Saturday, December 31, 2011

Matching Wits with Venus by Therese Gilardi

Rating: 3 Stars

Title: Matching Wits With Venus

Author:Therese Gilardi

Publisher: Astraea Press
      Cover Art: Elaina Lee

Genre:  Women's Fiction (alternate reality?)

Length: 304 Pages


For centuries, Cupid has longed to be more than Venus’s arrow boy. When he’s sent to eliminate “Happily Ever After by Amelia”, the matchmaking business threatening Venus’s status as the goddess of love, Cupid decides to steal Amelia’s methods and make his own matches. While spying on Amelia, Cupid accidentally shoots himself with his magical arrow and falls in love with her. But bereaved Amelia doesn’t believe in the existence of Roman gods, and she’s certainly not looking for romance. She’s too busy perfecting the patented personality profile that’s made her Hollywood’s favorite matchmaker. Disguising himself as a mortal financial advisor, Cupid manages to break through Amelia’s guarded exterior. As their passion deepens so does Cupid’s guilt about deceiving Amelia. Cupid’s interference with Amelia’s life causes her business to falter, leads to a sterile spring that threatens the animal kingdom and shatters the longstanding peace between the Roman and Greek gods. With the fate of the natural and under worlds at stake, Cupid must decide whether to reveal his true identity and risk losing the chance to live happily ever after with Amelia.Disguising himself as a mortal financial advisor, Cupid manages to break through Amelia’s guarded exterior. As their passion deepens so does Cupid’s guilt about deceiving Amelia. Cupid’s interference with Amelia’s life causes her business to falter, leads to a sterile spring that threatens the animal kingdom and shatters the longstanding peace between the Roman and Greek gods. With the fate of the natural and under worlds at stake, Cupid must decide whether to reveal his true identity and risk losing the chance to live happily ever after with Amelia. 


I have to be honest here - I realize that I'm going against the common opinion with this book. I've read other reviews and I know that most people seemed to really like this book. I was given this book months ago to review, so this review is well past due, but when I started reading it, I only got about 2/3 of the way through it and had to put it down. I kept thinking I would come back to it and try reading it again, but I just haven't been able to make myself do it. I'm solidly in the middle with this review. There were things I liked about this book and things that I didn't like.

The concept is interesting and original. There are several Greek Gods and Goddesses that play a central role to the story and it's interesting and fun to see how the author chooses to portray them. And therein lies one of the biggest problems for me: I didn't like the main characters very well. I didn't get attached to them and I wasn't invested in what happened to them.

Amelia, our heroine, runs her own business, playing matchmaker to the millionaires. She does her job very well and it's amusing to see how the celebrities are portrayed. (Note: No known celebrities are mentioned) She is also very nice to some of the local "colorful" people, which is nice to see. But she is also judgmental and comes across as shrewish - to me.

Colin/Cupid is likeable in some respects, but in other respects he drove me nuts because of his childish/immature behavior with his mother. On one hand it's funny, that this Greek God can be ruled by his mother so completely to the point where he is sneaking off like a teenager trying to get away with something. On the other hand, he is quite literally hundreds of years old and I was often left thinking "grow up! Grow some backbone!" And the role of his best friend, Inuus, in this book confuses me. I couldn't decide if he was Cupid's best friend (which you would think would merit some loyalty) or if he is Cupid's mother's errand boy.

There are other characters in the book, that are central to the plot, that I really did enjoy. Jennie, Amelia's assistant, is a spunky character that I loved. Also, Amelia's mother -  she is hilarious in that perfect Hollywood Diva wannabe way and very believable. Justin, the homeless man that Amelia helps, is an interesting character as well.

There were instances in the book that made me almost feel like this should have been given an "alternate reality" type of tag. When Justin sits down at the curb, in the middle of Hollywood and thinks to himself (in essence) "I don't hear any birds singing. Wow, Cupid must have really messed up spring," and the first conclusion that anybody in the near vicinity jumps to when something bad has happened is that the Gods must be angry - this is not my world. Even in Hollywood. 

I do remember running into some grammar issues, but it's been a while since I read the book, and I didn't make note of pages or instances, so I just want to make a small mention of that. 

This author has some very fun ideas, and a sense of humor. I would definitely not be against checking her out in the future at all. This book apparently didn't do it for me. And there's nothing wrong with that. Not every book is going to appeal to every single person the same way. Absolutely check it out for yourself. You may love it!



Friday, December 2, 2011

Reunion by Jeff Bennington

My Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

Title: Reunion

Author: Jeff Bennington

Genre: Supernatural Thriller

Length: 194 Pages


Twenty years after surviving a school shooting, Tanner Khan and his fellow classmates reluctantly agree to hold a reunion. Although they suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, they come back to their hometown and reunite in the defunct school building. Old flames are rekindled, fears are ignited and their lives are about to explode in a whirlwind of memories, haunted by the spirit of David Ray, the troubled teen who killed many of their classmates.

Once inside the old school, they discover that a dark entity has joined them. It has come to collect a debt, long overdue and someone has to pay. Will Tanner and his classmates overcome their fears and put the pieces of their lives back together, or will they be consumed by their worst nightmare? Find out in this groundbreaking suspense thriller that is frightening and powerfully moving.


