Sunday, September 30, 2012

Banned Books Week: 50 Shades Book Burning

If you were like me, you had to read Fahrenheit 451 in school.  If you haven't read it since then, I heartily encourage everyone to give it a read again, or even better listen to the audiobook.  It'll make a big impression about the topic of burning books.

Kari and I learned that there were organizations calling for book burnings of 50 Shades of Grey.  Now, we aren't fans of that book, however we're more strongly opposed to book burning and the consequences it can bring.  We can both sympathize with the reasoning of domestic abuse counselors that the book might encourage more violence against women.  However, readers and abusers have to take responsibility into their own hands. 

This article from the UK Daily Mail makes and excellent point that once you start with one book, where do you stop?  This woman is all up in arms about this one particular book series, but honestly there are hundreds more out there at are ten times worse.  Why not burn those too? 

Hopefully, this woman will continue her good work dedicated to abused women and not make a career out of burning books.  Her resources would be better used eradicating losers who beat their partners, rather than taking tacky books out of the hands of desperate housewives.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Books We Didn't Finish September Edition

Courageous (Harlequin, June 2012)... what can I say?  I usually read about 50 pages or at least 2 CDs before I give up on a book.  I lasted only half of the first disc. First, Peg, the 19-YO, naive heroine states that she is different from her friends because she doesn't believe in sex before marriage. Then she proceeds to say really suggestive things to the Winslow (the hero). Things like: "I hear they have birth control now that is 100% effective." and "It's not the size that matters; it's what you do with it that counts." Really? A few pages later, he tells her she should be in college and could major in Home Ec. they even offer that in college anymore?  He is also scandalized that they allow coed dorms now.  Anyway, I could see this book was going the way of Merciless (which I disliked) so I decided to stop.  The book seems incredibly out-dated for having been written in 2012.When the setting is 2012, I want the characters to act like they are in 2012.

I really tried to get into The Vanishers (Doubleday, March 2012).  I started the audiobook 3 times.  On the last try, I finished the first CD and I realized I had no idea what was going on or what the author was talking about.  I was never able to orient myself to the world the author was trying to create.  I may at some point try to finish the book, but with so many books on my TBR Pile, it won't be anytime soon. It is too bad, because the synopsis seemed so interesting.  Maybe if the book had more of a background set up in the beginning, I would have been able to get into it more. 

I picked Bone Machines by John Dodds as an audiobook selection from the library.  It seemed like my kind of book.  It's about a serial killer in Glasgow.  The killer is an artist not only in his killing, but also in what he does with the bodies after death.  Sounds like a twistedly good book right?  I think my biggest problem with this audiobook was that it was narrated by Robin Sachs and he does all the Jo Nesbo books.  The two are linked in my head.  So his voice attached to something else wasn't really working for me.  I keep getting confused with the characters and who was who and who was the bad guy.  It just wasn't working for me so I moved on to something else.  

Friday, September 28, 2012

Author Interview: Andrew Katz

Today we are hosting author, Andrew Katz who is promoting his book, Descendants.  Enjoy our interview!

Author: Andrew Katz
Publisher: Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing
Date of publication: August 10th 2012

Knights are dead and gone since the days of Camelot. The ancient battles pitting sword and shield against one another are just a distant memory, one that very few even give validity, and that’s exactly how it should be. I mean honestly, if people knew half of what really went on in the shadows and under the bed they’d probably wind up institutionalized. Luckily, that’s where Sir Godric Patronar comes in. Sir Godric is a Knight. That’s right, an armor-clad, sword-wielding powerhouse of old, with all the powers and responsibilities that come with that position. They’re not all gone, and a few, like Sir Godric, even reside in the Kingship of North America. Trouble has been brewing in the Kingdom… and it’s kind of Godric's fault. He killed a bunch of gnomes, which in turn pissed off some trolls. Now they’re trying to kill him and start a war with all of humanity. It’s up to Sir Godric to stop the impending war but it’s kind of hard when an ancient evil is awakening and trying to block his path at every turn.

Kari: What inspired you to become a writer?

Andrew: There really wasn’t anything in particular that did it. I started one night out of a fit of boredom and just never really looked back. The funny thing is, in school I always hated writing, but once I began doing it for myself, it’s all I wanted to do… all the time.

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

AndrewI’ve actually recently started keeping a dream journal, and I get some good ideas out of there, but mostly I just make it up as I go. I keep a small moleskin notepad with me in my back pocket everywhere I go and as an idea hits me I jot it down. There’s no real method to my madness in there though (it’s a mess of sketches, overviews, and one word reminders), so I convert it into a more organized Word file to look at. I take my ideas at random from there.

Kari: What exciting projects are waiting in the wings?

AndrewWell, I’m working on the sequel to my premier novel, “Descendants”, and I also have a multitude of short stories in the works.

Kari: Who is your favorite literary character and why?

AndrewI’d have to choose between Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden, or Simon R. Green’s John Taylor. They’re both supernatural P.I.s with more creative thinking than sense, but always try and do the right thing, even if it doesn’t seem that way to others.

Kari: Just for fun, if you could be any animal, what would it be and why?

AndrewA bear, no question. First of all, you get to hibernate, and that seems awesome to me. Then, you get to be scary, yet cute and furry. It’s the total package.

Kari: Thanks for visiting, Andrew!

