Thursday, July 31, 2014

Blog Tour: The Bone Church by Victoria Dougherty

Author: Victoria Dougherty
Publication Date: April 15, 2014
Publisher: Pier’s Court Press

In the surreal and paranoid underworld of wartime Prague, fugitive lovers Felix Andel and Magdalena Ruza make some dubious alliances – with a mysterious Roman Catholic cardinal, a reckless sculptor intent on making a big political statement, and a gypsy with a risky sex life. As one by one their chances for fleeing the country collapse, the two join a plot to assassinate Hitler’s nefarious Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, Josef Goebbels.

But the assassination attempt goes wildly wrong, propelling the lovers in separate directions.

Felix’s destiny is sealed at the Bone Church, a mystical pilgrimage site on the outskirts of Prague, while Magdalena is thrust even deeper into the bowels of a city that betrayed her and a homeland soon to be swallowed by the Soviets. As they emerge from the shadowy fog of World War II, and stagger into the foul haze of the Cold War, Felix and Magdalena must confront the past, and a dangerous, uncertain future.

I have a love/hate relationship with historical romance.  I usually either love them or I hate them.  I loved the idea of The Bone Church, but I didn't care for the execution.  I really wanted to like this book, but I had the hardest time getting into the story.  I kept feeling like I had walked into the middle of a movie with no hint of back story to orient me.  I got to about 25% and decided the book 
just wasn't for me.  I felt like I was at a disadvantage since I don't know much about the history of the region in the book during WWII.  I wasn't invested enough to do my own research before finishing the book.  

I will say that I think lovers of this genre will devour this book.  Especially readers who love anything having to do with WWII.  It has gotten very favorable reviews all over Goodreads and the web.  So, please give it a try.  It just wasn't a good fit for me.

About the author:

Victoria Dougherty writes fiction, drama, and essays that often revolve around spies, killers, curses and destinies. Her work has been published or profiled in The New York Times, USA Today, International Herald Tribune and elsewhere. Earlier in her career, while living in Prague, she co-founded Black Box Theater, translating, producing and acting in several Czech plays. She lives with her husband and children in Charlottesville, Virginia.

For more information, please visit Victoria Dougherty’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Tour schedule:
Monday, June 16
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Interview at Mina’s Bookshelf
Tuesday, June 17
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, June 18
Excerpt at The Musings of ALMYBNENR
Thursday, June 19
Guest Post at I’d So Rather Be Reading
Thursday, June 26
Review at Bibliotica
Friday, June 27
Review at Back Porchervations
Monday, June 30
Review at Dianne Ascroft Blog
Review at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Wednesday, July 2
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Thursday, July 3
Review at
Monday, July 7
Review at Library Educated
Thursday, July 10
Excerpt & Spotlight at Books and Benches
Monday, July 14
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Tuesday, July 15
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook
Thursday, July 17
Guest Post at Savvy Verse & Wit
Friday, July 18
Review at Curling Up By the Fire
Monday, July 21
Review at Book Nerd
Tuesday, July 22
Review at The Lit Bitch
Wednesday, July 23
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Thursday, July 24
Review at Mari Reads
Review at bookramblings
Friday, July 25
Interview at Oh, For the Hook of a Book
Tuesday, July 29
Review at Historical Tapestry
Wednesday, July 30
Review at Luxury Reading
Review at Queen of All She Reads
Thursday, July 31
Review at From the TBR Pile

Throwback Thursday: Love Only Once by Johanna Lindsey

Author: Johanna Lindsey
First published in 1985 by Avon
The exquisite niece of Lord Edward and Lady Charlotte Malory, Regina Ashton is abducted by Nicholas Eden - an arrogant seducer hardened by a painful secret from his past.
Reggie has vowed to marry the golden-haired rogue who has besmirched her good name - and who arouses her womanly desires to an unendurable level. But her beauty only stirs Nicholas's passion - giving rise to dangerous misunderstandings. . .and a love that can live only once in a lifetime.
Love Only Once was a fairly enjoyable read.  For a romance written in the 80s, it's pretty typical.  The hero is a grade A jerk through most of the book and the heroine can't help but love him.  Had I not liked Regina so much, I might have hated this story.  I loved her readiness for adventure and her strength to go up against Nick.  She fought for what she wanted and wasn't afraid to walk away when she needed to.

