Saturday, January 31, 2015

Books We Didn't Finish January Edition

The Frozen Dead:  I can't really pinpoint why I didn't like this book.  I think it was the audiobook narrator.  This book takes place in France, so everyone had a french accent.  That's understandable, but it was getting tiresome and at times it was hard to understand.

The Harbinger:  I was really hoping this was going to be an awesome conspiracy theory type book.  Maybe it eventually get there, I don't know. The beginning was all religion and doom and gloom.  It was not very interesting.

Year of Wonders:  This might be a really awesome
book.  The audiobook reader was what did it in for me.  Her voice and accent were awful.  I gave it about 15 minutes and when I realized I was leaning forward and straining to try to understand what she was saying, I decided that was enough of that.

Dept. of Speculation: I didn't get it.  This book got rave reviews.  I couldn't get past the first 10 pages.  It was like a rambling stream of consciousness.  I just didn't get the point.  I thought I was getting some letters from a wife to a husband.  They made no sense.  It wasn't for me.

Big Little Lies: This is the second book that I have tried by this author.  I actually made it through the first one, but really didn't like it.  I tried Big Little Lies, but I hated the characters.  They were annoying and so cliche.  I didn't really care what happened, who died or why. I wasn't willing to finish to the end to find out..  I think I'm done with this author.

In the End: I wanted to like this one, because I enjoyed the first book, In the After.  I made it about halfway through and I gave up.  The main character Amy was so different.  She changed from the smart, bent on survival girl to a TSTL character.  It got tiring and I didn't care how it ended.

Sweet Damage: This one was so boring and frustrating at the same time.  I didn't like the switch between Tim's first person POV to the third person of Anna.  I lost interest about halfway through.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Blog Tour: Review and Interview: Bringing Home the Bad Boy by Jessica Lemmon

We are excited to have author Jessica Lemmon with us for an interview today.  She is promoting her new book, Bring Home the Bad Boy.  Enjoy it after my thoughtson the book.

Publisher: Forever
Date of publication:  January 2015

Creativity is his drug, painting is his escape, but she'll be the addiction that brings him to his knees. 

Evan Downey buried a part of his soul when put the love of his life in the ground. He knows he needs to get his shit together for the sake of their son, but escaping into his art is the only way he can begin to cope with Rae's death. When the chance to move back to Evergreen Cove, one of the few places that has ever felt right to him, he knows it's a chance he has to take. For his sake, and his sons. Charlotte Harris would give anything to have her best friend back. But if she can't have Rae, then she vows she'll at least be there to support the family Rae left behind. So when she learns that Evan is looking to move home, she does everything she can to help him and Lyon re-build their lives at the Cove. But when sparks start to fly between Charlotte and Evan it's the first glimpse of something bright and beautiful either of them has seen in far too long. And they start to wonder if fate has offered them a second chance at happiness-- if only their brave enough to take the risk and let love back into their lives. 

My thoughts:

Bringing Home the Bad Boy was such a heart warming story.  It's a story about moving through the grieving process and knowing when you are ready to move on with your life.  Evan and his son Lyon have been grieving the loss of wife and mother Rae for four years.  Evan is ready to move on and is hoping that his move back to Evergreen Cove will be the first step.  Charlie (Charlotte) was Rae's best friend.  Now that Evan is in town, they both realize that they have a mutual attraction.  The problem is that Charlie has incredible guilt because she still see Evan as her best friend's husband.

I thought this was a very realistic story about two people who who are ready to move on, but are so afraid to take that step.  I liked how the author dealt with the subject, especially the feelings that Charlie struggles with over wanting to love Evan.  I loved Evan and Charlie together.  Their chemistry was very hot!  I don't think I'll ever look at finger paint the same way again!

I highly recommend this story!  I can't wait for Rescuing the Bad Boy coming out later this year!

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

Jessica: I have always loved two things: to write, and to draw. After obtaining a degree in graphic design, I wasn't so sure about doing art for a living. (It’s mostly logo and website design.) Then in the summer of 2009 I read a little book called Twilight and I was inspired. One woman woke up from a dream and wrote down her idea. One idea that changed the landscape of the world. I decided I wanted publish a book.

