Posted in Idaho, romance on January 22, 2009

Written by Lani Diane Rich
Published 11/08 by Forever, Hachette Book Group USA
ISBN: 978-0446618250

You don’t have to be in the big city to find love
4 out of 5 stars

Lani Diane Rich is a best-selling author, with titles such as: Crazy in Love, The Comeback Kiss, Maybe Baby, Ex and the Single Girl, and Time Off for Good Behavior. She resides in New York with her family.

“Wish You Were Here” starts off with Freya Daly traveling from Boston to Deer Creek Idaho in an attempt to purchase a run down camp for her father and his business. The owner is Nate Broday, who is a chef and father of a 12 year old daughter, Piper. He inherited the camp when his father died and all he knows is that he isn’t supposed to sell the camp until he finds a purple tackle box. He doesn’t know what is in it or why it is so important, but he feels he must honor his father’s wishes.

What Nate doesn’t know is that while Freya may appear to be a hardened business woman, she is so much more than that. He especially discovers this when her cabin is on fire and when she is being held hostage by his crazy Uncle Malcolm who would think nothing of shooting her to further his own agenda.

As most romance type novels go, this does end with the boy getting the girl but only after she leaves him in Idaho to go home and a few other mishaps along the way.

I had never read anything by Lani Diane Rich and wasn’t sure what to expect. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and considered it lighter reading than say a mystery or thriller novel. The characters seemed more real than other books with real problems and lives that I could understand and relate to even though my life may not be exactly the same. I could also relate to Freya’s life as a corporate executive and how that can impact your personal life. I liked the interaction with her father especially when she found out that she was passed over for a promotion within the family business.

I think most anyone would enjoy this book and if they can’t relate to the story line at least understand it and appreciate the situations that the characters are in at this junction of their life.

Reviewed by Leslie Storey for RebeccasReads (1/09)

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Posted in Uncategorized on January 9, 2009

Written by Ron Hall and Denver Moore
Published March 11th 2007 by W Publishing Group
ISBN 978-0849919107
Book Description: A dangerous, homeless drifter who grew up picking cotton in virtual slavery.
An upscale art dealer accustomed to the world of Armani and Chanel.
A gutsy woman with a stubborn dream.
A story so incredible no novelist would dare dream it.

It begins outside a burning plantation hut in Louisiana and an East Texas honky-tonk and, without a doubt, in the heart of God. It unfolds in a Hollywood hacienda, an upscale New York gallery, a downtown dumpster and a Texas ranch.

Gritty with pain and betrayal and brutality, this true story also shines with an unexpected, life-changing love.

I wasn’t sure what to expect before I started reading this book. It is primarily set in Fort Worth Texas, close to where I live, so the landmarks were very familiar which is always a nice touch. Once I started reading the book, it took me a bit to get used to the chapters alternating between the two authors, Ron and Denver. There was a good introduction as to who these guys were and how they grew up and what they experienced from life.

The chapters aren’t long, some are only one page, which made the chapters fly by and very easy to read. There is some mention of religion and the author finding his way back from a life filled with a focus on possessions and money to one that included helping others.

Overall I really enjoyed the book. It is a great true story of how if you just reach out a little and trust that you can forge a great friendship. It also teaches you that live is a lot more than just possessions or money.

Posted in chick lit on December 31, 2008

Lies will come back to bite you
3 out of 5 stars

“Live a Little” is the third book by Lisa Green. Her previous books include “Is That a Moose in Your Pocket?” and “Paging Aphrodite”.

Raquel Rose is a wife and mother of two teenagers when a routine visit to the doctor turns into a terminal cancer diagnosis. Raquel goes through a range of emotions when she is given the news and her family is shocked as well. They don’t want to believe it and life is not quite the same.

Then a month later the doctor tells her it has all been a mistake and she is not the Raquel Rose that has breast cancer. After riding the emotional roller coaster she is back on it again but this time knowing that she is fine and how does she tell everyone that it was all a mistake? She tries to give her family the good news over a nice dinner, but they don’t believe her. She is flabbergasted and doesn’t know what to do to convince them that she really is ok.

So she doesn’t. After all, she is getting the royal treatment from the family that took her for granted…or so she thought. Raquel goes along with the deception and while living a lie manages to find her true self in the process and that she isn’t just a housewife and mother, that she is inspirational and a true artist.

I had the full range of emotions regarding this book, I went from hating it in the first 30 pages (so much I wasn’t sure I was going to finish the book) to thinking that the character deserved what she got to admiration for admitting the truth in the end.