For the most part, the storyline was a bit weak, because not much really happens..  I felt like the peripheral characters made the book more enjoyable.  I did like the "twist" at the end.  I will probably pick p the next book in the series to read more about Regina's uncle Tony..

Author Interview: DESIRED by Stacey Kennedy tour

We are excited to have author Stacey Kennedy with us for an interview today.  She is promoting her latest book, Desired: Club Sin (Book Three). Enjoy!

Make sure to check out the tour giveaway below!

Publisher: Loveswept
Date of publication: July 22, 2014

Readers of Fifty Shades of Grey are sure to love Desired, USA Today bestselling author Stacey Kennedy’s latest seductive, electrifying novel of Club Sin, where fantasy becomes reality.

Kyler Morgan, Master at the legendary Club Sin in Las Vegas, knows how to give women what they want—too well. He hasn’t had a real challenge in a long time. Then Ella Snow enters his life. Beautiful, inhibited, and innocent in the ways of submission and domination, Ella is the new blood he’s been lusting after. Soon, the thrill of training her to embrace his world brings forth desires Kyler cannot control.

After ending an abusive relationship, Ella makes a promise to herself to start living life to the fullest. It’s one of the reasons she seeks out Club Sin. Here, Kyler’s every touch is a lesson in liberation, stirring passions that have no bounds. But as she falls under Kyler’s command, Ella discovers that some secrets are so dark they must come to light. Submission alone may not be enough to save her, leaving her Master with only one question: How can he help Ella heal while unlocking the deep pleasures she craves?

Kari& Autumn: What inspired you to become a writer?

Stacey: The easy answer: reading. I never had big dreams of becoming an author or even knew I could do it until my late twenties. After I had my daughter, I read and read and read. Then one day an idea came into my mind and I decided to start writing. When it was done, I realized I wasn’t horrible at it (lol), and then after sending the story out to some epublishers I became published. That story is Werewolves Be Damned. It truly was one of those spur-of-the-moment decisions that completely changed my life in a totally fabulous way!

Kari& Autumn: Where do you come up with the ideas for your books?

Stacey: Honestly, my ideas come from the weirdest places ever. For example, I can see a really pretty tree and I might think how beautiful it is and how sweet a scene would be under that tree. Then from there, an idea slowly starts coming together. But for me, it’s usually something I see that stirs ideas.

Kari& Autumn: What exciting projects are waiting in the wings?

Stacey: Once Club Sin wraps up, which will be with COMMANDED on July 7/15, I have a new spin-off series, THE DUNGEON’S KEY that will follow. It’s a brand new series that won’t involve any of the CLUB SIN characters, but we’ll meet the men from THE DUNGEON’S KEY in the Dmitri and Presley bonus story that’ll be in COMMANDED. To say I’m excited about this new series is an understatement. If you love the CLUB SIN Masters wait until you meet the men from THE DUNGEON’S KEY!!

Kari& Autumn: Who is your favorite literary character and why?

Stacey: I’d be Cat from the Night Huntress Series, simply because I’d be married to Bones, and that would mean I get to spend every night cuddled up with that sexy vampire! I would be a very happy woman!!

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

Stacey: I’d be a cat. I could be snooty when I wanted to be, laze around the house, and simply meow at people to feed me – and it would all be totally acceptable because I’m cute! Yep, sounds like a great life to me. 

Thanks for joining us, Stacey!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author:

Stacey Kennedy is an urban fantasy lover at heart, but she also enjoys losing herself in dark and sensual
worlds. She lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, who gave her a happily-ever-after. Together, they have two small children who can always make her smile, and who will never be allowed to read Mommy’s books. If she’s not plugging away at a new story, you’ll find her camping, curling up with the latest flick, or obsessing over Sons of Anarchy and Game of Thrones.

Connect with Stacey
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Connect with Loveswept
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Books We Did Not Finish July Edition

The Vessel-I love this series, you'd think I'd eat it right up.  Maybe it was burn out.  It was a novella too!  You'd think I could just suck it up and listen to a few hours, but I just really wasn't feeling this.  Hopefully, I'll be over it before the next book is out.

The Stonehenge Letters-I was really confused by this book.  I was expecting a book about Stonehenge.  A book about famous people and their theories about Stonehenge.  A fiction book.  This IS that.  However, it didn't read like that.  I felt like I was reading a non-fiction book the whole time.  Really, I felt like I was reading a text book.  I don't read non-fiction for a reason, it's like work...and this book was like work to understand.