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

Jessica: The honest answer is EVERYWHERE. I know that's not a very interesting answer, but it is the truth. It can be a show I saw on television, an experience I had personally, or something a friend says. I have a scene in an upcoming book sparked from an evening my husband and I shared Thai takeout on the couch. Once the idea is in my head, the characters play out the rest. I just write it down.

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

Jessica: Bad Boys and more Bad Boys! Book 2 is an enemies-to-lovers reunion story titled Rescuing the Bad Boy (May 2015), and book 3, A Bad Boy for Christmas (September 2015), features an ex-military landscaper pursuing and protecting a woman who is reclaiming her independence.

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

Jessica: Oh, that is a tough one. I'm so bad at favorites, because I love so many things! I’m going to go with Charley Davidson from Darynda Jones's fantastic series. Charley is spunky, she's sassy, and she's the Grim Reaper. So far there are seven books in the series, and I am one behind. My plan is to finish my reading/judging for the RITA award, then treat myself to reading it.

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

Jessica: That's an interesting question. I'm going to have to go with the bird. To be that lightweight, be able to go anywhere--Yeah, that would be really cool.


“Know why I moved here?” he asked, keeping his voice low.
She wrenched her eyes from his and focused on a spot over his shoulder.
“Because you didn’t want to live in Columbus anymore.” That’s what he’d told her. That he wanted a change. That he and Lyon had outgrown the house. And, she imagined it’d be hard to live in the house where Rae had passed.
“But why here?”
His fingers grazed her jaw and turned her head, his palm moving to her neck where he cupped her nape and forced her eyes to his.
Reluctantly, she met them.
“Rae’s more alive when you’re around, Ace.”
Her heart, oh her heart. Kicking against her chest in a confusing, hectic rhythm.
“You bring her to life for Lyon—more than anyone else. I need him to remember her because he can’t remember her alive.” His hold stayed, his palm warming her neck, his gaze unwavering.
She tried to separate the two feelings she was having—one that she was now talking about Rae with Evan and two, that he was touching her while talking about Rae.
Before she could, his lips closed over hers.
Her thoughts short-circuited.
This wasn’t anything like a soft peck hello. This was his lips moving over hers, slanting over hers, warm and firm and then his mouth opened and—
Oh my gosh!
His wet, warm tongue slid along the seam of her lips and she stopped being passive and started kissing him back. When she would have touched her tongue to his, he relocated it, running along her bottom lip instead and tugging with his teeth.
If she’d been standing, her knees would have given out and dropped her right on her butt.
And then there was the palm on her neck, now spearing up through her hair and clutching onto a handful of it. He held her captive, his hand fisting her hair as he angled his mouth again. In response to the soft whimper escaping her throat, he swept his tongue into her mouth. He tangled his tongue with hers once, twice, and released her.
When he pulled his mouth away, a long, satisfied sigh escaped her lips. Because that was a kiss. A kiss to rival all other kisses.
She opened her eyes to realize A) she’d closed her eyes and B) she’d at some point wrapped both hands around his forearms where she was holding tight and C) Evan looked as please as she felt.
“God damn, Ace. Your mouth.” His eyes flicked to her lips. Lips still tingling from the rough scrape from the stubble surrounding his.
She concurred with that sentiment. Not that she said anything. She’d gone dumb; completely mute.
He backed away, but held onto her chin and tweaked it lightly with the rough pad of one thumb. “That’s the way this is gonna go from now on.”

About Jessica Lemmon:

Jessica Lemmon has always been a dreamer. At some point, she decided head-in-the-clouds thinking was childish, went out, and got herself a job . . . and then she got another one because that one was lousy. And when that one stopped being fulfilling, she went out and got another . . . and another. Soon it became apparent she'd only be truly happy doing what she loved. And since "eating potato chips" isn't a viable career, she opted to become a writer. With fire in her heart, she dusted off a book she'd started years prior, finished it, and submitted it. It may have been the worst book ever, but it didn't stop her from writing another one. Now she has several books finished, several more started, and even more marinating in her brain (which currently resides in the clouds, thankyouverymuch), and she couldn't be happier. She firmly believes God gifts us with talents for a purpose, and with His help, you can create the life you want. (While eating potato chips.)

