Monday, August 3, 2015

Book Excerpt Tour: Starlight on Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs

We are excited to be a part of the excerpt tour for Susan Wiggs's latest book Starlight on Willow Lake.  You are at stop #1.  To read the rest of the excerpts in order, please check out the tour dates below.  Also come back on August 27 to read a review on the book!

Publisher: Harlequin
Date of publication: August 25, 2015

When caregiver Faith McCallum arrives at the enchanted, lakeside estate of Avalon's renowned Bellamy family, she's intent on rebuilding her shattered life and giving her two daughters a chance at a better future. But she faces a formidable challenge in the form of her stubborn and difficult new employer, Alice Bellamy. While Faith proves a worthy match for her sharp-tongued client, she often finds herself at a loss for words in the presence of Mason Bellamy—Alice's charismatic son, who clearly longs to escape the family mansion and return to his fast-paced, exciting life in Manhattan…and his beautiful, jet-setting fiancée. 

The last place Mason wants to be is a remote town in the Catskills, far from his life in the city, and Faith McCallum is supposed to be the key to his escape. Hiring the gentle-hearted yet strong-willed caregiver as a live-in nurse gives his mother companionship and Mason the freedom to return to his no-attachments routine. For Faith, it means stability for her daughters and a much-needed new home. When Faith makes a chilling discovery about Alice's accident, Mason is forced to reconsider his desire to keep everyone, including his mother, at a distance. Now he finds himself wondering if the supercharged life he's created for himself is what he truly wants…and whether exploring his past might lead to a new life—and lasting love—on the tranquil shores of Willow Lake.