The Blessed-I just don't get Tonya Hurley.  I tried the Ghostgirl books and didn't like them.  I decided to give Blessed a try.  I don't care for her style of writing at all.  It's just very disturbing.  For me, that's saying a lot.  It really really is.

Landline-I guess Rainbow Rowell was going to have to hit a speed bump eventually.  I loved her first 2 books, they were awesome.  I got about halfway through and the whole magic phone to the past was getting really weird.  I kept looking at all the other books I'd rather be reading and decided, I had enough and it was time to move on.

I loved the first book, The Paladin Prophecy, which is the first book in the series. I'm not sure what happened, but I just couldn't finish Alliance, the sequel.  I got about 30% in and was so bored.  Nothing was really happening and I'm not sure I really remembered enough from the first one to care.  I'm really disappointed.

I don't usually read non-fiction books.  I usually get bored and end up skimming
them.  Little Demon in the City of Light: A True Story of Murder and Mesmerism in Belle Epoque Paris was no exception.  Apparently, there was a murder in Paris in the late 1800s.  The woman who participated in the murder claimed she was hypnotized at the time.  But, the book just couldn't hold my interest enough to see how it all worked out.  I would have been better off going on to one of those true crime websites and reading a short summary of the case.
I was really excited to read Bellman & Black.  I loved The Thirteenth Tale, so I was hoping that this one would be just as good.  I was really sad when I decided to stop reading.  I got about 1/3 of the way through and I was so bored. The story seemed to have no real direction with really dull characters. I just couldn't finish the book. Maybe The Thirteenth Tale was a one hit wonder for this author?

I got about 1/4 of the way into The Bookstore and I had to turn it off. In the first few chapters, Mitchell, Esme's boyfriend berates and degrades Esme and is basically a major douchbag.  I couldn't see why anyone would want to date him at all. Esme is a PhD student from England who starts dating the guy and finds out she is pregnant. Well, at first she thinks she is either pregnant or really horny and just wants to get pregnant.  She can't decide which.  After reading about her getting off by using her toothbrush (um, ew), I just wasn't interested in going any further.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

by:  Mary Kubica
published by:  Harlequin Mira
publish date:  July 29, 2014

Born to a prominent Chicago judge and his stifled socialite wife, Mia Dennett moves against the grain as a young inner-city art teacher. One night, Mia enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn't show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. With his smooth moves and modest wit, at first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia's life. 

This book is going to be one of the big hyped books of the summer.  It's supposed to be the next Gone Girl and be a major psychological thriller.  That's what all the buzz about this book has been so far.  I'll grant that it was pretty good.  It wasn't Gillian Flynn good though, so all these critics and publicists need to stop hyping everyone in comparison to the big GF, because it ain't happenin'.  I read The Good Girl all the way through, thought it was well written and when I got to the big reveal I was still somewhat surprised.

The Good:  I liked the overall plot line.  It was an interesting story, however I didn't completely understand Mia's behavior.  The story is told in current and past tense.  Her current behavior doesn't really add up, even after the reveal, I didn't quite understand why she was acting the way that she was.  I like a story that makes me think.  I like the cover, the minimalism is quite nice.

Things I didn't like:  There's something about the cover that disturbs me, which contradicts what I last said, but there it is.  I like it, but it's also unsettling.  I understand things like Stockholm Syndrome exists, but it seems like in this case, it's something entirely different.  Without divulging any of the details of the book, it seems like Mia's problems would be a little different than Stockholm.  The motivations in this book seemed to be a bit murky at best.

This would be a great book for book groups, they could pick apart all these details and figure out these things.  I would definitely recommend it to the psychological thriller fans.  If you've read it, let me know what you think.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Blog Tour: What Strange Creatures by Emily Arsenault

Author: Emily Arsenault
Publisher: William Morrow
Date of publication: July 2014

The Battle siblings are used to disappointment. Seven years after starting her PhD program—one marriage, one divorce, three cats and a dog later—Theresa Battle still hasn't finished her dissertation. Instead of a degree, she’s got a houseful of adoring pets and a dead-end copy-writing job for a local candle company.
Jeff, her so-called genius older brother, doesn't have it together, either. Creative and loyal, he’s also aimless, in both work and love. But his new girlfriend, Kim, a pretty waitress in her twenties, appears smitten. When Theresa agrees to dog-sit Kim’s puggle for a weekend, she has no idea it will be the beginning of a terrifying nightmare that will shatter her quiet academic world.

