Saturday, August 29, 2015

Review: Seeing You Again by Joselyn Vaughn


Print Length: 51 pages
Publisher: esKape Press (August 11, 2015)

From Goodreads.com: After twenty-five years with Sam, their lives revolving in circles that barely touched let alone overlapped, was it time Margie consigned their marriage to an album of faded photographs? The Christmas ball at her mother-in-law's retirement home would either be the final straw for their failing marriage or the perfect chance to reignite the old flame. Can the happy-go-lucky shenanigans of the retirement community remind Margie and Sam that falling in love has no age limit?
                              
                                                  *******************

My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

This story fell in between for me. I didn't love it, nor did I hate it. 

To begin with, it IS a novella. It is only 51 pages long, and therefore can be read in one sitting. And while it was well-written for a short story, I didn't feel a connection to the main characters. Instead of feeling like I knew them and could root for them, I felt like I wasn't getting the whole story. I didn't feel that desire to see them work things out - in fact there were instances where I felt like smacking the heroine, because had she just taken the time to talk to her husband, some things could have been resolved. The same goes for the Hero, as he was just as guilty as she was about assuming things. 

However, the overall atmosphere of the retirement home and the humor the author included are what made this story most enjoyable to me. I just wish we would have gotten more about the characters, but alas, that is the downfall of the novella.

On the flip side of everything, I believe that there will be people out there that can relate to this story. As marriages go on, sometimes the spark and passion is lost in the hustle and bustle of daily life, so I think a story such as this will appeal to those people. It dealt very opening and honestly with what a lack of communication can do, and the scenario presented was a very real one. 

Overall, I do believe that this story will appeal to a variety of people. Especially those that enjoy a quick, clean romance full of humor. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own. 
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Seeing You Again is available from Amazon.com

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Review:Wrecked by Priscilla West




Print Length:286 pages
Publisher: Blackbird Publishing (December 11, 2013)

From Goodreads.com: “There would be no happy ending for us. He was too damaged. I was too broken.”

Two years ago, Lorrie’s mother was murdered. But that wasn’t the end of it. Reeling from the tragedy, Lorrie’s father spiraled into alcohol, depression, and finally suicide.

The two most important people in Lorrie’s life are both gone but she’s still alive.

Trying to recover from the tragedy, Lorrie returns to campus, ready to pick up the pieces of her life. All Lorrie wants is to get back to “normal.”

Then she meets Hunter. The man, the legend, “the Hammer.”

Hunter is a cage fighter who takes on every fight like he’s got nothing to lose. His life is a tangled mess of girls, booze, and fist fights. And while it may seem like he’s got a devil-may-care attitude, he’s fighting a private cage-match with a monster he can’t defeat.


Lorrie knows that Hunter is the exact type of guy she should stay away from, especially in her fragile state, but Hunter has other ideas.

As Hunter and Lorrie grow closer together, will they be able to overcome their pain and heal each other? Or will they both end up wrecked?


WARNING: This book is recommended for MATURE AUDIENCES (18+) ONLY due to explicit sexual content. 
                              
                                                  *******************

My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

FINALLY. A full length novel from Ms.West that ended on a perfect cliffhanger and didn't leave me feeling unfulfilled. After reading her Surrender series, I was left wanting to read more by this author, and yet, hoping that when I finally did I wouldn't be left with the same feelings I had after completing that series. 

Because I am giving this novel a 3 star rating, I feel that I should first talk about the things I didn't like about the series, before I get into what I did like (because if it hadn't been for the final chapter or two the rating may have been lower).

To begin with Lorrie was horribly whiny and immature for a college student. Yes, I understand that she was dealing with the loss of her parents, and yes, I understand that she kept saying she wasn't ready for (nor did she want) a relationship with Hunter - but then she would turn around and get jealous over things that he did and fly off the handle at him for no reason, or she would take off and start avoiding him instead of being honest with him. Not the way to endear yourself to anyone. 

Another thing that got to me was that the premise specifically mentioned Hunter being a cage fighter, and Lorrie dealing with her grief issues, I expected both of those things to be touched on more than they were. In fact, Hunter is only involved in two fights during the entire book, and instead of dealing with her grief, Lorrie continue runs away from her problems - or worse, uses them to justify treating Hunter horribly. 

