Posted in 4 paws, Blog tour, Review, romance on April 18, 2013

33 Valentines

Synopsis:

All Sophie wants for her thirty-third year is a calendar without a February—and without a Valentine’s Day. The unlucky month haunts her with regrets, loss, and missteps she can never take back. But this year, she’s determined to make a change— and she’s going to start with telling her best friend, Sam, how she feels about him.

But February isn’t making it easy for her. Sam’s got a date with his dream girl, and Sophie finds herself in the hospital. Then there’s her father, who has a surprise that’s about to turn her world upside-down, and her little brother, who doesn’t seem to have any room for her in his life. While everyone else seems to be living life, Sophie is stuck in neutral.

Now, Sophie must come to terms with everything that’s holding her back in order to fight for what she wants before she loses the chance to turn her luck around.

Review:

I was not expecting the heroine to break her arm at the beginning of the book!  It seems to set her up for the rest of the book….how her life isn’t wonderful, how she put a lot of emphasis on how bad the month of February is for her and how she is in love with her best friend but can’t bring herself to tell him.  Sophie is a somewhat complex character…or maybe it is just her flaws?  Sophie is the kind of character that makes you want to shake her to snap her out of it but also comfort her and bring her a cup of tea.  Sophie does grow up over the course of the book and her idiosyncrasies had me wondering what in my life needed to change.

Overall I give it 4 paws.

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smonahanpicA bit about Stephanie Monahan:

Stephanie Monahan received her degree in English Literature and Rhetoric from Binghamton University. It was there, in her first Creative Writing workshop, that she fell in love not only with storytelling but also with the man she would go on to marry. In addition to reading and writing, she is passionate about the New York Giants, finding the perfect cup of chai tea, and her dog. She is a firm believer in the healing powers of a good night’s sleep and British pop music. Born and raised in upstate New York, Stephanie now lives in central Massachusetts with her husband.

Website * Twitter * Facebook * Goodreads * Amazon * B&N

You can pick up the eBook from Amazon or B&N for $3.99, not a bad price!

 

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Posted in 4 paws, contest, Giveaway, Review, romance, suspense on April 16, 2013

Synopsis:

When Graciela Merced fumbles a package she’s delivering for her mysterious and sexy boss, Gene Hardy, she finds out he’s more than just a wealthy photographer. Prepared to lose her job, she confronts him…and ends up embroiled in the tricky takedown of a powerful drug cartel pushing cocaine into the heart of New York City.

Marco Valencia is an undercover agent, working against time—and against Gene Hardy—to crack Angel’s Drug Cartel before the story makes it to the press. When Hardy’s luscious Venezuelan messenger literally falls at his feet, he has no idea just how well he’ll get to know the beauty or how difficult it will be to drop her.

Hardened by experience, Gene Hardy takes his undercover work seriously, and charges a hefty price. When Grace makes a careless mistake and hurls him back into the visage of Marco Valencia, he must either fire her, or involve her in a twisted plot that could kill them all.

As the two men battle over their feelings for Graciela—and their attraction to each other—one thing becomes perfectly clear. Grace is much more than just the messenger.

Review:

When you read the synopsis above you don’t necessarily realize this is a VERY spicy/steamy book!  So just putting that out there right off the bat, if you prefer tame sex scenes, probably shouldn’t read this book.  But if you like to spice it up a bit then definitely consider this book.  With all that said, I started reading the book and the first chapter was really good…then something happened during chapters 2 and maybe 3, it seemed like something was missing or the story jumped ahead and I wasn’t on the same page.  However, once I got through those two chapters the rest of the book flowed nicely.  There is a great back story/plot that held my attention probably because it was suspenseful!  When I got to some of those aforementioned steamy scenes, it was interesting trying to picture it in my head….should I have even admitted to that?!

We give it 4 paws

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About the author:

ninetteNinette Swann is a journalist turned novelist who writes her books from sunny Florida in between parenting, freelancing and editing. She writes all genre of romance, including contemporary, thriller, suspense, and dystopian. Her books include Hit and Stay, Body Combat, Finding Home, Just the Messenger and Direct Combat.

Blog *Facebook *Twitter @ninetteswann *Goodreads

Buy the Book:

Amazon * All Romance Books * Barnes & Noble * No Boundries Press

The Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Posted in 4 paws, Fantasy, Review, romance, suspense on April 14, 2013

The Haret Blog Banner

the haret cover

Synopsis:

Felicitas’ life is thrown into chaos when she begins to have dreams of Raine Zadock. Not only has she never met him, but the intimate night in her dreams shows a positive result on her pregnancy test. She doesn’t dare tell her controlling father, Melvin Rebold, the town’s most prominent Baptist minister or her passive mother Sharon. The only person she can confide in is her grandmother Rosie, however her father forbids her to have anything to do with her, claiming she’s insane and speaks with the dead. But, before Felicitas can confess her secret, she mysteriously vanishes. During the search to find her, news of her pregnancy surfaces along with a cryptic Nocturnal Journal that cast an accusing finger on a secretive stranger.