Soon Kim’s body is found in the woods, and Jeff becomes the prime suspect.

Though the evidence is overwhelming, Theresa knows that her brother is not a murderer. As she investigates Kim’s past, she uncovers a treacherous secret involving politics, murder, and scandal—and becomes entangled in a potentially dangerous romance. But the deeper she falls into this troubling case, the more it becomes clear that, in trying to save her brother’s life, she may be sacrificing her own.

What Strange Creatures is a well-written and engaging book. When Teresa's brother is accused of murdering his girlfriend, she makes it her mission to figure out what really happened.  This sets her on an unexpected journey where many secrets are discovered.   I did enjoy the mystery. There were many twists and possible reasons for Kim's murder.  It definitely kept me guessing.  

What I liked even more was Theresa.  She is such an unlikely detective, yet she made sense to me.  Maybe it was her research background that gave her credibility.  I liked how she went about trying to help her brother out. I loved her relationship with her brother and how they took care of each other. The game that they played all the time was really cute.

I do recommend this one.  The story flows fairly quickly and is a great one for a rainy afternoon curled up with a cup of tea.

About the author:

Emily Arsenault is the critically acclaimed author of The Broken Teaglass, a New York Times Notable Mystery, and In Search of the Rose Notes. She lives in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, with her husband and daughter.

Find out more about Emily at her website and connect with her on Facebook.

Purchase Links

Emily’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, July 22nd: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, July 23rd: Booksie’s Blog
Thursday, July 24th: Kritters Ramblings
Monday, July 28th: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, July 29th: BoundbyWords
Wednesday, July 30th: Book-alicious Mama
Thursday, July 31st: cupcake’s book cupboard
Monday, August 4th: bookchickdi
Wednesday, August 6th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Thursday, August 7th: Book of Secrets

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hard As you Can by Laura Kaye

Author: Laura Kaye
Publisher: Avon
Date of publication: February 2014

Ever since hard-bodied, drop-dead-charming Shane McCallan strolled into the dance club where Crystal Dean works, he’s shown a knack for getting beneath her defenses. For her little sister’s sake, Crystal can’t get too close. Until her job and Shane’s mission intersect, and he reveals talents that go deeper than she could have guessed. 

Shane would never turn his back on a friend in need, especially a former Special Forces teammate running a dangerous, off-the-books operation. Nor can he walk away from Crystal. The gorgeous waitress is hiding secrets she doesn't want him to uncover. Too bad. He’s exactly the man she needs to protect her sister, her life, and her heart. All he has to do is convince her that when something feels this good, you hold on as hard as you can—and never let go.

Hard as You Can picks up pretty much where Hard as it Gets left off. I really liked the first one, but I have to say I was a bit disappointed in this second one.  I felt like this book was a little longer than it needed to be.  After the length of this book, I was disappointed that they team had not really gotten any further along in clearing their names and bringing down the bad guys.  I was hoping for more progress.  The upside was that the camaraderie between the men began to get back to what it once was especially between Nick and Shane.  Their conversation at the end was wonderful.

As for the romance between Shane and Crystal it was a bit fast and a bit forced.  I had a hard time buying the "I love You" so fast since they didn't actually spend a lot of time together.  I could see the infatuation, caring and lust, but for me the love was too quick. I also felt like Crystal had too much baggage after what she went through and really needed to do a lot of work before she could commit to anything or anyone.  

So, in the end it was just an OK read for me.  I will probably continue with the series because I like the characters.  Hard to Come By is Marz's story and comes out later this fall.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Better When He's Bad by Jay Crownover

Author: Jay Crownover
Publsiher: William Morrow
Date of publication: June 2014

Sexy, dark, and dangerous, Bax isn’t just from the wrong side of the tracks, he is the wrong side of the tracks. A criminal, a thug, and a brawler, he’s the master of bad choices, until one such choice landed him in prison for five years. Now Bax is out and looking for answers, and he doesn’t care what he has to do or who he has to hurt to get them. But there’s a new player in the game, and she’s much too innocent, much too soft…and standing directly in his way.