About the author:
Andrew Katz is a young, up and coming fantasy author. The anthology Dark Light, released on Feb 29th, 2012 was his first published work. His full length novel "Descendants" will be released on Aug 10th, 2012 by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing

Visit his Facebook page:

Thursday, September 27, 2012


We're really excited about Blogfest.  We want to celebrate in a big way!

You can find the Full List of Participating Blogs HERE.  Make sure to check out these blogs:
Hesperia Loves Books
Feather Stone, Author
Nicki Elson's Not-So-Deep Thoughts
Malevolent Musings
Kelly's Lucky You

We will be giving away 6 prize packs!  US Shipping addresses only please.  Please fill out the Rafflecopter Form below to enter    

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out our Banned Books Giveaway while you're here!!

Banned Books Blog Hop

Welcome to the 2nd Annual Banned Books Blog Hop!  It's hosted by Kathy and Jen @ I Read Banned Books.

You can find a full list of the participating blogs HERE

This is stop #3 on the list.

We are giving away 3 books.  1 winner for each book.  US Addresses only Please!

Please fill out Rafflecopter form below.

Make sure you check out our HUGE BLOGFEST GIVEAWAY while you're here!!

Throwback Thursday: 16 Lighthouse Road by Debbie Macomber

 Author: Debbie Macomber
First Published in 2001 by Mira (Harlequin)
Audiobook by Brilliance Audio

Dear Reader,

You don't know me yet, but in a few hours that's going to change. I'm inviting you to my town of Cedar Cove because I want you to meet my family, friends and neighbors. Come hear their stories--maybe even their secrets!

Cedar Cove--people love it and sometimes they leave it, but they never forget it!

Olivia Lockhart

I've never been a fan of soap opera's, except for a brief time in my youth when Luke and Laura were getting married on General Hospital.  16 Lighthouse Road reminded me of a soap opera, but in a good way.  The characters are engaging and realistic.  Cedar Cove is a small town attached to a Naval base.  Everyone knows everything about everyone else.  

This was a hard book to review because there are multiple story lines going on in the book.  I think the thing that appealed to me the most about the book is that none of the relationships are perfect.  Everyone seems to be having a tough time, whether it is with their spouse or their children.  While there are HEAs and resolutions for some of the characters, others are left hanging and unresolved.  From further research about the series, it looks like some of the story lines span multiple books in the Cedar Cove series.  I definitely will be looking for the next book in the series, 204 Rosewood Lane.

I listened to the audiobook and really enjoyed listening to Sandra Burr narrate. She has quickly become one of my favorite narrators. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Audiobook Review: Dearly, Departed by Lia Habel

Author: Lia Habel
Publisher: Del Ray (Random House Publishing)
Date of Publication: October 2011

Love can never die

Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie? 

If you can get over the ick factor of rotting flesh, this is actually a pretty good story.  I'm not a huge zombie fan, but I found myself entertained by Dearly Departed.  This was an interesting mix of YA, steampunk, dystopia and zombies. 

The year is 2195 and due to the melting of the polar ice caps and nuclear civil wars, the world is now divided into territories with tribes.  For some reason, in rebuilding society, they have chosen the Victorian age as their social model except the technology is beyond what it is even today. Nora Dearly is an orphan who is kidnapped by rebels when she returns home for the holiday break.   Rebels, known as Punks, have begun raiding and terrorizing the areas of New London.  Turns out some of the punks are reanimated by the "Laz" virus.  When you are reanimated, you are either a sane zombie or you go crazy and try to eat people.   

That is just a short summary of what is going on in this book.  At the heart of the book are the characters.  Nora and Bram, despite their difference in mortality, are really sweet together.  I loved Bram;'s character and really felt for him.  He is a really noble guy who is trying to do the right thing, he just happens to be the walking dead.  I will admit that the thought of a romance between a living girl and an undead boy grossed me out at first.  When I was explaining the book to Autumn, I realized that this relationship is no more gross than a young girl and a vampire.  They are the walking dead, right?  They just don't have rotting flesh to deal with.

I found several parts of the book very amusing.  The humor among the good zombies was a lot of fun.  The author does a great job of raising sympathy for them.  Just like Bram, they are all in a situation that they are trying to make the best of until they eventually rot away die for good. I think Chas was my favorite out of the lot of them. 

The book is told through the points of view of multiple characters.  On the audiobook, each character had a different narrator.  That made it easier to remember whose point of view I was listening to and that made me like it even more.  The book ends with a few questions and a cliff hanger.  The next book in the trilogy, Dearly Beloved, comes out this month.  So far there is no hint of the dreaded YA love triangle.  I really hope it stays that way.  This was a pretty good YA book.  I found nothing really objectionable in the book, so I think that it would be OK for the over 14 crowd. 

Blog Tour Review: Of Time and Place B.R. Freemont

Author: B. R. Freemont
Publisher: Two Harbors Press
Date of Publication: August 17, 2012

As the global energy crisis of the 21st century wears on, James Lendeman searches for answers - both for the country and for himself.

Working in the Federal Energy Department for the iconoclastic and enigmatic Kate Hastings, James is at the center of a world of political intrigue and personal conflicts. Unsure of whether he can go along with Kate's plans for the country (and for him), he is forced to steer his own way through a maze of personal and professional problems.

When we meet James a few years later (through an ingenious weaving of dual timelines), he is in Savannah, working as a contractor for the government and debating the merits of a flirtatious college student who lives in his boarding house.

