Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Key of Knowledge - Featured Author Review

book cover art for Key of Knowledge by Nora Roberts Key of Knowledge
Key Trilogy #2
by Nora Roberts
Genre: Paranormal, Romance

     Dana Steele is a woman on a quest. She must find the second in a set of three keys to unlock the box holding the souls of three goddess sisters. The pressure is on since Mallory has not only already found the first key but also snagged a boyfriend in the process. But Dana is dealing with different circumstances. A new key, a new clue, starting her own business and her ex-boyfriend thrown into the works just complicates matters even further. How is she supposed to concentrate on the matters at hand when his just walking into a room is distracting to her?

     I was fairly upset to find that this was the second book in a trilogy. I knew I had wanted to feature Nora Roberts this month. When I packed to come visit my friend, like I do every year after the holidays, I just grabbed four Nora Roberts books off my bookshelf at random. I was highly tempted to run into town and visit the local used book store just to substitute this week's book selection with another. But I didn't get very far into the story before I was hooked and decided to just go ahead and read it.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Shot in the Dark - Pick of the Month Review

Shot in the Dark
by Jennifer Conner
Genre: Romance, Suspense,
   Romantic Suspense

     Devan Burke was the kind of man every woman hates. A player of the worst kind, never open to any attachments or even bothering to stay the night after romantic interludes. When the police detective is injured in the line of duty, his mood darkens even more turning to whiskey and pain killers after a cold-hearted woman shows distaste at his marred flesh from the gun shot wound in his leg. Every night on his way home from the squad room, where he is on desk duty until he can lose the cane that aids him to walk, he stops at the Naughty Latte where he orders a coffee, ogles the bikini clad barista, and over time learns that she is more than a warm body and can actually hold intelligent conversations.

     When the coffee shop is broken into within minutes of Devan's leaving it, he feels guilty that he should have been there, or that he should have seen the thief watching the building. He takes Luci, the coffee server, under his wing and into protective custody. Sparks fly between the two when they are unexpectedly thrown together and months of harmless flirting begins to grow into something much more substantial.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Remember Me - Saturday Short Review

book cover art for Remember Me by Serenity Woods Remember Me
by Serenity Woods
Genre: Romance

     Hamish was injured in the line of duty in Afghanistan. After encountering a bomb he lost part of his leg and the last 15 years worth of memories. He returns home to recuperate and hopefully regain his memory. He runs into the girl he'd met during his last leave. While he has no memory of her, his brother informs him that they had been very close but broke up for reasons Hamish didn't share with him. Even knowing they had broken up, Hamish still finds himself drawn to Rose. Have they been given a second chance at love?

     A nice little short story that can easily be read within an hour or two that mom can relax with while the kids are busy with other activities on the weekend. Editing errors were fairly frequent but not too annoying.

I give it 3 star review graphic 3 stars.

Friday, February 22, 2013

QR Code Killer - Fun Read Friday Review

book cover art for QR Code Killer by SHanna Hatfield QR Code Killer
by Shanna Hatfield
Genre: Romantic Suspense

     Mad Dog Weber is a tough as nails detective hot on the trail of a psychopath named Zeus. Suddenly the tables are turned and the psychopath starts hunting the detective, using QR codes to taunt the authorites. Mad Dog, known to her family as Maddie, returns home for a sabbatical while recovering from a nasty knife wound. While visiting the family ranch, she finds the one thing that turns a hard-core detective to jelly ... a well muscled ranch hand. Maddie worries that the vendetta Zeus is carrying out will cause her new love to leave the ranch and move on to safer pastures.

     This book isn't your typical romance. Both parties involved are fairly socially inept and tend to blurt out their feelings for the other without meaning to. I found it quite comical while they were both amazed that their confession didn't scare the other one off. If nothing else, this caused the relationship to move along quickly, avoiding the whole "he loves me, he loves me not" scenario and yet they didn't just fall right into bed upon realizing their common attraction.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Divine Evil - Featured Review

Book cover art of Divine Evil by Nora Roberts Divine Evil
by Nora Roberts
Genre: Romance, Suspense,
   Romantic Suspense

     It is quite ironic really. I picked Roberts for the featured author this month because it seemed fitting to review romance novels during the month which contains Valentine's Day. This was the first book that I randomly selected from my bookshelf in preparation for this month's reviews and it is not the typical romance novel.

