Thursday, April 30, 2015

Review - Memory Man by David Baldacci

Memory Man by David Baldacci
Series:  Amos Decker #1
Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date:  April 21, 2015
Date Read: April 30, 2015

 
4 Stars!
 
This ended up being a book that I liked quite a bit but I didn't love it.  I have never read any of David Baldacci's work which is actually quite surprising since I have been a big mystery thriller reader for a very long time.   Even though I had a hard time getting into the story initially, this book really kept me guessing.  I must admit that I tried really hard to figure out the direction the story was going.  There was a lot of excitement packed into this story.

Amos Decker is an incredibly interesting character.  His uniqueness really drives the entire story.  Amos spent about half a minute as a professional football player.  He was hit so hard by another player in his first play that his heart stopped and his brain was forever changed.  Amos cannot forget anything.  His ability to interact with other people has also been altered so he doesn't always behave as you would expect.  

Amos's ability to remember every detail and every moment helps him solve crimes in a way the other detectives cannot.  He was an excellent detective until his family became the target and his life fell apart.  He is called in to help as a consultant on a school shooting in his town.  Amos is able to help connect the pieces of the puzzle together as the story takes one twist after another.

I think that this book did a lot of things really well.  The characters were interesting.  I found myself wondering how difficult it would be remember ever detail of my life.  Everyone has things that are best forgotten.  All of the characters were flawed which made them seem more realistic.  The pacing of the story was perfect.  I found that I had a very difficult time setting the book aside at some points because I just had to know what happened next.  

The main issue that I had with this book is that some of the plot twists were unrealistic.  I like to try to figure out how the pieces fall together every time I read a mystery.  I had no clue with this book because some of the twists ended up being rather improbable, at least in my mind.  Everything did end up fitting together in a rather exciting and interesting manner so this is really a minor concern for me.
 
I would recommend this book to fans of mystery thrillers.  This is a smartly written novel that sets a wonderful basis for a new series.  I definitely plan to  continue with this series and would like to read some of David Baldacci's other books in the near future.

I received a copy of this book from Grand Central Publishing via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Audiobook Review - Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog by Lisa Scottoline

Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog by Lisa Scottoline
Narrated by Lisa Scottoline
Macmillan Audio / St. Martin's Press
Publication Date:  November 24, 2009
Date Read:  April 24, 2015

Goodreads | Audible | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

3.5 Stars!

I have enjoyed Lisa Scottoline's writing for quite some time.  I would have to say that I became a pretty big fan of hers when I went to an author event at my local library when she was touring for Look Again.  I couldn't believe how much fun I had listening to her.  She was funny and she threw snack cakes at the audience which is always a plus.  I went home that night with a huge grin on my face, a snack cake to devour later on, and a brand new tote bag that she gave me for buying several of her novels.  I don't really know what I waited until now to read this book since I know how funny she can be.


Just a couple of weeks ago, Lisa made a return visit to my town to promote her new book Every Fifteen Minutes.  This event was just as much fun as the first.  There weren't any snack cakes this time...but there was wine and cheese so I don't think any missed the snack cakes.  I spent some time talking to other fans at the event and learned that Lisa actually narrates the audiobooks for her humorous books.  I had just finished an audiobook so I downloaded this book and started listening right away.

This is a compilation of articles, some of which I think I may have read before when they were originally published in a newspaper column.  Some of the stories were laugh out loud funny.  Some made me chuckle just a little bit.  One story actually made me cry which is crazy.  I hardly ever cry and especially not on my way to work over an audiobook.  I was really very impressed that this book was able to bring out so much emotion.  I am amazed by how much I could relate to Lisa Scottoline and in many ways her story felt like some of my own.

I liked the fact that this book was really 90 different stories.  Yes, there were 90 chapters in my audiobook and each chapter was a completely different story.  You learned a lot about many of the people in the book and the stories did build upon that knowledge but any of the stories could be listened to independently without any problem.  This was a perfect set up for me because I work just a few miles from my house so I could listen to a couple of stories in the car on the way to work and not worry about stopping in the middle of a chapter.  I even listened to it when my family was in the car and felt no embarrassment.  My daughter was embarrassed but I had no problems and I even caught my husband and daughter laughing a couple of times.

The narration was perfect.  I wish that she would narrate all of her books because she is a fabulous narrator.  Her daughter even authored and narrated a few of the chapters and it was nice to hear her perspective.  Generally, I have found that authors can be the best narrators because they know how they envisioned the story be told.  This book is really Lisa Scottoline's life told through stories and I can't think of anyone else I would have wanted as a narrator.

I would recommend this book to others.  I know that my mother will love this book and I plan to help her get it on her kindle the next time I see her.  I will definitely be reading more from Lisa Scottoline in the future. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

New Releases - April 28, 2015

April 28, 2015  
It's Tuesday!  That means it is time to make a little bit of room on the bookshelves, load up your ereader, or make your way to your local library.  In other words - It is time to get your hands on a new book!
Here are just a few books that have just been released that you may want to grab soon:

 Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep


There Be Monsters Here. . .

