Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Retribution by Val McDermid (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan #7)

Val McDermid is a world-class crime writer whose books have sold millions worldwide. Now joining the Atlantic Monthly Press list for the first time, she is back with a chilling, high-velocity thriller featuring her immensely popular creations, clinical psychologist Dr. Tony Hill and detective Carol Jordan. Tony Hill has had a good run. He and detective Carol Jordan have put away scores of dangerous criminals at a rate that colleagues envy. But there is one serial killer who has shaped and defined their careers, and whose evil surpasses all others: Jacko Vance, ex-celebrity and sociopath whose brilliance and utter lack of remorse have never left Tony’s mind in the ten years since his imprisonment. Now Jacko has escaped from prison even more twisted and cunning than before, he is focused on wreaking revenge on Tony and Carol for his years spent in prison. Tony and Carol don’t know when Jacko will strike, or where. All they know is that Jacko will cause them to feel fear like they’ve never known. A chilling, utterly gripping tour de force, The Retribution is the ideal introduction or re-introduction to the world of Tony Hill and Carol Jordan. It is an unforgettable read. (synopsis from Goodreads)

The Retribution is the seventh book in the Tony Hill & Carol Jordan series by Val McDermid. I was a little skeptical about reading a novel this far along in the series but my fears were unwarranted.  McDermid provided enough background information, that I quickly felt I was in the loop.  The novel is a British crime thriller that involves Police profiler Tony Hill and Detective Captain Inspector Carol Jordon and her team.

There are two plots working side by side in this novel. The prominent plot surrounds the escape of serial killer Jacko Vance. Vance was captured and sent to jail by DCI Jordon and her team 12 years ago. He is a methodical serial killer, who has spent years plotting his revenge on Hill, Jordon and the team. When he escapes prison, he begins executing his plans for retribution. The second is a series of new murders. The team quickly discovers a serial killer. He kills and mutilates ladies of the night. His signature is a tattooed word on his victims- Mine. With very little clues, the team races to profile and capture this killer, while dealing with Vance's plans for revenge. 

It is evident that the key characters Tony Hill and DCI Jordan are flawed, damaged souls. While the author provides backdrop to these characters, I think if I had read the series, I’d better appreciate what had driven them to where they are today. Professionally they have a proven track record, and while not always liked in the department, they are respected. Their personal lives are a mess. There is a complicated relationship between Hill and Jordon that seems to ebb and flow. It is not yet a physical romance, but an emotional one. 

Overall I enjoyed The Retribution. I was pleased that the book's language was not altered for American publication. The tale was interesting but I am still up in the air about the dueling storylines. The author moved back and forth between telling Jacko Vance’s story and those of the crime unit. This left the second plot to be sprinkled throughout.  While I appreciate that this makes it more realistic, as a reader I would have liked more details into each case.

I recommend this to fans of crime thrillers and British literature.  The Retribution is scheduled for release on January 10, 2010. I look forward to reading more of McDermid's work. 

I want to thank netGalley and Grove/Atlantic, Inc. for providing me with this ARC, in exchange for my unbiased review.

I gave this novel 3 coffee cups out of 5. 

Buy here: B&N or here: Amazon
Author's website: Val McDermid

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Mark the Date: Books Released in December

see my review: A Clockwork Christmas

see my review: The Kissing Tree

see my review : The Demon Lover

see my review:Holiday Kisses

Book Released this Month that I will review:


Sunday, November 27, 2011

My Little Pet Dragon by Scott Gordon

My Little Pet Dragon is an amusing picture book featuring 28 adorable pieces of computer-generated artwork (similar to what you would see in a Pixar movie). The book is about 30 pages in all, and is best viewed in color.

As an added bonus, 100% of the proceeds from each sale will be donated to the family of Alyssa Mowery. Last October, Alyssa was struck by a car while crossing the street with her friend Mia Decker (deceased) and sister Rain (minor injuries). Although Alyssa has awakened from her coma and said her first word since the accident, she has a long way to go.