Mason Bellamy stared up at the face of the mountain that had killed his father. The mountain’s name was innocent enough—Cloud Piercer. The rich afternoon light of the New Zealand winter cast a spell over the moment. Snow-clad slopes glowed with the impossible pink and amethyst of a rare jewel. The stunning backdrop of the Southern Alps created a panorama of craggy peaks, veined with granite and glacial ice, against a sky so clear it caused the eyes to smart.
The bony white structure of a cell phone tower, its discs grabbing signals from outer space, rose from a nearby peak. The only other intrusion into the natural beauty was located at the top of the slope—a black-and-yellow gate marked Experts Only and a round dial designating Avalanche Danger—Moderate.
He wondered if someone came all the way up here each day to move the needle on the dial. Maybe his father had wondered the same thing last year. Maybe it had been the last thought to go through his head before he was buried by two hundred thousand cubic meters of snow.
According to witnesses in the town near the base of the mountain, it had been a dry snow avalanche with a powder cloud that had been visible to any resident of Hillside Township who happened to look up. The incident report stated that there had been a delay before the noise came. Then everyone for miles around had heard the sonic boom.
The Maori in the region had legends about this mountain. The natives respected its threatening beauty as well as its lethal nature, their myths filled with cautionary tales of humans being swallowed to appease the gods. For generations, the lofty crag, with its year-round cloak of snow, had challenged the world’s most adventurous skiers, and its gleaming north face had been Trevor Bellamy’s favorite run. It had also been his final run.
Trevor’s final wish, spelled out in his last will and testament, had brought Mason halfway around the world, and down into the Southern Hemisphere’s winter. At the moment he felt anything but cold. He unzipped his parka, having worked up a major sweat climbing to the peak. This run was accessible only to those willing to be helicoptered to a landing pad at three thousand meters, and then to climb another few hundred meters on all-terrain skis outfitted with nonslip skins. He removed his skis and peeled the Velcro-like skins from the underside, carefully stowing the gear in his backpack. Then he studied the mountain’s face again and felt a sweet rush of adrenaline.
When it came to skiing in dangerous places, he was his father’s son.
A rhythmic sliding sound drew Mason’s attention to the trail he’d just climbed. He glanced over and lifted his ski pole in a wave. “Over here, bro.”
Adam Bellamy came over the crest of the trail, shading his eyes against the afternoon light. “You said you’d kick my ass, and you did,” he called. His voice echoed across the empty, frozen terrain.
Mason grinned at his younger brother. “I’m a man of my word. But look at you. You haven’t even broken a sweat.”
“Mets. We get tested for metabolic conditioning every three months for work.” Adam was a firefighter, built to haul eighty pounds of gear up multiple flights of stairs.
“Cool. My only conditioning program involves running to catch the subway.”
“The tough life of an international financier,” said Adam. “Hold everything while I get out my tiny violin.”
“Who says I’m complaining?” Mason took off his goggles to apply some defogger. “Is Ivy close? Or did our little sister stop to hire a team of mountain guides to carry her up the hill so she doesn’t have to climb it on her skis?”
“She’s close enough to hear you,” said Ivy, appearing at the top of the ridge. “And aren’t the guides on strike?” She wore a dazzling turquoise parka and white ski pants, Gucci sunglasses and white leather gloves. Her blond hair was wild and wind-tossed, streaming from beneath her helmet.
Mason flashed on an image of their mother. Ivy looked so much like her. He felt a lurch of guilt when he thought about Alice Bellamy. Her last ski run had been right here on this mountain face, too. But unlike Trevor, she had survived. Although some would say that what had happened to her was worse than dying.
Ivy slogged over to her brothers on her AT skis. “Listen, you two. I want to go on record to say that when I leave these earthly bonds, I will not require my adult children to risk their lives in order to scatter my remains. Just leave my ashes on the jewelry counter at Neiman Marcus. I’d be fine with that.”
“Make sure you put your request in writing,” Mason said.
“How do you know I haven’t already?” She gestured at Adam. “Help me get these skins off, will you?” She lifted each ski in turn, planting them upright in the snow.
Adam expertly peeled the fabric skins from the bottoms of her skis then removed his own, stuffing them into his backpack. “It’s crazy steep, just the way Dad used to describe it.”
“Chicken?” asked Ivy, fastening the chin strap of her crash helmet.
“Have you ever known me to shy away from a ski run?” Adam asked. “I’m going to take it easy, though. No crazy tricks.”
The three of them stood gazing at the beautiful slope, now a perfect picture of serenity in the late-afternoon glow. It was the first time any of them had come to this particular spot. As a family, they had skied together in many places, but not here. This particular mountain had been the special domain of their father and mother alone.

About Susan Wiggs

Susan Wiggs is the author of many beloved bestsellers, including the popular Lakeshore Chronicles series. She has won many awards for her work, including a RITA® Award from the Romance Writers of America.

Connect with Susan

Website | Facebook | Twitter



Monday, August 3rd: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, August 4th: The Sassy Bookster
Wednesday, August 5th: Book Reviews & More by Kathy
Thursday, August 6th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Friday, August 7th: Raven Haired Girl
Monday, August 10th: Mom in Love with Fiction
Tuesday, August 11th: The Romance Dish
Wednesday, August 12th: Written Love Reviews
Thursday, August 13th: Books and Spoons
Friday, August 14th: A Chick Who Reads
Monday, August 17th: Urban Girl Reader
Tuesday, August 18th: Snowdrop Dreams of Books
Wednesday, August 19th: FictionZeal
Thursday, August 20th: Palmer’s Page Turners
Friday, August 21st: The Bookish and The Romantic

Blog Tour: Killing Secrets by Dianne Emley

Author: Dianne Emley 
Publisher: Alibi
Date of publication: July 2015

When she gets the call, Nan Vining responds as a mother first and a detective second. Her daughter, Emily, has made a gruesome discovery in a secluded section of a Pasadena park: a pretty, popular young teacher from Emily’s high school and a bright yet troubled transfer student—both dead and bloody in a copse of trees. But the crime scene isn’t the only thing that seems off to Detective Vining. There’s also the cocky classmate who was with Emily in the park—the boyfriend she never knew about. What else doesn’t she know about her daughter? 