Dovie Pryce knows all about living a hard life and the tough choices that come with it. She’s always tried to be good, tried to help others, and tried not to let the darkness pull her down. But the streets are fighting back, things have gone from bad to worse, and the only person who can help her is the scariest, sexiest, most complicated ex-con The Point has ever produced.

I have really enjoyed the Marked Men series by this author.  So when I saw a new series starting by her, I was excited to dive right in.  While I enjoyed the book, I didn't love it as much.  To start, this series is a bit darker than the other one.  In the foreword, the author says she wanted to create a truly "bad boy".  Being an ex-con, Shane is a bad boy.  Recently released from prison, he finds out his best friend has gone missing.  With the help of Race's younger sister, he tries to track him down to reconcile what happened the night he was arrested.

I liked the mystery part of the book.  The hunt for Race and the truth of what happened 5 years before was well written and intriguing.  I liked the little twist about the bad guy at the end.  I also thought that the last scene was pretty intense and made me hold my breath.  

What I didn't like too much was the chemistry between Dovie and Shane.  It never really went beyond lust for me.  I also got tired of Dovie always talking about Shane vs. Bax.  By the end, I think I got that he could act like two different guys.  It got a little old. The epilogue did go a long way toward making me buy into the relationship a lot more.

So, if you are going into this series expecting the boys and vibe that you get in the Marked Men series, you won't find it here.  I think fans will like this book.  I'll check out the next one. I was a bit disappointed in end with Race's decisions.   I'm just hoping that he has a change of heart in the next book. I'm not sure how I will like a truly bad boy who can't turn himself around.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Blog tour: The Curiosity by Stephen P. Kiernan

Author: Stephen P. Kiernan
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks;
Date of publication:  Reprint edition (July 1, 2014)

What if the love of your life died decades before you were born?

When Dr. Kate Philo and her scientific exploration team discover the body of a man buried deep in the Arctic ice, her egocentric and paranoid boss, Erastus Carthage, orders the frozen man to be brought to his lab in Boston and reanimated. The endeavor is named The Lazarus Project, and as the man, Jeremiah Rice, begins to regain his memories, the last thing he recalls is falling overboard into the Arctic Ocean in 1906. When news of the project breaks, it ignites a media firestorm and protests by religious fundamentalists.

Thrown together by fate, Kate and Jeremiah grow closer. But the clock is ticking and Jeremiah’s new life is slipping away. With Carthage planning to exploit Jeremiah while he can, Kate must decide how far she is willing to go to protect the man she has come to love. A gripping, poignant, and thoroughly original thriller, The Curiosity raises disturbing questions about the very nature of life and humanity.

When I saw the synopsis for The Curiosity, I was intrigued enough to sign up for the tour.  What could be more exciting than a man brought back to life after almost 100 years in a block of ice?  Sadly, the book never got exciting for me.  I think I am in the minority for this book.  It has received very good reviews.  While I thought it was well written, I just found myself not being able to get into it.  I kept putting it down in favor of other books and finally gave up after about 25%.  I think it really is a case of just not connecting with a set of characters and story-line.  I'll chalk it up to not being for me, but I say still give it a shot.  Maybe you will like it.  Check out what others on the tour are saying below.

About the author:

Stephen P. Kiernan is a journalist with an M.A. from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University and an M.F.A. in fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He is the author of two works of nonfiction, Last Rights and Authentic Patriotism, and has been awarded the Brechner Center’s Freedom of Information Award, the Scripps Howard Award for Distinguished Service to the First Amendment, and the George Polk Award. He lives in Vermont with his two sons. The Curiosity is his first novel.

Find out more about Stephen at his website and connect with him on Facebook.
Stephen is taking over the @harpercollins Twitter account on Thursday July 17th from 2-4pm ET! Please swing by and keep him busy with your questions!

Purchase Links

Stephen’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, July 1st: Booksie’s Blog
Wednesday, July 2nd: Book Loving Hippo
Monday, July 7th: More Than Just Magic
Tuesday, July 8th: Book Hooked Blog
Thursday, July 10th: Ace and Hoser Blook
Wednesday, July 16th: Literary Feline
Monday, July 21st: Bookshelf Fantasies
Friday, July 25th: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, July 31st: Books à la Mode

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Snowfall at Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs

Author: Susan Wiggs
First published in 2008 by Harlequin (Mira)

Can a single moment change your entire life?