Reunion is an interesting take on something that happens in society all too often - school shootings. At least that's the basis for everything else that happens in the story. Taking such a controversial subject and writing a story about it is what writers do. Sadly, they don't always do it very well...but Mr. Bennington has done an excellent job with this topic. He is respectful, and takes the time at the beginning of the book to pay a small tribute to other victims and survivors of such horrific events. The majority of this book, however, is not about the shooting itself, but what happens to the survivors as they go on with their lives.

I started this book on a whim, in between other books. I figured I'd just start it and see what it was because I was kind of in the mood for a thriller. I started it on a break from work, not really having any intention at that time to continue reading it right away. This author does such a fantastic job of immediately grabbing you, that I had a really hard time putting it down to go back to work. Throughout the evening I continued to read it every chance I got, including sitting at my desk reading a couple of pages here and there while I worked. My plans to only check it out went right out the window and I read it start to finish that same day.

The first few chapters are the lead up to the school shooting, showing most of our cast of characters as young, high school students. After the shooting, we flash forward about twenty years as they prepare for a reunion of the event that changed their lives forever and to honor the victims. Mr. Bennington did an excellent job with the tension in the first chapters - well, throughout the book, really, but with the first few chapters, especially. He made you care about these kids he was showing you in a very short time and by the time the unimaginable happened you were cringing in the your seat. 

The author also does a very good job with handling the number of characters he is dealing with. As a writer, it can be hard to give that many main characters separate, distinct enough personalities that they stand out from each other, but he did well. It was interesting to see how these kids that we met in the first chapters had grown up, the impact that the violence had on their lives and what they became. It was also interesting to see how the underlying high school stereotypes shaped who they became as well.

On the surface, this is a tension filled, haunting, suspenseful read that kept me turning the pages well into the night. Beneath all of that though, this book really shows a problem that is becoming an epidemic in this country. That problem is bullying at school and the lack of compassion that a lot of kids have for each other, and the circumstances that some of their fellow classmates have to live with.

There's an interesting twist at the end - definitely not what I was expecting. Roles are reversed, quite adeptly, and by the end I was rooting for the one guy throughout the book that seemed like a jerk. I had also stopped rooting for the guy that seemed like the "good guy" throughout the book. Over all, very well written. If you are in the mood for a suspenseful, creepy read then this one is well worth checking out.



Saturday, November 5, 2011

Summer's Journey by Summer Daniels

My Rating: 4 Stars

Title: Summer's Journey (Volume One: Losing Control)

Author: Summer Daniels

Genre: True Romance/Erotica Series

Length: 19 Pages

**Sexual Rating:  *Mild to Explicit 
      (This particular chapter is mild but future installments promise to be very explicit, with elements of D/s. It is labeled as erotica, so be aware of this before you begin.)


Fortyish, newly divorced, searching and longing for something different. Something fulfilling and exciting, somewhere far outside my ordinary comfort zone.

Come with me on my journey of discovery. Explore with me. Touch, taste and feel with me.

Lots more to come following my introduction to you in this first volume of a multi-part True Romance / Erotica series.

“Perhaps I was being picky, but I really didn’t think being able to spell orgasm without being spotted a vowel was asking too much.”

Approximately 6,000 words – this first volume is somewhere around 90% background story, and 10% erotic.

Future volumes will be more explicit as I expand my horizons and detail my journey of sexual self-discovery. 


This is a self published series based on the author's life after her divorce, and choice's that she made in moving forward and re-discovering herself. It is a very well written narrative that shows the courage and determination needed to go forward with life and jump back into the dating pool. It also shows the feelings and thoughts associated with a divorce and that past relationship, the doubts you feel afterwards and the questions that inevitably arise. 

This installment is primarily to give you the background of her life and what led her to this point, and also to set up future volumes. We get to see what led her to this point in her life and we get to meet Mark, who is not at all what is expected and promises to be very interesting.Ms. Daniels does a fantastic job of drawing you. Erotica is not typically a genre that I read, but I am looking forward to seeing what happens next.

I have no idea many chapters there will be in the series, so I can't say how much it would cost in total to continue reading, but so far the chapters are priced at $.99. Not too bad for an entertaining, quick read. When this author first contacted me, I wasn't sure what to expect. As a previously unpublished author with a self-published book, I was a little leery. With authors that I've never heard of before, with these qualifications, you just never know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised with this one. As mentioned - it is very well written and engrossing. In truth, the only reason I gave it a four star review is simply because of the formatting of individual chapters for purchase, which is simply not my preference. Check it out! And check back here for reviews of future volumes.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Angel's Desire (Book Two of The Fallen Warriors Series) by Rosalie Lario

My Rating: 5 Stars

Title: Angel's Desire (Book Two of The Fallen Warrior Series)

Author: Rosalie Lario

Genre: Contemporary Paranormal Romance

Length: 114 Pages
**Sexual Rating:  Explicit


In a world where angels rule over humans, twelve outcasts dare to defy expectation, warring with their angel brethren to prevent the extinction of humankind.

They are The Fallen.

