Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

In the spirit of all that is Halloween, I'd like to make a proposition.

I've been seeing all over the vast realm of the internet that many houses now display teal pumpkins when they offer safe non-food type items (particularly helpful if you have a child with a life threatening allergy). Usually, these are some small Halloween-themed toy or other goodie. I think it's a great idea!

However, I think it's time we take it one step further and introduce... the purple pumpkin.

That's right.


(Glitter is optional)

The purple pumpkin will be proudly displayed at houses that offer adult beverages for trick-or-treating parents!

Running low on your beer while your children are gathering candy for you to pilfer later? No problem. Knock on the door to the purple pumpkin house.

Finished off the last of your Merlot along with your kids Snickers bar from the last house? Not a problem. There's another purple pumpkin house down the block.

In the mood for something with a kick? Halloween spirits have taken on a whole new meaning when you're offered a shot of something spook-tacular! Tip back the glass from the purple pumpkin house and weave your way down the block.

After all, you need something to help wash down all your children's candy.

So adults unite -- proudly display your purple pumpkin!

(And for added measure, please include your address in the comments below or send us an email so we can make sure to stop at your house. We'll even bring our own glasses!)

Southern Gothic by Dale Wiley

Available for Pre-Order - Release date is January 24, 2017

From the Back Cover:

Aspiring author Meredith Harper owns the hottest bookstore in Savannah.
Michael Black is her favorite writer—long thought dead—until he mysteriously approaches Meredith with a new manuscript, and a most unusual offer. Meredith can keep the manuscript to herself, or publish it under her own name.
Her decision results in a bestseller, but the novel contains a coded secret; one that will put her on trial for murder and in hiding from “the blood stalker,” proving too late that making a deal with the devil comes at a heavy price.

My Thoughts:

"Oh what a tangled web we weave...."  And this web kept me on the edge of my seat, unable to put this book down until the very last page.  Even then, I sat and shook, trying to ward off the creep factor this novel left on my brain!  I say that in a good way because this was one of the better thrillers I have read lately.  Southern Gothic contained a novel within a novel, a feat I didn't think would be possible, but Dale Wiley somehow managed it with flare!  Wow!

Meredith Harper, owner of a small bookstore in Savannah, receives a hand written note from a mysterious stranger.  Later that day she receives a phone call from the stranger telling her to "Come home".  When she notices the caller ID indicating the call came from inside her house, things start getting really weird!  And that is just the beginning!  What entails from there on is a complex mixture of a thriller and a mystery dealing with a deranged psychopath and his erotic and sadistic stalking.

A lot of emotions were experienced while reading this novel.  The main character, Meredith, could be endearing one moment and then her greed made her foolish and almost unbelievable the next moment. Very complex character building.  Fantastic writing from an author I will be seeking out in future books.

I received an advanced copy of this novel from NetGalley and the publisher, Vesuvian Books, in exchange for an honest review.  Southern Gothic is due to be released in January of 2017.

My Rating:


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Available for Pre-Order - Release date November 8, 2016

From the Back Cover:

When Sukie’s husband shacks up with her Pilates instructor, her domestic drama becomes the talk of her small Georgia town. Friends from her married life prove fickle, and Sukie hides at home, terrified of encountering the town gossips at the grocery store. Betsy, Sukie’s neighbor, invites her to join “Fat Fridays,” a weekly gathering at a local café where the women order whatever they crave—no calories counted. Over sausage pizza and sage advice, Sukie gets a grip on her new life and learns to love her freedom.
Judith Keim’s warm, funny novel offers moving glimpses into each of the five women’s very different lives. As they struggle to deal with cruel exes, frustrating families, and forbidden love, the women offer one another the kind of friendship that is as rich and nurturing as their Friday feasts.
My Thoughts:

It's nice to read a novel where the main character is not under the age of 25.  Yes, it is possible for a somewhat older woman to have romance running through her veins.  

This was a great story that depicts the individual struggles of several friends who meet once a week for lunch.  That friendship turns into a support group of ladies who do what ladies have been doing for years... being there for their friends.  One by one, each gal in this group confides the hardships she has been enduring, from cheating spouses to being abused, physically or emotionally.  And with the support of Sukie and the other gals, they manage to pull themselves through.  Guys may not get this, but the ladies reading this book will understand the bond that is formed between girlfriends.

I would give this book 5 wine glasses instead of 4 because I truly enjoyed reading it.  But there seemed to be too many story lines to follow and other than Sukie, I didn't feel all that connected to the other characters.  I plan to read the next book in the series because if the same characters are involved, I'm hoping to discover more depth.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:

Friday, October 28, 2016

Deceptive Practices by Simon Wood

Available for Pre-order. This item will be released on November 15, 2016.

