Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Believing the Superstitions

The black cat.
Never walking under a ladder.
Friday the 13th.

We all know the familiar superstitions. But is it true that if you believe in something enough, you give life to it?

Beth Ciotta explores this idea in her novel Jinxed with our heroine, Afia. Born on Friday the 13th, she believes herself to be the most unlucky girl in the world. And after her financial adviser runs away with her money, not to mention two dead husbands under her belt labeling her "The Black Widow", it's an easy thing to believe.

Knowing that she has the worst luck, Afia is determined to start her life over. Without her millions of dollars and without her talisman of good luck charms she wears around her wrist.

As a woman raised to believe she is the epitome of superstition, can she find a way to stop all of her bad luck?

The reader can connect with Afia based on her self-esteem. Afia doesn't believe in herself and readers can hold onto that. Not saying that readers have low self esteem, but we all have areas where we excel and areas where we struggle. The hope that Afia has to change her bad luck can be interpreted as altering her outlook on the life she was given. With hard work, determination, and positive affirmations, Afia begins to create the life she has always wanted inspiring readers with her (hilarious) journey.
Jinxed on Amazon
rating: 5/5 cups

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Facing the Nightmares

How do you unravel a secret when the key is your memory?

Barbara Ellen Brink sets up the mystery of Fredrickson Winery, in her novel Entangled, with Billie inheriting the California winery from an Uncle she barely remembers meeting.

When keys and unwritten letters show up to drag her into the mystery that covers the winery, Billie is forced to face her past and determine why it was she who inherited the winery and if she should stay to run it.

Except, more is on the line that it first appears. The nightmares are back. And Billie is determined to face them.

No matter what.

Entangled is glowing twisted metal. A weapon that the reader doesn't know how to handle. The connection the reader forms with Billie will be different for everyone. The novel taps into mental illness, child abuse, domestic abuse, and night terrors, among other things. It's definitely an entanglement of emotions.  The multi-leveled novel is one that will keep the reader engaged and begging that no more secrets are hiding in the cellar by the last page.
Entangled on Amazon
rating: 4/5 cups

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Realizing You Can Live the Life You Want

The Liberation of Alice Love by Abby McDonald takes the reader on a journey of change. What would you do it someone stole your identity and lived your life the exact way you had always wanted to, but had been to afraid to try?

While the fake Alice Love is loading up credit card debt and dashing from city to city, the real Alice Love is sitting snugly in an attic office taking direction from her (it must be said) bitch of a boss.

When the real Alice discovers the identity theft, she takes matters into her own, very capable, hands and decides to track her down, swearing to reclaim her lost self.

The entire journey shows the reader that when you  realize it's possible to live the life you want: it changes you for the better. Yes, Alice's identity does get dragged through the gutter, but it also brings out her real personality. Until the identity that was stolen turns out to not have been her true identity at all. The readers follow Alice as she grows and changes into the person she wants to be, the person who has a grip on her own life.

Not only can readers connect with the cautious Alice who follows all the rules, but they can grow with her throughout the events that force her to take hold of a life that she thought she lost.

The Liberation of Alice Love on Amazon
rating: 4/5 cups

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Thin Line Separating Friend and Enemy

As people, we all slip into some kind of routine that makes us comfortable with the juggling that comes with work obligations and personal responsibilities. Abby McDonald's novel The Liberation of Alice Love focuses on a woman who is the definition of routine.

Until a friend disappears from Alice's life with her life savings, leaving our heroine in over one hundred thousand pounds of debt.

The plot line brings up the age old question, how well do we really know the people we share our lives with? Can we truly trust our friends, or should we be in constant worry that a knife will soon end up in our backs?

The idea that those around us are the people we should trust least is alarming. As fellow human beings, we literally put our lives in each others hands. And not just with our identities. With just the right amount of information, a close friend can immediately become our greatest nemesis.

The definitions of friend and enemy blurred into one.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Internal Chaos and Expectations

The past is a common theme in novels. It's a novel in itself, the history of who we are. Heartfire by Karen Rose Smith centers around Tessa and Max, two people who let their past step in the way of their future. Their fear of rejection and the threat of giving up who they are forces the love they have for each other to become unstable.

Tessa was left by her mother when she was young. Thrown into the world of foster homes, she never felt she really belonged anywhere. A relatable thought between her and some readers. After chasing news across the world as a foreign correspondent, she knows where she wants to belong - with Max, but will she give up her life of traveling to finally put down some roots?

Max's wife died of cancer when their son, Ryan, was just a little boy. When Ryan's godmother, Tessa, comes back to town for his birthday, old feelings are rekindled between Max and Tessa. Tessa's the whirlwind where his wife was the calm and he'll have to accept that Tessa isn't Leslie.

This novel was a little slow at certain parts but after connecting with the characters during the first few chapters, I couldn't put it down. Smith writes her characters with all of their flaws put onto the table, flaws the characters themselves don't even know about. The expectations that the characters put on each other was an idea that usually goes unnoticed but Smith was focused on the details. The internal chaos of each character was almost enough to make me want to scream at the words on the pages.

Tessa's sense of adventure and fear of settling down are aspects of her character that readers can really relate to. The question between career and family appears a few times and forces the reader to question what they would do in the same situation. The answer seems easy at first, but on second thought it's much harder. Smith does an excellent job in Heartfire by showing the reader that there are different perspectives to be seen and compromises to be made in every situation.
Heartfire on Amazon
rating: 4/5 cups

Friday, November 25, 2011

Declared Dead for 44 Minutes

Jools Sinclair had me reading at high speed until I saw the final period of the novel 44. Abby, the main character of the book, was officially dead for 44 minutes when she woke up. After the seeing the blackness of the afterlife, she awakes to a world that holds no color, stuck color blind from her death.

And Abby has a secret.

She has nightmares in which she watches other people being murdered, all by the same man. Her sister, Kate, is a writer for the local newspaper and covers the "accidental" deaths. When Abby finally reveals her secret to Kate, it's a race against the murderer to discover who he is and convince police that the recent deaths are anything but accidents.

This book is a paranormal thrill ride and is the perfect book for anyone who loves a good mystery! The only thing that bothered me was the lack of connection I felt with the characters. The bonds I formed with the fictitious people were those of thin, shredded string. The novel was an absolute fantastic read, but stronger character connections would probably have me rushing off to read the sequel. But, for a quick read that is incredibly unpredictable and fast paced with no time to catch your breath, this should be next on your reading list!

44 on Amazon
rating: 4/5 cups

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Humanity Disappearing

Dove right in to the third novel in J. R. Rain's series, American Vampire, and of course, I absolutely loved it! Read the entire thing in one sitting (again).

Samantha Moon is juggling another two cases in this book as the leading Vampire Detective in California. As a reader, I found myself facing the same hard decisions that Samantha faces throughout the story. I love how Rain keeps the connection between the reader and the main character going strong in every book.

This novel, however, is a heart breaker and a soul searcher. Samantha's son is sick... very sick. The black aura that shrouds her little boy becomes thicker with each breath he draws and Samantha must search for a way to help him, while also saving a young girl and tracking down a stolen piece of art. As a woman who can't go out in the daytime, Samantha certainly has her hands full!

As she searches her humanity for an answer to how she can help her son, Samantha fears that the human side of her is slowly disappearing.