Jessica's SM:

Buy Links:
IndieBound - 
GooglePlay - 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Blog Tour: Wildalone by Krassi Zourkova

Author: Krassi Zourkova
Publisher: William Morrow
Date of publication: January 2015

In this enchanting and darkly imaginative debut novel full of myth, magic, romance, and mystery, a Princeton freshman is drawn into a love triangle with two enigmatic brothers, and discovers terrifying secrets about her family and herself—a bewitching blend of Twilight, The Secret History, Jane Eyre, and A Discovery of Witches.

Arriving at Princeton for her freshman year, Thea Slavin finds herself alone, a stranger in a strange land. Away from her family and her Eastern European homeland for the first time, she struggles to adapt to unfamiliar American ways and the challenges of college life—including an enigmatic young man whose brooding good looks and murky past intrigue her. Falling into a romantic entanglement with Rhys and his equally handsome and mysterious brother, Jake, soon draws Thea into a sensual mythic underworld as irresistible as it is dangerous.

In this shadow world that seems to mimic Greek mythology and the Bulgarian legends of the Samodivi or “wildalones”—forest witches who beguile and entrap men—she will discover a shocking secret that threatens everything she holds dear. And when the terrifying truth about her own family is revealed, it will transform her forever . . . if she falls under its spell.

Mesmerizing and addictive, The Wildalone is a thrilling blend of the modern and the fantastic. Krassi Zourkova creates an atmospheric world filled with rich characters as fascinating and compelling as those of Diana Gabaldon, Deborah Harkness, and Stephenie Meyer.

I have to be honest, I really did not like Wildalone.  I did finish it, but I'm really not sure why.  I think I kept hoping it would get better.   There were a few things that didn't work for me. I was into the book until Rhys showed up.  Then I was completely turned off through out the entire rest of the book.  Thea's RA kept jokingly calling him a stalker and I have to agree with her.  He had major stalker and abusive tendencies.  Even in the end, I wasn't sure how Thea could claim to love him. Why?  He treated her like garbage.  I also didn't get why she would love Jake as well.  She barely spoke to him. 

I'm not too up on my Greek mythology, so I did think that the myths included in the book were well explained.  What I didn't like was how they were used as an excuse for the characters behavior.  Don't even get me started in what Rhys has to do once a month.  How anyone would be OK with that is beyond me.  I just didn't buy any of it.  The ending was unsatisfying and I'm not even sure I understood it. 

I have to wonder at the number of good reviews and 5 stars that the book has received.  I think that book had great potential, but it just didn't live up to my expectations.  I guess I'll have to be in the minority here.

About the author: 

Krassi Zourkova grew up in Bulgaria and came to the United States to study art history at Princeton. Wildalone is her first novel.
After college, she graduated from Harvard Law School, and she has practiced finance law in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, where she currently lives. Her poems have appeared in various literary journals.

Follow Krassi on Twitter, @zourkova.

Purchase Links

Krassi’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, January 6th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, January 7th: Kahakai Kitchen
Friday, January 9th: Bibliophilia, Please
Tuesday, January 13th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Wednesday, January 14th: Books Without Any Pictures
Thursday, January 15th: BoundbyWords
Monday, January 26th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Tuesday, January 27th: The Scarlet Letter

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Worth the Fall by Claudia Connor

Author: Claudia Connor
Publisher: Loveswept
Date of publication: September 2014

They meet on a beach. . . . Abby Davis isn’t wearing a skimpy bikini or sipping umbrella drinks, not when she’s busy chasing around four little ones. And Matt McKinney isn’t looking for fun—he’s a Navy SEAL, a grown man with a long list of missions . . . and fallen brothers.

They only have a week. . . . Abby has brought her children to this beach to start over, to give them the enjoyable memories they deserve. Matt’s been sidelined by a combat injury, and haunted by the best friend he lost and the promise he made: to remain a SEAL—focused and dedicated. This leaves no time for what he’s always wanted: a family.