From the Back Cover:

Do you have a cheating spouse? Has counseling failed? Want to get even? Then hire Infidelity Limited…
Olivia Shaw grew up poor on the wrong side of the tracks, but with her thriving real estate business and a solid marriage, her life finally feels stable…until she discovers her husband is cheating. Enraged, her sister offers a solution: Infidelity Limited, a firm that promises to rough up her husband and scare him straight.
Overnight, Olivia’s life is upended as she, like all of Infidelity Limited’s clients, is drawn into a dark web of blackmail and murder. Now, Olivia is emerging as a prime suspect in her husband’s death. As a dogged detective closes in, Olivia has only one option: take down Infidelity Limited before it’s too late.

My Thoughts:

Simon Wood is rapidly becoming one of my favorite authors. So when I had the opportunity to review one of his books prior to the release date of November 15, 2016, I actually got all giddy about it!   His ability to pull you into the story is phenomenal and then you cannot let go until the very end.  He is a master of intrigue and suspense!

"Deceptive Practices" starts out with Olivia's gut-wrenching discovery that her husband is cheating on her.  As she sits in her car watching him take another woman into his arms Olivia''s thoughts turn from her deep emotional pain to having the intense desire to allow her car to lurch forward and run the two of them down.  Her thoughts are disrupted by her cell phone ringing and as she confides her misery to her sister Clare, a new plan starts developing.  A plan to make him pay.  That plan grows into something much more sinister after Olivia contacts Infidelity Limited, a "discreet" service that deals with infidelity issues, and Olivia finds herself in far more trouble than she could have possibly imagined.  Can she escape this murderous cycle and still stay two steps ahead of Detective Finz?  You'll have to read this to find out!  I'm not giving any spoilers!  But I will tell you that I had tears in my eyes at the very end.

A pre-release copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Haunting of Bechdel Mansion (Book 0) by Roger Hayden

Book Description:

A paranormal phenomenon, a mysterious curse, and an unsolved murder forty years in the making.

A young couple move into their dream home only to find a dark presence lurking from within. For Curtis and Mary, the small town of Redwood, Indiana seems too good to be true. Everything is perfect, including the Victorian mansion they purchased at a great price. But they soon experience terrifying supernatural encounters tied to the deadly secrets of an unsolved mass murder. Can they solve the mystery in time? Or will they face the same doomed fate as the tenants who came before them?

In this new mystery supernatural thriller, best-selling author Roger Hayden delivers a frightening world where nothing is as it seems with “The Haunting of Bechdel Mansion,” a bold new supernatural series certain to have readers leaving their lights on. Because in the town of Redwood, no one gets out alive…  

My Thoughts:

This was a short little novella of only 96 pages which acted as a prequel to the next book and the next...  I'm not actually sure how far this goes.  The cliffhanger at the end actually got me to buy the next book in this series, but I won't be reviewing that one because I didn't finish it.  I got rather frustrated with the editing problems, and after learning that it, too, ends in a cliffhanger, I just didn't want to bother.

Let me say this... Roger Hayden is a talented author.  The character development was top-notch and the storyline was gripping and exciting.  He really had my heart racing in that last scene!  My suggestion to him is that he should pull these books off the market, combine them into one novel, get a good content editor and a good line editor, and re-release these as one BEST SELLING novel, because I really feel that is what it would be.  Talent like that shouldn't be wasted on these little books set in a series that are just going to irritate the reader.

Sorry if I'm offending anyone.  This is just my humble opinion.

My Rating:

Sunday, October 23, 2016

October is the time for Ghost Stories!

As Halloween approaches, I get the uncanny urge to reach for ghost stories.  Yes, I'm a Halloween freak.  I love dressing up in costumes and setting up a haunted house.

Every Halloween for as long as I can remember, my family would transform my front lawn into a cemetery, complete with gravestones and massive spider webs, skeletons, bats and ghouls.  I would dress up in my witch costume and stir a cauldron with fog billowing out.  One of the fake ghouls lying about was actually my son dressed up similar to the others, except when someone walked by he would move slightly or reach out toward them, scaring the daylights out of the unsuspecting kid, causing him or her to tear off running down the street to get away.  I would hand out candy to the little ones and hand a dead long stemmed black rose to the mom's walking along holding their toddler's hands.  Of course we had spooky music playing in the background, blaring out into the street, just to set the mood.

