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: