Monday, September 1, 2014

Book Review: Inn At Last Chance

Author: Hope Ramsay
Title: Inn At Last Chance
Publisher: Grand  Central Publishing
Publish Date: April 29, 2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: Jenny Carpenter is the unrivaled pie-baking champion of Last Chance, South Carolina's annual Watermelon Festival and the town's unofficial spinster. With her dream of marriage and children on hold, she focuses on another dream, turning the local haunted house into a charming bed-and-breakfast. But her plans go off course when the home's former owner shows up on her doorstep on a dark and stormy night . . .

Mega-bestselling horror writer Gabriel Raintree is as mysterious and tortured as his heroes. His family's long-deserted mansion is just the inspiration he needs to finish his latest twisted tale, or so he thinks until he learns it's been sold. The new innkeeper proves to be as determined as she is kind, and soon Gabriel finds himself a paying guest in his own home. As Jenny and Gabe bring new passion to the old house, can she convince him to leave the ghosts of his past behind-and make Last Chance their first choice for a future together?


Review:  I generally enjoyed this book, but I wish the author would have done a little research before setting this to the publisher. Jenny drives a 12 year old Ford Fiesta and she lives in Last Chance, South Carolina.

Uh...if you wanted a Fiesta 12 years ago, you would have to have been living in the UK. Ford didn't bring that model to the US until Fall of 2010. I know this because I considered buying one when they first rolled off the line.

That bugged me, every time her car was mentioned.

But back to the story. Jenny is an old fashioned girl and Gabriel is a horror/thriller writer who used to own the home she is now turning into a B & B.

He isn't pleasant. In fact, he's downright unlikable through most of the story. It is hard to believe, sweet, mousy Jenny would even be interested in doing anything but hitting him with a frying pan.

But that isn't what kept me reading. It was the ghost story that kept me reading. I love a good ghost, and this one, who happened to be Gabe's brother, who was killed when he was 15, made the story. I loved all the old fashioned southern element's that Hope used to make this book feel like an episode of The Twilight Zone, with a touch of Harlequin Romance tossed in.

You have the southern bible thumpers out to get Gabe, because of what he writes, and the mentality that all women should be married. Oh and a little bit of Jane Eyre too..but you'll have to read the book to see how that figures in.

I had another big gripe with this book. Bear...and it is a bit of a spoiler....but I absolutely hate when author's kill of animals in their stories. It is usually ruins a good book for me, and it really did for me, because I was attached to Bear, who was in the story from pretty close to the beginning. Yup, killing pets is a deal breaker for me.

Overall, I enjoyed the spooky parts of the story. I loved Jenny and most of the townspeople, but the romance just didn't do it for me. There was no spark.

And just an aside, the cover really doesn't fit the story at all.

Rating: 3 flowers


Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Random 10 List

'Name 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. 

1. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux: The only book I've ever read multiple times

2. Planning to Live by Heather Wardell: A novel without a HEA but one that really made me think.

3. Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog I laughed, I cried, I refused to see the movie.

4. The Bunny Book by Richard Scarry: One of my childhood favorites. Along with What People Do All Day
and The Best Word Book Ever (all of which I still own, even though they are battered from years of love)

5. Les Miserables  by Victor Hugo couldn't finish it in high school, read it 15 years later and I totally loved it.

6. Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin: A wonderful take on the afterlife. Much better then The Shack in my opinion.
 
7. Delta of Venus by Anais Nin - The best collection of erotic short stories EVER.

8. Into the Wild (Warriors, Book 1) by Erin Hunter The first book of the Warrior Cats series. Oh and all cats should be kitty pets, m'kay.

9. Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral by Kris Radish. This is how I want people to feel about me, and celebrate my life when I'm gone.

10.The Vampire Lestat  by  Anne Rice

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Book Review: Double Take

Author: Leslie Kelly
Title: Double Take
Publisher: Harlequin Blaze
Publish Date: April 15, 2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: 
Getting under her skin…

When her research about orgasms goes viral, sex therapist Lindsey Smith needs a place to lie low. Substitute teaching on Wild Boar Island, Michigan, promises not only privacy, but an opportunity to not think about sex. Which, thanks to the town's too-tasty police chief, lasts exactly one second.

After the dangerous streets of Chicago, Mike Santori figured the island was a safe, sane place to settle down. Getting hot for the new teacher wasn't in the plan. Especially when he discovers that Lindsey is more than she claims to be. Mike decides to use every sexy trick in the book to strip Lindsey of her defenses and reveal all of her secrets. It's a wickedly sensuous journey, one that pushes both of them beyond their limits…to the heart of their desires.

Review: Leslie Kelly has always been on my list of favorite writers for the Blaze line. Her stories have plot as well as hot steamy sexy.