So, since I'm getting into that Halloween "spirit", the next few book reviews will more than likely be ghost or witch related.

Happy haunting!

Southern Spirits (Southern Ghost Hunter Mysteries Book 1) by Angie Fox

From the Back Cover:

**USA TODAY Bestselling Series!**
From New York Times bestselling author Angie Fox, the first book in the new Southern Ghost Hunter mysteries

One simple mistake…
For a girl who is about to lose her family home,
Releases the ghost of a long-dead gangster,
And opens Verity Long’s eyes to a whole new world.

When out of work graphic designer Verity Long accidentally traps a ghost on her property, she’s saddled with more than a supernatural sidekick—she gains the ability see spirits. It leads to an offer she can’t refuse from the town’s bad boy, the brother of her ex and the last man she should ever partner with.

Ellis Wydell is in possession of a stunning historic property haunted by some of Sugarland Tennessee’s finest former citizens. Only some of them are growing restless—and destructive. He hires Verity to put an end to the disturbances. But soon, Verity learns there’s more to the mysterious estate than floating specters, secret passageways, and hidden rooms. 

There’s a modern day mystery afoot, one that hinges on a decades-old murder. Verity isn't above questioning the living, or the dead. But can she discover the truth before the killer finds her?

My Thoughts:

I had planned to read this book on my Kindle during a trip to Miami, but when my husband wanted me to do the driving, I opted for the Audible version for the trip.  (Not sure how long the promotion will last but as of right now, the Kindle version is free and you can add the Audible version for only $1.99).  Tavia Gilbert was the narrator and I must say that she did an excellent job with changing voices for the different characters and adding in that sweet southern accent when necessary.  I loved it!  But since I didn't "read" the book, I can't comment on lack of editing as some other reviewers had mentioned.  This appears to be a self-published book, so that may be true, but I can't really say more on that.

As for the storyline... I loved it!  Verity starts out in a tight spot, having to sell most of the furnishings in her home due to a lawsuit after she left her philandering fiance at the alter.  But she still needs another $20,000 or she will lose her family home.  While wallowing in self pity with her friend Lauralee and a bottle of wine, they start joking about an ugly vase that wasn't sold.  When Verity starts to clean up the vase she notices there is dirt inside.  After dumping the dirt under her rose bushes and hosing down the vase, the ghost of a gangster from the 1920's named Frankie appears to her, terribly upset that she has dumped his ashes and washed them down, trapping his spirit to her house.  Oops!  It was an urn!  When her nerves calm down a wee bit after seeing a ghost standing in front of her, Verity explains to Frankie that it won't be HER house much longer if she doesn't come up with $20,000. So Frankie comes up with a scheme to help her raise the money.  Although the scheme didn't exactly work as planned, it did open the door to a new adventure with police officer Ellis Wydell, the hunky big brother of her former fiance.

More ghosts, adventure, murder and mayhem... with a bit of romance, too!  I loved this and I will definitely be reading more in this series!

My Rating:

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Hide in Plain Sight by Marta Perry

From the Back Cover:

She couldn't turn her back on her family in their time of need. So when her sister was injured, financial expert Andrea Hampton traded the big city for Amish country to help turn her grandmother's house into an inn.
But life with the Plain People took a treacherous turn when a string of accidents and pranks threatened her family. Someone didn't want the secrets the old house harbored to come to light. Trusting anyone-- even the handsome carpenter who seemed so genuine--was a battle for Andrea, but her life depended on her ability to find the truth.

My Thoughts:

I always enjoy a mystery!  And this one had a bit of sweet romance and a nice sense of family.

Andrea Hampton rushes back home to Amish country from the big city after her sister is hospitalized from being hit by a car.  With Rachel laid up with broken legs, Andrea stays on to help Grams with her plan to turn her home into a Bed & Breakfast.  She immediately meets up with hunky Cal who happens to be living in the family barn.  

After several events of someone lurking around the property, accidents and outright attempted murder, Cal is there to protect the ladies, and of course the chemistry between Andrea and Cal heats up.  Not extreme heat... just sweetness.  This is a Christian romance novel after all.  

Marta Perry did a great job with character development and allowing you to visualize what you are reading. I could almost smell the chemicals in the barn toward the end of the book. 

This is the first book in a three-part series (The Three Sisters Inn - Book 1). Nice little mystery and romance and a quick read of only 256 pages.  A bit predictable, but still a good read.

My Rating:

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Why am I up if the sun isn't up?

