Posted in 4 paws, Review, romance, suspense on April 11, 2013

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Synopsis:

Firefighter Patrick Barre is determined to hide away in the woods of Vermont. He’s content to do his job, remodel his house, and enjoy the company of his arson-detection dog, Midas. Scars from the fire that destroyed his family keep him from letting anyone into his life.

Gini Claremont uses her camera to celebrate the beauty of life. Nature soothes her, while anger is dangerous for Gini–and anyone near her. If she doesn’t guard her emotions, her surroundings could go up in flames. Living alone, keeping busy, and letting her family keep watch on her is best for everyone.

When an arsonist declares war on their town, Patrick and Gini reluctantly band together to sift through the ashes, each holding a secret close to the heart. As the arson escalates, so does their mutual attraction. Will teaming up put out the fires, or start a whole new one?

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book….some romance with a little suspense thrown in is a winner in my book!  Both Gini & Patrick have secrets that they don’t want to get out, or at least not to each other….but in this world all secrets come out at one time or another.  I thought that the development of their relationship was interesting after all how many people do you know that can start fires when they get mad?  I did find that a little unrealistic at first…We first find out she can start fires when mad when she meets Patrick for the first time and he says no to being in the calendar she is creating to raise money for the animal shelter.  Ummm….you have JUST met this guy and him saying no sets you off?  I guess she wasn’t used to someone telling her no.  I thought her character, while well loved by many, still very immature.  Perhaps that was her parents sheltering her because of her gift.  Patrick’s hangup happened when he was a teen, perhaps it was the guilt talking?  But he has to let his guard down and it doesn’t hurt that Gini and the gang don’t let him hide away and become a recluse when not working.  Oh and can I say I want to visit the Northeast now?  The scenery sounds gorgeous and I have never been to Vermont….it would need to be during the summer, I don’t need cold and snow!

April, Gracie and I give it 4 paws and if you get a chance check out the book

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About the Author:

christine By day, I teach fifth grade and inspire young writers. By night, I write everything. Adult romance, young adult romance, science fiction, fantasy, poetry, pieces about nature, pretty much anything that pops into my head. I can’t NOT write. I’ve tried, but The Voices won’t let me. They insist I write their tales.

I first seriously considered writing as a lifestyle choice when I worked as a receptionist in a law office as a teenager. That was a lonely, quiet, boring job. Lawyers look exciting on TV, but the real world of it is about as entertaining as getting a paper cut from a file folder. The phone never rang in that office, and when it did, I had to pull myself out of the coma I’d slipped into and try to get the caller’s name right when I buzzed the lawyers. To pass the time I would start a story, leave it hidden in the day secretary’s desk calendar, and my friend, who worked the days I didn’t, would continue the story. We would volley back and forth for pages and pages. Even then the tales were romances, mostly about a character named Anastasia who had joined a convent, but was secretly in love with the groundskeeper. A direct reflection of our pathetic, dateless weekends, you ask? But of course.

The stories helped us cope. We didn’t do drugs, or drink alcohol, or go clubbing to deal with our social anonymity. No, we wrote, dammit. Today, I tell stories meant to make you laugh, maybe make you sweat, and definitely make you believe in the magic of love.

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This book was provided to me by the author for an honest review.

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Posted in 4 paws, contest, Giveaway, Historical, nonfiction on March 31, 2013

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Synopsis:

Armed with camera and notebook, war was an assignment Croswell Bowen could finally sink his teeth into — until the bombs dropped and the story began.

Croswell Bowen, Betsy Connor Bowen’s father, began writing and taking photographs for Back from Tobruk in 1941 while en route with his unit of American Field Service volunteer ambulance drivers to serve alongside the British Eighth Army in North Africa.

His message took shape not on the front lines of battle but rather in the field dressing stations and hospital ships among the wounded and dying on “war’s reverse supply lines.”

A Catholic pacifist at heart, Bowen found himself united in shared suffering even with his former battlefield enemies. He had seen the sick and wounded from all over the globe treat one another with respect and compassion. “Here, perhaps, lies the hope of the world of tomorrow,” he wrote.

Steaming past the Statue of Liberty back into New York City’s harbor, he felt a new pride in America’s conceptions of freedom and respect for the dignity of man.

“When the great leaders sit down at the peace table,” he wrote of his fellow servicemen, “they might take a lesson from those men.”

But the times were not right for the message between the covers. Bowen talked about peacemaking in a country that was hungry for victory. He advocated world federation when patriotism was at a fever pitch. He had lived and witnessed war’s suffering, but the country did not want to hear about it. Despite the breadth of experience he packed into his memoir, it would go largely unread for some sixty-five years. The times were not right. The rejection letters were unequivocal. No publisher bought the book.

The typescript and his negatives lay for decades in the ancient, moss-roofed Connecticut barn where he put them. I would come upon them from time to time, growing increasingly moldy. Eventually, the barn was sold and the negatives disappeared.

“Growing up,” says daughter Bowen, “my father at times wistfully mentioned his war book.” But fortunately, through the efforts of her sister Lucey, the manuscript had been transferred to the archive Bowen had donated it to, and thirty five years later, she could read through it for the first time and see that it still had something to say. “It’s about the brutality of war, the compassion that springs from shared suffering, and how the vision of world peace through international government might give that suffering meaning.”

But there was more. Croswell Bowen was a writer. He left a copious paper trail. She dove into his reporting, his books, her family papers. What emerged was the shape of a life; its keystone, appreciation for the “common man” whose nobility and resilience he’d seen in those ambulances and field hospitals. Advocating for liberal causes became his mission as a writer. The shape of a biography emerged: Truth Teller, coming out from Potomac in 2013.