International lawyer Sophie Bellamy has dedicated her life to helping people in war-torn countries. But when she survives a hostage situation, she remembers what matters most--the children she loves back home. Haunted by regrets, she returns to the idyllic Catskills village of Avalon on the shores of Willow Lake, determined to repair the bonds with her family.
There Sophie discovers the surprising rewards of small-town life--including an unexpected passion for Noah Shepherd, the local veterinarian. Noah has a healing touch for anything with four legs, but he's never had any luck with women--until Sophie.

So far, I have enjoyed this series.  I like visiting with the Bellamy families and the town of Avalon.  Having said that, Snowfall at Willow Lake is probably my least favorite out of the first 4 books so far.  I did enjoy it, but I thought it was the weakest for a few reasons. 

I felt like there was a lot of repetition about past occurrences.  Almost like the author was trying to make sure it could be read as a stand alone book.  That was annoying.  There were also way too many pop cultural references in the story that in another 10 years, people won't remember or care about.    There was a lack of romance as I didn't buy into Noah and Sophie fully.  I needed to see more of them together.  And really, who dates someone for MONTHS and never asks them their age?  I had a hard time buying that one!

What I did like was the way Sophie and her children's relationship grew and healed.  It was also good to see a lot of past characters and catch up on how they are doing.  I also loved the ending, it was very sweet.  

Book Spotlight: Back to You by Jessica Scott

We are excited to share with you an excerpt from Back to You by Jessica Scott.  It will be available for the first time in print on July 29!  I reviewed this wonderful book back in February.  If you haven't read it yet, I greatly encourage you to give it a shot!

Make sure to check out the giveaway below!

BACK TO YOU by Jessica Scott (July 29, 2014; Forever Mass Market; $6.00)
He's in for the fight of his life . . . 
Army captain Trent Davila loved his wife, Laura, and their two beautiful children. But when he almost lost his life in combat, something inside him died. He couldn't explain the emptiness he felt or bridge the growing distance between him and his family-so he deployed again. And again. And again...until his marriage reached its breaking point. Now, with everything on the line, Trent has one last chance to prove to his wife that he can be the man she needs ...if she'll have him

. . . to win back his only love.
Laura is blindsided when Trent returns home. Time and again, he chose his men over his family, and she's just beginning to put the pieces of her shattered heart back together. But when Trent faces a court martial on false charges, only Laura can save him. What begins as an act of kindness to protect his career inflames a desire she thought long buried-and a love that won't be denied. But can she trust that this time he's back to stay?

