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Just Say the Word by Carla Salvo

Saturday, July 30, 2011
Rita Napapolus' fingerprints were all over the murder weapon, beckoning authorities onto her path and into her past. They immediately hit a wall when they find no record of the petite office manager's history before she appeared in Seattle with her daughter twenty years ago.

When a million dollar bail is mysteriously posted and a hot-shot defense lawyer arrives from San Francisco, her friends want answers. So does the FBI.

Where did Rita come from? Who is watching out for her? Could she really be the killer?

Good Reads Summary

This novel makes for an interesting read.  The characters are not always as they appear, the details in the murder make the reader thing and realize that not even that is infallible, etc...  Rita is not a character that the reader will automatically hate, not even after reading several chapters will the reader alter his/her opinion-making for an intriguing novel when it is Rita who is the main suspect in a murder. 

Rita's past is not disclosed to the reader, but there are glimpses and hints.  Rita herself appears a fine woman, not too odd or malicious in any way.  However, evidence can't be wrong?  Or can it?  The reader will enjoy getting to know the secondary characters, some who support Rita, some who are confused, and some who don't seem to like her much at all.  They are all interesting characters with differing qualities.  The plot is not necessarily unique, but the reader will be interested all the same.  The dialogue leads the reader to believe that the author did her research, the tone is perfect for the novel and she has the different ethnicities (how they may have spoken) down very well. 

The novel is very eventful, leading from one scene to another quickly.  The reader will almost feel rushed, as would be the case in a real murder.  The ending is dead on for the novel.  This book is recommended for adults who enjoy murder mysteries. 

4 Stars

Guest Post with Denise Verrico and Giveaway

A Different Take on Vampire Mythology


Denise Verrico

When I set out to write Cara Mia my first Immortyl Revolution novel, I read a lot of books on vampire legends.  I’ve always been attracted to the figure of the vampire.  The all-powerful vampire appealed to me as a kind of dark superhero. Although I decided to go with a more sci fi than magical take on vampirism, I do play around a little with the well-known myths in my books and try to give them a biological basis. 

Since our early history, people have understood that if a human being lost a great deal of blood he or she would die.  It’s not surprising that myths of blood-drinking monsters arose all over the globe.  Usually these stories were connected with sudden or early death of a person.  Almost every culture has some sort of vampire myth.  Like most people, I was familiar with the Eastern European vampire myths.  In these stories, the vampire is typically thought of as an “undead” demon or re-animated corpse that feeds on the lifeblood or sometimes the soul or sexual energy of human victims.

As I dug further into the lore, I found that a lot of evidence points to these vampire legends first appearing in India.  This gave me the basis of the Immortyl culture of my vampire series.  Indian mythology provides many examples of vampire-like spirits and deities, but one deity often associated with vampirism is Kali, a fierce form of the mother goddess (Shakti) and consort of Shiva.  Like her husband, Kali both creates and destroys.  She’s often shown standing on the body of Shiva, symbolizing that in the scheme of the cosmos the male principle is subordinate to that of the female.

Kali is a scary figure, usually depicted as emaciated with withered dark blue or black skin and three eyes. She wears the body parts of her victims as jewelry and has a blood-red tongue that sticks out in defiance. Her favorite places are battlefields where she and her attendants, the dakini, become intoxicated on the blood of victims.

Because of this fearsome image and some pop-culture references to her, Kali is an often-misunderstood figure in the West.  Historically, only one group associated with Kali was known for violence, the Thugees. These devotees would waylay travelers and use them as blood sacrifices to the goddess. The Thugees were the inspiration behind the Kali worshipers in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, hence a lot of the western misconception.

However, Kali is the goddess of time, not death and only slays evil demons. Symbolically, she annihilates the selfish impulses and ego that bind us to our material bodies. Her aspect may be ferocious, but she is called Kali Maa (Mother Kali) and is revered in many parts of India.  The city of Kolkata (Calcutta) is sacred to her and named for the goddess.  Tantric cults often focus on Kali.  Tantra is an older religious tradition than Hinduism, dating back before the Aryan tribes migrated into India. These groups center on Shakti worship and sometimes use sex and even blood in their rituals. The idea behind this is to gain control over the body to capture divine energy and gain blessings. 

The more I read, the more I became fascinated with the stories surrounding Kali and tantric practices.  This led me to imagine the origin of the Immortyls and their own religion based on tantra.  In my research, I also came across accounts of the devidasi.  These were female temple devotees, skilled in music and dance and frequently exploited as courtesans.  Some of them wielded surprising power.  The devidasi inspired the adepts of the ancient arts in my novels.   These extraordinarily beautiful male and female Immortyls serve Kali as singers, musicians and dancers.  Like their historical counterparts the devidasi, they are employed as courtesans.  The sexual aspect of my adepts’ art is an elaborate tantric ritual symbolizing the act of Immortyl creation.

The latest Immortyl Revolution novel, My Fearful Symmetry, is set mostly in India at the chief elder’s court.  Here Immortyls live much as they did three thousand years ago.  Nineteen-year-old Cedric MacKinnon, fresh from the modern-day streets of London, is trained as an adept and becomes entangled in a web of political intrigue centered on the revolution started by Mia and Kurt in the first two books.  The young man soon realizes that the chief elder uses Kali’s fearsome reputation as a tool to exert control over other Immortyls.  Cedric is at first highly skeptical of the Goddess’ power, but after much trial and tribulation he begins to question his disbelief.  The neat thing about this book is that it can be read first because the saga is seen through fresh eyes.  The reader can jump into the series here and go back later and read Mia and Kurt’s story in the first two books.

One of the great pleasures for me in writing speculative fiction is all of the possibilities that exist for the imagination.  Urban fantasy, in particular, allows a blending of the real world with the fantastical.  I was recently on a panel at a science fiction convention, where one of the writers suggested that urban fantasy is creating mythology for the modern day.  He referenced Joseph Campbell’s books, such as The Power of Myth.  I’ve always been a fan of Campbell’s theories.  If you haven’t read Campbell’s books and you’re interested in mythology, I highly recommend them.  You may be surprised by the similarity of myths from cultures around the world and corresponding themes in a lot of stories that are popular today. visit the author's website to find out more!

Denise's full bio and extras can be found here

For the giveaway( My Fearful Symmetry mousepad ), leave a comment including your GFC name and an email address as well as a comment for Denise.  Thank you for stopping by!

Lorelei and the Sirens (The Sirens Book 1) by Aaronni Miller

Lorelei Twila Adams is from the McAdams line of sirens in Ireland and as the second generation in America Lorelei must never fall in love, never let her beauty mark burn (a means of surveillance), and she must practice perfect restraint at all times; to her great chagrin. Lorelei abhors the stifling gaze of her over-protective mother and gets a breath of fresh air when Ellis Latif McMillan, the new boy, shows up at Harry P. Strange High School.

With hypnotic, crystal-blue eyes Lorelei stumbles into talking to Ellis at school, trips when he writes a poem about her, and falls in love with him when she sneaks out to meet him late one night, but her days are numbered soon after. Lorelei's family finds out about Ellis and her; they call for her immediate trial to determine her guilt. Lorelei runs away with Ellis; she knows what the outcome will be if her family finds her.

Lorelei's first taste of love will either set her free from the lies of her family or it will kill her and the boy she loves.

Good Reads Summary

The first quality of the novel the reader will notice is that the novel will sound like it is literally told from the high school student's point of view, the author makes the main character, Lorelei, the focal point of the novel.  Lorelei has a very unusual lifestyle.  She has several sisters she can't stand as well as a mother who seems a tad unfeeling and doesn't offer up any good advice. 

At first glance, Lorelei will appear perfect.  She is beautiful, smart, punctual, and the perfect overall teen.  However, Lorelei is not happy in her smothered life.   When Ellis, a new boy, shows up and shakes things up for Lorelei, she is happy for the first time in the novel.  The reader will enjoy exploring Lorelei's and Ellis's growing relationship.  Ellis isn't a perfect character, but he is caring and the perfect diversion for Lorelei. 

Of course, this idyllic existence cannot last forever.  Will Ellis and Lorelei's new relationship survive the strain of Lorelei's family?  Will Lorelei be able to have a semi-happy life?  The reader will enjoy this novel immensely, especially the ending.  This novel is recommended for young adult/teen readers who enjoy novels concerning paranormal creatures. 

