Saturday, March 31, 2012

Series Week- Donovan Brothers Brewery Trilogy by Victoria Dahl

Book 1:
Good Girls Don't
Author: Victoria Dahl
Publisher: Harlequin
Date of Publication: August 2011

Too much of a good thing…

With her sun-kissed hair and sparkling green eyes, Tessa Donovan looks more like the girl next door than a businesswoman—or a heart breaker. Which may explain why Detective Luke Asher barely notices her when he arrives to investigate a break-in at her family’s brewery. He’s got his own problems—starting with the fact that his partner, Simone, is pregnant and everyone thinks he’s the father.

Tessa has her hands full, too. Her brother’s playboy ways may be threatening the business, and the tension could tear her tight-knit family apart. In fact, the only thing that could unite the Donovan boys is seeing a man come after their baby” sister. Especially a man like Luke Asher. But Tessa sees past the rumors to the man beneath. He’s not who people think he is—and neither is she.

This was a great start to the trilogy.  Tessa is the youngest of 3 siblings who run their family brewery business.  For Tessa, she has felt for years that it is her job to keep the family together.  She has always wanted to be in control of everything and tries to constantly make things right for her brothers.  If it means she has to lie, she will.  Luke is a former college friend of Jamie's who comes into investigate when there is a break in at the brewery.  He has no room in his life for commitment, but he also didn't count on Tessa. Jamie and Tessa were great together.  I liked that Tessa was the forward one in the relationship.  You don't see that much in romances.  

I love the characters in this series.  While they are all smart and great people, they are all far from perfect.  The family isn't as close as it is in most books.  They all love each other, but they have major issues to overcome before they can be close again.  Since they are siblings, there are some really funny scenes, especially when it comes to the brothers trying to protect Tessa's virtue. Definitely recommend this one!

Book 2:

Bad Boys Do
Author: Victoria Dahl
Publisher: Harlequin
Date of Publication: September 2011

Olivia Bishop is no fun. That's what her ex-husband said. And that's what her smart bob and glasses imply. So with her trademark determination, Olivia sets out to remake her life. She's going to spend time with her girlfriends and not throw it all away for some man. But when an outing with her book club leads her to a brewery taproom, the dark-haired beauty realizes that trouble--in the form of sexy Jamie Donovan--may be too tempting to avoid.

Jamie Donovan doesn't mean to be bad. Sure, the wild streak in his wicked green eyes has lured the ladies before. Now it's time to grow up. He's even ready for a serious romance. But how can that be when Olivia, the only right woman he has ever met, already has him pegged as wrong?

Bad Boys Do was a bit more emotional than the first book.  I felt so badly for Jamie.  Yes, he has been a major screw up in the past, but he is now trying so hard to change and become a more responsible person.  He just can't get his siblings to see it.  Also, he just can't seem to catch a break.  When he decides to quit the business, it was heartbreaking.  I thought that Olivia was good for Jamie.  Although her thinking she was old at 35 made me want to slap her.  Really?  I know her husband did a number on her by making her think she was boring, but still.  Despite that, I liked her.  She was strong and in the end figured out that she could make it on her own and trust her heart to another again.  I thought that Jamie and Olivia were good for each other.  They both helped each other grow up a little. They also had tons of chemistry.  The mirror scene was pretty hot!  There is some healing between the siblings' relationship in this one.  Definitely recommend!

Book 3:
Real Men Will
Author: Victoria Dahl
Publisher: Harlequin
Date of Publication: October 2011

It was meant to be a one-night stand. One night of passion. Scorching hot. Then Beth Cantrell and Eric Donovan were supposed to go their separate ways. That’s the only reason he lied about his name, telling her he was really his wild younger brother. Hiding his own identity as the conservative Donovan. The “good” one.

But passion has its own logic, and Eric finds he cannot forget the sable-haired beauty with whom he shared one night of passion. When Beth discovers that Eric has lied, however, she knows he cannot be trusted. Her mind tells her to forget the blue-eyed charmer. If only every fiber of her being did not burn to call him back

Real Men Will was the best for me out of the trilogy.  This one deals with lies, both those we tell ourselves and those we tell others, and how they can spiral out of control.  Eric and Beth are awesome together. Their story actually starts in the novella, Just One Taste.  It is included in the book, The Guy Next Door ,which I reviewed last year.  At the time that I reviewed it, I was frustrated with the novella. I am happy to say that Beth and Eric's story was worth the wait.  I just needed to trust the author more. Their attraction is definitely steamy.  It's always fun to watch 2 uptight people loosen up with each other.  There is also some very humorous scenes in the book.  I couldn't help but giggle when Beth finally figures out that Eric isn't who he said he was. There is a lot of family resolution in the story and I was left with a sense that the Donovans will be OK.  Their relationships seemed stronger in the end. This was a great end to the trilogy.  I highly recommend the 3 books.  Definitely worth reading! 

Series Week: Newsflesh Trilogy by Mira Grant

From  In 2014, two experimental viruses—a genetically engineered flu strain designed by Dr. Alexander Kellis, intended to act as a cure for the common cold, and a cancer-killing strain of Marburg, known as "Marburg Amberlee"—escaped the lab and combined to form a single airborne pathogen that swept around the world in a matter of days. It cured cancer. It stopped a thousand cold and flu viruses in their tracks.

It raised the dead.