It's morning.  How do I know that? Not because my alarm clock went off.  Not because I rolled over and noticed a faint bit of light coming from under the curtains.  And not because I smelled the coffee brewing or heard the sound of my husband shuffling around in the other room.  No, it's because my little dog, Ming, has decided that she's lonely and wants me to get up to play with her.  You know, I could understand if she woke me because she needed to go outside, but no, she runs to get her favorite toy to drop at my feet.  I just look at her in disbelief, pushing my disheveled hair from my face and squinting to look at the clock.

FOUR A.M.!  "Dog!  Are you nuts?  You seriously want to play at 4:00 in the morning?"  (Yes, I talk to my dog.  Don't you?)  As much as I just want to fall back on the bed and go back to sleep, the sound of her whimpering is too much to bear.  I sit up and my feet hit the cold marble floor.  Wow!  That's cold!  That's enough to wake the dead.  What happened to my little bedside rug?  Then I see it pushed up against her dog bed.  I now realize that this dog is out to get me.

I give in and play tug-of-war with her for a few minutes and make my way to the kitchen to brew a cup of coffee.  Two cups later, when my veins are filled with caffeine and I'm ready to start my day, I look around and find my precious little pup sound asleep in her bed.  Is it evil of me to want to gently dump her little body out of that bed to wake her up?

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Christmas Mail Order Bride by Kit Morgan

About the Book:

A Holiday Mail Order Bride Romance!

The Christmas Mail Order Bride is the first in the Holiday Mail Order Bride Series! Enjoy these sweet romances as you read about characters falling in love during some of your favorite holidays!

Sheriff Clayton Riley asked for a pair of boots for Christmas, not a mail order bride! Unfortunately for Clayton, his brother and mother figured a bride would look better on him than a new pair of boots! After all, he'd been sulking around long enough after the death of his wife, and his family decided it was time to take matters into their own hands and see to it Clayton had a very merry Christmas!

My Thoughts:

This was a quick Sunday afternoon read (short book of about 228 pages).  It was a cute, sweet story, but very predictable.  I have to admit though that I grew a bit tired of Summer's "poor little me, nobody loves me" routine.  I get it that she was terrified at the thought of being sent back to New Orleans where she would end up with a fate worse than death, but enough is enough.  Clayton made it clear to her that he intended to marry her and certainly his mom was pleased to have her around!  

My Rating:

The Christmas Angel Project by Melody Carlson

From the Back Cover:

The only sound in the room was the rustling of tissue paper being peeled away, followed by some oohs and aahs.

Belinda peered down at the delicate angel ornament in her hand. Made with satin and lace and glitter and ribbons, the small figure was lovely. But it was the hand-painted face on a large wooden bead that captivated Belinda. From the caramel-colored skin to the wavy dark hair and chocolate-brown eyes, this angel was clearly meant to resemble Belinda. She felt the familiar lump growing in her throat as she stared down at the dainty angel. Every detail was perfect.

Belinda looked up to see the others holding similar--yet different--angels. Each one resembled the woman holding it. Abby had obviously put a lot of time and thought into these gifts. 

"To write that letter--telling us thanks like that," Grace said with surprising intensity. "And to make these angels so that we'd remember her. And calling us her angels . . . doesn't it seem strangely coincidental? Like she had some kind of premonition?"

"It does to me," Louisa declared.

More About the Book:

Five women from different walks of life have become close friends through their book club--enjoying one another's company even more than they enjoy the books. So when the leader of the book club unexpectedly passes away on the cusp of the Christmas season, the four remaining friends are stunned. They relied on Abby for inspiration and motivation. She was the glue that held them together, and they're sure that without her the group can't continue. 

When the group gathers "one last time" to open a bag Abby's husband gives them, they find Abby had made each of them an angel ornament for Christmas, crafted especially for each woman and accompanied by a sweet and personal note. Inspired by their beloved friend, together Cassidy, Louisa, Grace, and Belinda decide to commit themselves to becoming Christmas Angels to others in need. Each woman will use her life situation and talents to reach out and help others in her own unique way--little knowing that her own life and her relationships will be changed forever.

My Thoughts:

Here it is October and I'm already reading Christmas books.  I have to say that I loved, loved, loved this one.  This was a Christian inspired book about Angels here on earth.  It was about relationships, loss of loved ones, and life in general.  The story follows the lives of the four remaining friends from a book club after the leader of the group suddenly passes away and how her gift to each of them inspires them to become angels on earth in their own special ways.  

"Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with combined sales of more than six million. She is the author of several Christmas books..." and I am embarrassed to say that this is the first one of her books I have read.  But it certainly won't be my last.

