Saturday, December 25, 2010

e-Book - Karaoke at the Tumbleweed

Winning the area Karaoke contest at the Tumbleweed was the first step for Nicole Ashford. She still had to win in Louisville if she wanted to get that NASCAR weekend. Being new in town, Brian Taggert (Tag) didn’t know the history of Nicole, but he did know that he liked what he saw. Getting together may have been easier than expected, but falling was more unexpected than anything else, even if Nicole was the town klutz.

Fast paced romance that is a little weak on character creation. It is a good basic story but it just all moved too fast for me. Not enough of the background of the characters was explored. I would have liked to see / hear / read what Tag did during his few days locked in his fathers house but we can only assume. Did, like I said, enjoy the basic storyline so I would be interested in reading something else that this author has written. ( )

Friday, December 24, 2010

Book - Family Affair

This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Starting over in a new apartment, new job, new city was the only way Lacey Lancaster felt she could survive her divorce. She was struggling with the loneliness of it so she got a Abyssinian purebred cat named Cleo. Possibly wanting to breed the cat, she waited, but when Cleo finally went into heat she found out that her neighbor Jack Walker had a cat also, named Dog. Leaving her door open to go ask Jack to be quiet so that she could make a call, Dog got into her apartment and now she had to find the backbone to deal with Jack and the consequences. Noticing her from the first day she moved in, Jack had no idea that it would turn out to be Dog that finally got him the in he had been working for. Now if he could just be patient enough for her to work through her trust and commitment issues he might have a chance at what he wants.

This seems to be a re-print of a 1994 novella. I happen to really enjoy Debbie Macomber’s gentle, sweet romance stories and even though this is short and the characters are not as developed as some of her more recent ones, I found myself really enjoying the “misunderstandings” of Sarah and even relating to some of Lacey’s insecurities. Could have had more of Jack, really liked him, but for a short, older story, it was a nice little get a way. *Bonus: there is a few recipes for home made cat treats in the back of the book. I have not made any but they are a fun addition to the book.

I was luck enough to have received this as an early reviewer copy from LibraryThing. It is marked with a SRP of $16.99 which does seem a bit high for a 102 page book, especially one that is a re-print of a novella. ( )
December 23, 2010

Book - Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor

Losing her mother in a car accident left Holly to be raised by her Uncle Mark. Having no idea what to do with a 6 year old, Mark Nolan did the best he could with a young girl. Looking around a toy store they found the widow Maggie Conroy had a special way about her. With stories and possibilities, Maggie was able to help Holly find her voice again. Stunned that the belief in a fairy tale, a belief in magic was all the child needed, Mark was willing to give Maggie a closer look. Spoiling Holly was never anyone’s intention, but would she get what she really wanted most, a new mom for Christmas.

Book 1 ….. A sweet and gentle story about family and learning to explore the possibilities of the holiday seasons. What an inspiration, full of fun (not including that Holly’s mother, Victoria died) and laughter. Recently found out this is a first book of a series, yeah, can only assume that the other characters of the family (Alex and Sam especially) will have a story. As I was reading it didn’t feel like a typical first book, all cluttered with information, but looking back it was a good introduction to the brothers and I will look for the rest of the series. ( )
December 23, 2010

Book - Faeries Gone Wild

Faeries Gone Wild by Michele Hauf
This anthology has 4 separate stories ....
- Tall, Dark and Not So Faery by Mary Janice Davidson
A look at what would happen if a vampire, werewolf, talking SUV, dryad (tree creature) and a faery prince all live together and the faery census taker shows up to count everyone. Then there is the half-giant that talks to the SUV even though the SUV has a crush on the werewolf.
*** Yeah, a little confusing, lots of funny one liners and the concept of the story is hilarious but as a short story in an anthology, it just doesn’t really have the time to create enough of the story to make it all that enjoyable.

- Pixie Lust by Lois Greiman
All she wanted was to find her a fern that the faery people needed, but taking a nap in a flower, she found herself in the bathroom, naked. After struggling to point his life in the direction he wanted, he was not going to let this young lady derail him. Finding her uncooperative to communicate with made it difficult to get her back to where she belongs, until they found each other.
*** Short and quick, again the novella size makes it all happen so fast that it is not easy to get involved in the story or the characters. I liked them all, I just wish it could have lasted longer. There is so much left to questions and assumptions, the story that is there is so rushed that it loses the flow and continuity several times.

