September at-a-glance

September turned out to be romance month. My list, as you will see, is heavy on that subject and was a lot of fun. Historical, contemporary, fantasy. It’s all there as well as some steampunk to mix things up. Here are most of the books that I was able to fit into this very busy September (see my other September posts for the rest). And, BONUS! many of them are either free or very inexpensive! I hope you find something to your liking. Happy Reading!

The Abducted Heart by Jennifer Blake – A young woman in the catering business gets accidentally “abducted” by her client who didn’t realize she was still on board his plane when it took off. What ensued was one of those situations where neither party wanted to openly admit their attraction or love for the other and caused pain on both ends. I wasn’t able to really get into these characters because the way it was written all but screamed 70’s era but the grandmother I really enjoyed.

A Soft Place to Fall by Barbara Bretton  – Annie, a widow, is pulling herself away from the brink of bankruptcy due to her husband’s gambling debts when she meets Sam who has come to her small town to hide out from his former employer. Instant chemistry happens between the two and they easily fall in love. Neither shares their past so when the men in suits arrive, everything they didn’t know about each other becomes public knowledge. I really enjoyed this story. Bretton painted a very detailed description of the northeast and the small town characters as well as some really interesting main characters.

The Silver Pear by Michelle Diener – The second and last in this fantasy series. This story brings Soren and female sorceress Mirabelle into the story where the his brother Rane’s and Kayla’s story left off in the Golden Apple. I was glad Diener wrote this book because not only was the Golden Apple really enjoyable, I was not liking Soren in that book. This story gave him more essence and showed his character in a much better light. Mirabelle was very interesting too as the only female sorceress in this fantasy world. The copy I read was an uncorrected ARC so I am explaining any confusion away for that reason. I would highly recommend reading these books back to back if possible in order to keep the supporting characters straight. Otherwise, a great set of books.

The Marquess of Cake by Heather Hiestand - If you haven’t figured it out already, I have a thing about baking. Which is why, when I saw the title of this book, I had to get it. It is a regency romance where the father and owner of a tea and cake shop is being knighted for his delicious treats. His eldest daughter, Alys, has always been happy working at the shop baking and decorating the celebration cakes but once her father is knighted, he fires her and intends to make her marry. Thrown into the mix is the Marquess of Hatbrook, Michael Shield who has his own love affair with sweet treats and stumbles upon Alys in the shop one day. One chance encounter leads to another and suddenly they  are in love but unwilling to admit it etc. This was just a fun story to read with good writing and character development. It was interesting that Ms. Hiestand chose to afflict the Marquess with diabetes.

To Kill A Warlock by H.P. Mallory – For those of you who enjoy fun paranormal mystery stories, and haven’t read H.P. Mallory you must. This particular book is about Dulcie O’Neill, a “regulator” basically a cop for the paranormal species. The story takes place over just a few weeks of Dulcie’s life while she’s trying to solve a murder and gotten wrangled into working with their Relations Office (think Internal Affairs). The story is rife with sexy men from Elves to Vampires a new creature Dulcie didn’t know existed in the form of Knightly Vander, her temporary, new superior from the Relations Office. I really enjoyed Dulcie’s character and am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Amanda Rosa by Karen Robards  – Another historical romance. Amanda Rose has been placed in ta convent by her elder half brother and he’s just written that he’s found a husband for her. She takes a midnight walk to think through her plight and stumbles across Matthew Grayson, a wanted criminal who will die if she doesn’t help him. Against her best judgement, and along with a lot of frightening threats from this criminal, she helps him recover from his injuries. They become lovers but are discovered by her brother. This story is about a couple of people with a lot of secrets. I found this tale engrossing and well written. Karen Robards is always a good bet for a nice romance.

Steel Lily by Megan Curd – This book sadly, was a bit disappointing. I really like steampunk which is how this book began but as soon as Avery left her steampunkish Dome, it became more dystopian romance. Avery thought she was leaving her Dome to have a better life but she was really walking into a prettier version of jail. Love interest Jaxon was not described as someone I would think sexy – dredlocks don’t do it for me – so whenever they were mentioned, it broke my concentration. There was a lot of potential here and I think a less mature reader would probably enjoy it much more than I did.