Millions died in the chaos that followed. The summer of 2014 was dubbed "The Rising," and only the lessons learned from a thousand zombie movies allowed mankind to survive. Even then, the world was changed forever. The mainstream media fell, Internet news acquired an undeniable new legitimacy, and the CDC rose to a new level of power.

Set twenty years after the Rising, the Newsflesh trilogy follows a team of bloggers, led by Georgia and Shaun Mason, as they search for the brutal truths behind the infection. Danger, deceit, and betrayal lurk around every corner, as does the hardest question of them all:

When will you rise?

Book #1  Feed

When Senator Peter Ryman of Wisconsin decides to take a team of bloggers along on his run for the White House, Georgia and Shaun Mason are quick to submit their application. They, along with their friend Georgette "Buffy" M. are selected, and view this as the chance to launch their careers to a whole new level...that is, if they can survive the campaign trail.
I had heard about this book way back in 2010 and ordered it and it ended up sitting on my bookshelf for a year.  I finally got around to it in an attempt to clean up my books...and of course prepare for Series Week.  How I loved this book!

Let me start off with the thing that I didn't particularly care for.  It's not that I didn't like it, I just thought it was weird.  Georgia and Shaun's relationship was completely bizarre.  I don't know of any siblings that are attached to each other.  I have twins that never want to be apart from each other that aren't that attached to each other.
Things I liked were...the bloggers and their role in "saving the world".  They didn't really save the world, but the world realized that they could rely on the bloggers for the real news when they couldn't rely on the media.  I also liked Georgia's affliction of Retinal Kellis-Amberlee.  It was an interesting handicap that provided for unique situations.

The ending was a complete surprise.  I didn't expect to be sitting there crying over a ZOMBIE book.  Really??

Ok, I just fell down on the job with this series.  I intended to read Deadline for today and didn't make it.  But this is the second book in the Trilogy.  The third book, Blackout comes out this June.  So, it's a perfect time to start reading.  No, waiting for the ending!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Series Week: Vanessa Michael Munroe Series

Vanessa “Michael” Munroe deals in information—expensive information—working for corporations, heads of state, private clients, and anyone else who can pay for her unique brand of expertise.  A Texas oil billionaire has hired her to find his daughter who vanished in Africa four years ago. It’s not her usual line of work, but she can’t resist the challenge. Pulled deep into the mystery of the missing girl, Munroe finds herself back in the lands of her childhood, betrayed, cut off from civilization, and left for dead. If she has any hope of escaping the jungle and the demons that drive her, she must come face-to-face with the past that she’s tried for so long to forget.

Thrillers are a dime a dozen lately it seems.  Most of them are fairly decent, but hold that label of thriller somewhat loosely.  The Informationist has "A Thriller" on the cover somewhat modestly when it should be blazing across the cover.   This book deserves it!  Michael Munroe makes Lisbeth Salander look like Jan Brady.  She is beyond cool.  She is definitely one of my new favorite book characters.

In The Informationist we meet Michael Munroe and learn about her background.  She was born to missionary parents in Africa.  When they paid more attention to their work than her, she fell in with the wrong crowds and learned the skills that would later make her an expert in obtaining information.  Naturally gifted with the ability to learn languages, she becomes a major asset to governments and corporations desperate to get "on the ground" intel. 

This book has Michael returning to the area of Africa in which she was raised, along with a unwanted handler provided by her employer.  Together they are searching for a girl that has been missing for 4 years.  The book took some major twists and turns and ended in a shocking way.

After that book, I couldn't wait to get my hands on The Innocent.  This book actually intrigued me a bit more.  I had read that Taylor Stevens was raised in the Children of God cult.  I imagine that must give her an more interesting perspective on life than most people.  The Innocent is about rescuing a child from a similar type cult. 

I thought The Innocent was just as good.  I blew through it because I couldn't put it down.  Michael is just as badass in this book as she was in the first.

This is a series I'm really glad I started reading and I can't wait to read the next book.  The characters are great.  I've been really enjoying the unique settings.  I haven't found any information about the next book, but I'll be in line ready to read it when it comes out!

Blog Tour: Best Seller by Timothy B. Sagges

Author: Timothy B. Sagges
Publisher: CreateSpace
Date of publication: February 2011

Thirty-five year old fiction writer, Richard Rossi would do just about anything to get his manuscript published. However, months of rejection and unanswered prayers have strained his capacity to hope. Alone in New York City, he teeters on the brink of alcoholism, as his hope erodes into desperation.

His prayers are finally answered when a simple misdirected piece of mail spawns a chance encounter with an extraordinary man, Seth Volos, Publisher. And while their unholy alliance thrusts Richard to the top of every Best Seller list in America, the horrifying outcome for the book's legions of fans is anything but a happy ending. 

I was looking forward to reading this book.  I liked the idea of a book about a book and how it seems to enthrall the nation.  After read Best Seller, I have one word in mind... Creepy!  This book definitely gave me the chills. While the paranormal aspect of the book isn't ever going to happen in reality, I could see the potential, with the right the right circumstances, for something like a book to be come an obsession with thousands of fans.  In fact, it has already happened several times.