The best part is, the sex doesn't take up the whole story. In fact, in Double Take, Lindsey and Mike don't get it going on until halfway through the book!

Keep the two of them out of bed gave you time to get to know both characters and it really gave you time to fall for Mike. I mean, why aren't there real guys out there like him? And why can't I find one? Oh yes, this is  romance novel and these kinds of guys don't exist.

Drat!

Because Mike is one awesome guy. He's kind, smart, sweet, funny. I mean the scene when he finds some of her work related "toys" was priceless. I laughed out loud.

There aren't many authors that can make me laugh, especially romance writers, Leslie is one of them, the other is Stephanie Bond.

Oh and back to the work related toys, which are "sex toys" because Leslie is a sex therapist that is just a little bit infamous for some research she did. That research is part of the reason she's staying on the island for a few months. Ah, Thinkgasms.  I won't explain, you'll just have to read it to find out.

I also loved the small town mentality going on in Wild Boar. However some of the ultra-conservative views you see with certain townspeople make you think you are in the south and not on an island in Michigan.

This was a super, fun read. (Great for the poolside, if you have one)

Rating: 5 flowers



Book Review: Red, White & Screwed


Author: Holly Bush
Title: Red, White and Screwed
Publisher: Holly Bush Books
Publish Date: July 17, 2014
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: The author in exchange for an honest review
Book Blurb:

Political strategist Glenda Nelson is having a meltdown. Her handpicked, very married Congressional candidate was just caught climbing out of the window of the Sleepytown Motel, and her philandering ex-husband seems to have the most to gain from the colossal scandal that follows. As Glenda attempts to salvage the campaign in a hotly contested race, conservative and liberal pundits pounce on the story to further their own agendas. Glenda’s love life is nonexistent to say the least, that is, until she meets handsome artist Chris Goodrich. Chris’s easy-going, carefree outlook on life couldn’t be more different than the 90-mph crazy train that is Glenda’s, but the more time she spends with him, the more she craves his calming presence, his sexy smile, and his steamy embraces. Is Chris the one to take a chance on?

Between the pressure of full-blown spin control mode, rapidly declining job security, refereeing two teenagers, caring for aging parents, and spending hours on her therapist’s couch trying to get past her ex’s crushing betrayal, Glenda finds love and makes the long trek back to happy.

Review: I absolutely adored this book! There are so many reasons too. Shall I count them?

1. The heroine isn't some young 20 something, she's 46 and has two kids from her previous marriage.

2. It is set in Lancaster, PA and there's a lot of reverence to places that I know in the book. Props for using New Stanton, PA briefly as Glenda, Chris and her kids are traveling the turnpike to get to the hospital to see her father.

3. Chris Goodwich is the absolute perfect hero. If you don't adore him, there's something wrong with you.

4. Glenda's kids, Frank and Sylvia are 100% real. They aren't novel perfect kids

5. The politics make the story hilarious and they are so right.

There's more than just these reasons to love this book. Holly writes characters that are real and have real problems. I dare you not to cry when Glenda's father dies and even before that.

You will hate her ex and his new wife too, on general principals.

This was such a great read! Definitely a must for romance readers!

Review is x-posted from The Certifiable Wenches

Rating: 5 flowers

Monday, August 25, 2014

Historical Fiction Virtual Tours Book Review: Revenge & Retribution

02_Revenge & Retribution
Author: Anna Belfrage
Title: Revenge and Retribution
Publication Date: July 1,2014 SilverWood Books Formats: Ebook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction/Time-Slip Series: The Graham Saga
Book Blurb: Revenge and Retribution is the sixth book in Anna Belfrage’s time slip series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham. Life in the Colony of Maryland is no sinecure – as Alex and Matthew Graham well know. But nothing in their previous life has prepared them for the mayhem that is about to be unleashed upon them. Being labelled a witch is not a good thing in 1684, so it is no wonder Alex Graham is aghast at having such insinuations thrown at her. Even worse, it’s Matthew’s brother-in-law, Simon Melville, who points finger at her. Not that the ensuing hearing is her main concern, because nowadays Alex’s entire life is tainted by the fear of what Philip Burley will do to them once he gets hold of them – there is no longer any ‘if’ about it. On a sunny May afternoon, it seems Philip Burley will at last revenge himself on Matthew for every single perceived wrong. Over the course of twenty-four hours, Alex’s life – and that of her family’s – is permanently changed. As if all this wasn’t enough, Alex also has to cope with the loss of one of her sons. Forcibly adopted by the former Susquehannock, Samuel is dragged from Alex’s arms to begin a new life in the wilderness. How is Alex to survive all this? And will she be able to put her damaged family back together?