While I know that this is a work of fiction, I am a breast cancer survivor and know what women go through when diagnosed which is probably why I hated parts of the book, primarily Raquel’s deception. While it is a fictional character, Raquel had people feeling sorry for her when there was nothing wrong. She took advantage of the situation just for a little fame. Then when Raquel’s friends and family found out that she really didn’t have cancer, I felt like she deserved what came her way. In the end, she made amends and I felt like the story tied up nicely and it all happened for a reason and perhaps she realized that you don’t have to tell lies to get attention, after all it will come back and haunt you.

Reviewed for RebeccasReads (11/08)

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Posted in Uncategorized on December 30, 2008

Always wanted to be a treasure hunter? Now you can

Share image! Enter today!

Here is mine for a good chuckle

Congratulations Treasure Hunter Leslie!

Your quest is for the Thirteen Treasures of the Island of Britain.

You’ll be guided on your journey from Texas by that legendary treasure hunter, the sexy Archie Gates!

“I’m not afraid of the dark,” Leslie snapped. How the hell did he know what she was thinking? And why had they bothered to stop now when they were so close to the prize?

Archie Gates chuckled, the sound low and sexier than she wanted it to be as he made himself comfortable on the uneven ground and leaned back against the base of a coconut tree where they’d stopped to set up camp for the night. “You should be. The the Volscians assassins are out there.”

“There’s no such thing as the the Volscians assassins,” she tossed back. “That’s a ridiculous ghost story made up by book-burners like yourself in order to scare others away. I need the Thirteen Treasures of the Island of Britain to close Pandora’s box and send the aliens back to Mars. If you’re too afraid to get it for me like you agreed, I’ll just do it myself.” She pushed to her feet.

The sinister smile that spread across his face stopped her feet and only irritated her more. “You go right ahead, professor. Dressed in that pink tutu like you are, I guarantee the Thirteen Treasures of the Island of Britain’s the last thing those savages’ll be focused on. Last I heard, they were looking for a new queen.” His scorching gaze ran over her. “Come to think of it, you look like you fit the bill.”

Her blood warmed at the approval she saw in his cat-like green eyes. Then she thought about the guillotines they’d stumbled across and the sinister mating ritual Archie Gates had babbled about earlier in the day. She glanced toward the dark forest surrounding them and felt her anxiety leap into her throat. Were those beady eyes watching them from the dark?

“That’s right, professor,” Archie Gates said in an arrogant voice, like a man who knows he’s won the World Series. “I think you’re safer here with me, too. Looks like your only option is to scoot on over here and lay right down where I can make sure Hannibal Lector doesn’t get you in the middle of the night.”

Her eyes snapped back to focus on his. “I’m not sleeping with you.”

That suggestive grin slid across his face, the one that did weird things to her pulse. “Who said anything about sleeping?”

Posted in Uncategorized on November 10, 2008

Publisher – iUniverse Inc

The Power of Love – 4 out of 5 stars

The author, Dr. Paul Greenbaum, is a chiropractor and acupuncturist and is in the process of writing several other books about healing.

This is a true story based on a specific time in Dr. Greenbaum’s life beginning in 1985. He had recently lost his dog, Big Pal, and was visiting a friend to go camping, when this friend showed him puppies that lived next door that were not being cared for, or at least not very well. His friend encouraged him to take one so it would have a better life. Paul resisted, but something told him to go ahead and take the female puppy, Vicious, home with him. Vicious was misnamed; she wasn’t vicious at all, in fact she was very scared of everything around her, as Paul quickly realized on the car ride home.

Eventually the puppy was renamed Dobie and what followed for the next 13 years was nothing short of a miracle for Paul. Dobie overcame her fears and phobias and Paul learned what it meant to truly love someone. While he helped to heal Dobie, Dobie returned the favor and helped Paul heal and learn how to truly love.

This isn’t a long book; it’s only 127 pages, but what is in those pages had an impact on this reader. I have always loved dogs, and know that there is something to be said for the unconditional love that a dog shows for its owners. This is one of my favorite quotes from this book and I think that it sums up what the author is trying to convey:

“Love is more powerful than death. In fact, love transcends death. When the sacred chord is struck that opens two hearts to pure love, it matters not if they’re together for the full cycle of a lifetime or for just an instant. It is something that exists for eternity.”

If you love dogs or have a special connection to any animal, I recommend this book. You will appreciate your pet even more and perhaps create the same type of bond that Paul had with Dobie.

Reviewed for RebeccasReads (6/08)

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Posted in Uncategorized on November 10, 2008

Publisher – Poisoned Pen Press

Politicians are like piñatas, sometimes you have to beat them up to get what you want.

