Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Falling Into You

Falling into You (A Bedford Falls Novel)

Falling into You (A Bedford Falls Novel)
Price: $2.99

3.0 out of 5 stars You Need to Suspend Your Disbelief Too Far For This Novel, January 28, 2014

Book Description

January 3, 2014
Damon Durant is not your average bad boy; sure, he has a wicked smile that flaunts an unpredictable nature and more than a hint of danger, but if growing up shuffled from one dysfunctional foster family to another has taught him anything it's that love is hard to come by. So when he flirts with a sexy, young restaurateur named Kelsey Lawford, he can't help but think that he's finally found the one.

When it comes to romance, Kelsey has always trusted her heart, and it has led to more than a bit of heartache and regret. Now she's ready to concentrate on what she wants twenty years down the road, instead of twenty minutes into the future. So when she banters with a romance novelist who exudes enough blistering sex appeal to leave her breathless, Kelsey ignores her feelings. Because if her past has taught her anything, it's that men like Damon can't be trusted, especially when she learns that this irresistible man has left a trail of broken hearts in his wake.

Kelsey wants to trust the longing Damon evokes in his books and the adorable relationship he shares with his cute Beagle, thinking there's more to the Harley-riding bad boy everyone says is only out for one thing. But will it be enough to convince Kelsey to overlook her past and trust a man that everyone says can't be trusted?

The author solicited me to try his new romance since I liked and reviewed a similar type of novel. Instead of taking a free copy, I purchased this book because I loved the idea of a male writing contemporary romance. Of course, most likely many of my favorite romance authors may be male without me being any wiser!

What I found in the first few chapters is that this is a book for New Adults with many pop culture references - this leaves me standing out in the cold and will leave the author there as well since his book might not withstand the passage of time.

I know that with nearly every fiction novel (notice I did say `nearly') you usually need to suspend your disbelief for at least parts of the book. If it is a well plotted and well written, mesmerizing novel, you will have no issues with doing so.

However, I came across my first problem (or issue) when our female protagonist has worked a mere few years, then bought her own home and in a matter of five more years, bought and built her own businesses. I don't know - maybe you know some very lucky young person who has done this, but I see people in their forties still struggling to have this. kind of life and do not. I did not notice that the author gave these characters a precise age, but I would guess they are in their middle 20's. In my opinion, they are much too immature and unsure for the types of characters that they are trying to portray.

We do get to meet an interesting antagonist who threatens Kelsey and her eateries, but since most of the book is taken up with introspection and back-story on both of the protagonists part...it is too little too late.

I can clearly see the male authors' perspective coming in to play during most of the ribald talk, and Kelsey's fanciful business set up. (a restaurant that seats 500?).

With a little judicious proofreading for the typos, some editing and cutting this would have been a good novel. It just wasn't my cup of tea since I needed to suspend my disbelief too much.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Deadshifted (An Edie Spence Novel) 4.5 Stars Nothing is Really Perfect, But This Book is Close!

Deadshifted (An Edie Spence Novel)

Deadshifted (An Edie Spence Novel)
Offered by Macmillan
Price: $6.83

Book Description

December 31, 2013

As Nurse Edie Spence embarks on her latest supernatural adventure from Cassie Alexander, the perils of the deep threaten to pull her under…

Edie Spence is in desperate need of a vacation—some R&R away from the craziness that shadows her as a nurse dealing with paranormal patients. But as she and her shapeshifter boyfriend, Asher, set sail on a cruise for Hawaii, they’ll realize that seasickness isn’t the only thing threatening their romantic getaway….


While on board, Asher comes face-to-face with Nathaniel, an old nemesis from his dark past. Asher is convinced he’s up to no good…especially when passengers start to come down with a mysterious illness unlike anything Edie and Asher have ever encountered. Soon Edie finds herself fighting for the life of the one person who means the most to her—Asher. As chaos explodes, will Edie be able to save their future together…or will this close encounter with the paranormal side be her last?

This was by far one of the most exciting and horrific novels I have read in a long time. This novel went a long way from a speculative fiction novel and straight on to a horror novel. This was something I would have expected Stephen King or one of his ilk to concoct.

I must warn you that this novel does end on a bit of a `cliff-hanger' note and you will need to read the next one -----> Bloodshifted (An Edie Spence Novel) to find out just how Edie is going to get out of her predicament, or if she even does.

Edie and Asher are taking a little cruise 10 days to be precise. While on the first leg out to Hawaii passengers start getting very sick. At the same time Asher thinks, and then is sure, that there is someone on board who he knew in one of Asher's previous shapes. Someone who has done evil and is still be doing it.

Now Edie must find Asher who is missing on the ship AND try to see if she can help passengers during this catastrophe. Time is running out though, as Edie and her little band of misfits tries to save the day.