3 1/2 Stars

The Bee Tree by Kenneth Fenter

The sequel to The Ruin begins a week after Cliff emerges from the Anasazi cliff dwelling with a sense of purpose and dignity to resume his place on the family farm. After a year of solitude, he is eager to make friends. He reaches out to a neighbor, Angelina Martinez, who has befriended him in the past. Their mutual interest in bees lead to the capture of a monster swarm from a bee tree.
As they monitor the tree and prepare to capture the swarm, Angelina tells Cliff of her coming of Age ceremony, the Quince Años, and jokingly asks him to be her escort. He accepts in the spirit of the invitation. However, Cliff's father refuses to let him attend because it is a religious observance. In anger, Cliff returns to the cliff dwelling. While there, he is warned in a dream that Angelina is being stalked and is in danger.
Cliff';s newfound confidence, survival instincts, spiritual concepts and personal values are tested to the limit as he struggles to keep Angelina away from a man who intends to destroy them both.

Good Reads Summary

This novel is easily as good as the first in the series, The Ruin.  The reader meets Clifton, aka Cliff, again as a newly changed person.  He has learned much since living for a year in an Anasazi cliff dwelling. 

The author inserts several mini-lessons in the novel for his reader.  The reader will learn more about the Native American way of life and bee-keeping and bee lives.  These will likely interest a reader who enjoys learning new facts and absorbing new information, but it may irritate a reader who would prefer to stick to the general plot line. 

Cliff befriends Angelina, one of his neighbors as well as one of the few people who attempted to befriend him before.  She is an interesting character; she appears quick to forgive and accepting, a perfect friend for Cliff who has more rough edges.  The scenes with Cliff and Angelina are sweet and endearing, it will be obvious to the reader, through the author's careful maneuvering, that Cliff cares deeply for Angelina.  When he has a vivid dream of Angelina in danger from his former bully he goes immediately to help her and keep her from harm's way.

Larry, the antagonist, is mean, nasty, and not likable in the slightest.  The reader will not like this character; however, the author did not mean for this character to be sympathetic.  Larry is essential to the plot as well as to Cliff's life lessons throughout the novel. 

This book is well-written, the characters are all carefully chosen so as to portray the author's message clearly.  The dialogue is interesting enough, the plot is unique, and the characters fit nicely into the plot.  This novel is recommended for adults/young adults who enjoy reading novels containing hard, realistic issues. 

4 Stars

Heart on a Chain by Cindy C Bennett

17-year-old Kate has lived her whole life in abject poverty, with an alcoholic father and drug-addicted mother, who severely abuses Kate. At school, her second-hand clothing marks her as a target. Her refusal to stand up for herself makes her the recipient of her classmates taunts and bullying. That is, until Henry returns.

Henry Jamison moved away six years earlier, just as he and Kate had begun an to develop feelings for one another. He returns to find the bright, funny, outgoing girl he had known now timidly hiding in corners, barely speaking to anyone around her, suspicious of even him.

Kate can’t figure out what game Henry is playing with her - for surely it is a game. What else would the gorgeous, popular boy from her past want with her?

Kate finally decides to trust Henry’s intentions, opening her heart to him. Just when it seems he might be genuine in his friendship, tragedy strikes, threatening everything Kate has worked so hard to gain. Can Henry help her to overcome this new devastation, or will it tear them apart forever?

Good Reads Summary

Never judge a girl by her cover.  The main character, Kate, has lived with abuse her whole life.  She is very resilient and strong; wonderful qualities to see in a female character.  She deals with her alcoholic father and drug-addicted mother on a regular basis, sometimes coming out the worse for wear.  Some might see her refusal to stand up for herself (when she is bullied) as  a shame and weak, and it might be; however, Kate is also a proud character, possibly a bad trait in this situation, but it works as a character should never be perfect. 

The novel contains several scenes with severe abuse and bullying.  This is a reality for some teens.  The author makes these scenes both vivid and real for the reader.  The reader will want to reach out to help Kate while smacking her mother.  The love interest, Henry, comes in the nick of time for Kate.  He is caring, protective, and appears to truly love Kate.  He is also rich; the opposite of what Kate is acclimated too.  The reader will enjoy watching as their relationship deepens and develops. 

This novel will make the reader want to hunt down every mean girl and bad parent in the world and give them what for.  Incidentally, the author is very good to evoke that sort of reaction in her readers.  The dialogue is interesting and horrifying at times, but the reader can believe this is actually happening.  The scene, with an alcoholic father and drug-addicted mother, is perfect.  Kate's second-hand clothing and the way she is bullied at school will make this novel all to real to the reader.  There are good transitions from one scene to the next and the author manages to give Kate the perfect reactions to the situations she is placed in-Kate reacts like a textbook would predict with some surprises, again she is believable.  The ending is very satisfying and the reader will breathe a sigh of relief.  This novel is recommended for young adults/adults who enjoy novels that tackle real life issues. 

5 Stars

Truly, Everything by J.R. Armstrong

In the spring of 1967, Michael and Meg promise to reunite in five years to decide if their high school romance is still alive.
They fail to keep the promise and thirteen years pass before a chance encounter brings them together once again.
After a life-altering accident, can their love continue amidst mystery, confusion, and deception?

Good Reads Summary

This novel is the sequel to "Owe it to the Wind" and just as intriguing.  The main characters all have separate life stories that the reader will enjoy delving in to see the big picture. 

  Michael, her high school sweetheart, is slightly rough around the edges, but he is a smooth talker and soon has Meg under his wing.  Josh, Michael's brother, has always hidden his true feelings for Meg.   The reader will find the slight love triangle interesting as the story progresses.  Meg gradually gets better from her accident and ends up in a few very confusing situations that the reader will ponder through with the character.

The plot on the surface is fairly common; however, as soon as the reader digs a little bit deeper, this plot won't be like anything the reader has read about in other books.  The writer has a very smooth way of writing and the transitions from one event to the next are terrific, the reader will not be any more confused than the main character herself-which is the author's aim.  The dialogue holds little hints and clues for the reader to digest and attempt to guess at the ending.  The ending will be a surprise to both the reader and the main character, but the author does a good job explaining.  This book is recommended to young adults/adults who enjoy novels containing romance, mystery, and drama. 

4 Stars

Awesome Giveaway On Another Blog  This giveaway is easy to enter with plenty of extra entries.  There is a huge amount of books to pick your favorite four from.  Take a look!

Hey Kids, Want Some Chocolates? by Melitta Strandberg

This book tells of the reunion of little Melitta with her family during the 1940's.  The author describes the upheaval and sadness her family felt during this time period.  She was taken from her mother at a hospital where children were selected for experiments.  Her mothers rememberd a birthmark on her left arm-a very important identification mark.  In this very short book, the reader follows the family's life throughout this horrible time period, during their reunion, and after.  The descriptions are detailed and in depth, the reader will be able to picture the scene.  This is a book of hope and happiness for the future.  The author does not leave the readers on a cliff-hanger, the readers will be told what happens to each member of her family. 

4 Stars

Keeping Grace Alive by Annie Lee

Rudy Talbot, head of one of America's largest organized crime rings, hires his main hit man, Jessie Conners, to kill his step-daughter Grace. Jessie Conners is a seasoned hitman who has never missed a hit before. That is, until he met "Gracie" five years ago and fell in love with her. Gracie is a rebellious socialite in her mid-twenties. Refusing to marry the current Senator's son, Phillip Proctor, Gracie stands in the way of Rudy Talbot and his political dreams. Rudy knows both Jessie and Phillip have feelings for Gracie. Attempting to play the two men off of each other, Rudy's plan backfires when Jessie stages an abduction to whisk Gracie to safety. But Conner's had no idea that falling in love with Gracie would lead to the seemingly impossible task of keeping Gracie alive as her own medical conditions and step-father threaten her every move. Hiding her in his Pocono Mountain cabin, it soon becomes apparent that the only person who can keep Gracie alive is herself. And the only thing that guarantees her safety, going back and facing her past, will most likely get her killed. Jessie Conners goes against everything he knows in a struggle to save the love of his life. Suspense, mystery, and romance await readers of Keeping Grace Alive.