It's not as great as you'd think, living in a tourist town that's known as "the most magical place in America." Same boring high school, just twice as many monsters under the bridges and rival Families killing each other for power.

I try to keep out of it. I've got my mom's bloodiron sword and my slightly illegal home in the basement of the municipal library. And a couple of Talents I try to keep quiet, including very light fingers and a way with a lock pick.

But then some nasty characters bring their Family feud into my friend's pawn shop, and I have to make a call--get involved, or watch a cute guy die because I didn't. I guess I made the wrong choice, because now I'm stuck putting everything on the line for Devon Sinclair. My mom was murdered because of the Families, and it looks like I'm going to end up just like her. . .




 Emergence: Dave vs. the Monsters by John Birmingham

For fans of Jim Butcher and Kevin Hearne comes an action-packed new urban fantasy series featuring a tough, bleakly funny, down-on-his luck oil rig worker with an unlikely destiny as a monster-slayer and savior of the planet.
“Monsters,” said Vince Martinelli. “There are monsters on the rig, Dave.”

Dave Hooper has a hangover from hell, a horrible ex-wife, and the fangs of the IRS deep in his side. The last thing he needs is an explosion at work. A real explosion. On his off-shore oil rig.

But this is no accident, and despite the news reports, Dave knows that terrorists aren’t to blame. He knows because he killed one of the things responsible.

When he wakes up in a hospital bed guarded by Navy SEALs, he realizes this is more than just a bad acid trip. Yeah, Dave’s had a few. This trip is way weirder.

Killing a seven-foot-tall, tattooed demon has transformed the overweight, balding safety manager into something else entirely. A foul-mouthed, beer-loving monster slayer, and humanity’s least worthy Champion.

Look for my review to be posted soon!


A Good Rogue is Hard to Find by Kelly Bowen


HE THOUGHT HE'D SEEN IT ALL . . .

The rogue's life has been good to William Somerhall: He has his fortune, his racehorses, and his freedom. Then he moves in with his mother. It seems the eccentric Dowager Duchess of Worth has been barely skirting social disaster-assisted by one Miss Jenna Hughes, who is far too bright and beautiful to be wasting her youth as a paid companion. Now home to keep his mother from ruin, William intends to learn what's afoot by keeping his friends close-and the tempting Miss Hughes closer still.

. . . UNTIL HE MEETS HER

He's tall, dark, and damnably intelligent-unfortunately for Jenna. She and the duchess are in the "redistribution business," taking from the rich and giving to the poor, and it's going great - until he shows up. But even as William plots to make an honest woman out of her, Jenna will use all her wiles to reveal just how bad a rogue he can be . . .


 The Shattered Court by M.J. Scott



First in a new fantasy series from the author of the Novels of the Half-Light City.

Entangled in a court ruled by tradition and intrigue, a young witch must come to terms with newfound power and desire—and a choice between loyalty and survival.…

The royal witches of Anglion have bowed to tradition for centuries. If a woman of royal blood manifests powers, she is immediately bound by rites of marriage. She will serve her lord by practicing the tamer magics of the earth—ensuring good harvests and predicting the weather. Any magic more dangerous is forbidden.

Lady Sophia Kendall, thirty-second in line to the throne, is only days away from finding out if she will be blessed—or perhaps cursed—with magic. When a vicious attack by Anglion’s ancient enemies leaves the kingdom in chaos, Sophia is forced to flee the court. Her protector by happenstance is Lieutenant Cameron Mackenzie, a member of the royal guard, raised all his life to be fiercely loyal to the Crown.

Then Sophia’s powers manifest stronger than she ever imagined they would, and Cameron and she are inextricably linked in the process. As a witch unbound by marriage rites, Sophia is not only a threat to the established order of her country, but is also a weapon for those who seek to destroy it. Faced with old secrets and new truths, she must decide if she will fight for her country or succumb to the delicious temptation of power.…
 Look for my review to be posted soon!

 Scoundrel by Moonlight by Anna Campbell


Anything can happen in the moonlight . . . Justice. That's all Nell Trim wants-for her sister and for the countless other young women the Marquess of Leath has ruined with his wildly seductive ways. Now she has a bold plan to take him down . . . as long as she can resist the scoundrel's temptations herself.

From the moment Nell meets James Fairbrother, the air positively sizzles. Yet for all his size and power, there's something amazingly tender in his touch. Could he really be such a depraved rogue? The only way to find out is to beat the devil at his own game . . . one tempting kiss at a time.
Look for an excerpt & giveaway to be posted on Friday May 1, 2015! 



Monday, April 27, 2015

Review - Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep



Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep
Series:  Black Blade #1
Kensington - Teen
Publication Date:  April 28, 2015
Date Read: April 26, 2015

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

4 Stars!

I loved this book!  I thought it was a lot of fun to read.  I read simply because I want to be entertained and this book grabbed my attention right away and never let go.  I am not sure why I tend to enjoy so many YA titles but it may have something to do with the fact that I spend more time with my 14 year old daughter and her friends than I do anyone else.  I love discussing books with my daughter and her friends and I can't tell you how happy it makes me just knowing how much they love to read.

