Saturday, November 30, 2013

Blog tour: Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay

Author: Katherine Reay
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishing
Date of publication: November 2013

Samantha Moore survived years of darkness in the foster care system by hiding behind her favorite characters in literature, even adopting their very words. Her fictional friends give her an identity, albeit a borrowed one. But most importantly, they protect her from revealing her true self and encountering more pain.

After college, Samantha receives an extraordinary opportunity. The anonymous “Mr. Knightley” offers her a full scholarship to earn her graduate degree at the prestigious Medill School of Journalism. The sole condition is that Sam write to Mr. Knightley regularly to keep him apprised of her progress.

Dear Mr. Knightley is a beautifully written book about one woman's search for her true self.  Samantha's story is mostly told through her letters to a mysterious benefactor who goes by Mr. Knightley.  This is such a perfect name for him since Sam is a Jane Austin fanatic.  She has lived most of her life hiding in her books and often quotes from the classics in order to try to navigate social situations.  This tends to keep her from really getting close to anyone.  She has led a tough life and has a lot of issues with trust.  Over her 15 months in graduate school, she begins to come out of her shell and start to learn to trust.  

At first, Sam's constant quoting of Austin books got a little annoying.  But as I got to know Sam, I understood that it was her automatic defense mechanism. In addition to her quotes, she often tries to take on the persona of the characters in her beloved books to help get herself through a situation.  I was really pulling for Sam throughout the whole book.  She was stronger than she gave herself credit for.  A lost and lonely woman in the beginning, she soon finds herself surrounded by friends and a new family.  I think the relationship that I loved the most, next to Sam and Alex, was the one between Kyle and Sam.  He was another character that I was hoping to find his happy ending.

I don't want to give away too much of the plot because there are a few very sweet surprises. I know letting the reader discover them on their own will make the book that much sweeter.  This is a wonderful debut by Ms. Reay.  I look forward to reading more from her in the future!

About the author:
Katherine Reay has lived all across the country and Europe and is now settled with her family in Seattle. She is a writer, wife, mom, runner, and, most randomly, a tae kwon do black belt. Her debut novel "Dear Mr. Knightley" (ThomasNelson/HarperCollins) will be released 11/05/13. It is a contemporary story with a dash of Jane Austen and other nineteenth century writers thrown in for the fun of it.

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Debut author Katherine Reay is celebrating the release of her delightful novel, Dear Mr. Knightley, with a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway, a fun Favorite Austen Moments Pinterest contest, and an Austen-themed Facebook Party.

  One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
  • Handmade Austen-themed items (scarf, mug, bracelet, and necklace) 
Two ways to win! Enter today by clicking one of the icons below or participating in the Pinterest contest (see banner below)—or BOTH! 

But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 3rd. Winner will be announced at the "Dear Mr. Knightley" Austen-themed Facebook Author Chat Party on the 3rd. Join Katherine (and Austen fans) for an evening of book chat, prizes, and an exclusive look at Katherine's next book.

So grab your copy of  Dear Mr. Knightley and join Katherine on the evening of December 3rd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST. Hope to see you on the 3rd!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Blog Tour: A Midsummer Bride by Amanda Forester

Please welcome author Amanda Forester as she promotes her latest book, A Midsummer Bride.  Enjoy the excerpt that she has shared with us after my thoughts on the book!

Publisher: Sourcebooks
Date of publication: November 2013

Miss Harriet Burton, a horrendously rich American heiress, laughs too loud, states her opinion directly, and even conducts science experiments. Her uncle is desperate to get her off his hands and is offering a king's ransom to anyone able to arrange a suitable marriage that comes with a title. 

To avoid marriage, Harriet swears off all men, until she meets Duncan Maclachlan, Earl of Thornton. But when Thornton is falsely accused of being a traitor, Harriet must use her knowledge of chemistry to find the real culprit and spark true romance.

My thoughts:

A Midsummer Bride was a fun read.  It is the second book in the "Marriage Mart" series.  I review the first book, A Wedding in Springtime back in May here.  I actually liked this one more than the first.  I felt like it flowed better.  The mystery in the book was fun.  Who is the spy and who is setting Duncan and Harriet up?  I have to say that I was surprised at the culprit.  I was on the wrong track!  