But a week is all it takes. . . . Matt opens her heart while Abby soothes his soul. And though they plan to say good-bye when the week is over, something magical happens on that beach, something neither can forget. Something utterly, completely worth falling for.

Worth the Fall is worth the read!  I loved this book.   The story is essentially about the making of a family.  After a brief meeting with pregnant Abby and her kids on a beach, Matt is smitten.  That is all it took for him.  A lot of men would run from a ready made family, but not Matt.  He wants to spend as much time as he can with them.  After their week together, he can't get her out of his mind.  Abby is reluctant to welcome Matt into her life.  She has no family of her own and is a widow.  Her marriage was loveless.  The only thing that she has room in her heart is her 4 kids and unborn child.

I really enjoyed watching this family form.  The fall into love for Matt and Abby was very sweet.  It did take Abby a little longer to admit she wanted Matt, but it was fun to watch Matt convince her they were right for each other. Matt isn't himself without issues.  He is a Navy Seal who made a promise to his dying friend on the battle field.  After meeting Abby, he finds it hard to keep that promise. But what does he want more, to keep his promise or the family he always wanted?  I was really rooting for these two.

I have seen the term "Book Boyfriend" tossed around the web.  If asked who my book boyfriend would be, I have a list I can show you.  I can honestly say that Matt has now made my top 10 list for book boyfriends.  I love the way he took the kids into his heart and made them his own.  

I highly recommend this book.  The next book, Worth the Risk comes out in February.  It's Stephen's story,  I can't wait to read it!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Spotlight Tour: Interview & Excerpt from Perdita by Hilary Scharper

We are excited to have author Hilary Scharper visiting us today as she promotes her book Perdita.  Enjoy our interview with her as well as an excerpt for a sneak peek at the book!

Publisher: Sourcebooks
Date of publicaion: January 2015

Stunning… richly complex and unpredictable.” —Historical Novel Review

Marged Brice is 134 years old. She’d be ready to go, if it weren’t for Perdita . . .

The Georgian Bay lighthouse’s single eye keeps watch over storm and calm, and Marged grew up in its shadow, learning the language of the wind and the trees. There’s blustery beauty there, where sea and sky incite each other to mischief… or worse…

Garth Hellyer of the Longevity Project doesn’t believe Marged was a girl coming of age in the 1890s, but reading her diaries in the same wild and unpredictable location where she wrote them might be enough to cast doubt on his common sense.

Everyone knows about death. It’s life that’s much more mysterious…

What inspired you to become a writer?

For many years I thought about writing a novel, but I wasn’t quite sure how to actually start. It was not for lack of ideas or motivation! It was more a problem of finding the time and a space to explore a creative process—and it had to be found from within a very busy schedule of fulltime work and parenting.

I’ve since talked to other writers about this dynamic: of trying to establish creative time out of the bits and prices of our lives that are somehow seen as “leftovers,” i.e., as time we have after we’ve done everything else. The thing I discovered was to stop thinking about fiction writing in terms of “left-overs.” Once I took it as a serious and central part of my life, I began to find the time for it.

It hasn’t been easy (!), but this approach certainly helped me to start….and has kept me writing.

Where do you come up with the ideas for your books?

There were many sources of inspiration for Perdita: Greek mythology, Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, my own interest in aging and longevity, to name a few.One important source, however, was an old photograph. It was of the lighthouse where I was staying for a summer vacation, but taken over 100 years earlier.

Cabot Head Lighthouse, northern Ontario, Canada, c. 1900.

From the very first, I found myself drawn to the young woman standing in the doorway looking out across the landscape and contemplating the remoteness of her location. Somehow I felt as if I could hear her thoughts. Yet it seemed to me that the wind was pulling at her skirts, inviting her to step out into the wild beauty of her “home.”

I have often wondered what the woman in the photograph did. In deciding to write a novel, I made my choice and stepped out into the “wild”….

More on the Cabot Head Lighthouse at:

What exciting projects are waiting in the wings?