Rich isn't a likable guy in the beginning.  All he wants to do is get his book published.  Once he meets Seth Volos, he dreams seem to come true.  But as he embarks on his book tour, it seems that fame comes with a price.  He thinks he has it all figured out, but the reality is more horrifying than he thought.  The mystery of what is happening was pretty straight forward.  There are no big twists in the story, but it was still enjoyable.  The only thing that I thought was a bit much was the part about Dennis and his secret.  For me, it just didn't fit with the rest of the story.  Best Seller was a pretty quick read and worth checking out.
About the author:

Fifty-year-old actor, director and playwright, Tim Sagges has been tormented by a series of recurring night terrors since 1967, long before there was a name for such a curse. It is only recently that he has found the courage to formulate some of these visions into works of literature. In an effort to purge himself of the unrelenting horror of his dreams, he has created Best Seller, the first in a series of nightmares exorcised from his mind and onto the page.

He is currently the owner of Eye Candy Vision in Philadelphia.

Amazon buy link

Barnes& buy link buy link
Best Seller web site:

Timothy B. Sagges' Facebook:!/profile.php?id=1069144965

Timothy B. Sagges' Twitter:!/TimSagges

Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:

Best Seller blog tour site:

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Series Week TT edition: Long Tall Texans I by Diana Palmer

These 3 are the first in the Long Tall Texans series by Diana Palmer.  Before I delve into each book on its own, I have a couple of comments.  The books did seem dated to me.  Especially with the clothing descriptions as well as the way the women are treated in the books.  I wasn't surprised it was written in the 80s.  The other comment is that I seem to be finding a running trend in Ms. Palmer's books.  Every woman is a naive virgin.  What's up with that?  OK onto the books:

First up:
First published in 1988 by Harlequin


Although Calhoun Ballenger had raised Abby since childhood, she was now nearly twenty-one years old. How dare he keep her under his thumb, protected like a hothouse flower! Abby had to teach Calhoun a lesson. With the fury of a South Texas twister, she devised a plan to prove her independence - and capture his attention. 

But Abby's scheme backfired. She wasn't like the diamond-studded sophisticates Calhoun chose as his companions. She was just a simple country girl who craved the love of a good, strong man. How could she make Cal see that his young charge had blossomed into a rose...and was now ripe for the picking?

For the most part, I liked this one.  Calhoun and Abby have known each other for a while and so I did believe their feelings in this one.  Abby has been in love with Calhoun for a while, but he still sees her as a little girl.  I could understand Calhoun's reluctance at first to enter into any type of relationship with the woman who has been his "ward" for the past 5 years.  Even though Abby is extremely naive and inexperienced, I ended up liking her in the end.  She seemed to find her voice and became a stronger person.  I had a hard time with the "virginal" blush and shock at an "intimate kiss" thing but I guess if you have been sheltered for so long, you wouldn't know what to do either. In all not a bad start. 

First Published in 1988 by Harlequin


Sweet dreams had been all that lovely Shelby Jacobs had ever given Justin Ballenger. He'd loved her, wanted to marry her....and his sweet dreams had blown away. A Ballenger wasn't good enough for Shelby...she'd broken their engagement and flaunted her rich society lover in Justin's face. He vowed never again to be vulnerable to his beautiful Texas rose. 

Shelby had never stopped loving dark, intense Justin, and seeing him only deepened her feelings. She was sure he despised her, but she knew he needed to hear the truth about the past. She was risking everything, but the heart of her lonesome cowboy was more than worth it...

This one was a bit better than the first one, but not by much.  Justin and Shelby have a past.  They are still in love but both refuse to let the past go and move on.  I thought that Justin was a jerk through pretty much the whole book.  Even when she had proof that she didn't lie about what happened to break them up, he still didn't trust her.  I didn't blame her in the least for leaving him.  Although, I probably would have done it a lot sooner. I also probably would have made him grovel a little more, but that is me.  I liked their HEA though.  It was nice to see two loves find their way back to each other.  

Last, but not least:

First Published in 1988 by Harlequin


With only a quick glance at Nell Regan, a man might miss the beauty in the shy face, or the sexy figure hidden beneath the shapeless clothes. Nell had learned the hard way the she had nothing to offer a man. Her future was here, running her Arizona dude ranch...alone. 

Then Tyler Jacobs arrived...a man who knew what it was like to be alone and alienated. He yearned to kiss away the pain he saw in Nell s deep brown eyes. 

But Nell wasn't about to mistake kindness for love. Not again. Yet would denying her own desire destroy her one chance for happiness.

This one ended up being a did not finish for me.  It was just too ridiculous or maybe I had had enough of women who get to their 20s and know NOTHING about even kissing a man.  Really? I know it was written in the 80s but, come on.  Did a woman like Nell really exist in the 80s?  It was something I just couldn't get past so I didn't really feel the relationship between Tyler and Nell.   I'm this close to calling it quits with this series.  If they are all like this, it could get a little tiring.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Review & Interview: Barefoot Season by Susan Mallery

Today, we welcome author Susan Mallery, who is promoting her new book, Barefoot Season.  Ms. Mallery was nice enough to answer a few questions for us.

Publisher: Mira
Date of Publication: March 2012

Michelle Sanderson may appear to be a strong, independent woman, but on the inside, she’s still the wounded girl who fled home years ago. A young army vet, Michelle returns to the quaint Blackberry Island Inn to claim her inheritance and recover from the perils of war. Instead, she finds the owner’s suite occupied by the last person she wants to see. 

Carly Williams and Michelle were once inseparable, until a shocking betrayal destroyed their friendship. And now Carly is implicated in the financial disaster lurking behind the inn’s cheerful veneer. 

