***This book was given to me as part of a book tour in exchange for an honest review***
I love a good murder mystery, especially if it has a dash of hu...more***This book was given to me as part of a book tour in exchange for an honest review***
I love a good murder mystery, especially if it has a dash of humor in it, and I have to admit that being a southern writer myself, I tend to be drawn to tales set in the South. Perhaps that's why Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons by Denise Grover Swank entertained me as much as it did. I had put off reading it for some reason, and now that I've gotten to review it, I really can't wait to read more from this author!
Here's the synopsis of Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons from the book blurb:
When Rose reports for Fenton County jury duty she figures she’s lucky to get out of a morning working at the DMV. Instead, despite a disastrous encounter with the new assistant district attorney, Mason Deveraux, she’s picked as a juror on a murder case. As the trial progresses, she realizes an ominous vision she had in the men’s restroom proves the defendant is innocent. And there’s not a cotton picking thing she can do about it.
Or is there?
As if things weren’t bad enough, Rose’s older sister Violet is going through a mid-life crisis. Violet insists that Rose stop seeing her sexy new boyfriend, Arkansas state detective Joe Simmons and date other men. Rose is done letting people boss her around, but she can’t commit to Joe either. Still, Rose isn’t about to let the best thing in her life slip away.
First things first, this book is actually the second in the Rose Gardner series. I typically don't like to read sequels if I haven't read the first book, but one of the great things about Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons, is that I didn't need to read the first one. The author did a fabulous job of integrating in the back story without making me feel like I'd missed anything. That's actually quite an accomplishment! If anything, it made me want to go back and read the first book.
Rose is a nice, if somewhat naïve, girl who is just finding her place in the world. All her life she's had psychic visions which have been a plague to her, though they sometimes get her into entertaining situations. She comes across as a very relatable woman who manages to stumble into trouble, which drives her police detective boyfriend, Joe, crazy. I really liked Joe! He was that right mix of protective, jealous, sweet and endearing. Think about a snack that is both salty and sweet and you've got his character.
There were some fun situations and characters that helped drive this tale along. I love the "poisoned" casserole brought in by a jury member and the fact that the Judge is outraged because Rose doesn't know about Angela Lansbury and Murder She Wrote. Some of the character names cracked me up too, like Bruce Wayne Decker. Lots of Batman references there. I also thought that Violet, Rose's sister who is suffering from a mid-life crisis, was a strong character representing what many people go through when unwanted change comes along.
The story is fast paced and with so much humor, it was easy to read and enjoy. I did figure out who the murderer was, but it wasn't until close to the end. It didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book.
All in all, I could probably list twenty-nine and a half reasons why you should read this book! I look forward to checking out the first book in the series and reading the follow up to this one.
I received this book as part of an author book tour in exchange for an honest review.
Sam Bateman is one of those guys. He's sarcastic, bitter, and at...moreI received this book as part of an author book tour in exchange for an honest review.
Sam Bateman is one of those guys. He's sarcastic, bitter, and at times, very clever. Disillusioned and jaded by Hollywood, Sam definitely knows how all the games are played, and he's pretty good at playing a few himself. He's not afraid to mess with people or tell them what he really thinks.
I liked Sam. A well developed character, I have to say that at times he reminded me a little bit of the narrator in Fight Club. I loved his narrative voice and the way the author shared Sam's unique perspective on the world. He manages to evolve and change which is good because when I first started reading the book, I was a little worried that there would be nothing but doom and gloom for this guy.
I really liked how the author, Phil Brody, gives the reader a great glimpse of what goes on when a film director is looking at scripts. In many ways, it's a lot like the process we know that agents use when they try to decide what authors they want to represent. However, I think the scriptwriters have it even worse! This book also provides a lot of insight into the script writing process and what makes a great story work. This is definitely a book any author, especially if you've been struggling a while, will enjoy.
Great movie quotes, a few wacky characters, and an interesting romance round this novel out. It's a fascinating look at a particular life style and I think the author captured the flaky and desperate side of Hollywood in a realistic way.
***This book was given to me as part of the author's book tour in exchange for an honest review***
I love a story that makes me pissed off at the main...more***This book was given to me as part of the author's book tour in exchange for an honest review***
I love a story that makes me pissed off at the main character.