Nimbly moving forward and backward through James's personal timeline, Of Time and Place leads its readers on a journey through the twists and turns of life in a kind of historical novel of the future. From a tumultuous romance and marriage to a romantic spring in Florence and the adversities along the way, James finds himself debating both his own life and the feasibility of maintaining a viable US economy in the mid-21st century.

Drawn from very real issues of global import, and playing out in some of the most storied cities in the world, Of Time and Place will leave every reader pondering the future -- and the present.

I'll be honest, I really struggled with this book. I was looking forward to reading it as the synopsis was very intriguing.  One thing I did like about Of Time and Place is that it is very well written and thought out.  I liked the idea of a glimpse into a potential future with changes in use of energy.  Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to keep up my interest.  I found that I did not like the dual timelines.  It was a bit disorienting and it didn't work for me.  The book is long and I found myself skimming sections. 

But!  Just because it didn't work for me, doesn't mean you shouldn't try it out.  It has gotten excellent reviews on Goodreads as well as other reviewers on this blog tour.  Pick up a copy and try it out for yourself!

About the author:

B.R. Freemont was born in New York and has lived in the Savannah area for over a decade. He holds a B.A. from Columbia and an M.A. from New York University. During his business career, Freemont filled a number of management assignments and briefly worked for government entities.

Over the years, his interests have included: astronomy, domestic and foreign travel, dog breed club administration, wine tasting, and avidly reading both fiction and non-fiction.

He is married and has a son and two daughters.

Paperback & ebook
Price: $16.95 paperback, $7.99 ebook
Publisher: Two Harbors Press
ISBN: 9781937928728
Pages: 539
Release: August 17, 2012

Paperback buy link:

PDF ebook buy link:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Review: Crewel World by Gennifer Albin

by:  Gennifer Albin
published by:  Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
publish date:  October 16, 2012

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

I liked this book overall, but I found some of the concepts to be a little difficult.  Perhaps maybe a little beyond the comprehension of some young readers. 

Adelice knows at an early age that she has the gift to see the weave that makes up Arras.  She can manipulate it and change it in ways that no one else can.  Her parents know that she will be picked to be a Spinster unless they can teach her how to hide her skill.  Her skills are too strong to hide and she gets picked anyway and taken away to become a Spinster.  The Spinsters are responsible for taking the raw materials that make up Arras and weaving them into everything that comprises the world they live in from the ground they stand on to the food they eat to the children they bear. 

The idea that there's an abstract idea of a weave of time and place and it can be manipulated by a group of specially trained women might be beyond the average young teenager.  At times, it didn't make much sense to me.  Why couldn't the citizens of Arras just get pregnant whenever they wanted?  Why couldn't the plants just grow wild?  Arras was build upon the ruins of Earth after something cataclysmic had happened and the ending hinted at things that might happen on those ruins.

Other than abstract issues, it has all the other typical YA dystopian markers.  There's an evil government plot.  There's the almost prerequisite love triangle.  Also, her younger sister gets taken away and she's desperate to find her.  All the big bases are covered for a successful YA.  AND it's the start of a series.  No info yet on the follow up book.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Guest post: Larry Buchanan & Karen Gans

Please welcome authors Larry Buchanan & Karen Gans as they give us a peek into their journey along the publishing road.  They are promoting their book, The Gift of El Tio.

Publisher: Self
Date of publication: November 2012

Larry, a world-renowned geologist, discovers an enormous deposit of silver beneath a remote Quechua village in Bolivia and unwittingly fulfills a 400-year-old prophecy that promised a life of wealth for the villagers. Karen, a specialist in child development, is deeply disturbed by the prospect of displacing the people in order to open a mine. She challenges Larry to leave the comforts of home and move to the village in order to bear witness to the massive change his discovery will spark. Thus begins the couple's life-changing, ten-year journey into the Quechua community, their evolution from outsiders to trusted friends. Then part two of the ancient prophecy is disclosed to them, and they are shocked by the truth of its predictions: alienation, despair, even cannibalism.

How to Get Your Book Published 

            While living amongst the Quechua people in Bolivia, documenting the changes that would accompany moving their town to a new location, my husband and I became enthralled with their beliefs.  Although Larry had always been a skeptic when it came to shamans, crystal healings, fortune-tellers and such, his curiosity about Quechua culture led him to immerse himself totally in the rituals and cosmology of these people.  After all, he was the geologist who fulfilled the prophecy of the god of the underworld, El Tio, by discovering an enormous silver deposit underneath the town of San Cristobal.  And how could a geologist resist a culture that believes rocks harbor the souls of our ancestors? 

            When our friend, Senobio, told us that this was an auspicious day for a ch’alla, a ritual where the Quechua request favors from the gods, Larry and I asked him to arrange a blessing for our manuscript, The Gift of El Tio, so that it would be published.  We’d observed many ch’allas, but had never requested one for our own needs.  The yacho, Lucrecio, who performed such ceremonies, informed us that his talents related more to finding lost animals or requesting a good harvest.  He didn’t exactly specialize in attempts at writing, but he’d give it his best.

            After two hours bumping across the roadless high desert of Bolivia, our truck arrived at Lucrecio’s isolated ranch.  How one ever found their destination was beyond me as the way to anywhere all looked alike: sandy, flat, treeless with a few scrawny thola bushes sticking up every so often.  Lucrecio’s home consisted of several one-room houses of mud and straw, encircling a courtyard.