Fallen angel Ethan has been outcast due to his love of humankind. In order to preserve his immortality, he must find a mate with angel blood…but the one woman he desires blames him for her father’s death. As a teenager, Tayla had a fierce crush on Ethan, her angel father’s best friend. She was humiliated when he rejected her, claiming she was too young for him. Her love turned to hate when he failed to save her father from being killed by the other angels.

Battle looms on the horizon, and Ethan can no longer afford to waste time. He must claim Tayla as his…but convincing her she’s his mate won’t be so easy.


 First let me say - if you haven't read the first book in this series "For Love of an Angel", go check it out. My review for that one can be found here. These books can be read as stand alone books, but you will understand the history of the fallen much better if you start with the first one. Besides that, it is an excellent book that you won't want to miss. 

I love this series. I fell in love with The Fallen in the first book, and the second in the series did not disappoint. In the first book we got a glimpse of Ethan and Tayla's story, but just enough to be intriguing. Now, we get to witness the rest of their story unfold, with insight into their history as well. 

I love how Ms. Lario manages to write sexy, dominant men without making them dominate the women. And the women in these books hold their own. They are strong, independent, capable women that choose to stay with their men. The men also come across as sensitive without losing any of their masculinity. It's a fantastic blend that isn't always easily (or successfully) pulled off, but this author does it well. 

Tayla is hindered by events, and beliefs, from her past but is a strong enough person to understand this about herself and try to look past it. Ethan is a gentle guy that cares deeply for Tayla and is confident enough to give her the space she needs to work it out on her own. Both are fantastic characters.

We get some more detail in this book about the events that led to The Fallen becoming what they are. We also get to see a bit more about what the (so-called) good angels are planning for the humans and we get an actual encounter with one. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next, how the fallen will defeat them or convince the human population of what's going on. It's not easy to convince people that they are wrong, especially about things they've believed to be true for years, or even generations. They have their work cut out for them.

It's very interesting how the book manages to convey the concept of how the good or the bad is all a matter of perception. Whether or not that was the author's intent, it is there and it is very well done. It's a subtle reminder that you can't judge a person by appearance (or public opinion) alone.

Throughout the book, we get to see more of the cave that The Fallen live in, which is amazing, we get to see more of Michael and Eva (from Book One) and more of the other Fallen. I can't wait to read the next book and see what happens next, and who we get to learn more about. Personally, I'm voting for Seth. If you haven't checked out this series yet, you're really missing out and I highly recommend you do so immediately. It's a quick, entertaining read and it will hook you and reel you in. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Twin Flames by Debbie Christiana

Rating: 5 Stars

Title: Twin Flames

Author: Debbie Christiana

Publisher: Black Opal Books
      Cover Art: Cindy Hammock

Genre:  Paranormal/Women's Fiction

Length: 278 Pages


She’d never met him before…or had she?

The last thing forty-year old Natalia Santagario expected was to be sitting on a Manhattan barstool ogling a man she’s never met, but swears she knows.

 He didn’t know her at all…or did her?

The mysterious dark-haired woman at the end of the bar stops twenty-eight year old Marc Tremonti in his tracks. His head assures him she’s a stranger, but his heart tells him otherwise.

 Together they embark on an adventure that will change their lives forever.

Their attraction instant and enigmatic, they undergo past life regression and discover that, not only have they spent hundreds of lives together as lovers, Natalia holds the secret to Marc’s puzzling birthmark.

But what should have been a joyful reunion is complicated by a kind, albeit confused, almost ex-wife, an unfortunate accident in a taxicab, and a bout of temporary amnesia that threatens to ruin everything. On top of all that, they must contend with a mischievous ghost from their past.

What else could possibly go wrong?

Anybody that reads romances regularly (or even those that don't) knows that a common theme, whether it is subtle or not so subtle, is the idea of soul mates. But one that isn't so common (at least to me) is that of "Twin Flame" soul mates. The idea of twin flame soul mates is that each person is one half of the same soul instead of just souls that are destined to be together.

I just loved this book. I'm not quite sure why it doesn't have a romance tag attached to it though, because the main storyline is the love story between two people. The elements used in this book are, quite obviously, extremely well researched and woven throughout the story in a seamless manner. It left me fascinated and wanting to learn more about twin flame soul mates. 

Natalia is a very successful, independent woman. She runs a small vineyard, with the help of a close family friend and manager of the whole operation, and makes her own wine to sell locally. She has a few close friends to lean on but, with her family primarily out of the picture, she is on her own for the most part. She has also been hurt by a past boyfriend, so her friends talk her into a weekend in New York City where she meets Marc. 

Marc, on the other hand, is surrounded by family - including an estranged wife. He is also twelve years younger than Natalia. When the two meet at his family's restaurant where he is bartending for the evening, there is an instant connection and chemistry between the two that confuses and frightens them a little. 

Even though the chemistry is immediate, rather than something that is built up through the course of the book, the author did an excellent job by showing the reactions of the characters as being wary of the whole thing. They both resist the attraction they feel for each other, feeling like it's an infatuation that will pass. Throw in a meddling aunt and mischievous ghost though, and they don't stand a chance. 