- Dust Me, Baby, One More Time by Michele Hauf
As a tooth faerie, the worst news to get is that the mothers in town are banding together to make sure no one believes in you anymore. Then to literally run in to a sandman and get dusted by him leaving you unconscious on the floor was not a great way to end the day. Whether she liked it or not, the sandman was going to help her find out how to save the job she loved in a town she had been a part of for so long.
*** What a cute interpretation of the combined fairy tales. The character interaction was great and the admitted problems of sandman were both funny and endearing at the same time. This is a quick burst of energy that made me laugh and still had a slightly sentimental story to go along with the adult humor.

- A Little Bit Faery by Leandra Logan
Struggling to find a faery mate was difficult enough, but then being told that she was half human, of all things, explained quite a bit. Traveling from the Isle of Man to the Isle of Manhattan, this faery had her human fathers name and not much else, but she was determined to find a father and see if his world would except her better than her mothers world ever did. Finding a reluctant hero who treated her better than anyone else ever had was a great start, the question was “would she push him away also”.
**** Best of the short stories of this anthology. Strange and fun characters, their interactions was light hearted yet urgent in their own particular cause. I liked the hero complex and the hero worship. There are so many dimensions to this particular story (love, lust, acceptance, betrayal, confidence, fear, ect) that it is amazing that it all fit into such a short story. ( )
December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Book - Autumn's Bride

Trouble in the area made everyone nervous, but when Annaliese Stanhope was running late to get home, she took her chances on a shortcut. Halfway home she came across an unconscious man that had been stripped of his belongings, including most of his clothes. Not one to leave a helpless man to the weather and wild, she found a way to get him home and asked her father and Aunt to help him. It had been a simple task of delivering the money his sister-in-law owed to the woodworker for a special gift, but then Kendran Ainsworth was set upon by the local menace and changed his plans. Now that Annaliese and her family had helped him and confided in him, he felt the need to find out the truth for her. To help her in return, even if she would never accept the aid or the word of any highborn nobleman.

Book 4 ….. Never really got to see much of Kendran in the other books, so I am not sure what I expected from him. Kendran has the typical Ainsworth self confidence to the point of arrogance, but it didn’t play as well on him as it did on Benedict. Since this was the end of the series, again I think I had too high of hopes for the wrap up of the Ainsworth brothers. There were some good characters that never seemed to be given the time that they could have been given. There was a quick wrap up with a brief mention of the brothers, wives and children, but other than a short visit from Benedict and Raven it was all Kendran. A typical Harlequin Historical set in Medieval time, honestly I liked Spring and Summer’s Brides (Benedict and Marcel‘s stories) better. ( )
Dec 16, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

e-Book - Dark of the Day

Dark of the Day by Selah March
Sometimes the best solution for life’s problems is to take action before life gets even worse but for Robin, her brain tumor was speeding the life decision along. Surgery may prolong her life but after the life she’s lead, she is not sure if she really wants it to be longer. Taking an active part in choosing her final days, she let Thann (Nathaniel) in to her apartment, and in to her life soon realizing he was not the death counselor that she thought he was. Convincing Robin that there were still good things available to her if only she tried would push Thann to try new things too.

Death by cancer or suicide, not sure how I feel about either of those lines for a romance story character. The ‘pain’ in Robins past seemed pales in comparison to things that would normally be considered reasons for taking such drastic action. Throwing in the past only seemed to muddle the story more instead of justifying her actions. Being a short story gave less time for the characters to emerge, but I really liked Thann as a concept and wonder if some of Selah March’s other stories have similar almost angel like characters. ( )
December 10, 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Book - Eternal Hunger

This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Finding a cure for a bad memory had been Sarah Donohue’s life work. Causing the fire that had killed her father and left her brother, Gray, physically and emotionally damaged gave her the incentive to become a doctor. Now if she could get him to cooperate she may be able to help him finally forget. Being an outcast from birth had left Alexander Roman and his brothers with a strong desire to escape the control of the vampires credenti (community). Even after spending a hundred years away from the Order, some of the habits still remained, but when something new started to happen to Alexander, they didn’t know where to turn for answers. He had ended up on a door step just as the sun was rising and even though it had never bothered him before, he found himself in the middle of morpho (his change). Finding a man on her door step in need, Sara felt the pull to help, finding a man inside her home, she felt the need for help. One man was an ex-patient that had become a stalker and the other turned out to be a vampire.