Some readers are all about the likeability factor. You have to like the person in the story in order to continue the journey. While I think that is true, I also think that showing your main character to have horrible flaws is an intriguing way to keep your reader in the moment. That's just what Jessica Penot does in her novel, Circe.
Here's the synopsis:
When Dr. David Black takes an internship at a very old psychiatric hospital back home in Alabama, he vows two things—that he will be a better husband to his beautiful and loving wife Pria, and that he will stop cheating on her. Then his enigmatic supervisor Dr. Cassie Allen, a self-proclaimed witch with ties to the underworld, begins to draw him into her darkness. David finds it hard to resist her wicked sensuality, but even harder to resist her evil pull. As strange and violent deaths pile up left and right, David realizes that Cassie’s psychotic behavior is connected to the mysterious hospital itself. There a demonic force threatens to destroy everything that David holds dear—his wife, his family, even his very sanity.
I really expected the paranormal element in this story to be what drew me in. After all, I'm a paranormal freak! While the "strange factor" is pretty awesome in this book, it's actually the characters that intrigued me and made Circe a great read. I was really torn on my feelings about Dr. Black. On the one hand, I liked that he was willing to work hard and take on the tough floor of Circe's mental institution, but it really irritated me that he continued to cheat on his wife, Pria. He worships her in so many ways, but yet, is unable to be faithful to her. He wants to be a good doctor, but he is drawn to the odd happenings at Circe. The idea of being a father is upsetting to him, and yet, he wants to be one, too. Some moments he hates his newly forming family, and at other times, he can't imagine living without them.
Pria was also an interesting character. She knows what's going on with her husband, but sticks by him, pledging her love. Normally, I would be turned off by what I would consider doormat behavior, but I think this character has just enough likeability to make the reader root for her and not feel that she is being taken advantage of.
And then there's the bad guy. Or girl in this case, the bad girl. Cassie's a real piece of work with few scruples and a morbid…dedication…to her job. I thought Penot did a great job of creating a witch character that wasn't too over the top and yet still incredibly creepy.
The plot is fast paced and tight. No complaints there! I read this in about two days and didn't want to put it down. Jessica Penot has several other novels released and I will definitely check them out!
Of the many, many things I've reviewed or read this summer, Circe rates high on my top ten lists!
Mmmm.....dirty, sweaty, well built men in kilts....that's what I think of when I think of Jessi Gage's Highlander series. I got to read her fabulous f...moreMmmm.....dirty, sweaty, well built men in kilts....that's what I think of when I think of Jessi Gage's Highlander series. I got to read her fabulous first book Wishing for a Highlander (click here for review) and just fell in love with her writing style. Luckily, she allowed me a sneak peak at her second book in the Highlander series called The Wolf and the Highlander.
So was it more sweaty men in kilts that make your toes tingle? Actually....nope! Big, well hung wolf men from another realm who appreciate women for all the right reasons--that's what awaited me in this exciting sequel!
Now before you start thinking "Oh, it's a werewolf book" let me just stop you right there. It is and it isn't. I found that the male characters were not your traditional werewolf stereo type. There was no "light of the full moon" craziness. They kinda just were always...wolfy. And apparently very hairy. Like Tom Selleck hairy in his bare chested Magnum P.I. days. They're the kind of hairy that makes your motor rev and your toes tingle!
Here's a quick plot synopsis: Anya (the bad girl from Book 1) is now crippled. Both of her legs were broken in a dramatic fall and everyone in her village assumed she was dead. However, she recovered with the help of a friend and decided it was important to return home, admit her wrong doings, and hopefully, not be put to death in the process. It's a gamble, but she wants to redeem herself. Of course, redemption does not come easily. Before she can ever ask for forgiveness, a magical box (the same one that caused all the trouble in Wishing for a Highlander) whisks her away into another realm.
And let me tell you what...this realm is sorely lacking women. Especially breeding women. The last chick born in that realm is pretty old so when a woman like Anya enters the picture, she causes a stir. In this case, it's the wrong kind of stir, and Anya is almost taken by some really nasty wolf guys who do not have any sort of honorable intentions. Lucky for her, she is rescued by Riggs--and apparently he is walking sex on a stick!
Together they escape from the bad guys and head towards the city where King Magnus is waiting for them. A long time ago, the king had a dream about a girl who would come and save his kingdom. She would have distinct marks on her and carry a special stone.