I was thrilled that this book didn't fall into the love triangle trap that seems to be a required element in this genre.  This book was almost completely romance free but a little bit found its way into the book.  To be more precise, a little bit of mutual attraction was part of the story and I fully expect that it will be explored further in future installments in this series.  I really wish that the story had been kept romance free.

I was excited to jump into a new series.  I liked the world building in this book and think that the world can be built upon as the series progresses.  The magic along with the mob like family power hierarchy was interesting and unique.  I have seen a lot of the elements that were used in this story but they were put together in a very interesting manner.  I loved that monsters and superstitions were incorporated into the framework of the story.

Lila is an awesome character.  She is tough, smart, and knows how to take care of herself.  While she has survived by stealing, her behavior proves that she is really a good person.  She isn't innocent and she is willing to do what needs to be done in order to stay alive even if that means she takes a life.  Lila isn't easily pushed around and isn't intimidated by the people in the Family who hold the power.  When she finds herself serving as Devon's bodyguard, she does the job well even though it was not a job that she wanted.

I liked the other characters in the story quite a bit.  Devon was dreamy.  Seriously, I might have a little bit of a crush on him.  I really wish that he wasn't quite so perfect to be honest.  He really was a genuinely nice guy in this story who doesn't take things for granted.  Mo was interesting because I never knew who's best interest he was really looking out for.  What can I say about Oscar except that I love him.  I love a world that includes a redneck pixie that will do your chores.

The pacing of this book was perfect.  There was a lot of action at various points in the book.  I am really impressed by the world building in this story.   I never felt like information was being dumped on me which often happens in the first book in a new series.  The world building simply happened as the story progressed.  There were a lot of characters in this story now that I think about it but they were introduced in a manner that kept the story interesting while defining their role in the overall story.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes YA urban fantasy.  I have read and enjoyed other books by Jennifer Estep.  I cannot wait to get my hands on this next book in this new series.

I received a copy of this book from Kensington - Teen via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.

Release Week Blitz - A Good Rogue is Hard to Find by Kelly Bowen - Excerpt & Giveaway!



 A Good Rogue is Hard to Find 
 by Kelly Bowen
Hatchett Book Group - Forever
Publication Date:  April 28, 2015

About the Book:

HE THOUGHT HE'D SEEN IT ALL . . . 
The rogue's life has been good to William Somerhall: He has his fortune, his racehorses, and his freedom. Then he moves in with his mother. It seems the eccentric Dowager Duchess of Worth has been barely skirting social disaster-assisted by one Miss Jenna Hughes, who is far too bright and beautiful to be wasting her youth as a paid companion. Now home to keep his mother from ruin, William intends to learn what's afoot by keeping his friends close-and the tempting Miss Hughes closer still.

. . . UNTIL HE MEETS HER
He's tall, dark, and damnably intelligent-unfortunately for Jenna. She and the duchess are in the "redistribution business," taking from the rich and giving to the poor, and it's going great - until he shows up. But even as William plots to make an honest woman out of her, Jenna will use all her wiles to reveal just how bad a rogue he can be . . .





About Kelly Bowen
Kelly Bowen grew up in Manitoba, Canada. She worked her way through her teenage years as a back country trail guide and ranch hand and spent a year working on a cattle station in Australia.  She attended the University of Manitoba and earned a Master of Science degree in veterinary physiology and endocrinology. 

But it was Kelly's infatuation with history and a weakness for a good love story that led her down the path of historical romance.  When she is not writing, she seizes every opportunity to explore ruins and battlefields.

Currently, Kelly lives in Winnipeg with her husband and two boys, all of whom are wonderfully patient with the writing process.  Except, that is, when they need a goalie for street hockey.

Author Links:  Website | Twitter | Facebook

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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Blog Tour - Bound by Blood by Scott Springer - Giveaway!

Bound by Blood banner

This is my stop during the book blitz for Bound by Blood by Scott Springer. This book blitz is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The book blitz runs from 21 till 27 April, you can view the complete blitz schedule on the website of Lola’s Blog Tours.

bound by blood coverBound by Blood
by Scott Springer
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Age category: Adult
Publisher: Anaiah Press
Release Date: September 23, 2014

Blurb:
Julia has accepted the Lord and is busy returning her life to order. She is not ready for love, especially when the new site foreman at work stirs up forgotten feelings. She knows a playboy when she sees one, but to Rick Mercado the attraction between them is surprisingly real. Other girls no longer interest him, and if she wants to play hard to get that's fine with him. Let the games begin!

What he doesn't realize is that her dangerous secret is not a game.
Julia's brother has returned from the street, strung out and in trouble with rival gangs. Loyalty to her brother draws Julia deeper into a world of drug deals and thugs. Rick doesn't understand why Julia won't simply go to the cops, especially once the bullets start flying. As Julia slips further into a world of violence, Rick realizes how easily his heart can be broken. His brain says to run, but his heart isn't listening. It may already be too late.