On the flip side of this, the last two chapters revealed a twist that I did not see coming! It became clear why certain things had been done on Hunter's end, and I felt that those chapters brought the story around and made it interesting again (at least for me). However, I am still unsure at this point as to whether or not I am interested enough to continue on with the second book in this series. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own. 



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Wrecked is available from Amazon.com


Monday, August 24, 2015

Review: A Time for Everything by Mysti Parker


Print Length: 335 pages
Publisher: EsKape Press (July 7, 2015)

From Goodreads.com:After losing her husband and only child to the ravages of the Civil War, twenty-five-year-old Portia McAllister is drowning in grief. When she sees an ad for a live-in tutor in another town, she leaves everything behind in hopes of making a fresh start. But as a Confederate widow in a Union household, she is met with resentment from her new charge and her employer, war veteran Beau Stanford.

Despite their differences, she and Beau find common ground and the stirrings of a second chance at love—until his late wife’s cousin, Lydia, arrives with her sights set on him. Burdened with a farm on the brink of bankruptcy, Beau is tempted by Lydia’s hefty dowry, though Portia has captured his heart.

In another time and another place, his choice would be easy. But love seems impossible amid the simmering chaos of Reconstruction that could boil over at any moment into an all-out battle for survival. Will Beau and Portia find their way into each other’s arms, or will they be swept away by raging forces beyond their control?

                              
                                                  *******************

My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This is one of those novels that is hard for me to review. To be frank, I enjoyed the story. The characters were well developed, and it was obvious that the author put a lot of time and thought not only into her characters, but into the overall design of her story as well. It was gripping, it was sad while still managing to be hopeful, and yet at the same time there seemed to be so many different plot twists and sub-plots running through the story that it began to feel over complicated. In fact, I found myself at one point asking what the point of a certain story arc was, and wondering if the author hadn't felt her characters had suffered enough. 

However, despite the fact that there seemed to be an over abundance of conflicts, the story moved at such a steady pace that you really didn't notice how long you spent reading it. It pulled you in as you tried to put yourself into the shoes of these characters and look for ways to overcome what life had thrown at them. 

Also, as a reviewer I feel obliged to mention that this story is real for the time period. Meaning a very derogatory word for negro is used, and that in itself may turn some people away. While I don't approve of the use of this word, I understand the time period this story was set in, and the use of that word also served to show the types of people that did exist and to help set the stage for later events. There was also more curse words that I would typically associate with a "historical" romance, and mention of God and biblical verses. Again, these things didn't disinterest me from reading the story, but I feel they should be mentioned as some people do not want to read about such things. 

All things considered, this is a story that I would recommend, and I would read stories from this author again! 


DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own. 


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 A Time for Everything is available from Amazon.com

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Review: Capture by Rachel Van Dyken


Print Length: 
Publisher: Smashwords (August 20, 2015)

From Goodreads.com: Losing your ability to speak at the age of seventeen; it’s not normal or fair.
But trauma, has a way of throwing normality out the window.

Dani lives anything but a normal life.
Her sister is married to one of the biggest names in Hollywood.
Her best friends are rockstar duo AD2.
And she has more love around her than most people experience in a lifetime.
But that doesn't change the fact their parents are dead.
Or that it's her fault.

It seems her new normal is being a mute, living on the inside, unable to actually communicate on the outside.
That is until Hollywood’s newest heartthrob Lincoln Greene hires her as his assistant for the summer.
He's gorgeous, completely unavailable, and unobtainable.
But that doesn't stop her from wondering...if things were different...would he want her?
If she was whole, would he be the other half?



                                                  *******************

My Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Once again, Rachel has managed to take a story that should have been sad, and make it feel hopeful instead. She gives you these characters with emotional baggage (and trauma), but instead of making them seem over the top, she makes them believable. 

Although this is a stand alone novel and you do not have to read the others in order for this one to make sense, if you enjoy it, I would highly recommend reading her other novels in this series. Each one gives you an insight into some of the other characters in this novel (Alec and Nat, Demetri and Alyssa and Jaymeson and Pris to be exact). In addition to getting to spend time with familiar favorites from the Seaside world itself, it was amazing the way she not only introduced some new faces, but also brought in some others from one of her other amazing stories. Instead of feeling akward, it was so seamlessly blended together that you can easily believe these people had a deep level of friendship. As is always the way when you read one of Rachel's novels, the words flow on the page, not only keeping you up reading well into the night, but also easily able to actually visualize the scenes she gives you. 