Single mother Carly has weathered rumors, lies and secrets for a lifetime, and is finally starting to move forward with love and life. But if the Blackberry Island Inn goes under, Carly and her daughter will go with it. 

To save their livelihoods, Carly and Michelle will undertake a turbulent truce. It’ll take more than a successful season to move beyond their devastating past, but with a little luck and a beautiful summer, they may just rediscover the friendship of a lifetime

My Take:
I loved this book!  Barefoot Season is a beautifully written story about the power of forgiveness and true friendship.  The reader is taken on an emotional journey along with Michelle and Carly as they make their way back into each other's hearts. I was so rooting for their friendship! My heart broke for Michelle as she healed from her experience overseas.  Talk about hitting rock bottom.  I also felt for Carly. Being a single mother with iffy job security is not easy, but she faces the challenge with strength.  Ms. Mallery always gives the reader a great story with sweet romances.  While the romance element isn't the central focus of the book, the love interests that both women find were sweet and made me sigh.  I highly recommend this one.  I can't wait to read the next Blackberry Island book!  Pick this one up, you won't be sorry!

And now:
A Chat with Susan Mallery, Author of BAREFOOT SEASON

Kari: What inspired you to become a writer?

I’d always loved reading, of course. (Didn’t we all?) Books were my escape when I was a little girl, entertainment when I had nothing else to do. But somehow, being a writer never occurred to me as a valid career choice. Impractical. So I did the most practical thing I could think of – I went to college to study Accounting. If you think columns of numbers are boring, just imagine how tedious Accounting Theory could be!

The theory behind the numbers. Seriously?

While I was carrying a full course load, I took an evening adult education class called How to Write a Romance Novel. By week six, I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life. I’ve been very fortunate to make that dream a reality.

Kari: Where do you come up with the idea for your books?

Ideas come from everywhere. SituationsI find myself in, songs, movies, conversationsI’ve overheard. The tough part is building that spark into a novel-length story. Sometimes an idea doesn’t go anywhere, and I have to save it for another day, when it might merge with another spark and become something wonderful.

The spark that led to BAREFOOT SEASON, the first book of the Blackberry Island series, was a thought that flitted into my head from I don’t know where – a gift from the universe. What if you and your best friend fell in love with the same man, and then he proposed to her? You’re her best friend, so of course she wants you to be her maid of honor. And then… what if he tells you he chose the wrong girl? BAREFOOT SEASON deals with the fallout of this scenario, ten years later.

Visit Blackberry Island online at!

Kari: What is your favorite part of A Barefoot Season?

I love that there are no easy answers, no quick resolution. Michelle and Carly are caught in a tough spot. Neither one of them is 100% right or 100% wrong, which is how these situations usually are in real life. I love telling stories with about truly good people who fall on opposite sides of a very emotional issue. I think book clubs are going to really enjoy that aspect of the story. Should make for some lively discussion!

I also really adore the men of BAREFOOT SEASON. Michelle and Carly each get a love story in the book, and it warms my heart to see them end up with men who will treat them the way every woman should be treated.

Kari: What is your favorite book so far?

My favorite is always the one I’m working on at the moment. While writing a story, I live it. I cry when the characters cry. I make myself laugh frequently – which is a little psychotic, I know, but it’s SO. MUCH. FUN! All I can say is, it’s a good thing I don’t work around other people. They’d think I was nuts, just bursting out with random laughter.

At the moment, I’m working on the second book of the Blackberry Island series, a follow-up to BAREFOOT SEASON. That’s my favorite right now. No title yet; you’ll have to join my mailing list at so I can send you an email on release day.

Kari: What exciting projects are waiting in the wings?

After BAREFOOT SEASON, next up is a quartet of Fool’s Gold romance novels from June through October – SUMMER DAYS, SUMMER NIGHTS, ALL SUMMER LONG, and A FOOL’S GOLD CHRISTMAS – plus an ebook novella called ALMOST SUMMER in May.

For those readers who are unfamiliar with the series, Fool’s Gold is a small California town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Fool’s Gold has become famous for its man shortage, so the women in town have set out to balance out the population by bringing more men to town.

2012 is the Year of the Cowboy in Fool’s Gold. The Stryker brothers will settle on the Castle Ranch, and Fool’s Gold will never be the same again! Readers can get a free desktop cowboy calendar here:

Kari: Who is your favorite literary character and why?
For classic literature, I love Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennett. Elizabeth is a woman I would love to be friends with. She’s smart, a little snarky, and she demands respect from Mr. Darcy.

Kari: Just for fun, if you could be any animal, what would it be and why?
I would be a toy poodle. Specifically, my toy poodle Nikki, because she lives the life that every dog should live. I think every dog deserves to be spoiled. (By the way, I immortalized Nikki in ONLY YOURS, Fool’s Gold book 5. She’s the inspiration behind one of the therapy dogs in that book.)

Nikki is the official mascot of Fool’s Gold, California, so in honor of the Year of the Cowboy, here she is dressed up as a cow. She would do anything for me!

Series Week - Fool's Gold Trilogy by Susan Mallery

Today, I have the first 3 books ofeaturing the town of Fool's Gold by Susan Mallery.  I have the next 3, Only Mine, Only Yours, and Only His in my TBR pile!

