Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summer at Seaside Cove

Summer at Seaside Cove (Berkley Sensation)Jacquie D’Alessandro
ISBN: 978-0-425-24149-3
Publisher: Penguin
Purchase Link: Summer at Seaside Cove
Source: Season for Romance

From the moment Jamie arrives in Seaside Cove she is convinced her luck is doomed.  The cozy beach cottage she rented is more of a rustic shack than a quaint getaway.  The owner is MIA, rumored to be off on a bender, and the real estate agent insists he can’t help.  Jamie would leave if it didn’t involve returning to New York where her personal life holds humiliation, anger and entrapment, not to mention she Sublette her apartment for the summer and used all her potential hotel money for the rental cottage from hell.

Deciding this vacation from her life is still what she needs; Jamie sucks it up and makes the best of her situation while waiting for her neighbor and landlord to return.  When Nick finally returns he is in for the surprise of his life. Then again, so is Jamie.  The sparks fly as these two ignite in fury and passion.  Matters are complicated when everyone Jamie has tried to escape from drops in unexpectedly throughout the summer.  Her plans of solace and self discovery fly out the window as Jamie seeks healing and comfort from her most unexpected source.

When I began this book I could only think, “Who wouldn’t run from a cheating boyfriend and betraying sister?”  I easily connected with Jamie from the beginning of this novel.  After all, “Hell has no fury like a woman scorned” and Jamie has been scorned twice!  I enjoyed the many surprises that this story holds.  The author easily kept me intrigued with the mysteriousness of Nick, the drama of Jamie and the oddities and comforts of a small town.

One of my favorite moments in the book took place as Jamie discovers the beach she came to relax on.

“The pathway turned from sandy path to weathered boardwalk as she approached the rise of vegetation covered dunes that [Text removed] provided a natural barrier between the ocean side of the island and the marsh side.  The sounds of the island parties faded, replaced by the low swooshing hum of the ocean. She came over the rise and caught her breath at the endless stretch of dark blue water.
This is why she’d come here.  For peace and soul-healing serenity.  She groaned with delight at the sensation of her toes sinking into the soft, white sand, still warm from a day of sunshine.  [Text removed] She drank in the azure sky streaked with the first mauve ribbons of what promised to be a spectacular sunset.”

This section transplanted me from my couch to the sandy beach.  I could hear the waves, envision the coastline and feel the breeze gently touching my face while the rich smells of the ocean wafted towards me.  Every memory of the beach awakened from my senses.  It was wonderful.  I immensely enjoyed the descriptiveness of the author, which continued throughout the book and was just as picturesque in the steamy scenes that were to come.  She gave just enough description to paint a picture without taking away the opportunity of the readers imagination to grab hold.

Aside from some of the normal annoyances that most romances hold, the re-hashing of thought or feelings as how they “should be”, the book was a great read.  The story was charming, funny, emotional and full of relatable issues.  It was a wonderful contemporary romance that left me ready to meet my own beach hottie!  I would definitely pick up another book by Jackie based on this title.  I also highly recommend this book!  It would be a perfect beach read this summer.

Heat Level: 3

Saturday, July 30, 2011

When He Was Bad

When He Was Bad... (Harlequin Presents Extra: Maverick Millionaires)Author: Anne Oliver
ISBN: 978-0-373-52803-5
Publisher: Harlequin
Purchase Link: When He Was Bad
Source: Reviewed for The Season for Romance

Ellie’s been alone for years.  Her mom and grandparents were killed in a car accident while Ellie was young.  Though her absent father came back to take care of her, he only kept her around long enough to gamble all of the insurance money and the left her on her own.  Ellie has worked hard to fight her way, each relationship leaving her with nothing but pain.  For this reason she refuses to be involved with anyone.  Life is simpler when you’re not setting yourself up for hurt.  Or is it?

Playboy Matt McGregor has skeletons in his closet.  Past hurts and secrets have made him a perpetual bachelor.  This doesn’t mean he can’t have fun, as long as the relationships are casual.  No commitments, no marriage, no kids.  Matt has never had a problem getting who he wants until Ellie.  A talented architect, Matt is a millionaire that has quite a way with women.  He’s sure he will never settle down, or will he?