As she attempts to channel both her maternal and investigative instincts into one single point of focus, Vining’s superiors at the Pasadena Police Department are moving at lightning speed. Before the evidence has even been processed, the case is closed as a clear-cut murder/suicide: a disturbed teenager murders his teacher, then takes his own life. Vining doesn’t buy it. Now she’s chasing dangerous, powerful people with secrets they would kill for—and taking them down means risking her own flesh and blood.

Killing Secrets is the 5th book in the Nan Vining series.  It's the first one that I have read and I thought it did a pretty good job of standing on its own.  After reading this one, I do want to go back and check out the early books to read about Nan's earlier adventures.  In this one, Nan is called to the scene of a crime that her daughter was unfortunate enough to stumble upon.  When the case is quickly closed with little investigation, Nan knows something is not right.

I enjoyed this one.  I was intrigued and wanted to find out what really happened to Erica and Jared.  There were a few twists and I was totally surprised in the end at what really happened.  I also liked that it made sense and wasn't pulled out of thin air. Nan's characters was a fun one to read.  She is raising her daughter on her own.  Trying to be a homicide detective and raise a 16 YO daughter has to be tough.  She was a strong and interesting character.  As I said, she was interesting enough that I want to go back and read her earlier adventures.

About Dianne Emley 

Dianne Emley is the bestselling author of The Night Visitor and the Nan Vining series: The First Cut, Cut to the Quick, The Deepest Cut, and Love Kills. A Los Angeles native, she lives in the Central California wine country with her husband, Charlie.

Connect with Dianne

Purchase Links

Dianne Emley’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, July 20th: I Wish I Lived in a Library
Wednesday, July 22nd: Buried Under Books
Thursday, July 23rd: A Book Geek
Thursday, July 23rd: Open Book Society
Monday, July 27th: Book Babe
Tuesday, July 28th: Kay’s Reading Life
Wednesday, July 29th: FictionZeal
Monday, August 3rd: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, August 4th: Bewitched Bookworms
Thursday, August 6th: The Novel Life
Monday, August 10th: Peeking Between the Pages
Wednesday, August 12th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Thursday, August 13th: Bibliotica

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Blog Tour: Review & Excerpt of The Hotter You Burn by Gena Showalter

Author: Gena Showalter
Publisher: Harlequin
Date of publication: July 2015

New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter is back with a sizzling Original Heartbreakers tale featuring a troubled playboy and the woman he can’t resist…

Beck Ockley is ruthless in the boardroom...and the bedroom. He's never been with the same woman twice, and vows he never will. With a past as twisted as his, meaningless sex keeps the demons at bay. His motto: One and done. No harm, no foul.

Harlow Glass is the most hated girl in town. The beautiful artist is penniless, jobless and homeless. When she sneaks into Beck's home—her ancestral estate—for food, she's shocked by his early return...and her immediate, sizzling and intense attraction to him.

For the first time in Beck's life, he can't get a woman out of his mind. All too soon, friendship blooms into obsession and he'll have to break her heart...or surrender his own.

The Hotter You Burn is the second book in the Original Heartbreakers series.  I definitely liked this one a lot more than the first book. This one is Beck's story.  He is a one and done kind of guy.  He never commits to anything other than his two best friends.  Harlow Glass is pariah in the town of Strawberry Valley.  She spent her early years as a bully and most people in the town shun her now. When the two of them get together the sparks fly.

I think my heart broke a dozen times while reading this.  When we meet Harlow, she is at the lowest point in her life.  No home, no job, no friends and camping in the woods.  I had to give her credit for doing what she had to do to survive.  The most heartbreaking part of her story is that no one believed her when she was trying to change her ways and make amends to those she hurt in the past.  Beck definitely has his demons, but Harlow's just really got to me.  I was really rooting for her to find peace and a fresh start.