I hate to be clichéd or trite, but I hate the fact that I started this novel late last night. I wanted to stay up all night to read it and to find out just what the heck was happening, but sleep overtook me...darn need to sleep!

Ms. Alexander has done a fine job with this novel. Edie is no longer spouting off about nursing on every page and has grown quite well as a character. The secondary characters are interesting and the plot line is quite riveting. There are a few new `other-worldly characters introduced into this story as well and that is always a good thing, although I would have liked their parts to have been bigger.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

That Old Black Magic -Tepid at Best

That Old Black Magic (Piper Donovan/Wedding Cake Mysteries)

That Old Black Magic (Piper Donovan/Wedding Cake Mysteries)
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $11.47

3.0 out of 5 stars Tepid Who-Done-It, January 23, 2014

Book Description

January 21, 2014
That Old Black Magic is New York Times bestselling author Mary Jane Clark’s savory and suspenseful confection filled with murder, mystery, history and voodoo, in which Piper Donovan must unmask a devious killer striking in New Orleans’s legendary French Quarter.
Aspiring actress and wedding-cake decorator Piper Donovan has barely arrived in New Orleans to perfect her pastry skills at the renowned French Quarter bakery, Boulangerie Bertrand, when a ghastly murder rocks the magical city. Intrigued by the case, Piper can’t help but look for the “Hoodoo Killer” among the faces around her. Could it be the handsome guide eager to give her special private tours? Or the inscrutable jazz musician who plays on historic Royal Street? What about the ratings-starved radio talk-show host? Or even the amiable owner of the local Gris-Gris Bar?
Though Piper has a full plate decorating cakes for upcoming wedding celebrations, she’s also landed an exciting but unnerving role in a movie being shot in the Big Easy. When the murderer strikes again, leaving macabre clues, she thinks she can unmask the killer. But Piper will have to conjure up some old black magic of her own if she hopes to live long enough to reveal the truth.

For someone like me who has never read this author, you may find her style of writing confusing, the large amounts of characters and red herrings annoying and the main character Piper, silly and naïve. For those of you who like this very sweet form of cozy mystery, you will most likely love this novel AND if you follow this author you will love this book!

I will say that the author did do a very good job of deflecting the reader from figuring out who done it. I don't think there was even the barest whisper of a hint as to who committed the three murders and tried for a possible fourth.

There are many very short chapters and I found that somewhat annoying, but it sure made it easy for me to put down this book, as I got bored with it. Unfortunately this happened all too frequently for my taste.

I found the story tepid, the fact that Piper is a cake decorator AND an actress is a little too much to swallow in this particular instance and there are to many plot lines that didn't seem to have enough closure for my taste. *ARC SUPPLIED BY PUBLISHER*

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What Nora Knew

What Nora Knew

What Nora Knew
Offered by Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Price: $10.38

4.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 Stars - A Great Book that Tries Just a Little Too Hard, January 22, 2014

Book Description
Publication Date: January 21, 2014
Molly Hallberg is a thirty-nine-year-old divorced writer living in New York City who wants her own column, a Wikipedia entry, and to never end up in her family’s Long Island upholstery business. For the past four years Molly’s been on staff for an online magazine, covering all the wacky assignments. She’s snuck vibrators through security scanners, speed-dated undercover, danced with Rockettes, and posed nude for a Soho art studio.

Fearless in everything except love, Molly is now dating a forty-four-year-old chiropractor. He’s comfortable, but safe. When Molly is assigned to write a piece about New York City romance "in the style of Nora Ephron," she flunks out big-time. She can’t recognize romance. And she can’t recognize the one man who can go one-on-one with her, the one man who gets her. But with wit, charm, whip-smart humor, and Nora Ephron’s romantic comedies, Molly learns to open her heart and suppress her cynicism in this bright, achingly funny novel.
This review is from: What Nora Knew (Kindle Edition)
It took me quite a while to warm up to the characters and even to the plot line of this novel. The humor is sometimes abrasive and acerbic, but it grew on me after a while. It also took me a while to get used to such mature characters sometimes acting like junior high school kids. Nevertheless, warm up I did at least enough to want to know how Molly's career and love life would turn out.

Molly is a skeptic when it comes to love and with good reason. As for her career, it is dismal. Her relationship with her steady beau Russell is stagnant. One might even say that it is boring. However, Molly would rather have a boring (or steady and solid as she likes to think of it) relationship, than an exciting and unpredictable one. At least that is what she used to think!

Would settling for a steady and boring relationship really be all that bad? On the other hand, should we put our hearts and ourselves on the line and strive for that nearly elusive `love of our lives' that so many romance writers speak of? This is the question that "What Nora Knew" tries to answer for us.