“So, to what do I owe the honor of this visit?” she asked, minimizing her e-mail to be able to focus.
“Don’t throw me out of the office,” he said, trying to keep his voice light. “But I need to talk to you about Trent’s case.”
Laura leaned back in her chair, folding her arms over her chest, and started counting to ten.
“I know you’re having a hard time with him.”
Laura sucked on her top lip for a moment before answering. “I wouldn’t necessarily call filing for divorce a hard time.”
“And that’s what I need to talk to you about.”
“Just hear me out, okay?”
She ground her teeth but after a moment nodded.
“Listen, there’s no case against Trent. It’s weak at best. With the Article 32 about to start, we have a good chance of getting it stopped here before it goes to court-martial. But I need to plant doubt that the allegations against him are true.” He met her gaze. “I need you to do that.”
Laura chewed on her bottom lip, playing his words over and over in her head, not understanding what he was asking of her. “What do you mean, you need to plant doubt?”
“The primary witness against your husband, PFC Adorno—”
“Oh, we’ve met,” Laura said dryly.
Patrick’s smile was humorless. “Yes, well, that’s part of the prosecution’s problem. She’s alleging that Trent was inappropriate but the problem is that she and Lieutenant Randall were caught in their shenanigans downrange.”
Laura frowned. “So you think this is a ploy to get herself out of trouble?
“Her and her husband. If they were working together to steal the missing weapons systems, then what better way to get out of trouble than to make this stuff up against Trent? Takes the focus off her and her husband completely.” Patrick leaned forward, tapping his index finger on the desk. “If I can cast Trent as a sympathetic family man who would never do anything like what she’s alleging, this case is all but dismissed. I’m not attacking her. All I have to do is make Trent look better than the story she’s telling and we’ve got a win.”
“And you need me to paint on a happy face and be the loving wife.”
Patrick shook his head. “No, I need you to be one half of a loving couple. And I need you to do it publicly where everyone can see it—in the PX, in the chow hall, everywhere. I need the officers on this board to believe exactly what I’ll be telling them on the day of the hearing.”
She looked down at her empty ring finger, absently rubbing the bare skin beneath the bandage. “Everyone knows that we’re having problems, Patrick.”
“Then make sure everyone knows you’ve fixed it.” He leaned back. “I wouldn’t ask you to do this if I didn’t think it was our best shot at getting this whole thing thrown out.”
She looked up at him. “Why didn’t Trent ask me to do this?”
Patrick swallowed and looked away. “He refused to drag you into this,” he said quietly. “For what it’s worth, I don’t in a million years believe the allegations against Trent. I don’t think he would ever, ever be unfaithful to you.”
Laura pressed her lips together in a flat line. “You’re wrong, Patrick. He’s been cheating on me for years. It was just with the army instead of another woman.”
“Let me think about it,” she said quickly. “I won’t say no out of hand but I can’t make this decision on a whim.”
Patrick leaned across the desk, gripping her hand. “I know this is hard for you, Laura. I know what I’m asking you to do.”
She said nothing for a long moment and he gave her a sympathetic but firm smile. “Give it some thought, okay?”
When she was alone, she sat there, staring at the picture of her family. Wondering how she was going to bring him back into the kids’ lives and then rip him out again. What he was asking wasn’t fair. He had no idea what this was going to do to her family.
She glanced at the photo on her desk as she typed furiously, trying to get ahead of the flood of e-mails in her inbox.
There was a quiet rap on her office door. “I’m not here,” she said quickly, looking up.
Her fingers froze on the keyboard. Her heart stopped in her chest.
Trent stood in the doorway. He had a duffle bag slung over his shoulder. His glasses hid the darkness of his eyes. There was a streak of dirt on his cheek. An assault pack hung limply from his left hand.
A thousand emotions ripped through her all at once, rioting for supremacy as she drank in the sight of her husband.
Ex-husband, she reminded herself. Or at least he was supposed to be.
She wished that this were a normal homecoming. One where she would rush across the small space and crash into him. His arms would come around her and she would inhale the strong spicy scent of his skin. Feel the heat of his touch. Savor that first, wild kiss.
Instead she had this. This empty chasm between them, echoing with loneliness.
And she had no idea how to cross it.

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About the author:
USA Today bestselling author Jessica Scott is a career army officer; mother of two daughters, She's written for the New York Times At War Blog, PBS Point of View: Regarding War Blog, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom/New Dawn and has served as a company commander at Fort Hood, Texas. She's pursuing a PhD in Sociology in her spare time and most recently, she's been featured as one of Esquire Magazine's Americans of the Year for 2012.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Matchmaker by Elin Hildebrand

by:  Elin Hildebrand
published by:  Little, Brown and Co.
publish date:  June 10, 2014

Dabney Kimball Beech, the 48-year-old fifth generation Nantucketer, has had a lifelong gift of matchmaking (52 couples still together to her credit). But when Dabney discovers she is dying of pancreatic cancer, she sets out to find matches for a few people very close to home: her husband, celebrated economist John Boxmiller Beech; her lover journalist Clendenin Hughes; and her daughter, Agnes, who is engaged to be married to the wrong man.  As time slips away from Dabney, she is determined to find matches for those she loves most - but at what cost to her own relationships? 

I'm a huge Elin Hilderbrand fan.  I've loved all her books.  This one was no different.  However, I did feel it had a different atmosphere than her other books.  I felt very frustrated with the main character throughout the story.  This character is dealing this a life changing illness and Elin Hilderbrand herself was recently diagnosed with cancer, so perhaps it may have been some of that in the writing.  I don't know how much of the writing happened during or after her diagnosis.

The biggest frustration I had with the character Dabney was that she just wouldn't go to the doctor.  She kept thinking she was "lovesick".  What the heck?  Is that really a thing?  You're a 50 year old woman, you should know better right?  Then, the people around her didn't seem to be very forceful about making her go either.  However, the reader has the luxury of knowing what's wrong with Dabney.

Once again, Elin Hilderbrand has written an excellent Summer read.  It's the perfect book for a lazy day at the beach or pool to dream about living on Nantucket.  We wish Elin the best of luck in her recovery and I hope she gets back to writing books really soon!