As for the romance, I loved watching Harriet and Duncan fall for each other. They were well matched.  I loved Harriet.  She was like a fish out of water being American born with no idea how to act in English society.  It made for some funny scenes.    Along with the romance and mystery, it looks like there is the potential for another romance in the next book?  I really look forward to seeing if I am right.


Thank you for inviting me here to visit today.  I am excited for the release Midsummer Bride, a Regency with an unusual cast of characters.  First of all, the hero is a Scottish earl, Lord Thornton, who is actually a bit shy around ladies.  Second, the heroine, Harriet Redgrave, is an American heiress, brought unwillingly to England where her grandfather is trying to keep her from returning to America by marrying her off to a member of the aristocracy.  Third, they find themselves in a house party with notable members of society, a thief, and a spy. 

Here is an excerpt from Midsummer Bride.  Harriet has just discovered that her grandfather, Lord Langley, has contracted with a renowned matchmaker to find her a titled husband.  She tries to escape to the library to be alone for a moment but finds Lord Thornton instead.

 “Good evening.”
Harriet jumped with a small shriek and put one hand on her heart and the other on the doorknob. She could make a quick escape if she had to. “Who’s there?”
“Sorry if I gave ye a fright.” Lord Thornton stepped out of the shadows toward the light of a single candle. “I stepped into the library to collect some papers from my desk.” He held up a stack of letters.
Harriet sighed in relief. “I am sorry to invade your privacy. I had no idea there was anyone here.”
“Are you lost?”
“No, I simply needed to escape for a moment.”
Thornton frowned. “Is someone bothering ye, Miss Redgrave?”
“Yes! Lots of someones.” Harriet walked further into the room and sank onto the settee.
“Can I be of assistance? I am most willing to be at yer service, as I offered earlier.” Thornton sat beside her but still at a respectable distance. “Who has disturbed ye?”
Thornton leaned back, his eyebrows raised. “All of us?”
“Well, not all at once perhaps, but men in general have been a pox to me.”
“I deeply regret being a pox to anyone. Please tell me what injury you have to report so I may appro­priately apologize for the misdeeds of my brethren.”
Harriet smiled. The Scotsman before her was appar­ently made of sterner stuff than most Londoners she had met, given that he received her unusual proclama­tion without censure. “First of all, my grandfather has hired a matchmaker to tie me down and hitch me up to some gentleman with a title.”
“Anyone in particular?”
“No, just a man with a title. Doesn’t matter if he is eighty years old or lives on a diet of whiskey and beer. If he has a title, I’m up for bids.”
The corner of Lord Thornton’s mouth twitched up. “If I meet any elderly drunken lechers with a title, I shall let ye know.”
“Much appreciated.” She kept her tone flat but could not keep from smiling.

Midsummer Bride is the second book in the Marriage Mart Series.  Miss Harriet Redgrave, a horrendously rich American heiress, laughs too loud, states her opinion directly, and even conducts science experiments. Her aristocratic grandfather is desperate to get her respectably wed and is offering a king's ransom to anyone able to arrange a suitable marriage that comes with a title. In contrast, Harriet is interested in science and avoiding matrimony – until she meets Duncan Maclachlan, Earl of Thornton. Thornton has sworn to never marry for money, but is drawn to the irrepressible Harriet. What begins as friendship, and a desire to prevent his castle from being destroyed by some chemistry experiments gone wrong, sparks into a reaction that threatens to consume them both.

Thanks so much for inviting me.  I hope a little Midsummer Bride will warm your hearts this holiday season!    I love to hear from readers so come visit me at my website, facebook, or twitter.

What kind of characters do you enjoy?  Are you intrigued more by the girl next door, someone unconventional and unusual, or characters who are somewhere in between?  Comment for a chance to win of copy of Midsummer Bride!

About the author:

Amanda Forester holds a PhD in clinical psychology and a Masters degree in theology. As a psychologist, she has worked as a clinical researcher and a university instructor (what they call you when they don’t want to give you tenure). None of which has anything to do with writing romance novels. After trying for many years to stop the internal storylines floating around her head, she finally gave up and wrote one down. Now when she is caught daydreaming and talking to herself she can just say, “I’m plotting a scene for my next novel,” which sounds so much better than, “I’m hallucinating and responding to internal stimuli.”

Amanda lives in the Pacific Northwest with her officer and a gentleman husband and their two remarkably active, naturally brilliant children. They share their home with two fiendishly destructive cats and one lazy dog. 

The Highlander’s Series represents Amanda's first venture into writing historical fiction, so she would greatly enjoy hearing from readers. 
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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Close Encounters by Sandra Kitt

Author: Sandra Kitt

First published in 2000 by Signet.  Re-issued by OPen Road Media in 2013

Lee Grafton is a divorced cop and the father of a teenage girl. Carol Taggart is a newly single professor. Their lives collide one night when Carol is caught in the crossfire of an undercover drug sting gone south. Shot and seriously wounded, she finds an unexpected friend in Lee . . . unaware that the man she’s falling for could be the shooter.

Twenty years on the street do nothing to prepare Lee for the night that changes his life. Determined to make amends, the special-operations lieutenant finds himself irresistibly drawn to Carol. But Lee soon faces a new threat. With his career and heart on the line, he races to prevent Carol from becoming a victim once again.

Close Encounters deals with a lot of different issues that still hold up to be relevant 13 years after it was first published.  Taken on the surface, it is a sweet romance suspense between a policeman and the woman he mistakenly shot in a botched sting operation.  Lee and Carol have an intense chemistry that they can't deny. I thought they were a great couple and I found myself rooting for them to work out.  

Woven into the story, the author has included the issues of race relations between the police and the minority community. I thought it was interesting how the police automatically assume Carol is was more than an innocent bystander after she was shot all because of her skin color. The story also deals with the realities of interracial couples, was well as white couples raising a black child.    There is a lot packed into the story and I do recommend it.  I think it is a great addition the Throwback Thursday!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My Own Miraculous by Joshilyn Jackson

by:  Joshilyn Jackson
published by:  William Morrow Impulse
publish date:  October 29, 2013

My Own Miraculous is a short story based on the characters from Joshilyn Jackson's book Someone Else's Love Story.  Shandi was 17 when she got pregnant, as far as she's concerned it was a virgin birth.  She's had her son and she desperately loves him, but she still hasn't grown up.  It isn't until the specialness of Shandi's son Natty attracts the attention of mentally ill teenage girl that the protective mother instinct wakes up in Shandi and she starts doing some growing up of her own.

I'm sure y'all know by now that it Joshilyn Jackson wrote a cereal box I would read it and love it.  So I'm sure it's not really a surprise that I liked this short story.  I adored Someone Else's Love Story, so I was glad to get some more time with the characters.  I definitely recommend both stories.  Probably Someone Else's Love Story first, then the short story...I'm not sure it would make sense the other way around.  Anyway, keep up the good work J.J.!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Color of Light by Helen Maryles Shankman

Author: Helen Maryles Shankman
Publisher: Stony Creek Press
Date of publication: October 2013

 NEW YORK CITY, 1992. At the American Academy of Classical Art, popular opinion has it that the school’s handsome and mysterious founder, Raphael Sinclair, is a vampire. It is a rumor Rafe does nothing to dispel.

Scholarship student Tessa Moss has long dreamed of the chance to study at Rafe’s Academy. But she is floundering amidst the ups and downs of a relationship with egotistical art star Lucian Swain.

Then, one of Tessa’s sketches catches Rafe’s attention: a drawing of a young woman in 1930s clothing who is covering the eyes of a child. The suitcase at her feet says Wizotsky. Sofia Wizotsky, the love of Rafe’s life, was lost during the Holocaust.

Or was she? Rafe suspects Tessa may be the key to discovering what really happened.

I think I am in the minority when it comes to this book. The Color of Light has gotten rave reviews.  Don't get me wrong, it was well written and the author's descriptive writing was wonderful.  But for me, the story was kind of boring.  First, it's a long book coming in at over 550 pages.  The story really dragged for me.  I felt like there were too many characters to keep track of.  By the time I got to the story of Sophia, I found myself really not wanting to keep going.  I did end up skimming through the rest of the book enough to get the gist of the story. I felt like it could have been shorter. I really wanted to like the story more, but it just wasn't for me.  I do think that you should give this a chance.  Check out the rest of the blog tour below to see what others are saying:

Thursday, October 31st:  Man of La Book
Monday, November 4th:  Must Read Faster
Monday, November 4th:  Shelf Pleasure - author guest post
Wednesday, November 6th:  Books Without Any Pictures
Thursday, November 7th:  Bookish Whimsy
Monday, November 11th:  Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Tuesday, November 12th:  Ageless Pages
Wednesday, November 13th:  Conceptual Reception
Thursday, November 14th:  Great Imaginations
Friday, November 15th:  Book-alicious Mama
Tuesday, November 19th:  A Fantastical Librarian
Monday, November 25th:  Sara’s Organized Chaos
Tuesday, November 26th:  From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, November 27th:  My Bookshelf
Date TBD:  A Chick Who Reads

About the author:

Originally, when Helen Maryles Shankman moved to New York, she thought she wanted to be an illustrator, to tell stories with paint.  A few years later, she discovered that what she really wanted to do was paint with The Kenyon Review, Cream City Review, Gargoyle, Grift, Danse Macabre, and She was a finalist in Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. For now she lives in New Jersey, with her husband, four kids, and a blue-eyed Australian Shepherd named Sky. Her debut novel, The Color of Light, is coming from Stony Creek Press on Halloween, 2013.
words. Her stories appear in

Follow Helen on Twitter @hmshankman

“Like” THE COLOR OF LIGHT on Facebook

Monday, November 25, 2013

Review & Giveaway: The Absence of Mercy by John Burley

Giveaway Details: Want to win a copy of Absence of Mercy?  Just fill out the Rafflecopter below. (US only)

Author: John Burley
Publisher: William Morrow
Date of publication: November 2013

Just west of the Ohio River, lies the peaceful town of Wintersville. Safe from the crime and congestion of city life, it is the perfect place to raise a family . . . or so they thought.

Life as the town medical examiner is relatively unhurried for Dr. Ben Stevenson. With only a smattering of cases here and there-car accident victims, death by natural causes-he has plenty of time to spend with his loving wife and two sons. That is until a teenager's body is discovered in the woods and Ben, as the only coroner in the area, is assigned to the case. But as the increasingly animalistic attacks continue, the case challenges Ben in ways he never suspects.

My thoughts:

I thought that The Absence of Mercy was a pretty good mystery.   The story flowed pretty easily and was well written.  The book is told through the points of view of Ben, his wife and the teens in the town.  There is a killer loose in the town and it has everyone scared.  It was interesting to see how the town reacted to the killings.  I thought Ben's reaction to the murders was the most interesting.  The way it almost paralyzed him at times and caused him to lose sleep.  Being the coroner and having a teenager, the murders must have really hit home.  

My only complaint was that I thought the way the murderer was discovered was a little too neat and tidy for me.  It was a little unbelievable.  I also would have liked a better epilogue.  I felt like it left some things open.  Despite that, I do recommend the book.  It's a great effort for a debut book!

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About the author:

John Burley attended medical school in Chicago and completed his emergency medicine residency
training at University of Maryland Medical Center/Shock Trauma in Baltimore. He currently serves as an emergency medicine physician in northern California, where he lives with his wife, daughter, Great Dane, and English Bulldog. This is his first novel.

Catch Up With the Author:  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Lighthouse Island by Paulette Jiles

by:  Paulette Jiles
published by:  William Morrow
publish date:  October 8, 2013

In the coming centuries the world's population has exploded and covered the earth with cities, animals are nearly all gone and drought has taken over so that cloudy water is issued by the quart. It is an unwelcoming world for an orphan like Nadia Stepan. Abandoned by her parents on a crowded street when she was four, the little girl is shuttled from orphanage to orphanage, foster-family to foster-family. Nadia grows up dreaming of the vacation spot called Lighthouse Island. 

In Lighthouse Island the cities of the United States have grown to such an extent that they all blend together.  There's such a lack of water that building can't be more than 4 stories tall because there isn't enough water pressure to get it up farther than that.  Nadia is an orphan living in this world being shuffled around from one government bureaucracy to another.  She keeps her dreams focused on Lighthouse Island until the day she escapes to make her way there.

I liked this book, but it was different than what I was expecting.  It was more comical than I was expecting.  Usually, dystopian books are so dark and dreary and this one wasn't.  Nadia was a pretty amusing character.  She was very resourceful in getting people to do what she wanted them to do.   She eventually meets up with James, a cartographer and demolitions expert, and they fall in love.  I didn't particularly care for the "insta-love" nature of their relationship.  It didn't feel real to me.   That's just me I guess.