This is a great book for us less young cynics out in the reading audience. You just need to get past the too hip "Sex and the City" feel to this novel and if you can, you will be in for a treat

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Vampire Most Wanted by Lynsay Sands

Vampire Most Wanted: An Argeneau Novel (Argeneau Vampire)

Vampire Most Wanted: An Argeneau Novel (Argeneau Vampire)
by Lynsay Sands
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.19

3.0 out of 5 stars Just Didn't Do It For Me, January 14, 2014

Book Description

February 18, 2014
Take a road trip with the undead . . . in this latest in the argeneau series by New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands
For Basha Argeneau, anything is better than facing her estranged family. Even hiding out in sweltering southern California. But when a sexy immortal in black shows up determined to bring her back to the clan, she'll do anything to keep far, far away from the past she can't outrun.
Marcus Notte isn't here to play games—especially not with someone as crazy as the infamous blonde. Asked by Lucian Argeneau to bring her back for questioning, Marcus is determined to carry out Lucian's request—no matter how the seductive little mind-reading vamp feels about it.
Basha doesn't mind fighting fire with fire, especially with a hot immortal involved. But if he wants to take her away, he'll have to catch her first . . .
Out of all of the Lysay Sands Vampire books I have read, this was one of the darkest and least humorous for me. It was also one of the most confusing since it uses many characters from past books, so if you are not current (and I am not) then you may be doing a lot of head scratching.

As it says in the description, Basha is hiding out under the guise of a carnival fortuneteller named Divine.

Marcus Notte (Marco to Divine) is on the hunt for Basha per her Uncle Lucien’s edict and he finally finds her in a small town doing her ‘thing’.

Basha is considered a rogue vampire since she was never taught the ins and outs of it, for example not eating ‘off the hoof’, only using bagged blood, she doesn’t know about how the nano’s work and other things.

Divine and Marco, of course, find out that they are life-mates, much to Divines disple3asure since she does not want to drag Marco into her family affairs.

The characters didn’t seem to mesh for me, they were flat and lifeless (no pun intended!) the romance wasn’t there –of course angst played large part of the story, but their relationship seemed to be an afterthought by the author. The family trees left my head spinning.

This book was a little too serious for me and that took away a large part of my enjoyment. Ms Sands usually is able to suck me right into her books because I know that I can leave the ‘serious, real’ world while I immerse myself into her slightly skewed and kooky one. This time it just did not work.

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Circle of Wives by Alice LaPlante

A Circle of Wives

A Circle of Wives
by Alice LaPlante
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.54

2.0 out of 5 stars It Took a Lot of Willpower For Me to Finish, January 13, 2014

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 325 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press (March 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802122345

When Dr. John Taylor is found dead in a hotel room in his hometown, the local police find enough incriminating evidence to suspect foul play. Detective Samantha Adams, whose Palo Alto beat usually covers small-town crimes, is innocently thrown into a high-profile murder case that is more intricately intertwined than she could ever imagine. A renowned plastic surgeon, a respected family man, and an active community spokesman, Dr. Taylor was loved and admired. But, hidden from the public eye, he led a secret life—in fact, multiple lives. A closeted polygamist, Dr. Taylor was married to three very different women in three separate cities. And when these three unsuspecting women show up at his funeral, suspicions run high. Adams soon finds herself tracking down a murderer through a web of lies and marital discord.

With a rare combination of gripping storytelling, vivid prose, and remarkable insight into character, Alice LaPlante brings to life a story of passion and obsession that will haunt readers long after they turn the final page. A charged and provocative psychological thriller, A Circle of Wives dissects the dynamics of love and marriage, trust and jealousy, posing the terrifying question: How well do you really know your spouse?
This review is from: A Circle of Wives (Hardcover)

 I really have to give kudos to the author for creating such a large group of unlikeable and unbelievable characters. At times they are even distasteful. I understand why the author did this; the reader would not be able to understand the inner workings of the mind set of this group if they had been at all likable or even sympathetic. The 'nicest' woman in the group (and I use the term loosely) wasn't even really all that nice. She was just a stereotyped rendering of a damaged woman from the Deep South.

The plot was an interesting one - what happens when three women realize that the man they had married in good faith is really a polygamist? What happens when they all find out at his funeral? In addition, how does one react when they find out that wife number one had a hand in these marriages?

That husband has been murdered and the detective on the case is a fumbling, inexperienced woman with an attitude and maturity level of a 'new adult' rather than that of a true detective ripe with wisdom and respect and knowledge of the job.

Again, the characters are flat, one dimensional and generally icy cold, yet they are also somewhat surprising. They are richly written but still uninteresting. Some of them even come off as a bit brainless and with no will-power. You will see what I mean if you read this novel.