Guess what? Anya fits the description and she happens to have a special stone that allows her to understand the language of the place she is currently in. Riggs is pretty sure the King will want to claim Anya as the mystery girl in the picture. But there is a catch...Riggs wants to claim her, too--even though he knows it's wrong.
Mistaken identity, revenge, sexual heat, and some supernatural shenanigans really set this story rolling along. I read it in one sitting and can't wait for Jessi Gage to write the third one! The characters were well developed and very human. I didn't like Anya in the first book and wasn't sure how the author would be able to redeem her. But she did! By the end of the book, I was rooting for Anya to have a happy ending. Riggs is a great hero. Strong, confident, but always trying to do the right thing, Riggs tugs at your heart strings and gets your blood flowing in all the right places. I had my doubts about King Magnus, but once again, I was surprised at how his character turned out. I really hope he will be the main character in the next book. I need to know what happens to him and his newly found love interest.
Let's talk sex....yep. There is some. It's good stuff, too. There was lots of build up to the big moment, but definitely worth the wait!
I love historical fiction, especially when they are done well. I admit that I have a secret passion for historical romance that I don't often indulge...more
I love historical fiction, especially when they are done well. I admit that I have a secret passion for historical romance that I don't often indulge in. Why? Who knows! It just isn't something that I actively seek out for some reason, but I’m so glad that I had a chance to review The Wild Princess by Mary Hart Perry.
Here's the synopsis on Goodreads:
The astronomical success of the historical novels of Phillipa Gregory and Christine Trent prove that readers simply can't get enough of the British royals--and now Mary Hart Perry enters the fray with an exciting, deliciously sensual novel of Queen Victoria's "wild child" daughter, the Princess Louise. The Wild Princess transports us back to Victorian England and plunges us into the intrigues of the royal court, where the impetuous Louise brazenly followed no one's rules but her own--even marrying a commoner, which no one of royal blood had done in the previous three centuries. Filled with rich period deal, The Wild Princess is an exciting, enthralling read. The Tudors have gotten the lion's share of attention in historical fiction; it's high time Queen Victoria and her family got their due.
Now the only thing I would contradict about this synopsis is the title of historical fiction. I think they need to include the word romance in there somewhere because if you are a reader thinking you are going to just read a straight story about Queen Victoria, you'll be upset. This is really a historical romance and one that is very well done!
Based on the life of Princess Louise, The Wild Princess reveals a sweet character that has already seen more than her fair share of trouble. After surviving a terrible scandal, Louise longs for a happy marriage in the arms of her new husband, Lorne. He's a handsome man and fits into her mother's idea of the perfect match. Oh, did I forget to mention that her mom is the formidable, no nonsense Queen Victoria? The problem is that even though Lorne is a good looking man with money of his own, he isn't exactly known for his relationships with women. In fact, he doesn't have any romantic relationships with women. Why? Let's just say that he's a big supporter of Oscar Wilde!
So what's a girl to do when she discovers that her husband would rather be hanging out with the guys at his club? Princess Louise throws herself into charity work and causes that support women's rights. That is until she meets Stephen Byrne, a rugged American from Texas who is supposed to be helping track assassination attempts on her mother. When she meets him, the sparks fly and we discover exactly why Louise has the title of "the wild princess."
I liked the story a great deal. The characters were fun and well developed, and the plot flowed so easily that it was hard to put the book down. I loved the character of Louise and the mix of history in the story. This is such an interesting time period, and the author really captured the look and feel of it. There are some fun, if predictable plot twists, but to me, some of the best scenes were the ones where the two main characters got to consummate their passion. Here's why: typically, sex scenes in romances like this one are graphic and drawn out. These scenes were intimate and detailed, but not over the top with a bunch of erotic mumbo jumbo. I also kept wondering how the author would resolve the love story in the end. After all, this is Victorian England! Royals can get divorced all they want now (thank you, Charles and Di), but back in the day, it was pretty taboo. Unless, of course, you were Henry VIII and then all bets are off! In short, the ending was satisfying and I felt like the story was complete.
Check out The Wild Princess! It's a great summer read! (less)
Oh man, I love summer reading! I can't ever seem to squeeze enough reading in before it's time for me to return to my second love after writing: teach...moreOh man, I love summer reading! I can't ever seem to squeeze enough reading in before it's time for me to return to my second love after writing: teaching. This summer I've been blessed with some great books to read, as well as, a few stink-o-ramas. Next Wednesday I'm going to pretend to be Oprah and post my top summer reads.