BOUND BY BLOOD. Love and suspense, heartfelt moments and guns a blazing.
What a killer combination!


You can find Bound by Blood on Goodreads

You can buy Bound by Blood here:
- Amazon
- Barnes & Noble
- Kobo
- Smashwords

Book Trailer:
 


Scott SpringerAbout the Author:
Scott Springer spent his youth playing pretend and dreaming of being a writer. As an adult he worked as a carpenter before becoming a software developer. Having produced much, his two children remain his proudest accomplishment. His wife led him to the Lord, and he’s glad that she did.

You can find and contact Scott here:
- Website
- Twitter
- Goodreads



There is a tour wide giveaway for the book blitz of Bound by Blood. These are the prizes you can win:
- $10 B&N or iTunes giftcard (US only)

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Review - The Duff by Kody Keplinger

The Duff by Kody Keplinger
Hatchett Children's Books - Hodder Children's Books
Publication Date:  September 7, 2010
Date Read: April 24, 2015

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

4 Stars!

I simply cannot believe how much I liked this book.  I actually skipped right over it the first time I saw it and only took a second look at the insistence of my teenage daughter.   I am glad that she encouraged me to read this book because it was a wonderfully told story.  Once I started reading, I had a very hard time putting this book down. I even got out of bed an hour earlier than usual just so I could finish this book and I NEVER get out of bed early for anything.

Bianca is hanging out with her two best friends, Casey and Jessica, as the story begins.  Wesley comes over to talk to Bianca because she is, as he puts it, the Duff - the Designated Ugly Fat Friend.  Bianca doesn't like this remark at all.  Before the conversation is over they have shared a kiss and Wesley is wearing her cherry coke.  Bianca swears she hates Wesley but she can't seem to stay away from her either.  She knows how Wesley is with girls so plans to just use him and keep her emotions out of the equation.

I loved the characters in this book.  Bianca was pretty awesome.  She is completely herself every time she is around Wesley and isn't intimidated by him like most girls.  Her character grows a lot during the course of this story.  She isn't perfect and her life isn't perfect but she is trying to deal with everything to the best of her ability.  Wesley can be quite the jerk.  He has a constant string of girls parading through his life.  The more the reader really gets to know Wesley the more likeable he becomes and by the end of the book I loved him.  His character also had a tremendous amount of growth in this story. 

I loved that this story wasn't afraid to deal with sex.  As the mother of a teenager, a part of me would like to think that teenagers aren't really having sex.  The realistic side of me knows that teenagers today are probably having just as much sex as they did when I was in high school which means it is happening all of the time.  Based on my aging memory, the way that sex was handled in this story is very realistic.  This would probably be a book that would be most appropriate for older teenagers and adults.  There is a lot of sex in this book which younger teens will probably not be ready to deal with.

I was completely blown away to find out that this book was written by a 17 year old.  I still can't believe it.  I had a hard time writing a 500 word essay when I was 17 and trust me when I say that nobody wanted to read any of the crap that I wrote back then.  I do think that the author's age probably played a large part in how authentic everything in this book felt. 

I would highly recommend this book to others.  I found it to be a wonderful coming of age story that kept me glued to the pages.  This is the first book by Kody Keplinger that I have had a chance to read and it happens to be her debut novel.  I am definitely planning to keep my eyes open for other works by this author in the future because chances are that she is only going to get better with more experience.

I received a copy of this book from Hatchett Children's Books - Hodder Children's Books via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.



Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Review - Bite at First Sight by Brooklyn Ann - Giveaway!

Bite at First Sight
By Brooklyn Ann
Scandals with Bite, Book 3
Sourcebooks Casablanca
Paranormal Historical Romance
April 7, 2015
ISBN: 9781402274503
$7.99 Mass Market Paperback

About the Book

Her interest is purely scientific
Cassandra Burton wants to study medicine, surgery, healing, and everything related to the human body and its mysteries—and she's willing to rob graves to do it! But a lady can meet dark and dangerous characters lurking around the cemetery. And who could be more fascinating than Rafael Villar, Lord Vampire of London? If she could study his physiology, she could learn so much that would help humans. After all, he’s immortal—and Cassandra is now his prisoner…

Until she gets close enough to touch
As if Rafael didn’t have enough to worry about, with a rebellion brewing and his allies out of reach, now he’s confronted by a beautiful, fearless lady who wants to heal the scars he's borne for centuries. He can’t keep her, and he can’t let her go, and worst of all, he’s every bit as intrigued by her as she is by him.




My Review

3 Stars!

I have to admit that I was very interested in the whole idea behind this book.  I love historical romances and I love paranormal romances.  Merging them together in the same story sounds like the perfect plan.  It is a good plan and I wonder why I haven't seen this before.  Maybe paranormal historical romances are around and I have just been missing them.  I am going to keep my eyes open from now on because this is an idea that can work quite well.