While they both have the same Italian background and love of food and wine, that's where the similarities seem to end. There seem to be so many things against this couple getting together that just about everything but the kitchen sink seems to stand in their way. Between the fact that they are from two entirely different types of areas (country vs. city), an age difference, a wife, a car accident and amnesia, it seems like they will never overcome the obstacles.

I loved how Ms. Christiana built the tension through this book. As I mentioned above, it wasn't a matter of building chemistry, that was there from the beginning, but rather a matter of building acceptance. The reactions and thoughts associated with them seemed completely believable and realistic to me. With so many things standing in their way, including themselves, by the end of the book you are left feeling like love can conquer anything and that there really is such a thing as two souls that are absolutely meant for nobody else but each other. 

I would highly recommend this book to anyone and it is one that will go on my keeper shelf for sure. I will want to read this one again.



Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My Killer, My Love by Mona Karel

Rating: 4 Stars

Title: My Killer, My Love

Author: Mona Karel

Publisher: Black Opal Books
      Cover Art: Pepper O'Neal and Mona Karel

Genre:  Paranormal/Fantasy/Romantic Suspense

Length: 233 Pages


She came to the woods to heal and found evil lurking among the trees....

Upon her grandmother’s death, Kendra inherits a cottage deep within the sequoia forest, along with the powers given only to certain women in her family—powers she doesn’t know she has. Recovering from a vicious attack in Phoenix, Kendra returns home to the remote cabin determined to heal both her body and her spirit. But the forest is ailing, too. Evil lurks in its dark places, turning its quiet glades into a battlefield. When a strangely beautiful man appears at her cabin intent on punishing her for a crime she didn’t commit, Kendra needs all her strength to protect her forest, her life... and her heart. Can she learn to use her powers and to trust Mykhael in time to save the ancient forest? 

He came to the woods to redeem himself and found innocence that would be his undoing....

Throughout his long life, Mykhael has struggled, often in vain, to please the Atrahasis, immortal overlords of the sacred places in the universe. Now they have given him one last chance to redeem himself. He must punish the person they think desecrated an ancient forest in Northern California. But when he meets Kendra, he realizes he’s doomed to disappoint them yet again. Not only is she innocent of the crime the Atrahasis have accused her of, Kendra is the missing part of the soul he didn’t know he still possessed. Can he defy the Atrahasis yet again and live long enough to save the only thing in his life that matters?

When I first sat down to read this book, I wasn't really sure what to expect. The blurb seemed a little vague to me and I wasn't entirely sure what I was dealing with. Then, the first few pages confused me a little. I persisted though, and things cleared up nicely. It's not that the beginning doesn't hook you. Not at all. I just wasn't sure what was going on. The beginning is actually intriguing, and you'll get the gist of the plot with in a few pages. 

Kendra has had a rough life, at least in some respects. Her parents had other priorities and very rarely made appearances. She grew up with her grandmother, who taught her the ways of the women of the family. Later, she is severely injured in an attack and returns to the house she grew up in to recover. It's here that she meets Mykhael. 

Mykhael shows up out of nowhere. His job, ultimately, is to kill Kendra, per orders. After spending sometime with her, he realizes that she is not who his superiors thinks he is. He is also falling in love with her. A lot hinges on him following the orders he's been given, but he can't bring himself to do it. Together, Kendra and Mykhael try to figure a way out of their dilemma. 

Kendra is a strange mixture of a quiet, introspective and sassy woman that, once committed to something, stuck by it. And Mykhael is just one of those guys that is sexy and sensitive but still able to take care of things in most situations.

An interesting twist on the paranormal genre, once I got into the book I really enjoyed it. The resolution was a little unexpected and threw a little monkey-wrench into things initially, but worked out in the end. I was a little confused on what Mykhael's race actually is. I narrowed it down to two possibilities, but I'm still not sure which one is correct. Despite the confusion (for me) about that, it is a good read and I really enjoyed it.



Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rescued From The River by Stephy Smith

My Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Title: Rescued From The River

Author: Stephy Smith

Genre: Historical Romance

Length: 78 Pages


Darkness engulfs Emma Donley as she sits on the banks of the Cache La Poudre River near Fort Collins, Colorado. Harvey Morgan, a trapper, kidnaps her with plans to keep her on the mountain as his woman for the winter. Morgan’s embittered rage turns deadly when her strong-minded escape thwarted his plans.

Kale Tucker hears the gunshot. He fears the worst for the next victim of Morgan. His anger grows persistent when he pulls the blood-soaked body of a beautiful woman from the river.

Doubts of her survival weighs heavy on his shoulders. However, he has to try to save the woman he rescued from the river. 


This review is long past due. I should have this one done months ago and I apologize to the author. Several months ago, when I was reviewing books on the website, I reviewed Ms. Smith's other book titled "Lizzie and the Rebel". With that book, while I loved the characters, I felt the pacing was off. Things happened too fast to be realistic and there wasn't really much sense of time passing to make it seem believable. So, to be honest, I was little reluctant to read this one. And when I first sat down to read it, the first few pages, once again, didn't seem realistic to me. Feeling like perhaps I wasn't in the right frame of mind to read it, I decided to put it aside to come back to later. I'm glad I did, though I wish I hadn't waited quite so long.