When Ellie and Matt meet sparks fly and their outlooks are challenged.  The two have far more in common than they ever dreamed possible.  Love is theirs for the taking if they don’t let their past get in the way.
“When He Was Bad” was deliciously enticing.  I was immediately drawn to the characters.  Matt was the perfect man of romance.  He was kind, respectful, chivalrous, sexy, demanding and heavy handed.  He knew what he wanted in Ellie and he got it.  He had an overwhelming desire to take care of her and keep her safe even thought it went against his nature.  Though the passion was on fire between them, Matt saw more in Ellie than a piece of tail to conquer.  Ellie is beautiful, smart, and underappreciated.  Matt stirs up feelings in Ellie that she can’t deny, as much as she wants too.  The sparks between them are hot.  These carry over to the reader, enabling you to feel the passion and intensity between the two.

The authors writing style is fluid and smooth.  I breezed through this novel and was saddened when it ended.  I would love to read more about Ellie and Matt at a later date.  Their story is one that could be continued if the author wanted to explore their relationship further.  There are definite parts of the story in regards to Ellie’s charity work that I would have liked to read more of.  An example of the authors writing style is below.

Ellie’s body still throbbed with the aftermath of great sex.  Her skin still tingled; her breathing was still shallow.  In the dimness, with only the moon’s glow casting an oblique path across the carpet, they lay close, but not touching.  Not speaking.  Her mind was overflowing with jumbled thoughts. The space Matt had put between them was subtle, but not lost on Ellie.  A reminder that what they shared was simple lust, nothing more. A diversion.  Ride till you come to the end of the road. They’d reached that point.  She’d prepared for that, been ready for it.  She’d even initiated it.  Yet somewhere along that journey she’d lost a part of herself.  To him.  Had he noticed?  She listened to his breathing become slow and regular as he drifted towards sleep.  She hoped not.  Good Lord, the last thing she needed was for him to think she expected more than what they’d shared. Sex. Good Sex. Very good sex.That was all.…..Matt stared up at the low-beamed ceiling, resisting the urge to scoop Ellie closer.  Already his sex stirred to life.  He wanted to tuck her bottom against him and take her from behind—slowly this time, while he—No.  Deep slow breaths.  He needed to clear the confusion of thoughts and feelings from his mind before he did. He’d thought once he’d had her, this attraction between them would settle.  He’d get on with his life, she with hers.  Instead, his response had been…unnerving.

I enjoyed this novel immensely.  While it wasn’t long, it was satisfying and had a fair amount of steamy scenes though not all were sex scenes.  Mixed with the hot stuff was a good story of two people, hurt in the past, trying to heal and move on with their future.  I would suggest this novel if you haven’t already decided to pick it up based on the excerpt above.  Readers will definitely want to find out more about these two characters.  If I don’t ever get to read a sequel I will still be satisfied with the story as is, passionate sex never goes out of style.

Heat level: 3

Friday, July 29, 2011

Hired By Her Husband

Hired by Her Husband (Harlequin Presents)Author: Anne McAllister
ISBN: 978-0-373-12974-4
Publisher: Harlequin
Purcahse Link: Hired by Her Husband
Source: Reviewed for The Season for Romance

Two words, that’s all it took to temporarily stop Sophy’s heart, making her regret her haste in picking up the phone.  When the unfamiliar voice asks for Mrs. Savas Sophy’s heart drops, she hasn’t been called by her married name for years.  Why should she?  The marriage, if you can call it that, ended four years ago, though technically she never did sign papers.  At the other end of the line the caller introduces himself as Dr. Harlowe and continues to tell Sophy there has been an accident.  Confused, Sophy discovers she is still listed as George’s only emergency contact and that she is needed to sign medical releases in order for him to receive the treatment he desperately needs.  Her heart drops, her carefully constructed walls start crumbling around her.  She can’t refuse, George needs the treatment and she owes him.  After all, he saved her once too.

So begins the tale of how Sophy is brought back into her husband’s world.  Once she arrives in NYC, George discovers her day job and hires her to be his wife.  Sophy fears she might never leave NYC, or is it hope?  Does true love ever really die?   For the sake of her daughter Sophy eventually opens her heart again; uncertain if the risk will be worth it.  “Hired By Her Husband” tells the tale of returning love, misunderstandings, passion and heartache.