I have a second novel finished (titled “Immanence”) and I am also working on sequel to “Perdita” (tentatively titled “Lonely Island.”) In the second volume, Marged Brice journeys to a lighthouse on a remote island and is asked to assist in the care of an ill and bed-ridden light-keepers’s wife. George, Andrew Reid, Tad, Allan and Dr. McTavish all reappear in the story, and there are some new characters in the form of (possibly) unsavory passengers rescued during a shipwreck….

Excerpt from Perdita:
Cape Prius—1897
July 3

Seven hours passed, and the waves were—Mr. Thompson said they were fifteen feet or more in front of the Lodge. The rain had not ceased, but the sky had turned an evil gray, and we heard thunder far off in the distance….

“The storm is moving fast,” said Mr. Thompson, and he shook his head glumly.

I began to pray fervently. It was but three o’clock in the afternoon, but the entire sky had turned a livid gray, and it seemed as if night had dropped upon us like a curtain falling. Now we could see lightning blaze across the horizon….

The rain came down in sheets, and the waves took on an even more ominous and angry aspect. My heart sank as I thought of the boats in that water.

Then—“There,” shouted Mr. Thompson, gesturing toward the eastern skyline.

And appearing suddenly from around the Point, we could see the outline of a large boat. Its foremast was rolling horribly—up and down, back and forth—and we could see, as it neared, that the first jib sheet was ripped to pieces. The mainsail was shredding rapidly in the wind, and the waves were pushing it toward the shore, where it would surely be smashed into pieces against the rocks. We saw the men lowering the lifeboats and then push off, desperately making for shore.

“Allan,” I cried. He had run out into the storm without warning toward the boats, and I leaped out after him.

About the author:

Hilary Scharper, who lives in Toronto, spent a decade as a lighthouse keeper on the Bruce Peninsula with her husband. She also is the author of a story collection, Dream Dresses, and God and Caesar at the Rio Grande (University of Minnesota Press) which won the Choice Outstanding Academic Book Award. She received her Ph.D. from Yale and is currently Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology at the University of Toronto.

Buy Perdita by Hilary Scharper: Amazon | B&N | BAM |!ndigo | IndieBound | Kobo

Monday, January 26, 2015

Cane and Abe by James Grippando

Author: James Grippando
Publisher: Harper
Date of publication: January 2015

In this spellbinding new novel of suspense fromNew York Times bestselling author James Grippando, Miami’s top prosecutor becomes a prime suspect in his wife’s disappearance, which may have a chilling connection to the woman he can’t forget.

Unbelievable was the word for her. Samantha Vine was unbelievably beautiful. It was unbelievable that she’d married me. Even more unbelievable that she was gone. . . .

Samantha died too soon. Abe Beckham’s new wife has helped him through the loss, but some say it was a step back for Abe to marry Angelina, a love from his past. Abe doesn’t want to hear it, and he’s even managed to remain a star prosecutor at the Miami State Attorney’s Office through his ups and downs.

Then everything goes wrong. A woman’s body is discovered dumped in the Everglades, and Abe is called upon to monitor the investigation. The FBI is tracking a killer in South Florida they call “Cutter” because his brutal methods hark back to Florida’s dark past, when machete-wielding men cut sugarcane by hand in the blazing sun.

When Angelina goes missing, the respected attorney finds himself under fire. Suspicion surrounds him. His closest friends, family, professional colleagues, and the media no longer trust his motives. Was Angelina right? Was their marriage not what they’d hoped for because he loved Samantha too much? Or was there another woman . . . and a husband with a dark side who simply wanted his new wife gone?

I'll be honest, I was a bit underwhelmed by this book. Cane and Abe is supposed to be a "spellbinding novel of suspense".  Instead, I felt like it was a frustrating mess.  The story involves Abe Beckham, a prosecutor for the state of Florida.  He is called out the scene of a crime that may include a body left by a serial killer known as Cutter.  It turns out that the body was a woman who he had a one night stand with years before.  Soon, he is a suspect in the killing.