Can the vampire detective save everyone she cares for? Or is the unfairness of life a worse monster than she is?

Previous blogs on the Vampire for Hire series:
[x] A.K.A Vampirism
[x] The Woman Beneath the Vampire 
[x] Reality in a Fictitious World 
[x] Succumbing to Vampires

American Vampire on Amazon
rating: 5/5 cups

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

To the Depths of the Disaster

Emma is two weeks away from the biggest day of her life. Her wedding. Happy with no pre-wedding jitters. Until an unexpected call from her brother forces her home to search for her missing fiance.

The apartment is empty.

Except for her fiance's unconscious brother laying on the bathroom floor covered in blood.

At the hospital, with no word from her fiance, Emma's mind starts to wonder. What could have happened to Dan? Is he missing or did he leave her? Who did this to his brother? Why isn't Dan picking up his cell phone? Emma struggles to find the answers while the questions keep piling up and the police department doesn't want to wait for an explanation - they want to find Dan and arrest him for attempted murder.

Readers find themselves along side Emma, wondering, doubting, creating theories, and hoping against hope that everything really will be all right in the end. Whether warning her or cheering her on, Pilkington pulls the reader in from the get go, never letting off the gas, dragging them down to the depths of Emma's disaster. The One You Love is a mystery novel so well threaded together that when the back cover is closed, the reader feels (more than) accomplished at helping Emma solve it.

The One You Love on Amazon
rating: 4/5 cups

Monday, November 21, 2011

Gift Card Give-a-Way

Now that all of you readers have helped me reach my goal of 1000 page views, it's time to show my appreciation and I'm giving away a 15$ Amazon gift card to say "Thank you!"

It's easy to enter:
1. Comment below with a name and author of a favorite book that you've read recently!
2. Include your name on Twitter (or Facebook) so that I can notify the winner :)

And that's it! You can enter the give-a-way as many times as you want by leaving multiple comments. So if you have five favorite books, let me know about each one to give yourself more chances at winning.

The contest ends this Thursday (Thanksgiving) and is open to anyone around the world! As long as you have an e-mail address so I can send you the gift card feel free to enter!

Thank you all for following my reviews and I'm so excited to show all of you how grateful I am!


P.S : Name and Address are not needed to deliver gift card! :D It will be delivered through e-mail only. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

As Fate Would Have It

Again I give in and pick up a paranormal novel. And again, I love it. S. L. Baum takes the mystery of the unknown to a new level with A Chance for Charity.

Charity has moved so many times in her ninety years that she can't remember her name. Her current name that is, the one on the attendance sheet at her new high school in a small Colorado town. Wishing she could act her appearance age of twenty instead of seventeen, she soon changes her mind when she sees Link for the first time at a Halloween school dance.

They are drawn together, as fate would seem to have it. The kind of love that people dream (and read) about.

But neither one is safe. Charity and her unrelated family are hiding from the Lord brothers. A history of violence and hunting between the Lord family and the race of Charity's people threatens to expose them in this friendly small town. Now that Charity has found someone to love, can she give it all up to go into hiding somewhere new? For a romance that will have you cheeks hurting from smiling so much, pick up this book (currently free for the Kindle) and smile away. One of the many books that I've not been able to put down after chapter one.

rating 4/5 cups

Friday, November 18, 2011

As Many Twists as a Maze

Erica James does more than surprise the hell out of her readers with The Queen of New Beginnings. When Clayton Miller is accused of a more than horrendous act - he goes into hiding and he meets the voice-over actress Alice Shoemaker whilst in the middle of his current illness, writer's block.

When she opens the door to his creative mind, both Clayton and Alice receive more than they've bargained for. With as many twists as a maze and gruesome confessions, The Queen of New Beginnings evokes a diverse array of feelings from the reader that will leave them looking to their own past to find their future.
* *
The plot of this novel was wonderfully laid out and kept me guessing as to what I thought would happen next. Alice was an amazing true to life friend that I had the pleasure of relating to. Hiding behind a faux self-image to protect herself from a world that had shown her just how harsh it could be, Alice fought back against the world, hoping that someday she would find the perfect person that would allow her true-self to shine. 

The other characters in this novel were unique, quirky, tornado representation of people. Erica James didn't hesitate to give each person good and bad qualities. I found myself searching for a mirror to hold up to each character just to ask them: "What the hell are you doing?"

The only problem I had with this novel was the pace. And I know this because it took me more than a week to read it. When I read a novel, I sit down and in (usually) two days time, I'm finished. However, with novels that have a pacing problem, I find the novel drawn out to nearly a week. I can't be too upset with this small detail because I feel that the plot was drawn out to give the readers a chance to connect with the characters. Which worked out rather perfectly. 

rating: 3/5 cups

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hurting the Ones We Love

The Queen of New Beginnings by Erica James has me wondering if the saying that "we hurt the ones we love the most" is truer than it seems to be.

The two main characters seem to be falling deeply in love the more they get to know one another, but Clayton is betraying Alice before their sentiments for each other are shared. Does he realize what he's doing to her by writing a creative piece about her family history without her knowledge?

As humans do we have an innate selfishness that keep us repeating this cliche and is that what makes it truer than it seems? Shouldn't knowing the cliche keep us from doing it?

Why do we find history repeating itself when we should be learning from the past...

Friday, November 11, 2011


Happy Veteran's Day to everyone in the U.S.! November is the month of thanks; we can't forget about those who fought to give us the freedom we have.

My grandfather served in the navy when he was younger, and I wish that he was still alive so I would be able to hear his stories because I never had the chance to listen when I was a little girl.

Pick up your favorite novel today and remember that reading is a facet of freedom, verb and noun.

This is me saying thank you to all who have served. :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Pretense of Sanity

It seems that a main theme in The Queen of New Beginnings by Erica James is insanity and how that links to the art of pretending.

Alice retreats into her mind's eye to live the life that she wants, but is a perfectly reasonable woman on the outside.

Clayton (Mr. Shannon) is overly judged and ridiculed for his mysterious outburst and labeled insane, in need of help.

Alice's parents, during her family flashbacks, are depicted as completely insane, over emotional, and over reacting. Obviously unstable.

Yet, Alice's parents are the only ones in the novel who don't pretend to be someone they aren't. And when Clayton stops pretending is when the gauntlet of insanity is thrown at him. Thus the link between sanity and pretending, and the pairing of insanity with the reality of identity.

Could insanity really be interpreted as letting your true self show one hundred percent of the time? The flaws in the theory are many, yet it holds quite a bit of depth.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Clash of Pretenders

Why is it that certain people force us to hide our true selves, to pretend to be someone more accepting, someone not like ourselves at all? Does it have to do with first impressions, making a good impression, or the innate want to be liked and to please? The main characters in Erica James' novel The Queen of New Beginnings pretend to be people they aren't and struggle with who they are beneath the skin.

Alice is a voice-over actress who lives in the real world as little as possible. She keeps everyone at arms length and if that boundary is threatened the relationship is neatly severed.

Mr. Shannon, whose name isn't Mr. Shannon, did something so horrible that he must hide from everyone, especially the media. He's hated by nearly the entire British population and thus, he never leaves his rented country house.

Do we as people focus on pleasing those around us so much that we'll deny ourselves any definite identity?

When Alice and Mr. Shannon come together as two people pretending to be someone they're not, a clash of identities consequently occurs leaving the reader laughing yet nervous at what lays just beneath the surface.

Currently looking forward to the clash.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A.K.A Vampirism

Today I decided to buy the second novel in the Vampire for Hire series by J.R. Rain, Vampire Moon. That was five hours ago. I am currently wondering if I should buy the third one, because I'm already finished with the second one.

Samantha Moon is a private investigator with a rare skin disease. AKA - vampirism.
In this riveting sequel to Moon Dance, Samantha is working two cases:
1. Searching for a crime lord so her client can take his revenge.
2. Protecting Monica, a nice young woman whose husband has vowed to kill her, even as he sits on death row.

Sounds difficult, unless you have super human strength, psychic intuition, and the ability to fly. Not to mention, invisibility from video surveillance.

This novel, much like the first one, grabbed me by the throat and had me reading as fast as I could. I physically could not put this novel down (well, kindle, but still). With a werewolf for a lover, a knack for automatic writing, a best friend (Fang) whose she's never met, and a dead-beat husband who needs some good old fashioned karma, I read this entire novel in one sitting.

If anyone is looking for the next book that will knock them away from their usual genre - read this. Read this. Read this.

And if you want to start at the beginning of the series, peek at these related blogs:
[x] The Woman Beneath the Vampire 
[x] Reality in a Fictitious World
[x] Succumbing to Vampires

Vampire Moon on Amazon
rating: 5/5 cups

Elderly Citizen turns Crime-Stopper

Ivy Malone is a church going elderly lady and an upstanding citizen. But when a close friend is murdered, Ivy decides to take things upon herself to help track down a killer. Traveling across state lines, checking up on old aliases, and piecing the clues together may sound like too much for an aging woman, but Ivy isn't giving up.

 * *

Invisible, by Lorena McCourtney, is an absolute whirlwind of elderly detective-ness that had me laughing out loud. The writing style was delightfully unique with a charm that my grandmother would be proud of. The plot was decidedly put together, but wasn't easily predicted (which was wonderful!). The twists that McCourtney strategically placed in her novel created a maze with hidden corridors that demanded the perfect clues before allowing entry. 

Ivy Malone was a great, deeply real character who could, in all actuality, be living next door to me. I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical at the beginning of the novel - thinking that an elderly woman could be a crime stopping detective. Needless to say, by the middle of the novel (perhaps even before that) McCourtney had me overly convinced. Her spin on the mystery genre was refreshing, engaging, and definitely entertaining. 

When you get a chance, perhaps on another rainy Thursday, pick this book up and spend the day with Ivy. You will not regret the journey she takes you on, and you may even want to read the sequel... :)

 Invisible on Amazon
rating: 5/5 cups

A Journey to be Seen

Ivy Malone is invisible.

After the death of her best friend, Thea, Ivy realizes that her old age has made her invisible to the world. Lorena McCourtney's novel Invisible follows Ivy Malone in a journey to be seen. However, this journey is unlike most. Ivy decides to use her invisibility to help solve a neighborhood mystery of murder and vandalism.

The feeling of invisibility is a threatening state that we all have had the trouble of dealing with. Whether we feel it, or want to obtain it. Readers can connect with Ivy through her emotional turmoil of being unseen. A universal despondency.

Invisibility can cause us to do a number of different things. Push us forward or force us further back into the shadows. For Ivy, it causes her to follow her curiosity in hopes that her invisibility will help her track down a killer and stop the cemetery vandalism, eventually removing the cloak of the unseen from her shoulders.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Into the Realm of Rush

Fairytale by Maggie Shayne was a magical novel. I was completely swept away with the characters and the plot. It was truly enchanting and I found myself pretending that I was Brigit, one of the main characters in the book.

Brigit was dropped off at an orphanage when she was a baby with a storybook and a beautiful necklace. She grew up on the streets and worked as an art forger to make money. But she wasn't as alone in the world as she thought and now her twin sister Bridin is searching for her so they can return to the Fairy realm of Rush.

Suddenly, I found myself trying to break free of the criminal world, praying that Raze's illness would improve, and that I could heal the hurt in Adam's eyes. Most of all, I was hoping that magic really did exist.

The plot of this novel had plenty of twists and turns to keep it moving at a steady pace. And there definitely were not any disappointing parts. Shayne made Brigit very relatable and real. She was a woman with a past, regrets, love, fears, hopes, and qualities of both the good and bad. If you're in the mood for a new character connection (aka friend), Brigit is your girl, fairy tale story included.

Fairytale on Amazon

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Once Upon a Time

When Adam was younger, he was accidentally transported to Rush, a fairy tale kingdom, and was shown his future: a beautiful raven haired woman. The fairy queen that revealed his future only told him one thing: help her, but don't fall in love with her.

Bridin and Brigit are twins who were dropped of at an orphanage with matching books and necklaces. Books that tell a story of a fairy tale world and necklaces that ward off evil. Bridin remembers the history of her people in the fairy world of Rush, but Brigit was destined to forget.

Now it's time for them to go back to their homeland, save their people from the Dark Lord, and take their rightful place as the leaders of Rush. Separated for many years, Bridin must find a way to convince her sister that her dreams of being a fairy princess are true, with the help of Adam, who has grown up to become a scholar on fairy tale legends around the world.

Fairytale, by Maggie Shayne, transports the reader into a separate world where fairy tales aren't just ideas in children's books. So far this novel has me believing in magic and wishing for a hidden world, waiting to be discovered.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Graveyard Games

Dusty's twin brother, Nick, is dead.

Police are claiming that it was a wild animal, but the way he was found...
eyes torn out, chest ripped open, entrails eaten, blood seeping into the concrete of the mausoleum that he was found locked in.

"You ever known a cat who could open doors?"

Not believing the conclusion, Dusty decides to investigate on her own. A former cop should be able to figure this out. Right? The night he was killed, Nick was with his best friend, Shane. With a killing spree going on around her and three more people turning up dead, Dusty must follow her instincts to protect her hometown, and herself.
* *
Sheri Leigh's thrilling, and bone-chilling, novel is a perfect choice for the Halloween season. See if you can solve the mystery along side Dusty in Graveyard Games. Readers become Dusty's partner in this personal investigation. They can relate to her mourning over the death of her brother, her emotional plight of acceptance, and her hope for closure with the past and a twin brother who seems to have had a few skeletons in his closet.

This novel kept me guessing the entire time and I'm still not sure if I believe the ending. I'm torn between what I wanted to happen and what did happen (novels that end that way are always a little bittersweet).  Some of the events are a little unbelievable, but that's how the supernatural is and I can accept that, with only slight disappointment. Who am I to argue with an author's intentions? Regardless, I would definitely recommend this novel for a little Halloween horror, nothing that will send you into cold sweats or keep you up with nightmares, just keep you turning pages.

Graveyard Games is a finely crafted novel with a twist at the end you will never see coming.

Graveyard Games on Amazon

Monday, October 24, 2011

Wanting More

Gemma Halliday left me wanting more! More Maddie, more spying, more mystery, and definitely a few more pairs of heels.

Her debut novel, Spying in High Heels, was wonderfully refreshing. Her writing style and characters convinced me to fall in love with her book. <3

Readers can relate to Maddie on a number of levels. Worrying over little things like "lateness", her mother's new boyfriend/husband-to-be, and whether her boyfriend is leading a double life. Okay, probably not the double life, but at least the is-he-right-for-me thing. After finishing the novel, I feel like one of Maddie's closest confidantes, and it's a pleasant feeling.