Saved by Lorhainne Eckhart – This story is about Abby, a woman adrift in the ocean and who gets rescued, literally saved, by a US naval Destroyer. Captain Eric, a well-known chauvinist and womanizer falls for this guileless young woman and she for him but neither admits how deep the attraction goes. The Captain comes under investigation for sexual harassment and Abby saves him by being a witness to his innocence. Thus, they save each other. I wish this story had delved into more detail regarding the girl’s plight but this story mostly dwelt on military protocol which was still very interesting. Unfortunately, I didn’t love either character much because of the lack of depth overall. This is a series and it was obviously written with that intent. Since the writing was good, I might be convinced to read the next book in order to find out if the characters develop any further depth.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – Jane EyreI saved the best for last! If you haven’t yet read about the love story between Jane and Mr. Rochester, you must! Click the link below NOW! The story begins with Jane as a young orphan living in her uncle’s home. He is deceased and her aunt has no love for her and neither do her cousins. She is sent off to an institution to be educated and at long last she becomes the governess to a child at Thornfield, home of Mr. Rochester. Over the course of several months, they fall in love but Jane feels she must part with him and runs off into the night. That is only half of Jane’s story and not close to doing it justice. The writing is amazing and very easily understood (I’m comparing to Anna Karenina and Jane Austen’s novels). Jane and Rochester are a delight to read. Their banter was witty and unique and so full of their own personalities, it was a joy to read. Once you read this classic novel, you’ll realize how many authors don’t put nearly enough personality into their characters. I loved this story and it will forever be one of my favorites. Jane Eyre

Summer 2014 At-A-Glance

July flew by with summer vacation in full swing and some bad health days as well which was no fun at all. Then came August and my daughter’s 5th birthday party to plan along with in-laws visiting. Suddenly it’s time for school again and I haven’t even written anything for my blog! My deepest apologies to all of my valued readers!

The good news is that I got back into reading mode! And….there were so many good books that I’ve already made posts about some of them! Here’s what I read this July and August. I hope you find something of interest. Just a reminder that each of the images link to the book’s Amazon page and anything you purchase helps me maintain my blog! Gracias and Happy reading!

Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble by H.P. Mallory

A really fun witchy/paranormal story. A psychic leads a very ho-hum life until she meets a warlock who unleashes her potential. Can she ever go back to her normal life of seeing the future and reading tarot cards again? This is the first in the Jolie Wilkins series. Well written and the author has spin off books as well. A good choice if you like to follow characters.

I Am the Mission by Allen Zadoff

This is the second book in the Boy Nobody series urban contemporary suspense YA . I posted reviews on both the first (I Am the Weapon). These books are well written, fast paced and great for a quick weekend read. To view my full post and review, click here. Good for teens 14+.

Dark Matter Heart by Nathan Wrann

This book surprised me by being better than I expected it to be. This is about a boy, Cor, who moves into a new town in Portland to finish off his senior year in high school. He wants to lay low but trouble always finds him. In this case, it’s a vampire from his past. Can Cor stop the murders before the police decide Cor is responsible? Very believable high school angst along with fun vampire thriller.

What a Westmoreland Wants by Brenda Jackson

If you want a quick, fun romance with a bit of Aussie this story is for you. It doesn’t have a lot of depth but the story is thorough and although it is part of a series (#19, Man of the Month) I didn’t feel like I was missing too much.

Woodsmen by Clarissa Cartharn

Just so you don’t think I like everything that I read…This book was a complete disappointment. There was no resolution to the story and no draw that made me want to read the next story. Actually there was no indication that the story continued so I was left wondering ii the point of the book was just romance rather than the more interesting freedom from persecution angle. Also there were at least 4 story lines and that’s way too many for a book this short! Not my cup of tea.

Into the Shadows by Karly Kirkpatrick

Into the Shadows is a YA Book Addicts Unite! selection. This one also was a disappointment but still worth reading. It’s book one in the series by the same name. Paivi is part of a secret group of people with special powers. Her power is seeing the future. In the middle of her freshman year of high school gifted people are rounded up and persecuted. Paivi flees with her brother and another student once their parents are taken away. This is McCarthyism with a paranormal twist. I was not a fan of the dialogue but the subject matter was this book’s redeeming quality as it could appeal to a teenager and create a parallel to our country’s recent history.

Adventures in Funeral Crashing by Milda Harris

How could I not read a book with this title? and the cover is pretty fun too. I was definitely not disappointed in this one. The premise is that a teenage girl whose mother died when she was 14 suddenly finds consolation in attending funerals. During one funeral, she runs into her crush and they become partners in solving the “crime” of his sister’s “overdose”. This was well written with just a hint of romance and very much like what a teenager’s life would be like.