            The yacho held out a bloody hand to greet us, repeating several times, “Una buena hora, un buena dia.”   We must have hesitated.  He looked down, pulled his hand back and wiped it on his jeans before extending the blood-smeared hand again.

A white llama lay upon the dusty earth, blood dripping from its slit neck into a large white bowl.  A cloth covered its eyes to protect it from the fear of death.  I had to ask myself how badly did I want this man’s advice on publishing our book?  However the pile of rejections from agents reminded me that we might need some “outside” help.

            As Larry and I sipped beer, puffed on cigarettes, and chewed coca leaf with the yacho, we watched his sons butcher the llama sacrificed for this special day.  They removed the organs, sliced the muscle, and prepared the ribs for a barbecue.  The animal became hide and pieces of organs, hung to dry on a rope strung across the courtyard.

            All afternoon, we stood in the courtyard around a small table transformed into a mesa.  A bright chartreuse aguayo was placed as a tablecloth.  The family’s wishes were well-represented: two armadillo shells for good luck; a miniature toy truck, a Twin Cab GMC; and an equally small house modeled after a two-story white wooden home; tiny U.S. dollar bills for wealth; and a potato for a good harvest.  For Larry and me, a black loose-leaf notebook filled with our manuscript was added to the crowded mesa.  Lucrecio’s son rolled out a broken red motorcycle, Yugoslavian we were told, so that it too could be blessed.

           My Timex watch ticked away as we repeated the rituals over and over and over again: pour a few drops of beer over each item resting on the mesa, some on the earth for the Pachamama, and then a sip for ourselves before passing it counter-clockwise to the next person.  Then sprinkle coca leaf over each item and the earth before popping some into our mouths.  A puff of a cigarette, flick the ashes on the now sticky coca leaf coated items and some on the beer-soaked ground.  The men dropped the ashes into their hands and placed them in their mouths to enhance the effect of the coca leaf.  I declined.
            Cingani, that clear liquid in a tiny plastic bottle, circled the group.  An alcohol similar to white lightning, it burned as it touched the tip of my tongue.  It seemed to pass my way often, and never emptied.  We stood for hours, sipping, smoking, chewing, drinking, talking just about anything, and once in a while, praying.  Larry and I offered generous quantities of the alcohol to the gods so as not to consume too much.  After all, we were at 14,000 feet above sea level where alcohol executed a power of its own. 
            By the time the sun had crossed the immense sky, the ch’alla ended.  Lucrecio performed the final ritual by placing gifts for Pachamama in a basin.  First he arranged the misterios.  These little white wafers with designs of mountains, potatoes, books, and dollars resembled children’s play-dough with imprints made by fancy plastic toys.  But these were not play-dough; these were our requests for blessings from the gods.

            The Pachamama also relished sweets so candies were added along with a bit of wool from the llama, and of course, some coca leaf.  All this went up in flames as the yacho shook a bottle of beer and a bottle of orange soda, encouraging the spewing liquid to go far over the earth as a sign of a good ch’alla.  Our prayers would be heard.  “Es buena hora.  Un buen Dia.”  Everyone agreed for the hundredth time.

            Maybe we should have grabbed our sticky, coca-beer-ash covered manuscript and fled while the predictions were positive, but we didn’t.  There was one more ritual to determine the fate of our book: the throwing of the coca leaves.  Beckoning us to sit with him inside the company truck away from the afternoon winds, Lucrecio pulled a piece of white muslin cloth filled with coca leaves from his pocket and laid the cloth on his lap.  Larry sat with him in the back seat; Senobio and I, in the front, twisting our bodies to watch Lucrecio as he passed his hand over the folded cloth and then carefully opened it, displaying a design of coca leaves.  Larry and I glanced at each other.

            Some of the leaves had scattered to the edges, others stayed in a pile in the center of the cloth.  Lucrecio would do this three times.  He stared at the design as if the future of our book was imprinted on each leaf.  He lifted several leaves and let them fall upon the pile.  He shook his head and grumbled as Larry and I leaned forward to see.  Many of the leaves criss-crossed each other.  Finally, he let us know the coca leaves did not give a favorable sign.  He said the book would probably never be published.

            Ah ha! By now you, the reader, are thinking this is all silly hocus-pocus because we’re advertising our book on this blog.  But would we be if we had not followed the yacho’s further instructions?

            Dismayed, Larry and I asked if nothing could be done to change the course of the reading.  Lucrecio gave a definitive “Yes.”  He would come to our house in the new town in the evening and perform another ch’alla.  Then at 6 a.m., we would visit the chapel that housed the saints and pray on our knees to San Augustin, the saint of learning.  After prayer, we would follow our yacho to the highest peak where we would perform just one more ch’alla.

            Did we do all this?  Well, The Gift of El Tio is published, yes?

Check out the book trailer:

About the authors:

Larry Buchanan earned his PhD in Economic Geology in 1979 and taught university-level geology for several years, but his love of the field led him to gold and silver prospecting in Asia, Africa, and the Americas. In 2006, he won the coveted Thayer Lindsley Award for the San Cristobal silver discovery. Dr. Buchanan has published a dozen scientific works and is a sought-after speaker at international conferences and college campuses.