Learning that there's a second novel in this high-heeled series is even more pleasant.

Spying in High Heels on Amazon

Beautiful Bad Cop vs. unBelievably Bad Boyfriend

Maddie has a lot of problems, all promising a complete nervous breakdown. But Gemma Halliday has me laughing out loud with her novel, Spying in High Heels.

Ramirez vs. Richard
Ramirez is...
a Los Angeles detective with a great body, an olympic style kisser, with a family of sweet Spanish women.

Richard is...
missing, a liar, a cheater, and wanted for questioning in a tabloid scandal.

Now if only...
Maddie could actually take a pregnancy test, decide who's better boyfriend material, and stop stalking people in her peep-toe pumps.

If you haven't read this book - read it. It's a wonderful confusing piece of chaos that any girl is bound to find downright funny and easy to relate to. :D

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hiding in the Closet

Maddie Springer as two problems:
1. She's late. As in late... (but is too scared to take a pregnancy test)
2. Her boyfriend is missing, and has been for a few days.

Scared that she's carrying Richard's child, Maddie, the main character in Spying in High Heels, plans on talking to him about it before she can handle the results of a pregnancy test. Only he cancels their lunch date and then fails to keep his promise of calling her later that night.

The weekend passes and no still no word. So she does what any normal-perhaps-pregnant woman would do. She breaks into his house. Maddie finds the house empty with a stale air. She searches the condo for any sign of where her boyfriend disappeared to when another man enters the house.

With a gun. 

Hiding in the closet, Maddie manages to stay clear of the gunman, but now she has a third problem. What is a man with a gun doing rifling through her boyfriend's condo?

The writing in this book is fresh and hilarious. Gemma Halliday does a wonderful job in placing the reader right in the high heels of the narrator. At only chapter 2, I am delighted with this novel! Kick off your favorite pair of slingbacks and cuddle up with this book!

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Tale of Wicked Intentions

A friend lent me the book Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt, and I'm sure as hell glad she did. It was a complete thrill ride, with more than just wicked intentions.

Temperance and her brother Winter run a foundling home for orphaned children in the worst part of London, St. Giles. The orphanage was opened by their father and the two siblings decided that they would take over the home when he passed. But now the home is running out of money. Quickly. Soon they will be evicted from their home and their father's dream will be nothing short of a failure.

Lord Caire has slightly unusual ... bed habits, and his reputation definitely precedes him. When his mistress is murdered, Caire vows that he will find whoever killed her and seek his revenge - in St. Giles. He seeks out Temperance as a woman who will help him uncover his mistress' murderer. And he will pay her - handsomely.

This man and this woman, both with horrifying secrets, strike a bargain, but are they able to keep their desire for pleasure away from that of business? 

Tracking down a murderer, saving orphaned children, seduction under the bleak stars of St. Giles... Needless to say, I read this novel in less than 24 hours.
Wicked Intentions on Amazon

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Little Love, a Little Mystery

By the end of Delivered With Love by Sherry Kyle, Claire had found more than she bargained for. What started as a search for her mother's teenage love turned into a passionate journey of discovery, forgiveness, and learning to live. The novel's ending may have seemed a little rushed, and a little to perfectly tied up, but the connections with the characters were definitely strong. 

The main character, Claire, is a woman who feels like she's at rock-bottom with no light to lead her from the darkness. Kyle does a wonderful job creating a friend for the reader with legitimate worries, fears, and problems. I felt myself wanting to skip a couple pages here and there just to figure out how it would all end up. Especially when it came to Blake - the police officer neighbor with perfect abs and master chef potential - who Claire discovers is sweeping her off of her feet. <3

Although this book has a lot of twists and turns, I was a little disappointed with the outcome because it seemed overly predictable. And after the question of who wrote the letter was answered, the rest of the novel sort of fell into place. However, Kyle did leave a few ends open for the reader's interpretation, which is always fun for the reader. 

Definitely a good book and one that I would recommend, if you're searching for a novel that mixes a little love with a little mystery. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Friend Instead of Character

Claire is getting closer to the truth about her mother's past and Michael is a little irked at the idea...

After finding a love letter written to her mother when she was only 17, Claire decided to search for the writer. Now she's in Capitola, California getting ready to move in to the house that the letter was sent from. The owner of the house, Michael, remembers her mother, Emily, but keeps his lips tight when questioned about the past.

Broke with worry nagging on Claire's very heartstrings, Michael decides that she would be the perfect person to live in the house and take care of his mother, Geraldine, for a small pay check and free room and board. But allowing Claire to be so close to his mother threatens to bring up the past, and Emily. He worries if his mother will be able to keep his secrets hidden from Claire while they live beneath the same roof.

Readers can relate to Claire's struggle and feel connected to her within the first few chapters. The basic needs of food and shelter, and how to pay for them, is something that everyone worries about. Readers will find themselves wishing they could be one of the characters helping Claire along her journey. In the novel Delivered with Love, Sherry Kyle writes Claire with faults and virtues, something many writers have trouble with, making Claire a friend to the reader, instead of just a character.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Path to New Discoveries

Losing someone important in your life is always a hard obstacle to overcome. A cloud of mourning hangs constantly above your head and your life becomes shrouded in a dense fog.

Especially when it's your mother. I haven't personally experienced this, but it's (sadly) something that inevitably happens. This makes Claire, the main character of Delivered With Love by Sherry Kyle, easy to relate to. In the opening chapter, Claire's attending her mother's funeral. After a long battle with cancer, her mother dies and Claire is left feeling lost, confused, and broken.

When Claire finds a love letter that was written to her mother years ago that is signed only with an initial, she is drawn to finding out who wrote it. She searches for a new connection with her mother, a connection with a sense of closure that will finally allow her to accept that her mother has passed on.

With an unreliable VW bug and a map that leads the way to Santa Cruz, a place the letter mentions, Claire finds herself on a path to new discoveries.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Could love be the Answer?

She is the chosen one. The one who will unite her people and end the feud that has raged for over five thousand years. 

In the final novel of "The Nine Lives of Chloe King" series, Chloe must do the unimaginable. She must find a way to end the blood thirsty war between the Mai and the Tenth Blades. Not to mention, keep those who she cares for safe including her best friend-fashionista Amy, comic book-loving Paul, Mai-trainer Alyec, and kitty hat-loving Brian. 

When Chloe finds Brian left for dead in an alley way, having been badly beaten, she knows that this war must stop. On his deathbed, Brian knows that there's only one thing he hasn't let himself do. Kiss Chloe, the girl he is in love with. Legend has it, as soon as a human and a Mai kiss, the human dies. 

But he doesn't have anything left to lose. In a feeble attempt to control the last moments of his life, Brian lifts his head and meets Chloe's lips with passion simmering beneath his skin. 

And he lives

Could love be the answer to the question of peace between the races? Will Chloe fight for her people by ridding their lives of the constant worry that a Tenth Blade will try to kill them? Does she have what it takes to sacrifice her life as a way to better her pride? 

As a three book series that I read in two days, I highly recommend this novel. You will not regret picking this up, nor will you be able to put it down. Check the link below to get all 3 at once! :D

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Cat and her Claws

Chloe King is Mai. A member of an ancient race descended from Egyptian goddesses. She has the reflexes of a cat, not to mention the claws to go with it.

In the second installment of series, Chloe King is being protected by other Mai members, including the pride leader, Sergei. However, not all is as it seems.

Brian, a member of the Tenth Blades, is helping Chloe to stay alive.
Alyec, who is also Mai, is now Chloe's boyfriend.
And Kim... Well, Kim has cat ears.

Then of course there are Paul and Amy, Chloe's two best (human) friends, who are always there to help break and enter.

When Chloe's mother is kidnapped by the Tenth Blades, all must join together to find her, while still protecting Chloe from an executioner who may, or may not, be dead. What follows may be the war everyone is trying to avoid.

After polishing off the second novel in the series, The Stolen, in a little less that four hours, I'm on to the final book. Trust me, if you love fantasy and angst-y teenagers breaking rules and spreading their claws then pick this series up!
The Stolen on Amazon

Only Eight Lives to Go

Chloe King is a cat person. 
She can leap across buildings, move her body in acrobatic forms, ... extend her claws?? 

Chloe has just turned 16 and something, other than hormones, is racing through her body, transforming her into a comic book like human who can fight beside the best heroes. And it seems she has nine lives to do it in. 

After a fall from a 200 feet tower, a quick escape from the emergency room, Chloe knows that something is definitely going on. Not to mention the sudden attention of Alyec and Brian, two more-than-hot boys who, before her sixteenth birthday, would have never paid her the time of day. 

But Chloe doesn't have (enough) time to ogle over these handsome teenagers because someone is after her. The Order of the Ten Blades has sent an executioner to finish her off, no matter how many tries it takes. An orphan from the Soviet, Chloe must be careful with who she trusts, learn to understand her "superpowers," and pass Trig without getting herself killed. 

A character who is hard to relate to, more than a little bitchy, and walks a mile over on the wild side. Another exciting novel that I could not put down. On to Book 2...
The Fallen on Amazon

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Igniting an Internal Passion

a) A sexy scandal. 
b) A romp around the photography studio. 
c) Unconditional love at the peak of a broken heart. 
d) All of the Above

Hope Tarr covers a lot of ground in Vanquished, one novel in "The Men of Roxbury House" series. Tarr brings the reader to their knees praying that Hadrian St. Claire survives the fight for Caledonia, the love of his life. With a blunt writing style that paints an accurate portrait of certain events, Tarr consumes the mind's eye of the reader, igniting an internal passion to have ... more. 

Readers slip into the pages, relating to the characters as Tarr shows their faults as well as their virtues. Hadrian's had a life full of mistakes and now is the chance to turn it all around. To accept his past, his present, and to make his future. A universal struggle that Tarr brings to the forefront. 

Correct answer? 

Begin this novel and fall in love with the first man from Roxbury House. 

Vanquished on Amazon

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Tortured Heart

Why do we give those who hurt us the upper hand by changing who we are after our pride, and heart, is injured?

Hope Tarr explores this query in Vanquished by creating a character who has changed her self after suffering a broken heart. Caledonia Rivers is presently a woman obsessed with politics and a fighter for the women's suffrage movement. She dons spectacles that she doesn't need and covers her figure with layers of clothing to hide her true womanly figure. All of this because one man and one unpleasant comment.

I feel like this is a commonality between the reader and Caledonia. We've all been hurt by people in our lives who don't agree with who we are and dislike us for what we're not. But why must we take that to heart and change because of it? At the time, the idea that there are people out there who will always accept us for who we are is so far out of reach that it is almost unfathomable. Yet, it's true. Those people do exist. Can we not dwell on that simple truth instead of the internal echoing of harsh words meant to singe the threads of our souls?

Once again, a past full of pain creates a tortured heart.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Price too High?

Hadrian St. Claire needs money. 500 pounds or death, promised by those he is indebted to. Two weeks to come up with the money and no prospective photography jobs.

Until a strange man walks into his photography shop and wants to hire him for 5000 pounds. More than enough to pay his debt. The job? Take a nude photograph of Caledonia Rivers, the leader of a women's suffrage group who is highly renowned for her maidenhood, in order to stop her bill in Parliament. Blacken her reputation and remove the threat of women voting.

Caledonia, beautiful, vulnerable, intriguing. When Hadrian first set eyes on her his heart was warmed. A warmth  that he had never known before. A simple skipped heart beat and he can't wait to see her again. And then this offer...

Will Hadrian accept the 5000 pounds in order to ruin Caledonia's reputation and clear his name in the streets of England? Or is the price too high to accept this unmoral task?

Hope Tarr's novel, Vanquished, creates a heavy dilemma that will force readers to question their own morality and how far they would go to ensure their own survival.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Falling further away from the Apple tree?

Will Kindle create a fire underneath the apple tree large enough to send potential buyers to Amazon? With a tablet priced at $199 and a release date of November 15th (just in time for Christmas shopping), it looks like Amazon will come out ahead of the tablet market.

Perfectly priced for aiming at parents, the Kindle Fire is reasonably priced for children focused gifts. Not to mention the games, books, and learning tools the Fire is supposed to have. Touch screen, USB ports, books, mags, music all are included in Kindle's first tablet. Although, it does lack some things that the I Pad brags of having - cameras, etc.

For a person that was intrigued at the I Pad 3, the Kindle Fire has me impatiently waiting for reviews to come out after the release, as I walk a little further away from the Apple Tree. :)

Check it out here, on Amazon. :D

Kindle Fire photograph from Amazon.com

Friday, October 7, 2011

Craving a Stronger Connection

I'm a little disappointed in No Turning Back by Sharon T. Rose due to the drawn out nature of the important issues in this novel. I understand that everything was sequential and B couldn't take place without A happening.

However, I found myself wanting more about the characters themselves. I wanted to see what they were like, not be told in a conversation using a mere five sentences. If the details would have shown me the information instead of telling me, I feel like I would have had stronger connections with the characters. Thus, I would have liked the book better.

The connection between the reader and the main character is built towards the end of the novel. This is in part good because it's a series and in order to care about the next book, the readers have to be concerned about the main character in the first book. They have to want to know how the story ends.

But this is also in part bad because the connection formed is a weak one. If Rose would have formed the connection earlier in the novel then I would probably feel more compelled to read the second book.

The plot was wonderful though. A chaotic war between the Ancients and the Descendants on a faraway planet, Alluvia. The discoveries made throughout the reading of this novel were fantastic and highly creative, as if I were one of the Descendants fighting along side the others. If you like Science Fiction/Fantasy and want an easy light novel, I would recommend this one. If you decide to read it then let me know if you enjoyed it. :)

No Turning Back on Amazon

Thursday, September 29, 2011

"If we're going to get out of this stupid war, then we've got to end it. We've got to do something about it, not just hope..." - Sharon T. Rose, No Turning Back

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Trouble with Trust

In the world of Science Fiction, Sharon T. Rose does a fantastic job of capturing the reader's attention and transporting us to planet Alluvia in the midst of a war. But forming connections to the reader haven't been a primary target. The story line is intriguing with surprises hiding in the wind. However, the characters haven't been easy to relate to, which is one of the things I try to focus on when reading. And a main point I try to keep for The Coffee Pot. 

Connection is everything. If we, as readers, are going to care about the characters then we must have some sort of attachment to them. 

