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.