While Emma may not react in the same way that I would in the very beginning, she redeems herself later. She is a very strong character that will fight when pushed far enough. She may want to be a school teacher, but she is not some timid little mouse that will be pushed around. She fights to escape from the creepy mountain man, Morgan, and she fights to live. 

With the first book, pacing was an issue for me. This book handles it much better. You get the sense of time passing and as the two main characters begin to develop feelings for each other it's not necessarily an instant thing the way it seemed in the other one. This is much more realistic to me, and thus more believable. This may be a personal bias on my part but I tend to have issues with pacing in most of the short length novelettes that I read and Ms. Smith did an admirable job with it. There was a couple parts that felt rushed and one part in particular that it would have been nice to know more about what happened, but over all it was nicely handled.

I loved the character of Sally, Kale's mother. She was kind and caring, with a backbone of steel. She made me laugh aloud a couple of times and by the end I just adored her. I also liked Kale's father but he doesn't make many appearances. When he is in there, though, he is memorable. The story of these two, with the background that we got a peak at, would make a fabulous book.

The plot itself is believable and interesting. Without giving too much away, the part with the plague was ingenious, I thought. Again, as I say with most short length books, I would have enjoyed seeing it as a full length novel. There is enough of a plot here to handle it and the details that could have been included with a full length would have been great. I found a couple of mis-spellings/punctuation issues but it was minimal and, honestly, I was enjoying the book enough that I really didn't care. 

One thing that I, personally, love about this author is the way she blends in the Native American aspects in her books. It's not in your face. It's not stereotypical. It's not even the main focus of the story. But it's there and it's blended and weaved into the story in a way that is very well done. 

I look forward to checking out the next book by this author.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pa Weathery's Chickens by Paul Morris

My Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Title: Pa Weathery's Chickens

Author: Paul Morris

Genre: Fiction/Historical/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Length: 239 Pages


JFK: the conspiracy is stranger than you think .....

"You can sleep in the barn but if you so much as lay a finger on my daughter or my chickens, it's your neck I'll wring." (Pa Weathery)

When an extraterrestrial Traveler arrives on the border of Texas, USA, in November 1963, you can bet that he is on a mission to do a lot more than just lay his hands on Pa Weathery's daughter and his chickens, although they'll do nicely too.

Crossing lawless lands where colored men are beaten to a pulp to add spice to another otherwise pointless night out, and where the white cops stand by applying arbitrary injustice, the Traveler is headed inexorably for Dallas, Texas, November 22 12:32 p.m., where he has been tasked with an act that will change the world forever.

..... and even he doesn't know why. 


The first thing I did after being asked to review this book was look up the blurb. It sounded interesting and already had some good reviews, so I agreed, even though it isn't typically the genre that I read. When I finally sat down to read it, I really wasn't sure what to think. And, by the end of it....I still wasn't sure what to think.

Set in the deep south of the early 1960's, it puts our story firmly in the middle of the racial segregation controversies of the period. When the main character of the story, an alien, takes stock of his new, Earthly body he realizes that he's been given black skin. While this adds a twist and tension to the plot, it also raises questions for the reader (addressed below). Forced to travel to his final destination, our alien visitor naturally encounters a few obstacles along the way. Some of the obstacles are amusing, some are downright hilarious and some are just disturbing.

The plot definitely has an interesting and unique concept. It is well written and seemed to be well researched. Mr. Morris has a most definite talent for story telling and drawing in the reader. SimRarg, the main protagonist, is an intriguing but not entirely sympathetic character. The little tidbits that you get from SimRarg's prior education of both his job and Earth are entertaining, as are many of the people he meets in his travels. Mr. Morris also does a very good job with the dialect of not only the deep south but also of the racial differences in speech as well.

The author had me invested for the first third of the book, no question, until SimRarg arrives in the little town of Beausoleil. After that, I began to question some of the events taking place along with some of the logistics of the whole mission that SimRarg was faced with. Most everything that happens in the first third of the book made total sense to me. Later in the book, though, there just doesn't seem to be any reason for some of the events. Much of it doesn't really move the plot forward in any way other than to possibly introduce some bit players and maybe show some local color. Also, for me personally, some of it was just confusing. The bit with "The Ethiopian", the game playing and the "tej", seemed totally unnecessary to me as did most of the interaction in the book with "X". Venusia was one of the most colorful, and in some ways entertaining, character in the book. I thoroughly enjoyed her, but again, the part with her towards the very end of the book just left me confused.

One of the things about this book that lost me for much of it was the alien aspect. Not in the possibility, but in the details. A lot of little things just didn't add up. If there is an alien race advanced enough that they think they need to send one of their beings here to alter our history, fill his head with useless (and helpful) information for his mission and give him a human body then why aren't they smart enough to know that giving him black skin during that time period would make things infinitely more difficult? For that matter, why aren't they capable of dropping him someplace closer to his ultimate destination? Another thing was that SimRarg realizes that he is slowed down to some extent by the frailties of his human body and there are times that he fears injury by various means and/or actually is injured. But there is one thing that happens that, given all these other instances, makes no sense that it has as little impact as it does. The fact that SimRarg has no idea why he is there to perform his task didn't seem very realistic to me either, especially given the fact that his race apparently has a 'collective consciousness'.