With your contribution and support, you can make a difference in this young girl's life.(synopsis from Amazon)

When I received Scott Gordon's email asking me to review his children's book, My Little Pet Dragon, my first thought was no. This isn't a genre I typically review. However, when I heard Alyssa's story and the wonderful generosity of this author, I couldn't help but spread the word. The book is delightful and all proceeds go to helping Alyssa and her family. 

My Little Pet Dragon is a cute, funny, picture eBook that is sure to delight your little ones. Told from the child's POV, it tells the story of the pet dragon they received last Christmas. The child tells you all the stuff the dragon likes to do and each page shows colorful pictures of the dragon performing these various tasks. There is a silly twist at the end when the child receives this years Christmas present and it is sure to make your child giggle. The images are beautiful, the story whimsical and silly. The story is simple enough, that after a few reads, your child should be able to tell you the story. My children are in college, but as toddlers they would have loved this book. 

My Little Pet Dragon is currently available only on Kindle. I reviewed this on my PC, and the images were crisp and clear. If you do not own a kindle, you can download the kindle app to your phone, personal computer, tablet and iPod. Treat your little one's to a fantastic picture book and help out a good cause. This eBook is scheduled to publish at B&N for the nook and a paperback version is in the works through Creative Space publishing. I will post an update as they become available. 

Any blogger who would like to re-post my review to help out a good cause, please feel free to do so. To learn more about Alyssa and her story, see the links listed below.

Scott Gordon is also a fantasy writer so be sure and check out his website for his adult titles. The next children's book by Gordon is entitled:

I gave this delightful book 5 coffee cups out of 5 (or should that be milk?)

Update: My Little Pet Dragon is now available in Spanish. My Crazy Pet Frog has been published and  100% of the proceeds to all three books go toward helping Alyssa. 
Buy here:Amazon
Author's website: Scott Gordon
Learn more about Alyssa here: Christin Mowery or 
here: Facebook

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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Holiday Kisses: A Holiday Romance Collection by Shannon Stacey, Jaci Burton, HelenKay Dimon and Alison Kent

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...Love!

A man gives the gift of trust and receives a second chance at love in return. A woman helps to heal the wounded heart of a soldier. A couple finds that true love knows no distance. And a young widow learns that there can be two great loves in a lifetime. Love, romance and passion come together in this collection of four seasonal shorts.(Synopsis from Goodreads)

It isn’t often that I enjoy all of the stories in an anthology, but Holiday Kisses delivers. The novel contains four contemporary romances surrounding the holiday season.  This is the first time I have ever given a 5 coffee cup review to a collection of works. Each story could stand on its own, and I would gladly read the full length version.

In, This Time Next Year by Alison Kent we meet Brenna Keating and Dillon Craig. Brenna is headed to her grandmother’s house in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  This is a sentimental Christmas for her, because it might be the last she spends with her Gran. When a snow storm hits, Dr. Dillon Craig a retired solider just back from Afghanistan finds Brenna stuck in a snow bank.  The storm is raging and he takes her back to his cabin. Trapped for a few days at the cabin, the sexual tension and Alison’s desire to understand Dillon will have you laughing, sighing and shedding a few tears. This was a delightful tale that captured me from page one.

The second story, A Rare Gift by Jaci Burton introduces us to Calliope Andrews. She runs a day care center, and has had a crush on Wyatt Kent since she was fifteen.  The problem; up until a few years ago he was married to her sister. When she needs to expand her daycare, she calls Kent’s family contracting business to do the job.  When Wyatt sees Calliope all grown up, he is shocked to find himself attracted to his ex-wife’s sister. This is bad, real, bad. They had an ugly divorce and he won’t trust his heart to another woman.  Calliope is determined to show him that she is nothing like her sister. The tale that unfolds is wildly romantic and kept me up till the wee hours.

