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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Review: The Rogue Pirate’s Bride by Shana Galen

The Rogue Pirate's Bride (The Sons of the Revolution #3) Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca   
ISBN:1402265557 
Pages:352 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical, Pirates  
Series-The Sons of the Revolution 1,2 
Challenges-TK
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb



Summary from publisher:

REVENGE SHOULD BE SWEET, BUT IT MAY COST HIM EVERYTHING

Out to avenge the death of his mentor, Bastien discovers himself astonishingly out of his depth when confronted with a beautiful, daring young woman who is out for his blood...

FORGIVENESS IS UNTHINKABLE BUT IT MAY BE HER ONLY HOPE...

British Admiral's daughter Raeven Russell believes Bastien responsible for her fiancé's death. But once the fiery beauty crosses swords with Bastien, she's not so sure she really wants him to change his wicked ways...


My Review: 

I love pirates and it didn’t start with Captain Jack Sparrow either. I read one of my Mother’s pirate romances (the title has escaped me) as a kid and I have been hooked ever since. I am always looking for a new awesome pirate hero and I may have found one in Bastien.

I must begin by saying that I have a pet peeve. It’s not a big one but it is a weird one. I dislike it when people add extra letters to first names or letters that shouldn’t be there. Our heroine’s name is Raeven. That extra “e” just set my teeth on edge. But aside from the bit of ridiculousness, I really did love Raeven. She was every bit as much of a sailor as Bastien. She never had any weak moments and the only times she ever got really emotional were completely justified. Bastien is another hero that proves my theory that every hero with any version of the name Sebastian must be awesome. Because he was. He was amazing. He was perfect in every possible way for Raeven. That is not to say he didn’t have his hero moments of utter dumbness but he matched her strength for strength.

As I said before, I am a big fan of pirates. I didn’t know how much until I finished this book but it’s apparently a favorite of mine because I loved this book. I loved the romance and the action. The battle scenes were amazing. If a pirate romance has great battle scenes, it’s a major plus. The chemistry between Bastien and Raeven was great. She was often trying to kill him and I, generally, approve of that. I do have to admit to a major sad moment when one of my favorite characters bit the big one. I won’t spoil who it is but I loved that character.

Rating:

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.

Blog Tour: Into the Light by Darcia Helle

Blurb:

Max Paddington refuses to go into the light until he finds his killer. This presents a dilemma, since Max is even less competent as a spirit than he was as a live person. No one sees or hears him and he can’t manage to get anywhere or do anything on his own.

Joe Cavelli is a private investigator, living an ordinary life. Then one day he walks across a parking lot, gets yelled at by a ghost, and his life only gets stranger from there.

Max and Joe team up to find Max’s killer. In the process, they form an unlikely friendship and change each other’s lives in ways they never expected.

Excerpt:

Max blinked and time did a fast forward. The ambulance was gone. His body was gone. Having no body made him happy, in an odd sort of way. He’d never liked that body, anyway. Why couldn’t he have been 6 feet 2 inches and muscular, instead of 5 feet 9 inches and stocky? And the hair on his arms, what was up with that? He’d had a damn forest growing there.
The cops were questioning the people below him. No one shed tears. Why would they? No one there had known him. Hell, even the people who did know him weren’t likely to shed any tears.
Max felt himself floating into a soft, peaceful place when he remembered the person in the ball cap. Then the word divorce echoed in his head. Rachel had wanted a divorce! And he’d been murdered! She’d done it. Rachel had killed him. Or had someone kill him. Over golf clubs? What the hell?
The crowd below him had thinned out. Two cops walked toward Chili’s. What, seeing his dead body had given them an appetite? Max shook his head. No, he’d eaten at Chili’s earlier. He remembered now. Carlos and that gleaming smile. Those cops must be going to talk to Carlos. Great. Perfect. Carlos would tell those cops that he’d left a lousy tip. He’d been grumpy and a lousy tipper. That’s what everyone would remember about his last moments on earth.
Max turned his attention back to the crowd. No one in a ball cap. Was it even a ball cap? He shrugged. A cap, sure, but what kind? Baseball? Maybe football? Could have been any kind of cap. He didn’t even know the color.
Regardless, no one in the crowd wore a hat. The person in the hat had killed him. And it was all Rachel’s fault. Would you like a divorce with your death certificate?
“Hey!” Max shouted at the cops below him. “Hey! I’m talking to you! Find the person in the cap!”
No one looked his way. They couldn’t hear him. He was dead.
A bright light flashed in his eyes and warmth flooded over him. He spun around, expecting to see more police cars with their lights blazing. Instead, a radiant white light shined down from somewhere above. Unlike spotlights, this one didn’t hurt his eyes. He felt drawn to it, like he could float right up into that light and nothing else would matter.
But Rachel had killed him. Over golf clubs! He couldn’t let her get away with it.
“Maxwell.”
Max flinched. His grandfather. That was his grandfather’s voice. His very dead grandfather.
“Maxwell, take my hand.”
Max turned to see his grandfather standing on the edge of the light. His arm was outstretched, his hand turned palm up, waiting for Max to take it. “Wow,” Max muttered. “Grandpa Max. Wow.”
“It’s good to see you again, Maxwell.”
“Yeah, well, I could have waited a few more years to see you, Grandpa Max.”
His grandfather smiled. “Your time on earth is finished. Take my hand now.”
The light pulled Max in, its warmth covering him like a soft blanket. Here’s your coffee and toast and I want a divorce. Max batted the light away like a pesky insect. “No,” he said. “I can’t let her get away with it.”
“Maxwell,” his grandfather said, “you don’t understand. Take my hand and you will see. It’s time.”
“No. I’m not going.”
Max folded his arms over his chest. His grandfather had that same exasperated look he’d worn in life. He said, “Maxwell, really, this is no time for stubbornness. Come with me.”
Grandpa Max had been dead nearly ten years. Lung cancer. He’d gone from a hefty two hundred pounds to barely one hundred when he died. Now, standing there on the edge of that brilliant light, Grandpa Max looked healthier than he’d ever been in life.
Grandpa Max. His mother’s father and the man to blame for his name.
“Why did you let them name me after you?” Max sputtered.
“Maxwell. You’re confused. The transition into the hereafter can be traumatic, particularly when death is unexpected. Take my hand and all will be well.”
“Didn’t anyone think ahead to what it would be like for me to be saddled with Maxwell the rest of my life?”
Maxwell Paddington. Seriously. Who would do that to a child? His first day of junior high, the cool kids had taken extraordinary delight in putting his first and last name together and renaming him MaxiPad. Before long, he was no longer Max or even Maxwell. Everyone in the school knew him as Maxipad.
That name had followed him straight through high school. MaxiPad. One day, in ninth grade, he’d arrived at school to find a dozen Kotex pads stuck to the outside of his locker. He still flinched every time he thought about that nickname. At work, he couldn’t walk past the aisle of sanitary napkins without shuddering.
“Maxwell.”
Grandpa Max’s voice broke into his thoughts. “I’m not going, Grandpa Max,” he said. “Not until I’m sure Rachel will pay for what she’s done.”
“That is not for you to decide.”
Max rolled his eyes. “Oh, please. It’s right in the Bible. An eye for an eye. I’m not coming now, Grandpa Max.”
Max turned away from his grandfather and the warm, radiant light. The light disappeared like a flashlight being switched off. Below him, only two young men and four cops remained. The rest of the crowd had gone home. Or back inside Chili’s, to finish their meals and gaze adoringly at Carlos. Max wanted to listen to their conversation. An awkward attempt at floating sent him tumbling over the tall cop with the crooked nose.
“Thanks for your help,” the cop said to the two young men. “If you think of anything else, please give me a call.”
The cop handed each of them a card and the two men sauntered off in the direction of Chili’s. The younger cop with the shaved head said, “Maybe a carjacking gone bad?”
“Could be,” the tall cop said.
“No!” Max shouted. “No one wanted my car. It was Rachel! I bought golf clubs!”
“Let’s go talk to the wife,” the tall cop said.
“I hate this part,” the bald cop said.
“Yeah, it never gets any easier, either. Notifying family is the part of the job that I’ll never get used to.”
“Will you listen to me!” Max called out. He leaned over, his mouth inches from the tall cop’s ear. “You don’t have to notify Rachel. She knows! She killed me! I know she did!”
The two cops moved toward their car, without as much as a flicker of acknowledgment. Max wanted to throw something at them. He wanted to smack them in the head to get their attention. But he couldn’t even figure out how to get his feet on the ground, much less pick something up. He leaned further toward them and found himself dangling upside down. By the time he’d righted himself, the cops were gone.

About the Author:

Darcia Helle lives in a fictional world with a husband who is sometimes real. Their house is ruled by spoiled dogs and cats and the occasional dust bunny. Suspense, random blood splatter and mismatched socks consume Darcia’s days. She writes because the characters trespassing through her mind leave her no alternative. Only then are the voices free to haunt someone else’s mind. You can find Darcia on her website, her blog, Twitter, Goodreads and Facebook.

You can buy Into the Light from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and Darcia’s Website.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Review and Giveaway: Heart Signs by Cari Quinn

Heart SignsPublisher: Ellora's Cave   
ISBN:9781419938306 
Genre: Romance/Contemporary  
Challenges-TK
Buy this Book: Kindle, Nook







Summary from publisher:
The heart has a language all its own...
Rory Fowler has taken Sam Miller's billboard orders for the last two years, but they aren't to advertise they're love notes to his wife. Sam's most recent billboard about his wife's passing hits Rory hard. When she calls Sam to offer condolences, it sets off an unexpected chain of events that ends with Rory in Sam's apartment-and his arms.
Reading Sam's love letters tugs Rory into the romance between him and his estranged, now-deceased, wife. Their lives soon intertwine so completely that Rory wonder how she'll ever forget the man who makes poetry out of emotions she's fought to dismiss. And plays her body even more skillfully that he writes love notes.
Consumed by guilt and grief, Sam is shocked by the feelings Rory arouses in him, sexually and otherwise. Now he's not thinking about yesterday as much as he's looking forward to tomorrow. He's just not sure if he's capable of moving on...or if the woman who helped him find the will to really live again will be by his side.


My Review: 
First of all, I have been giving my poor Nook such a workout this month. I may need to give the poor guy a break but it was totally worth it. I am 4 for 4 on excellent Nook books. I am actually quaking in my Oscar the Grouch socks because I know a humdinger of a bad book is coming along in the near future.

I kinda fell in love with both Rory and Sam. Sam is perhaps one of my favorite heroes. He is so sad and it seems like he needs a good hug and a cuppa tea. He is still grieving over his wife and sending her messages on a billboard. Lord in heaven, it’s a bit heartbreaking. The love notes he writes to his wife are enough to make you weep. Rory, our heroine, works for the company that puts up those billboards and they form a friendship. Rory was a really great character. I was worried that she would be wishy-washy but she was spunky and smart and comforted Sam but, at the same time, did not let him wallow. I also love it when the heroine has image issues. It makes her so much more real and relatable.

This book had me on the edge of tears and smooshy “aww” the whole time I was reading. Sam and Rory had a very real sort of chemistry that was not all contrived or Hallmark movie like. I was a bit worried at the start that I was walking into a Hallmark movie of the week-like book but I wasn’t and I was happy. The progression of the relationship between Sam and Rory was also very organic and well-paced. This is my first Cari Quinn but, clearly, I have been missing something and I must catch up in a big way.  
Rating:

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.


Giveaway!-I am giving away 1 e-book copy of this awesome book. To enter, fill out the handy dandy Rafflecopter.
  • 18 and older
  • Ends on March 7th.
  • I will email the winner. If there is no response within 48 hours, I will pick a new winner.

Review: The Rancher and the Rock Star by Lizbeth Selvig

The Rancher and the Rock StarPublisher: Avon Impulse   
ISBN:0062134655 
Pages:432 pages
Genre: Romance/Contemporary/Western  
Challenges-TK
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb



Summary from publisher:

To the world, Gray Covey is a rock superstar. But to his runaway son, he's simply the father who never has any time for him. To prove that he's more than his rock star lifestyle, for the next few weeks Gray must put aside his fame and become...a farmhand?

Abby Stadtler has built the perfect, quiet life for herself. Neat and orderly is the name of the game for her and her beloved farm. When Gray shows up on her doorstep, looking like he stepped straight off the front cover of a magazine, she is determined that he won't upset her routine.

But what neither counts on is the love that springs up between them. Abby knows that life on a ranch in Minnesota can never compete with an exciting world tour. But for Gray, it's time to decide what's really important. With Abby's help, will he be able to decide, once and for all, that love and family are the answer?


My Review: 

This was my first book as one of Avon’s Addicts. I danced for joy and them immediately started reading this book. It’s not my usual style but it’s definitely good.

Abby was one of those heroines that I had mixed feelings about. I really liked her. I did. But sometimes her need to do everything for herself became a bit obnoxious. I can understand the need to be independent but when the need to be independent inhibits your ability to survive, it becomes a problem. For instance, when Gray bought her horse Gucci back, Abby was not happy or grateful. She was angry. I did not understand that at all. I do like her strength and independence but wish she had been able to let go of her pride just a little. I loved Gray. I am always happy to find a good rock star hero. He had all of the typical bells and whistles that go with such a hero—fans, paparazzi, crazy agents, scandals. But he was also very kind and very sweet.  He also has a bit of the same stubborn pride that Abby has which, pretty much, makes them perfect for each other.

I loved so much about this book. I loved the chemistry between Abby and Gray. They had this great push and pull. They were also older than I am used to seeing which I really liked. The small-town feel of the book was great---this city girl loves small towns for some weird reason. It was also refreshing to see these two single parents bond over their kids. It was perfect because Abby had already made a connection to Dawson and Abby’s daughter, Kim, was fangirl over Gray. It was an interesting dynamic. The only criticism I have is that I did not like the constant use of God and religion. I am usually not prepared for it if I am not reading Christian fiction. And I do have to be prepared for it. But other than that I really did enjoy this book.

Rating:

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Cover Reveal: Luminosity by Stephanie Thomas

Luminosity Cover

My name is Beatrice. When I was born, I was blessed with the Sight. I was
immediately removed from my parents and enrolled in the Institution. At
the age of twelve, I had my first true vision, earning my raven’s wings.
And when I turned seventeen, one of my visions came true. Things haven’t
been the same since.
The Institution depends on me to keep the City safe from our enemy, the
Dreamcatchers, but I’m finding it harder to do while keeping a secret from
everyone, including my best friend Gabe. It is a secret that could put us
all in danger. A secret that could kill me and everyone close to me.
But the enemy has been coming to me in my dreams, and I think I’m falling
in love with him. He says they’re coming. He says they’re angry. And I
think I’ve already helped them win.

You can add Luminosity from Entangled Publishing on Goodreads or pre-order via Amazon. It’s out in November 2012.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Review: Chasing Clovers by Kat Flannery

Chasing CloversPublisher: Imajin Books   
ISBN:1926997387 
Pages:176 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical/Western  
Challenges-TK
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb



Summary from publisher:

Mail order bride, Livy Green, is desperate to escape the memories of her past. John Taylor will never love another woman again, but his children need a mother. Will they learn to trust each other, or will their pasts interfere?
Longing to escape the awful memories and the saloon she once sang in, Livy Green lies about her past so she can be a wife to John Taylor and mother to his two young children. Overwhelmed by the task, she struggles to put her resentment aside and love them as her own.
John loved his first wife and is still heartbroken over the loss, but he needs a mother for his children. When his distant and unfriendly mail order bride arrives, he begins to doubt his decision, though one glance into Livy's terrified green eyes tells him he can’t turn his back on her.
As Livy's past catches up with her and suspicious accidents begin to happen on the ranch, she is tempted to come clean and tell John the truth. But will he send her back if she does? Or will they forever be CHASING CLOVERS?


My Review: 

There are very few times when I can pick up my Nook and be completely engrossed in a novel. This was one of them. I loved every single sentence in this book. It is a keeper in a big damn way.

I have grown up loving one romance plot above all others (aside from my unashamed love of dirty, nasty, cheating rakes in my beloved bodice rippers) and that is the mail-order bride plot. It always brings so much tension, angst and, of course, some of the best schmoopy sweet moments ever. This one was no different. Olivia was a heroine of the best sort. She was smart, kind and yet flawed and looking for redemption. She was the type of heroine you like immediately and feel sort of protective of throughout. John, poor thing, he was doing his best and I felt so bad for him because he was so heartbroken. I loved watching these two characters grow together and ultimately, heal each other.

This one reminds me of one of my favorite western historical romance writers out there—Jodi Thomas. Only Jodi Thomas could pull the mail-order bride plot off nearly as well. I loved so much of this book. The writing was excellent (I wish I had a print copy to keep on my shelf—it’s on the to buy list). I loved the setting—Canada not your typical. The progression of their relationship was also really fun to watch. It started out soo awkward but ended so perfectly. This is a definite must read. 

Rating:

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.

Follow Friday (February 24th)

Reviews Posted:

  1. Deliver Me From Darkness by Tes Hilaire
  2. The Legacy of Eden by Nelle Davy
  3. Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein
  4. Paranormal by Raymond Moody, M.D.
  5. The Lord of Illusion by Kathryne Kennedy

Current Events:

Q: Activity!!! Take a picture or describe where you love to read the most…

I am not going to take a picture because I can’t. My camera had an encounter with the inside of a freezer and has not been the same since.

My reading nook is the most beautiful place in the world. I have this huge orange comfy chair that has been the location of my reading fun times since I was a kid. My mother used to read to me when I was a baby in that chair. I used to climb up there and read when I got home from school. That was my safe place in college when I was feeling stressed. It’s always been there. The chair itself is actually getting quite beaten up and I can’t bring myself to get rid of it because no chair will be as comfy…or as orange.

GoodReads Catch-Up Read-a-Thon

GoodReads Readathon Button
I am always craving a readathon. Always. I need to catch-up as well because somehow I am 22 books behind on my yearly total even though I have finished 51 books for the year. I have no idea what I am going to read so I am just going to wing it.

Currently Reading:

Books Read:

  1. Texas Pride by Leigh Greenwood
  2. The Rancher and the Rock Star by Lizbeth Selvig
  3. A SEAL in Wolf's Clothing , by Terry Spear
  4. Wrong Side of Hell, , by Juliana Stone
  5. True Highland Spirit , by Amanda Forester
  6. Wyoming Wildfire , by Leigh Greenwood

My Reading Space:

I don’t have a camera right now—I left it in the freezer and it does not work. My reading space is lovely—for me at least as it’s rather beat up. My reading space consists of my comfy orange chair that I have been reading in since practically birth. My mother used to read to me in this chair. And of course, a table to hold my drink and/or snack. Usually tea and honey roasted almonds.

My TBR:

I don’t so much have a TBR but an entire bookshelf that needs to get read. Authors included are Lisa Kleypas, Stephanie Laurens, Jo Beverley, Julia Quinn, Elaine Coffman etc.

favorite romance shelf

regular romance shelf

 

Pages Read:

  • 2007

GoodReads Challenge Stats:

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Grace has read 64 books toward her goal of 500 books.
hide

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Guest Post: Nelle Davy, author of Legacy of Eden

How to create a dark story in a stereotypically “bright,” friendly place

That was never a problem for me. No place is a halcyon. Everywhere has problems The Legacy of Edenand issues. Katherine Anne-Porter who is an amazing author and one of my favourite short story writers once said, “In the nicest houses people do the worst things to one another.” That saying stayed with me throughout writing the novel and reminded me of the story I wanted to tell. In some ways I don’t feel the story is as dark as it could have been. In I Claudius (the inspiration for the novel) there are far worse things including murder so I had to actually scale things down somewhat for the story to make it more believable in a modern setting. What I did not realize until I began reading it again after all this time is how malicious it is, but it was so enjoyable to write I completely forgot about that aspect of it. This was what the characters I had created would do and I just immersed myself in their behaviour. I didn’t really concentrate on the darkness; I just wanted to make the reader understand why they did what they did. I suppose I am drawn to literature that explores characters and novels that feel like studies in human behaviour because I find the human animal endlessly fascinating. It just so happens that in my first novel I chose to explore the more darker parts.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Review: The Lord of Illusion by Kathryne Kennedy

The Lord of Illusion (The Elven Lords, #3)Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca   
ISBN:1402236549 
Pages:448 pages
Genre: Romance/Fantasy/Elves  
Series-Elven Lords 1,2 
Challenges-TK
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb



Summary from publisher:

He'll do anything to save her...
Rebel Lord Drystan Hawkes dreams of fighting for England's freedom. He gets his chance when he finds a clue to opening the magic portal to Elfhame, and he must race to find the slave girl who holds the key to the mystery. But even as Drystan rescues Camille Ashton from Dreamhame Palace, it becomes unclear exactly who is saving whom.
For the fate of humankind lies with Camille...
Enslaved for years in a realm where illusion and glamour reign, Camille has learned to trust nothing and no one. But she's truly spellbound when she meets Drystan—a man different from any she's ever known, and the force of their passion may yet be strong enough to banish the Elven Lords from this world forever.


My Review: 

I have stalked this series like a rabid fangirl since the first book in the series, The Fire Lord’s Lover. It was amazing. The second book, The Lady of the Storm, was less of a favorite but still great. This one was a great read but still not on par with The Fire Lord’s Lover but I don’t think any book will be.

Camille was the type of heroine you can go years and years without finding. She was so strong and capable. She was a slave with all the abuse and bad treatment that goes with it and she never gave up and never gave in. Kennedy always manages to create amazing heroines that would know a damsel if they kicked one in the kneecap. Drystan was an okay hero. I think I would have liked him more if I didn’t have the comparison to Dominic. Dominic is my benchmark and, somehow, I think all the heroes in this series will fall short. He was so bad where Drystan is just such a nice guy. I have always liked the bad boys better.

I am one of those crazy people who like jealousy, angst and a bit of emotional turmoil in their romance novels. I know it’s weird but it really is something I look for—that bit of heartfail before the happy ending. I don’t think I got it in this one. The chemistry between Camille and Drystan was rather sweet and actually a bit co-dependent. There was very little angst or tension. But I did like how sweet they were with each other so I didn’t find that I missed the tension all that much. I am also a big fan of battle scenes of any form. It’s the history major in me. The battle scenes in The Lord of Illusion were amazing. They were so detailed.

If you like LOTR, you will love this series. I cannot wait for Kathryne Kennedy’s next book.

Rating:

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Review: Paranormal by Raymond Moody, M.D.

Paranormal: My Life in Pursuit of the AfterlifePublisher: HarperCollins Publishers   
ISBN:0061711535 
Pages:256 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction  
Challenges-TK
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb



Summary from publisher:

Moody, the "grandfather" of the modern NDE (Near Death Experience) movement, was the first to describe the accounts of the bright light, the tunnel and the presence of loved ones waiting on the other side. In this chronicle of his lifetime of research into the after life, Moody explains how he stumbled onto these amazingly consistent stories by people who had died and come back to life.


My Review: 

I am a  paranormal addict. I watch all of the paranormal related shows on TV no matter how crazy they seem or how loopy some of the people on those shows are. Ghost Hunters is my favorite because despite how skeptical I am, they seem very scientifically sound. I like paranormal shows that cater to my need for both logic and a good scare. This one was exactly that—enough science, not gratuitously scary and quite interesting.

I found Paranormal to be extremely fascinating. That is saying something huge because I read this book in the midst of one of the worst migraines I have ever experienced and anyone who has ever had a migraine knows that reading is nearly impossible when dealing with a migraine. I really loved that this was not really about ghosts and ghouls but Near Death Experiences. I have a couple of family members that have experienced Near Death Experiences and I have always found them to be fascinating if a bit scary. I have always been of the belief that they are not real/they are the result of an adrenaline rush but this book definitely changed my view on that.

I was a bit wary of this book when I started it. I’m not the type of person that likes to think beyond what I know as fact because the unknown, quite frankly, frightens me quite a bit. But I could not put this book down. I was completely engrossed from the first page. I am still sort of a skeptic. I have trouble believing things that can’t be proven to me but this book went a long way towards convincing me because of the logical and cohesive way information was presented. 

Rating:

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Guest Blog and Giveaway: Marie Astor, author of On the Rim of Love

Do you believe in love at first sight?

imageAs a contemporary romance author I am often asked if I believe in love at first sight, and my answer is yes! Now I can already hear a chorus of naysayers grumbling that there is no such thing, and yes, unfortunately, such fortunate events are rare in life, but that does not mean that they do not happen. Today I would like to share an account of events that happened to a very close friend of mine, and leave you to decide whether love at first sight exists or not.

About fifteen years ago my friend – for the purpose of this story I’m going to call her Leah – went to London for a semester of study abroad. While there she met Adam - a handsome young man who was in one of her classes. Leah was instantly smitten with Adam’s good looks and charming personality, as he was enamored with her beauty and wit, and the two embarked on a passionate romance. In the sporadic postcards and letters that Leah sent me she would gush about how incredibly wonderful Adam was and how she was certain that he was the one for her. I read the postcards and the letters, and while I was happy for my friend, I found it my duty to caution her against the danger of a broken heart, so I would send back subtly worded reminders that she was only in London for a year and that it would be rash to plan too far ahead.

Before long, Leah’s year in London came to an end, and she returned to New York. But Adam would not leave her thoughts, as the two continued to exchange long-OTROL tour button verticaldistance phone calls, postcards and letters. Long story short, the next year Adam transferred to a college in New York, he graduated two years later, and got a job in New York. Three years later he and Leah got married. Today they are as happily in love as they were fifteen years ago with the addition of two kids.

Is Leah’s and Adam’s love story a story of love at first sight? I would not presume to be the one to judge, but there must have been a powerful strike of connection between them that held true through the college years, which undoubtedly must have brought plenty of temptation to both of them, and is still holding true for them today. Real life stories like Leah’s and Adam’s inspire me to write the fiction that I write and believe that even in real life impossible romances can happen.

My contemporary romance On the Rim of Love is about finding one’s true soul mate. When Maggie and Taylor first meet they feel an instant attraction to each other. At first glance the two of them could not be more different – Maggie is a big city girl with plans for law school, and Taylor is an off-piste skier who loves his rural home town. And Maggie is engaged to be married… Yet, the two of them cannot keep their eyes off each other. At first both of them are so weary of each other that they fight their attraction with all their might; yet, despite their efforts, the chemistry between is just too strong to resist, and that’s when the magic of love begins to take place – to find out exactly what happens you’ll have to read the book!


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About Marie:
Marie Astor is a die-hard romantic who wholeheartedly believes in true love, which is why she writes in the contemporary romance genre.

Marie is the author of contemporary romance novels, On the Rim of Love, Lucky Charm, and a short story collection, A Chance Encounter and Other Stories.

In addition to being a writer, Marie is an avid hiker, an excellent swimmer, a good skier, and a capable badminton player.

Currently, Marie is working on her next novel – stay tuned for details! If you would like to receive updates about book releases and events, please visit Marie’s website or visit Marie at her Facebook page. You can also find her at Twitter, Goodreads and her website.

About On The Rim Of Love - Goodreads, Amazon

Twenty-two-year-old Maggie Robin has been dating the irresistibly good-looking Jeffrey Preston for a year. But when Jeffrey proposes marriage to her a week after her college graduation, Maggie finds herself wondering if she wants to spend the rest of her life married to a workaholic TV show producer.

Her doubts culminate when during a ski trip to British Columbia she meets Taylor Denton, a handsome, free-spirited big mountain skier.

Maggie’s attraction to Taylor is undeniable, but she is engaged to marry Jeffrey. Will Maggie have the courage to follow her heart?

Giveaway:
Marie is offering a Kindle 3G skinned in her beautiful On The Rim Of Love cover art.
Open US/Canada.  See full contest rules here.

Review: Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein

imagePublisher: Harper Paperbacks   
ISBN:0061711535 
Pages:272 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction  
Challenges-TK
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb



Summary from publisher:

The acclaimed author of the groundbreaking bestseller "Schoolgirls" reveals the dark side of pink and pretty: the rise of the girlie-girl, she warns, is not that innocent.

Pink and pretty or predatory and hardened, sexualized girlhood influences our daughters from infancy onward, telling them that how a girl looks matters more than who she is. Somewhere between the exhilarating rise of Girl Power in the 1990s and today, the pursuit of physical perfection has been recast as a source--"the" source--of female empowerment. And commercialization has spread the message faster and farther, reaching girls at ever-younger ages.

But, realistically, how many times can you say no when your daughter begs for a pint-size wedding gown or the latest Hannah Montana CD? And how dangerous is pink and pretty anyway--especially given girls' successes in the classroom and on the playing field? Being a princess is just make-believe, after all; eventually they grow out of it. Or do they? Does playing Cinderella shield girls from early sexualization--or prime them for it? Could today's little princess become tomorrow's sexting teen? And what if she does? Would that make her in charge of her sexuality--or an unwitting captive to it?

Those questions hit home with Peggy Orenstein, so she went sleuthing. She visited Disneyland and the international toy fair, trolled American Girl Place and Pottery Barn Kids, and met beauty pageant parents with preschoolers tricked out like Vegas showgirls. She dissected the science, created an online avatar, and parsed the original fairy tales. The stakes turn out to be higher than she--or we--ever imagined: nothing less than the health, development, and futures of our girls. From premature sexualization to the risk of depression to rising rates of narcissism, the potential negative impact of this new girlie-girl culture is undeniable--yet armed with awareness and recognition, parents can effectively counterbalance its influence in their daughters' lives.

"Cinderella Ate My Daughter" is a must-read for anyone who cares about girls, and for parents helping their daughters navigate the rocky road to adulthood.


My Review: 

I am delayed with this review not because I flaked or because I forgot but I loved this book so much that I read it twice more after I finished it the first time. Yes, that means I read it three times in succession. Before I go on, I must note that I have no children and have no intention of ever having any so I can only comment from my experience of being a girl, not being a mother, and having this type of brainwashing directed at me.

I guess I should start by saying that I have always been more interested in hockey games and wrestling than I have ever been in Disney movies (aside from Newsies—the best movie ever made) and the only fairy tales I know are the ones I read in my anthology of fairy tales (usually more grim and gruesome than their Disney counterparts). I was never ever seen as a kid playing house with the girls but in the mud or playing some sort of reckless sport with my crazy boy cousins (I used to use the heads of my baby dolls as makeshift hockey pucks in backyard games—fun). I can credit my parents for this. They never bought in to the Barbies are for girls and the G.I. Joes are for boys type of thing. If I asked for a “boy” toy for Christmas, that’s what I got. I have good parents. I was allowed to develop my interests without being bombarded by stereotypes and the this is for boys and this is for girls type of hooey.

Before I read this book I never realized how prevalent this bombardment of the pink, pretty girlie girl was in our culture. It never occurred to me to think of it as anything other than normal. It’s in evidence everyday. When a girl wants a sports jersey, she is immediately directed to the pink girl cut jersey. Heaven forbid, she wants to actually wear the colors of the team she cheers for. It’s almost as if the assumption is she doesn’t know anything about the sport but she is just going to the game to look pretty. Or when a little girl wants to buy Legos, she is immediately directed to the pink (and less fun and creative) version. I did love this book simply because it opened my eyes and made me look at the world differently.   I am actually quite surprised by how much this book spoke to me because I thought myself impervious to it all. I found the language to be engaging and the subject matter enlightening and interesting. This will definitely be a reread for me and I highly recommend this one.

Rating:

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.

Cover Reveal: Gravity by Melissa West

Gravity Cover

In the future, only one rule will matter:
Don't. Ever. Peek.
Seventeen-year-old Ari Alexander just broke that rule and saw the last
person she expected hovering above her bed - arrogant Jackson Locke, the
most popular boy in her school. She expects instant execution or some kind
of freak alien punishment, but instead, Jackson issues a challenge: help
him, or everyone on Earth will die.
Ari knows she should report him, but everything about Jackson makes her
question what she's been taught about his kind. And against her instincts,
she's falling for him. But Ari isn't just any girl, and Jackson wants more
than her attention.  She’s a military legacy who’s been trained by her
father and exposed to war strategies and societal information no one can
know - especially an alien spy, like Jackson. Giving Jackson the
information he needs will betray her father and her country, but keeping
silent will start a war.

Isn’t it pretty? And doesn’t it sound so good?

You can add Gravity from Entangled Publishing on Goodreads or pre-order via Amazon. It’s out in October 2012.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Review: The Legacy of Eden by Nelle Davy

imagePublisher: MIRA Books   
ISBN:0778329550 
Pages:400 pages
Genre: Fiction/Chick Lit  
Challenges-TK
Buy this Book: Amazonclip_image001_thumb_thumb, Powell's, Indiebound clip_image0013_thumb_thumbclip_image0014_thumb_thumb


Summary from publisher:

For generations, Aurelia was the crowning glory of more than three thousand acres of Iowa farmland and golden cornfields. The estate was a monument to matriarch Lavinia Hathaway's dream to elevate the family name - no matter what relative or stranger she had to destroy in the process. It was a desperation that wrought the downfall of the Hathaways - and the once prosperous farm.

Now the last inhabitant of the decaying old home has died - alone. None of the surviving members of the Hathaway family want anything to do with the farm, the land, or the memories.

Especially Meredith Pincetti. Now living in New York City, for seventeen years Lavinia's youngest grandchild has tried to forget everything about her family and her past. But with the receipt of a pleading letter, Meredith is again thrust into conflict with the legacy that destroyed her family's once-great name. Back at Aurelia, Meredith must confront the rise and fall of the Hathaway family... and her own part in their mottled history.

"Our farm was like the world when people still thought it was flat. And when you left it, it was as if you had simply sailed too far and fallen off the surface into the void."


My Review: 

I apologize for this review being late. I woke up with a migraine and my intentions to type this out and post early this morning went haywire. Be warned that I am writing this with the remnants of the migraine so I might be a bit incoherent.

First of all, I am not one to harp on a cover. But can you please just look at that one? It’s gorgeous. My copy did not have that cover and for that I am sad. The contrast of the blue of the stormy sky with the golden color of the cornfield is so beautiful and the perfect reflection of what the book is about.

Meredith was one of those characters that I just had no idea what to do with. I did like her quite a bit. I can identify with her need to get away from and forget about everything that had identified her before. I just didn’t like how she went about it. She just simply cut ties to her family and was quite cold when she was forced to confront her family and her past. I was not able to make any sort of connection to her even though I really wanted to.

I loved so much about this book. It was a strange combination of Gone With the Wind, The Grapes of Wrath and Rebecca but it totally worked in its own way..  I, for one, like reading about crazy families. I can identify with a lot of it. The Hathaways were definitely a crazy family and I could read a series of books just about their various dramas. The Hathaways were the only reason I kept reading. They were interesting enough to carry my interest throughout the whole book despite my dislike of Meredith. It was like a TV show where you dislike the protagonist but the supporting cast is enough to keep your interest.

Rating:

*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.   My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies   made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the  blog.

 

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