This wasn't the perfect book and to be honest I thought that a whole lot of it just felt silly.  Cassandra didn't really seem to care what people thought in most areas of the book.  She didn't care what proper society thought of her.  She pushed forward in her pursuit of knowledge and worked to become a doctor despite the fact it was unheard of at the time.  She didn't seem like she had a problem pointing things out to Rafe in most areas so it really felt odd that she would hold back the fact that she was attracted to him.  The way they danced around each other just didn't seem true to either character.

Rafe is in a bind.  Some of the vampires that he rules are staging a revolt plus he has to figure out what to do with Cassandra.  When Cassandra wants to try to heal his useless arm, he knows that he would be a fool to decline that offer.  Rafe is actually in a position to either lose everything or finally have more than he ever imagined.

This was the third book in the series but I had no trouble jumping in the series at this point.  This story stands on its own.  I found the second half of the book to be incredibly fast paced which I loved.  The second half of the book also had many more characters involved, many were probably from previous books in the series, and I found it a bit overwhelming to keep everyone straight.  The first half of the book felt much slower.  The dialog between the characters was good but I never really felt the chemistry between the couple.  

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys paranormal romance.  This is the first book by Brooklyn Ann that I have had a chance to read but I plan to go back and read the first two books in this series very soon.  

I received a copy of this book from Sourcebooks - Casablanca via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.



Scandals with Bite series:
Bite Me, Your Grace (Book 1)
One Bite Per Night (Book 2)
Bite at First Sight (Book 3)

Purchase Here:
BITE ME, YOUR GRACE – eBook now $0.00

ONE BITE PER NIGHT – eBook now $1.99

BITE AT FIRST SIGHT - $7.99


About the Author
A lover of witty Regencies and dark paranormal romance, Brooklyn Ann combines the two in her new vampire series. The former mechanic turned author lives with her family in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho.

Connect with Brooklyn Ann
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads



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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

New Releases - April 21, 2015

April 21, 2015  
 
It's Tuesday!  That means it is time to make a little bit of room on the bookshelves, load up your ereader, or make your way to your local library.  In other words - It is time to get your hands on a new book!
Here are just a few books that have just been released that you may want to grab soon:

Memory Man by David Baldacci


Amos Decker's life changed forever--twice.

The first time was on the gridiron. A big, towering athlete, he was the only person from his hometown of Burlington ever to go pro. But his career ended before it had a chance to begin. On his very first play, a violent helmet-to-helmet collision knocked him off the field for good, and left him with an improbable side effect--he can never forget anything.

The second time was at home nearly two decades later. Now a police detective, Decker returned from a stakeout one evening and entered a nightmare--his wife, young daughter, and brother-in-law had been murdered.

His family destroyed, their killer's identity as mysterious as the motive behind the crime, and unable to forget a single detail from that horrible night, Decker finds his world collapsing around him. He leaves the police force, loses his home, and winds up on the street, taking piecemeal jobs as a private investigator when he can.

But over a year later, a man turns himself in to the police and confesses to the murders. At the same time a horrific event nearly brings Burlington to its knees, and Decker is called back in to help with this investigation. Decker also seizes his chance to learn what really happened to his family that night. To uncover the stunning truth, he must use his remarkable gifts and confront the burdens that go along with them. He must endure the memories he would much rather forget. And he may have to make the ultimate sacrifice.

MEMORY MAN will stay with you long after the turn of the final page.
 
Look for my review to be posted soon!
 

 
The Lie by C.L. Taylor

 
 I know your name's not really Jane Hughes...

Jane Hughes has a loving partner, a job in an animal sanctuary and a tiny cottage in rural Wales. She's happier than she's ever been but her life is a lie. Jane Hughes does not really exist.

Five years earlier Jane and her then best friends went on holiday but what should have been the trip of a lifetime rapidly descended into a nightmare that claimed the lives of two of the women.

Jane has tried to put her past behind her but someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won't stop until they've destroyed Jane and everything she loves...
 
 

 
 The Devilish Mr. Danvers by Vivienne Lorret



For the first time in her life, Hedley Sinclair holds the keys to her own future. She's inherited the crumbling Greyson Park, but the disrepair does nothing to dissuade her. No one will ever lock her up again or attempt to take away what's hers. No one except Rafe Danvers—the charming, fiendish man from Fallow Hall. He's determined to claim Greyson Park, but if Hedley isn't careful, he'll claim her heart as well.

Rafe has every intention of ridding Greyson Park of the conniving Sinclairs once and for all. The last thing he expects is to find the beguiling Hedley—the younger sister of his former fiancĂ©e—standing in his way. With drastic measures called for, he plans to marry her off in order to regain control of the estate. The only trouble is, he can't seem to stop seducing her. Even worse, he can't help falling in love with her.
 

 
 Shadow of Doubt by P.A. DePaul



The new SBG novel from the author of Exchange of Fire.