I would recommend this book to the dystopian readers, but set some time aside.  This was a long book.  It could have been shorter.  I think fans of Justin Cronin would enjoy Paulette Jiles.  I found her writing to be similar in style, it had the same feel.  Overall, good book.  I'm going to have to look for some of her other work. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Tilted World by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly

by:  Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly
published by:  William Morrow
publish date:  October 1, 2013

Set against the backdrop of the historic 1927 Mississippi Flood, a story of murder and moonshine, sandbagging and saboteurs, dynamite and deluge-and a man and a woman who find unexpected love.

Ingersoll and Ham are on the hunt for missing Revenue agents and moonshiners when they happen upon an abandoned baby at a crime scene.  Being an orphan himself, Ingersoll takes a liking to the baby and despite telling Ham that he brought the baby to an orphanage he keeps little Junior for a few days.  Ing and Ham are assigned to look for the missing agents and the notorious moonshiner they were investigating in Hob Nob, Mississippi.  Ing knows he can't keep the baby any longer so he drops him off with a nice looking woman in Hob Nob by the name of Dixie Clay.  Ing and Ham are closing in on their man, who just so happens to be Dixie Clay's husband, and just in time, because the levees are going to hold back the flood waters much longer.  

I loved this book.  The characters were fantastic.  Ingersoll and Ham were colorful and fun and Dixie Clay was beautiful and tragic.  The setting was perfect.  I learned so much about the flood of 1927 that I never knew and it made me go research it more.  It was so fascinating.  Definitely check out some of the pictures, they're amazing.

This will be one of those books that I will recommend this upcoming holiday season.  The southern fiction fans will love it.  The historical fiction fans will love it.  I think it will have broad appeal.  

Friday, November 22, 2013

Joint Review: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

by:  Matthew Quick
published by:  Little Brown Books for Young Readers
publish date:  August 18, 2013

Today is Leonard Peacock's birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather's P-38 pistol.  But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school's class on the Holocaust. 

No one has remembered Leonard's birthday.  His one-hit-wonder rock star father has abandoned him and his mother has moved in with her boyfriend and left him to live on his own.  Leonard spends his days with his elderly neighbor and avoiding bullies at school.  For his birthday he's decided he's going to kill his biggest tormentor at school and then himself.  

The story is centered around Leonard Peacock giving these 4 gifts out to the people who matter most to him.  There are actually 5 gifts because Leonard cuts off his hair to give to his mother, which was kinda funny.  Most of the book is somewhat on the sad/dramatic sad with a bit of sarcasm and dry humor to break things up a bit.  The part with Lauren, the Christian, was pretty funny, I think that was probably the best part.    This book was a little angsty and I think teenagers will probably identify more with it than adults.  

I almost didn't finish this book.  I absolutely did not like Leonard in the beginning.  I knew that he was being a typical self centered teen, but I kept thinking to myself "Get over yourself".  Autumn convinced me to keep going.  As the book progressed and I learned more of Leonard's story, I started to like him and really feel bad for him. What he reveals about his best friend was horrifying and heartbreaking.  I could kind of understand how hw got to that point.

I think this would be a great book for teens.  The overall message that it does get better if you are willing to put in the work is one I think will appeal to a lot of teens. While Leonard isn't a very likable kid,  I think most readers will end up rooting for him.  I think this is a book that will sit with me for a long while.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Throwback Thursday: The Defiant Hero by Suzanne Brockmann

Author: Suzanne Brockmann
First published in 2001 by Mass Market Paperback

"The United States refuses to negotiate with terrorists." Meg Moore remembered the warning from her job as a translator in a European embassy. Those same words will spell out a death sentence for her daughter and grandmother who have been kidnapped by a lethal group called the Extremists. Meg will do anything to meet their unspeakable demands; anything—even kill—to save her child.

When Navy SEAL Lieutenant, junior grade, John Nilsson is summoned to Washington, D.C., by the FBI to help negotiate a hostage situation, the last person he expects to see holding a foreign ambassador at gunpoint is Meg. He hasn't seen her in years, but he's never forgotten how it feels to hold her in his arms. John could lose his career if he helps her escape. She will lose her life if he doesn't. . .