Book 1 ….. Could get at least a trilogy out of this series, the set up is with the three brothers, Alexander, Nicholas & Lucian. I had mixed feelings about this one, several aspects are reminiscent of Christine Feehan’s Carpathians series with the one true mate thing. Not real fond of some of the terms though, I mean come on - morpho? I understand that this is the first book of a series and it has to do the set up for the series as well as it’s own book, but there were a lot of characters and multiple stories and a ton of information and history in this first book. Took some time to get used to the writers style also. It is written like people talk and think, with lots of distractions, tangents and partially formulated thoughts. Once I did get used to it, I enjoyed most of the characters. Liked the brothers and Dillon, struggled with how Sara was taking the news about vampires and her sudden attraction to one, until the last 20 pages when some big questions were answered. Frustrated waiting so long for the explanation, but in the end it was overall enjoyable enough to have me looking for the next of the series (Eternal Kiss) in 2011. ( )
December 6, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

e-Book - Inking Aaron

As a Las Vegas tattoo artist, Mohan did excellent work. He was a talented man, but when his income started to lessen, the executives of the hotel wanted to get him step up his business. Putting flare in advertising was not Mohan’s strong suit, Aaron (one of the execs.) had a few ideas to help. Getting personally involved in the tattoo artist was not the plan, but if Mohan was leaving, there may not be any other time. Taking the chance that his feelings would be reciprocated, Aaron took the step and found that it was more of a leap - of faith. In himself and in Mohan.

Fast and right to it, this is a short story that could have been longer. The characters were little more than half formed, but it was enough for some connection. The bad boy and Mr. Perfect was a familiar scene, but the addition of little sis and her girlfriend was a great way to emphasize just how much Aaron needed to accept about others as well as himself. I would read Cheryl Dragon again. ( )
November 27, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

Book - My Sparkling Misfortune

What goes around, comes around. For the villain Lord Arkus of Blackriver Castle that may have been what brought on the beast that had been trying to get him for so long. Only living near and hiding in the great white towers that he had built in secret around his own castle had saved him from death so many times. Finding that someone had been destroying those safety towers left Arkus with few options, he could not defeat the beast, but the fairy realms Gormacks (evil by nature) might be able to. Catching a Gormack was tricky, it would take timing and strength. With a twist of fate, the one that he captured and bargained with, ended up being a Sparkling named Tulip. Having a Sparkling bound to him might not be such a bad idea either, but that name, Tulip, bothered him enough to make him change it. Getting away from the beast one more time, Arkus and Tulip (now known as Jarvi) ran to hide in the land of Ulkarian. Befriending King Osmund and Prince Philip after playing the part of the hero, Arkus (now known as Sir Lakeland Knight) just wanted to be left alone so that he could get back to being a villain, if only Jarvi would let him. And then there was still the feud with Prince Kellemar of Dalvanna.

So much was packed into this short story. Fun and fast paced with several twists and turns, some expected and some not so much. Took a while to really get into the story, the characters were slow to grow on me. Found the villain turned hero to be almost natural - oddly enough. Wanted to like the Sparkling from the beginning, struggled with that until almost the end. Enjoyed Arkus the best, try to not like him, it won’t last. The addition of a former co-villain and a hero want-to-be makes the transformation of Arkus obvious and even more fun. Only one down side, it was too short, there was still more I wanted to know about Arkus, the original Jarvi and even Tulip-Jarvi. There was so much that could have been added to the end. The last paragraph was a let down. I wanted more (don’t know if that should be taken as good or bad). ( )

Book - Stargir

Fitting in and being a part of something is half the battle for most high school students. For Stargirl, being herself and doing things because they were right or made her feel good about herself was even more important. The students at Mica High couldn’t understand why this strange girl would sing Happy Birthday to everyone on their birthday or put flowers on her desk, but Leo Borlock wanted to know more. Befriending the new girl to learn more about her gave him a new look on life, but what it cost him in return might be too much for Leo to deal with.

