughter who is dying of cancer.

Now the Hunters are after them, Jeanne Louise is trying to slowly get Paul into a position to fall in love with her and while they are running, they must keep Livvy (Olivia) Paul’s daughter, from sliding anymore into her cancer.

As I said this is a first for me with Ms Sands books.  I don’t think I have ever read one that allows us to see anything but the best sides of being a vampire.  However, Ms Sands pulls no punches with this book and I am quite glad she didn’t.  I think I would have felt cheated if she tried to make anything less of a bad situation.

This book contained some quite steamy sex scenes.  I think the more books she writes the steamier some of them get.  That is a very good thing.  However, just because it’s steamy doesn’t take away from the romance and desperation of this novel.  And desperate Paul certainly was.  I mean why else would he risk kidnapping a vampire and facing the Hunters if he wasn’t truly desperate?  Nevertheless, out of this desperation comes a truly unique, romantic  and deeply felt love story.

I hope you will enjoy this book as much as I did.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Product Details

That Thing Called Love (Hqn) by Susan Andersen (Jul 31, 2012)

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4.5 Stars
That Thing Called Love – Susan Anderson

This is book one in the Razor Bay/Bradshaw brothers series and it really was a heck of a start. This book was at times funny and light and then sometimes you would read another few chapters and it would turn a bit more serious.  The characters are fully fleshed and very likeable for the most part.  Jake who is the “bad” guy (sort of!) is a more complex character and can be both.   The secondary characters are described with the same complexity as the main characters and Ms Anderson makes it easy for us to see how the next book or two is going to go.   I know I am certainly anticipating the next book or two.

Jake, after 13 years, is back in Razor Bay to finally take responsibility for his 13 year old son who has just lost both his Grandmother and then a short time later, his grandfathers.  What Jake hasn’t counted on is that his son Austen would have such a feisty temporary guardian.

Jenny should have known that  Austen’s father would someday come back and claim him.  What she didn’t expect is that Jake would be so damn sexy and smart and willing to atone for his past mistakes with his son.

Soon sparks are flying and Ms Anderson sure does know how to play on the readers emotions.  She really uses a deft hand with the sexy teasers between Jake and Jenny and soon you will find yourself   praying they will set the sparks off.  And set the sparks off they sure do!

Can Jake learn from his mistakes and come to terms with the fact that the past doesn’t always define the future?  Will he do what is right for his son or himself? Will Jenny and Jake learn to love each other?  Well I’m not going to spoil this book for you, you are going to have to read it if you want to find out!

Monday, July 23, 2012

"The Great Escape
Where do you run to when your life has fallen apart?
Lucy Jorik is a champ at never embarrassing the family she adores—not surprising since her mother is one of the most famous women in the world. But now Lucy has done just that. And on her wedding day, no less, to the most perfect man she's ever known.
Instead of saying "I do" to Mr. Irresistible, Lucy flees the church in an ill-fitting blue choir robe and hitches a ride on the back of a beat-up motorcycle plastered with offensive bumper stickers. She's flying into the unknown with a rough-looking, bad-tempered stranger who couldn't be more foreign to her privileged existence.
While the world searches for her, Lucy must search for herself, and she quickly realizes that her customary good manners are no defense against a man who's raised rudeness to an art form. Lucy needs to toughen up—and fast.
Her great escape takes her to his rambling beach house on a Great Lakes island. Here, she hopes to find a new direction . . . and unlock the secrets of this man who knows so much about her but reveals nothing about himself. As the hot summer days unfold amid scented breezes and sudden storms, she'll also encounter a beautiful, troubled beekeeper; a frightened young boy; a modern-day evil queen; and a passion that could change her life forever.
In this dazzling follow-up to her New York Times bestseller Call Me Irresistible, Susan Elizabeth Phillips tells the funny, touching, enchanting story of a young woman searching for her destiny . . . and of a damaged man who doesn't believe in second chances."

The Great Escape (Book 6)
The Great Escape (Book 6)
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $12.99
Availability: Auto-delivered wirelessly

2.0 out of 5 stars DifferentJuly 23, 2012
The Great Escape by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Normally I really enjoy Ms Phillips novels. Usually they are fairly light and fluffy, with something that will eventually pull on your emotional strings, perhaps make you weep a tiny bit just before the feel good "happily ever after" ending.