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Chasing Perfect
Author: Susan Mallery
Publisher: Harlequin
Date of publication: May 2010

Welcome to Fool's Gold, California, a charming community in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. There's lots to do and plenty of people to meet, especially women. Because there's just one tiny problem in Fool's Gold: the men don't seem to stick around. Maybe it's the lure of big-city life, or maybe it's plain old bad luck, but regardless of the reason, the problem has to be fixed, fast. And Charity Jones may be just the city planner to do it.

Charity's nomadic childhood has left her itching to settle down, and she immediately falls in love with all the storybook town has to offer--everything, that is, except its sexiest and most famous resident, former world-class cyclist Josh Golden. With her long list of romantic disasters, she's not about to take a chance on another bad boy, even if everyone else thinks he's perfect just the way he is. But maybe that's just what he needs--someone who knows the value of his flaws. Someone who knows that he's just "chasing perfect."

This is a great beginning to the series. Josh and Charity are great characters. I love to see when two people learn how to trust and fall in love. I really was hoping they would figure out that they were perfect for each other.  I loved the town and how close the residents are. Any town that rallies around it's people seems like a great place to live.  

Book 2:
Almost Perfect
Author: Susan Mallery
Publisher: Harlequin
Date of publication: June 2010

Back in high school, Liz Sutton was the girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Then she’d stolen the heart of the most popular boy in town, and their secret romance helped her through the worst of times. Until Ethan Hendrix betrayed her and everything they’d ever meant to each other. Devastated and pregnant, Liz left Fool’s Gold, California – forever, she thought…

Now Liz must return to town and face the man who doesn’t know of their son’s existence. And this time she won’t have the option of making a quick getaway. Ethan and Liz can’t deny their passionate attraction, even after all these years. But will their desire be enough to spark a second chance at love?

This one was very heartbreaking to read. I felt so badly for Liz and how everyone treats her when she comes back.  I had to give her a lot of credit for being able to hold her head high when everyone is keeps saying horrible things to her.  While I felt for Ethan and understood his anger over having missed 11 years with his son, I thought he was a total ass through most of the book.  Both characters are so obviously right for each other.  It just takes them a while to put past hurts aside and admit it to themselves.  I loved how Ethan sets things right in the end.

Book 3:
Finding Perfect
Author: Susan Mallery
Publisher: Harlequin
Date of publication: May 2012

When Pia O'Brian's best friend dies, Pia expects to inherit her cherished cat. Instead, the woman leaves Pia three frozen embryos. With a disastrous track record in the romance department and the parenting skills of a hamster, Pia doesn't think she's meant for motherhood. But determined to do the right thing, Pia decides to become a single mother. Only to meet a gorgeous, sexy hunk the very same day.
A former foster-care kid now rich beyond his wildest dreams, Raoul Moreno runs a camp for needy children in Fool's Gold, California. After his last relationship, Raoul thought he was done with women and commitment. Still, he can't get sweet, sexy Pia out of his mind—and proposes a crazy plan. But can such an unconventional beginning really result in the perfect ending?

I'm not sure I liked this one as much as the first two books.  I thought that Pia jumped into her decision to have the babies implanted was a bit rushed, so I'm not sure I bought it. Despite that, I thought  Pia was a great character. I did sympathize with her over her fears of becoming a mother.  I loved how she was able to admit how much of a stuck up witch she was in high school and understand how wrong she was.  Raoul was very sweet and I thought they were great together.  I loved the scene where the older ladies of the town rally around him to save him from a stalker fan.  That scene had me giggling.

A great trilogy!  I look forward to reading more adventures in Fool's Gold!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Series Week: Caster Chronicles

by:  Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
published by:  Little, Brown for Young Readers
publish date:  December 2009

Beautiful Creatures is the first book in this series.  We meet Ethan Wate a teenage boy growing up in a small town in South Carolina.  His mother has recently died and he's living with his grieving father and voodoo practicing housekeeper Amma.  Lena Duchannes moves to town and it throws everyone in a tizzy because she moves in with her uncle, the town recluse.  Lena and her Uncle are Casters, people with paranormal powers and both live in a far different world than the people of Gatlin, SC could ever imagine. 

I knew this was a really popular series, but I just didn't get around to reading it when it first came out.  The library had the first two books on audio so I got them to see what the hype was all about.  Also, the movies are being filmed down in New Orleans starting next month I think. 

Personally I liked Beautiful Creatures.  Since I've read it, I've read a lot of negative reviews and I can see their point of view, but I guess I didn't take the book so seriously when I was reading it.  I found it refreshing that it was told from the point of view of Ethan.  I wish there was more male influence in YA.

A lot of comments seemed to be directed at the "Southern" aspects of the book, I didn't have any issues with it.  I live in Louisiana, can't get much more Southern than that.  Are there people still stuck on the Civil War?  Yes.  Do they call it the War Between the States or the War of Northern Aggression?  Occasionally.  Are there old voodoo women?  Yeah, if you look for them.  Oh and doubting the manners and having to visit relatives all the time, we do around here, I didn't take exception to Ethan having to visit his aunts all the time either.

Beautiful Darkness is the second book in the series.  Ethan and Lena had the insta-love thing going on in the first book, but now Lena has drawn away from him.  She's fallen in with a dark crowd that seems to be leading her astray.  Lena has run away from her family and gone deep in to the Caster underground.  Ethan decides that it's up to him to find her and bring her back home.