Karen Gans earned her Masters degree in Early Childhood Development and has thirty-five years of experience as an educator, counselor, and consultant. She taught English in the Quechua village while the couple lived in Bolivia. Ms. Gans and her husband have four children and two grandchildren and reside in Ashland, Oregon.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Molly Ringwald Wrote a Book?

That was my first thought when I saw the audiobook on the library's website.  It's called When it Happens to You.  It's a novel in stories.  The book is a collection of 8 stories, but they all touch upon the story of husband and wife, Phillip and Greta, and their daughter Charlotte. 

Phillip and Greta are desperately trying for their second child.  Greta is dedicating herself to the task with manic commitment and clinical precision, but she still hasn't gotten pregnant.  Phillip is growing more and more distant with his wife.  He feels like an outsider in his home.  He begins to have affairs while on business trips.  It's the relationship that he has with Charlotte's violin instructor that causes his marriage to fall apart.

Throughout the stories we learn how Phillip, Greta and Charlotte are dealing with the break up.  Greta begins dating the actor on a children's TV show.  Phillip casually dates the mother of one of Charlotte's friend.  This part of the book was my favorite.  The character of Ollie, Charlotte's friend, was one of the best in the book.  Charlotte befriends the old woman that lives next door and vents her frustrations to her. 

I was impressed by this book.  I thought it dealt well with tough subject matter.  The way that the book was laid out was creative and interesting.  It kept me wondering how each story was going to tie into the greater overall story.  Molly Ringwald herself did the audiobook and I thought that was also done well.  As she's gotten older her voice has gotten more mellow, so that kind of high pitched Brat Pack thing wasn't happening here.  So kudos Molly Ringwald!  I hope you write more!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Review: Between Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson

by:  Joshilyn Jackson
published by:  Grand Central Publishing
publish date:  May 2, 2007

Nonny Frett understands the meaning of the phrase "in
between a rock and a hard place" better than any woman
alive. She's got two mothers, "one deaf-blind and the
other four baby steps from flat crazy." She's got two
men: a husband who's easing out the back door; and a
best friend, who's laying siege to her heart in her front
yard. And she has two families: the Fretts, who stole her
and raised her right; and the Crabtrees, who won't forget
how they were done wrong. Now, in Between,
Georgia, a feud that began the night Nonny was born
is escalating and threatening to expose family secrets.

This was the last book by Joshilyn Jackson I had to read.  I was kinda almost sad to read it.  I've become such a fangirl of J.J. over the last couple of years.  Now, I have to wait for something new to come out.  I haven't heard of anything on the horizon, so I'm hoping it won't be a too terribly long wait.

Between, Georgia is about a town in Georgia.  It's the town that Nonny was born in.  She was an unwanted, illegitimate Crabtree child that was adopted by Stacia Frett.  The feud between these two families had started before this had happened, but this adoption definitely turned up the heat. 

Stacia is blind and deaf, but she is a gifted artist.  She, along with her sister Genny, makes dolls.  Genny lives with Stacia and helps her with her artwork, but Genny has severe anxiety issues and needs the comfort Stacia provides.  Bernese lives next door and she is a force to be reckoned with.  She delivered Nonny on her living room floor and she takes care of Stacia's museum and makes sure she has the entire town in her pocket.

The feud reaches a fevered pitch when a Crabtree dog attacks Genny and Stacia.  Nonny must come home to take care of her mother.  Doing so puts her looming divorce at risk.  Nonny is at her wits end trying to please everyone. 

Once again Joshilyn Jackson read the audiobook.  She does awesome audiobooks.  They are really some of my favorites.  I definitely recommend any and all of them, especially to fans of southern literature.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Blog Tour: Going with the Flo by Lillian Grant

Author: Lillian Grant
Publisher: August 2012
Date of publication: Liquid Silver Books

Nineties girl Florence Spring joined Avon to find her Edward Scissorhands but instead needs to rescue his porno alter ego.

When Florence notices her eccentric ex-boyfriend, Eddie, isn't putting on his usual show in the front window on Friday night she decides to investigate. She asks her best friend, Nelson Tyler, to help but he seems more interested in seducing Florence than in finding her personal flasher.

Florence has no idea when she embarks on the adventure she will accidentally shoot an undercover policeman, or that her actions will lead to Nelson's kidnapping. 

Now with two men missing she has no choice but to continue and thwart the plans of a psychotic soon to be divorcee. She needs to rescue Nelson because life without him is unbearable, especially since she's discovered his long sensitive fingers are far more erotic than scissorhands.

Going with the FLo is an enjoyable read.   I loved Florence and Nelson.  Romances where the couple have been friends forever and finally admit they want more are the best kind.  Nelson is very protective of Florence.  He is always rescuing her from crazy situations that she gets herself into.  They are a really cute couple and they had great chemistry together.

The mystery was pretty entertaining and kept me engaged.  Even though he flashes her weekly, Florence becomes concerned when she doesn't see Eddie for a couple of days.  Her desire to play amateur sleuth only gets her into trouble.  It also gets Nelson kidnapped.  There were some very amusing and moments.

This is the first book I have read by Ms. Grant.  I know I will be seeking out some of her other books.  If they are like this one, I know I am in for a treat.   