When her secretly filmed tryst shows up on the internet, Michelle Alger goes on the run. She has no choice. Not only was her one-night stand the son of a US senator, but he’s been murdered—and she’s the number one suspect. With both the senator and an avenging drug lord on her trail, her life is in danger. There’s only man she can trust. He saved her once, but will he still be her hero six years later?

Captain Jeremy Malone and the rest of Delta Squad have the senator’s order: find the mystery woman who killed my son. But to Jeremy, she’s no mystery. Six years ago his team of Green Berets rescued her from the torturous clutches of a Colombian cartel, and he’s never forgotten her. His personal and covert mission: find Michelle before anyone else. When he and Michelle do meet again, the sparks are explosive and consuming. They’re also dangerous as hell.

Because with each new bit of evidence, Jeremy suspects that Michelle’s innocence may be a ruse—a beautiful trap set by a woman who has even more secrets yet to bare.
 

 
 Taken by HelenKay Dimon



Known for her “emotional, sexy and smart”* stories, now, HelenKay Dimon presents a bold new novella that takes readers to the edge…

Wade Royer and Elijah Sterling are on shaky ground. While initially reluctant Eli is finally ready to take things to the next level, Wade is hesitant. He senses trouble coming and he’s right. Still, they know their fiercely undeniable connection—both in and out of the bedroom—is worth saving.

Then a man from Eli’s past reappears and the CIA comes calling—and they both want Eli back. With their relationship in jeopardy of falling apart and Eli in danger of a different kind, both men will have to decide what they really want—and then take it…
 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Audiobook Review - Blue-Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas

Blue-Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas
Series: Travis Family #2
Narrated by Renee Raudman
Publication Date:  March 25, 2008
Date Read:  April 12, 2015 (2nd read)

GoodreadsAudible | Amazon | Barnes & Noble



5 Stars!

I have been in love with Hardy Cates since I first met him way back in 2007 when I first read Sugar Daddy.  The teenage girl that now occupies this old ladies body still swoons a little bit every time I even think about Hardy Cates as a teenager.  Where were the boys like Hardy back when I actually was a teenager?  Even when Hardy does something a little wrong, I can forgive him.  When this book came out in 2008, I drove to my local Borders and grabbed a copy just as soon as they opened for the day.  I loved it then and I still love it today.  Just be aware that this review is not unbiased because it is nearly impossible to be unbiased when you are in love. 

Haven first meets Hardy at her brother Gage's wedding when she slips into the wine cellar.  Haven thinks she has found her boyfriend, Nick, and things heat up really quickly.  Once she realizes her mistake, they both move on with their lives.  Haven knows that Nick is her future and she is willing to do whatever it takes to be with him...even if it means she is cut off financially from her wealthy father.  The lack of money doesn't bother Haven as she tries to be a good wife to Nick.  Nick becomes increasingly resentful and angry.  Nothing Haven does is good enough for Nick.  He doesn't care what Haven wants or what she thinks because the only thing that matters to him is himself. 

Haven eventually leaves Nick after he becomes abusive.  She starts a new life with the help of her family.  She starts working at a property management office for her brother, Jack.  She soon crosses paths with Hardy once again.  Her family warns her against Hardy but she takes a chance anyway.

I was just as moved by Kleypas's description of the abuse that Haven endured as I was the first time I read the book.  I think that she did a remarkable job of demonstrating how out of control Nick had become.  I was frightened for Haven and wanted to take her away and protect her just like her brothers wanted to.  Haven is strong.  She asks for help when she knows that she needs it and then works to change the things in her life that she can change. 

Would I love Hardy as much as I do if I hadn't already read the first book in this series?  I don't know and it is really hard to guess because I was already in love with him before this book started.  Hardy listened to Haven and tried to be what she needed.  The chemistry between Haven and Hardy is phenomenal.  I am still trying to figure out how Haven ever pulled herself out of the wine cellar at the very beginning of the book.  I like Haven and Hardy as a couple.

I listened to the audiobook on this read through and I have to admit I had a hard time with the narration at the beginning of the story.  I kept listening and starting liking the narration more and more and by the end of the book I didn't notice the narrator anymore because all I could think about was the story.  I got lost in the story which is exactly what I look for in an audiobook.

I would highly recommend this book to others.  I would suggest that readers start with the first book in the series, Sugar Daddy, because it really gives a lot of background, not to mention it is an excellent book.  I am planning to re-read the next book in this series very soon and can't wait to get my hands on a new book by Lisa Kleypas.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Review - Black Iris by Leah Raeder

Black Iris by Leah Raeder
Atria Books
Publication Date:  April 28, 2015
Date Read:  April 19, 2015

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


1 Star

I didn't like this book at all.  I was so excited to get an early copy of this book because I saw everyone raving about it on Goodreads.  I just knew that this would be a book that I would fall in love with based on all the 5 star reviews that I saw.  I am not sure that I read the same book that everyone else read.  I disliked everything about this book.  I almost stop reading many times but I kept waiting for that magical moment where I would fall in love with this story like I had expected.  Now that I have finished the book, I can honestly say that I wish I had listened to that little voice in my head telling me give up on this book early in the story and move on to another.