Beautiful Darkness is more about Ethan, Link (Ethan's best friend), and a new character Liv trying to track down Lena.   Ethan learns more about his family history and how entwined it is with the Caster history.  He finds out about his mother and her death and her relationship with Lena's uncle. 

I think I liked Beautiful Darkness more than Creatures.  It seemed to have more of a dark atmosphere to it, which I guess is the point, but it worked better in that book.  The ending was great and I can't wait to read the next books in the series:  Beautiful Chaos and Beautiful Redemption.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Giveaway Winners

Congrats to the following winners in our recent giveaways.  Thank you to everyone who stopped by and entered!

Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop:

Christi the Librarian - Book 1: 1 ARC  of Alienation by Jon. S. Lewis
Sophi - Book2: 1 ARC of The Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
Melissa Call- Book 3: 1 PB of Gone to Ground by Brandilyn Collins

Spring Cleaning Giveaway Hop:

K. Hayes: Adult Box #1:

Elven Johnson: YA Box:

Darlene: Adult Mystery/Thriller Box:

Nobody's Angel Giveaway:

Brendajean 1 e-copy of Nobody's Angel by author K. T. Wells

Finding Katie Giveaway:

bn100: One copy of Finding Katie by John J. Smith

Winners please check your e-mail inboxes!

Series Week:The Creed Cowboys Trilogy by Linda Lael Miller

This trilogy came out last year by Linda Lael Miller.  It is a continuation of a series that has been around for a while, but I  never felt out of the loop.

First up: A Creed in Stone Creek
Publisher:  Harlequin
Date of Publication: February 2011

When single attorney Steven Creed becomes guardian of an orphaned five-year-old boy, he trades his big-city law firm for a ranch near his McKettrick kin in the close-knit community of Stone Creek, Arizona. Taking care of little Matt and fixing up his run-down ranch house with its old barn loosens something tightly wound inside him. But when Steven takes on the pro bono defense of a local teen, he meets his match in the opposing counsel - beautiful, by-the-book county prosecutor Melissa O'Ballivan. It'll take one grieving little boy, a sweet adopted dog and a woman who never expected to win any man's heart to make this Creed in Stone Creek know he's truly found home.

I have never read any of the preceding books in either the Montana Creed series or the Stone Creek series, but after reading this first one, I know I will be seeking them out.  I enjoyed this first in the Creed Cowboys trilogy.  Steven Creed is definitely a beta hero, but that just makes him more lovable.  I liked him and Melissa together.  While they did seem to rush into things a bit, in the end, I believed their HEA.  In each other, they found the home they were seeking.  My only criticism is that some parts of the book were a bit repetitive.  The author used a lot of the same phrasing throughout the book as well as restating things that had already been established. In all a good first intro to the Creed family for me!

Next: Creed's Honor

Publisher:  Harlequin
Date of Publication: February 2011

Conner Creed knows exactly who he is: a hardworking rancher carrying on his uncle's legacy in Lonesome Bend, Colorado. Maybe a small-town cowboy's life isn't his dream, but he owes the man who took him in as a kid. Until the identical twin brother he's been estranged from for years reenters his life. 
Conner struggles with identity issues as he gets to know his wilder brother. And then he meets Tricia McCall, a beautiful woman who knows a thing or two about living someone else's dreams. Together, they just might find their own dreams right here in Lonesome Bend....

I'm not sure I liked this one as much as the first.  I probably wouldn't classify it as a straight romance because there is very little romance in it.  In fact, I'm not sure when Connor and Tricia fell in love.  They have so little interaction in the book.  It didn't seem real to me.  IT was more like there had to be a happy ending, so she stuck them together and called it love.  While I liked both characters on their own, I just didn't see them together.  On the upside,  I did enjoy the interaction between Connor and his brother.  Reconciliation and healing is on the horizon for them.  Characters from the first book make an appearance in this one and it is always nice to catch up with them.  So, in all, not the best in the trilogy, but worth reading.

Last, but not least: The Creed Legacy

Publisher:  Harlequin
Date of Publication: February 2011

Rough-and-tumble rodeo cowboy Brody Creed likes life on the move. Until a chance encounter with his long-estranged twin brother brings him “home,” for the first time in years. Suddenly Brody is in Creed territory—a rootless bad boy among family with deep ties to the land and each other. He’s half-ready to bolt when he meets a copper-haired beauty more restless than he is. 

Carolyn Simmons is living a temporary life in Lonesome Bend, waiting to light out for the glamour of a metropolis. Then she falls for gorgeous Brody Creed, the opposite of everything she wants. But taming his wild heart might just become everything they both need…

The Creed Legacy was by far my favorite of the trilogy.  It is also the most heart wrenching.  You finally get to know what caused Brody Creed to leave Caroline six years before and what kept him away.  This book isn't all happy go lucky as you watch Brody work his way back to his family.  But, as family is meant to do, they welcome him back with open arms.  The scenes between Brody and Davis are very touching.  Both Brody and Caroline grow so much in this book and you find yourself just rooting for their HEA.  Brody is such a great guy.  I loved the date that he plans for Caroline.  It was so sweet.  Caroline finally  has a chance to find the home she has been searching for her whole life.  This was a great end to the trilogy!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Series Week: Ruth Galloway Mysteries

Way back in August of last year I listened to the audiobooks for the first two Ruth Galloway books by Elly Griffiths, Crossing Places and The Janus Stone.  I really enjoyed both.  I thought that Ruth Galloway was a great character and I couldn't wait to read the next book.