The novel is carefully woven together, alternating between past memories and present events.  While I enjoyed the story, which the author seemingly pens with ease, I felt it was a tad slow at points.  It took awhile to uncover the real history behind the two main characters, leaving their insecurities and miscommunications floating around as the only hit to the reader.  Aside from this minor annoyance, I found the story itself original and interesting.  

Though I wanted to see these two lovers together, I didn’t feel an attachment to either of them.  George seemed confident and in control of almost everything except his words to Sophy. From the beginning he is in more pain due to his heart’s desire rather than his recent accident, which says a lot about his feelings considering he was hit by a vehicle.

[Excerpt from George]
George sucked in a breath.
For the first time in nearly four years he and Sophy –his wife- were face-to-face.

Wife? Ha.

They might have stood side by side in a New York City Judge’s office and repeated after him.  They might have a legally binding document declaring them married.  But it had never meant anything more than a piece of paper.

Not to her.

Not to either of them, George told himself firmly, though the pain he felt was suddenly different than before.  He resisted it.  Didn’t want to care.  Sure as hell didn’t want to feel!

The last thing he needed now was to have to deal with Sophy.

I wanted him to take make a move, let her know he wanted her, loves her and would do anything for her, rather than acting as if he doesn’t care, hasn’t cared.  Likewise, Sophy was still in love yet hooked on a conversation she didn’t know the complete truth about.  While I understand the essence of this plot as needed for the storyline, she came off a little too whiny for me.  Her character constantly focuses on the fact that their marriage has never been “real”, though it actually was very real for both.

[Excerpt from Sophy]
She got her laptop from the bedroom on the second floor and brought it back down to the living room.  That way she could work and keep an eye on George at the same time.  That was the theory, at least.
In fact she spent far more time watching George.  His body had barely moved but, as he slept, his face relaxed.  He looked younger now, the bandage on his head gone, his dark hair drifting across his forehead, his cheeks still smooth from the morning shave, his lips no longer pressed tight with pain, softer now and slightly parted.

He looked the way he had when she first met him.  Not a good thing because it stirred up all shoe same feelings--feelings that had been as wrong then as they are now…..

Yes, she was still his wife by name—but only in name.  There was no point in pretending anything else.  Their marriage had never been real—and there was no point in sitting here staring at him now and wishing for the thousandth time that it was.

The combination of these left me thinking “Okay, we’ll see if they make it” rather than “How wonderful, true love will last forever!”

Overall the novel is a satisfying and quick read.  I definitely enjoyed the time spent reading it.  Based on this novel I would read other titles by Anne McAllister.  If you enjoy Debbie Macomber you will most likely enjoy this slightly spicier version of writing that proves simple love stories never go out of style.

Heat Level: 2

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Happy Hour

Happy HourAuthor: Michele Scott
ISBN: 9781449505578
Publisher: Create Space
Purchase Link: Happy Hour
Source: BookPleasures

What’s better than good food and great wine? The answer is “Friendship, good food and great wine.” Happy Hour is a novel about just that. Four women with careers and messy lives meet every Sunday in their home of Napa Valley for fun, fellowship and of course good food and great wine. Through it all the women discover that sometimes all you need is friendship. Friendship can be the best prescription for happy through the hard times and the good. Here’s a little about each character you’ll meet in this story.

Kat owns a restaurant with her second husband, Christian. They face the challenges of a blended family between her two sons and his daughter. In addition Kat also has her estranged mother to deal with since her parents split.

Alyssa is an artist and owns a gallery. She holds a dark secret that she hasn’t told anyone, including her friends. However, in order to move on with her life she must face this skeleton in her closet before its too late.

Danielle is a divorced vintner, a wine merchant/maker, with two rebellious teenage daughters. Mark, her high school crush reappears in her life just as she receives news that her daughter is pregnant. On top of that, the baby is diagnosed with down syndrome.

Jamie is the editor- in-chief of wine lovers magazine. Her husband, Nathan died of cancer leaving her to raise their daughter Maddie alone. Stuck with financial challenges and a senile mother-in-law is tough on Jamie. When Jamie meets Tyler, her life begins to transform as she removes her cocoon and starts to live again.