The Defiant Hero is the second book in the Troubleshooters series.  I really like this series because it has interesting characters and very hot Navy Seals!  While I enjoyed the story, I also felt like there was too much going on the the book. It was pretty long!  This story is told a lot through flashbacks and the waffling back and forth got a little tiring after a while.  Also, instead of focusing on one romance, there were really 3 going on in the book.  Well, one is really the beginning of a romance.  Sam and Alyssa's relationship looks like it is going to take a while to play out. Looking ahead, I think their story is in book 6.

The main relationship is Meg and John.  When her daughter is kidnapped, Meg calls her friend John to some help save the day.  I liked their love story.  I just didn't like Meg much.  I thought she made some incredibly dumb moves.  Why call John when she isn't going to trust him to help save her daughter and grandmother?  It drove me nuts how she kept trying to get rid of him.  We are also treated to a World War II romance as Eve relates how she met her husband Ralph and fell in love.  It was truly a sweet story and one not uncommon for the time.

This throwback is a good addition to the series.  Definitely worth checking out!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Foreplay by Sophie Jordan

Author: Sophie Jordan
Publisher: William Morrow
Date of publication: November 2013

Pepper has been hopelessly in love with her best friend’s brother, Hunter, for like ever. He’s the key to everything she’s always craved: security, stability, family. But she needs Hunter to notice her as more than just a friend. Even though she’s kissed exactly one guy, she has just the plan to go from novice to rock star in the bedroom—take a few pointers from someone who knows what he’s doing.

Her college roommates have the perfect teacher in mind. But bartender Reece is nothing like the player Pepper expects. Yes, he’s beyond gorgeous, but he’s also dangerous, deep—with a troubled past. Soon what started as lessons in attraction are turning both their worlds around, and showing just what can happen when you go past foreplay and get to what’s real…

I'll start by saying, that I did enjoy Foreplay. It is a good story with a lesson in what we think we want isn't necessarily what we need.  Pepper has been in love with Hunter for years.  He is finally single and she wants to snag him. She turns to Reece to learn some experience in seducing a man.  I loved Pepper and Reece. I felt baldy for Reece because he is obviously into Pepper for more than she is into him at first. She admits that she is using him, but he was hopeful that she would see what they could have eventually.  Their attraction was strong and very hot.  There was a little twist that I found very amusing.  

So, while the overall story was good, I found myself a little disappointed.  I felt like I had read this story before...inexperienced girl attracts seemingly bad boy.  The attraction is intense, but both fight it. One of them gets really sick (usually the flu) and the other nurses them back to health. This shows how much they really care.  Almost tragedy or big misunderstanding in the end that makes them both realize they can't live without each other.  That pretty much sums up the last few New Adult books that I have read.  I'm hopeful that there will be more variety in future New Adult books.  I don't know what books are next in this series. I do look forward to reading Emerson's story, so I hope that is next.

About the author:

Sophie Jordan took her adolescent daydreaming one step further and penned her first historical romance in Antigone, Sophie resigned with the birth of her first child and decided it was time to pursue the long-held dream of writing.
the back of her high school Spanish class. This passion led her to pursue a degree in English and History. A brief stint in law school taught her that case law was not nearly as interesting as literature – teaching English seemed the natural recourse. After several years teaching high school students to love
In less than three years, her first book, Once Upon a Wedding Night, a 2006 Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Nominee for Best First Historical Romance, hit book shelves. Her second novel,Too Wicked to Tame released in March 2007 with a bang, landing on the USA Today Bestseller’s List.
And as if she’s not busy enough, Sophie writes contemporary paranormals for Pocket under the name Sharie Kohler. Sophie resides in the Houston area with her family and loves to hear from readers.