75% finished with No Turning Back and I can finally say that I am feeling a connection with Syleen. Growing up on the streets, using rags as clothing, and digging through dumpsters to find food have all forced independence onto the main character of this novel. This independence came with the price of losing all trust in humanity. And perhaps, we as readers vs. characters haven't ever made it to that extreme, but we all know what it's like to lost trust in someone. A dear friend, a lover, a relative. The moment when you realize that depending on them is worse than toughing it out alone. 

As Syleen struggles with these trust issues, I can see the human emotion coming through and I can feel the attachment to her. A little late in the book for the establishment of this connection, but I'm glad that Sharon T. Rose focused on how we, as the reader, want to feel toward the main character. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Fate of a Planet

Syleen, a newly awakened descendant, must hunt to satisfy the being inside of her. A being created by the Ancients to kill the Sukkers and keep planet Alluvia at peace, in Sharon T. Rose's No Turning Back, has taken Syleen as its host. The only problem is: the Drones, humans controlled by Sukkers, have begun to correlate their attacks, something they've never done before.

Mass attacks have begun to occur targeting politicians, the poor, and families with no apparent connection. The Descendants have to protect the people of Alluvia, but they're highly outnumbered by the Drones. With war flourishing, Syleen and the Hunter inside of her seem to be the only way they can win.

Syleen can sense Drones. She can force them out of hiding. Force them to surrender to the Hunter.

As Syleen leaves the Temple with the knowledge of what she truly is and a purpose, she promises to feed the being inside of her. But can she survive the Drone attacks without other Descendants there to help her? Will she trust the Descendants to assist her in her strikes? As the stakes rise in this game of survival, a young girl holds the fate of the planet in her hands.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A World of Awakenings

"We're born Descendants; we're born to protect our people, to protect Alluvia." - No Turning Back by Sharon T. Rose

Syleen has a Hunter inside of her, controlling her body and her actions. When the Hunter allows Syleen to come forward she is covered in blood holding human bones in her hands. The dust from chewed femurs settling in her mouth. Nearly starved and clothed only in rags, Alleathon rescues the little girl from the battle being fought around her and takes her to the Temple.

Alleathon is a Descendant. An awakened human created by the Ancients to fight against the Sukkers in the war on planet Alluvia. When the war began, the Sukkers began turning humans into Drones to take over the planet. Descendants combat the Drones but before they can kill them, the Sukker energy within the human jumps to a new host. A new Drone and a new enemy. Descendants use energy balls to contain the Sukker energy, but Syleen may have a new way.

The Hunter, within Syleen, can contain the Sukker energy in the human host's bones. By forcing her to eat the bones - the Sukker energy is killed.

With their planet sheathed in the chaos of war, the Descendants try to protect the Alluvian people and Syleen just may be the answer to end the war. This first Science Fiction/ Fantasy novel for The Coffee Pot, No Turning Back by Sharon T. Rose, promises a world of awakenings.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Dreamer, the Hope, and the Protector

Daring to speak out while danger waits just outside the door frame. Rising above the fear of what the consequences will cost. Hoping to make a change.

In The Help, by Katryn Stockett, Miss Skeeter, Minny, and Aibileen form an unexpected friendship when they decide to write down their stories about working and living as a black maid in Jackson, Mississippi. Knowing what will happen if anyone ever finds out that it was them - they all swear that they'll never tell a soul.

Stockett's writing style in the novel offers point-of-view changes at the perfect times to leave the reader hanging, pushing them to turn the page, and keep reading. It's an adventure of three women who join together for a brief moment, suspended in time, to attempt to help people realize what is really going on in Jackson and how the housemaids are being treated: separate, diseased, different.

Miss Skeeter dreams of being a writer and she takes the chance when she gets it. She could connect with anyone - anyone who has a dream of being great in their future and willing to fight for it.

Aibileen has had a life of tragedy, but still she believes. She is the hope of the novel. Aibileen has seen heartache and what could have been a permanent streak of tears flowing down her cheek - but she rises above and fights (and prays) for a better life for all.

Minny has made the mistakes. If she's made one, she's made them all. Minny is the one who can be strong in the public eye but break down in private. She's the one who takes the blame. Minny is the protector.

Overall, I am so happy that I bought this book in paperback instead of Kindle edition. I thought that it would be the perfect addition to (my quickly growing) book collection. The only thing I have remotely bad to say is that there are gaps in the timeline. One page is summer, the next is Christmas. This didn't really bother me because I know that length and "extra" stuff is unnecessary, but at the same time, the large jump from A to B made my skin itch. I felt like I was missing something important. But this novel touched my heart on various levels that I also thought it perfect for the blog, because no doubt at least one character in the novel will connect with everyone.

When you go to pick up this book, don't forget to grab a box of tissues.


The Help on Amazon

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Dream of Change

"You know what'll happen if people catch us? Forget the time I accidentally use the wrong changing room down at McRae's women's wear, I'd have guns pointing at my house." - The Help by Kathryn Stockett (p192).

Miss Skeeter, one of the main characters in The Help, dreams of being a writer. The kind of writer that makes a difference. Pushed to find an idea that no one before her has thought of, Miss Skeeter decides to write the view of being a housemaid from a new perspective. She dares to dream of change.

Recruiting two housemaids, Minny and Aibileen, Miss Skeeter writes about the stories they tell her. What it's like working for a white family, raising their children, and having their own life outside of their jobs. When an editor shows interest in reading the work the three women are secretly doing, they know they must branch out and find other housemaids to be a part of the process.

With the fear of being caught wrapping around their shoulders like a shawl, the three women continue to construct their dream of change. The consequence if they are caught? Being charged with conspiring integration which could lead to beatings, jail, bombs, arson, and death.

Can these three women fight the evil hands of fate that threaten to steal their hope of change? Can they overcome the scars this battle promises to leave?

And will they have the strength and courage to say that they don't regret it?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Introduction to The Help

Kathryn Stockett's The Help is written in first person taking the point of view of three main characters in the first six chapters of the novel. Three women from very different backgrounds who each have their own opinions on life in Jackson, Mississippi.

Aibileen works for Miss Leefolt as her housemaid and raises her daughter Mae Mobley. Aibileen questions why her employer refuses to acknowledge her child, Mae. She leaves everything to Aibileen, ignoring every tear and scream. When Miss Hilly, one of Miss Leefolt's best friends, uncomfortably has to use the same bathroom as the maid the incandescent light dims on the hope of being equally treated.

Minny works as a cook and is renowned as the best in the city of Jackson. Her sharp tongue threatens unemployment but the daughter of her employer brings the threat to life. Accused of stealing, Minny is fired from her cooking job. Struggling to support her family, she finds a job teaching Miss Celia how to cook while also cleaning her house. Only one stipulation - Miss Celia's husband cannot learn of Minny's employment. Minny begins to question this as Miss Celia turns out to be a strange woman. Seeming to be agoraphobic, Miss Celia will not leave the house. Some days she doesn't even get out of bed. Stockett piques the interest of readers with the mystery that surrounds Miss Celia and what Minny will put with for more than decent pay.

Miss Skeeter is a childhood friend of Miss Leefolt and has just returned to Jackson from college. She longs for a writing job and after an inspiring letter from a respected editor applies to the Jackson Journal, writing a cleaning column. One problem, she's never cleaned anything in her life. This pushes Miss Skeeter to form a unexpected friendship with the maids because they help her writer her column. Could this lead to a topic that turns the heads of editors?