Today I'm focusing on a great read that I think you'll enjoy--Voodoo Love by Victoria Richards. It's perfect for that last minute trip to the beach or just lounging on a hammock with a dirty martini. But be sure you have a someone your romantically involved with nearby--you're gonna need them after reading this book!
Yes, it is a paranormal romance, but it isn't all sex and damsel in distress type stuff. In fact, the protagonist is a pretty sassy chick named Elizabeth who has a wry sense of humor and a talent for getting into trouble.
Here is the synopsis from the book:
Elizabeth Brown is a gun totin' hottie--though she claims on the gun totin' part is right! Elizabeth knows what adventure is about or at least she would if her memory would ever come back to her. She's been told that two years ago she was chased by a greedy thug, Diego Martes, who believed she knew the location to a pirate treasure cursed by voodoo and hidden deep in the sultry bayous of Louisiana. During the process of escaping, Elizabeth's lover and assassin for hire, Juan Carlos Montoya, drowned trying to save her. Though she now lives in a government arranged marriage to a cop in the small town of Barataria Bay, Elizabeth is still trying to remember the past, remember the danger, and most of all remember Juan Carlos, the dead Latino dreamboat who dragged her into the mess in the first place.
When Elizabeth's idyllic new life is interrupted by a ghostly visit from a still sexy Juan, she finds herself once again plunged into unwanted intrigue. With his help, her memory of the past begins to come back, along with her memories of their nights of passion. Together they must outwit an insane villain, Diego and go back to where Jean Lafitte's cursed pirate treasure is hidden in order to lift a deadly voodoo curse that threatens to end their love forever.
Victoria Richards does a good job of blending humor, romance, and the paranormal together, drawing the reader in and holding their attention. Fast paced, the book is an easy read. By the way, it's actually episodic on Amazon, meaning you can buy each section individually for .99 or you can buy the whole thing. I think selling episodes is an interesting idea. It gives the reader a chance to see if they like it without committing to the whole thing. I know that Amazon already offers the sneak peek option, but this lets you go just a little bit further.
So let's talk characters: Elizabeth is a hoot and not a push over, despite her situation. She handles things with humor and sarcasm, but comes across as tough and confident, too. I would like to have known a tad more about her back story, but hey--it's meant to be episodic. I think she and Eddie have an interesting marriage and Eddie was full of surprises that kept me wondering what he was really up to.
I liked the relationship between Elizabeth and Juan. It's sexy, but got some funny moments that surprised me and that you don't usually find in this type of book. Think of Stephanie Plum and Joe Morrelli or that '80s movie, Romancing the Stone, and you'll understand what I mean. Diego was a strong bad guy, if not a bit of a stereotype, and I loved how the ghost of a long dead pirate affected him. I think having victims of your past crimes haunt you would be a pretty gruesome thing to deal with!
Each episode ends with a cliffhanger and I have to admit that there were a few endings that really surprised me! These days that's tough to do.
Of course, I'm always a sucker for a tale that takes place in the bayou or in New Orleans and in this book, I got the best of both worlds. I hope Victoria Richards is busy writing something new!
You can check out Voodoo Love for yourself or learn more about the author at the following links:
I found Timeless to be a lot of fun! I really enjoyed Magnus and thought he was a well developed character--physically, as well as, emotionally. He's...moreI found Timeless to be a lot of fun! I really enjoyed Magnus and thought he was a well developed character--physically, as well as, emotionally. He's got the older man wisdom mixed in with a charm that makes him oh-so-sexy. I did think at times he was a little suffocating for Sian, but that's also part of what creates some conflict between them.
Sian is also a vivid character. She makes some interesting fashion choices that only endear her to the boss man, a deviant character called Franklyn. I liked that she was an independent woman who didn't immediately fall into the main characters arms. She went through a lot of internal struggles that fit her character and helped build the tension.
I must admit that I'm not always a fan of dream sequences. They tend to be an overused tool for writers in the paranormal romance genre, but I thought Ms. Banks did an excellent job of keeping the action moving forward and making the dream stuff work.
When I read the blurb for this book originally, I missed the part where it mentions Magnus turning into wolf. So I was surprised when the book took that turn. However, I again felt that it didn't keep with the traditional werewolf rules and offered some nice twists to the story.
Let's talk about sex!