The third tale shows love knows no distance. It’s Not Christmas Without You by HelenKay Dimon is sure to draw at your heartstrings.  In this story we meet, Carrie Anders and Austin Thomas. They have been sweethearts since high school.  After college, Dillon thinks they will get married and settle down in West Virginia near his family’s business, but when Carrie accepts her dream job in Washington, D.C. and ends their relationship his world crashes around him.  Dillon thinks she will change her mind that she just needs to get this out of her system.  Six months later, he finds out she isn’t coming home for the holidays. Determined to win her back, he packs up Christmas trees to sell at an empty lot across from her apartment.  He’s convinced seeing him, will have her coming to her senses. Watching these two lovebirds figure out compromise is everything, had me laughing at their crazy antics, crying and hoping they find their happily ever after.

In the final story, Mistletoe and Margaritas by Shannon Stacey we meet Justin McCormick.  Justin has been in love with his best friends wife, since the three of them met. Fate, led his friend to speak with her first. He has silently stood by, through the courtship, wedding and his best friend’s death.  Clair Rutledge couldn’t have made it through the loss of her husband without their best friend. Justin has been her rock, but suddenly she is noticing, how he fills out his jeans, his smile and his lips. To make matters worse, she is dreaming about him. Watching these two handle the sexual tension, the past and each other is an emotional ride.

 Holiday Kisses offers romance, steamy love scenes and happy endings. These are the perfect stories to put you in the holiday mood. I recommend this to fans of contemporary romances. Take a moment to check out each of these authors and their other published works.  All of these stories are also available individually. Currently, this novel is only available in eBook format. This novel will be released on December 5, 2011.

I want to thank netGalley and Carina Press for this ARC, in exchange for my unbiased review.

I gave this book 5 coffee cups out of 5.

Buy here: Barnes and Noble or here: Amazon
Author's website:

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving to All of my Followers and their Families

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving.
Thanks for sharing your love of reading with me!

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

An Unforgettable Christmas by Trisha Wilson

Chelsea Roberts is facing her first Christmas alone. She has her best friends, but it still isn't the same. Will an unexpected family connection bring a smile to her face again? Nick Collins is facing the challenges of being an unexpected single father to a newborn. He has a big family, but is still lonely. Can Chelsea let someone get close enough to love her through her sadness? Will Nick be able to trust someone enough to get close to himself and Jasmine? Through a lot of tears and laughter, with the help of close friends and family, take the journey with Chelsea and Nick as they experience an unforgettable Christmas. (Synopsis from Goodreads)

An Unforgettable Christmas is a heartwarming, touching story of faith, overcoming loss and love. I truly enjoyed this heartfelt novel and the message it delivered.

Protagonist Chelsea Roberts is having a difficult time facing the holidays this year. Last Christmas she lost her family to a tragic accident. Since then she has moved to a new town, to be closer to her childhood girlfriend.  She has befriended her elderly neighbor and isn’t looking forward to Christmas, and the painful reminder of all she has lost.

While out shopping for gifts for her neighbor and friend, she bumps into Nick Collins and his infant Jasmine.  He attempts to take her to lunch, and she immediately makes her escape. They are both, left thinking about the other. When she stops over her neighbors to bring her a home cooked meal, she is surprised to see Nick there.

The tale that unfolds is sad, romantic and with a few twists that will have you turning the pages. The romance between them is sweet, gentle and complicated.  Chelsea struggles to let go of her painful past and find happiness.  She has survival guilt, and hasn’t opened up to others about her loss. Her emotions are all over the place and Nick patiently struggles, as she goes from hot to cold. Despite this, he begins to realize he is falling in love.

An Unforgettable Christmas was an easy and enjoyable read. I finished it in just a few hours. While there is a faith based message, it takes a very modern approach. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys romances, contemporary fiction and faith-based tales. This novel is currently available in eBook and paperback. 

I want to thank the author for providing me with an ARC, in exchange for my unbiased review.

I gave this novel 4 coffee cups out of 5. 