I didn't care about the characters.  There isn't a single one of them that I like in even the smallest way.  These are not nice people.  The main characters spend most of the book under the influence of some kind of substance.  They spend the entire book thinking about sex, drugs, more sex, and more drugs.  I have read and loved books that have a strong focus on both sex and drugs before so it isn't really the sex or the drugs that were the problems for me.  These characters didn't feel real to me.  I felt absolutely no connection to them in any way.  I can't even say that I hated any of them because none of them made me feel anything.

I didn't like how this book jumped around in time.  This has to be one of the most confusing reading experiences of my life.  I was constantly having to stop and figure out where on the timeline each chapter was happening.  I have read a lot of books that used flashbacks or a dual timeline that I have really enjoyed.  This book would jump around in time in a way that made no logical sense to me.  I think that the story would have been so much easier to follow if things had jumped around less.

I didn't like the writing style.  Descriptions sometimes seemed to go on forever and in the end didn't make any sense.  The author would also insert little comment about how the typical novel would go from this point and I will be honest every time this happened it drove me crazy.  I can't tell you how many times I would read a sentence and think huh?  Then I would read it again and wonder what kind of image those words were really supposed to help me create.

I didn't like the story.  I thought this book was one of the most boring things that I have read for the first 60% or so.  Things got a little more interesting at that point but that is just because something finally happened.  Even after there was a little action, I still never felt connected to the story.  This story just never grabbed me.  There was never a moment where I couldn't wait to see what would happen next.  I was incredibly let down by how this story ended.  

I wouldn't recommend this book.  I do think that many readers will love this book.  Almost all of the reviews that I have seen up to this point have been very positive so I am definitely in the minority with my opinion on this one. 

I received a copy of this book from Atria Books via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Review - The Lie by C.L. Taylor

The Lie by C.L. Taylor
HarperCollins - Avon
Publication Date:  April 23, 2015
Date Read:  April 17, 2015

Goodreads | Amazon

3.5 Stars

I would have to say that overall I liked this book.  I enjoy a wide range of books and find that mixing things up works best for me.  I have been reading way too many romances lately so I was immediately interested in this book because I was in the mood for a mystery.  The fact that the cover promises that it will be "Dark and creepy"  was really just an added bonus.

I really had a hard time getting into this story as I started reading the book largely because of the dual timeline.  I actually set this book aside early in my reading to read another book which isn't something that I do very often.  Once I picked the book back up and read about a third of the story I was much more interested in what was going on.  The second half of the book really flew by and I couldn't pull myself away from the story.

This book is told in two different timelines: the present and five years ago.  It switches back and forth every chapter or two which really made it hard for me to get into the book.  Each timeline is really a different story with different characters and separate problems.  In the present, Jane is working in an animal shelter, dating a divorced teacher, and really just living a quiet life.  Jane was a different person five years ago....literally.

Five years ago, Jane was Emma.  Emma and her group of girl friends take an extended vacation to a retreat in Nepal.  Emma's group of friends were the kind of girls that I love to hate with the exception of Al.  Trying to figure out what was really going on at this retreat was really what grabbed me about the book.  I have to admit that I just couldn't figure out where the story was going. 

Jane's past is catching up to her in the present.  When she receives some strange messages, she is at a loss as to who could be sending them.  I wasn't quite as pulled into the mystery set in the present time.  Jane and Emma really didn't even seem like the same character in a lot of ways.   As I read the story, I believed that the key to solving her current mystery was held in what actually happened at the retreat.  In the end, I thought that the present storyline was much weaker.

This was a good story that was fast paced and kept me guessing.  I really wish that I had truly liked any of the characters.  Leanne and Daisy had no redeeming qualities while Al and Emma/Jane just felt flat to me.  This book was just missing that special something that makes a good book become great. 

I would recommend this book to others.   It was a good story that was a little different than the norm.  This is the first book by C.L. Taylor that I have had a chance to read and I plan to look for her work in the future.

I received a copy of this book from HarperCollins - Avon via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Cover Reveal - One More Shot by Victoria Denault

ONE MORE SHOT by Victoria Denault 

(June 2, 2015; Forever Yours E-Book; $3.99; Hometown Players Book #1)

They say you only get one shot at making your dreams come true. Jordan is determined to take two.

Drafted by the NHL at eighteen, Jordan Garrison was headed for fame, and there was only one person he wanted to share it with-Jessie Caplan. He was crazy in love with her, and had finally told her so. They shared an amazing night . . . and then everything fell apart. 

Jessie tries not to think about the night she gave herself to Jordan-or how he broke her heart. She tries not to think about it, but she does. Especially now, when she's staring into his sky-blue eyes for the first time in six years. After so much time and torment, she can't tell if she loves him or hates him. But Jordan has learned enough to know a connection like theirs is rare. He was lucky to find Jessie once. No way will he lose her again.