One of the things that I am discovering about this author is the way she writes amusing and fun banter between her characters.  Not only the way Harlow and Beck interact, but the way all of her characters interact with each other makes the story really fun to read.  I found myself laughing out loud many times throughout the book.  Check out the excerpt below to see what I mean!

The next book, The Harder You Fall, is out later this year.  It's Jessie Kay and West's story.  These two have been circling each other for the past two books.  I can't wait to read their story!


“I’m leaving, that’s what,” Harlow said. Determined words, snotty tone. She attempted to wrench herself from Beck’s grip.
“Oh, no.” Beck merely tightened his hold. “We’re going to have a glass of sweet tea while you two crazy kids get to know each other better.”
Harlow anchored her hands on her hips. “You know what? You’re right. We are going to get to know each other. But your presence is unnecessary, Beck. Leave.”
“Not gonna happen.”
“We don’t need—”
He cut her off, whispering, “If you and West get married and live happily ever after, you’ll have to get used to having me around.”
She snapped her mouth shut, then lifted her chin and grumbled, “That’s a very sad point.” She flashed a too-bright smile at West and eased into the chair Jase had vacated. “I’m game if you are.”
Beck vibrated with irritation as he carried a pitcher of tea and three glasses to the table and settled between the pair. “My girl here has certain ideas about the kind of man she wants to end up with,” he explained, “and I’d like to know if the two of you are compatible.”
Understanding dawned on West’s features, a smile nearly breaking free. He cleared his throat and donned his most uncaring expression. “Sure. Whatever.”
Beck poured the tea, handed out the glasses, and Harlow clutched hers as if it were a lifeline.
“Kick us off, sweet pea,” he said. “Tell my good buddy Lincoln—that’s his first name, in case you didn’t know—a little about yourself.”
“Well.” There was a slight tremor in her voice. “I’m twenty-six, and I’ve never been married.”
“Would you like a medal?” West muttered, while staring down at his cell phone, playing one of the games he’d created.
She glared at Beck, but he merely arched a brow.
Don’t make plans with men you don’t know.
“Yes, actually, I would like a medal, considering I’m hot but don’t realize it, which makes me even hotter.” The tremor had vanished, the snotty attitude firmly in its place. “It’s a miracle no one’s snatched me up. But then, most men are idiots, so…”
West smiled, realized his mistake, and glowered at his screen.
Beck braced elbows on the table. “You’re suggesting outward beauty is all that matters.”
“Hardly. My personality is hot, too. But Beck, darling.” Sugary-sweet tone now. Too sweet. “You aren’t part of this get-to-know-you session, even though you insist on being a total third wheel, so do us all a favor and zip your stupid lips.”
Then, she dismissed him. Looking to West, she traced her fingertips over the collar of her shirt, so feminine Beck’s every masculine instinct growled, hungry for the next meal. “So. Lincoln. How old are you?”
West played the video game a little longer before deigning to answer. “I’m twenty-eight, but I’ve got the stamina of an eighty-year-old coma victim. Horrible lover. Even worse cuddler.”
“Well, those skills can be taught,” she said, reaching over to caress his shoulder. “Anyway, you’re quite young to be so successful. It’s impressive.”
It was impressive. Beck wasn’t sure where he would have ended up without the guy.
West shrugged. “I work hard,” he said, then added, “probably too hard. I tend to ignore the people in my life. Especially women.”