Find out more about Sophie at her website, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

Sophie’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, November 5th: Debbie’s World of Books
Wednesday, November 6th: A Buckeye Girl Reads - spotlight
Thursday, November 7th: Reading Reality
Monday, November 11th: Sweet Southern Home
Tuesday, November 12th: Snowdrop Dreams of Books
Wednesday, November 13th: Mom in Love With Fiction
Monday, November 18th: Cupcake On Books
Tuesday, November 19th: Into the Hall of Books
Wednesday, November 20th: From the TBR Pile
Monday, November 25th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Tuesday, November 26th: Book Marks the Spot
Wednesday, November 27th: Book à la Mode

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Road Rage: 2 Novellas by Richard Matheson, Stephen King & Joe Hill

by:  Richard Matheson, Stephen King & Joe Hill
published by:  Harper Audio
publish date:  February 24, 2009

Road Rage unites Richard Matheson's classic "Duel" and the contemporary work it inspired--two power-packed short stories by three of the genre's most acclaimed authors. "Duel," an unforgettable tale about a driver menaced by a semi truck, was the source for Stephen Spielberg's acclaimed first film of the same name. "Throttle," by Stephen King and Joe Hill, is a duel of a different kind, pitting a faceless trucker against a tribe of motorcycle outlaws, in the simmering Nevada desert. Their battle is fought out on twenty miles of the most lonely road in the country, a place where the only thing worse than not knowing what you're up against, is slowing down . . .

This book has 2 novellas in it.  The first is Duel.  It tells the story of a business man in his little car that draws the ire of a truck driver.  Or does he?  That was my question throughout the whole story.  Is it the truck driver that has road rage or is it the man imagining everything and blowing it all out of proportion?  

Throttle is by father-son team Stephen King and Joe Hill.  I never knew they wrote anything together so I was pleased to read this story.  It was pretty good.  This story had a little more depth than Duel, but the story line was more clear cut.  It wasn't as debatable as Duel could be.  

This was great audiobook.  Stephen Lang did a great job with the narration.  It was fairly short, so it's definitely one you would want to get from the library, but worth the listen.  

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hotshot by Julie Garwood

Author: Julie Garwood
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Date of publication: August 2013

Peyton Lockhart and her sisters have inherited Bishops Cove, a small, luxurious oceanfront resort, but it comes with a condition: The girls must run the resort for one year and show a profit only then will they own it.A graduate of a prestigious French culinary school, Peyton has just lost her job as a food critic. Out of work and in a bad place personally, a year doing something completely different sounds wonderful.There are countless challenges and too many people who want to stop the sisters from succeeding. Among them are Peytons contentious cousins, who are outraged that they didnt inherit the resort, as well as a powerful group of land developers who have been eyeing the coveted beachfront property.Its soon apparent to Peyton that their efforts are being sabotaged, but she refuses to let the threats scare heruntil shes nearly killed. She calls on her childhood friend and protector, Finn MacBain, now with the FBI, and asks for his help. He saved her life once; he can do it again.

definitely can't say that this is my favorite of the series, but I did enjoy the book.  I liked the overall story of childhood friends finding each other again and realize there is something more there for them.  I liked both Peyton and Finn together.   Their relationship sizzled off the pages and their love story was fun to read.  The mystery wasn't too hard to figure out.  It wasn't rocket science to figure out who was trying to sabotage the resort. So that part was a little ho-hum.

My biggest issue with the book was all of the TSTL moments that Peyton had throughout the story.  I was surprised that Ms. Garwood would write a character like this.    How many times does someone have to try to kill you to make you stay home? Aside from that, that peripheral characters were fun and there were a few really funny moments.  I do wish that we could have seen more of Lucy and the hotel manager's romance.  I think that one looked like fun as well.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Deviant by Helen Fitzgerald

by:  Helen Fitzgerald
published by:  Soho Teen
publish date:  June 11, 2013

When 16-year-old Abigail's mother dies in Scotland--leaving a faded photo, a weirdly cryptic letter, and a one-way ticket to America--she feels nothing. Why should she? Her mother gave her away when she was a baby, leaving her to grow up on an anti-nuclear commune and then in ugly foster homes. But the letter is a surprise in more ways than one: Her father is living in California. What's more, Abigail discovers she has an eighteen-year-old sister, Becky. And the two are expecting Abigail to move in with them.

Abigail is drifting through the foster system in Scotland when her estranged mother dies.  She has only a passing knowledge of her mother so it surprises her to find out that she has left her a package containing a letter telling her about her father and sister in America, a ticket to get to them and $50,000.  Abigail makes her way to the United States and quickly settles in with her new family.  However, she quickly finds out that everything isn't what it seems and that there might be more between her mother and father than she ever suspected and that her mother's death might be just the first clue in a vast conspiracy.