Good Reads Summary

This is a terrific romance novel.  The main characters, Grace and Jessie, are perfect for each other and complement each other as well.  Grace is delicate, pretty, and feisty while Jessie is strong, protective, handsome, dangerous, and built (female readers will enjoy this little fact).  The novel begins with immediate action-Jessie is ordered to kill Grace-and there is no lag throughout the book.  The reader will not be bored.  Rudy is an unforgiving character; he is brassy, heartless, and almost sociopathic.  When he sets his sights on seeing Grace dead, Jessie knows he must act and surprise Rudy in order to save her.  The novel continues much in the same way.  The reader will be continually surprised by new developments and the events will fly by. 

The interaction between Grace and Jessie is sweet and surprisingly endearing.  These two character have no trouble winning the reader over.  The author portrays them in an almost Romeo and Juliet stereotypical way-Grace is the one girl Jessie cannot have.  The ending is very satisfying and will make the reader happy he/she read the novel.  This book is very well-written, eliciting emotions in the reader as only a skilled author can.  This book is recommended for adults who enjoy a seemingly impossible romance every once in a while. 

5 Stars

Angelina's Bachelors by Brian O'Reilly

Sometimes the shortest distance between two people is the length of a kitchen table. . . .
Far too young to be a widow, Angelina D’Angelo suddenly finds herself facing a life without her beloved husband, Frank. Late one night shortly after the funeral, she makes her way down to the kitchen and pours all of her grief and anger into the only outlet she has left—her passion for cooking. In a frenzy of concentration and swift precision, she builds layer upon layer of thick, rich lasagna, braids loaves of yeasty bread, roasts plump herb-rubbed chicken; she makes so much food that she winds up delivering the spoils to the neighbors in her tight-knit Italian community in South Philadelphia.
Retiree Basil Cupertino, who has just moved in with his kindly sister across the street, is positively smitten with Angelina’s food. In a stroke of good fortune, Basil offers Angelina (not only husbandless but unemployed) a job cooking for him—two meals a day, six days a week, in exchange for a handsome salary. Soon, word of her irresistible culinary prowess spreads and she finds herself cooking for seven bachelors—and in the process discovers the magical power of food to heal, to bring people together . . . and maybe even to provide a second chance at love.
Filled to the brim with homemade warmth, Angelina’s Bachelors is a sweet tale of overcoming grief, redefining family, and following your heart—through food.

Good Reads Summary

This novel is a perfect read for any season anywhere.  The author, Brian O'Reilly, is a creator and executive producer of Food Network's Dinner: Impossible among many other accomplishments.  His abilities shine through in this novel-containing recipes and descriptions of the main character baking and cooking. 

The main character, Angelina, will connect with the reader within the first few pages.  Newly widowed, Angelina expresses her anger and sadness through her baking and cooking.  She strikes good fortune when Bail Cupertino hears of her amazing feats in the kitchen and hires her to cook for him.  She meets several men, including two possible love interests (Jerry and Guy), in search of her cooking after the word spreads even further of her skills.  Angelina has several shocks during the novel, some mediocre and some very good, that the reader will be happy to experience with her.  Angelina is a kind, caring, active character who the reader is sure to enjoy reading about.  The secondary characters, with their quirks, are just as fun to get to know.  This novel contains recipes with steps of how to make the dishes in every chapter-many that even an unskilled baker/cooker could try his/her hand at.  This novel is recommended for adults who enjoy novels with a strong theme (cooking/baking) and fiction.

4 Stars

Frost by Wendy Delsol

After the drama of discovering that she’s a member of the Storks, a mystical order of women endowed with powerful abilities, Katla Leblanc is finally settling into her life in chilly Minnesota. In fact, the ex-California girl even hopes for a white Christmas. But Katla’s wintry wish unexpectedly turns into the snowstorm of the century, drawing the attention of Brigid, a gorgeous environmental researcher with an amazing array of fur coats and an unusual interest in Katla’s boyfriend, Jack.

Inspired by Norse mythology and Hans Christian Andersen’s THE SNOW QUEEN.

Frost is the much awaited sequel to Stork. The novel is loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen. The main focus of attention in this novel is Jack, Katla's boyfriend. This may be slightly disappointing to readers who were expecting further development of Katla. Jack has a fierce desire to understand and control his own magical ability. Jack and Katla are slowly beginning to have a deeper relationship when Brigid arrives on the scene. Brigid comes to Minnesota due to a gift from Jack to Katla gone awry. Brigid draws Jack's attention away from Katla; not long after Brigid's arrival, Jack disappears. Katla must go on a mission to find him. The novel continues in much the same way-Katla trying to find Jack.

For readers of Stork who were expecting a deeper development of Katla's ability and a better explanation of the Stork society...this book is a bit of a letdown. The novel literally focuses on her finding Jack, there is only one instance where she guides a soul in the entire novel. There is more attention given to the love triangle between Brigid, Jack, and Katla than there is to the ancient historical Story society that was the first novel's plot. However, the author's way of drawing the reader into the book and holding his/her attention and the seamless, flowing sequence of events are still present. The author does not neglect Katla's character development-she is portrayed as a slightly more mature, humorous young woman. The reader will find him/herself laughing at Katla's thoughts and statements during the novel. Brigid is a new character and the perfect character to hate in this novel. She is haughty and self-assured with an undertone of evil. The author does a good job at giving a teen's point of view (Katla's) during the novel-not the easiest thing to do when you're not a teenager anymore and another demonstration of the author's skill.

This novel splits off into smaller sub-plots. Again, some readers may enjoy this new quality to this series while some may dislike it. Katla's mother, newly pregnant, deals with the stress of preparing for another child, Katla's class puts on a musical of The Snow Queen- the author's bid for irony in the novel. Katla's friends aren't getting along and Katla isn't quite sure if she has time to deal with everything. Jack veers away from Katla and their relationship. The Stork society isn't addressed all that much. Katla takes off to find Jack, but at the same time has to deal with a few things that leave her having nightmares. All of these different sub-plots are a little grating at first, they don't appear to fit cohesively into the novel at first. However, the ending is satisfying and many of these events fall into place.

This book is recommended for young adults/teens that enjoy escaping to a world where magic is possible when reading.

3 1/2 Stars

The Long Night: William L. Shirer and the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by Steve Wick

The story of legendary American journalist William L. Shirer and how his first-hand reporting on the rise of the Nazis and on World War II brought the devastation alive for millions of Americans

When William L. Shirer started up the Berlin bureau of Edward R. Murrow’s CBS News in the 1930s, he quickly became the most trusted reporter in all of Europe. Shirer hit the streets to talk to both the everyman and the disenfranchised, yet he gained the trust of the Nazi elite and through these contacts obtained a unique perspective of the party’s rise to power.
Unlike some of his esteemed colleagues, he did not fall for Nazi propaganda and warned early of the consequences if the Third Reich was not stopped. When the Germans swept into Austria in 1938 Shirer was the only American reporter in Vienna, and he broadcast an eyewitness account of the annexation. In 1940 he was embedded with the invading German army as it stormed into France and occupied Paris. The Nazis insisted that the armistice be reported through their channels, yet Shirer managed to circumvent the German censors and again provided the only live eyewitness account. His notoriety grew inside the Gestapo, who began to build a charge of espionage against him. His life at risk, Shirer had to escape from Berlin early in the war. When he returned in 1946 to cover the Nuremberg trials, Shirer had seen the full arc of the Nazi menace. It was that experience that inspired him to write The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich—the magisterial, definitive history of the most brutal ten years the modern world had known—which has sold millions of copies and has become a classic.
Drawing on never-before-seen journals and letters from Shirer’s time in Germany, award-winning reporter Steve Wick brings to life the maverick journalist as he watched history unfold and first shared it with the world.

Good Reads Summary

The Long Night is a very powerful nonfiction book. The plot concerns Hitler's rise to power and the destruction that ensued after. Shirer, the main character, was the only reporter who reported every brutal event. He was one of the few not to fall for Nazi propaganda while still remaining (for a little while) in Germany and among the soldiers and Nazi elite. The author has the ability to make the events appear as if they are occurring right when the reader is reading about them. The atmosphere and permeating fear and horror is tangible, as is the desperation.

Shirer is an admirable character to read about. He reported his findings accurately, much to the chagrin and impending threats by the Nazi party. He advocated early warnings about the true intentions of the Nazi party and he stayed for as long as possible in the heart of the chaos. The reader will grow close to Shirer while reading this novel and share his hopelessness and need for the truth to be known. Shirer and the reader both will feel increasingly disparaging towards powerful leaders and the people who should have listened and taken into consideration Shirer's reports. A history buff and the average nonfiction reader will devour this nonfiction book.