“Well, I understand how taxing such a busy work schedule can be, and I commend you for it.” She gave his shoulder another caress, and Beck almost jerked the two apart. “I hope the lucky ladies in your life are as understanding as I am.”
“I guess,” West said and shrugged again.
“Wow, just look at these muscles, West. You are amazingly strong, aren’t you?” She cast another narrowed glance Beck’s way, presumably to make sure he was watching as she scooted her chair closer to West’s. “You know,” she said, the tip of her finger toying with the rim of West’s glass. When she caught a bead of condensation, she brought it to her lips and sucked, causing Beck’s groin to twitch behind his zipper. “I have a skill of my own, but it’s quite naughty.”
West glanced up, phone forgotten. “Do tell.”
“Yes. Do.” Beck simmered with renewed anger—even more desire. He smoothed a lock of hair from Harlow’s face. One touch, but he was greedy for more.
Her breath caught, but she leaned away from him, getting closer and closer to West, until her mouth was poised at the shell of his ear. In a husky voice low enough to be considered a whisper but loud enough for Beck to overhear, she said, “I’m super good at parking.”
Stick a fork in me. I’m done. Done with the conversation. Done with watching the object of his obsession doing her rock-solid best to arouse another male. “West doesn’t need to hear about that. Let’s go—”
“Even boys from two counties over dreamed of making out with me in the backseat of their trucks,” she continued with an effortless sensuality. “I’m very bendy.”
Beck slammed his glass on the table, tea sloshing over the sides of the rim. “Harlow here is looking to settle down forever,” he barked. “She thinks you’d make an awesome groom.”
“Marriage?” West sneered with distaste. “Me? Hell, no. Never.”
“He’s all for others tying the knot, but when it comes to himself he thinks the Newlywed Game should be called the Dig Your Own Grave game,” Beck explained, relaxing now that the conversation had taken a new direction.
Harlow unveiled a brittle smile. “Maybe you just haven’t met the right person, Lincoln. You don’t mind if I call you Lincoln, do you?”
“Call me whatever you like, but I have met the right person.” His voice cracked. “She died.” He stood, his chair skidding behind him, and strode out of the kitchen.
Harlow rounded on Beck, all hint of supple, willing female gone. “I hope you’re happy with yourself. You did this.”
“Yes, you.” The words were nothing more than a hiss. “You wanted me to know I can’t win the affections of anyone else, that I’m stuck with you, destined to be your newest conquest.”
“Stuck with me?” he snarled.
“Yeah, that’s right. You aren’t the prize you think you are, Beck Ockley, but maybe West is. Maybe he’s worth fighting for. Maybe, unlike you, he has a heart and the ability to care for someone other than himself.”
“I have a heart. I care.”
She didn’t seem to hear him, plowing ahead. “You know, there are plenty of guys in town. Why focus all my efforts on just one? I’m sure lots of guys would like a chance to get to know the new me. I can bring them back to my RV—”
My RV.”
“—and practice being married, just the way you suggested.”
Beck would burn the RV to ash first.
Too far gone to fight his sense of possession, he hooked his foot around the bottom of her chair and forced her chair closer, closer still. Their thighs touched, and she gasped, perhaps at the force he’d used, perhaps with a desire of her own.
He grabbed her by the waist and easily hefted her onto the table, on his feet and between her legs a second later, glaring down at her.
“I want you, and it’s past time I showed you how much. You’ll keep your sweet ass parked on this table and you’ll show me your skills. Me. No one else.” And then his hand was cupping the back of her neck, drawing her forward.