A week later, she is found wandering the woods but with no memory of where she has been. An angry Detective, her boyfriend and her parents are furious with her and of course do not believe her story of becoming pregnant in a dream.

After her father threatens to send her off to County Mental Health, she runs away to her grandmother’s house, all the while haunted by her father’s continual warnings about the woman. True to her father’s description, Rosie seems a bit eccentric and shares wild mystical tales of dreams and other dimensions. Together Felicitas and her grandmother trace their roots back ten generations and make a disturbing discovery that someone very close to her is not who they seem.

Excerpt:

“You keep torches in your trees?”

He didn’t answer. Instead he held the flame high lighting the grove of ghostly looking trees. Their massive gnarled trunks grew within inches of each other creating a large circle impossible for anyone or anything to enter. The thick branches void of any leaves entwined with the boughs from the neighboring tree creating an impenetrable barricade. An ancient well sat in the center protected by the trees.  A fog hugged the ground surrounding the well. Water spilled softly over the top like a fountain. Esther realized what Reed meant by no one being able to fall into this well. It was impossible to get anywhere near it.

“What is this place?”

“I don’t know.”

“What do you mean you don’t know? You have to know, you brought me here.”

“I don’t know what it is though. I have my ideas, but….”

“What do you mean you have your ideas? Do you think it has something to do with Taz disappearing?”

“I don’t know.”

Esther was becoming impatient. Her quest for answers superseded any crush or would-be relationship. Now was not the time to be charming. She would grab him around the neck and choke the answers from him if need be.

“You do too know. You thought it was important enough to check out. I want to know why. Tell me what you’re thinking.”

Reed continued to hold the torch in his hand. It lit his face, outlining his strong features. Usually Esther would be nervous in his presence; tonight it was Reed that seemed anxious.

He stepped up close forcing her against the trunk of a tree his face directly in front of hers. She swallowed hard, taken back by the unintended intimacy of the moment.

“Promise me you will not tell anyone about this place.”

Emotion choked the voice from her throat. She managed a hoarse whisper.

“I promise.”

“I think it’s some sort of gateway.”

She swallowed hard.

“Gateway to where?”

Reed bit down hard clenching his jaw. “I know it sounds crazy, but I think it is a passageway to the afterlife.”

A cold chill passed through Esther as terror invaded her. She glanced at the vapor hovering near the well and the gnarled trees standing vigil and she began to tremble. This was too much. She wanted to turn and run as fast as she could, removing herself as far from this bizarre place as possible. Instead she grabbed Reed’s hand.

“Okay, I am scared to death right now…I may pass out at any minute.”

Reed’s lips gave way to a smile.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t bring you here to scare you.”

“Then why did you being me here?”

Reed moved in pinning her closer against the tree. He placed his mouth close to her ear and whispered as if he feared being heard.

“To see if there was water. When there is water there is activity…..it means they have come.”

Esther wanted to scream and run like a banshee through the woods. Reeds words made her legs shake uncontrollably. She wished she were anywhere but where she was, yet the intimacy of the moment made a fire burn in her belly.

“Who are they?” she whispered back

She didn’t know why, but his next words chilled her to the bone, and for some reason she wished she had not asked the question. It’s better not to know some things, because sometimes with certain knowledge comes great misfortune.  Yet, she had asked; and, he had whispered back into her ear. She never could have dreamed that the two words he spoke would change her life forever.

“The Harets.”

 

Review:

I really enjoyed this book.  I wasn’t expecting the fantasy portion (I know, I need to read the synopsis better, but it sounded good!) but it added a nice twist to the story.  The characters all seemed realistic and it was nice to see Felicitas’ father as a somewhat bad guy for a minister.  I like how Felicitas stood up for herself and stuck to her principles.  Her friend Esther seemed somewhat gullible, but that is what made her character interesting.  I have to say I had no idea where the story was going to go or how it was going to end, so that was a bit of a surprise.  I’m not sure if I loved or hated how it ended and part of me wants another book to see how the story continues!

I give the story 4 paws and suggest checking it out next time you are looking for something to read.

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About the Author:

denisedaisyJoining the ranks of best-selling authors, Denise Daisy is described as one of the purest storytellers of all time; pulling of romance, suspense and a touch of fantasy, all in the same piece. Denise’s novels include, The Secrets of Moonshine, Haytham The Secret in the Rubble, both books are a part of her popular Moonshine Series. The third installment The Storyteller’s Secret is due out in 2013.The Haret is the first book in The Haret Series, and, Thirteen for Dinner is a stand-alone suspense thriller.She lives in San Diego with her youngest daughter Journey. She free-lances as a hairstylist and make-up artist. She is very active in the community, directing and teaching for the national CYT, children’s theater. During her free time she enjoys hanging out with all four of her daughters, Autumn, Brittany, Kendall and Journey or taking a sail with her real life leading man Scott Dazey.

Website * Facebook * Goodreads * Pinterest * GooglePlus

Buy the book here

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

firefly moutain

 

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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Buy:

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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.

Website * Facebook

 

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

tobruk-book-cover

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.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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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

Voodoo_rev_500x750

“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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