With only one hundred pages under my belt, I find myself carrying the novel everywhere with me hoping that I get a chance to read just one more page. If you have one more slot open on your reading list, jot this one down, bump it up to number one, and read it with me.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Forced to marry only to fall in love with one's husband. Irony at its romantic best.

It was Celestia's destiny in Traci Hall's novel, Love's Magic, to be the one woman to heal her husband from the inside out. As she struggled to chisel away the stone Nicholas had built around his heart, she began to find a man who was noble and full of strength. A man worthy of her love.

As readers we can connect with Celestia through her journey of unrequited love. By moving closer to her husband's heart, she found her soul mate, but Nicholas couldn't accept the love she offered. He believed that he was undeserving of anything so pure and that Hell was the only thing willing to accept him. We all know how it feels to love someone with all of our heart only to learn that it will never be returned. Readers will find themselves falling in love with Nicholas as they struggle along side Celestia to win their true love.

Nicholas, through his feelings of despair and the belief that he is not worthy of something so great, also forms a bond with the reader. A co-alignment of painful memories. The past haunts us all. The demons waging an internal war, only dispelled by forgiving ourselves for the mistakes we made.

Love's Magic is a novel for anyone who has every felt the desire to give their heart away and ask for nothing in return. Open the cover and be enchanted with the warmth of the words.


Love's Magic on Amazon

Monday, September 12, 2011

Allied Revenge

Can revenge heal the scars of a man once believed to be a hero?

In Traci Hall's novel, Love's Magic, Nicholas has been used his entire life, the puppet to an unknown plan. Raised as an orphan by monks. Sent to the Crusades to have everyone around him killed. Tricked into believing that there are people in the world worth trusting. With the truth slowly revealing itself, all signs point to Baron Peregrine. His father. 

With vengeance in his heart, Nicholas swears that he will win back his soul by killing Baron Peregrine. Until he is ordered to marry Celestia Montehue, a well-known healer. 

As Celestia battles with her own hopes that this man could be her destiny, she fears that she'll lose her healing powers if he isn't. Can she be the one to heal his scars and set his heart free to love and trust once again? Or is revenge his only ally? And as people do we always focus on the pain rather than rising above it? 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Life Without Love?

A healer cannot marry without love or her powers are lost forever...

Celestia, "Tia", is the oldest daughter of five children in the novel Love's Magic by Traci E. Hall. In the Montehue family, the oldest daughter is always the one who is labeled the healer and is bestowed with God's greatest gifts. Her family's land is rented to them by Lord Baron, a man who directly throws Tia's life into an upheaval when he orders her to marry his son - the son he has kept hidden.

Nicholas grew up an orphan and when offered a chance to serve God by joining the Crusades, he joyfully accepted. But being poisoned, imprisoned, and lied to can change a person's outlook on life. Nicholas knows that what he struggled through during the crusades was caused by Lord Baron and has decided to take his revenge. He will kill Lord Baron.

When Nicholas is drugged and brought to the Montehue house, Tia nurses him back to health as he fights to escape his delirium. Nicholas awakens to a message sent from his father, Lord Baron, that he must marry Tia or she will be accused of witchcraft and put to death. The woman who saved his life has consequently jeopardized her own. What are choice are they to make? Better question, do they have a choice?

A life without love, or no life at all?

Now for chapter three...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Phoenix of Love

The fires blaze through the streets of San Francisco leaving rubble and chaos everywhere in Denise Agnew's Love From the Ashes.

Just weeks before Grace was a normal woman. Perhaps a little more stubborn and modern for her own good, but who could blame her for those attributes?

And she was falling in love. The only thing she ever dreamed of.

Now the threat of San Francisco falling into the black earth promises to take away everything Grace has worked so hard for as the municipal buildings crumble into heaps of destruction. Can love rise from beneath the ashes and flourish in the hazy light of Grace's world post-disaster?

The pull of love in this piece is strong and it brings back the romantic fantasies we, as readers, try to deny. Women who read this novel can relate to Grace - a woman who wants to choose her own life, not allow someone to take that away from her. She's a woman who wants to fall in love, to trust a man, and know what it's like to be happy. Agnew writes the love story we all wish we had, but will it be the ending you would pick out for yourself?

"The city had changed and she had changed forever."
Love From the Ashes


Love From the Ashes on Amazon

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Three Sides for the Love Triangle

Grace and Chauncey. In Denise Agnew's Love From the Ashes, Grace wants to marry for love and Mr. Chauncey appears to be the noble man with an appreciation for the modern woman. She recognizes his caring and friendly attitude. While on a picnic in the park, Grace wonders if Chauncey could be the man of her dreams. The man she's been waiting for. The one man that she will give her entire heart too without waiting a beat.

Nate and Grace. Nathaniel Dempsey is a bold man from Ireland searching for a new and better life in San Francisco. But he seems to have a knack for falling in love with women above his societal role. Does he have the strength and determination to reach for more? The feelings that Grace has for him are more than obvious. He has intrigued her. While he lays ill with influenza, Grace dares to nurse him back to health, throwing societal views to the wind.

Nate and Chauncey. Chauncey has a sterling reputation among the streets of San Francisco. The pavement turning gold beneath his feet as he walks. Mary, Grace's step-mother, is hoping that this man will be the one to steal her step-daughter's heart. While courting Grace, Chauncey warns her to stay away from Nathaniel. A brute Irishman shouldn't be allowed to be alone with a social gem such as Grace. However, Mary sees the compassion that Grace has for Nate even if Grace denies the feelings herself, or tries to.

Will the two men come to a face off in the last half of the novel?
And which man, if either, will be the one to steal Grace's heart away and fulfill her longing for a life of love?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Little Bit of Romance

Grace, the daughter of a prominent figure in 1906 San Francisco, has refused to marry a number of eligible bachelors, swearing that when she marries it will be for love. Enter, Nathaniel, an Irish immigrant who applies for the title of chauffeur to Mr. Wyne, Grace's father in Denise Agnew's novel Love From the Ashes.

During the job interview he can't seem to take his eyes off of Grace, doubting that she knows how beautiful she is. Does he realize how against societal views Grace is and that status will not force her to give up her hope of falling in love? Could Nate be the man that she's hoped to find since her debut in society when she was younger?

After a week of working as Mr. Wyne's chauffeur, Nate has already come to blows over Grace. Another employee of the Wyne household let his tongue get ahead of him and the disgraceful words ended with him knocked unconscious by Nate's hand. Nate questions why he seems to be so protective over this 23 year old beauty? The answers lie in his past and in the guilt that he hides from. The hints that Agnew lets "slip" about Nathaniel's past and the failure to protect his sister imply that the guilt he holds in his heart will send him to Hades.

But could Grace be the woman to save Nate's soul?
And will Nate be the first man to accept Grace and show her what falling in love is like?

A little bit of romance will light the way to discovery.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Tunnels to Dead Ends

Beneath the streets of Savannah, Georgia lay a maze of tunnels that connect the organs of the city. Cockroaches claim the throne of this underground metropolis while a visitor utilizes the hidden passageways to transport paralyzed people stolen from the domain that looms above. 