Moral lesson, be yourself; truth is, it is sometimes hard to do that. What a cute and refreshingly basic story, and from a boys point of view. I read mostly romance, so reading a first person with a boy (Leo Borlock) as the main character was unusual for me. I enjoyed the perspective more than I would have thought. (FYI) May have been written from a boys point of view, but still geared more for a girl to read (IMHO). Loved the old mentor (Archie) and his Senor Saguaro. There is a second book by Jerry Spielli (Love, Stargirl) that is now resting in my to be read list. ( )
Nov 24, 2010

e-Book - It's Now or Never

As the live-in nanny, Sara was becoming part of the family. With the hopes of making the situation more permanent, she set up a special birthday celebration dinner for Logan. When he showed up with his ex-wife and asked her to leave, she was afraid she had misread the recent flirtations.

Short story that could easily be made into a much better, much longer story. Even in the short amount of time the characters came through in a good way. I like these short stories, it gives a brief view of the writer and their style, and this one is worth it. I would be very interested in reading other books by this author. ( )
Nov 17, 2010

Partial Book - Wolfsbane and Mistletoe

**** Star of David by Patricia Briggs - read on 11/15/10

After accidentally killing his wife and her lover in front of his own daughter (Stella), David Christiansen understood why she was scared of him especially in his werewolf form. Getting a call for help was something he would never ignore, he would do anything to be a part of her life again. The help she wanted wasn’t for herself as much as it was for one of the foster kids that she was responsible for. A werewolf might be the only way to help Devonte Parish with his particular problem.

- What a sweet and tender story - from David’s point of view. A short story that shows exactly why Patricia Briggs is so good with her werewolf characters. I really enjoyed the vulnerability of all the characters, from the small child that had been beat up by a vampire to the werewolf that was there because he too is a monster in his own daughters eyes. ( )
flag17 other reviews | Nov 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

e-Book - The Lovers

Finally convinced that her online writing groups annual retreat was the perfect time to get out of her the safety of her home and regimented life, Bettina Boothe makes her way to the California coast. A couple of months is literally what the doctor recommended for her to help with her many social anxiety type problems. Finding everyone so friendly and welcoming gave Bettina hope for a productive few weeks, both in terms of the newest book she is working on as well as her other issues. One of her fellow writers stands out, Audrey LeClaire is stunning and captivating and offering more to Tina than she had ever even considered. Learning to let herself have what she wants regardless of what she used to think of the idea was a huge step in the right direction. And then when Jack Curran showed up, Tina finds herself caught between the jealousy of not being the focus of Audrey’s attention and desire to just be included. Finding herself in an intense emotional and sexual relationships opened her to what she had tried to avoid for so long, her own feelings.

Started off intense and never let up, the sexual scenes were many and close together. At some points the flow of the encounters were an easy and obvious conclusion, while other times the issue seemed to be forced in that direction to get more sex in. There was plenty of great sex, the characters were easy to follow in the progression of their relationships, the first person style of writing left some of Audrey and Jack as a mystery that I would have liked to know more about. Bettina’s story is pretty basic and common (the secluded and scared opens her wings and flies into the arms of … everyone), for some reason I had a difficult time connecting with her emotionally though, too much sex - maybe. This was a nice erotic distraction, fun and fast paced. ( )

Time Traveler's Wife

Review to come .....

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Book - Undead and Unpopular

Queen Betsy is having a birthday, but of course first she has to deal with vampire business. Being Queen, she has a lot on her plate, the whole blood fasting she is doing for her birthday, the visitors from Europe, the ghost claiming there’s a zombie in the attic, and something is up with Jess too. All while planning her wedding.