About the author:

Gena Showalter is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author whose works have appeared in Cosmopolitan and Seventeen magazines, as well as Entertainment Weekly. Her novel Red Handed has been optioned by Sony Television. Critics have called her books “sizzling page-turners” and “utterly spellbinding stories,” while Showalter herself has been called “a star on the rise.” Her mix of humor, danger and wickedly hot sex provides wildly sensual page-turners sure to enthrall.
Social Media Links:

Buy links:

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Books We Didn't Finish July Edition

Suddenly One Summer:  I kept waiting for these two to get together.  They don't really even meet up until about the middle of the book.  I almost felt like I was reading the background outline for the characters in the beginning. I made it about halfway through and gave up.  I got tired of being constantly reminded how much Victoria hated the idea of marriage.  Also the hunt for the one night stand guy was a bit too convoluted and ridiculous.  I did skip to the end was happy to see they both went into therapy together.  They needed it.

American Ghost: A Family's Haunted Past in the Desert Southwest:  It wasn't what I expected.  I ended up with a history lesson and I thought I was getting more of a ghost hunt story.  It was really boring.

Shadow Creek: I've had this one on my TBR pile forever.  I finally got around to reading it, but didn't end up liking the story.  The camping situation seemed just too unbelievable to me.

A Good Debutante's Guide to Ruin: I couldn't get past the fact that Declan is Rosalie's step-brother.  Yes, they aren't related by blood, but the fact that they kept bringing it up made it that much more icky for me. Plus, Declan was a major ass most of the time. I didn't care to finish it.

The Girl Next Door - This book reminded me of being at a party and not knowing anyone there.  I had no idea what was going on from the very beginning.  There were all these characters and I had no idea how they related to each other.  It was confusing and I didn't care to try to figure it all out.
White Horse:  This really seemed like a book I would like.  There was a plaque and a post-apocalypse setting.  However, the book was just sort of ho-hum.  I was getting aggravated with the slow pace of the book.  Answers weren't forthcoming in a timely enough manner for me.

The Program:  This book got such rave reviews.  So many bloggers loved it, that I thought I would love it.  However, I just couldn't get into it.  The whole suicide thing just wasn't doing it for me.  I'm just kind of worn out on the whole government wiping kids minds out it was that start of another series/trilogy and I don't have the patience right now for that.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Blog Tour: Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans

Author: Lissa Evans
Publisher: Harper
Date of publication: July 28, 2015

Paper Moon meets the Blitz in this original black comedy set in World War II England, chronicling an unlikely alliance between a small-time con artist and a young orphan evacuee.

When Noel Bostock—aged ten, no family—is evacuated from London to escape the Nazi bombardment, he lands in a suburb northwest of the city with Vera Sedge—a thirty-six-year-old widow drowning in debts and dependents. Always desperate for money, she’s unscrupulous about how she gets it.

Noel’s mourning his godmother, Mattie, a former suffragette. Wise beyond his years and raised with a disdain for authority and an eclectic attitude toward education, he has little in common with other children, and even less with the impulsive Vee, who hurtles from one self-made crisis to the next. The war’s provided unprecedented opportunities for making money, but what Vee needs—and what she’s never had—is a cool head and the ability to make a plan. On her own, she’s a disaster. With Noel, she’s a team.

Together they cook up a scheme. Crisscrossing the bombed suburbs of London, Vee starts to turn a profit and Noel begins to regain his interest in life. But there are plenty of other people making money off the war—and some of them are dangerous. Noel may have been moved to safety, but he isn’t actually safe at all.

Crooked Heart is a story set in war-time England during a time when Londoners were sending their children out of the city to the country in order to save them from the bombings.  After his godmother dies, Noel is shipped off to the country.  There he is fostered by Vee, a widowed con artist living with her mother and loser son.

I really wanted to like this book.  I find myself in the minority when I say that it was a DNF for me.  I was so bored.  It just didn't grab me and I gave up about 35% of the way in. Noel was a puzzling character and Vee just wasn't likable.  She is one of those people who always has a scheme up her sleeves and I didn't find anything about that aspect of her character appealing.

As I said, I am in the minority in this instance.  Check out the tour list below as well as the Goodreads review page to see what others who  think.

About Lissa Evans

Lissa Evans, a former radio and television producer, is the author of three previous novels, including Their Finest Hour and a Half, which was longlisted for the Orange Prize. Crooked Heart was also longlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly known as the Orange Prize); it is her first novel to be published in the US. Evans lives in London with her family. 

Find out more about Evans at her website, and follow her on Twitter.

