Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Enemy We Know: A Letty Whittaker 12 Step Mystery (Volume 1)The Enemy We Know: A Letty Whittaker 12 Step Mystery by Donna White Glaser
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Blurb:
Psychotherapist Letty Whittaker, a professional secret keeper, has a secret of her own. When one of her clients slips free from an abusive boyfriend, Letty becomes the target of his violent rage. Wayne invades Letty's life, slithering his way past the barriers erected between her personal and professional lives, leaving gifts of dead rats, mutilated dolls, and freaky Shakespearian sonnets. Worst of all, Wayne uncovers Letty's deepest shame, infiltrating her AA group and threatening to expose her to the state licensing board.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Power of StonesThe Power of Stones by John A. Miller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Blurb:
Life has always been a little strange for Noah Morgan, an ex-con working below the radar as an unlicensed private detective in San Francisco, but strange doesn’t begin to describe the goings on as he is hired to investigate the disappearance of a priceless Guarneri del Gesu violin. At the same time, his name keeps cropping up in the oddest places in connection with the thirty-year-old heist of a fabulous trove of jewels, the centerpiece of which is a spectacular 40 carat green diamond.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Book Blurb:
Jenny does what she thinks is best for her. You are welcome to follow if you like. After a starter marriage, she tries to focus on her career but "that guy" shows up and he means business. Can he deal with the fact that she refuses to give up a life long relationship that is more than friendly? Contemporary Romance.

Friday, January 27, 2012

In The DreamingIn The Dreaming by Terrance Foxxe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book Blurb:
Terrance Foxxe’s In The Dreaming is a collection of short stories bridged together by a larger narrative, a mosaic novel unlike any other.

“I thought this novel would work out well if I could find the perfect vehicle to drive my character's interactions. Would a mental ward patient do?"

Foxxe's unique novel offers a wide variety of stories to suit any tastes. From Native American legend to urban detective. Science fiction, magic and love, alongside vampires, barbarians, presidents, elves, and (walking talking) toys. Horror with the hope. A little something for everyone.

My review:
From what I understand this author had a collection of short stories and decided to link them by adding a story on top of them. It does work in this case.

The stories in the collection are bizarre, sometimes evil, most often dark, and occasionally sweet. I'm generally not a fan of short stories, but this was done in quite a unique and interesting way. 

The Culling (The Slave Girl Chronicles, #1)The Culling by J.C. Andrijeski
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Blurb:
Jet is a 19-year-old skag, one of the humans still living free on Earth following an invasion of creatures called the Nirreth. Squatting in the ruins of Vancouver, Canada, Jet and her family eke out an existence underground, hiding from the culler ships. No one knows where the ships take the people they take, but they never return. When a culler finds Jet, she may discover the truth the hard way.

My review:
This first book in the Slave Girl Chronicles series is really more of a novella than a full length book. 

Jet is a young human woman living in a future world in which we have destroyed the planet and been invaded by a race of aliens who now control everything. She's been hiding out with her mother and younger brother along with some others who are simply trying to survive and not be captured and sold into slavery. This is where the story begins.

I really liked this first book in the series, although I didn't quite like where the author chose to end it. But there is lots of action, suspense and intrigue. I can't wait to read the next book. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Labor DayLabor Day by Joyce Maynard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book Blurb:
With the end of summer closing in and a steamy Labor Day weekend looming in the town of Holton Mills, New Hampshire, thirteen-year-old Henry—lonely, friendless, not too good at sports—spends most of his time watching television, reading, and daydreaming about the soft skin and budding bodies of his female classmates. For company Henry has his long-divorced mother, Adele—a onetime dancer whose summer project was to teach him how to foxtrot; his hamster, Joe; and awkward Saturday-night outings to Friendly's with his estranged father and new stepfamily. As much as he tries, Henry knows that even with his jokes and his "Husband for a Day" coupon, he still can't make his emotionally fragile mother happy. Adele has a secret that makes it hard for her to leave their house, and seems to possess an irreparably broken heart.