There's some good stuff in there if you are into erotic reading. On the other hand, if that kind of stuff is not your thing, skip those parts and read the rest. I'm always impressed when a writer can write a strong sex scene that doesn't come across as cheesy or unrealistic.
Yes, it's long. Yes, it could probably be trimmed up a little. But it's a great read with an interesting prem...moreProbably one of my favorite King books...
Yes, it's long. Yes, it could probably be trimmed up a little. But it's a great read with an interesting premise. As a fan of the time travel concept, I could see the ending coming, but that didn't deter me in the least from tackling this 900 page book. (less)
I enjoyed this book very much! I've always been a fan of Rob Lowe and his work. Like many before him, he's made a few mistakes in life, but has learne...moreI enjoyed this book very much! I've always been a fan of Rob Lowe and his work. Like many before him, he's made a few mistakes in life, but has learned and grown along the way. This book is rich in Hollywood names and tales, but yet never feels overtly gossipy. He does a great job of making the reader feel like they know the celebrity in question, but yet manages not to disparge their character. I thought the information about the filimg of The Outsiders was extremely interesting and a great look into what it takes to film a movie. I also enjoyed his advice for actors on the importance of speaking up for yourself and being heard. All in all, a great read!(less)
Okay, not only did I get to interview Becca Smith about her book Riser, but I get to review it as well. Ah, some da...moreRiser Review for All Things Writing
Okay, not only did I get to interview Becca Smith about her book Riser, but I get to review it as well. Ah, some days I'm just too spoiled….
So let's get to it. Here is the book synopsis.
Black swirling holes churning madly in the center of every corpse. This is how eighteen-year-old Chelsan Derée sees the deceased. Her ability to connect to the black spinning holes allows her to control every dead thing within a four-mile radius. But that's the least of her problems. It's 2320 and Chelsan Derée has to survive another year of high school, which for her is pure and utter torture, mainly due to the fact that her schoolmate Jill Forester's favorite activity is making Chelsan's life a living hell. If that isn't enough, Chelsan's impossible crush on Ryan Vaughn makes her brain do somersaults on a regular basis, especially since she is positive he doesn't know she exists. And being eighteen Chelsan has to deal with the pressure of whether or not she should take a little pill called Age-pro, which cures aging, making the world eighteen forever and highly over-populated. When Chelsan's mother, Janet, is brutally killed, along with everyone else in her trailer park, Chelsan finds out that she was the intended target. Chelsan must use her power to raise and control the dead to save herself, protect her friends and take down the man responsible for murdering her mother.
Riser rocked. That's all there is to it. It's a fast paced, futuristic YA that touchs on something many people worry about at one point or another in their life: aging. In Ms. Smith's future, they've created a handy dandy little pill called Age-pro which if you take it at the right age makes you look around nineteen or so forever. Pretty sweet, right? Um….well, kind of. Like anything Age-pro has its drawbacks as Chelsan (our heroine) discovers. But then again, aging is the least of Chelsan's worries. She has an extraordinary talent for raising dead things--and not just dead people. Dead spiders, dead plants, some really pissed off bees, and cockroaches are just a few of the things she works with.
I thought this was a clever idea and a new twist on necromancy. All the characters are well developed, and the bad guy is pretty darn bad. The world the author created (futuristic L.A.) was creative and I suppose if you are from that area, it's filled with landmarks the reader would recognize. As someone who just released a book that deals with voodoo, I thought it was interesting to see how voodoo might be used in the future.
The other thing I liked about this book was the eye catching cover. Nice work!
I really love a book that surprises me and that's just what this one did! Jacqueline is a fun heroine with a big problem--she's a half banshee. She fi...moreI really love a book that surprises me and that's just what this one did! Jacqueline is a fun heroine with a big problem--she's a half banshee. She finds herself in danger when a group of wizards find out about her amazing new ability to reap souls. Luckily, the handsome bartendar of her favorite bar, Toby, is there to save her. He too is a wizard, but unlike the others, he can't help but fall for the charming Jacqueline.
I don't want to spoil the story, but there were lots of bumps and curves in this story that I found intriguing. Fast paced, the story moved quickly and I was able to finish this within a day. The characters are well developed and believable.
My only complaint is that I wanted a bit more about Jacqueline's biological family. However, I think that may be coming in the next book. At least, I hope there is a next book! I can't wait to read more from this writer!(less)