I had a few things I didn't like about the story.  First, I didn't like that way it waffled between Abe's first person past tense POV and everyone else's third person POV.  I found that disorienting.  Second, I think I would have liked to read about either the serial killer or that murder of Tyla.  The serial killer case is solved in a kind out of the blue way and I felt a bit cheated.  As for the Tyla murder case, I found myself wanting to throw that book across the room.  All of the characters and their decisions were frustrating and exhausting.  I could only take so much of it in one sitting.  There are a couple of twists in the end, but those didn't make me stop hating the ending.  But then I'm not a fan of open-ended endings to begin with so a bit more closure would have been nice.  I like my suspense wrapped up in a neat bow and I didn't get that.

The one thing that I did find interesting was the history of the sugar industry and the can cutters.  I found myself actually wishing the author would have gone into it more in depth with that story line. Maybe if it had been more about the serial killer, he would have.

This is the first book I have read by this author.  I'll probably give him another try.  Maybe I'll try out one of his Jack Swyteck books for a Throwback Thursday post.

About the author:

James Grippando is a New York Times bestselling author whose novels are enjoyed worldwide in twenty-six languages. Black Horizon is his twentieth novel published by HarperCollins, the eleventh in the acclaimed series featuring Miami attorney Jack Swyteck. He is also the author of Leapholes for young adults. Grippando was a trial lawyer for twelve years before the publication of his first novel in 1994 (The Pardon), and he is now counsel at one of the nation’s leading law firms. He lives and writes in South Florida.

Find out more about James at his website, and connect with him on Facebook.

Purchase Links

James’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, January 13th: Vivacious Hobo
Tuesday, January 20th: Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Wednesday, January 21st: My Bookish Ways
Thursday, January 22nd: Built by Story
Monday, January 26th: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, January 27th: Kritters Ramblings
Wednesday, January 28th: Brooklyn Berry Designs
Thursday, January 29th: Booked on a Feeling
Tuesday, February 3rd: A Dream Within a Dream
Wednesday, February 4th: Why Girls Are Weird
Monday, February 9th: BoundbyWords
Tuesday, February 10th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Wednesday, February 11th: The Year in Books
Thursday, February 12th: Living in the Kitchen with Puppies
Friday, February 13th: FictionZeal

Date TBD: Sidewalk Shoes

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

Author: Robin LaFevers
Publisher:Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Date of publication: April 2013

When Sybella arrived at the doorstep of St Mortain half mad with grief and despair the convent were only too happy to offer her refuge - but at a price. The sisters of this convent serve Death, and with Sybella naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, she could become one of their most dangerous weapons.

But her assassin's skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to the life that nearly drove her mad. Her father's rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother's love is equally monstrous. But when Sybella discovers an unexpected ally she discovers that a daughter of Death may find something other than vengeance to live for...

Dark Triumph is the second in the His Fair Assassin Series.  I was really surprised by this series and really enjoyed the first book, Grave Mercy.  Dark Triumph is Sybella's story.  The books pretty much picks up where the first one left off.  Sybella is back in her father's home on the convent's orders.  She is waiting and hoping for a sign that she can kill her father.  Instead of her sign, she receives a message that she must help a prisoner in the castle's dungeon escape and get back to the duchess of Brittany to help her fight for her land.

This book was definitely much faster paced than the first book.  There is a lot of action and more nail biting fight scenes.  I liked the pacing in this one much more.  It seemed less bogged down in history and facts.  A definitely bonus.  I also liked the slow build to love between Sybella and Beast.  I thought they were well matched and gave each other exactly what the other needed.  I liked both characters.  Sybella is a very strong woman with a lot of baggage.  Beast is a very brave warrior yet he has a big heart.  

I know this is considered YA, but I would caution against the under 16 crowd reading it.  It definitely deals with more adult situations including implied incest.  I think that is a bit much for a younger reader to handle.  

I have Mortal Heart loaded up on my MP3 player ready to go.  I am looking forward to the conclusion to this trilogy!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

River Road by Jayne Ann Krentz

Author: Jayne Ann Krentz
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Date of publication:January 2014

It’s been thirteen years since Lucy Sheridan was in Summer River. The last time she visited her aunt Sara there, as a teenager, she’d been sent home suddenly after being dragged out of a wild party—by the guy she had a crush on, just to make it more embarrassing. Obviously Mason Fletcher—only a few years older but somehow a lot more of a grown-up—was the overprotective type who thought he had to come to her rescue.