Filled with romance, angst and the laugh-out-loud humor that Rachel is known for, she has penned a new novel that will appeal to a wide majority of readers.

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own. 



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Capture is available from Amazon.com

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Review: A Lawman's Justice (Sweetwater Ranch #8) by Delores Fossen




Print Length: 240 pages
Publisher: Harlequin  (July 21, 2015)

From Goodreads.com: Don't miss the gripping conclusion of USA TODAY bestselling author Delores Fossen's Sweetwater Ranch miniseries 

The tip that sends FBI Special Agent Seth Calder to an abandoned warehouse in search of exonerating evidence brings him face-to-face with a familiar adversary. Thorn-in-his-side journalist Shelby Braddock is on her own search for the truth about a decades-old crime. Until they stumble on a crime scene…and end up fighting for their lives. Now, their only hope of survival is to work together. But something even more dangerous is drawing Seth closer to the gorgeous brunette. As he gives in to a passion so strong it can erase the sins of the past, he must evade a relentless killer and confront a shocking revelation no one could have predicted.



                              
                                                  *******************

My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

To begin with, when I requested this novel, I completely missed the fact that it was book #8 in a well established series (as well as the conclusion).  While this fact did not keep me from fully understanding what was going on in this particular novel, it did make me feel as though I were missing something when past events were referenced. 

That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed the nonstop action that encompassed this novel. You were literally thrown in at the beginning, and it kept going right up until the very (unexpected) ending. The characters were complex and interesting, and the killer was definitely not who I expected it to be! I loved the twists and turns that the author kept bringing into the mix, making you wonder who was behind everything (and who would survive) right up until the very end. 

For a "romance" novel, I fount the main characters enjoyable. They weren't they type to fall in love (or into bed) immediately, instead they chose to fight it every step of the way, and that not only made the story better (in my opinion), but it also made them as characters more believable. Also, their "romance" didn't take center stage to the rest of the plot which is something I find happens less and less nowadays. 

Overall, I not only enjoyed this novel, but the author's writing style as well, and I will definitely be checking out the earlier books in this series! 
DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own. 


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A Lawman's Justice is available from Amazon.com

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Review: 13 Stolen Girls by Gil Reavill


Print Length:274 pages
Publisher: Alibi (August 18, 2015)
Genre: Mystery / Thriller

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own. 


From Goodreads.com: Perfect for fans of Michael Connelly or Nevada Barr, Gil Reavill’s gripping new Layla Remington thriller plunges readers beneath the glittering fa├žade of Hollywood and into a terrifying underworld where beautiful women can just . . . disappear.
 
Malibu is crumbling. A monster earthquake has just ripped apart some of the priciest real estate on the planet. In a bizarre twist, it has also unearthed a grim secret buried for years beneath one particularly unstable hilltop: a steel barrel containing the mummified remains of Tarin Mistry, the beautiful starlet who went missing more than a decade ago. When Detective Investigator Layla Remington looks into that wretched metal coffin, she realizes she’s just landed the case of a lifetime. 
 
But before Layla even strips off her latex gloves, a pair of hotshot LAPD detectives arrive on the scene and remove her from the investigation. Undeterred, she pursues her own line of inquiry. Risking her badge and her life, Layla’s determination to track down Tarin’s murderer takes her from the rarefied air of exclusive canyon communities to seedy downtown sex clubs and the secluded lair of one of Hollywood’s most powerful men. But while Tarin’s case may be cold, her killer is poised to strike again—and in Layla, this depraved sociopath may have just found fresh prey.
 