About the author:

Born and bred in the UK, my whole life was turned on its head when, at the tender age of eighteen, I met and fell instantly in love with my darling husband. I knew the minute I met him I was going to marry him and, fortunately, he came to the same conclusion less than six months later. My husband has shown me the world, starting by bringing me to Australia. The country we now call home, and where we have raised our two boys. It didn’t take me long to turn native, becoming a citizen and dropping the British accent. However, our wanderlust didn’t stop there. We have moved from state to state always ready for a new adventure. We have also holidayed in many destinations around the world. No matter where in the world I am I always keep my quirky British sense of humor. Well, you can’t give up all of your heritage now can you?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Throwback Thursday - The Unsung Hero by Suzanne Brockmann

Author: Suzanne Brockmann
First published in 2000 by Random House

After a near-fatal head injury, navy SEAL lieutenant Tom Paoletti catches a terrifying glimpse of an international terrorist in his New England hometown. When he calls for help, the navy dismisses the danger as injury-induced imaginings. In a desperate, last-ditch effort to prevent disaster, Tom creates his own makeshift counterterrorist team, assembling his most loyal officers, two elderly war veterans, a couple of misfit teenagers, and Dr. Kelly Ashton-the sweet "girl next door" who has grown into a remarkable woman. The town's infamous bad boy, Tom has always longed for Kelly. Now he has one final chance for happiness, one last chance to win her heart, and one desperate chance to save the day . . 

I really liked Ms. Brockman's Navy Seal series, but for some reason I have had this book (the first of her Troubleshooter series) on my TBR pile for a long time.  After listening, I am not sure what took me so long to read it.  I loved the characters and the complex relationships in the book.  The Unsung Hero is more than just a romantic suspense.  It's about love, loyalty and friendship.

The main romance between Tom and Kelly was a little underwhelming.  The two do have a history, so their HEA was believable.  But I thought that Kelly was kind of a jerk to Tom for most of the book.  The relationship I loved more was the one between Tom's niece, Mallory and the geeky computer guy, David.  I loved how Mallory realized that beauty is more about what is on the inside and has nothing to do with physical appearance.  They were just too cute together.  Joe and Charles friendship was so heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. Told through flashbacks, we learn how the two men met and ultimately became best and lifelong friends. I hated Cybele and what she did to both of the men in during the war. The sacrifice that Joe makes in the end had me tearing up. 

Along with all of the complexities of the relationships, there is a real mystery going on.  Tom thinks he keeps seeing a known terrorist show is supposed to be dead.  Is he crazy or is there a real threat?  There is a lot packed into this book. I definitely recommend this first one in the series.  I look forward to continuing on and meeting more of Team 16. The audio version of the book was well done.  Try it out if you missed it!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Every Day by David Levithan

by:  David Levithan
published by:  Knopf Books for Young Readers
publish date:  August 28, 2012

Every morning, A wakes in a different person’s body, a different person’s life. There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.  It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

Every Day opens with A waking up in the body of Justin.  Justin is Rhiannon's boyfriend.  For the day, A is Rhiannon's boyfriend.  Personally, I found Rhiannon to be rather unremarkable, but A fell in love with her and spends the rest of the book trying to get back to her.

Every morning A wakes up in a new body.  There are a few rules.  It's always a body of roughly the same age in within some geographical proximity to the last body A inhabited.  The reasoning for why this happens is never explained, because A doesn't know. 

Because the book is told from A's perspective we know what feelings A has for her and what memories and feelings of Justin's that A can access about her.  So while A keeps insisting that Justin isn't good for Rhiannon we as readers don't know their whole story.  There's the assumption that it's bad, but Justin does have his flashes of good qualities.  So I was a little torn on the issue of Justin.  In the end I thought it was probably better for Rhiannon to be with nobody at all and probably work on herself for awhile.

This was the first David Levithan book I've read and I was really impressed.  I can see now why he has such a following.  I will definitely be reading other books he's written.  I don't see any need for any parental warnings on this book, I don't recall anything objectionable going on.  Definitely a great YA read.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Review: Deep Autumn Heat and Blaze of Winter by Elisabeth Barrett

Debut author, Elisabeth Barett, is off to a great start with her Star Harbor series.  The series features the Grayson Brothers.  Four very sexy men who grew up in Star Harbor.  The first two books, Deep Autumn Heat and Blaze of Winter are out now.  If you are looking for a new series to be come addicted to, try this one out!

Deep Autumn Heat ( Loveswept, July 2012) is the first in the series.  It features Sebastian Grayson and Lexie Myers. Seb is back in town for the anniversary of his father's death.  When he meets Lexie in her restaurant, the chemistry between them is enough to boil water. Sebastian is immediately drawn to Lexie, not only because she can cook, but because she doesn't  have any "hero worship" toward his success.  Their banter is very amusing and had me laughing at times.

Lexie has been hurt in the past by a stalker ex-boyfriend  She has moved across country to get a fresh start.  I liked that she was hesitant to get too serious with Seb at first. I also loved that it was him that admitted his feelings first.  There is a little bit of a mystery thrown in to make the tension even higher.  Someone keeps threatening Lexie.  Is it her ex or the rival shop owner who wants her coconut cake recipe? Along with all of this, the peripheral characters add to give the reader a great sense of the town.  They are the type of people I would love to have as friends and neighbors.

Blaze of Winter (Loveswept, September 2012) picks up right where Deep Autumn Heat leaves off. I enjoyed this one as much as the first.  Theo Grayson, who happens to be Seb's twin brother, has decided to move back to Star Harbor to try to break through his writer's block.  Unable to concentrate while living on his brother's house boat, he moves into the Star Harbor Inn.  There he meets Avery Newbridge and it is love at first sight, or at least it's lust.  Avery doesn't want to get involved. She has come to help her aunt with the inn and get her head back on straight after a tragedy at work.