This book takes a totally different approach that the first books in this series-yes we still have the heroine who meets the hero under usually humiliating circumstances, so that at least is the norm in this book. We also have the hero doing something extremely stupid just as he realizes that he loves the heroine, so that too is working into the formula. However, I don't believe I've ever read a book by Ms Phillips where the hero was so depressing or cruel. Nor can I remember a book Ms Phillips has done that actually concentrated on 4 characters so much, instead of just the two main ones. The last book I remember that had a slightly extended secondary character story was Match Me If You Can : A Novel

I am going to refrain from writing a synopsis since I don't believe I could do it without using too many spoilers.
After you read the entire book you understand why he was that cruel, but it may be difficult for long time fans to try to get through most of this book. It is a slow and at times a very depressing read. I don't like the `broody hero' aspect. There is so much going on about what I assume is Ms Phillips favorite `cause' that I caught myself rolling my eyes. I understand that this cause was started with the book "First Lady" and it was interesting then, but I think it was taken a bit too far in this book.
I read books to be entertained, to escape my real life that at time is depressing (like everyone in the world!) and this book did not have the moments of humor that I've come to expect with the author

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Witness by Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts Romantic Suspense has never failed to intrigue me, keep me interested, and entertain me. And this book was no different. Actually, I take that back---this book did so much more for me. The Witness kept me at the edge of my chair and biting my nails. It kept me rooting for the ‘good guy’ that was Abigail and praying, metaphorically, for the toppling of the bad guys. I kept wishing that the book was longer or I could read slower so it wouldn’t end.

Elizabeth Fitch has an eidetic memory, is a genius, is only 16, is unloved by her mother and is ready to break out of the prison that is her life. And, breakout she does. Unfortunately it ended up being the worst thing she could have ever done and things will only get worse, so badly in fact, that she has to hide and assume a new identity. 

Fast forward 12 years and Elizabeth (now Abigail has moved to a small Southern town, is fairly happy with her life and is about to be invaded by the Chief of Police. Abigail is somewhat emotionally stunted after dealing with the type of things she has had to and can’t quite figure out what to do with Brooks Gleason the Police Chief. 
Brooks just knows in his heart that Abigail is running from something and may need protection. He sets out to break down Abigails barriers and eventually succeeds almost too well.

“The Witness” has vividly drawn and fleshed out characters, wonderful descriptions, fantastic secondary characters and a secondary plot that was as fascinating as the main story. I loved watching Abigail grow, but I appreciated the fact that Ms Roberts did not change Abigail too much and turn her into someone she wasn’t meant to be.

I loved this book so much that I really hated to see it endI hope you will too.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Let Them Eat Stake;A Vampire Chef Mystery by Sarah Zettel

Wow...I hope this author can keep this level of writing up and I certainly hope she gains a following because her books really deserve the kudos. This is book 2 in the Vampire Chef series and if you are wondering if you need to read book one first...well you don't have to since the author really gives us just enough back-story to explain things but not enough to bore 'fans'. I personally would suggest you do red book one first, since there is well...only one book to catch up on and it really does explain a lot. Plus it was just a darn good book and I think mystery lovers would really like it.

Charlotte's restaurant has been chosen to cater the wedding for an unlikely couple - a witch and a vampire. Of course her restaurant was second choice since the origination choice has stepped away from the job. This job will put Charlotte in the black and give her some breathing room. She knows this is a horrible idea but the cash...well you can't walk away from that can you?

Now Oscar is dead, part of the grooms family has disappeared and the brides family is acting truly peculiar.

the characters are even more fleshed out than in the first book, which gives me hope that they will all grow throughout the series. The 'love-triangle' is a little less important/highlighted in this book even though Brendon and Anatole have an equal parts in helping Charlotte solve the murder/crimes. The descriptions of New York City are vivid and will make anyone who lives there quite happy and anyone who doesn't live there want to visit.

Again as with book one, I have the same complaint...the food descriptions sounds so delicious that I want some recipes. Alas there are non in the far!