4 Stars

Beneath the Dune by Walter Ramsay

Tucker Lee Anderson’s boss needs him to check out a story over on the beachside. Not earth- shattering, it’s more of a follow up to the Ed Ventara case, he says. When Anderson, a staff reporter for a local Southern newspaper hears this, a red light goes off in his head. But wait, wasn’t Ventara the serial killer convicted of killing five children, even though they only found four bodies a few years back? Following the discovery of a child’s skeleton, what at first appears to be a straightforward case of suspected murder is anything but, when Anderson finds himself not only investigating the case, but also dabbling in ancestral research. This laid-back divorced dad’s ordinary life soon takes a turn when in the process, he soon discovers family ties that bind him to both the present and the past—but what does this have to do with the child? Set in the Central Florida community of Brevard County, Beneath the Dune features an interesting cast of characters, and what Anderson uncovers is bound to shock a few upper class residents to the core. Steeped in suspense and blended with humor, the book has all the ingredients necessary for the making of mystery that is sure to hold you in its grip to the very end.

Good Reads Summary

A highly recommended read, this novel will provide a reader with entertainment for a good couple of hours.  The plot itself isn't spectacular, the main character is contacted by a ghost asking him to right a past wrong; however, the main character's mannerisms and witticisms pulled this novel together.  The main character has to deal with his "evil" ex wife, an impatient ghost, a disturbing skeleton, his own slightly chaotic life, etc...
The novel is set in a Central Florida community of Brevard County.  The author actually utilizes this setting in his novel-a rarity when the setting is addressed.  He has the main character acknowledge the heat and a radio show announcer state that it is "another beautiful morning on the Space Coast!"  Incidentally, the balmy, wet weather creates the perfect scenario for the main character's grisly discovery. 

The author crafts a good tail.  The reader will be hooked in the first few chapters.  The action does not take long to start and the main character is entertaining by himself in the meantime.  There are plenty of humorous, scary, serious, and ironic scenes in the novel.  A reader will enjoy the variety.  This novel was very well-written and is recommended for adult/young adult readers who enjoy a good mystery.

5 Stars

Magel's Ghost by Nancy Baker

Friday, July 29, 2011
Nancy Baker is the author of Magel's Daughter, her first novel, and the sequel, Magel s Ghost. The stories are dark comedies laced with magical realism and take place in Minnesota. Her third novel Island Adrift is the first in series of The Mac Books. The novel is also laced with magical realism while maintaining a more serious base to the text. She is currently working on the next book in the series. Her education has taken a varied and unusual route. She holds a BFA from the College of Art and Design in Minneapolis and worked in the field of Graphic Design for ten years. At the same time she took night classes at The Loft Literary Center and has been writing ever since. At the start of her writing career she produced several children's stories and adult short stories. She is married and the mother of four children who supply her with endless material.

Amazon Summary

This novel is unusual, however, fans of paranormal romance will appreciate it.  Karin, the main character, is tortured by the Olina women-her deceased relatives.  Karin sees them and is forced to put up with them when they decide to live in her townhouse.  No one in her family appears exempt from the madness.  Marit has an eerie and deadly fascination with body parts, Magel kept body parts in the freezer, etc... So it is not surprising when Karin exhibits signs of insanity as well. 

After her wild and crazy romance with Leo, Karin takes up with James to complete this crazy series with a bang.  She meets the wealthy Minneapolis family and becomes the lover of the grandfather, father, and son.  The scenes vary from downright eerie to incredibly humorous-involving a tail in one scene.  Karin continues spiralling into insanity with the reader following her unfortunate destructive events.  She is not actually a character the reader can love or hate.  She's more of a "the reader can't believe this is actually happening, even in a novel" type of character. 

This novel is recommended for adults who enjoy paranormal romance tinged with insanity. 

3 1/2 Stars

Dancing in the Shadows of Love by Judy Croome

In the haunting “Dancing in the Shadows of Love,” three emotionally adrift women fight to heal their fractured worlds. Not everyone can be a hero. Or can they?

After a decade in prison for a murder she did not commit, Lulu begins a new life at the Court of St Jerome in the Old Sea City. An albino, abandoned as a young child at a Holding Camp for unwanted children, she has always been ostracised, for her difference to others makes her an easy victim of prejudice.

Once, she believed, she had a friend to love her. Then that friend betrayed her and Lulu learned that hate is safer than love. But, from Jamila to Granny Zahra, the people of St Jerome’s appear to accept her into their fold. Against a backdrop of never-ending war, the women of the court fight their personal demons: hatred, ambition and greed. As Lulu shares their victories and their losses, she learns to trust again, perhaps even to love.

Nothing, however, is as it seems and Lulu discovers that love does not always wear the face of the one you yearn to call beloved.

Remarkably areligious and boldly atmospheric, buoyed by touches of magical realism, this compelling story explores the sacrifices people make in the pursuit of a love that transcends everyday existence. Lulu’s quest, and that of Jamila and Zahra too, is to find the divine love that will fulfil their hopes and save their souls...if they can recognise the masks of those who seek to lead them astray.

Good Reads Summary

This is an emotionally powerful book and the reader has to be prepared to allow the author to expand his/her knowledge of forgiveness.  Jamila, Zahra, and Lulu all have complicated, unhappy pasts-Lulu is an albino and Jamila and Zahra lived in poverty and abuse.  The author does an excellent job of developing these characters and helping the reader to understand them and think of them as friends.    The reader will be rooting for these three throughout the novel.  Lulu needs to learn to let go of her own prejudices and trust again while Jamila and Zahra work towards a better life, escaping their past by living well in their futures.  The book is fast-paced, but the reader has enough time to comprehend all of the tough subjects addressed.  The author does not skate over these issues, they are out in the open.  This book is recommended to young adults/adults who enjoy reality fiction. 

4 Stars

The Choice by Lorhainne Eckhart

Marcie Hollis is a Wiccan, who’s always played by the rules. That’s until she meets Dan McKenzie, a man who she believes to be the knight in shining armor she’s been searching for all her life. However, Dan’s not who he appears to be. He lures Marcie into his world of lies, greed and high-grade marijuana. But fate intervenes on Marcie's illicit trip for Dan to New Orleans, when she's robbed in a crowded airport. The thug not only makes off with her suspicious backpack, he knocks her down, her head slams on the concrete floor, and she loses her memory right in the path of DEA agent, Sam Carre.

After a six-month investigation into the activities of a big time drug dealer crumbles, the same day damming evidence is found stuffed in Sam’s locker – evidence suggesting he’s the notorious leak on the team, Sam jumps on the first plane home. Arriving in a crowded airport in New Orleans - his reputation and loyalty are in question. But even though Sam’s tired, disillusioned and haunted by a past that gives him no peace, he stops to help an attractive stranger when she falls in front of him. Then in an act of chivalry, he takes her to his home until the police can identify her. When questions arise about Marcie, and what she’s involved in, the answers lead them to the exact felons Sam investigated in the Pacific Northwest.

When her illusive memory returns, this complex case pushes them both to explain the unexplainable, and leaves Sam with a haunting question. Was she set up, or was this a game she played? Sam’s forced to make a choice, walk away from the attraction that connects them, or risk losing everything.

Good Reads Summary

The first quality the reader will notice about this novel is the amount of events occurring and meshing together all at once.  The reader will experience a drug bust, haughty and cruel drug lord, dirty cops, dark entities, etc...  Marcie, the main character, is smack dab in the middle of all of this.  Marcie is being utilized as a mule for her boyfriend, Dan, who turns out to have some magical persuasive powers of his own.  Sam, an agent working to nab Dan and stop the operation, sees and instantly wants Marcie for himself.  Marcie is one of those odd, but interesting characters who can see dead people.  She is a sympathetic character while Sam is the strong, handsome hero.  It doesn't take long for this story to get fairly steamy, there is a little bit of sex (for 18+ readers).  The novel is predictable in many ways, but there are a few surprising twists thrown in.  The ending is satisfying and expected.  This novel is recommended for adult readers who enjoy contemporary romance.