Happy Hour is a novel with no real male lead characters. The book focuses on these four strong, independent and unique women as they face the challenges of life together and rely on their friendship to see them through. They have a mutual love of great food and great wine that brings them together once a week and offers them a chance to escape and talk as only women can. Just as in life, the friends get frustrated with one another, but they find the strength to move on together even during the most difficult times. With lots of love, laughter, tears and acceptance these women learn how to overcome the past and look forward to the future.

This novel had a fairly steady pace. The storyline grabbed my attention but parts were slower than others for me. I found my attention wandering occasionally, but overall, found myself rooting for these women in the midst of messy and complicated lives. I easily understood them as mothers and working women. I laughed and cried along with them. The author makes the characters feel real. There were a few flaws in the novel due to typos and grammatical errors. I cannot be sure that these haven’t been fixed since the novel has been published. Overall, I enjoyed the story, the characters and the writing.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Lessons from the Mountain: What I Learned From Erin Walton

Lessons from the Mountain: What I Learned from Erin WaltonAuthor: Mary McDonough
ISBN: 978-0758263667
Publisher: Kensington Books
Purchase Link: Lessons from the Mountain
Source: Author for Review
Reviewer: Laurel

In this book, Mary McDonough takes the reader through her years of portraying Erin Walton.  Growing up is difficult enough, but doing it in front of millions of viewers adds to that difficulty.  She begins her book with a view into her home life – a very sheltered and naïve rearing.  Her insecurities are heightened by assumptions and misinterpretations.  However, with the help of various cast members, Mary begins to realize and conquer with time some of her deep seated issues.

With the end of the series, Mary found transiting into an actor from child actor challenging. She was always seen as Erin Walton. During this time, Mary continued to evolve personally, found love and had a daughter. Unlike Hollywood stories, there wasn’t a happy ending. Mary became quite ill – the illness was a direct result of leaking silicone breast implants. Unfortunately, the damage was already done to her body by the time the implants were removed; she was diagnosed with Lupus.  

The throws of the disease, Mary encounters more challenges - her daughter has been affected by the silicone and her marriage has collapsed.  As she has done in the past, Mary picks up the pieces of the life and continues on. She becomes an advocate of the FDAs removal this type of implant.  The journey takes to Washington DC putting her in the public eye again.

In review, I understand the purpose of Mary McDonough’s book is to relate her growth, it became to predicable. Each story was told followed by what she learned. It would have been much more enjoyable to describe some tales without an educational purpose and merely for the pleasure of sharing an interesting story.   

Having lived for nearly twenty-five years in the immediate area of Schulyer, Virginia, and a fan of the show, I was interested in the “inside scoop” from one of the actors.  But I found Mary’s book a bit disappointing.  I understand her avid work with breast implants and Lupus; it is to be commended.  However, this portion needs some work.  


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ted Saves the World Blog Tour & Giveaway

1,000 to 1
By Bryan Cohen

Around eight months ago, I released a book that changed my life. The book was called  "Creative Writing Prompts: Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More" and it was a collection of story starters I've compiled over previous couple of years. I put them all into one book and slowly but surely it became a reference guide for bloggers, authors and screenwriters alike. The book has not made me a millionaire or anything, but it has certainly helped to fueled the beginning of my writing career.

I've always been a man of ideas, but I haven't always been the best at fleshing them out. I've come up with some weird and wacky concepts in my time as a writer and a producer. This includes a Dungeons & Dragons comedy show, a dream-infused corporate coffee dramedy, and now, I've crafted the story of a public teenage superhero and his possessed cheerleader guardian called "Ted Saves the World."

My idea to create a book full of 1,000 ideas was a good one. I have a feeling that this idea will be likewise just as successful because I have spent time thoroughly fleshing it out. Ted Saves the World is only the beginning of a series that will show a conflict between multiple universes, with tons of characters, and lots of mythology. In addition, the characters all have a biting wit and the ability to spout rapid-fire jokes as often as they throw round-house kicks.

There is a chance that my collection of 1,000 ideas will be more successful than this one expanded upon idea. That being said, every time care for an idea and grow it to adult-size, it is a major learning experience. I'm still young and while I hope Ted Saves the World is a phenomenon, I know that the lessons I learn from creating an entertaining series will serve me in the future while I try to flesh out the other 999.