Review:

If you had asking me 5-10 years ago to read a non-fiction book I would have looked at you like you had 2 heads!  Non-fiction was not my cup of tea…but as I get older I do like some non-fiction especially if it is written like fiction, where there is a story that flows well.  Back from Tobruk falls into that category.  The recounting of Croswell’s stint as a photographer during WWII helped me see what things were like during that time for the men fighting the war and for those in the countries being attacked.  There are even some of the photos he took during that time in the book.  Photography has come a long way but it is fascinating to see this bit of history.

I give it 4 paws and if you like history, especially tied to war, I think you’ll like this book!

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Praise for Back from Tobruk

“I found Back from Tobruk fascinating. A sensitive young American journalist watching the British at war and play in the Middle East does some of his best reporting when he becomes a stretcher case and is evacuated through various field hospitals, fraternizing with the wounded of both sides. By rescuing her father’s unpublished memoir from undeserved oblivion, writer Betsy Connor Bowen has done us all a favor.”

“As World War II recedes in human memory, we are left largely with statistics, battles, generals, destruction. Back from Tobruk, Croswell Bowen’s memoir of the war in the desert in the summer of 1942—published, at last, more than forty years after his death—tells what the war was like for an American attempting to do his part as ambulance driver and photographer. It is a cultural gem, recording Bowen’s personal awakening to war’s reality at the most human, individual level. Deeply moving.”

Giveaway:

Win the book that the publisher sent to me to review! Open to US residents only and ends April 30th.

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Posted in 4 paws, Review, romance on March 27, 2013

playingthemaestro

Melody Mires has sworn off dating musicians, but when the sexy European conductor Wolf Braun takes over her struggling symphony, her hesitation almost flies out the window with the notes of her flute—until he opens his mouth. Wolf is arrogant, haughty, and seems to have a personal vendetta against Melody. Oh, and he’s her boss. If she wants to keep her job as principal flutist, she’ll have to impress Wolf while simultaneously keeping her undeniable attraction to herself.

Wolf came to America to get as far away from his past as possible, and to recover some of the swagger he had as one of the world’s best maestros. He never imagined being forced to reassess the entire orchestra’s talent—and potentially fire anyone who doesn’t make his cut. Dating the attractive flutist is out of the question, but as their feelings reach a fever pitch, can they risk both their careers for a chance at love?

Review:

It was either while I was reading this book or after that I discovered that Aubrie is a Flutist so her perspective for this novel was from first hand knowledge…after all they say to write what you know!  Melody doesn’t seem to have much experience in dating men, or so it seems from this book.  She seems to always choose fellow musicians and it is evident that isn’t what she needs.  Enter the new conductor, tall dark and handsome!  He seems Melody and while attracted to her, she is the spitting image of the fiancee he just broke up with and assumes Melody has the same temperament as his ex.  He’s a man…so of course his thoughts are wrong!  After some stops and starts, they recognize their attraction for each other and start a relationship.  Of course there are others trying to wreck everything which throws monkey wrenches into everything.

I enjoyed the story but thought that Melody didn’t seem very strong as a woman and individual.  It could be tied to her past experiences which I can relate….if you have bad dating experiences it tends to make you not quite as strong in what you bring to the table.  That aside, Melody did start to grow and realize her worth more as the story continued.  It was also interesting to see how Wolf changed as a man as he spent more time with Melody and with the orchestra.  And what is a story without at least one “evil” character?  It added enough tension to bring Wolf and Melody together despite the odds.

I give it 4 paws and the price is reasonable if you want to check it out for your eReader – just $2.99 on Amazon.

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Information:

Title: Playing the Maestro
Author: Aubrie Dionne
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 190 pages
Release Date: February 2013
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-62266-872-4
Imprint: Bliss

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Posted in 4 paws, Review, romance, suspense on March 26, 2013

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“By day a frog, by night a man, ‘til de next full moon…”

At first, lawyer and ladies’ man Craig Thibodeaux thought Madame LeBieu’s chant was a strange bayou joke. But the voodoo worked and Craig is spending his days as…well, a small green frog. Now he has only two weeks to find love, or his new froggy transformation becomes permanent.

When she receives the anonymous toxic water sample from Bayou Miste, research scientist Elaine Smith decides a trip to the bayou is the perfect excuse to escape the lab, and forget about her cheating ex-fiancé. Then she accidentally stumbles upon Craig’s oh-so-fine naked form, and her science-nerd brain is overrun with naughty thoughts about her new gorgeous night-time bayou guide.

But there’s more to Bayou Miste than voodoo curses and sexy late-night trysts. Dark secrets threaten the delicate ecosystem, and there are those who would do anything to keep those secrets hidden. Even murder…

Review:

Voodoo on the Bayou was a fun read!  It was the classic story of the frog prince meets the Cajuns!  And as someone who has Cajun relatives, I could image the locations and accents in my head (and those accents are important!).  Craig was in  Bayou Miste to try and get some business accomplished but learns that maybe there is more to life than being a lawyer, or at least a lawyer that has no compassion.  Elaine ends up there based on a water sample that was sent to her and a broken engagement.  Elaine learns some things about herself including that you can have passion in a relationship and that not all men are idiots!  There is just enough mystery to make it interesting and maybe not as predictable as one would think.

I give it 4 paws.

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Information:

Title: Voodoo on the Bayou (Cajun Magic)
Author: Elle James
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Length: Digital
Release Date: February 2013
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-62266-879-3
Imprint: Entangled Suspense

 

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