4 Stars

Sins of the Mother by Tara Hyland

From the author of Daughters of Fortune comes a sweeping family drama that follows a mother and daughter through the poverty of post-WWII Ireland and London and into the glamour of 1950s Hollywood and beyond, revealing the ways in which family ties can never be broken.
Tara Hyland is beloved by readers for her exquisite talent at weaving family sagas that journey through the rocky roads of secrets, lies, and betrayals, only to show that no challenge, no matter how difficult, can ever truly sever the bonds of love.
The novel opens in 1946, when Franny Healy
Over thousands of miles and three decades, through heartbreaks and death, Franny and her estranged daughter live vastly different lives, but remain connected, showing once again that the bond between mother and child always endures.

Good Reads Summary

Could you abandon your own child?  This novel's central theme appears to be abandonment, love, and understanding.  The author delivers on all fronts.  She manages to stay fairly neutral in this novel-not an easy task in a novel where judgement is easy to dole out. 

The main character of the first part, Franny, is likable at first.  She appears as an eager child looking forward to the rest of her future.  However, a turn of events involving a pregnancy and the father taking off leaves her far more cynical and desiring a better life.  Her gluttony eventually gets the better of her.  She takes off and abandons her daughter, Cara, much like her lover did to her years ago.  Cara grows up fresh-faced and tough with her grandmother, her absent mother missing birthdays and sending presents late. 

Cara's bitterness towards her mother at first seems accurate and deserved. However, things are not always as they seem and Cara soon finds out her mother's life is not nearly as glamorous as she once thought.  This author highlights Huntington's Disease in her novel; the disease is integral to the plot and important to learn about.  The author writes very smoothly and frankly, details are never left to the imagination.  This novel is recommended for young adults/adults who enjoy women's fiction.

4 Stars

Domina: Society's Ilk by Edmund Alexander Sims

Domina: Society's Ilk is the story of a woman who refuses to be defined by those who can barely define themselves and rejects the dogged conventions of how she is supposed to be - levied by...yet based upon those who claim to be like her. It is the story of a superheroine who is capable of carrying an entire imprint as its franchise offering - so respected so as to garner the support of characters from an entirely different imprint for the purposes of ensuring her proper send-off into the universe. It is a story of last resorts, of sorts - in a pool of prose where the defiant metaphor which takes its plot seriously cannot be drowned. To Domina, none of this is anything new. She has always shouldered the ever increasing responsibilities of being a protector, the always welcome obligation of being a friend, and the treacherously important burden of being an entrepreneur. So why do her detractors continue to believe that they can win?

Good Reads Summary

This novel is definitely for science fiction fans.  There is plenty of sci fi speak and some wacky, but good, names for the characters.  The main character is a strong-willed female-she is definitely not the norm as far as main characters go, but the reader will grow to respect her.  The novel is really short-more like a novella almost, the reader will finish within an hour or two.  Some parts are confusing, others are intriguing.  There could have been more explanation in the book, the reader may get lost.  The best part was easily the main character; she appears as smart, dependable, loyal, etc... the secondary characters are worth reading about as well, though they do not appear much in the story.  This book is recommended for science fiction fans.

3 Stars

Josefina's Sin by Cluadia H. Long

A passionate debut novel about a wealthy landowner’s wife whose life is turned upside down when she visits the Spanish Court in 17th century Mexico.

Good Reads Summary

Even thought the book is decently sized, it will take an avid reader only about 2-3 days to enjoy.  This book is hard to put down.  The main character, Josefina, is a pitiable character.  The reader will truly root for her during the novel.  She is caring, especially when it concerns her children, and pious, when it comes to her husband and religion/society.  She is definitely not a strong female character, however, in this time period she is not meant to be.  The author manages to instill in Josefina all of the traits that a reader could see a woman containing in the 17th century. 

The plot itself is not necessarily "special".  Josefina deals with the normal events that a woman of that time period would be forced to deal with-a husband who doesn't seem to love her, a family that was forced upon her, and no real position in society.  She is portrayed as more of a wallflower, something pretty to look at, but not necessarily good for anything. 

There are quite a few events in the novel that will make a reader grimace or frown.  These are very realistically written-the author spares no details.  Not all readers will appreciate these types of scenes, but they are formative to Josefina.  Josefina longs for a life where she can make her own choices and act as she wishes, but she never makes it-she is repressed. 

This novel has adultery, abuse, immorality, etc... filling its pages, however, there is also love and hope.  This book is recommended for adults who enjoy historical novels.

4 Stars

Loramendi's Story by Angela Carlie

Thursday, July 28, 2011
Lora wants nothing more than to be the wind behind sexy windsurfer Chance's sails. But fulfilling that wish just became...complicated. After seventeen years of normal life, someone wants Lora and her family dead. And the attempted massacre isn't nearly as strange as the reason behind it.

Good Reads Summary

This book starts right off with a humorous encounter with the main character's best friend showing off her newly pierced flesh.  Lora, the main character, keeps a dream journal; the reader reads part of this journal in the second chapter.  The tone for the novel is set right after the dream journal excerpt.  The novel has an undercurrent of tension that will continue throughout the story.  Lora seems to know something is going to happen to her, but she doesn't know yet quite what that something is.  "Oh my stars" is one of Lora's favorite phrases, the reader will become close to Lora in this novel and perhaps even regard her as a friend.  The setting is mainly in the town that Lora lives in.  The drama starts in chapter 3 and continues throughout the novel.  Lora and her love interest spark immediately and the reader will be eager to see where their romance is headed.   There are a few surprises in this novel, the ending itself is surprising and might be indicative of a second novel (yay!).  This novel is recommended for young adults who enjoy romance with a lot of action.

4 Stars

Descended By Blood by Angeline Kace

YA Paranormal Romance

Brooke Keller is a high school junior who has never spent much time living in one place. She is finally in a town long enough to almost snag the boy of her dreams, until her life is threatened after killing a fanged man in his attempt to kidnap her. Brooke begins a dangerous journey in an effort to find out who is after her and how to stop them. In a world with powerful and prejudiced vampires, Brooke must tap into the side of her that she never knew existed at the risk of losing her life in order to save it.

Good Reads Summary

This novel is a great read for a rainy day or when a reader needs a pick-me-up. The main character is sassy, determined, and strong. She is a great strong female character, a type that needs to be more prevalent in novels. The plot is nothing new, but the reader will enjoy the different situations the main character finds herself in. There are plenty of exciting scenes and, sometimes, even humorous scenes. The reader will be rooting for the main character's romance with the local boy to develop more fully. The author makes some of the vampires literally prejudiced, a quality that improves the plot. The setting is mainly in the new town that the main character settles in. When the reader comes to the ending, he/she will be happy to find there is a second novel in this series. This novel is recommended for young adults who enjoy paranormal romances highlighting vampires.

4 Stars

Amber Argyle's Witch Song!

Bodacious Blues by Whitney J. LeBlanc

Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Three generations of a Louisiana Creole family have struggled amidst blues music, religious conflict, lust, lynching, murder, voodoo and racism. Now, as they come of age, the grandchildren of Martha Broussard, find they must carve their own paths through a rapidly changing world.

Ann Martel becomes the doctor her grandfather hoped her brother would become. Disappointed in love, she finds contentment and happiness with an older woman-partner. Meanwhile, her brother, Les Martel, defies all who challenge the man he desires to be. He protests racial intimidation in Estilette, takes on an abusive lover in Chicago, fights a Paul Bunyan-sized giant in the backwoods of Bemidji, kicks the ass of a contemptible womanizer in Nashville, and gives comeuppance to a backstabber in Hollywood. He soon discovers that Hollywood is not the place he thought it would be--the values were not his values--the truth is not his truth--trust is deception--honesty is weakness and “loyalty” an unknown word.

Bodacious Blues, the remarkable finale to Whitney LeBlanc’s compelling, blues-filled trilogy, completes this proud family’s saga in the 1980s. Amidst a milieu of religious controversy, sexual cross-identification, changing values, and racial exploitation, the message is loud and clear—Coming of age as adults was not as easy as they thought.

Good Reads Summary

As indicated in the summary, this book has it all.  The reader will like following up on familiar characters and reading about their lives now.  The characters vary from interesting to humorous to somewhat scary.  Some of their lives are out of control while others keep too tight a hold.  The book manages to contain all of these differing personalities and create a good story from them.  The plot isn't so much one large one, but many smaller subplots.  The reader will continuously find at least one thing interesting about the novel as he/she reads.  There is something for everyone.  The novel is a tad sensationalist, but right when it seems like the novel may get too out of control, the author reigns it back in.  The dialogue is worth reading by itself; there are many life lessons, advice, and funny moments addressed. This book is recommended for adults who enjoy novels where he/she can connect with more than one character at a time. 