Purchase Links

Lissa’s Tour Stops

Wednesday, July 29th: BookNAround
Thursday, July 30th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Friday, July 31st: From the TBR Pile
Monday, August 3rd: Raven Haired Girl
Tuesday, August 4th: Savvy Verse & Wit
Wednesday, August 5th: A Bookworm’s World
Thursday, August 6th: Dwell in Possibility
Monday, August 10th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Wednesday, August 12th: Cold Read
Thursday, August 13th: The Book Binder’s Daughter
Monday, August 17th: Doing Dewey
Tuesday, August 18th: Kissin Blue Karen
Wednesday, August 19th: FictionZeal
Thursday, August 20th: Bilbiophiliac
Friday, August 21st: For the Love of Words

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Loving Jack by Nora Roberts

Author: Nora Roberts
First published in 1989 by Silhouette

Author Jackie “Jack” MacNamara is a little in love with her own hero: a brooding Old West cowboy who lives by the gun. That’s why she can’t understand her reaction to buttoned-down, real-life architect Nathan Powell. Thrown together under the same roof, they vow to respect each other’s privacy, which should be easy for the mismatched couple. Only fate is writing the plot to this story—and throwing in all kinds of unpredictable twists and turns… 

It isn't often that this author writes an annoying character, but in this early work , she has created a big one in Jackie (Jack).  Loving Jack is the first in a duology.  Jackie, a.k.a Jack, is an aspiring writer who is duped into subletting a house by her con artist cousin.  The problem comes when the owner, Nathan, comes home early.  He definitely doesn't want a house guest.

The thing about this book that bugged me was Jack. She was just really annoyingly optimistic and a bit of a con artist herself.  She didn't have a legal sublease and should have moved out when Nathan came home, but she instead worms her way in and talks Nathan into letting her stay.  Then she decides she loves him and they should be together forever.  Nathan keeps telling her he doesn't want to get involved at all.  Take a hint!  In the end, I had to wonder if he fell for her for real, or if she just wore him down. 

While this one had a cute ending, it wasn't the best early work by Ms. Roberts.  Something that should be noted is that the book Lawless by Ms. Roberts is the book that Jack was writing in this one.  That was a cool idea.  Hopefully the female lead in Lawless isn't as annoying.  Come back next week when I review Best Laid Plans, the sequel.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July Mini Musings

Once and Again: I really loved the Star Harbor series, so I was looking forward to reading this first book in a new series by this author.  Unfortunately, it was just an OK book for me.  I just didn't love the story.  I'm a sucker for second chance love stories, but I just couldn't get behind this one.  Too much time had passed and they got back together too quickly for me.  I also felt like there wasn't enough focus on the two main characters, Carolyn and Jake.  The story kept going off in other directions.  I'll probably check out the next one though because I do like this author.

Romancing the Duke:  Not much to say about this one other than it was just OK.  I did like the two main characters. But the story got a little silly in places with the addition of the Moranglians fan club scenario.  It just made it a little weird. I also found myself skimming a lot to get to the end.

The Whispers: This was a random pick from my library.  It's the first in a series of novellas about psychic Eloise Montgomery.  She appears in a few book by Lisa Unger.  I haven't read any of the books this character shows up in. This story is about how she became psychic.  IT was really short and just OK.  Maybe it would have been more enjoyable if I had read some of the full novels.

Eight Hundred Grapes:  This was a cute chick lit kinda book.  Georgia runs away right before her wedding to her family's vineyard only to discover everything she thought she knew about her family was falling apart.  She desperately tries to put it
all back together while her own wedding plans are going awry.  I would recommend this book for those looking for a sweet, light read.

Kissing in America:  This is a fun YA book about a girl that falls in love with a boy that moves across the country.  She convinces her best friend to go on a game show so she can see him and they embark on a cross country bus ride to get there.  It was a funny story that gave me a better appreciation of romance novels.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

From Bruges with Love by Pieter Aspe

Author: Pieter Aspe
Publisher: Open Road Media
Date of publication: July 2015

Behind the glamorous facade of elite Belgian society lies a seedy world unseen by the public eye—but nothing stays hidden forever 

Inspector Pieter Van In is begrudgingly finishing up a healthy lunch when he hears the news: While restoring their farmhouse, the Vermasts have found a skeleton in the backyard. Van In, who happens to be married to the deputy public prosecutor, is determined to solve the case in double-quick time and squeeze in one last vacation before the birth of his first child.