I loved Theo and how he just seemed to know Avery so well.  I will admit to not liking Avery at first.  I know one can expect self doubt when when something happens at work that makes you question your judgement, but I thought she was a bit too insecure for a social worker. Honestly, I didn't blame Theo for walking away when she thought he was breaking up with her.  She did redeem herself in the end and I loved their HEA. 

As in the first one, there is a little mystery.  Weird noises are heard in the inn and things are moving on their own.  Is it a ghost or is someone playing a joke?  You'll have to read to find out.  I will say that the solution involves a story arch that I think may play out in all four books.

Ms. Barrett is a wonderful writer and I know she has a bright future! I look forward to the next book,  Long Simmering Spring, due out next May!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Joint Review: Niceville by Carsten Stroud

by:  Carsten Stroud
published by:  Knopf
publish date:  June 12, 2012

Something is wrong in Niceville. . .  
A boy literally disappears from Main Street.  A security camera captures the moment of his instant, inexplicable vanishing. An audacious bank robbery goes seriously wrong: four cops are gunned down; a TV news helicopter is shot and spins crazily out of the sky, triggering a disastrous cascade of events that ricochet across twenty different lives over the course of just thirty-six hours.

 . . .Something is wrong in Niceville, where evil lives far longer than men do.

I was excited to read Niceville because I thought the synopsis sounded very interesting.  About a quarter of the way into the book, I wasn't so excited anymore.  Niceville was a disappointment to me.  It think it tried to be too many things at once.  The ghost story was really cool and had it been the main focal point of the story, I would have liked it a lot more.  For me, there were too many characters to keep track of as well as too many points of view.  The bank robbery really had nothing to do with the ghost story part, so it made the book very disjointed to me.  The ending was just in a word, cheesy.  I'll be honest, I'm not even sure why I finished the book.  I think I wanted to see how the ghost story ended.  

This book is being compared to be  Stephen King-like...for me, not so much.  I'm not sure I would recommend this title.  

I could see the Stephen King influences on this book.  Niceville had multiple, intertwining storylines taking place in a small town.  I didn't dislike this book as much as Kari did, but it wasn't one of my favorites.  I also found it to be a little unconnected.  It was almost like the writer had two story ideas, but there wasn't enough there with either one of them for a whole book so they got squashed together in this one book.
Unlike Kari, I liked the bank robbery storyline over the ghost story.  It felt better plotted out.  The ghost story seemed to take a back burner at times then at the end, there was just a kinda quick almost offhanded conclusion to it.  I would have liked a little more development of that aspect of the book.

Will I be singing the praises of this book?  Probably not.  But I might be inclined to check out what this author wrote and see how it compares. 

Review: Paradise Misplaced by Lisa April Smith

Author: Lisa April Smith
Publisher: Createspace
Date of publication: September 2012

All the twists and suspense, danger and crime, romance and sizzle, that kept readers of Exceeding Expectations turning the pages long into the night, are back in Paradise Misplaced, along with Charlie, Jack and Naomi – three unforgettable characters.

Paradise Misplaced is the sequel to Exceeding Expectations. (read my review here)  As with the first book, I really enjoyed the story.  It picks up about a year or so after Exceeding Expectations.  There were a couple of surprises as the end of that book and Paradise Misplaced nicely ties up those loose ends.  

Charlie and her father are back, although Charlie still thinks her father is dead.  Jack is up to his usual tricks, trying to woo rich older women to keep him afloat financially.  I really didn't care for Jack too much after reading about his life post staged suicide.  I was happy to see that he did redeem himself in the end.  The reader also learns about Naomi and what she has gone through since the war.  My heart broke for her and for what she had endured.  I was so rooting for her and Ruben.  If anyone deserved to be happy, it was Naomi!

There is a nice mystery to round out the story.  Someone has tried to kill Charlie.  She can't figure out why.  I liked to little twist at the end regarding her attack.   I was saddened to see that Raul and Charlie were no longer together.  I loved them together in the first book.  That was my only complaint.  I don't want to reveal any more about the plot because I think it would ruin it.

Paradise Misplaced is a great book.  I would definitely recommend it as well as the first one.  Ms. Smith is a great writer and I look forward to seeing what comes next!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Review: Big Sky Country & Big Sky Mountain by Linda Lael Miller

Linda Lael Miller is a wonderful romance writer.  Every time I read one of her book, I have the deep urge to go live on a ranch, if only I could convince my family to go along with my fantasy!  This year, she has released the first two books of her "Swoon-Worthy Cowboys" series.  Big Sky Mountain and Big Sky Country. Ms. Miller has created a wonderful town full of interesting characters with loose tongues and long memories. 

Big Sky Country (Harlequin May, 2012) is Slade and Josyln's story.  Sheriff Slade Barlow is the unacknowledged illegitimate son of a wealthy rancher in town.  Now that his father has died, Slade finds out that he has been left half of his father's inheritance.  The other half belongs to his half brother Hutch.  The two men don't get along.  While navigating this new relationship with his brother, Slade finds out that Joslyn Kirk is back in town.  Joslyn's step father swindled a lot of the town's people of out millions in a ponzi scheme and Joslyn is back to try to make things right.