My Rating:

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee

From the Back Cover:

Follow your heart.  Be yourself.  This is the true recipe for life.
Portia Cuthcart never intended to leave Texas. Her dream was to run the Glass Kitchen restaurant her grandmother built decades ago. But after a string of betrayals and the loss of her legacy, Portia is determined to start a new life with her sisters in Manhattan . . .
When she moves into a dilapidated brownstone on the Upper West Side, she meets twelve-year-old Ariel and her widowed father, Gabriel, a man with his hands full trying to raise two daughters on his own. Soon, a promise made to her sisters forces Portia back into a world of magical food and swirling emotions, where she must confront everything she has been running from. What seems so simple on the surface is anything but when long-held secrets are revealed, rivalries exposed, and the promise of new love stirs to life like chocolate mixing with cream.

My Thoughts:

This was a sweet contemporary romance with a touch of magic thrown in.  There were several situations that made me laugh.  And the chemistry between Portia Cuthcart and her upstairs neighbor, Gabriel Kane, made me smile.

The story starts out with Portia realizing she had the same "gift" that her grandmother had; the gift of "knowing".  Through a series of events that take her from being the wife of a politician in Texas to struggling to pay her bills from her downstairs apartment in New York, Portia's life is turned upside down.  Great book about family relationships.

Although I enjoyed the book, there were parts that dragged and became repetitive.  

My Rating:

Friday, October 14, 2016

The One That Got Away by Simon Wood

The Back Cover:

Graduate students Zoë and Holli only mean to blow off some steam on their road trip to Las Vegas. But something goes terribly wrong on their way home, and the last time Zoë sees her, Holli is in the clutches of a sadistic killer. Zoë flees with her life, changed forever.
A year later and still tortured with guilt, Zoë latches on to a police investigation where the crime eerily resembles her abduction. Along with a zealous detective, she retraces the steps of that fateful night in the desert, hoping that her memory will return and help them find justice for Holli. Her abductor—labeled the “Tally Man” by a fascinated media—lies in wait for Zoë. For him, she is not a survivor but simply the one that got away.
With an unforgettable heroine, a chillingly disturbed psychopath, and a story that moves at breakneck speed, The One That Got Away is thriller writer Simon Wood at his finest.

My Thoughts:

Okay, I admit it.  I'm a big Simon Wood fan.  And this novel did not disappoint me.  This is a suspense thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat and turning those pages so fast you won't have time to bite your nails.  Yes, there is violence in this book, but what would you expect from a story involving a serial killer?  No sugar coating!  And Zoe is an awesome heroine!  Some of the scenes are creepy and gut wrenching, but the story was well written.  Simon Wood once again did an excellent job of developing each character and keeping your heart rate at full speed.

My Rating:

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Laiden's Daughter (The Clan MacDougall) by Suzan Tisdale

From the Back Cover:

"Scotland, 1344

She believes men are not honorable nor are they kind-until she meets one that changes her heart forever.

Betrayed by lies told before her birth, Aishlinn is raised by a harsh and cruel stepfather. Her life is forever changed one horrifying night when she is forced to flee England for the safety of the Scottish Highlands. Rescued by a fierce band of highland warriors, Aishlinn soon learns that honorable men do exist. She finds a strength she never knew she possessed and it will be tested to the limits when she is forced to make a heart-wrenching decision…allow the English to kill those she loves, or surrender for the crime she committed.

She is everything he never knew he wanted in a woman….

As a fierce highland warrior, Duncan McEwan has survived numerous battles, bed countless women, and survived a horrific storm at sea. He has scaled mountains and even survived hand-to-claw battle with a cat-o’mountain. But none of that could have prepared him for how his life forever changed one fateful spring day when he rescued a lass from a freezing stream. He will do anything to keep her as his own and will risk everything to keep her out of the hands of the English."

My Thoughts:

This was a quick read book of around 250 pages.  Normally I feel like a good story needs more than that to truly develop, but this one was okay at that length.  This was the first of Suzan Tisdale’s books for me, and although it was an interesting story line, it could have used a better content editor and a better line editor.   There were too many things that didn’t make sense to me, things that a good beta-reader or content editor would have caught, and too many grammatical errors.

First, let me talk about the positives.  I loved the Highlander’s.  Suzan Tisdale did a good job portraying their brash and rowdy personalities while also showing us how devoted they were to their clan.  There were numerous times throughout the book that I found myself smiling.  Duncan McEwan was a great alpha-male, strong and masculine but also tender and protective.  Wanting to know more about the other men might make me want to pick up another book in this series.  And I have to admit that “Laiden’s Daughter” had an interesting plot line! 