But this murder is trickier than it looks, and Van In soon finds himself in murky waters. The Vermasts' land belonged to the most prominent businessman in West Flanders before it was suddenly handed over to a right-wing charity. The heavily endowed foundation appears to have no expenditures or investments. So who's financing it—and why?

Before he knows it, Van In finds himself in the middle of a complex web—one that involves high-level officials, local law enforcement, and common thugs. The harder he tries to unravel the thread, the more difficult it becomes to uncover the secrets that the charity's benefactors are trying to hide. This time Van In will have to risk lives to find out the truth.

From Bruges with Love is number 33 in this series with Inspector Pieter Van In, but only the third (I believe) released in the US to date.  I wasn't aware of that going into the book.  Had I known, I probably would have skipped it. I can sometimes read a series out of order if it only has 2 or three books in it, but not 33! It ended up being a DNF for me.  I was hoping for a good mystery, but I kept getting lost in the story.  I felt like I was missing valuable back story between the main characters.  I would have gotten all of that had I started from book one.  I'm not sure why the foreign books end up getting published in the US like this.  I also felt like a lot of the names were very similar, so I had a hard time keeping track of characters. It  just wasn't my kind of book.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll

by:  Jessica Knoll
published by:  Simon & Schuster
publish date:  May 12, 2015

As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancé, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve.

But Ani has a secret.

There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything.

This book surprised me.  It wasn't anything about what I thought it was going to be about.  I was expecting some kind of deep, dark psychological thriller.  I didn't really get that from this book.  Instead, it was an interesting insider perspective of surviving a school shooting and the publicity that it spurs even many years later.

Tiffani FaNelli came from the wrong side of town.  Her mother gets her into the elite Bradley School hoping to clean up her image.  However, she suffers terrible humiliation at the hands of the popular boys.  She becomes friends with a boy who will eventually become one of the school shooters.  Years later, she has put the past behind her and carefully built a life of which anyone would be envious.  She is desperate for this image to show in the documentary that is being made about the Bradley Shooting since she will be at the center of the interviews.

This book was so different than what I was expecting.  I ended up hanging on to every word wondering what was going to happen next.  The audiobook was excellent.  I would highly recommend it.  

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbo

by:  Jo Nesbo
published by:  Knopf
publish date:  April 7, 2015

This is the story of Olav: an extremely talented “fixer” for one of Oslo’s most powerful crime bosses. But Olav is also an unusually complicated fixer. He has a capacity for love that is as far-reaching as is his gift for murder. He is our straightforward, calm-in-the-face-of-crisis narrator with a storyteller’s hypnotic knack for fantasy. He has an “innate talent for subordination” but running through his veins is a “virus” born of the power over life and death. And while his latest job puts him at the pinnacle of his trade, it may be mutating into his greatest mistake. . . .

This book made me sad and aggravated.  Firstly, it was billed as a stand alone novel.  Yay!!  I love stand alone novels.  Then I get on Goodreads and find out it's not a stand alone.  It's the start of a new series.  Seriously??  Secondly, I listened to the audiobook.  The story is narrated by the male main character.  The audiobook was read by a woman.  Does that make sense?  I found it very off putting.

Olav can't do math so he can't be a drug dealer.  He's too tenderhearted to be a pimp.  He's dyslexic so he can't be trusted with anything too complicated.  He is a fixer for the crime bosses.  Basically, he's a contract killer.  He completely screws up one of his jobs and that puts him in the crosshairs of his boss.  Now it's either kill or be killed.

This is a Jo Nesbo series I will not be following.  I didn't care for the story.  I'm irritated by the fact that everything has to be a series.  Why can't anything just be a simple story and that's it, it's over?