Buy here: B&N or here: Amazon
Author's website: Trisha Wilson

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A Vampire for Christmas by Laurie London, Michele Hauf, Caridad Piñeiro and Alexis Morgan

All they want for Christmas is you…
It's the time of year for twinkling lights on trees and kisses under the mistletoe. Yet the passing of another year means nothing to the stunning immortals who lurk in the shadows of the new-fallen snow. And they don't care if you've been naughty or nice. Let four fanged lovers open your eyes to a passion you never dared to imagine. After all, there's no place like home for the holidays—and these dazzling vampires can't wait for an invitation. (synopsis from Goodreads)

Doesn't every girl want a Vampire under her Christmas tree? A Vampire for Christmas is an anthology containing very sexy, troubled vampires who meet  woman during the holiday season.  These paranormal romances were absolutely delightful and the perfect tales to get you in the holiday mood.  I was thrilled that I enjoyed all four stories. I would have loved for two of them to be full length, but each was written well, and left me satisfied.

In the first tale, Enchanted Blood, interior designer Charlotte is almost attacked late at night, when Trace steps in and saves her. She’s never met him but why does she have this niggling feeling that she has?  The steamy interaction between them is sure to put you in the holiday mood. Can Trace find the balance between his promise to his father and his own happiness?This is part of Laurie London's Sweetblood series and fans are sure to love it.

In the second story, Monster’s Don’t Do Christmas by Michelle Hauf we meet Olivia a rising pop star invites troubled vampire Daniel into her home. He is intrigued by this sexy down to earth girl, who doesn’t fear the monster inside him.  Together will they discover that even monsters deserve love this holiday season? This tale is sure to warm your heart. 

The third tale is reminiscent of the classic A Christmas Carol and is entitled When Herald Angels Sing by Caridad Piñeiro. This heartwarming tale involves vampires, angels and demons.  This is a classic tale of good verse evil.  Can vampire Damien learn from past Christmases? Can the guardian angel Angelica step back and let Damien choose his fate?  Damien needs to make the right choice or the devil will take his soul. This story will have you flipping the pages to race to its suspenseful conclusion. 

The fourth story, All I Want for Christmas by Alexis Morgan introduces us to sexy, undercover cop and vampire, Eagan. He is working a case about missing young boys and can’t help noticing the sexy, trusting and compassionate owner of the local dinner.  Della owns the dinner, and is captivated by Eagan and his piercing blue eyes.  Eagan is drawn to her light and goodness.  He uses his stake-out as an excuse to hang out there. The sexual tension between the two and Eagan’s fear of rejection provide the reader with an enchanting romance, laced in suspense. Can Eagan find happiness?

I thoroughly enjoyed A Vampire for Christmas and highly recommend it to anyone who loves sexy vampires, weres, angels and demons.  The short stories are perfect for the holiday season and individually can be read in an evening.  The downside…you are sure to want a vampire under your tree this holiday season.  When I finished reading this novel, I sighed and my husband asked, “Was it a sad story?” I replied, “No..I  want a vampire for Christmas.” He offered to bite me…….hmmm?

I gave this collection 4 coffee cups out of 5. 

Buy here: B&N or here: Amazon
Author's Websites:

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Johnny Doesn't Drink Champagne (Vampires of the Tower) by Cody Young

I’m seventeen and he’s twenty-one.
That’s okay… isn’t it?
He drives a Lamborghini. So what?
He was born in 1462. Uh-oh.
He seeks revenge, but there is one person standing in his way.
On a high school trip to London, Madison Lambourne meets seductive stranger Johnny De Vere, who believes he knows her already, and is torn between love and revenge.  Eager to learn more about this beautiful, lonely, young man, Madison agrees to go with him to a re-enactment at the Tower of London. Dressed as a highborn medieval lady in a black velvet gown, she accidentally slips through a doorway that leads to the past. Knowing she will not last long on the streets of medieval London, Johnny must follow her… with devastating consequences for them both.  A wild time-travel adventure full of love, lies, mystery and betrayal. (Synopsis from Goodreads) 

Johnny Doesn't Drink Champagne is a YA time traveling novel complete with vampires.  Author Cody Young delivers a delightful tale set in London’s present day and the year 1483. This was an enchanting, suspenseful, romantic tale that had me turning the pages to race to its conclusion.  I liked the combination of historical information and fiction. I became completely immersed in the time period.