     Clare Kimball has fled from the little "bo-hunk" town that she grew up in, become a successful sculptor in New York City, yet decides to move back into her childhood home for a sabbatical. Her brother's best friend had been a trouble maker while they were growing up and Clare is surprised to find that Cameron is now the town's sheriff. This isn't half as shocking to her as her reaction to seeing him again as he has aged well, like a fine wine. But evil resides in their small town, it has for generations, but as it grows more powerful it has become more convinced of it's invincibility and come out of the shadows, getting bolder and more noticeable in town.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Somewhere in Time - Pick of the Month Review

Somewhere in Time
by Barbara Bretton
Genres: Science Fiction, Romance,
   Paranormal, Historical Romance

     Emilie Crosse is a historian who specializes in fashion, making her living mainly as a consultant in movie wardrobe departments. She is thrown for a loop when her ex-husband shows up at her door asking her to authenticate the civil war uniform that has been in his family for generations. After a night of passion, she tries to leave it as a one-night stand but Zane has other ideas. They manage to find their way to a time warp that is worthy of Bermuda Triangle theories and are transported back in time. Emilie feels instantly at home in the era while Zane is out of his element for once. As can be expected, the experience brings them closer as they learn to live within the technologically deprived year they are stuck in and attempt to find their way back home.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Marrying Man - Saturday Short Review

The Marrying Man
by Barbara Bretton
Genre: Romance

     Cat's world of 6 kids, a menagerie of assorted pets, and a career as a best selling writer is the epitome of chaos, even with a live in housekeeper. She admits that she has the organizational skills of a fruit fly. Yet when her manager sets up a meeting with a time management expert, Cat fights the idea tooth and nail. The only things that help the clock watcher's cause is the fact that he's gorgeous, it's Thanksgiving, and Cat cannot help but adopt strays who would otherwise spend holidays alone.

     The characters are pretty well developed for a short story. Readers are given a peek into the past of both main characters to give us a hint of what is at work in their lives to create the current situation that they find themselves in. The story is fun and light-hearted without all the usual annoying pitfalls that romances have a tendency to fall into.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Slow Hands - Fun Read Friday Review

book cover art for Slow Hands by Leslie Kelly Slow Hands
by Leslie Kelly
#1 in The Wrong Bed series
Genre: Romance

     Socialite Maddy Turner spends a large amount of money to buy a gigolo during a bachelor auction that was organized as a charity benefit. She didn't bid on him for herself but so that her step-mother could not have him. But what Maddy hadn't expected was the strong chemistry or the fact that due to a printing error in the program, her prize was not the European gigolo she expected but an all American, down to earth, paramedic.

     This is not the type of book that I like to review on my blog. While I don't review a lot of children's books I do like to keep my posts within the family friendly category. While I used to enjoy steamy romances, I guess that I've become more of a prude in my old age. Maybe it is all the Victorian era romances that I read ... or maybe that is why I enjoy the older books now. On the rare occasion that I find I have mistakenly downloaded a book that closely borders on erotica, I generally don't review it. However, it may also serve as a warning to those readers like me, who aren't comfortable with the racier novels to take heed while downloading books. As much as I love Amazon, I really wish that they were a bit better about stating each book's genre(s) to avoid such surprises.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Waking Up Married - Review

book cover art of Waking Up Married by Mira Lyn Kelly Waking Up Married
by Mira Lyn Kelly
Genres: Romance, Romantic Comedy

     Happy Valentine's Day! In honor of the holiday I've got a Harlequin romance for you. Harlequin is one of the most renowned and well loved publisher of romance novels.