3 Stars

Uncaged by Paul McKellips

In a thrill a minute read, author Paul McKellips poses a frightening “what if” scenario that will leave the human race on the brink of certain disaster. When a series of attacks on animal researchers leave several people dead, the government—including the President—issues an immediate ban on animal testing. And that’s when the real trouble begins…
At the heart of the action are two government agents, the dashing Commander “Camp” Campbell, a man as decorated for his bravery in Iraq as for his own self-professed charm. Lieutenant Colonel Leslie Raines is the more practical of the two, a woman defined by her dedication to rules. Camp has returned to the States, newly reassigned to a government-funded test site. When the ban on animals comes down, Camp pulls a restless act by making off with two hundred rats…and winds up in deep trouble. He is immediately banished for a year, his superiors hoping the ramifications of his stunt will have worn off by then. Raines, uncharacteristically covering for him, finds herself joining him. But where they are headed only increases the risk—both to themselves, to the scientist whose very existence is threatened…and the future of the human race.

Who is really behind the ban on animal testing? And why? Could a deadly, dangerous fanatical group be behind the threat of a new vein of plague sweeping across the country…or worse, could it be someone people have come to trust?

Good Reads Summary

What many readers will enjoy about this book is the there is immediate action right when he/she opens the page.  It will not take long for a reader to catch on to the plot and understand what the meaning of the novel is, as is the case with some science fiction novels.  This novel is told from several different point of views, making it easier for the reader to understand and read the whole picture.  The author captures each different characters' reactions and dialogue very well.  

The plot itself is more than intriguing enough to capture and keep the readers' interest.  It is obvious that the writer has done his research, which can be further verified when the reader comes across the author's impressive bio.  The plot will uncover several hardcore issues that need to be addressed and reevaluated.  Terrorism, bio terrorism, and animal rights will be delved into; the author remains somewhat nonjudgmental, perfect for this novel.  At times, the multiple issues may force the reader to go back a few pages to digest what just occurred or was implied. 

The characters, though somewhat stereotypical, help to draw the reader further into the book.  The reader will enjoy getting to know each of them.  This book is recommended for readers who read novels containing world issues, medical issues, etc...

4 Stars

Grounding Quinn by Stephanie Campbell

Eighteen-year-old Quinn MacPherson's biggest fear has always been turning out like her mentally unstable mother. (Solving algebraic equations comes in as a close second.)

That is, until she meets Benjamin Shaw.

Quinn thinks hooking up with Ben over summer vacation will be nothing more than a quick fling. She can't even commit to a nail polish choice, much less some guy.
Unfortunately for her, Ben is not just some guy. Ben gets her- the real her, flaws and all- and that scares the hell out of her.

When Ben does the unthinkable- tells Quinn he's in love with her- she does what comes naturally. She pushes him away. Ben can only watch from a distance as Quinn lashes out, and punishes him for daring to care about her.

But how far can you push someone, even someone who loves you, before they are gone for good?

Good Reads Summary

If you need a great read, pick up this novel.  The characters have depth and will become friends with the reader.  The reader will be rooting for Quinn and Benjamin, the main characters, throughout the novel.  The plot itself, while nothing otherworldly or extra special, is very interesting.  Not too many books are about a girl having a fear of relationships and not chasing after the guy. 

Quinn makes for a great, complex character.  She has a safe where her heart should be.  However, she doesn't make the best choices when it comes to guys.  She tends to be afraid of intimacy.  Selfishness, while not an ideal quality, makes Quinn seem much more realistic and likable. 

Benjamin is Quinn's opposite in many ways.  He is much more protective, caring, and responsible.  He doesn't make that many mistakes.  He is much more innocent than Quinn.  For whatever reason, he really tries to love and respect Quinn.  He takes all of her jabs and her pushing him away and continues to go after her. 

The book has many ups and downs as well as quite a few exciting scenes.  The reader will not be bored while reading this novel.  The ending is definitely satisfying and not even all that predictable.  This book is recommended for young adults/adults (females) who enjoy romance novels with a twist.

4 Stars

Forsaken by Shadow by Kait Nolan

Embry’s father has been kidnapped by military scientists. The only one she can turn to for help is Gage, the one great love from her past. Banished from her world with his memory wiped, he’s got a new name and new life as Cade Shepherd, and no knowledge her kind exist. Can he relearn the Shadow Walker skills he learned from her father? If they survive, will Embry be able to walk away again?REVIEWS:The action scenes in Forsaken by Shadow are gripping and fast paced. They had me holding my breath for the characters as they fought for survival. More importantly, Ms. Nolan had me WANTING them all to live and be safe... Kait Nolan has created a world that is fascinating, magical and dangerous. If you enjoy Jennifer Rardin, Shannon K. Butcher, or Devon Monk you'll really enjoy Forsaken by Shadow. --Brenda Hyde, MoonsanityEXCERPT:“What do you want?” he asked, carefully easing up, keeping Embry’s body pressed close to his as he shifted to put himself between the intruders and her, both as a means of protection and to preserve some measure of her modesty. “I said, let her go.” “Matthias, don’t. He didn’t—” Embry started.“Shut your mouth, child. You weren’t supposed to be here.”Gage’s mind whirled. So they were coming after me. They don’t want her. I can keep her safe if I can just get her out of here. “Will you be taking me to the Council?” he asked. He moved over a couple of steps, retrieving Embry’s t-shirt and passing it back to her. “And expose Adan’s little side project? I don’t think so. We’re simply here to take care of the problem before it gets any further out of hand.” This came from the Walker to Matthias’ left. He was lean with the ropy muscles and long-fingered hands of a wraith.“Take care of the problem,” said Gage. “Meaning me.” Behind him, he felt Embry stiffen. Before she could speak, he clamped his hand down tight on hers in warning. He knew every inch of this dojo, could visualize it under any condition. Right now he opened his mind, searching for the shadows. There was a sliver, behind him. Not much, but it might be just enough for him to dematerialize them both out of here. Without knowing him, they wouldn’t be able to follow. Not fast enough. He could get Embry away, keep her safe. “Do you have any idea how many rules Adan violated with you? Bringing a human into our world?” The demand came from the Walker on the left. His dark face was barely differentiated from the shadows in which he stood. The outlines of his broad body were still blurred.“I know he gave me my life.” Gage edged backward, trying to push Embry into a corner. “A mistake we intend to rectify before it destroys him,” said the wraith.“No!” The heat behind him was instant, scorching.Gage turned toward her, shouting, “Embry, no!” But the fireballs were already flying from her hands toward the two flanking Walkers. They phased out even as Matthias dove forward and caught Gage around the waist. Matthias was the bigger man, but Gage was younger, faster. He twisted and threw the Walker into a wall, already scrambling toward Embry. She was a living flame, more than ever the child of her fire elemental mother. Heat and light pulsed off her in waves, expanding, beating in a terrifying rhythm as the nimbus grew and grew. If she went nova, she’d kill them all. Gage dove into the light, feeling no burn, no pain, just desperation to save her. If he could drag her out of the light and into the shadows, he could get her away to safety. Drawing on the darkness, he reached out for her. “You have to shut it off!”“No, you don’t underst—”His hands closed around her arms. For a heartbeat everything stilled. Then, agony ripped through him, an insatiable inferno of pain as everything she was projecting shot into his body and ripped him apart.***If you like this author, you might also like the work of Zoe Winters and Kerry Allen

Good Reads Summary

This novel is interesting and action-packed.  Embry is now in control of her own flame-making abilities and works for the Council of Races.  However, she decides to leave the job when they refuse to help her find her "kidnapped" father.  She hunts down Cade Shepherd, a man who doesn't remember his past, but is just as lethal.  The only problem?  Cade must remember his past as a Shadow Walker.  The romance doesn't take forever to take hold, the reader isn't left bored at all.  Cade and Embry tend to skirt each other and their feelings for each other in the novel, though.  The novel contains action, drama, mystery, and romance.  The action is continuous with very few lags.  This book is a novella, it will not take long to enjoy.  This novel is recommended for adults/young adults who enjoy romance mixed with action and mystery. 

