Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Sean's Sweetheart by Allie Kincheloe


This lovely romance by Allie Kincheloe captured me from the first page and never let go.

I love it when a good girl falls for a bad boy. Sean's Sweetheart is filled with all the reasons why a good girl should steer clear, but Talia refuses to steer anywhere but into Sean's heart.

  
Sean, a victim of an unstable upbringing and his own demons, has made mistakes in his past. However, for the last five years he's done nothing but good. No matter his good intentions, or the fact he is a different man, he doesn't feel worthy of any relationship. 

Talia, the young woman who he rescues from an unsavory and abusive situation at the club he owns, has other ideas. Talia doesn't give up. She bounds into his heart and captures his interest, but he fights the attraction. Sean insists that she's too young, innocent and doesn't want a man like him in her life.

Long story short, Sean basically tries to convince his daggone stubborn self that he shouldn't pursue Talia. On the other hand, Talia does whatever she can to sway his conviction to keep her at arm's length. She succeeds—for a moment, anyway. Once their lips meet, She's not too crazy about the fact Sean captures her with a kiss then pushes away. 

The ensuing antics, serious moments and sometimes dangerous twists kept me riveted and wondering how the heck these two could ever find a happy ending. The story's plot is believable and intriguing. Just when I thought I had things figured out between the two main characters, the author threw in a twist… or three. (I love plot twists.)

Allie Kincheloe created flawed and lovable characters…and ones I loved to hate. (Especially Talia's ex-boyfriend, who is a domineering jerk.)  Talia made me smile so much my cheeks hurt. And Sean absolutely broke my heart at times. Quite a myriad of emotions, huh? 

Two thumbs up. This story has everything. I stayed up late many nights because I had to read "just one more chapter" of Sean's Sweetheart. (Which ended up being yet another…and another.) 

I highly recommend this romance if you like bad boys, good girls and the excitement the combination creates. You won't be disappointed.




Tuesday, November 4, 2014

His Cemetery Doll by Brantwijn Serrah



The title alone captured my interest, 
but once I read the excerpt I was as entranced.
 A former soldier, Conall Mackay, is raising a child alone…a child he found in a graveyard.  The author, Brantwjin Serrah, has an imagination that outreaches past the graveyard, and into the madness beyond. Yet, she still incorporates tenderness and empathy into the story.

His Cemetery Doll is full of deep imagery. So deep that I could feel the mist, see the fog, and taste the wintry breath of whispers. Brantwijn Serrah certainly penned a fantasy that sweeps a ribbon around this reader and whips me into another world filled with the unimaginable…and makes them real.

The relationship between Conall and what he calls his cemetery doll is nothing like I imagined. He fears, but still is drawn to her. The exquisite and touching moments existing between him and someone so far removed from the living was breathtaking…and downright heart-wrenching.

On the other hand, the relationship between Conall and his adopted daughter, Shyla, is fresh and full of life. I adored Shyla and all her differences. She is smart, inquisitive and endearing…and loves to play in the graveyard, making up stories about the ones who lie there. 

All the characters in this book are well developed and I pictured every single one of them in my mind's eye. I loved, hated, gasped, smiled and even wiped a tear or two while reading His Cemetery Doll.

Even if you've never read paranormal, you should give this book a try. I guarantee you'll be surprised. I can't imagine anyone reading this story and not liking it.
It's frickin' amazing.




Disclosure of Material connection in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR Part 255: The author has provided me a copy of this book in exchange for a review.





Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Asylum by Dana Wright




 I read this in bed, and had to scurry out to the living room and turn on the light.


Dana Wright has crafted many genres into Asylum. That is quite an undertaking, but she did it well! Murder mystery, ghosts, talking with the dead, time-travel, and romance are intertwined into a story about a modern day woman with a not so modern day talent.

 The main character, Rachel Winestock, can sense the spirits of those who have moved on, and the last thing she needs is a high-profile man who wishes to debunk her talent. Matt Rutledge is the man, and though she wants to despise him, she finds herself craving his belief…as well as his body.


The story flows well, the characters are rich and well-developed, and the writing is impeccable.

Asylum has several twists and turns and I loved following them all. And I will follow this author as well!



Disclosure of Material connection in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR Part 255: The author has provided me a copy of this book in exchange for a review.






Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate


The cold feeling washed over me again--a brew of fear, fascination, and uncertainty. How could all of this be a coincidence? Who'd left this thing on my desk, and with what intention? ~Excerpt from The Story Keeper

The Story Keeper is two books in one. It is about a New York City editor Jen Gibbs, and the historical journey of a Melungeon woman, Sarra. I was captivated by the entwining stories.
Jen Gibbs, a new editor at George Vida's publishing company, discovers a partial manuscript on her desk. Unfortunately, it's from the notorious Slush Mountain—the one no one but the owner himself touches. Unsure of who put it on her desk, Jen is determined to return it, but first, a tiny peek won't hurt. Right?

Wrong. 

Slush Mountain hurtles Jen Gibbs directly to the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. The very place which sheltered her childhood from the outside world. The place she fled from years ago.

The mysterious manuscript grabs Jen by the throat, and won't let go. She must find the author; even if it means visiting painful memories. I couldn't let go of the manuscript either. I traveled with Jen Gibbs through the back roads, and into a world far removed from New York City...and enjoyed every moment.   

The author, Lisa Wingate, has seamlessly captured past and future. Never did I feel jolted from one time period to the other. I probably could sum up this book in two words: full impact. The growth of the main character, Jen Gibbs, is gradual and full. The story of the Melungeon woman, Sarra, and Rand, the man who found her, is astounding.

I found myself whispering parts of this book, savoring the language of Appalachian history with each word.

Be sure to put this book on your TBR list.


Quick question:  Did you google Melungeon? And when did google become a verb? Oh geez, that's two questions. Feel free to answer either or both.





The Grey Curse by Krista Kelley


There are so many things I enjoyed about this book. The Grey Curse grabbed me in the first couple of sentences: Rebecca Grey stared down at her blood covered hands. While it was animal blood, it still signified the horrible deed. Whoa…I couldn't put it down. I love it when that happens.

Now I'd thought every twist in a vampire/witch story had been done, but The Grey Curse proved me wrong. This is NOT your standard vampire/witch story—or typical love story. There are twists and turns weaved in the plot and you can tell the author put immense effort into the story.

Krista Kelley's writing is impeccable, emotive and imaginative. Though this is a short read, it's a complete one.


When I discovered this was Krista Kelley's debut publication, I was pleasantly surprised. I can't wait to see what else she has in store. Read this book. You won't be disappointed,


Disclosure of Material connection in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR Part 255The author has provided me a copy of this book in exchange for a review.



Monday, September 1, 2014

Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore




This coming of age story grabbed me from the first paragraph. I loved the constant twists and how everything tied together at the end. The author, Miranda Beverly-Whittmore, gives the main character, Mabel Dagmar, a wonderful voice throughout the story. Anyone who stood on the outside looking in as a young adult will relate to Mabel and anyone who didn't will gain insight into the life of someone less fortunate.

This story delves honestly into how one's actions--no matter how well-intended--can twist into tragedy. Speaking of intentions, there's evil ones too, leaving me with my mouth agape. Not one character, be it Ev, her family, or even Mable, was predictable...or ended up how I pictured in my mind.

This author has a gift. She lulls the reader in a soft, unassuming way, and then shocks with a surprise, twist or downright I-can't-believe-that-just-happened. 

I love the turns along the gravelly path in Bittersweet. I adore the cottages, each with a personality, and dubbed after a flower. And every one of them have bolts upon the door...even the bedrooms and bathrooms. Why, in such an idyllic and private setting of the Winslow Retreat is there a need for this? This was the earlies hint of the secrets waiting to be divulged. 

Mabel is the narrator in this story, with her perspective fluctuating between her disdain of her underprivileged past, and that of her wealthy roommate, Ev Winslow--and the desire to be like her.

I looked at the picture of the gathered Winslows above my desk, although it was as silly an enterprise as opening the menu of a diner you've been going to your whole life. I knew every blond head, every slim calf, as though her family was my own~excerpt from Bittersweet

The descriptions the author pens are amazing. I could smell the dank forests, feel the shock of water against my skin...or basking in the warmth of the sun. I could smell the food in the dining hall, and I shivered at the whisper of secrets nagging to be told.
The rhythm of the story soothed, shocked, and spattered in imagination, littering my mind with the constant--yet not overdone--twists and plots throughout the story.



Disclosure of Material connection in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR Part 255Blogging For Books has provided me a copy of this book in exchange for a review.



Let Us All Eat Cake


Let Us All Eat Cake...and they're gluten-free!

Throughout the years, I've accumulated a collection of gluten free cookbooks--many banished to basement shelves,   never to see a kitchen counter again. Why? They tend to be filled with hard to find ingredients, and difficult to follow recipes. Then, after all the hard work the cakes tend to be heavy-textured enough to use as a doorstop.
That being said, Let Us All Eat Cake is a fantastic cookbook! I tried several recipes, and wow, I couldn't be happier with the results.