I was surprised by Deviant.  I didn't expect it to take some of the turns that it did.  I figured it was just going to be a book about an orphan finding her family, but it wasn't really about that at all.  It was more about this conspiracy and Abigail and Becky working together to uncover the truth.  I liked it.  It was an interesting YA read and the characters were believable.  Definitely recommend to the YA readers.

Friday, November 15, 2013

What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang

by:  Kat Zhang
published by: HarperCollins
publish date:  September 18, 2013

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t . . .

Eva and Addie live in a world where two souls are born into one body, but by 5 years old one soul takes over and the other fades away.  In their case, Eva and Addie wouldn't settle, they were at risk of becoming "hybrid" which was punishable in their society.  They become adept at faking it, Addie is the more dominant soul and Eva drifts into the back of Addie's consciousness.  Eva is there, aware, and able to communicate to Addie, but only to Addie.  Until they meet someone else at school that realized they are the same.  They also haven't "settled" and they can teach Eva how to come back out.

I liked this book.  It was an interesting concept of two souls living in one body and it brought up questions that I wouldn't have thought of right off the bat.  For instance, what do you do if one falls in love with someone that the other doesn't like...or does.  What exactly are the limitations on physical expression of love to someone else?  This was one of the issues that started getting touched on once Eva's presence became stronger and more assertive over their physical body.  

What's Left of Me was a very interesting sci-fi YA book.  I would definitely recommend it to the YA readers.  I think it would appeal to other YA readers, maybe the contemporary romance readers too, especially those looking to branch out a little.   

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Strong, Hot Winds by Iris Johansen

Author:  Iris Johansen
First published in 1998 by Loveswept

Sheikh Damon El Karim had kidnapped her son Michael and taken him to Kasmara! Cory Brandel was filled with fury at his betrayal -- and shattered by guilt. She'd kept the child a secret from his father when her passionate affair with Damon had ended four years earlier, and now he had sworn revenge. He'd vowed to punish Cory for depriving him of his son, his heir, but could he really mean to imprison her in his palace and refuse to let her see Michael unless she surrendered to him? It was barbaric, savage, unthinkable -- and Cory had no choice but to go. 

Honestly, I'm not quite sure what to say about this one.  You can definitely tell that it is an older book by this author.  It is a bit dated and I don't think it stands up to the test of time.  I also think you have to keep in mind that it does take place in a country where they think a bit differently about women.  So, I guess part of that would hold up for today. 

I really didn't care for Damon or Cory.  Cory really had no right to keep her son from Damon. I also kind of lost a bit of respect for her putting her career before her son. She doesn't win mother of the year award by basically having her kid live with another family while she travels to world as a reporter. I lost some respect for her on that point.  Damon was a a royal tool (no pun intended) when he found out about the kid.  Kidnapping, what a way to a woman's heart!   I'm not sure why authors think that forced or coerced sex equals passion and love. I didn't buy it. This was a quick read.  I'd say skip it if you haven't read it.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Lie Still by Julia Heaberlin

Author: Julia Heaberlin
Publisher: Bantam Dell
Date of publication: July 2013

When Emily Page and her husband move from Manhattan to the wealthy enclave of Clairmont, Texas, she hopes she can finally escape her haunted past—and outrun the nameless stalker who has been taunting her for years. Pregnant with her first child, Emily just wants to start over. But as she is drawn into a nest of secretive Texas women—and into the unnerving company of their queen, Caroline Warwick—Emily finds that acceptance is a very dangerous game.
Lie Still ended up being an OK read for me.  Emily and her husband have moved to Texas from New York so he can take the job as chief of police.  She is finally pregnant with her first child. Life seems to be looking up.  She meets the "society" women in town and realizes that their leader thrives on secrets.  I did find the ladies amusing, especially Letty.

The beginning of  is pretty harsh as Emily tells the story of her rape in college.  I wasn't sure what it had to do with the rest of the story.  In my opinion, it really didn't.  I kind of felt like I was reading two separate mysteries.  I think without the rape story-line  the disappearance of Caroline and her murder would have been an enjoyable read.  For me, it ended up muddying the story with too many suspects and pathways.  I was surprised in the end.  I thought that the author did a good job in building up to the reveal.  I ended up listening to the audiobook and I liked the narrator.