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Graham Saga Titles

Book One: A Rip in the Veil
Book Two: Like Chaff in the Wind
Book Three: The Prodigal Son
Book Four: A Newfound Land
Book Five: Serpents in the Garden
Book Six: Revenge & Retribution
Book Seven: Whither Thou Goest (November 2014)
Book Eight: To Catch a Falling Star (March 2015)

Review:  Revenge and Retribution is the 6th book in the Graham Saga. I would recommend reading the other books before jumping in to this one, because it really is a series that you need to read in order. I reviewed Serpents in the Garden, earlier this year and loved it, so I was excited to continue on with the story of Alex and Matthew's family in colonial Maryland.

This go around, Alex is accused of being a witch by her own brother in law. Not a good thing at all during this time period. And Phillip Burley is back and that's never ever a good thing. This man is pure evil and he wants to see Matthew pay for the slights he's done him.

The Graham family really go through their share of struggles. OK, more than there share of struggles, but that's what keeps you interested. And each book seems to get better.

What I really like about these books is how Alix is so comfortable in the past. There are references to the modern world, but she's not praying to go home, like you see in many time travel novels.

You want to compare these books to anything the Outlander series would probably be a good place to start.

Rating: 5 flowers


Anna BelfrageAbout the Author

I was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result I’m multilingual and most of my reading is historical – both non-fiction and fiction. I was always going to be a writer – or a historian, preferably both. Instead I ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for my most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career I raised my four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive … Nowadays I spend most of my spare time at my writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and I slip away into my imaginary world, with my imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in my life pops his head in to ensure I’m still there. I like that – just as I like how he makes me laugh so often I’ll probably live to well over a hundred. I was always going to be a writer. Now I am – I have achieved my dream. For more information, please visit Anna Belfrage’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Friday, August 15
Review at Just One More Chapter
Monday, August 18
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Tuesday, August 19
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Guest Post at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, August 20
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Friday, August 22
Review at Layered Pages
Monday, August 25
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, August 26
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, August 27
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews
Friday, August 29
Review at Book Nerd
Monday, September 1
Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Tuesday, September 2
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Wednesday, September 3
Review at CelticLady's Reviews
Thursday, September 4
Review at Kincavel Korner
Friday, September 5
Guest Post at Kincavel Korner
Guest Post at bookworm2bookworm's Blog


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Book Junkie Promotions Book Review: To Live Forever





Author:Andra Watkins
Title: To Live Forever
Publication Date: March 1, 2014
Publisher: World Hermit Press
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: General Fiction/Paranormal
Book Blurb: Is remembrance immortality? Nobody wants to be forgotten, least of all the famous.

Meriwether Lewis lived a memorable life. He and William Clark were the first white men to reach the Pacific in their failed attempt to discover a Northwest Passage. Much celebrated upon their return, Lewis was appointed governor of the vast Upper Louisiana Territory and began preparing his eagerly-anticipated journals for publication. But his re-entry into society proved as challenging as his journey. Battling financial and psychological demons and faced with mounting pressure from Washington, Lewis set out on a pivotal trip to the nation’s capital in September 1809. His mission: to publish his journals and salvage his political career. He never made it. He died in a roadside inn on the Natchez Trace in Tennessee from one gunshot to the head and another to the abdomen.

Was it suicide or murder? His mysterious death tainted his legacy and his fame quickly faded. Merry’s own memory of his death is fuzzy at best. All he knows is he’s fallen into Nowhere, where his only shot at redemption lies in the fate of rescuing another. An ill-suited “guardian angel,” Merry comes to in the same New Orleans bar after twelve straight failures. Now, with one drink and a two-dollar bill he is sent on his last assignment, his final shot at escape from the purgatory in which he’s been dwelling for almost 200 years. Merry still believes he can reverse his forgotten fortunes.

Nine-year-old Emmaline Cagney is the daughter of French Quarter madam and a Dixieland bass player. When her mother wins custody in a bitter divorce, Emmaline carves out her childhood among the ladies of Bourbon Street. Bounced between innocence and immorality, she struggles to find her safe haven, even while her mother makes her open her dress and serve tea to grown men. It isn’t until Emmaline finds the strange cards hidden in her mother’s desk that she realizes why these men are visiting: her mother has offered to sell her to the highest bidder. To escape a life of prostitution, she slips away during a police raid on her mother’s bordello, desperate to find her father in Nashville.

Merry’s fateful two-dollar bill leads him to Emmaline as she is being chased by the winner of her mother’s sick card game: The Judge. A dangerous Nowhere Man convinced that Emmaline is the reincarnation of his long dead wife, Judge Wilkinson is determined to possess her, to tease out his wife’s spirit and marry her when she is ready. That Emmaline is now guarded by Meriwether Lewis, his bitter rival in life, further stokes his obsessive rage.