Description of Ted Saves the World (Available for just $0.99):
A possessed cheerleader. A cursed gang of criminals. Mysterious telekinetic powers. An angry ex-girlfriend in gym class? One second, sophomore in high school Ted endures his first breakup in his favorite place in town. The next, a mysterious blue light turns him into a worldwide superhero sensation for taking down a posse of grisly murderers. As his views on YouTube increase and his friend Dhiraj tries to capitalize on the marketing potential, his dangers increase as well when a presumed-dead cheerleader begins taking a personal interest. Can Ted survive his first week as a superhero in the public eye? This novella is the first taste in a series of full-length novels about the adventures of Ted Finley and Erica LaPlante. The book is also available on Barnes & Noble and <a href=" ">Smashwords</a> for $0.99.

Bryan Cohen is giving away four $25 Amazon gift cards, one for each week of his month long blog tour. To enter, simply comment with your e-mail address (feel free to substitute @ with (at) or other tricks to stop spammers from getting it). Bryan will draw the four names at the end of the tour, picking one entrant at random from each week’s set of blog posts. Entries will be counted through Monday, August 15th, 2011. Enter on as many sites as you want, follow the tour at <a href=" Creative Writing Ideas</a>. If <i>Ted</i> reaches the Top 100 on Amazon at any point during the tour, a fifth $25 card will be added to the giveaway.

Bryan Cohen is a writer, actor and comedian from Dresher, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005 with degrees in English and Dramatic Art and a minor in Creative Writing. He has written seven books including <a href=",000 Creative Writing Prompts: Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More</a>. Contact Bryan through <a href=" Ted Saves the World blog</a>, <a href=" Build Creative Writing Ideas site</a> or <a href=">.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Only Mine Bookmark Giveaway!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ellis Island

Ellis Island: A NovelAuthor: Kate Kerrigan
ISBN: 978-0-06-207153-8
Publisher: HarperCollins
Purchase Link: Ellis Island: A Novel
Source: TLC Book Tours
Read the Tours Reviews

About the Book:
Sweethearts since childhood, Ellie Hogan and her husband, John, are content on their farm in Ireland—until John, a soldier for the Irish Republican Army, receives an injury that leaves him unable to work. Forced to take drastic measures in order to survive, Ellie does what so many Irish women in the 1920s have done and sails across a vast ocean to New York City to work as a maid for a wealthy socialite.

Once there, Ellie is introduced to a world of opulence and sophistication, tempted by the allure of grand parties and fine clothes, money and mansions . . . and by the attentions of a charming suitor who can give her everything. Yet her heart remains with her husband back home. And now she faces the most difficult choice she will ever have to make: a new life in a new country full of hope and promise, or return to a life of cruel poverty . . . and love.

I greatly enjoyed this novel!  I love historical fiction and this book was simply unique.  I haven't read a similar storyline to the one in this novel and it was quite fascinating to say the least.  I felt as if I was sitting with a wonderful old woman as she passed on her life story to me.  The story in retrospect is full of wisdom, full of love, full of hurt and with or without regret a story of survival and choices.  It's life in the raw.  I was left to ponder questions such as "Can money buy happiness?"  "What is life without love?" and "What would I choose?"

Ellis Island is beautifully written, enchanting and engaging.  Kerrigan draws the reader deep into the story, transforming your reading spot into a time traveling machine.  I felt like I was able to watch the story play out while being invisible to others.  It was a sort of "fly on the wall" feeling, without being an ugly, nasty fly that someone would want to get rid of, of course!  The characters were intriguing.  You could feel the passion and emotion of Ellie though the others were not explored as deeply.  I wanted to know more about the other characters and see their stories developed, but it didn't bother me much that this was not done.  The story, to me, felt like Ellie's story and not John's or his families or any of the people she meets and works for in America.  I would read more about them in a future novel however.  Kerrigan left herself plenty of characters to work with in a second book to the series if she chooses to use them.