As for the negatives…. Hmmm…. Where do I start?  First of all, I found Aishlinn to be rather confusing.  She rides a horse for days with no food or water?  Then she sleeps through most of her journey to the castle.  And I get the fact that she believed she was plain and ugly because that is what she was told by her step father and step brothers her whole life, but didn’t she ever come into contact with other human beings?  Quite frankly, I got really tired of her calling people liars when they told her how beautiful she was.  Then she is naïve and frail and thinks of herself as an unworthy scuttle maid one moment and the next moment she is a rough and tough battle queen!

And who was Baltair and how did he know Aishlinn should escape to Scotland where she will find “her people”?  Perhaps this is explained in another book in this series?  I don’t know.

Here’s the thing that didn’t sit well with me.  Aishlinn's father is presented the bloody dress of Laiden, who he loved with all his heart and wanted to marry and he takes the word of another man who was also in love with her, that she was dead.  Didn’t Aishlinn’s father want to pay his respect and see the grave?  Or perhaps find the thieves who supposedly killed her and avenge her death?  And what about the rest of Laiden’s family?  Didn’t they want to find out more about her supposed death?  They just took the word of Broc and let that be?  And why did Laiden never contact anyone from her highland family again? She lived for more than five more years, and she knew where they were! Even if she thought Aishlinn's father was dead, she still had a sister and friends there and no reason to cut herself off from all of them. And if Moira knew that Aishlinn didn't belong with her step-father, why didn't she send word to Laiden’s family when Laiden died?

And did English soldiers wear red coats in the 1300's?

My Ratings:

Wasn't sure whether to give this 3 or 4 wine glasses, perhaps it should be 3 1/2.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Blackmoore Sisters Cozy Mysteries - Books 1, 2 & 3 by Leighann Dobbs

From the Back Cover:

Four magical sisters. Three twisty mysteries. And a cat that's too smart for her own good.

This set contains books 1-3 in the Blackmoore Sisters Cozy Mystery Series: Dead Wrong, Dead & Buried and Dead Tide

Dead Wrong

**** Nominated Best Mystery Romance in the 2014 Indie Romance Convention Awards ****

There’s more than one secret in the old Blackmoore house. Some have been buried for a long time and some are sitting closer to the surface.

Morgan and Fiona Blackmoore enjoy their simple life in the sleepy ocean-side town of Noquitt Maine where they offer herbal remedies and crystal healing for locals and tourists alike.

...Until Morgan is accused of killing the town shrew, Prudence Littlefield.

Suddenly the girls find themselves scrambling to find the real killer while they battle a crooked Sheriff, planted evidence, and a long list of suspects that all had a reason to want Prudence dead.

Handsome Jake Cooper is new to the Noquitt Maine police force, which is exactly why Fiona Blackmoore doesn't trust him. But with time running out and the evidence against her sister piling up, Fiona has to make a choice - will she trust Jake with her sisters case ... and her own heart?

Add in an old mansion on the cliffs of Maine, an attic full of mysterious treasures, and a cat that has the uncanny ability to show up at exactly the right time and Fiona has her hands full proving the Sheriff's accusations about her sister being a murderer are Dead Wrong.

Dead & Buried

Summers in the seaside town of Noquit Maine are quiet and relaxing ... unless you find a mysterious dead body, a hunky ex-boyfriend shows up and you start getting instructions from ghostly relatives.

That’s exactly what happens to Morgan Blackmoore.

Suddenly, she finds herself in a race against time as she’s launched into a dangerous treasure hunt that pits her against modern day pirates who think she has the key to a three hundred year old secret.

To complicate matters even more, one of her sisters keeps talking to the ghost of their dead grandmother, another has crystals with unusually powerful healing properties and her cat has an uncanny habit of showing up in exactly the right place at exactly the right time.

Not to mention that her ex-boyfried, Luke Hunter, suddenly shows up in town after ten years of being overseas and claims to want to help her fight off these deadly pirates, but Morgan finds herself fighting her attraction to him instead.

Will Morgan outwit the treasure hunters and find the real killer before Sheriff Overton puts her in jail?

Dead Tide

For three hundred years, the Blackmoore house has harbored a valuable secret …

The Blackmoore sisters learn about this secret from the dying lips of the historian they hired to decipher their centuries old family journal. Too bad he never gets the chance to tell them exactly what he has uncovered...or where to find it.