I found the book to be an entertaining diversion from what I normally read and it did keep me reading once I started, anxious to see what happened next. It's not a book that would go on my keeper shelf, but I would recommend it to a friend I knew to be interested in the various aspects of this book. In fact, I already have. So, while it may not be a book that I would re-read, I would definitely check out future works by this author. The end appeared to be left open to a sequel, so maybe I'll have that opportunity soon.



Sunday, September 11, 2011

RTC Giveaway

I am going to have a giveaway!

In an effort to raise my followers, to get the books that I review more publicity, and to introduce more people to the (usually) fantastic books that get to review I am going to have a giveaway.

When I reach 250 GFC followers, I will give away a four pack of the Romance Trading Cards for the book He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not by Lena Diaz.

I can tell you that the cards are ohhhh so pretty and shiny. And Logan Richards and David Riley (two characters from the book) sound and look hot.

I haven't actually reviewed this one yet but it sounds absolutely fantastic and it is on my TBR list.

If you'd like to see what the cards look like, you can see them here.

And, if you'd like to check the book out, you can read the blurb and an excerpt here.

Spread the word!

If I get to 500 followers, I'll do a giveaway for a book!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Guilty as Charged by Anna James

My Rating: 4 Stars

Title: Guilty as Charged (Book 1 of the Bradford Sisters Trilogy)

Author: Anna James

Publisher: Sugar and Spice Press
      Cover Art: Cover art designed by the publisher

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Length: 81 Pages


Passion ignites between Nicole Bradford and Max Paradis the second they lay eyes on each another. Nicole seems to be everything that Max is looking for in a woman. She’s sweet and loving and incredibly sexy. But looks can be deceiving. Hadn’t he learned that the hard way?

Nicole is crazy for Max. He is sensitive, caring and his kisses are to die for. But when secrets from her past are revealed will she be found innocent or is she guilty as charged?


Another entertaining, quick read from Ms. James. This author definitely likes her white collar men and has a nice knack for making them sexy as well. As I mentioned in a review of another book by this author, white collar men usually aren't my thing, but these guys are very deserving of the "sexy" title. Of course, they also seem to be deserving of the "hot headed" and "stubborn" titles as well, but hey, I like a few flaws with my guys. After all, perfect would be boring, right?

After leaving his brother in charge of the very successful company that he built from the ground up, Max Paradis left the country to escape an ex. Now he's returned, angry, jaded and determined not to let another woman close to him. Until he sees Nicole.

Nicole Bradford has been working for Max's brother, Reed, for over a year and is Reed's "right hand man". Talented, charming and loyal, she has the smarts to help build the company up even more. She raised her sisters after the death of her parents and, even though she is attracted to Max, she doesn't have much free time to date.

Meeting under an amusing, yet somewhat appalling (on Max's part), misunderstanding the trouble just snowballs from there. This story is like a comedy of errors from start to finish, with two adults that are used to being independent and who have been burnt by past relationships. The question becomes whether they can set all their preconceived notions aside and give the relationship a real chance. When the past comes back to haunt Nicole, it could be the beginning of the end of everything she has worked for.

Max is a sexy, take charge kind of guy that is capable of helping her if Nicole would only trust him. In Nicole's defense - Max is also the kind of guy that you want just to slap some sense into once in a while but if you can get past his shell, he is also a softhearted, sweet man that will win you over.

The secondary characters are all also very engaging and it will be fun to see more of the other sisters, and the development of the relationship between Nicole's sister, Natalie, and Max's brother, Reed. As I mentioned in a different review, to not only engage you in the story being told, but to also make several other characters intriguing enough to make you want to learn more about them as well, is a very difficult task to accomplish in a novella. This author did an excellent job and I very much look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Hawthorne by Sarah Ballance

Rating: 5 Stars

Title: Hawthorne

Author: Sarah Ballance

Publisher: Astraea Press
      Cover Art: Elaina Lee

Genre: Contemporary Paranormal Romance

Length: 40 Pages


After a terrifying encounter with the unexplained, it took ten years and the news of her grandmother’s passing for Emma Grace Hawthorne to return to her childhood home.   She sought peace in saying a proper goodbye, but what she found was an old love, a sordid family history, and a wrong only she could right.

Living in the shadow of Hawthorne Manor, Noah Garrett never forgot about Emma Grace.  In a house full of secrets, his search for missing documents revealed a truth that could cost him everything.  What he found gave Emma the freedom to walk away from the mansion, her heart free and clear, but at what price to Noah?


Considering this is a charity title, I should have gotten to this one so much sooner and for that I apologize both to the author and to those that the charity benefits. Charity information will be at the end of the review. 

All that said, I'm kind of glad that this one ended up getting left until now because with Halloween right around the corner this is the perfect time of year to read this one. Hawthorne is full of ghosts, a haunted manor, long buried family secrets and, of course, romance. 