3 1/2 Stars

Dream Smashers by Angela Carlie

Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Sixteen-year-old Autumn has spent her entire life worrying about others. Her ailing grandma, meth-addicted mom, and a best friend who is always in trouble. She's spent the last few years attempting to worry less, to be carefree, without success.

Enter Evan, whose radiant attitude is an Autumn magnet. With Evan at her side, Autumn's able to let some of her worries go as they trudge through life's difficulties and fall for each other in the process.

A girl who no longer wants to care and a boy who cares enough for the both of them, Dream Smashers is a love story, but most of all, it's about letting go.

Good Reads Summary

This book has the ability to make the reader both sad and happy for the main character.  Autumn has two main people in her life: Evan and her mother.  Her mother is addicted to meth and not a good parent or friend at all.  Evan truly loves Autumn, the author makes this readily apparent.  The novel jumps right into the story, the reader doesn't have to wait around.  Autumn and Evan's relationship appears real and solid, the reader won't be rolling her/his eyes at the unrealistic romance in this novel.  The characters speak plainly, a welcome quality.  The plot is very interesting and is sure to capture the readers' interest throughout the novel.  There are both light and humorous events in this novel, and there are dark and dreary ones.  The author finds a good, but realistic balance.  This book is recommended for young adults who appreciate a good romance tempered by a harsh reality. 

4 Stars

Rock 'n' Roll is Undead (Veronica Mason, Book 1) by Rose Pressey

Veronica Mason;lead singer of the rockabilly band The Voodoo Zombies;discovers her vampire bass player staked through the heart. A vision of the murder flashes in Veronica's mind and she wonders if she's going bonkers. Up until now her supernatural skills consisted of a few botched love spells.

Using her sexy voice and pin-up style has paid off, she's about to land a record deal. But suspicion soon turns to her when another vampire turns up as nothing more than a pile of ashes a vacuum would have a hard time sucking up. Veronica has to hone her paranormal powers or lose her deal and possibly her life.

When an utterly delicious mystery man steps in as the new bass player, Veronica can't figure out if he's there to help or cause more problems. What she does know is she can't resist his good looks and sex appeal. She wonders if they make rockin; music together. But helping the undead could stop her from finding out and leave Veronica dead;permanently.

Good Reads Summary

Veronica is a witch with attitude. She loves to sing and she and her band perform at a vampire bar at the start of the novel. When a fight breaks out, she runs outside to escape. There, she finds her newest bass player, a vampire, staked and turned into ashes. She knows she has a mystery on her hands. Because of the first player's unfortunate demise, she tracks down another bass player-one who is dreamy and handsome. The reader will enjoy reading the dialogue, humorous at times while serious in others, of the main and secondary characters. The characters from this author always feel so alive. The plot is nothing particularly special, but it works perfectly with the main character. The handsome love interest adds that special something. This book is recommended for young adults/adults who enjoy romance with some intrigue. 

4 Stars

No Shoes, No Shirt, No Spells (Mystic Cafe Series, Book 1) by Rose Pressey

Elly Blair welcomes the chance to escape her ex-fiance and job from hell when Grandma Imelda, ready to retire to sunny Florida, calls for her to take over her little southern cafe.

Elly has no idea her grandmother has baked up magic for the unsuspecting townsfolk for thirty years-and now Grandma Imelda insists that Elly use her own hitherto unsuspected magical powers to carry on the family tradition.

But Elly's new at this stuff. Her dishes don't turn out as full of smidgens of enchantment and dashes of wishes come true as she'd hoped. When handsome customer Rory Covington takes a bite of the wrong burger, he ends up capturing the attention of every woman in town. Elly doesn't know if her feelings for Rory are true or based on her magic gone awry.

Tom Owenton is an investigator the National Organization for Magic sent to look into the magical mishap. Unless Elly can reverse the spell, the cafe will be closed permanently. Tom is more than willing to help Elly out of this magical pickle, but she's not sure she should accept his offer.

Elly only has forty-eight hours to find a way to reverse the spell, or she'll lose the cafe and never discover if her feelings for Rory are real.

Good Reads Summary

Elly is a girl in a muddle.  The first thing that will capture the readers' attention is Elly's ability to make everything seem a bit humorous and real.  The characters in this novel feel like people you would walk up to in the street and say hi.  The men are caring, diligent, and strong.  The women funny, quirky, and crafty.  Elly helps out in her grandma's restaurant...and soon she may take over.  When one little error occurs, her best friend puts down a dish with a love spell in front of the wrong customer, Elly is under inspection and worrying.  Rory, the unfortunate customer, develops an almost comical love for Elly.  Elly attempts to right this wrong before it goes to far.  This novel is super fast-paced and the reader will truly enjoy it.  The novel is light and fun.  The characters add depth and help to keep the readers' interest.  The plot is imaginative and fun to read about.  This novel is terrific for young adults/adults who enjoy romance novels with a touch of magic (no explicit sexual scenes). 

4 Stars

The Devil You Know by Sara Curran-Ross

“You take one step out of that door without me and you are in serious trouble. Leave my side once and you are a dead woman.”

Christian Dalban is hired to protect Isabelle Mayer from the violent head of a mafia family who will stop at nothing to force her back into his bed. But Christian is determined that she won’t find out why he is the only man capable of succeeding where others have failed. If she knew the reason she would never trust him with her life nor would he blame her. But as their relationship develops into a passionate sexual encounter Christian realises that he is not the only one keeping a secret that could threaten both of their lives.

Good Reads Summary

The Devil you know is always better than the Devil you don't know, right?  The setting is perfect for a romance novel, Paris and England.  The author details the setting so the reader will be able to picture it in his/her minds' eye.  This novel really transcends the basic genres.  The book has mystery, romance, erotic love scenes, action, drama, etc...  The hero, Christian, is a tough, handsome, protective man who is perfect for the heroine who is determined and gutsy, but vulnerable.  Christian has vowed to keep her safe; he will do this at all costs.  The romance between the main characters doesn't come out of nowhere, the reader is able to follow the tendrils and appreciate the love story.  At the same time, the love story is not too slow or sappy.  The events in this novel are intriguing and exciting to read about.  This book is recommended for readers who enjoy romance novels with a hint of danger. 

4 Stars

The Music of Secrets by David Halpin with a Giveaway!

When Simon and his wife arrive on Inis Roane, a western Irish island, they intend it to be a remaking of their failing marriage and a chance to catch up with old friends, Stephen and Olivia, who have moved there following a recent tragedy.
But this sanctuary hides an astonishing secret.

On the island, a team of scientists are investigating a remarkable discovery they are desperate to protect, while Stephen and Olivia have found an extraordinary way to overcome their loss.

As Simon begins to unravel the mystery of the island he finds that the strange behaviour of the islands wildlife and the open hostility between his friends and the scientists are connected.
Simon discovers that not all languages are spoken in words and that some words should never be spoken at all.

In the tradition of Alex Garland and Iain Banks comes The Music of Secrets, the debut novel by David Halpin.
A compelling mystery with subtle science fiction undertones, The Music of Secrets is a literary tale of desperation and hope, of what is real and what can be imagined, and of what happens when we forget the difference.

Good Reads Summary!!!

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The Business of Children by Chloe Jonpaul and a Giveaway!

Vera Harriss, Deidre Fletcher, Mark Pettingill, and Stu Martel are elementary school teachers in the fictional town of Blevins, Maine whose secret, private lives change dramatically as you read.
Vera, who is about to retire, vents her anger during a Board of Education meeting with a speech that brings the audience to its feet. Why does Deidre, an exceptional teacher, leave the job she loves to become a corporate trainer down South? Then there is Mark, the perennial job hunter looking for a corporate position with more prestige and pay but then turns down the perfect offer when it finally comes through. Stu, one of the most popular teachers in the school, struggles with a deep, dark secret that he can only share with Deidre. What causes Stu's untimely death?
Vera Harriss, Dee Fletcher, Mark Pettingill, and Stu Martel are eager to share their intriguing secrets and entangled lives with you.