If you are a fan of the Sookie Stackhouse Vampire novels by Charlaine Harris but with a food slant like Diane Mott Davidson's sere is, then I think you will enjoy this new series.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Big Sky MountainBig Sky Mountain by Linda Lael Miller
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

2.5 Stars  Big Sky Mountain – Linda Lael Miller


This was an extremely slow moving book, one with many questions left unanswered and situations left unfinished.   This wasn’t even a very romantic book.   It seems that the romance (what there was of it) was solely in the minds of Kendra and Hutch the main characters.

As the book opens, we find Hutch leaving his fiancé at the altar as she is walking down the aisle. We find Kendra coming home with her new daughter who is actually the daughter of her late husband and another woman.  Kendra and Hutch had been an item long ago and Kendra had left Hutch for Jeffrey, a rich, titled Englishman.

This book centers on the day-to-day lives of Hutch and Kendra and never really gets more exciting than that.  We sometimes become quite caught up in some side stories, which at times seem more interesting than what is happening with the protagonists.

The characters are well written and the dialogue (what little there really is) is interesting.  All in this entire book lacks something.  There is nothing there to drive the story, and at times the inner-dialoguing, especially Kendra’s, can get to be too much.
So many questions had been raised that were never answered. Then the novel concludes hastily, almost as if it was an after-thought.

While this was not a horrible novel, I just don’t feel that this was the best book by Ms Miller.

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Taste of the Nightlife (A Vampire Chef Mystery #1)A Taste of the Nightlife by Sarah Zettel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you are a fan of the Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse World and love good food based mystery like the older Diane Mott Davidson’s books and you like learning about the running of a successful restaurant.  Now add in a possible love triangle and I think we may have the perfect, or almost perfect new mystery series.   I loved this series opener and I am hoping that the next book “Let Them Eat Stake “will be just as good.

What you will find in this debut novel is, murder, a dead body on the premises, a hostile takeover attempt, blackmail, a possible love story and the disappearance of several key people and an arrest of an important character on the suspicion of murder.  There is excitement galore, the talk of yummy food (I wish some recipes could have been included in the book!) and so much more.

The characters, for an initial novel in a series are pretty well fleshed out and I feel that you will have no trouble seeing them in your mind. The author has a very good descriptive voice and uses it to her advantage.  The dialogue is perfectly believable for people in that age bracket and working conditions. and the narration is smooth with good transitions.  Even the secondary characters are given great personalities, and they are fleshed out to the point that you may be hoping, as I am, that they will have their own stories someday.

The only problem I had with this novel is that Brendon Maddox, who is a paranormal security specialist cannot find his own cousin who is a minor witch but a huge *itch!

I think you will find this a fun, somewhat funny, slightly complicated and sometimes mood-swinging read.  I loved it.

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Jimmie Joe JohnsonJimmie Joe Johnson by Lindsey Brookes

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Jimmie Joe Johnson: Manwhore by Lindsey Brookes


I must not have a very good sense of humor because according to author C. L. Wilson this was – “"The most hilarious book I've read in years--maybe ever! --C.L. Wilson”” - and I just don’t see it.

If you find a woman lusting after a man who bets that he cannot have sex for 24 hours and losses that bet after 3 minutes funny. If you find it funny to see a woman who has so little respect for herself that she doesn’t care  that he has ‘had’ every woman (or nearly so) in town and is looking to make it to a Vegas pool tourney so he can get some new bootie funny, then you are going to love this book.

The idea that Baylee Jean could retrain Jimmie Joe using her knowledge as a dog groomer and a book she has on training ‘bad’ dogs, initially sounded fairly funny, but  this book quickly became tedious with the authors over use of certain words- like the word “diddle” in  all of its forms.  Sometimes that word would be on a page two or three times and quickly lost its humorous connotation for me.

The plot device is that the characters are thinking about sex, having sex (at least Jimmie Joe is) and discussing sex, scheming about having sex.  I’m no prude, I love erotica in most of its forms, but this was neither erotic nor even a little bit sexy.