Emma Grace is haunted by her past at Hawthorne Manor and the last thing she wants to do is return but when news reaches her of her grandmother's death she is drawn back. Emma needs closure but returning also means seeing her childhood love, Noah, again. 

Noah stayed at Hawthorne Manor as an employee, helping Emma Grace's grandmother. He hopes to one day see Emma Grace again, but he's not really very optimistic about that really happening. When she finally returns, all the old feelings come to life between the two of them again. 

The beginning is sufficiently creepy and suspenseful enough to immediately grab your attention. The descriptions of the old manor and the landscaping surrounding it are vivid. You can see yourself in the deep south, with the moss hanging from the trees and the air humid enough to almost see. The emotions of the characters are so real that it makes you remember your first love and your first heartbreak. The author does such a good job with the atmosphere that you almost feel like you are in another time, or in a bubble hidden from the rest of the world.  

Short length stories like this sometimes leave me feeling like they are incomplete. It's hard to write something that can paint a complete picture, develop characters that people fall in love with and have a satisfying conclusion within such a short amount of pages. I've read many novellas that I really liked but was left feeling like it would have been better as a full length novel with more time to really develop the story/characters. That was so not the case with this one. While I would have loved this one to be longer, just simply to spend more time immersed in this world with these people, I didn't feel cheated at all by the end. 

I read this book within an hour or so. Once I started it, I couldn't put it down. I loved these characters and by the end I wasn't sure how to feel. I wanted to cry and smile at the same time. When I finished it, honestly, all I could do was sit there - a little awestruck. These characters and this story will stay with you long after you have turned the last page. Ms. Ballance has earned a new fan. I can't wait to check out more of her work. 

Charity information: 
HAWTHORNE is available exclusively from Astraea Press for only $3, with all proceeds sent directly from the publisher to charity in support of Japan disaster relief.  Your contribution through the purchase of this and other AP charity titles is greatly appreciated!
The link to the book at the Astraea Press website is here

You can read the first chapter at the author's website here.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Elusive Echoes by Kay Springsteen

My Rating: 5 Stars

Title: Elusive Echoes ( Book 2 of the Orson's Folly Series)

Author: Kay Springsteen

Publisher: Astraea Press
      Cover Art: Elaina Lee

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Length: 238 Pages with a sneak peak at the end of the first in the 'Echoes' series Lifeline Echoes.


They’re two people caught between friendship and something more; they can’t move forward, and they can’t let go.

Drawn together from early childhood, Sean McGee and Melanie Mitchell seemed destined for each other. But at age thirteen, Melanie was wrenched from the people she loved and forced onto a path she loathed. Sean was no stranger to people leaving, but losing Melanie devastated him. When she suddenly reappeared in Orson’s Folly, Sean was overjoyed. The Melanie who came home, though, wasn’t the same girl. She’s got a harder edge and she’s obviously hiding something, but Sean no longer knows how to reach her.

Returning to Orson's Folly as an adult, all Melanie wanted to do was forget the years she spent away. But she soon learned that going home didn’t mean she could return to her old life—or her childhood sweetheart, Sean. Even their mutual attraction to one another hasn’t rebuilt the bond of trust and closeness they once shared. It’s been seven years since she returned and now everything Melanie wants to forget has broadsided her. She must confront her demons and relive her past in an unexpected way or risk losing the only man she’s ever loved. But even if she succeeds, Sean might be lost to her anyway. 


Okay, first: have you read Lifeline Echoes? Because if you haven't, go read it. I'll wait.

Are you back? Alrighty, we'll move on with this one then!

Yes, this is another series I fell in love with this summer. I know, I seem to like everything I read, right? But this one is worth its rating, I promise. This is the second book in the series and with it we get to revisit Sandy and Ryan as well as dive headlong into Melanie and Sean's romance.

Sean and Melanie have known each other since they were little kids. Sean called her the "girl with the sunshiny hair" and knew, as he got older, that Melanie was the girl for him. They had a connection that not many people ever get. But then, due to tragic family circumstances, Melanie has to go away and leave Orson's Folly. When she comes back years later as an adult, they still have a connection but Melanie is holding back. On the surface everything seems good but they are having a hard time recovering that connection the deeper level that they used to have it.

The beginning revealed some history that we learned a little about in the first book, giving us a heartbreaking  glimpse into the past. Sean and Melanie are both dynamic characters with a lot of depth to them. Melanie is hiding from a past that she is ashamed of and doesn't want Sean to know about. Because of this she is leery of committing to a permanent relationship. But a permanent relationship is what Sean wants. He's not interested in the idea of anything else with Melanie.

I love what Sean does in this story for his "job". He rehabs horses that have either been physically or emotionally scarred in some way. In other words - horses that nobody else wants, for the most part. Sean works with them and heals them. This reveals a lot about Sean's personality and shows in the way he deals with Melanie. A cowboy with a heart - gotta love him.

I love the character of Melanie. Like Sandy from the first book, she is spunky and sexy yet vulnerable. Don't back her into a corner because she'll give as good as she gets but she also has a soft heart. Ms. Springsteen tends to write strong female characters that can be a partner to the strong male characters she writes rather than submissive to the strong male and I love that. Melanie fits the bill well. 