Detectives Elise and David - each struggling with a past they don't want to face - attempt to track down the person responsible for multiple poisonings and murders. Yet, each tunnel leads them to another dead end. Flashlight in hand, the partners shine their light on the bricks that deceivingly promise to stand strong. With the right crack, the architecture might come crashing down and with it, the architect. 

The character that was never questioned. 

Frasier does a magnificent job at providing a story with so much detail that the reader feels like a detective. Taking the role of the various points-of-view that Frasier offers, it's the reader's job to connect the dots. This book was full of horrific detail, emotional attachment, and amazement at some of the history a city can hold. Readers with queasy stomachs beware, but those who can smell the sulfur wafting from the pages and don't feel their heartbeat quicken: be sure to pick this one up. 


Play Dead on Amazon

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Resurrection of the Dead

"Death is a seductive, erotic thing."
Play Dead

As my investigative mind swirls through the minute details of each character, I'm struggling to put the pieces together in the right order. Anne Frasier is spinning a delicate web of people, places, and folklore that makes me question everyone and the motives behind everything they do.

Underneath the soft Georgia dirt are people who are being resurrected. With skin that smells like death but ears that tune into the living, dead bodies are coming back to life. The Voodoo and Root Doctor myths that circle the dark city of Savannah hint at what might be going on, but a spell is never certain. Especially when the detective in charge of these un-dead cases is the daughter of a powerful conjurer and there's a killer who doesn't appear to be very good at getting the job done.

Could this all be coincidence? An experiment with a new street drug made out of Puffer fish toxins? Or could someone really be bringing to dead back to life to do their bidding?

Think twice about the next question, do you believe in ghosts?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Horror Infusion

Three chapters in and I was scared to get into the shower. Anne Frasier doesn't waste any time.

As Play Dead opens, a body is brought into the coroner's office and an autopsy is began. A normal day thus far (for a coroner). Until the dead man breathes. I feel a flashback to Post Mortem by Patricia Cornwell, which has been the scariest book I have ever read to date.

This is the second time in a month that a person has been brought in for an autopsy and has been deemed falsely identified as deceased. Elise and David - partners working for the Savannah Police Department, are called in.

I hate the fear factor of horror novels - especially ones that bring in the scientific point of view. Let's blame it on my over-active imagination. But who am I to discriminate based on genre? Looks like this blog is about to be infused with a little horror.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Lesson We Must Learn

In this novel full of judgment, confusion, misunderstanding, refusing to understand, and ultimately finding that those you love are the ones that you must support, Christa Allan teaches every reader a lesson. It's a book that readers can connect with on different levels. Choose any character and feel the invisible tug that connects you to them.

It's a lesson on the controversial topic of homosexuality and religion. One which Allan teaches with all of her characters in the Edge of Grace. We learn that it isn't completely about understanding those you love in your life, but knowing that you love them, which can come to mean putting their desires and their happiness before yours. Not an easy task to master, but definitely one we all must learn.


Edge of Grace on Amazon

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


The world is full of truths, common phrases that we hear throughout our lives that we never take to heart. Taking what we have in our lives for granted happens to be one of those truths, unfortunately. We never know what we have until the threat of it not being there sounds off like an alarm in our head forcing us to cling to it as a lifeline.

In Edge of Grace by Christa Allan, Caryn pushes her brother to arm's length and refuses to let him come closer because he announced that he's a homosexual. The tables turn quickly when her brother, David, is the target of an in-home attack, because of his sexuality. Caryn is forced to see her brother in the hospital - beaten, bruised, and drifting in and out of consciousness. The guilt overwhelms her. Now that the worst has happened can she continue to cut David out of her life because of his lifestyle?

It's truly sad that it's in our nature to take things in life for granted. I know I'm guilty of it. And while emergencies are never expected and are horrible to live through, to be the ever-optimist, they do force us to realize what we have may not last forever.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


"And, as I said goodbye I realized the person questioning his church attendance was the very person who didn't attend church herself."

Christa Allan - Edge of Grace

As I finished another chapter of this novel, this specific line made me wonder if judgement has become a sort of blaming system. Do we judge others so that we don't have to judge ourselves? And if we can lay the blame on others in our life, do we do it to make ourselves feel better?

In the book, Caryn does nothing to try to help her brother through this hard time. He's just come out as a homosexual man and needs his family there for him, Caryn specifically. But she refuses to look at herself as a mirror - reflecting the good and bad. She judges her brother yet, doesn't want to accept the blame for what she's putting her brother through.

Is this what judgment has come to? Judging others so we can avoid judging ourselves?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sexuality as a Choice

It's a controversial topic across the United States: is sexuality a choice or genetic? Edge of Grace, by Christa Allan, forces the reader to consider this question while watching a woman's family life fall apart around her.

When David tells his sister that he's gay, she shuts down. Caryn ignores her brother and acts quite selfish throughout the beginning of this ordeal. She doesn't want her brother to be gay, as if she has any say (or that her wants for David's sexuality matter). Caryn acts like her brother's homosexuality is the worst thing to happen to her - worse than her husband's death. She can't realize that he's the same person, with a new perspective on which gender he finds himself attracted to.

Is this a common occurrence everywhere? Do family members and friends really veer away from those close to them whose sexuality doesn't meet their standards? Do we get so caught up in the labels that we give people that we can't just accept them for who they are?

Love is love is love. And bonds should be stronger than the words that threaten to break them.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Error Free Please?

Editors and authors both have a responsibility to make sure the novel they release is error-free. Or as close as it can be. I just began Edge of Grace by Christa Allan, and I'm not even through the first chapter. What's keeping me snagged so long? The repeated error throughout the entire chapter. 

A paragraph has been repeated at least five times -- and it makes no sense what-so-ever. What I thought would be a good controversial novel to read has already turned annoying. 

The plot line I like. Caryn's brother, David, calls her first thing on her Saturday morning cleaning spree to announce that he's gay. Caryn isn't exactly excited about this, in fact, she's falling toward rock bottom. With no one to turn to because her husband and mother are deceased, she's facing this one by herself. Hopefully, the help of a long time neighbor can set her down on the ground gently. 

I'm committed to finish the entire novel, but this major error is driving me crazy. How is a reader supposed to connect with the characters when the description of a birthday present (bubble bath) is repeated five times and has no relation to anything around it? I wish I could say something more positive about this book, especially so close to the beginning. But I'm disappointed already. Wouldn't you be?

Monday, August 22, 2011

After the Hurricane

By the time my Kindle read 93% finished, Denise Hildreth Jones had me in tears wishing that I had bought tissues at the store yesterday. Hurricanes in Paradise not only opened my heart, it had me reveling in the friendship I felt with these characters.

Each of the four women in the novel had a different outlook on life and a different scar that marked their hearts. The healing waters of Paradise Island took these women in and changed their perception of what life was, and how you survived it. I struggled with heart break and guilt with Laine. I felt my life being thrown into mass chaos with Riley. I hid from the demons that grew with each breath that Tamyra took. And I fell in love with life all over again with Winnie.

My face was tear-streaked and flushed, but my mouth spread into a smile with the final chapter of this fantastic book. I felt triumph wind through my veins. I had just climbed Mount Everest. I had taken the fear inside of me, Winnie, Laine, Tamyra, and Riley and faced it head on without a single backward glance over my shoulder. The healing waters came through the words on the page and washed over me as the tears fell, leaving behind a sense of peace and completion.


Hurricanes in Paradise on Amazon