Book 5 ….. Miss Congeniality uh?, well Dictionary lookup says - agreeable: pleasant and suited to somebody's character or tastes, friendly: having an outgoing pleasant character - Nope, none of them fit the Queen Betsy of this book. She is conceited, selfish, self involved, basically a royal pain. Normally Eric Sinclair is enough to pull me through, but in this one his stupidity in consistently backing and believing in Betsy is glaring and annoying. The only saving grace is Jess, but I am not sure even Jess and Mark are enough. Not sure if I will make the time for the next one (Undead and Uneasy) after this one was so disappointing. ( )
November 6, 2010

e-Book - Winter White

Winter weather was rolling in and the office had cleared out for the night when Mary put her plan into action. Seduction of the Doctor was a fantasy she had been living with for a while, now she had to find out if he felt any of the same desires for her.

Just a short story about a women finally finding the courage to try to fulfill a fantasy. Quick and easy read, with an obvious outcome. The characters could have been better, the consequences of a short story is lack of character development. Love scenes are pretty good, but nothing over the top or real memorable. Overall feeling was that it is just a nice distractions for a little while. ( )
October 30, 2010

Book - The Notebook

Relating a story to an Alzheimer patient, sitting with each other and getting to know him all over again day after day, leaves Noah with more hope instead of the defeat that everyone anticipates him to feel. Following the love and life of Noah and Allie from the time they met, through the war until they found each other again years later. The reconnection of their love spun a life that was worth writing about when Allie realized they might need it to help her remember.

This is a very touching story, both the 1940’s first blossom of love, the later re-connections of their lives, but most especially the golden years were memories are so precious and was lost to Allie, but not Noah. So well written (needed a box of Kleenex) I wanted to see the movie, but was disappointed in the interpretation of such a wonderful book. Interested to see if The Wedding (which is kind of like a sequel) is as good. ( )
October 28, 2010

Book - Rapture in Death

Even on her honeymoon, Eve Dallas finds a dead body to investigate. The unusual stream of suicides seemed to be stacking up and making Eve even more suspicious. Putting the information together is Eve’s specialty, getting the help she needed from Peabody and Roarke made things go faster even if the chief doesn’t want to know how that happened. The problem is, what makes all these people do things so out of the ordinary and could it actually cause problems closer to home.

Book 4 ….. Unfortunately it was very predictable. After only 3 other books, the answers jumped out in the first few chapters and the rest was just fill dirt. Some of it good, some of it boring, Roarke is still the best, but why does he stay with her, why does he love her - not sure I ever understood that. Still enough fun and mystery included in here to make the next (Ceremony in Death) in the series land on my tbr (to be read) list. ( )
October 25, 2010

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Book - Sewing a Friendship

Summer vacation had just started while the wind listened to a group of friends (Sokron Blossom, Meeka Venya, Jonsy Jipsy, Nina Key), all seven (7) years old, discussing their summer plans, a new one was presented to them. They wanted to be a part of the big fashion show, but the problem was they needed a five (5) member team to enter. They were only four (4), but as they were trying to figure out how to fix it, Sokron’s dog, Dogon, took off with the rules for entering. Chasing him down they found another little girl (Kiki Shaver), but she was nine (9) which might work out because one of the rules was that at least one of the team members had to be at least nine (9). So they asked Kiki if she wanted to be a part of the fashion show as one of their team mates. After much thought, Kiki agreed, for one reason she didn’t have many friends so she thought this would be a good place to start making some.

As a story concept, this is a very cute and inspirational one. One member of the team is overcoming a fear of shyness and all of them are looking past some of their preconceived opinions of the others. Mostly I liked how they were all accepted for who they are and they all made the best of each of their own special strengths to make it to the fashion show. The help of Babushka (Grandma) and Dogon was a cute addition to the story, but not entirely necessary. (The nit-pick section of my review is about the grammar), I did find a few spots that should have maybe been corrected, but only a small handful of them. The illustrations on this book are Magna in style, full of color and tie into the story well.

The interesting thing about this book is the fact that it is written and illustrated by a 10 year old. As a writer, she has room to grow (of course) but to be able to articulate herself so well through her story and pictures is just amazing. The book I received shows that it is has already been nominated or received awards from several places. This may be an up and coming author to watch. ( )

Book - Oh My Goth!