Better Than Before by Kathryn Shay

I’ve been wanting to read another Kathryn Shay novel for awhile now and when this one showed up free on Amazon, I snapped it up. This is the story of Annie Hopkins and Spence Wickham. They meet on his brother’s new online dating forum and have an immediate connection. However, he was online for a bet only and decides that the truth will hurt his relationship with down-to-earth Annie. What ensues is a very real look at adult relationships and how hard it can be to overcome our own baggage. I liked the characters that Ms. Shay created and if you like stand alones that are part of a series, this would be for you. Better Than Before is part of the RightMatch.com series.

The Sun and the Moon (Lords of Conquest by Patricia Ryan

This is an historical romance set in the 1100’s England. Philippa de Paris is a scholar and independent woman which is more than rare in that era and Hugh of Wexford is a mercenary knight working for His Majesty’s chief minister, basically he’s secret service. Philippa is required by His Majesty to infiltrate a warren of sin in order to expose the plot against the king. Hugh is sent to collect, aid, and abet Philippa in her assignment. I thought that this book was a bit light weight in the history department and very heavy in the romance and sin area. It was enjoyable but not the most compelling story or characters and for some reason, I felt the timeline was too early for all of this to be believable.

The Scars of Ambition (The Cumerian Unraveling #1) by Jason Letts

This book is a fantasy world set in Cumeria which is mostly ruled by 5 major families. The main family is the Brackens who control electrical power. Lowell Bracken, the head of the family, runs the power company while his adult children prepare themselves for appropriate careers. The characters were not very likeable at all. It could be that there was just too much story to put into one book that it didn’t allow anyone to have much depth but this book just wasn’t my favorite. Its part of a series that I won’t be reading.

Where I Need to Be by Kimberly Knight

This was an enjoyable,  lightweight contemporary romance with lots of sex! It is set in San Francisco and revolves around two people involved in the fitness industry. This story is basically girl gets dumped then meets nicer boy with baggage. The question is can they carry his baggage or not. There was not a lot of plot to this and it’s part of the B&S series (not sure what that stands for) so although the ending was not a cliffhanger, the author definitely made allusions to the couple’s future. The writing was pretty good and the characters were likeable enough but it’s not the series I would read if I wanted a romance. It IS something to read if you want sex and lots of it! Do I need to say mature audiences only?

 Reign of Shadows by Melissa Wright

This story is the third in the urban fantasy Descendants series and I really enjoyed all three. They are all relatively short, very action packed and with a lot of impelling characters. The main character in this book (as well as the 2nd) is Brianna, a prophet and Shadow. She has the power to manipulate the make up of other powerful individuals (people of the Seven Lines) to either enhance or diminish their gifts. Brianna is coming to terms with her new powers and realizes that she must choose to be part of the newly discovered Shadows or stand beside the Seven Lines that she is currently protecting. Although I really enjoyed these books, I had a problem with remembering the relationships and current history of the groups and some things went unexplained. Other than that, I highly recommend them to mature teens and older.

 

Book Review: The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

Testing

It’s graduation day for sixteen-year-old Malencia Vale, and the entire Five Lakes Colony (the former Great Lakes) is celebrating. All Cia can think about—hope for—is whether she’ll be chosen for The Testing, a United Commonwealth program that selects the best and brightest new graduates to become possible leaders of the slowly revitalizing post-war civilization. When Cia is chosen, her father finally tells her about his own nightmarish half-memories of The Testing. Armed with his dire warnings (”Cia, trust no one”), she bravely heads off to Tosu City, far away from friends and family, perhaps forever. Danger, romance—and sheer terror—await.

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Ani’s Review

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau was the selection for the Young Adult Book Addicts Unite! June book review. The consensus was that after a slow start, the pace picked up nicely and ending up being a fun read. In a rather small number of pages, the author was able to convey a good amount of personality into each of the main characters which I was really happy about. You know how much I like character building! Malencia (Cia) was a very thoughtful character and I enjoyed her narration. The thoughts of many teens aren’t expressed very well but Charbonneau does a good job of it here. The book review group found many similarities in this story compared to other dystopian novels which gave us a lot of comparison points and not always in a good way. For those of you who liked Hunger Games and Divergent, you will probably enjoy this book too. Click the image below to get this book or read more from Amazon.com.