Now, returning after her aunt’s fatal car accident, Lucy is learning there was more to the story than she realized at the time. Mason had saved her from a very nasty crime that night—and soon afterward, Tristan, the cold-blooded rich kid who’d targeted her, disappeared mysteriously, his body never found.

Thirteen years before, Lucy narrowly escaped being assaulted at a party when Mason intervened.  The next day, she left town and her would be assailant disappeared.  Did her savior have something to do with it?  Now she is back in town to find out why her aunt died in a car accident.  She and Mason team up and use their investigative skills to find out the truth of  what happened 10 years before.  

Finally, we have a story from this author that isn't a paranormal romance featuring dreams or crystals or another planet.  Don't get me wrong, I love all of her books, but I was kind of getting tired of that series.  River Road reminded me of her earlier books more straight romantic suspense.

The mystery was pretty straight forward.  There weren't too many surprises, but I didn't guess the ending right away. I also thought the romance between Mason and Lucy was very well done.  Having a history with each other, it was easy to believe their fall for each other. I think fans of this author will appreciate this return to her straight romantic suspense.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Joint Review: Talon by Julie Kagawa

by:  Julie Kagawa
published by:  Harlequin Teen
publish date:  October 28, 2014

Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Right off the top, I really like the cover.  I thought it really captured the dragon spirit of the book without being too over the top fantasy.  This book wasn't really a big fantasy dragon book.  I liked that about it.  I'm not a big fantasy reader.   While most of the characters were dragons, they were in human form for most of the book.  That made it kind of like a typical YA novel.  16ish, pretty, female main character with a deep, dark secret getting involved with all the wrong boys.  There was a the secret government plot and all the various factions out to get her.  It followed the formula for YA trilogy success, this time the characters were dragons so that made it a little more interesting.  

I was the complete opposite of Autumn.  I didn't even finish the book. I kept texting reasons I was not liking Talon to Autumn.  I'll share a couple with you... First, I got tired of how beautiful everyone was.  Why does everyone have to be perfect and beautiful in YA?  Second, I kept coming up with questions like: If female dragons are supposed to be important, why would you send one out into the world?  Especially a teenager with no worldly experience. You just set her free on the town?  Seems kind of dumb to me.  Third, if you are going to want your kind to blend in and not call attention to their dragon selves why would you name them Ember and Dante?  Why not Jennifer or John?  It seems to me that a dragon hunter might ignore a Jennifer, but Ember screams, "Look at me! I'm a dragon!".   I finally gave up when Riley showed up and called Ember: "Firebrand".  I couldn't take anymore.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Name of the Game by Nora Roberts

Author: Nora Roberts
First published in 1993 by Silhouette

Johanna Patterson had worked long and hard to make a name for herself in a man's world -- and to forget the memories of an unhappy childhood. Now she was a successful game show producer on her way up, dependent on no one. Then she met actor Sam Weaver. She had never liked persistent men. She certainly didn't like men with a reputation.

But Sam had a way of slipping past her defenses. He knew that Johanna's tough, self-sufficient exterior hid a fragile, passionate woman. He'd caught glimpses of her, and he was determined to see more. He wanted to win this game -- and the name of the game was love.

This is the Nora I know and love!  I thought The Name of the Game was a really cute story.  Johanna is a producer of a game show and when actor Sam Weaver comes on as a celebrity guest, the sparks fly.  Sam is smitten from the start.  The problem is that Johanna is very hesitant.  She doesn't believe in love or that it can last.  

The story is pretty straight forward contemporary romance.  I loved watching Sam woo Johanna.  He can see through all of her walls into the real woman.  He was just what she needed.  It's a quick read and has been featured in a couple of compilations over the years.  I listened to the audio book.  My only complaint was the voice the narrator used for Johanna.  She made her sound too haughty!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Massacre Pond by Paul Doiron

by:  Paul Doiron
published by:  Minotaur Books
publish date:  July 16, 2013

On an unseasonably hot October morning, Bowditch is called to the scene of a bizarre crime: the corpses of seven moose have been found senselessly butchered on the estate of Elizabeth Morse, a wealthy animal rights activist who is buying up huge parcels of timber land to create a new national park.