13 Stolen Girls can be purchased from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes or Kobo



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Book Excerpt: Dixie’s quest began because she overheard a story. Jonathan White told it. Jonathan was a year behind Dixie at South High School in Scottsdale, Arizona, but Dixie knew him and his brothers through their cousin Cynthy McClellan, who was in her grade.
“He gets a call on the family landline,” Jonathan said. “It turns out to be a birth sister he didn’t even know he had.”
Dixie overheard this as they were all grouped together along “the Wall,” which was how everyone referred to their hangout by the student parking lot. They were Wallies, a synonym around South High for “stoner.” Lunchtime, ciggie time, during a drag of a school day that seemed as if it would never end.
“A landline,” Corey Stanton said, and laughed, not getting the point of the story.
“Wait, what?” Dixie said, leaning toward Jonathan. “Who got a call?”
“Steve Kurth,” Jonathan answered. “You know he’s adopted, right?”
Not everyone knew that Dixie Annette Close herself had been adopted. But since her seventeenth birthday Dixie had been thinking a lot about the fact that the mother and father she knew as family weren’t her biological parents. Nudging it around in her mind, she wondered what being adopted meant or should mean or didn’t mean.
She had had bouts of such questioning before. She first learned of her adopted status as a child of nine. But her parents were so much the focus of her life back then, the fact that they weren’t Dixie’s blood kin didn’t matter. In the past few years, though, their solid relationship had crumbled. The Close family was going through hard times.
Now here was Jonathan talking about someone else who was adopted.
“So Steve gets the call. He just happens to answer the phone—it’s the most whack thing. He swears he never, ever uses the landline, but he answers it this time. He hears a strange girl’s voice saying she thinks they might be brother and sister.”
“Shit, I would, like, literally freak out,” said Karen Chupsky.
“I know, right?” Jonathan said.
“I’ve got enough trouble with my own sisters, I don’t need any more,” Chris Zenner said.
Steve Kurth. Which one was he again? Dixie summoned up a vague picture of a boy who had been in her biology class the year before. Curly black hair, a little bit chubs, hung out with the film-club nerds. Played some sort of musical instrument.
She spoke up. “How’d the sister find him?” she asked Jonathan.
“Kurth? I don’t know. I think she went through all the paperwork hassle, the birth certificate. Adopted kids have got, like, rights now, you know?”
“Well, if it had been an open adoption he’d have known he had a sister,” Nicole commented.
“So did they hook up?” Karen Chupsky asked.
“Hook up, like . . . ?” Chris said.
Eeewww, that’d be gross,” Karen said. “What if you had a sister or brother you didn’t even know about, and you, like, meet them at a job or something, and you start going out and everything with each other.”
Everybody was laughing and talking over one another now. “It happened, it happened!” Tim Heller shouted. “I saw it on TLC.”
Dixie felt a blush creeping up on her. Her best friend, Nicole, reached over and gave her arm a squeeze. Nobody who wasn’t adopted could understand what it felt like when everybody started going on like this.
But she needed to know. “What happened?” she asked Jonathan.
“Steve and her met at the food court in the Southridge Mall. At first he didn’t tell his parents.”
“Who aren’t his real parents,” Timmy pointed out.
Real parents. How Dixie had come to hate that phrase. What did that make Sheila and Jerry Close, the couple who had raised her from infancy? Her “fake” parents? No, they were as real as any could be. They weren’t biologically related, but so what? For Dixie, “mother” always meant Sheila, and “father” meant Jerry. She knew of no others.
Nicole, sensing what her friend was feeling, threw an arm around Dixie.
Nobody was interested anymore. They were all on to something new. They’d sucked the paltry bit of juice from Jonathan’s story, and now the fickle finger of gossip pointed elsewhere. Dixie got it out of Jonathan that Steve Kurth finally did tell his mom and dad about his birth sister, and that now the two of them were all about finding their biological parents.
“What if they’re, like, rich?” Jonathan wondered. But his attention wavered. He started talking to Chris about a party up in Cave Creek. “It’s going to be sick.”
That was that. No big deal. But the incident at the Wall stuck with Dixie. She thought about it again before falling asleep that night. Where were her real parents? Were they still alive? Could she reach out to them? How would she even start?
Junior year at South High, everybody deep into college searches and future plans. Dixie was staring at a two-year program at Mesa Community. Her guidance counselor suggested that nursing was the way to go.
Now she thought she might have something to do first.
The next morning, Dixie used the get-to-work-and-school rush to drop a bomb on Sheila. “Mom, I’ve been thinking about tracking down my birth parents.”
Jerry overheard from the front hall and came to the kitchen doorway.
Dixie detected an extra current of tension passing between her father and mother. She had sensed it before. Was there something wrong about her adoption? Jerry and Sheila had always been prickly about it. Okay, so the topic was a difficult one. But was it more-than-ordinary difficult?
That morning she escaped the house before they could have one of their Serious Family Discussions. Dixie knew that sooner or later she’d have to confront Jerry and Sheila about the subject. This time she wasn’t going to let them stop her. This time she was going to find out who she really was.
                              