The tale is told from the POV of protagonist seventeen year old Madison Lambourne.  Madison is traveling with her senior class to London. She meets Johnny DeVere at the Heathrow airport.  Johnny calls her Madeline and appears to know her.  She finds a torn note that falls from his pocket. It is written on old paper and says, “In time you will forgive me. I will be waiting for you at…” The handwriting is hers.  This encounter will test all that Madison knows and prove her braver then even she imagined.  

The story centers on the Tower of London, past tragedies and the keepers of the River of Time.  Madison and Johnny travel back in time, to right wrongs and protect the river of time. The romance between Johnny and Madison is sweet, romantic and youthful.  Madison is independent and takes charge, sometimes at her own peril.  Johnny is dark, world-wise and obviously taken with Madison.

I have to mention the cover. I am not a fan, and feel it doesn’t do the wonderful tale that lies within justice.  I would have liked to have seen Madison running from the Tower in the lovely period dress she wore or the image of Johnny(as seen on author's website) in black and white.  The old adage "never judge a book by its cover" applies here.  I would have walked right by this novel. I am so guilty of being drawn to a book by its cover and then reading the synopsis.

Johnny Doesn't Drink Champagne was a charming novel. The plot was captivating and an effortless read. Young skillfully took us from past to present, while slowly giving us clues to the past relationship between Madison and Johnny. Some of the characters were humorous, especially the school chaperone. 

 I recommend this to fans of historical fiction and YA paranormal romance.  Johnny Doesn't Drink Champagne is available in eBook and paperback forms. I look forward to reading the next book in this series.  Cody Young’s other published works include, , , and 

I want to thank author Cody Young for providing me with an ARC, in exchange for my unbiased review.

I gave this book 4 coffee cups out of 5. 

Buy here: B&N or here: Amazon and here: Smashwords
Author's website: Cody Young

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Evil Inside (Krewe of Hunters) by Heather Graham

SOME DEATHS LIVE ON FOREVER For as long as it has stood overlooking New England’s jagged coastline, Lexington House has been the witness to madness… and murder. But in recent years the inexplicable malice that once tormented so many has lain as silent as its victims. Until now… A member of the nation’s foremost paranormal forensic team, Jenna Duffy has made a career out of investigating the inexplicable. Yet nothing could prepare her for the string of slayings once again plaguing Lexington House—or for the chief suspect, a boy barely old enough to drive, much less kill. With the young man’s life on the line, Jenna must team up with attorney Samuel Hall to pinpoint who—or what—is taking the lives of those who get too close to the past. But everything they learn brings them closer to the forces of evil stalking this tortured ground. (Synopsis from Goodreads)

Evil Inside is the fourth novel in the Krewe of Hunters series by Heather Graham.  All of the books in this series involve a special forensic unit of the FBI, which deals unofficially with the paranormal.  If you enjoy paranormal romances steeped in mystery you are sure to love this series.  All of the tales can be read as a standalone. Graham gives enough background to bring the reader up to speed, and each novel deals with one agent and their romance.

The Evil Inside focusing on Jenna Duffy, a registered RN turned FBI agent, who can see ghosts and events from the past.  The story takes place in Salem, Massachusetts and deals with a murder at the old Lexington House.  Samuel Hall is a defense attorney headed to his old family homestead when he comes across a young man standing in the middle of the road;naked and covered in blood. He is charged with the brutal murder of his parents and grandmother.  Jenna's Uncle lives in Salem and ask her to come and unofficially help the boy. She meets him at a pub, where he states the boy is innocent and that more help is coming. Sam Hall enters the pub, and its apparent Jenna's Uncle has planned this meeting. He tries to convince Sam and Jenna that they must help the young man. He arranges for them to speak with the boy.

Sam decides to defend the young man and together with Jenna and her Uncle they begin to investigate the murders. Jenna's team shows up and offers their unofficial assistance. The plot was filled with lots of twists, suspects and danger. While I did eventually piece together the suspect before it was revealed, I enjoyed the ride. The romance between Jenna and Sam was sweet, hot and complimented the story.  Graham has a great ability to deliver a romance that is hot and sexy without too much detail.