Granted, I did NOT expect all that much from this novel, especially when you consider the title and the synopsis. I figured I was going to get a very light comedic read with a male character who is much like we see in a lot of romances- a man that does have a lot of one night stands, who does not want to commit, someone who is very conflicted etc. I had hoped to read about a female lead who respected herself. However, this went further.  “Manwhore” being used in the title was quite apt since he did almost anything a regular prostitute does except to take cash.  He did take sex for payment on tires once though!

I really, really wish I could have finished this book 100%, but I was unable to.  ( I feel that you don’t need to eat an entire fish fillet to know when it is ‘bad’ and the same goes for books) I know I should have downloaded a sample, especially of a book that had no other reviews to guide me. And I am now kicking myself for this lack of foresight.  I suggest very strongly that if you want to read this book, please try a sample first.  It really may be me and I lack the thing that would allow me to see this  novel as humorous.

I am looking forward to see what other reviewers think about this ‘different’ book.

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Savannah Breeze (Weezie and Bebe Mystery, #2)Savannah Breeze by Mary Kay Andrews
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Savannah Breeze by Mary Kay Andrews
With what happens to BeBe Loudermilk (pronounced BayBay naturally!) in this book, you might think tat this was going to be a very depressing read.  I’m happy to say, it is not.  Out of the three “Southern” books in this trilogy, this is by far the funniest and quirkiest. How Ms Andrews could find us the humor in the facts that a very smart woman looses everything she owns to a con man, makes for an amazingly talented writer.

BeBe, as I said looses everything she owns and then some, to a very slick con man.  When she is at the end of her rope, she finds that she somehow now owns a nearly derelict motel.  She seems to be in possession of a handyman/ manager too!   Frankly, this works out to her advantage in so many ways!

As Bebe, Weezie (whom you met in “Savannah Blues” where her story is told) Harry (the handyman/manager) and of all people, Spencer, Bebe’s grandfather, decide that they are going to hunt down and take down (in a non-violent way) the conman the story  becomes  30% intrigue,  20% romance and 30% comedic.  This leaves 20% to deal with the deep soul-searching changes that are bound to happen when a life-altering event like this crashes down on someone.

As I’ve said this is a funny, deep, frightening and altogether realistic look at something most of us think could never happen to us.  The characters are written with Ms Andrews usual compelling style and are so realistic I could swear that I went to school with a couple of them!
The descriptions of the area are such that I feel that I can see perfect pictures of the place in my head, and it is so clear that it is almost as if I’ve been there.

Savannah Breeze truly will make a perfect beach read, but be aware that at times people around you may look at you funny when you start chuckling out loud.

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Strangled Prose (A Claire Malloy Mystery #1)Strangled Prose by Joan E. Hess

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

If you don't mind a verbose author (in my opinion she could\should have cut at least 50 pages of snark, innuendo and sarcasm) then this seems to be the author for you.

If you like the Arly Hanks series don't expect this one to be similar. It is so far into a different realm as to be nearly unrecognizable as the same author. Perhaps that was Ms Hess's intention. Perhaps she thought that she should write something 'highbrow' to offense the fun that is Arly Hanks.

The plot had holes big enough that you could drive a truck through some of them, the characters were not fleshed out very well (although perhaps they flesh out better later in the series), the back story comes at very odd times. Such as the author talks about Ms Malloy's late husband at a time in the book that left me wondering if I had missed a book and that this one wasn't the first in the series. Claire's daughter is obnoxious (not all 14 year old girls are obnoxious) in a very trite way.

The relationship that is most likely going to develop (actually by reading the synopsis of some of the later books I know it does) is with the cop that is investigating the murder and Claire specifically. And maybe I'm not a cop, but boy, unless things really are that different in small college towns in the South this "investigating" was far from realistic. Yes I know that this is fiction so an author can pretty much write about things in whatever manner they want---but it sure help the authors credibility to stay within the realm of realism.

Perhaps the series gets better as it goes along and maybe the snark and sarcasm will grow on you -I'm not going to give it a chance.

Beside I really dislike authors that put down people who like certain book genres that the author doesn't produce -- it sort of reminds me of a child who makes fun of another child because the second one can do something well that the first child can't.

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