                                                  *******************

My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This was a thrill a minute read with a twist at the end that I did not see coming! Seriously, when a book makes you yell "oh-my-god" out loud and get weird stares from complete strangers, you know its good! 

I enjoyed the different point-of-view aspects to this novel. I felt that it allowed me to fully experience the novel and what each character was going through. And while some people probably felt that so many different POVs made it harder to understand, I not only found it easy to follow, but I enjoyed seeing how each different persons story was integral to the overall plot. 


The one thing that I did find confusing about this story was the timeline. There were times when it didn't seem to add up. One minute it seemed like Layla was either younger or older than she had been perceived before. The Rose and Thorn books are a perfect example of this, one minute they are portrayed as being the newest, hottest thing, and the next Layla remembers reading them while she was in school. Overall, it wasn't something that made me lower my rating of this novel, it was just something that I noticed. 


All things considered, I do believe this novel will appeal to a wide range of people who enjoy a good crime, mystery or thriller novel! 


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About the Author: Gil Reavill is a journalist, screenwriter, and playwright. Widely featured in magazines, Reavill is the author of a crime novel, Thirteen Hollywood Apes, nominated for a Thriller Award from International Thriller Writers. He has written two works of crime non-fiction: Mafia Summit: J. Edgar Hoover, the Kennedy Brothers, and the Meeting That Unmasked the Mob, and Aftermath, Inc.: Cleaning Up After CSI Goes Home. He also co-wrote the screenplay for the 2006 film Dirty, starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. He lives in New York with his wife, the author Jean Zimmerman, and their daughter. 

You can learn more about this author by checking out their website, Facebook or Twitter


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Review: Beautiful Surrender (Forever #3) by Priscilla West




Print Length: 216 pages
Publisher: Amazon Unlimited (November 2, 2013)

From Goodreads.com: “What gives you a thrill Kristen?”

The conclusion to the Surrender Series by Priscilla West.

No one is who they seem to be.

Kristen let Vincent into her heart because he seemed so different from everyone in her conservative world of wealth management. She thought they shared something special, but when she realizes that Vincent has been playing her the entire time, her heart is crushed.

As Kristen’s relationship with Vincent reaches a crisis point, a man from Kristen’s past returns looking for a second chance. Is her ex-boyfriend really looking for redemption or is his goal something more sinister?

Kristen struggles to hold herself together, until she discovers a revelation that will change everything.
 


WARNING: This book is recommended for MATURE AUDIENCES (18+) ONLY due to explicit sexual content. 
                              
                                                  *******************

My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This was actually my favorite novel in the "series" (if you can call these three books a series, but I'll get to that in a minute). I loved the way that everything from the first two stories came together in this one. Everything was tied together in such a way that as a reader, I was left with a feeling of closure. Beautiful Surrender was also a fast read (I was able to finish it in a couple of hours), and with the author's writing style, it didn't have that rushed feeling that some other novels have.

One thing that really stands out to me as a minor annoyance for this story was when we were given two flashbacks right in the middle of the biggest scene of the story. It took away from the moment to give information that we either could have been given earlier in the story, or not at all. It didn't add anything to the overall plot, it actually took away from it.

However, my BIGGEST complaint with this series is that I don't really consider them to be a series at all. To begin with, they aren't that long  (this one was the longest at 13 chapters and an epilogue), then there is the fact that each book is a continuation of that last one (literally picking up right where the previous one left off), and for $2.99 a book, I feel that they should be longer and (at least the first two) should have ended on some sort of cliff-hanger. To be perfectly honest, had this been one full story instead of divided into three "continuations" of the same story - I would have given it 5 stars as I thoroughly enjoyed the buildup between the characters, and the things I wasn't overly fond of in book two would have been less of a complaint due to book three tying everything up nicely. 

I am looking forward to reading more by this author.

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own. 



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Beautiful Surrender is available from Amazon.com