The Evil Inside was a fast paced paranormal murder mystery, filled with suspense, danger and just the right amount of romance. I found myself completely immersed in this tale, and loved all the background on the Salem Witch trials. The town’s diverse citizens and characters made it the perfect backdrop for this case.  

 I highly recommend this book to fans of romance, mystery, the Salem Witch trials and paranormal elements.  Heather Graham is one of my favorite authors and I encourage you to check out some of her other series such as; the Flynn Brothers  series, Bone Island Trilogy and the Harrison Investigation series.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 cups of coffee. 

Buy here: B&N or here: Amazon
Author's website: Heather Graham

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

A mesmerizing, moving, and elegantly written debut novel, The Language of Flowers beautifully weaves past and present, creating a vivid portrait of an unforgettable woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own troubled past. The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating grief, mistrust, and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings.  Now eighteen and emancipated from the system, Victoria has nowhere to go and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. Soon a local florist discovers her talents, and Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But a mysterious vendor at the flower market has her questioning what’s been missing in her life, and when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness. (Synopsis from Goodreads)

The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh is a stunning debut novel that will forever change the way you look at flowers.  Diffenbaugh weaves a tale about love, faith, endurance and one woman’s battle to overcome her troubled past.

The story takes place in San Francisco and centers on protagonist Victoria Jones.  Victoria has grown up in the foster care system and has now become emancipated. Diffenbaugh slowly peels back the petals in Victoria’s present and past life, giving us a glimpse of the dynamics that make up this complicated young woman. Told in Victoria’s voice, we see her struggle to communicate with the world around her.  It is through flowers that she is able to express herself. Yellow roses mean jealousy, winter cherry signifies deception, and starwort gives welcome.

As a young adult, Victoria finds employment at a flower shop, and using the language of flowers begins to communicate with others.  News of her gift, spread and soon people are coming to her for flowers.  She meets a young man, who patiently tries to communicate to her through flowers. Their romance is bittersweet and will not leave the reader untouched.

As we journey through Victoria’s past, we learn how she came to communicate with flowers.  When she was ten years old, she was taken into the home of Elizabeth.  Victoria suffering from a life spent in a myriad of foster homes and facilities is detached, doesn’t like to be touched and trusts no one. She fully expects Elizabeth to reject her.  Elizabeth opens up her home and slowly shows her the meaning of love. She teaches Victoria the language of flowers.  It is through flowers that Victoria begins to communicate and forms her first bond with another human.

As the tale weaves back and forth between the past and present, answers are slowly revealed as to why Victoria is on her own and no longer with Elizabeth. The story will captivate you, as you are swept up in this heart-breaking, truthful tale.  Diffenbaugh brings voice to human tragedy, our failed foster-care system and the hearts ability to endure and overcome.

I highly recommend The Language of Flowers to everyone.  The novel is beautifully written and the transition from past to present is seamless.  I am adding Vanessa Diffenbaugh to my list of must read authors. This novel would be perfect for a book club and an excellent gift for the reader on your list. 

I want to thank netGalley and Random House Publishing Group for providing this ARC, in exchange for my unbiased review.

I gave this book 5 coffee cups out of 5. 

Buy here: B&N or here: Amazon
Author's website: Vanessa Diffenbaugh

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Against the Storm (The Raines of Wind Canyon #4) by Kat Martin

Redheads like her are nothing but trouble. But Trace Rawlins, a former army-ranger-turned-private-investigator, takes the case anyway. After all, he knows how to deal with women.  Trace can sense that something’s wrong—Maggie O’Connell isn’t telling him everything. If these menacing calls and messages are real, why won’t the police help her? And if they aren’t real, what is she hiding?  As Trace digs deeper to find the source of Maggie’s threats, he discovers a secret that no one was meant to uncover. And the only puzzle left to be solved is whether the danger comes from an unknown stalker…or from the woman he’s trying his hardest not to fall for. (Synopsis from Goodreads)

Against the Storm is the fourth installment in the Raines of Wild Canyon series by Kat Martin.  Fear not, each book can be read as a standalone.  In each tale Martin gives us a suspenseful situation, a female in distress and a sexy cowboy to help save the day. 