The is one of those stories that pulls you in and keeps a firm hold until you've finished the book. And if that means staying up until 3am? Well, too bad. (Thanks for that, Kay! LOL) But bags under your eyes the next day will be worth it to find out what happens with these two. Can't wait until the next book!

If you're looking for the first book...find it here:

Monday, August 29, 2011

well, crap....

I am woefully behind on reviews.

I know this.

I have no good excuse. No better excuse than anyone else has. Just life gets in the way and tends to get away from me. Between summer, back to school, busy work schedule, stuff to get done around the house, running the kids here and there and some medical issues for me I've just gotten really behind.

I hope to knock several out in the next week. It's not that I haven't been reading. I just haven't had a chance to sit down here and write them.

Coming up over the next two weeks I hope to get reviews posted for:

Elusive Echoes by Kay Springsteen (coming up next!)

My Killer, My Love by Mona Karel

Matching Wits With Venus by Therese Gilardi (long overdue)

Pa Weathery's Chickens by Paul Morris

Hawthorne by Sarah Ballance

Isabella's Dilemma by Anna James

Guilty as Charged by Anna James

And even a couple of more not long after that. See? I've been reading! I just need to get them written.

Elusive Echoes will be posted by tomorrow.

Thank you all for your patience!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Clubbed to Death (Jordan Davis Mysteries, Book #2) by Alyssa Lyons

My Ratings: 5 Stars 

Title: Clubbed to Death (Jordan Davis Mysteries, Book #2)

Author: Alyssa Lyons

Publisher: Black Opal Books
Cover Art: Dawné Dominique

Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense

Length: 199 Pages with a sneak peak at the previous book in the series following at the end.


She’s up to her old tricks again... 

Newly minted private detective Jordan Davis takes on a murder case where family loyalty trumps sisterly hate, when she sets out to prove her half-sister innocent of murder. 

He’s wondering if he wouldn’t be safer in jail... 

Her lover, Gray, thought he had it rough during Jordan's last escapade. After all, he ended up spending a night in jail. Now with her packing heat, he wonders if jail isn't the safest place in town to be. 

Together, they’ll flip the town of Lynchburg, VA on its ear, provided they live long enough. 

As Jordan gets closer to the truth about the murder in the Junior League clubhouse, the killer is determined to see her dead. And what about the three kids Gray and Jordan are hiding?


Don't you just love finding a new series that you, I do. It's like Christmas morning for me. When I find a series that I really enjoy, it goes on the keeper shelf. Then, when I am bored, or feeling nostalgic, or simply missing the new friends I've made in these books, I can just snag one off the shelf and re-visit them. This one is no exception. In the first book of the series, Last Wishes, I fell in love with Gray and Jordan. Getting to re-visit them has been a treat.

In fact, I've never really understood the whole “sexy little schoolgirl” fantasy that men have until I met Gray. Men in suits have never been my thing. To me they just say....soft. I like my men hard-bodied. But Gray? Well, Gray has inspired me to have “sexy men in suits” or “sexy men in black judge's robes” fantasies. That can be just downright disturbing considering how often I visit courthouses for work. Especially when you consider the fact that most judges that I see could (almost) be my dad. Or, at the very least, the creepy perverted uncle at family gatherings. Just eww. Gray is about as far on the opposite end of the spectrum from “eww” as you can get though. Whether he is doing the “I'm on the side of the law, obey me” routine, or the “I'm a sensitive guy, let me run a bath for you” routine, he is H.O.T. And, the scenes between the sheets are sizzling.

Then there is Jordan. I want Jordan to be my new BFF. She is so much fun with such a devil-may-care attitude. I love the fact that she rides a motorcycle and wears red leather. I adore the fact that she got her dog a leather jacket to ride her motorcycle with her. And the fact that she wants nothing to do with the snobby junior league. On the flip side of that, she is open-minded enough to take those junior league snobs and see to the people they are beneath the surface instead of just the picture they present to the world. Jordan is compassionate, caring and there is so much more to her than what she appears to be. The way she gets around Gray's concerns and sometimes overly protective attitude are so similar to how I get around my husband on occasion that I feel as though we could be sisters.

The secondary characters are, as usual, vivid and entertaining. Fireball is still sexy and mysterious. I would love to see more of this guy. Gray's mother is her usual fun self and the kids are adorable. Kiki is just too pinch-her-cheeks cute, making you want to just scoop her up and hug her. The other two, Paul and Emma, are the type of kids that are old beyond their years and make you want to see them have the childhood they deserve. It also wouldn't surprise me to see them on their own adventures on the written page when they are all grown up. The addition of the kids does make me wonder about the future dynamics between all of the characters, most especially (naturally) Gray and Jordan. The mystery is nail-biting with plenty of misdirection and suspense.

I look forward to the next installment in this series (there will be another installment, won't there Ms. Lyons? Pretty please?) with great anticipation. If you enjoy the romantic suspense genre, real characters and great humor, I highly recommend checking this series out. If you haven't yet had the chance to check out Last Wishes, well...what are you waiting for? But, even if you haven't, these books can be read as stand-alone books.