Pre-Order Links: Amazon | B&N | iBooks  | BAM | GooglePlay | Kobo 



About the author
Victoria Denault loves long walks on the beach, cinnamon dolce lattes and writing angst-filled romance. She lives in LA but grew up in Montreal, which is why she is fluent in English, French and hockey.

Social Media Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram 


Top 5 Fun Facts about Victoria Denault

1. I've run the bulls in Pamplona, Spain – twice.
2. The title One More Shot was inspired by a song by a band named Kane.
3. The characters are from the fictitious town of Silver Bay, Maine. It's roughly based on Old Orchard Beach, Maine, but I swapped the ocean for a lake.
4. The relationship between the Caplan sisters (Jessie, Rose, Callie) is inspired by the relationship I had with my best friends growing up.
5. I LOVE hockey and was lucky enough to be at a Stanley Cup winning game. Total bucket list item.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Blog Tour - Crushed by Lauren Layne - Review & Giveaway!


Crushed
Redemption # 2
By: Lauren Layne
Releasing April 14th, 2015
Loveswept: Flirt

Blurb
Lauren Layne’s latest novel about the healing power of redemption tells the story of a crush gone wickedly wrong, proving that what you want isn’t always what you need.

Growing up in New York, Michael St. Claire never expected to spend his twenties wearing cowboy boots. But that was before he learned about his real father, a total stranger with a family in Cedar Grove, Texas. Once in the Lone Star State, Michael meets Kristin Bellamy, who is exquisitely refined and everything Michael always thought he wanted in a woman. The only problem is that Kristin is dating Michael’s new half-brother, Devon.

Kristin’s mouthy, curvy sister Chloe has always been in love with Devon Patterson. So when Michael offers to help Chloe break up Devon and Kristin, Chloe agrees to a deal that seems too good to be true. Before long, Chloe finally gets her man, only to make a startling discovery: She no longer wants the guy she had to fight for—she wants the one who stood by her side.

After all he and Chloe have been through, Michael swears he’s damaged goods. Can Chloe convince him that love is worth the risk?

Buy Links:  Amazon | B & N | iTunes | Kobo
             


My Review

4.5 Stars!
I fell in love with this book!  I have never read anything by Lauren Layne before this book and now I am sitting here wondering why I have missed this author.  I have read so many romance novels that lately I have starting feeling a little bored by them.  I have blamed myself and have tried to mix things up a little bit by reading other genres.  After reading this book, I realize that I still like a well written romance novel as much as I ever did.  
I find that I usually like a book about as much as I like the characters in the book.  There are exceptions to that rule of course but speaking in generalities the characters oftentimes really can make or break a story. The characters in this book really are phenomenal.  I adore Chloe.  Chloe has lived her life in her sister shadow in a lot of ways.  Chloe is funny, smart, and says what she is thinking.  Chloe is not the Barbie doll that her sister, Kristin, is and has not had a luck of luck when it comes to romance.  Chloe has actually been in love with her sister’s longtime boyfriend, Devon, for a very long time.   
Michael has had his world turned upside down.   He comes to Texas to try to figure things out and has plans to get close to Devon and Kristin.  Michael meets Chloe during one of her tennis lessons and after a little bit of banter Chloe has a new personal trainer, Michael.  Michael and Chloe say what they are thinking to each other and soon realize that they are becoming friends and maybe feel a little bit more about each other.
This book did so many things well.  I was pulled into the story right away and really had a hard time putting this book down until I was finished.  The characters were perfect.  Chloe was so easy for me to relate to.   I loved that she wasn’t perfect and needed to learn to gain some control over her life.  I loved that the focus was never on Chloe losing weight but on her gaining control and becoming healthier.   
Michael had a few moments that made him look a little bit like a jerk but because half of this book is spent inside of his head you realize that he is really just as confused as anyone else.  I think that the alternating points of view in this book were perfectly executed and I just loved getting to know what both Michael and Chloe were thinking.  Not only did this book do a great job with characters that I love, I can’t believe how much I grew to hate some of the characters, namely Kristin and Devon.
I love to laugh and this book accomplished that goal.   This book was funny without trying too hard.  The banter between Michael and Chloe was top notch.  I liked the fact that the story was able to balance the funny moments with the more emotional moments.  This is still most definitely a romance novel.  I really liked the fact that this book was able to bring a couple together by getting them to really get to know each other.  
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a great romance with a few laughs.  I can’t wait to get my hands on some other books by Lauren Layne because her writing style is just wonderful.    
I received a copy of this book from Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.



Author Info
Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance.

Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. In 2011, she and her husband moved from Seattle to New York City, where Lauren decided to pursue a full-time writing career. It took six months to get her first book deal (despite ardent assurances to her husband that it would only take three). Since then, Lauren's gone on to publish ten books, including the bestselling Stiletto series, with several more on the way in 2015.

Lauren currently lives in Chicago with her husband and spoiled Pomeranian. When not writing, you'll find her at happy hour, running at a doggedly slow pace, or trying to straighten her naturally curly hair.

Author Links:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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