To elude the Judge, Em and Merry navigate the Mississippi River to Natchez. They set off on an adventure along the storied Natchez Trace, where they meet Cajun bird watchers, Elvis-crooning Siamese twins, War of 1812 re-enactors, Spanish wild boar hunters and ancient mound dwellers. Are these people their allies? Or pawns of the perverted, powerful Judge?

After a bloody confrontation with the Judge at Lewis’s grave, Merry and Em limp into Nashville and discover her father at the Parthenon. Just as Merry wrestles with the specter of success in his mission to deliver Em, The Judge intercedes with renewed determination to win Emmaline, waging a final battle for her soul. Merry vanquishes the Judge and earns his redemption. As his spirit fuses with the body of Em’s living father, Merry discovers that immortality lives within the salvation of another, not the remembrance of the multitude.

READ AN EXCERPT.

Buy the Book
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Review: First of all, don't judge this book by its cover. If you do, you might pass it over and this is not a book that you want to miss. Trust me.

Its part historical fiction, part paranormal fiction with some magical realism tossed in for good measure.  It was definitely something out of my normal comfort zone of reading, yet the book pulled me in, right away.

Meriwether Lewis is stuck in Nowhere and he has a final shot at redemption. This pits him as a rather unlikely guardian angel for Emmaline, whose mother is about to sell her to the highest bidder.

Yikes.

And it gets crazier from there.

This book is definitely a wild and wacky ride, fast paced and easy to read. As Merry and Emmaline try to find her father, you meet quite a few people from Merry's past.

I love the mixture of history of the old world with the modern world.

Definitely a must read.

Rating: 4 flowers






About the Author

Hey. I’m Andra Watkins. I’m a native of Tennessee, but I’m lucky to call Charleston, South Carolina, home for 23 years. I’m the author of ‘To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis’, coming March 1, 2014. It’s a mishmash of historical fiction, paranormal fiction and suspense that follows Meriwether Lewis (of Lewis & Clark fame) after his mysterious death on the Natchez Trace in 1809.

I like:

hiking eating (A lot; Italian food is my favorite.) traveling (I never met a destination I didn’t like.) reading (My favorite book is The Count of Monte Cristo.) coffee (the caffeinated version) and COFFEE (sex) performing (theater, singing, public speaking, playing piano) time with my friends Sirius XM Chill yoga (No, I can’t stand on my head.) writing in bed candlelight

I don’t like:

getting up in the morning cilantro (It is the devil weed.) surprises (For me or for anyone else.) house cleaning cooking

Author Links

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Google+ | Pinterest

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Retro Reads Romance Book Review: The Fatal Crown

Author: Ellen Jones
Title: The Fatal Crown
Publisher: Open Road
Publish Date: Jan 19, 2013
Buy: Amazon
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Book Blurb: 
Against the seething political intrigues of twelfth-century Europe, two royal heirs will surrender to passion as they vie for the most glittering, treacherous prize of all: the English throne

At nine, Maud, an English princess, was sent to Germany to become the bride of the Holy Roman Emperor—a political alliance with a man her father’s age. At twenty-five, the widowed Maud must marry once again, this time to fourteen-year-old Geoffrey Plantagenet. But it is with Stephen of Blois, Maud’s fiercest rival for the British throne, that the headstrong princess discovers the true meaning of desire. Stephen, a descendant of William the Conqueror, believes absolutely in his God-given right to rule. Torn between his illicit passion for Maud and his own towering ambition, he knows he must choose. Stephen’s decision will wrench him from the arms of the woman he loves, ignite civil war, and lead to a shattering act of betrayal that, decades later, will come full circle and change the course of English history.


Review:  I love novels of the kings and queens of Europe. Maud is one that I haven't read much about. The Fatal Crown probably wouldn't have been the book I would have chosen to learn more about this remarkable lady.

Ellen Jones does a great job of bringing the period and characters to life, but she also added a fictional love affair between Maud and Stephen, which though it may or may not have happened, it just didn't feel right. I couldn't see the women, who was so learned, thanks to her first husband, Hennerick, that she would fall for Stephen, who was quite a womanizer and not even a very nice guy, though not quite as nasty and manipulative as her father, Henry I.

To me, a woman that would throw a country into civil war to gain the throne of England for 15 years, wouldn't have entered into an affair and acted like a giddy young girl. The love scenes are a bit much too.

However don't read this expecting a total romance, because that isn't what this book is. It is more a historical re-imaging. Not quite up to par with the greats, like Plaidy or Gregory, but definitely one that is entertaining if not somewhat lengthy. (550 pages made this book drag quite a bit).

Historical accuracy suffers a bit here and there, but for the most part, the story stays true to Maud's timeline. I wish she would have used Maud's escape in a coffin from her own capture. That would have added some excitement to the story.

A good read for those who love European historical fiction.

Rating: 4 flowers


 
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