But someone else knows where to find it, and they are prepared to take it from the Blackmoore’s no matter what the cost.

The sister’s are forced to put their newly discovered paranormal powers to the test as they fight off treasure stealing pirates in between figuring out clues from ghosts, decoding an old journal, finding their way through an underground maze and dodging quicksand, bottomless pits and whirlpools.

Oh, and did I mention the dark and mysterious stranger that keeps showing up--is he friend or foe?

Of course, their trusty cat, Belladonna is around to give them a helping hand when they need it ... and she has a secret of her own.

Will the Blackmoore sisters be able to figure out where the treasure is and get to it before the dead tide turns and hides it for another three hundred years?

My Thoughts:

This was a great find and it is free right now on Amazon (not sure how long the promotion will last)!  This 3-book set was just what I was looking for after reading a much more serious novel.  This was fun and easy to read.  Definitely rated PG with no profanity to speak of and sweet romance.  I found myself reading all 3 books in a very short time span.  If you remember the old TV shows, this series is like "Murder She Wrote" meets "Charmed".

Leighann Dobbs did a great job developing her characters and she is very descriptive.  I could easily picture each character, especially that awful sheriff, in my mind's eye.  There were parts of the third book, Dead Tide, that got a bit repetitive and boring, but all in all, it was a fun read.

I may have to read the next couple of books in the series to find out more about Mateo and whether or not Jolene has a love interest.  Hmmmm....

My Rating:

Monday, October 3, 2016

Deadly Alchemy by Julie Morgan


Book Description:

Winner 2015 sexiest steampunk book award

Vampires. Werewolves. An unlikely love story. How do you choose who lives and who dies?
Alchemist Amelia Rimos has just discovered the cure for the Undead. Being naïve and vulnerable, she does not realize the Undead have their targets set on her. Happening upon a tall, dark, exotic man named Michel Gauthier, he saves her from becoming a victim, thrusting her into a game of cat and mouse. Amelia realizes being an Alchemist is not in her best interest when she befriends him. Is Michel as sincere as he seems or does he have an ulterior motive? When her life cannot be more complicated, John Hawthorne interjects himself into Amelia's life and shifts it completely upside down. He informs Amelia she has the key to their survival. Soon, she will realize the Undead are not the only monsters in the world… Amelia will find herself in a stalemate: She will be forced to choose between destroying her evidence and saving the man she’s grown to love or destroying over half the population of the world, including the love of her life with it.

My Thoughts:

The Audible version of this book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.  Not being a big fan of steampunk, vampires or werewolves, I wasn't sure how I would feel about this book.  But I have read other books by Julie Morgan and thought I would give it a try.  I am so glad I did!  Started listening late afternoon and at 1:30 in the morning I couldn't stop!  Listened straight thru to the end and loved it!

When I first started listing to this audio version of the book, I wasn't fond of the narrator, but soon I realized that Fiona Thraille's voice kept me in the period.  The actions and vocabulary of the characters sometimes appeared more modern (yes, this is steampunk), but that appears to be the intent of the author and when read by this narrator I was able to stay submerged in the setting.  I also want to add that Julie Morgan's description of the world to which this book was created was brilliant.  The visualization was intense.

When asked if there was a moment in the book that particularly moved me, I would have to say "Several moments in different ways."  I loved the "dream" scenes but wanted to scream when the dream would end and the realization sank in that it didn't really happen (breathing heavily).  But I loved it!  Then there was the blood and gore and bathtub... Ugh!  I won't say more on that.  You need to read it to get the full impact.

My Rating:

Saturday, October 1, 2016

No One Lives Twice (A Lexi Carmichael Mystery, Book One) by Julie Moffett

From the Back Cover:

Get your geek on! Prepare for adventure with reformed hacker and trouble magnet Lexi Carmichael as she does whatever it takes to help the good guys win.

I'm Lexi Carmichael, geek extraordinaire. I spend my days stopping computer hackers at the National Security Agency. My nights? Those I spend avoiding my mother and eating cereal for dinner. Even though I work for a top-secret agency, I've never been in an exciting car chase, sipped a stirred (not shaken) martini, or shot a poison dart from an umbrella.

Until today, that is, when two gun-toting thugs popped up in my life and my best friend disappeared. So, I've enlisted the help of the Zimmerman twins—the reclusive architects of America's most sensitive electronic networks—to help me navigate a bewildering maze of leads to find her.