     What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. At least this is what Megan Scott is hoping when she wakes up after her cousin's bachelorette party next to a hunky stranger who is apparently her new husband. While she has little to no memory of the night before, her new husband remembers every little detail, including WHY he married Megan and isn't ready to agree to the request for a quickie divorce to go with their quickie wedding.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Birthright - Featured Review

Book cover art of Birthright by Nora Roberts Birthright
by Nora Roberts
Genres: Romance, Suspense,
   Romantic Suspense

     Callie Dunbrook is an archaeologist. She is passionate about her work and loves digging up the past, literally. While on her latest dig site, she is forced to deal with her own past. The anthropologist assigned for this job is her hot super hunky ex-husband Jake. Callie prefers to hold onto her anger towards him rather than admit that she still goes weak at the knees with the mere sight of him. As if this wasn't enough stress in her life, a strange woman shows up at Callie's motel room claiming to be her mother. Callie finds out that not only had her parents never told her that she was adopted, she was in fact the baby that had been kidnapped from this small town as an infant. As Callie digs into her past she turns up a black market kidnapping/adoption ring that someone wants left buried and is willing to kill in order to deter Callie from uncovering more information.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Life of Thomas Edison - Review

book cover art of American Legends: The Life of Thomas Edison by Charles River Editors American Legends: The Life of Thomas Edison
by Charles Rivers Editors
Genre: Biography

     I saw this on Amazon as a free book some time ago and downloaded it to review today ... the day that this great inventor was born. I'm not much of a biography reader, but I do like to shake things up a bit and review one from time to time to add a little mixture to the genres that are reviewed on my site. As far as biographies go, this was pretty good. I learned lots of new information that I had not known about Edison before. The first half of the book was not at all dry or boring. The second half of the book is merely a list of his patents which shows that the man was a genius and there was no aspect of technology that he was unwilling to tackle. But it is just a list of his accomplishments and as such lacks much of a plot ;)

     With only about 50 pages of actual reading, this book is a nice way to honor a man who shaped our lives by perfecting the technology that laid down the foundation for many of the gadgets we use today.

I give it 3 star review graphic 3 stars.

Summer on the Mountain - Pick of the Month Review

book cover art Summer on the Mountain by Rosemarie Naramore Summer on the Mountain
by Rosemarie Naramore
Genre: Romance

     Summer loves the outdoors. The closest she has gotten to spending time indulging this passion is a camping trip when she was a child and the landscapes that she hangs at the art gallery that she works at. Gwendolyn, Summer's boss, is not a woodsy person. Not at all. Not one little iota. In honor of Gwendolyn's husband's 65th birthday, they had planned a trip to the family mountain retreat that her husband had grown up in. Gwendolyn botched it badly, not even lasting a week in the rough setting. As a peace offering to her husband, Gwendolyn sends Summer to stay at the cabin, asking her to paint a landscape to remind her husband of his beloved area. Summer jumps at the chance, even though she has suffered from painter's block for close to a year and doesn't actually know anything about surviving in the wild.

     A good romance needs conflict. I realize that. All that I normally ask is that this required conflict is more than the often used "he is talking to another female so therefore he MUST be cheating" scenario. This book does deliver that new and fresh conflict. However, I found it really quite stupid. Summer had unknowingly made a mistake, taking the advice of someone she thought was more knowledgeable than herself in woodsy things. She uses this as her excuse for fleeing the mountain, without leaving any word or explanation to the hot mountain man that she had met during her vacation. She convinces herself that she just does not belong in his world and therefore, his life.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Fire Country - Fun Read Friday Review

Fire Country
by David Estes
Country Saga #1
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult,

     Estes' provides us with a dystopian world that is truly hell on earth. Even in the winter the temperatures are hot and nothing but cacti grow. The very air they breathe is poisonous and few people reach the age of 35. To keep the tribe populated, girls are forced to mate, with randomly selected males, at the age of 16 and have children every 3 years. They are referred to as Bearers and have little purpose other than being baby factories and raising children. 15 year old Siena faces her coming of age with dread and dreams of a better life.