What at first seems like mindless slaughter—retribution by locals for the job losses Morse's plan is already causing in the region—becomes far more sinister when a shocking murder is discovered and Mike's investigation becomes a hunt to find a ruthless killer. In order to solve the controversial case, Bowditch risks losing everything he holds dear: his best friends, his career as a law enforcement officer, and the love of his life.

This is book 4 in the Mike Bowditch series.  I'm really liking this series a lot.  I've posted about the first three books in this series:  The Poacher's Son, Trespasser, and Bad Little Falls.

Once again, this book stayed more focused on the mystery and less on Mike's personal life.  Although, the story left things open for Mike to finally get a shot at the woman he's been pining for, Charlie's daughter.  In the past she's been off the market since she's been engaged.  Maybe in the next book, Mike might have a love life.  

I really like the outdoorsyness of these books.  The investigation isn't always about dead people.  That makes for a different mystery with different elements to think about.  

The next book in this series is The Bone Orchard.  I already have the audiobook on my mp3 player.  Book number 6 The Precipice is expected to come out this year.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Blog Tour: Windy City Blues by Marc Krulewitch

Author: Marc Krulewitch
Publisher: Alibi (Random House)
Date of publication: January 2015

Jules Landau feels right at home in the ethnic stew of the Windy City, where he’s indebted to the hopes and schemes of his criminal ancestors. Street-smart and college-educated, Jules wants nothing more than to go straight and atone for his family’s past. But when he investigates a horrific killing, Jules uncovers a hidden world of lucrative corruption.

Jack Gelashvili had his head bashed in and no one knows why. The most obvious answer is that he was a parking cop, a universally loathed job—especially in Chicago. Turns out there’s a lot of money to be made on expired meters, and when Jules starts making noise, he starts making enemies—from the head of a media empire to the mastermind of a prostitution ring. When rumors of bloodthirsty Mob connections arise, Jack’s gorgeous cousin Tamar objects, and Jules is increasingly swayed by the logic and charms of the sexy baker. Following this beautiful woman into the cloistered world of Georgian immigrants, Jules brings his hunches, his family connections, and his gun. But he’s just one man against a pack of criminals with a million reasons to shoot first…

Windy City Blues is the sequel to Maxwell Street Blues. I enjoyed the first book and was eager to read this one.    This time around, Jules is hired by a concerned citizen to investigate the murder of a parking cop in his neighborhood.  That opening scene of a toddler finding the body was pretty gruesome!  What a way to open a book.  As the investigation goes on, Jules finds himself neck deep in city corruption, lazy cops and questionable newspaper practices.  I found the book enjoyable but not as good as the first book. I found this one a little more convoluted and drawn out.  I was saddened by the loss of one of the characters that I liked from the first book.  I always hate when a character that I like dies.

This one could be a stand alone. But if you haven't read the first one, I would recommend reading that one first.  I think you will get a better feel for Jules and what he is trying to get away from by being a PI.

About the author:

Marc Krulewitch’s Jules Landau mysteries take place in Chicago, where he was born and where his family has lived for generations. He now resides in Colorado.

Marc Krulewitch’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, January 5th: Bell, Book & Candle
Tuesday, January 6th: Words by Webb
Wednesday, January 7th: Omnimystery News – author guest post
Wednesday, January 7th: Vic’s Media Room
Thursday, January 8th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Monday, January 12th: Fiction Zeal
Wednesday, January 14th: Reading Reality
Thursday, January 15th: Musings of a Bookish Kitty
Friday, January 16th: Reading to Distraction
Tuesday, January 20th: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, January 21st: Queen of All She Reads
Wednesday, January 21st: Back Porchervations
Thursday, January 22nd: Rhodes Review
Friday, January 23rd: By the Book Reviews
Monday, January 26th: Dwell in Possibility
Tuesday, January 27th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Wednesday, January 28th: The Year in Books