4 out of 5 stars

Greasing the Piñata is the third in the Cape Weather series by author Tim Maleeny.

The players:
Cape Weathers – former reporter turned PI
Sally – an Asian orphan that was raised and trained by the Hong Kong Triads and is a deadly force.
Rebecca Lowry – the Senator’s daughter that is searching for her missing brother and father
Chief Inspector Oscar Garcia – Mexican policeman, or is he?
Luis Cordon and Antonio Salinas – heads of opposing drug cartels in Mexico

In this installment, PI Cape Weathers is hired by a former Senator’s daughter, Rebecca Lowry, to find her brother and father. Her father disappeared a few days after her brother went missing. The news isn’t good, both her father and brother were found dead (and missing body parts) in Mexico and under suspicious circumstances.

What follows next is a web of lies and deceit by politicians, heads of drug cartels and even the Mexican police inspector. What is their plan? What are they trying to cover up?

While not having read the first two books of this series I wasn’t sure if I would be able to keep up with the characters or understand their background. The author did a great job of filling in the background on the characters so that you were drawn into their lives within the story and could only wonder what more there was that hasn’t been revealed. Cape Weathers has a dry sense of humor that almost gets him killed several times, but he manages to sidestep that danger just in the nick of time. Sally is definitely a deadly force not to be reckoned with if you wanted to stay alive. The heads of the drug cartels have their own agenda and wouldn’t mind taking over the other’s territory.

This is an intriguing political thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what could possibly happen next and who was behind the deaths of the Senator and his son? Would they be brought to justice? And if so, what sort of justice? Of course the twist near the end of the story was not expected and that just brought up more questions for this reader.

This is definitely a must read for those that enjoy a story that has so many twists and turns that you feel like you are on a rollercoaster and aren’t sure what is around the next corner.

Reviewed for RebeccasReads (9/08)

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Posted in Greece, Mykonos, mystery on November 10, 2008

Publisher – Poisoned Pen Press
Even beautiful places are not exempt from murder
4 out of 5 stars

Murder in Mykonos is the first novel for author Jeffrey Siger but he is no stranger to Greece and the island of Mykonos. He was a resident for 25 years and is able to translate that knowledge and his personal experience of the island into his novel.

The story starts with a beautiful young woman arriving on the island to enjoy the island and revel in the all night partying that Mykonos is known for. She is only able to enjoy the nightlife for a few days before she disappears with no fanfare.

Also new to the island is newly appointed Chief of Police is Andreas Kaldis. He is a former homicide detective from Athens but has been moved to the island in a political power play. He isn’t thrilled to be here but does his best to improve the law enforcement on the island. However, he arrives on the island in time to be caught up in a mystery that spans 20 years upon the discovery of the young woman found dead along with bones from at least 3 other victims.

Then another young woman disappears and this time someone is looking for her: her mother and her uncle, Deputy Minister Renatis. However, time is running out and they must find the killer before he strikes again. Will they find her before he follows through and kills again?

I thought for a first book that the author did a great job of pulling me into the storyline and throwing in just enough suspects that I was not able to figure out the killer might be and even at the end it took some deciphering of the conversations to figure out who the killer was since he was not named. This may have been the only part that I didn’t like because I had to go back and figure out who it was based on some information that was provided.

As I got closer to the end I definitely couldn’t put it down, it had me hooked and reading faster because I wanted to know who was killing the women, especially since he had been doing it for 20 years and had gotten away with it thus far. I don’t know that I liked that one of the police investigators was involved and knew what was going on but that is what makes a story, intrigue and underhandedness.

If you like mysteries and thrillers you will love Murder in Mykonos.

Reviewed for RebeccasReads (9/08)

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Posted in Eliza Blake, kidnapping, mystery on November 10, 2008

Publisher – Harper Collins
Life can be turned upside down in a moment
4 out of 5 stars

Author Mary Jane Clark is back with her latest novel involving Eliza Blake, the host of a morning news show on KEY News. Eliza has lost her husband and it is now just her and her seven-year old daughter, Janie. The day starts off as a normal day, Janie is off to camp for the day, Eliza is off to work, and the housekeeper, Carmen, is doing her daily chores. All is going well until one of Carmen’s rituals backfires and she is taken against her will and forced to take Janie from camp, possibly to never to be seen again by her mother.

Enter Stephanie Quick, a psychic that has helped police departments in the past solve crimes. She offers her assistance but is brushed off by the local police, until something she told them that she saw in her dream makes them at least consider the possibility.