Pros:
1. LOTS OF PHOTOGRAPHS:  I want to see what the finished product should look like. This book is full of them. Love this bonus.

2. FLOUR MIX RECIPES! In many gluten-free cookbooks, a recipe will call for gluten-free flour, but they don't always give a recipe to create your own mixture. Now, there's nothing wrong with ready-made mixes, but it's more economical to make your own. Let Us All Eat Cake, has not one, but two recipes for flour mixtures: Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour Blend and Gluten-Free Whole Grain Flour Blend.  

3. CATEGORIZED INFORMATION: The beginning of the book is chock-full of information, including how to stock your gluten-free pantry. There are many helpful tips, from a breakdown of sweetener options to which flavorings and fruits work best with the recipes. For the beginner, there's even a list of equipment, from pans to utensils.

4. SERIOUSLY? VEGAN AND ALLERGY FREE CAKE CHART? Wow. This floored me. There's an easy to read chart listing which recipes are Dairy free, Vegan, Nut Free, and Soy Free. Who does this??? Let Us All Eat Cake is aptly titled.

5. FANTASTIC, TASTY, EASY TO FOLLOW RECIPES: Need I say more?


Cons:

1. I can't stop eating cake.


Summary:

Let Us All Eat Cake is sure to become a dog-eared, stained and worn cookbook. It won't end up tucked away in the basement, crisp pages intact, unmarked, and lonely. I highly recommend this book for anyone, not just those with gluten intolerance. You'll be pleased with the taste and texture of these cakes.



Disclosure of Material connection in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR Part 255: Blogging For Books has provided me a copy of this book in exchange for a review.





Sunday, August 31, 2014

Ribbon of Darkness




Ribbon of Darkness 
by Decadent Kane
Excerpt: She licked her lips and stepped back. His eyebrow shot up in a challenge and he gave her a panty-dropping grin, the kind that said 'go ahead and do it.' Ribbon wasn't sure she was ready to take on Draven North in that sense. Despite the total lack of fear on her body's part. It was a good thing her mind took over. But she leveled his stare nonetheless.
         Blurb: An old family secret draws Ribbon into an Elven world while Draven is forced to find a way to drag her back home to save Christmas magic.


Ribbon of Darkness is far more than your average elven story. Once you delve into the world Decadent Kane developed, you're captured. I admit it--I actually forgot elves weren't real--or are they? This book makes one wonder. 

The main character, Ribbon, is well-developed and believable. Ribbon's adventures evokes a myriad of emotions for the reader: Laughter, sighs, gasps and tingles to name just a few. 

This novella made me smile, gasp and want to read the next in Trouble With Elves Series.





Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Chocolate Aftertaste by Liz Davis


Have you ever agreed to something just to make your family happy? Well that’s pretty much what the main character; Nora  does—at the expense of her own happiness. Luckily, she finds the courage to stand up to her domineering father and refuse to marry Liam, her father’s choice for her husband. Though her father didn’t see it, Liam certainly isn't the guy Nora thought he was when they first met.
Nora has a lot of things to work through in this story—the strongest issue— who exactly is the love of her life? Shane has been a constant through her life, but that doesn’t work out. Ethan, the new interest, certainly supports her in everything she does—a then drop out and goes back to a cancer-ridden and dying ex-girlfriend. Though I can understand (to a point) why he would leave Nora, I despised Ethan. I empathized with Nora, and all she had to endure through the story. Sometimes I wanted to shout at her, slap her, and then hug her. Most important, all through the twists and turns, I enjoyed this story— and those twists and turns never stopped.
This story is about following your heart, self-growth and the most unlikely outcomes in romance. I enjoyed Nora's unexpected decisions, and forward motion of the story. This, like any book I can’t put down gets thumbs up from me.

Pros:
The writing is superb; the editing, formatting, and general layout of the book is well done. Liz Davis is a very visual writer. I pictured every scene in detail. The dialogue through the book is moving, honest and, at times, downright witty. The characters are complex, especially Nora. Though some might see her indecision as a negative thing, I see it as a woman who really needs to work through finding who she is before accepting any kind of happiness. I love how the author shows instead of tells the strengths and weaknesses of Nora. I honestly couldn’t put this book down and read it from cover to cover in one sitting. 

Cons: The only con in the story—and it’s an itty-bitty con—Nora opened a restaurant right out of culinary school. Yes, I know her father’s money helped, but I didn’t think the premise very believable. Despite that, it didn’t harm the story, but I would like to see this part fleshed out a bit more. Maybe have her work more on her own, instead of using her family wealth.