The next book is here and it is called The House at Seas End.

A team of archaeologists, investigating coastal erosion on the north Norfolk coast, unearth six bodies buried at the foot of a cliff. How long have they been there? What could have happened to them? Forensics expert Ruth Galloway and DCI Nelson are drawn together again to unravel the past. Tests reveal that the bodies have lain, preserved in the sand, for sixty years. The mystery of their deaths stretches back to the Second World War, a time when Great Britain was threatened by invasion. But someone wants the truth of the past to stay buried, and will go to any lengths to keep it that way...even murder.

All of our favorite characters are back in this book.  Reading this book was like settling in with some old friends.   There was an addition of a new friend of Ruth's Tatjana that I didn't quite understand as much, but she played her part I guess.

If you've been keeping track Ruth was pregnant in the second book.  In this book she's had her baby and she's struggling with being a single parent.  Kate, Ruth's daughter, is bringing out a whole new side to Harry Nelson.  And, the last paragraph of the book leaves a tantalizing clue about what's going to happen in the next book regarding Kate, Ruth, and Harry.

As usual, Elly Griffiths created a fantastic whodunit.  There's a horrific murder to solve that took place during World War II.  Interwoven in the story is Tatjana's tale of genocide in Bosnia.   I was biting my nails wanting to know how both stories were eventually going to play out. 

I can't wait for the next book to come out in this series and looks like maybe it won't be too long.  The next one is called A Room Full of Bones, not sure what the US release date is.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Gilly Salt Sisters by Tiffany Baker

by:  Tiffany Baker
published by:  Grand Central Publishers
publish date:  March 14, 2012

In the isolated Cape Cod village of Prospect, the Gilly sisters are as different as can be. Jo, a fierce and quiet loner, is devoted to the mysteries of her family's salt farm, while Claire is popular, pretty, and yearns to flee the salt at any cost. But the Gilly land hides a dark legacy that proves impossible to escape. Although the community half-suspects the Gilly sisters might be witches, it doesn't stop Whit Turner, the town's wealthiest bachelor, from forcing his way into their lives. It's Jo who first steals Whit's heart, but it is Claire--heartbroken over her high school sweetheart--who marries him.

Years later, estranged from her family, Claire finds herself thrust back onto the farm with the last person she would have chosen: her husband's pregnant mistress. Suddenly, alliances change, old loves return, and new battle lines are drawn. What the Gilly sisters learn about each other, the land around them, and the power of the salt, will not only change each of their lives forever, it will also alter Gilly history for good.

The Gilly Salt Sisters was one of those books that took me FOREVER to read.  I don't really know what it was about it.  My overall feeling towards it was generally positive.  It just wasn't one of those books that really grabbed me and held me and made me never want to put it down.

The book revolves around the mystical power of the salt that the Gilly family produces.  This concept is never really fully explained though.  Is it really magical or is the entire town just reacting as though it is?  Are the Gilly women witches?  Is the land cursed or bewitched?  It was all questioned in the book, but never really answered.  I guess that was left up to the reader to decide.  I suppose that would make it a good book club book.

Personally, I didn't accept the relationship that developed between Claire and Dee.  I don't want to give out any spoilers here, but they are the least likely of friends and they end up living together.  I didn't buy it.   Claire's return to the salt farm was a little bit of a stretch for me too.  Despite the circumstances that brought her back, it didn't seem like she would so easily return to something that she had been fighting so hard against for so long.

Like I said though, my overall feeling toward this book is positive.  The setting of a New England salt farm was unique.  While the first half of the book was somewhat slow, the second half was a lot more interesting. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Blog Tour & Author Spotlight: Realtor series by Liz Crowe

Today we welcome author Liz Crowe who is promoting her new series, The Realtor Series: Life in the House Lane
About the series:

The Realtors:  Life in the House Lane

Love is an easy word to use, a hard one to demonstrate, and sometimes impossible to trust.
The Realtors is a sweeping epic, encompassing over ten years in the lives of two people who know how to love with their bodies, how to please and get pleasure, to control and be controlled.  When it comes to the deeper meaning of the one word they both need however, their strong personalities get in the way. While their physical connection sizzles they continue to disappoint one another emotionally.
Jack Gordon has it all--money, success, a string of women—but sustains a deep longing for something more. When he thinks he finds it with Sara Jane Thornton, his world is never the same again.  Sara releases his natural Dom, a side of him he'd thought buried out of frustration and unhappiness. Sara learns a true submissive must trust implicitly, something she cannot associate with him, no matter how many times she tries, and he fails.

With a rich cast of secondary characters, including a young man who presents a near-perfect foil to Jack's intensity, and who falls hard for Sara; The Realtors series is a romantic saga with an emphasis on contemporary life and love, with a healthy dose of white-hot eroticism. Modern, busy, driven characters living lives of purpose and real-time stress, seek the ever-elusive and highly coveted combination --a friend, lover and trusted advisor who will be there for the long haul.