Also involved are Eliza’s co-workers and friends, Annabelle, BJ and Margo. While they have Eliza and Janie’s best interests at heart, they also interfere with the investigation of the FBI by not revealing information to them that could assist in the search.

It has been a little while since a book pulled me in so quickly and I didn’t want to set it down. I read half the book during my lunch break and finished it that evening. The short chapters also helped!

The timeframe of the story is only a few days. There are a variety of characters and it took me a short bit to keep them straight and while I tried to figure out who kidnapped Janie and why, the ending was a HUGE surprise. I did not see it coming and didn’t figure it out until the main character, Eliza, did.

If you have never read anything by Mary Jane Clark, read this one. You needn’t have read any of the other books featuring Eliza to be reeled into this storyline, especially since it is one that most parents fear, their child being abducted for unknown reasons.

This reviewer definitely gives the book 2 thumbs up!

Reviewed for RebeccasReads (9/08)

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Posted in marriage, nonfiction, self help on November 10, 2008

Publisher – Atria Books (a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc)
Dare to believe that marriage is good
4 out of 5 stars

The author, Mark Gungor, is a pastor at Celebration Church in Wisconsin, a motivational speaker, musician and CEO of Laugh Your Way America.

This book is about the differences between men and women and how it affects their relationship with each other. The concept is similar to many books out there but the author puts a slightly different spin on the principles by including scriptures when applicable and humor. He includes real life experiences, both his personal experiences and experiences of those that he counsels or that attend his seminars.

I will admit that the title is a bit misleading. I’m not sure what I was expecting, maybe how to laugh in your marriage and this book didn’t provide that information. It did, however, provide a lot of insight into men and women and how they think or process information and how it will affect their spouse. It gave me a lot to think about when I request things from my husband and how he might act or react. Overall it is a good book and one that was an easy read.

There is a section in the book called Sex, Lies and the internet that is directed towards men in particular. Sure men may read the whole book but he starts the chapter by welcoming the men and saying that if they are like most guys they flipped to this chapter first. I’d say that he is pretty accurate with that statement. Women will learn from this section too, so don’t skip it!

There are a few quotes and passages that really struck me from this book and made me rethink how I view marriage whether it is my own or someone else’s.

“…finding someone to journey with in marriage is the slenderest part of a life-long relational journey. Marriage is more about work than about divine luck, more about finding someone to love than about finding someone to meet your own laundry list of personal needs.”

“Dare to believe marriage is good, that the one you are in is good. Dare to ask God to help you treasure it, appreciate it, and stay committed to it…..”

I would recommend this book to anyone that is looking to strengthen their relationship or wants to ensure that it continues to be successful.

Reviewed for RebeccasReads (7/08)

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Posted in paranormal, vampire on November 9, 2008

Cerridwen Press c/o Ellora’s Cave Publishing Inc.
9781419956836, $7.99, May 2007
Teacher turned vampire solves the mystery
3 out of 5 stars

“Underdead” is the first book by author Liz Jasper. She is a former middle school science teacher so the career of the main character is something she knows.

The novel starts off with Jo Gartner, a science teacher, out with her co-workers when they notice a handsome man looking their way. Co-worker Becky encourages her to go up to him and start a conversation. Jo doesn’t have that sort of courage but ends up chatting with him thanks to some help by Becky. They end up on the patio outside the restaurant/club talking about books. The next thing she knows is that Will is biting her neck and this causes her to panic. Jo is able to get away from him and make her way home but not before passing out in what she thinks is a cab. It turns out the cabbie is an undercover police officer and Will is a vampire that has just claimed Jo as one of his own, or at least partially.

It takes awhile for Jo to realize what has happened and she doesn’t take it well, after all who wants to become a vampire? She has to deal with different food cravings and a bad reaction to the sun. On top of that, co-workers are dying around her and she becomes the center of discussion among the parents because of rumors are circulating from leprosy to pregnancy. And then they think she is the one that is killing her co-workers.

Jo solves the mystery with the help of Gavin the undercover police officer but not without a few run-ins with Will and one of his minions, Natasha.

Overall I thought the book was ok. This was one of my first paranormal books and it didn’t seem to start off well and was just confusing. It seemed to be full of clichés about vampires (silver bullets, wooden stakes, an aversion to sunlight) and I was hoping for a bit more. Perhaps some background before the main character is bitten by the vampire would have been good to give us a better feel for Jo and who she is and what she does. The book did improve closer to the end but I don’t know if I will want to read her next book, “Underdead in Denial”.

This book would probably appeal to those that like the paranormal genre and even young adults.

Reviewed by Leslie Storey for RebeccasReads (6/08)

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