Along the way, my path collides with a sexy government agent and a rich, handsome lawyer, both of whom seem to have the hots for me. Hacking, espionage, sexy spy-men—it's a geek girl's dream come true. If it weren't for those gun-toting thugs…

My Thoughts:

This was a really fun read! I ended up reading it in one sitting and I'm about to download the second book in the series. Yep, it's that good. Lexi Carmichael is an employee of the NSA and certifiable geek who stumbles into a mystery when her best friend disappears. There were a few inconsistencies which took me out of the plot, but overall, this was a really fun read and I'd recommend it. I don't think the author has much of a geek/tech background, but that was okay because she was able to gloss over a lot of things. I need to go on a mini-rant for a minute simply because I am geek... and I owe it to all the other geeks out there:

I don't know any techie or self-proclaimed geek who doesn't have a cell phone. We're techies for a reason! And we of the techie sisterhood drool over any new technology like other women drool over designer shoes. Hell... I'm on a waiting list to buy a personal social AI robot for my home... (That's right, Jibo, come home to momma). The fact that the main character doesn't have a cell phone because she wants to avoid her mother doesn't make sense -- Hello call block and caller ID??? It also doesn't make sense that she accepts a cell phone as a gift from a suspect -- without it dawning on her immediately that her phone is bugged or they've got GPS monitoring her. She works for the NSA! They're supposed to be paranoid!!! And everyone... everyone... in this country has heard of the NSA, contrary to what the book claims. Hell, I've been playing on the NSA website for years and years -- They have awesome puzzles, by the way. You should check them out. To make matters worse, there was a reference to the heroine running for a pay phone at one point in the book and I had to stop reading to check the publication date. Were there still pay phones in 2010? I don't think I've seen any since the 1990s.

Okay, mini-rant over.

Overall, the book was good. It was entertaining and if you can gloss over the unbelievability of the characters and plot inconsistencies... it was good. But if you're one of my fellow geeks or techies, you might find yourself annoyed even to the point where you shout at your Kindle or ereader (because that's how we geeks roll), "THE PHONE IS TAPPED DUMBASS!" Other than that? I enjoyed it. I'm going to check out the second one and hope it's better.

My Rating:

Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult

From the Back Cover:

Every expectant parent will tell you that they don’t want a perfect baby, just a healthy one. Charlotte and Sean O’Keefe would have asked for a healthy baby, too, if they’d been given the choice. Instead, their lives are made up of sleepless nights, mounting bills, the pitying stares of “luckier” parents, and maybe worst of all, the what-ifs. What if their child had been born healthy? But it’s all worth it because Willow is, funny as it seems, perfect. She’s smart as a whip, on her way to being as pretty as her mother, kind, brave, and for a five-year-old an unexpectedly deep source of wisdom. Willow is Willow, in sickness and in health.

Everything changes, though, after a series of events forces Charlotte and her husband to confront the most serious what-ifs of all. What if Charlotte had known earlier of Willow’s illness? What if things could have been different? What if their beloved Willow had never been born? To do Willow justice, Charlotte must ask herself these questions and one more. What constitutes a valuable life?

My Thoughts:

I probably would not have picked up this book on my own, but since it was the "required reading" for our local book club this month, I bought the paperback and started in.  Around 10 pages into the book, I had to put it down.  It was depressing.  Very depressing.  I later picked up the book again, forcing myself to give it another shot.  Nope.  I went from sad and depressed to angry and frustrated.  Not the emotions I enjoy from a book.  Since I could not force myself to pick the book up again, I bought the audio version of the book.  Sometimes listening to a book while doing the laundry or driving to the bank allows me to get the story without getting too deeply "involved".  I must say that the narrators for the Audible version of this book were outstanding, with different narrators for the different characters in the book.

Jodi Picoult is an extremely talented writer, and this book was a #1 New York Times Bestseller, but somehow it missed the mark for me.  This is a story about a family's struggle after their newborn baby girl is born with a genetic birth defect known as Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI).  This is a condition where the child's bones are brittle, so brittle that they break with the slightest impact from a fall, bumping into a table, or even a hug.  Mounting medical bills and the need for special equipment cause financial problems and Charlotte, the mother, ends up filing a "wrongful birth" lawsuit against her obstetrician (who happens to be her best friend) for not discovering this condition and giving Charlotte and her husband Sean the option to abort the fetus.  Religious aspects (Charlotte and Sean are catholic) and moral decisions tear this family apart.  Part of the ending was predictable and the other part was not believable and made no sense whatsoever.

I'm sure there are many who do not agree with my rating of this book.  But I need to be honest with my humble opinion.

My Rating:


The Novel Lady Published @ 2014 by Ipietoon