Floor Time (The Realtors – Book 1): 01/23/2012
Jack Gordon is Ann Arbor's most delectable bachelor.  At age thirty-five, he's made millions as a top-selling Ann Arbor real estate broker and has the right connections to close a deal by any means necessary. With his rugged good looks and compelling personality, he has a virtual black book most men would kill for and he uses it often, never settling for one woman for very long.
While his D/s past remains buried, exactly where he wants it, an undercurrent of boredom and dissatisfaction runs through his life now.  A disastrous experience years earlier made him swear off the whole scene, but the more Jack suppresses his natural Dom, the more his frustration grows.  
Sara Thornton, a rookie in the real estate game, has fast-tracked herself to the top of the Ann Arbor market. Her life reflects a disciplined and focused routine, exactly the way she wants it.  However, as her career takes off, the fulfillment she seeks remains inexplicably out of reach.  The one thing she knows for sure, she will not join the Jack Gordon groupies in her company, no matter how tempting that might seem.
A chance encounter, then a difficult transaction, throw Jack and Sara together and the sparks fly high and hot and often. Forced to confront the compulsions that gain momentum with each sizzling encounter, their relationship seems to spiral out of control until Jack finally admits what he needs, and shows Sara what she's been missing.

Sweat Equity (The Realtors – Book 2):  02/06/2012
Jack Gordon thought he’d finally made it.  He had a wildly successful career, money in the bank and even returned to his life as Dom, putting an end to a string of unfulfilling sexual encounters. Now that he's made the ultimate commitment to Sara Thornton, he believes all is right in their world. However, a series of misunderstandings and a dose of self-fulfilling prophesy bring his perfectly crafted house of cards tumbling down around him, forcing him to confront lingering misgivings about marriage and trust.  Could those be the only two things he can never achieve?
Sara struggles with her intense need for Jack and her desire for less volatility in her busy life, two goals which appear to be mutually exclusive. Although willing to put in the time and emotional effort to make their relationship work, she finds it futile and frustrating, littered with clashes thanks to near-identical personalities and temperaments. Given Sara’s history, easing back into the comfortable status quo becomes easier than fighting a war with the one person who should be her safe haven. But will the easier choice satisfy her the way only Jack can? Is her "war" one that comes from without or within?
Buffeted by circumstance, temptation and distraction, Jack and Sara’s tenuous relationship crumbles, sparking a continuous quest for the ever elusive: trust, love and acceptance. By the time they rebuild a foundation for renewal, fate has other plans. This leaves them both reeling, once again questioning their destiny.

Closing Costs (The Realtors – Book 3):  03/02/2012
Love conquers all? Not likely, according to Sara Thornton. She's spent eight years coming to terms with the new parameters of her life while resigning herself to the idea that “happily ever afters” are best left to fairytales.  Sales manager for her successful real estate office and juggling an added element of responsibility she never thought she'd face, Sara continues to struggle with the men in her life.  Love, for her, has only meant hurt, broken trust and anger; all of which she’s completely banished from her life, so she claims.
Jack Gordon has come a long way since his early days of obsession with Sara.  As the general manager of Stewart Realty, his own level of responsibility for the well-being of others has ramped up. He’s even honed his caretaking skills, now that he has someone who loves him unconditionally.
Continuing to invest effort and rebuild their relationship, he and Sara grow close as friends. Despite this, his ultimate question remains unanswered; the one he keeps asking, no matter how many times she says no. Sara isn't prepared for the keen focus of his need--to have her back, once and for all. Her stubborn resistance nearly rips both lives apart

The epic conclusion to The Realtors series, Closing Costs brings Jack and Sara truly full circle. Proving that the heat of lust and obsession; the need for control and to be mastered in many areas of life can lead to love —surprising you when you least expect it – if you will only allow it.

About the author:

Microbrewery owner, beer blogger and journalist, mom of three teenagers, and soccer fan, Liz lives in the great Midwest, in a major college town. Years of experience in sales and fund raising, an eight-year stint as an ex-pat trailing her spouse around the world, and making her way in a world of men (i.e. the beer industry) has prepped Liz for life as erotic romance author. When she is not sweating beer inventory, sales figures or promotional efforts for her latest publication, she can be found walking her standard poodles or doing Bikram Yoga. If you want a beer education follow her beer blog:. For writing-related topics, including her backlist.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Throwback Thursday - Future Perfect by Suzanne Brockmann

 Author: Suzanne Brockmann
First published in 1993 by  Kismet

Juliana Anderson is perfectly content running her bed and breakfast in small town Massachusetts; she doesn't think there's room in her life for romance or adventure, and she's okay with that...until a handsome, rugged stranger arrives at the B&B and offers her everything that she never knew she wanted. In Future Perfect, Brockmann delivers the kind of straight-up contemporary romance that readers are clamoring for—unforgettable characters, a juicy love story with a page-turning plot.

Future Perfect is one of Suzanne Brockmann's earlier romances.  I'm not sure I loved it even though I really wanted to love the book.  There was a definite a role reversal in this book.  For once it was the guy who fell in love first; pretty much from first sight. I thought that Webster was a great character.  You don't find many sensitive guys like him much in romances anymore. Juliana is the reluctant one.  She has been too independent for too long to want to give up her life.  The issue I had with this book was the secret that Juliana keeps from Webster throughout the book.  This secret causes a HUGE misunderstanding and conflict.  Then, when the secret is revealed instead of apologizing, Juliana makes Webster crawl back to her. If she hadn't kept it all a secret in the first place, none of the conflict would have happened.  While I am all for conflict in a romance because it does make things interesting, this was just frustrating. 

If you missed it try it out and see for yourself.  This book was re-issued recently. Personally, I like the new cover much better. Yum!