Maggie O’Connell is a strong, successful photographer.  Recently, she has been finding little notes on her car and they are beginning to scare her   Encouraged by her friend she goes to the police.  A youthful mistake makes the police department believe that Maggie is simply crying wolf.  When she sees private investigator Trace Rawlins working another case, she realizes he might be able to help her.

When Maggie walks into Trace’s firm asking for help against a stalker, Trace takes one look at this redheaded beauty, and is ready to run.  Everybody knows Trace has a thing for redheads.  Two years ago he divorced one, and he still hasn’t recovered from her lying, cheating ways.  Despite his personal  concerns, his instincts tell him this is a serious threat to Maggie.

What follows is a suspenseful, wildly romantic story, which will have you flipping the pages to reach the outcome.  Martin is very good at delivering a suspenseful mystery interlaced with the right amount of romance.  I am looking forward to the next book in the series entitled, Against the Night.

I recommend Against the Storm  to anyone who enjoys suspenseful mysteries and spicy romances. It is a quick, easy, delightful read.

I gave this book 4 coffee cups out of 5.

Buy here: B&N or here: Amazon
Author's website: Kat Martin

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

2012 TBR Pile Challenge

Click on the Image(above) to join in the challenge

"We all have those books. We buy them, win them, they're gifted to us.. Then we put them up on a bookshelf and there they stay, collecting dust, waiting for the time when we'll finally decide to pick them up..

Join us on a quest to dust off your TBR Pile and read all the books you've been telling yourself you'll read next time you'll get a chance.. This is your chance! And there are PRIZES!!! :D"

Come and join us during this challenge!

Challenge guidelines:

  1. This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2012 - Dec 31, 2012.
  2. As we would like to see quality reviews linked up to our monthly wrap-ups, only bloggers can enter. Sorry about that!
  3. Any genre, length or format of book counts, as long as it is a book that's been sitting on your shelf for some time now. Only books released in 2011 and earlier! NO ARCs and 2012 fresh-off-the-press releases allowed!
  4. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.
  5. When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the 2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge (You need to include the info + host list + challenge button. You can also grab the button code and add it to your sidebar!)
  6. You can move up levels, but no moving down.
  7. Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2012, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.
  8. At the end of each month one of the hosts will post a wrap-up. Every wrap-up will have it's unique theme, a mini-challenge, a giveaway and place for you to link up your reviews from this monthFor each review you link up, you will get one entry in a drawing of one book of choice from Book Depository. It's open to INTERNATIONALS. For participating in themini-challenge you will get +1 entry.
  9. If you miss a wrap-up post + giveaway, you can link up your reviews next month. Do not, however, try to link up one review twice - we will be checking ;)
  10. December is a wrap-up for the whole year. All the book reviews you linked up January-November + the ones you'll link up in December will be entered into a HUGE giveaway - 12 books, 12 winners, INTERNATIONAL. 
  11. You don't have to follow all the hosts to join the challenge, but you do have to follow all of us to be entered in giveaways!

1-10 - A Firm Handshake
11-20 - A Friendly Hug
21-30 - A Sweet Kiss
31-40 - Love At First Sight
41-50 - Married With Children

Hosts (their blogs & Twitter accounts)

Evie from Bookish - @SeoEvie
Nicole from All I Ever Read - @Nicoleabouttown
Bonnie from Hands and Home - @HandsHomeBlog
Donna from Book Passion For Life -  @BookPforLife
Caitlin from WatchYA Reading -  @caitlingss
Rie from Mission To Read -  @missiontoread
Vicky from Books, Biscuits & Tea @alouetteuette
Christa from Hooked On Books -  @ChristasBooks
Jenna from Fans Of Fiction -  @fansoffiction
Angel from Mermaids Vision -  @mermaidvisions

Wrap-up POST Schedule:

January Donna (Theme: Let It Snow + Book Cover Challenge)
February - Nicole (Theme: Un-requited Love/Love Gone Wrong + Advice Column Challenge)
March - Rie (Theme: Green or Pinched + Green Cover Challenge)
April -  Bonnie (Theme: Easter + Mini Challenge)
May - Christa (Theme: MayDay - Disaster Books! + Cover Disaster Challenge)
June - Jenna ( Theme: Camping + Sentence Challenge)
July - Rie (Theme: International Day + Cover Comparison Challenge)
August - Angel (Theme: Summer Memories + Send Your Fav Character On Vacation Challenge)
September Nicole (Theme: Life Changing Books + Mini Challenge)
October - Caitlin (Theme: Thanksgiving Theme + Share-A-Book Challenge)
November - Vicky (Theme: Spooky Halloween + Book Puzzle Challenge)
December - Evie (Theme: Xmas Bliss + Book Bachelor Challenge)

I am going for Married with Children. (41 to 50)


Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Secret of Lies, by Barbara Forte Abate

Propelled by an insurmountable sense of desperation, Stevie Burke is recklessly abandoning home, husband, and outwardly contented life under cover of night; at last resigned to defeat in her long battle against the tortured memories of her past.  Days later, lost and floundering in a dreary motel room without plan or destination, it is a long ago song playing on the radio that gently tugs Stevie back through the dust of remembrance. 1957 - The last summer spent at the ancient house overlooking the North Atlantic.  A season which had unfolded with abundant promise, but then spiraled horribly out of control - torn apart by a shattering tragedy that remains splintered in fragments upon her soul.  And it is only now, when Stevie at last lifts her eyes to stare deep into the heart of her long sequestered memories, that the long held secrets of past and future are at last unveiled. (Synopsis from Goodreads)

The Secret of Lies by Barbara Forte Abate has to be one of the best novels I have ever had the pleasure to read.  I was shocked to learn this is Abate’s first published work.  Her writing style brings to mind such authors as Harper Lee and John Steinbeck.  She writes with such detail, bringing images to life with the stroke of her pen. In her debut novel, she delivers a touching tale about, love, innocence, betrayal, loss and lies.

 Secret of Lies reflects back on events that occurred off the Atlantic coast during the summer of 1957. The story unfolds through the voice of protagonist Stevie Burke. When the tale begins, Stevie is sneaking out of her home and leaving her husband. She is driving aimlessly and ends up in a dark musty hotel room three days later. We can tell that she is deeply troubled by something. It is here, as an Elvis song plays on the radio,  that she reflects back on the summers, she and her sister spent at the shore home of their Aunt Smyrna and Uncle Cal.

Abate writes with a paint brush, bringing the seaside, storms, and fields to life. I could feel the wind and smell the sea air.  She has a gift for beautifully expressing the emotions and feelings of a first kiss, a betrayal and loss.  She unfolds the tale allowing the reader to put the pieces together before Stevie, giving us a sense of foreboding. While the subject matter is dark, Abate also shows us the light. We experience the joy of first love, childhood, and innocence.

Abates creates characters that you will love, pity and loathe.  The character of Stevie is beautifully portrayed and you cannot help but like her. The way in which Abate shows the interaction between Stevie and her sister Eleanor reminded me of my own childhood.  After the tragedy of 1957, we see firsthand how this affects Stevie. She struggles with the secrets and her memories. Years later,she meets Ash Waterman; through him she may finally find peace and happiness.  I found myself rooting for this young man as he struggles to understand Stevie.  The romance that develops between them is sweet, witty and romantic.

The story, the circumstances, and the impact it has on the characters is believable and touching. The events that occurred in the summer of '57 could have happened to any family. The ending is not wrapped up in a pretty little bow, but instead allows the reader to determine the outcome. While some may not like it, I feel it was appropriate. After all, life and family drama, do not come in neat little boxes.

I highly recommend this novel to everyone, but particularly those who enjoy books based on family, tragedy and human emotion. This would make a wonderful book club read.  I have added Barbara Forte Abate to my list of must read authors and look forward to her next book.

I want to thank the author for providing this ARC, in exchange for my unbiased review. 

I gave this book 5 coffee cups out of 5.

Buy here: B&N or here: Amazon
Author's website: Barbara Forte Abate

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