Always being the outcast in Haloway High School, goth girl Jade Leigh was not surprised she got into trouble again and was sent to the principles office. Surprised to see the popular girl, barbie like Mercedes Turner there and finding out that even though they were being punished for different crimes, they were going to be punished together. Being taken to see Dr. John Laroque, being sedated and then hooked up to computers didn’t prepare either of them for the virtual reality that they were about to enter. Punishment was living in a world where things are different than the norm, goth is now the in fashion and the barbie style is the outcast. New kid Clarik Spanger had just arrived and not been labeled yet and so, he wasn’t in the virtual Haloway High either. Having to find a way to work together so that they could get out of this world and back to normal life, Jade and Mercedes tried to put there differences aside, but it would not be easy, they had hated each other for years.

While I really like Gena Showalter and her creative story telling, this is one of the few that I have had any issue with. This is about high school students, but as a young adult book I would not recommend it to the younger end of the genre. There was lessons to learn about prejudice and conformity, but the end didn’t hammer that in to hard. Fun and fast paced, but had a difficult time feeling for the characters, all of them have their good and bad points, but they were all a bit to shallow for my tastes. I still like Gena Showalter a lot, with her creativity and story telling abilities. ( )
October 23, 2010

Book - Call Me Mrs. Miracle

Christmas season is rolling along while Jake Finley is struggling as always with the holiday season. Functioning only in a business capacity, he and his father JR disagree over the amount of one particular toy Jake orders for their family owned department store. The Intellytron Robot costs a lot of money and JR is concerned it wont sell by Christmas while Jake believes in his decision. Wanting most of all for his father to come home from the war, Gabe’s second choice is the expensive Intellytron (Telly) which his Aunt Holly will do anything she can to get for him. A chance meeting or designed by Mrs. Emily Merkle (known as Mrs. Miracle), Jake and Holly find that they each seem to need something that the other has to offer.

Christmas wishes and dreams of not only a small child who is missing his father, but for so many others that can be affected by gentle persuasion and chance encounters. As always, Debbie Macomber has put together and emotional, realistic and fun story about the season of giving. It was a quick read and worth every minute. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone, of course I would recommend nearly every Debbie Macomber book that I have read to anyone, she is still one of my favorite authors.

What a great Christmas special this will make. I enjoyed the first Mrs. Miracle book and then the movie with Doris Roberts, and now they are collaborating again to bring this one to the Hallmark Channel (November 27, 2010). ( )
October 22, 2010

Book - Queen of the Night

This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Find Diane Walker working on her latest book and retired Brandon Walker trying to stay busy with TLC (The Last Chance). Spending most of his time going back and forth between ailing fellow TLC detective and longtime friend trying to find the answers to a very old case and his wife who seems to be having some struggles of her own. The newest of the murder rampages falls to Brian Fellows to look at with the help of the border patrol officer (Dan Pardee) that found the bodies. The four bodies were found on the Tohono O’odham Nation land, when the next of kin notifications were made, the death count went up by three more. Leaving only a small child behind as a witness, Dr. Lani Walker, with the help of Dan Pardee, kept the child in the Hospital for safety. Tracking and catching this killer before he realizes that he left any witnesses might be more dangerous than any of them realize.

Book 4 ….. I received this as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewer program. When I realized that it was actually the forth (4th) book of the series, I decided that it would possibly be best to read the first three (3) of the series before I read this one so that I could understand the story line a little better. I was right to do that, I felt that if I had just read this story as a stand alone I would have not been able to follow all of the characters as well (there was a lot of characters in this one), most were reoccurring from the previous books. The bouncing back and forth between stories and years and places was a little confusing at times, but the main story line covered only a couple of days in early June 2009. Enjoyed the side story of Brandon and Diane, this did have the feel of the last of them, kind of a conclusion. I suppose if JA Jance wanted to continue this particular type of series, she could follow Lani, Brian and Dan. I never did figure out why the temperature was so important that it had a title type position with the places, dates and times, but it does help show how the desert can be different times of the day. I like reading about Tucson (I lived there for a long time) and this series has been an interesting way to remember the city. ( )
flag Oct 21, 2010