     As one of David's beta readers, I received an advanced copy of this last year. I can still recall how horrified I was at this world that Estes has created. I remember telling him that I suppose that would be a compliment to a dystopian plot. Imagine the worst possible life that you could endure and multiply it by a hundred! Yet in classic Estes style, if nothing else, we are encouraged to dream. No matter how oppressed his characters are they still have hope for a better future. They still believe that life CAN and WILL get better. That a handful of youths can make a difference if they don't lose faith in themselves.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Reunion - Featured Review

book cover art for Reunion by Nora Roberts Reunion
by Nora Roberts
Genre: Romance

     Roberts gives us two stories within this book. Both plots follow the theme of a couple who had broken up, never got over each other, and meet years later to find the chemistry is still strong. However with most break-ups, someone had gotten hurt, sometimes there is pain on both sides of a break up, and the couples have some issues to deal with before they can be blissfully happy together.

     A basic romance, hardly the best book I've read by Nora Roberts, but also not the worst book that I've ever read in my life. While the characters are charming and the obstacles they must over come aren't the usual annoying issues typical in romances, I'm afraid that this book doesn't rise above the status of mediocre. At least not in my opinion.

I give it 2 star review graphic 2 stars.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Pride and Prejudice - Pick of the Month Review

book cover art Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
Genres: Classic, Romance,
   Historical Romance

     Before I found Goodreads and their book groups, my daughter and some of our friends had formed a book group on facebook. When picking what we would read next, I was outvoted on this book. I mean, yeah, I'd heard it was good and did want to read it, but Pride and Prejudice was not high on my list of priorities. I was enthralled. Meg Ryan's character had it right in You've Got Mail. While discussing this book she claims that she gets swept away in the language. Our reading group had a very slow pace of only 5 chapters per week, as we all work and have other things going on. I could not put it down after only 5 chapters, there was no way. I snuck ahead to the 6th chapter on that first day of reading. And then just one more chapter. Maybe one more. Several hours later I had finished the book and was starting it over, fully prepared, and wanting to read it a second time - five chapters at a time, with my book group.

     Mr. Darcy is a typical English chap of fortune - well bred, well mannered, and tight-lipped. He is assumed to be a pompous boor when actually, he is a bit shy around strangers and not very good at small talk. Some of this is due to his pride. He feels he would have nothing in common with those in a lower social station than himself.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

February Featured Author - Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts

  October 10, 1950
Main genres:
  Romance, Fantasy, Suspense

     Born Eleanor Marie Robertson is best known by the pen names Nora Roberts or J.D. Robb. She has also written under the pseudonyms of Jill March and Sarah Hardesty. The first author to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame, Nora has written more than 209 romance novels! It is only fitting to honor this author as the featured author during the month of love and romance.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

February Monthly Picks

     Welcome to February - the month of love and romance. I can't NOT review romances during the month of Valentine's Day but never fear! I will sprinkle in some books with a mixture of genres this month for those readers who prefer a little substance to their romance books. As always, these are currently* free ebooks on Amazon, Pride and Prejudice is within the public domain and is always free. Shot in the Dark is currently available for download on Goodreads, you can try looking there if it is no longer free on Amazon.

book cover art Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Historical Romance
My Review
book cover art Summer on the Mountains by Rosemarie Naramore
Contemporary Romance
My Review
book cover art for Somewhere in Time by Barbara Bretton
Paranormal Romance
My Review
Shot in the Dark by Jennifer Conner
Romantic Suspense
My Review

     *These were free ebooks on Amazon when I published this post, but as with all books on Amazon their prices fluctuate often so please double check the price before downloading!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Runaway Heart - Fun Read Friday

Runaway Heart
by Claudy Conn
Genres: Historical Romance, Romance

     Poor Chelsea had been orphaned twice. Left in her beloved uncle's care after losing both of her parents, it was an equally large blow to lose her uncle and for her guardianship to be passed to her vain aunt. Chelsea flees from school and finds that her godmother wishes to chaperone her debutante season and is quickly surrounded by interested eligible men. Chelsea, of course, falls for the man that isn't easily attained.

     The author is so faithful to her historical setting that it was quite easy for me to feel as though I was reading a classic novel written during the late 1800's until I ran across torrid love scenes that would never be found in Victorian novels. More that just romantic fluff in a historical setting there is also a bit of action and intrigue as well. Very entertaining and highly recommended, especially if historical romances are your cup of tea.

I give it 4 star review graphic 4 stars!