While the story was enjoyable, I felt the romance was really secondary to the story. The first half of the book is set up and character building.  At times it dragged a little.  Then when it did pick up, it was over and Slade and Josyln had found their HEA.  While they had known each other for years, I still had a hard time figuring out when they fell in love.  Toward the end of the book, two whole months are skipped over.  I felt a bit cheated.  I would have liked to see more of the romance between Slade and Joslyn.  They barely spend time together that the reader sees.

For the first in the series, it didn't wow me.However, it is worth recommending for the character interactions alone.  I loved the relationship between Slade and his step daughter Shea.  That alone just melted my heart.  I also loved Opal.  She seems like such a warm personality and the kind of woman who would always be ready with a big bear hug if you needed one.   Slade's brother Hutch seems like such a troubled soul and I looked forward to reading his story next in Big Sky Mountain.

Big Sky Mountain (Harlequin, July 2012) is Hutch and Kendra's story. I liked this one more than the first one.  I felt more of a connection with Hutch and Kendra and their relationship.  They have a history and previous relationship, so that may be why I believed their love story more.  I'm not sure either of them ever really fell out of of love with the other.  I was really rooting for their HEA.

Kendra has been out of town for a while and has returned the adoptive mother of a 4 year old daughter.  I admired Kendra for how she fought for Madison and made gave her a home.  I don't think a lot of people would have done what she did.  Madison was a very sweet little girl and I loved how she melted Hutch's heart.

All of the characters that you grew to love in Big Sky Country return in this one.  Opal is as wonderful as ever.  Hutch and Slade's relationship is growing stronger.  The next book in the series, Big Sky River, comes out next year.  I look forward to visiting the town of Parable again!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Author Interview: Paradise Misplaced by Lisa April Smith

Today, as part of the official launch of her newest book, Paradise Misplaced, I have the pleasure of hosting Lisa April Smith.  Make sure to come back tomorrow for my thoughts in Paradise Misplaced.

Kari: Great to have you here, Lisa.  

LAS:  Thank you for inviting me, Kari.     

Kari: Paradise Misplaced is the sequel to Exceeding Expectations and I understand that fans have been begging you to hurry up and release it. I’m not surprised. Reviews for Exceeding, including mine, have been amazing. If you haven’t read it, people, do it now!

LAS: Reviews have been wonderful. Overwhelming! The book (EE) hadn’t been out more than a week or so before I received a Facebook post telling me that she “LOVed” Exceeding Expectations and that I should “not waste time.” I needed to “get busy and finish the sequel.” So many readers have been good to me – with reviews, e-mailing fun and fabulous comments. It’s a high better than chocolate.

Kari: Frankly, the first thing I was drawn to were the covers of both books. Great choices.

LAS: Thank you. Frankly, I obsess over my book covers. Let’s just say that the graphics designer and I have many animated conversations over each cover before we finally agree.  

Kari: I hear you have another exciting announcement for us. Something for readers who prefer the paper-and-ink books they can hold, or don’t own a Kindle, Nook, iPad, etc.  

LAS: I do. Very exciting! Keeps me up at night exciting. Exceeding Expectations is now also available as a paperback on And if it isn’t available as a paperback at Barnes& today, it will be very soon.  

Kari: What about Paradise Misplaced? Will that be available in paperback too?

LAS: Absolutely! We’re working on that as well. It’s all part of my grand mission to become America’s Next Top Author.   

Kari: If you haven’t read Exceeding Expectations, avid reading Friends, do it today. It’s always more enjoyable to read a series in the order it came out. Now you have a choice to read EE either as an e-book or paperback. Great having you here, Lisa. I’ve included a brief description of Paradise Misplaced below. But for more about all your books, I recommend visiting your website

LAS: Many many thanks to you and your loyal followers – my favorite kind of people, people who enjoy reading.
Kari: We’re all wishing you the best of luck on your goal to become America’s Next Top Author.   

All the unexpected twists and suspense, danger and crime, romance and sizzle, that kept readers of Exceeding Expectations turning the pages long into the night, are back in Paradise Misplaced, along with Charlie, Jack and Naomi – three unforgettable characters.   

In Manhattan, being recently dumped by her soulmate becomes the least of Charlotte (Charlie) Morgan’s problems after she is shoved off a subway platform in front of an oncoming train. Her modeling career seems over and she may not walk again. Throughout her lengthy hospital stay the police have no success finding her assailant or determining a motive. A handsome detective recovering from similar injuries is assigned to be her physical therapy partner. Fearing that her unknown attacker will try again he urges her to draw up list of possible suspects – anyone she might have angered or rejected. Eliminating those who don’t fit a compiled description leaves just one possible suspect, an untouchable power broker with a famous art collection.    

In Buenos Aires, Jack, the loveable lothario/conman, in his quest for his next wealthy wife, is romancing wealthy women he meets at a fashionable hotel where he isn’t a registered guest. To finance these activities he ever-so-gently exploits tourists and the local land barons. But whether he succeeds, falls short or fails miserably, readers can rely on sexy Jack to be entertaining.       

In Israel, understandably bitter Naomi, working on an archeological dig, seeks temporary relief from her demons in hot casual affairs. Unwilling to be yet another in a series of her lovers, a rough-hewn widowed farmer relentlessly pursues her.

Will Charlie, Jack and Naomi meet? Will a story that begins on three continents end in triumph or disaster? No predicable ending here. You’ll have to read the book to find out.