This book took all of my will power to finish and when I came to the big reveal, I was not impressed.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Line by J.D. Horn Immature Main Characters Make This an Unpleasant Read,

The Line (Witching Savannah, Book One)

The Line (Witching Savannah, Book One)
by J.D. Horn
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.97

2.0 out of 5 stars Immature Main Characters Make This an Unpleasant Read, January 12, 2014

Book Description
Publication Date: February 1, 2014
Savannah is considered a Southern treasure, a city of beauty with a rich, colorful past. Some might even call it magical…
To the uninitiated, Savannah shows only her bright face and genteel manner. Those who know her well, though, can see beyond her colonial trappings and small-city charm to a world where witchcraft is respected, Hoodoo is feared, and spirits linger. Mercy Taylor is all too familiar with the supernatural side of Savannah, being a member of the most powerful family of witches in the South.
Despite being powerless herself, of course.
Having grown up without magic of her own, in the shadow of her talented and charismatic twin sister, Mercy has always thought herself content. But when a series of mishaps—culminating in the death of the Taylor matriarch—leaves a vacuum in the mystical underpinnings of Savannah, she finds herself thrust into a mystery that could shake her family apart…and unleash a darkness the line of Taylor witches has been keeping at bay for generations.
In The Line, the first book of the Witching Savannah series, J.D. Horn weaves magic, romance, and betrayal into a captivating Southern Gothic fantasy with a contemporary flare.

 A younger audience might appreciate this book more than a more mature one.  This book would appeal to the 15 to 25 year old range while leaving most of the more mature readers a little cold or out in left field.  The author has done a good job trying to reconcile the fact that his main protagonist is a very immature 21 year old, but her (Mercy Taylor, witch) attitudes and naiveté grated on my nerves.  I am sure that in upcoming books in this series will show Mercys growth. This book reminded me very much of Charlaine Harris’s early books about Sookie Stackhouse, before Sookie had a chance to grow. There is actually more wrong; things that bothered me greatly, with this book than I have described \in this review.

Mercy is one of a pair of twins – one has gotten all the magic and Mercy is left without any.   Or, so it seems on the surface. This book is filled with murder, backstabbing, lies upon lies and yes magic!  We start out with a book that seems as if it is going to be a romance novel about a love triangle between one boy and the two sisters, but soon a murder is thrown into the equation and whole lot of other magical maneuverings, black-magic, more deaths, more violence and a whole lot of betrayal.

If the author can get Mercy and her kin over the hump, then this will most likely turn into a lively and likable series.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Perfect Conclusion To the Series

Dead Ever After: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood)

Dead Ever After: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood)
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $9.89

4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars The Perfect Conclusion, January 8, 2014

There are secrets in the town of Bon Temps, ones that threaten those closest to Sookie—and could destroy her heart....
Sookie Stackhouse  finds it easy to turn down the request of former barmaid Arlene when she wants her job back at Merlotte’s. After all, Arlene tried to have Sookie killed. But her relationship with Eric Northman is not so clearcut. He and his vampires are keeping their distance…and a cold silence. And when Sookie learns the reason why, she is devastated.

Then a shocking murder rocks Bon Temps, and Sookie is arrested for the crime.

But the evidence against Sookie is weak, and she makes bail. Investigating the killing, she’ll learn that what passes for truth in Bon Temps is only a convenient lie. What passes for justice is more spilled blood. And what passes for love is never enough…

This book is the perfect conclusion to a long running series. The character of Sookie has grown from the simple and somewhat dim-witted acting bar-maid, to the nearly perfect kick-ass heroine we have all come to love in our speculative fiction literature. If you are like me and love to re-read books, I have just spent the last week rereading this whole series so I could understand what all the hub-bub is about, and for the life of me I can not understand how everyone is so unhappy.

The story and mystery was an interesting one, with a plot and characters that I did for the life of me expect.

Ms Harris and her imagination took me places that I and the characters really needed to go to, the dark black corners of Sookies life. The introspection alone shows how Sookie has grown and matured.

This book closes all the doors that needed to be closed, it gives us the perfect HEA that had been building right from book one. SPOILERS-------> Sam has always been the perfect man for Sookie.<------------- br="">

Unlike so many conclusions to series that leave you wondering if it really is the last book, Dead Ever After doesn't leave you wondering...although I would love a follow up someday to see how Sookie and her man are getting along. And no I do NOT want to do it by reading After Dead, I would love a *real* book about them!

I feel not the least bit ripped off, since I have never been a fan of Eric or Bill and Sookie had never had a long and important friendship/relationship with any other male.

For me this was the perfect conclusion.