What really struck me about this novel was the vast difference between Ellie's former lifestyle in Ireland and her new lifestyle in America.  In order to put myself in her shoes I had to think.  Could I go back to a life without a flushable toilet? Running water? Internet? Cell phone? A car?  Obviously, some of these are not mentioned in the book but the idea is the same.  Ellie had a new and transformed life and had to choose between it and her old life which included her love.  The simple things we take for granted were major changes for Ellie, enough of a change to make her choose between luxury and poverty and love or no love.

Overall, this fast paced and addictive novel hooked me from the start!  I was drawn to the story and torn between Ellie's choices.  In the end I was left thankful and satisfied.  I only know for sure that I could not give up a life without books like these.  I highly recommend this book to readers of all genres.  It would be great for your book club.  The title does have mild profanity that is placed strategically and in context.  While it doesn't bother me, it may bother others.  However, in my opinion, there is not nearly enough of it to ward you away from this wonderful book.  It can easily be overlooked if you prefer not to read it.

Kate Kerrigan is the author of two previous novels in the United Kingdom. She lives in Ireland with her husband and their two sons.  Visit Kate’s website at and follow her on Twitter: @katekerrigan.

Giveaway:  1 copy US/CAN only thanks to the publisher and TLC Book Tours. 

Leave a comment and tell me what you couldn't do without!  Make sure to tell me how you follow GFC or Subscribe.  Leave an email address in the spot provided for only me to see or in the comment which will be public.  I will notify the winner by email.  Contest ends August 5th at 11:59pm CST. 

Leave a second comment with a link to a tweet or share on FB for an extra entry!

4.5 out of 5 Photobucket

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Anasazi: The Thirteenth Chime Book 2

Author: Emma Michaels
Book 2 of The Sense of Truth Series
Publisher: Bokheim
Source: Blog Tour by Author

One year ago, something happened to David. Following the only clue he had he headed out into the desert. Now he has asked me to come see him. But when I arrived, he was gone. The people in town claim they have never heard of him and everyone wants me to leave.

But I know he was here and he is in trouble.
He can't survive out there for long.
Can he?
David. I will find you.

About the Author:
Emma Michaels started book blogging in 2009, released her debut novel in 2010 (The Thirteenth Chime) and has been writing ever since. Now she spends her time writing biographical paragraphs in the third person and drinking an abundance of tea when she works on her novels. She thinks the word ‘she’ can be redundant in bios so she plans to use it as many times as she can and she loves reading almost as much as she loves reality. She has the amazing support of her fiancé and Chihuahua who keep her from forgetting that food is a necessity when she sits down in front of her computer and loses track of time. She obsessively follows book bloggers and other reviewers and loves e-mails from readers because readers really are an author’s best friend(s).

Connect with Emma:

Book Trailer:

Emma captivated me from the moment I picked up Anasazi. It is an intriguing tale that constantly peaked me curiosity, leaving me in wonderment at the outcome. It is a thrilling and original read that had me hooked until the end. Emma's writing is clear and descriptive without over indulging. I was able to picture the town, it's people, and the dessert easily. The pace of the book was well set. I found myself enjoying it without feeling everything was happening to quickly or to slowly. I hate being bored with a book and this book was anything but boring. Emma pulled out a few surprises with this novel. I definitely kept wondering what was going on and didn't ever completely figure it all out. Megan and Davis are quite opposite characters but they work well together. Megan is wild and crazy, a bad girl some might say. I feel she still has oats to sew and just hasn't completely matured. Davis on the other hand is on the more serious side, mellow and driven by purpose and planning. When Megan goes to see David and then cannot find him you get the sense that she wasn't expecting a mystery and a town full of odd characters. However the story pulls itself together and leaves you amazed. I enjoyed it for what it is. If you haven't yet read The Thirteenth Chime (A Sense of Truth) I suggest it! You'll want to read book one in anticipation of book two! The title will release on August 5th per Emma's website. I will keep you posted on purchase links. The Thirteenth chime was quite a hit debut novel and I expect Emma's readers will love Anasazi as well!

I have one copy to giveaway thanks to Emma! Must be a follower or subscriber of this blog.  Simply leave a comment below.  Make sure you leave your email in the space provided (private) or in the comment section (public).  Leave a second comment with the link for sharing the giveaway for an extra entry.  Comments need to be seperate please!  US/CAN only.

4 Stars