Good Reads Summary

The first quality the reader will notice about this novel is the characters. It is extremely easy to connect with them. The reader may not necessarily agree with their decisions and/or actions one hundred percent, but the reader and the characters will come to some sort of friendship. The novel is very interesting, covering a wide array of topics differing from character to character. The novel is a quick read, the reader won't be listlessly turning pages. The reader will enjoy finding that one character out of a few, he/she really likes and reading about him/her. Just about every main character has some redeeming quality. The reader will enjoy finding the different nuances of each one. This book is great for adults who enjoy novels concerning friendship, trial and tribulations, prejudice, etc...

4 Stars

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Vanished in the Night: Eileen Carr

She doesn’t trust cops . . .
Veronica Osborne has had enough problems with the police, thanks to her volatile father. So when tall, strapping Sergeant Zach McKnight shows up at her door, she’s prepared for anything—except the news that her beloved missing brother, Max, has been dead for nearly twenty years . . . ever since he ran away.
. . . until she meets one who’d risk everything to protect her.
Appalled when the police suspect her father of Max’s murder, Veronica begins her own investigation. But as her surprising role in her brother’s disappearance surfaces, so do more bodies. The ghosts of Max’s past are working hard to hide the truth, while another, more sinister force will do anything to expose it. How far will a killer go to get revenge? And can Zach stop him before he targets the woman Zach’s coming to love?

Good Reads Summary

This story will lead the reader into immediate action.  Veronica avoids the police/law enforcement in general due to her father, George.  However, she cannot ignore the two officers when they come knocking on her door.  She learns that the body of her half-brother, Max, has been found and it is a murder investigation.  Zach, one of the officers, garners her attention for more than just his grisly announcement.  She and Zach have a strong connection that only gets more powerful throughout the novel. 

The police suspect her father for Max's murder, leading Veronica to attempt an investigation of her own.  This leads her into many surprising events that will capture and keep the readers' interest.  The novel is fast-paced and the reader will enjoy getting to know Veronica, who is a very likable character.  The plot is good, the secondary characters are worth reading about-they round out the story.  This novel is recommended for adults who enjoy mystery tinged with romance. 

3 Stars

Bound by Moonlight (Moonlight #4) by Nancy Gideon

They swore they’d be together forever Detective Charlotte Caissie is suddenly sharing drawer space and making media news with her shape-shifter lover Max Savoie.
Knowing the reformed mobster is determined to be accepted by her peers, how can she ask him to return to his criminal roots to help her solve a complex case?

But those they trust the most . . .

Going undercover to find the vicious serial killer who kidnapped a colleague’s daughter, Cee Cee is caught between the partner whose integrity she relies on and her fiercely possessive lover. In calling on Max to use his preternatural talents to aide a hated enemy, she crosses a line that strains their relationship to its limits.

Will do anything to tear them apart

With his secret spreading beyond those he can trust, Max is forced to make dangerous alliances to protect his family and his clan. The only certainty he has is his love for his human mate, until the loyalties that define them threaten to divide them forever.

Good Reads Summary

If you are a reader who enjoys passionate encounters and steamy love scenes than this is the book for you.  The characters are right on for a great romance.  A cute, pretty heroine who is deeply in love with the male character; a male character who is handsome and strong beyond reason.  The reader will be rooting for the couple through the entire book.  The loves scenes are explicit, but they are not half-measures; the author can make the reader feel the atmosphere and picture him/herself as one of the characters. 

The plot, while not particularly innovative, is more than satisfactory for keeping the readers' interest and the pages turning.  The reader will be immersed in a world where shape-shifting is possible and mixed with the typical human world.  The book if a quick read and the dialogue ranges from humorous to deadly serious.  The author doesn't skip over highly emotional scenes, but plays them out realistically.  The dynamics between the differing characters is believable and there is a fine line of tension that the reader will be able to sense throughout the book-perfect, as the book concerns a detective. 

The ending is great, as is typical in love stories.  A reader who enjoys romance will be more than happy she/he bought and read this novel. 

4 Stars

Colin Preston Rocked and Rolled by Bert Murray

Monday, July 25, 2011
Meet Colin Preston.
19 years old and a student at Elerby University in upstate New York.
He drinks too much.
Lives for the Beatles, John Lennon and classic rock.
Falls for the most beautiful sophomore on campus.
His life is about to change forever.
Funny. Moving. Honest. Raw.
An entertaining coming of age novel about friendship,
music, first love and betrayal.

From Kirkus Reviews-

Murray charts a lustily tormented story of first love and heartbreak.

It's September 1985 in the bosky precincts of Elerby University (though it conveys the intimacy of a small liberal arts college) in upstate New York. Colin is entering his sophomore year with a lousy love life and a lousy relationship with his father, but he does have a good friend in Karl (a handsome natural athlete who has a way with women) and in the Beatles—"when you love a band so much that its songs fill the empty spaces inside your head and heart." But along comes Jasmine, a serious dish with lips like butter, who really gets inside Colin's head and steals his heart.

Good Reads Summary

Need a good summer read?  Colin is a typical sophomore in college.  The reader will be immediately immersed in the novel.  Colin is one of those characters that a reader will be unsure about.  Is Colin a sympathetic character?  Is he too neurotic?  Yes, to both questions in this case.  Colin isn't the most mature character, but that is actually a great quality to this novel.  Colin shouldn't be extremely mature, he's still a kid in many ways.  He does, however, show flashes of maturity throughout the novel; this gives the reader the impression that Colin is making progress and growing up to be an adult. 

The reader is also introduced to Jasmine, a girl that Colin lusts after.  She won't gain the reader's trust or sympathy.  However, she makes for a good addition as well.  Imperfect characters are essential to a novel.  They make the novel seem that much more real.  She is what many may refer to as "easy" during her college years and she whines a fair amount.  Colin believes this "paragon of virtue" to be his soul mate, even though he is warned by several of his friends against her.  This belief causes many problems for Colin through the course of the novel. 

The characters are all pretty easy to identify with in one way or another.  The plot is pretty good, will keep the readers' attention for the most part.  The dialogue varies from the humorous to the serious-especially the dialogue in Colin's own head.  The ending is a good one, the reader will not be disappointed or left on a huge cliff-hanger.  This novel will be enjoyed by young adults/adults.

4 Stars
Sunday, July 24, 2011
To attorney Noah Parks, the probate of a will should be a simple task. But the Last Will and Testament of Leonardo Xavier Cross is anything but simple. Though Parks has never heard of Cross, he learns that the will directs him to provide the legal representation for the estate and as part of his fee he will receive the contents of a safety deposit box - a safety deposit box no one knew existed. Intrigued, Parks undertakes the task. But after the body count begins to rise, the otherwise basic task of probating the will becomes more complicated as each day passes. Despite all of Parks' skills, the answers he seeks remain elusive and force him to delve deeper into the shocking and deceptive Cross' family history, which sets the stage for an explosive finale that Parks can only hope to survive. Set in Charleston, South Carolina, The Trust is the debut novel from Sean Keefer. Blending elements of traditional southern literary fiction, suspense and mystery; you won't be satisfied until the final page is turned.

Good Reads Summary

This novel starts out with immediate action and a mystery to draw the reader into the novel.  Noah Parks is not a particularly famous lawyer, he lives a typical life.  In the first few chapters of the novel, he finds out that he has been named to probate the will of a wealthy Leonard Cross-a man he has never met.  In exchange for his services, Noah will receive the contents of a safety deposit box.  Noah isn't quite sure what to make of this new development.  Events in the novel get even stranger when people around and connected to the estate mysteriously die. 

Noah is a very likable character.  He is kind and easy-going, very humble.  The author manages to put the plot, and not the characters or other sub-plots, at the forefront of the novel.  The reader will enjoy Noah immensely and the secondary characters to an extent, but the reader will feel as if he/she is personally involved in this mystery.  The author's way of writing will allow the reader to experience the unease in the atmosphere and the literal air of mystery.  The novel contains action-filled scenes and is very fast-paced.  The ending is satisfying and a little bit of a surprise. 

This novel is recommended for readers who enjoy mysteries and novels with plenty of action. 

5 Stars
Tour Notes:

Please vote for my blog in the traffic-breaker poll for this tour. The blogger with the most votes wins a free promotional twitterview and a special winner’s badge. I want that to be me! You can vote in the poll by visiting The Trust’s official blog tour page and scrolling all the way to the bottom.

You can also enter to win a free paperback copy of this novel on The Trust’s official blog tour page. The winner of the give-away will be announced on Wednesday, August 10 – be sure to enter before then!

Book Trailer for The Trust:

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