The HelpThe Help by Kathryn Stockett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Blurb:

Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Monday, January 23, 2012

What's in an Ereader? Kindle vs. Sony vs. MiGear

I have had the opportunity to use a few different types of ereaders in the past few weeks and I thought I'd share my opinion with you. The versions I had available were not the latest and greatest, and some features were not functioning so this a bit like comparing apples to oranges to mangos, but we'll give it a go anyway. All of these ebooks offer features like storage and mp3 capabilities. I'm not going to focus on those, simply on the reading function.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Shameful Diary of a Hopeless RomanticThe Shameful Diary of a Hopeless Romantic by Suzi Case
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My true rating on this is 2 and 3/4 stars, but I've rounded this up to 3.

Book Blurb:
Maggie is a dreamer with lots of goals to achieve on her 'before 30' list. She wants to fall in love, write a book and lose weight. Only nothing seems to go as planned. She finds herself: signed up for a marathon when she can't run, with a book deal without a book and surrounded by 2 hunks: Ben and Blake, neither of whom seem to know she is a woman. What's a girl to do when she's a hopeless romantic? Write about it of course.

This is book 1 in the series 'The Shameful Diary of a Hopeless Romantic'.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Lost Tourist FranchiseThe Lost Tourist Franchise by C.L.R. Dougherty
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book Blurb:
Donald, just out of the Army and eager to see the sights, is mugged within minutes of his arrival in Washington,D. C. Luther, perhaps a good Samaritan, comes to his aid, offering him a chance to recoup his losses while touring Washington. Will Luther lead Donald astray? Will Donald come through with his ethics intact?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Rook (Allie's War, #1)Rook by J.C. Andrijeski
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Blurb:
Twenty-eight-year-old San Francisco native, Allie Taylor, at least thought she was human. Against a gritty and original backdrop of a modern-day Earth populated by a second race of beings, Allie finds out she's a member of an enslaved yet deeply powerful race, whose members believe her to be their most venerated leader, come to end the reign of humanity.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of SalemAnnabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem by Vera Jane Cook
My rating: 3 and 3/4 of 5 stars

Book Blurb:
From the Salem Witch trials through the Nineteenth Century and beyond, Annabel Horton is pursued by the devil’s disciple, Urban Grandier, the demonic priest from the incident at Loudon. She must take the bodies of those that the devil favors to protect her family.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

360 Degrees Longitude: One Family's Journey Around the World360 Degrees Longitude: One Family's Journey Around the World by John Higham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Blurb:
Much more than a travel narrative 360 Degrees Longitude: One Family’s Journey Around the World is a glimpse at what it means to be a “global citizen”—a progressively changing view of the world as seen through the eyes of an American family of four.

Dead to the World (Sookie Stackhouse, #4)Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Blurb:
When cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse sees a naked man on the side of the road, she doesn't just drive on by. Turns out the poor thing hasn't a clue who he is, but Sookie does. It's Eric the vampire--but now he's a kinder, gentler Eric. And a scared Eric, because whoever took his memory now wants his life.

On the Jellicoe RoadOn the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the first book I've read that was recommended to me by Goodreads based on other books I've read. I have to say, Goodreads, I am impressed.

I struggled in the beginning to understand the dynamics of the school kids, the townies and the cadets. I was confused and it took a while to make sense. But I persevered and was the reward was so worth it!

On the Jellicoe Road is the story of Taylor, a teenaged girl who was abandoned at a 7/11 by her mother when she was 11. Taylor was taken in by Hannah, a mysterious woman who lives next to a boarding school in the bush. The book begins when Taylor starts year 12 at Jellicoe School and Hannah goes missing. Through this book, we unravel the mystery of Taylor, Hannah and the origins of the war between the kids of Jellicoe School, the townies and the cadets.

This is the best book I have read for quite some time. It is intriguing, compelling, compassionate, and profound. It is about relationships, loss, friendships, love and family. I just can't praise this book highly enough.

A Kiss of Shadows (Meredith Gentry, #1)A Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you fantasize about having mind blowing sex with many men/male creatures then this book is for you. It wasn't really for me.

Laurell K. Hamilton does have quite a fertile imagination and the fantasy world of the Unseelie court that she creates is an interesting one. I like how she mixes the magical world and the modern world together. I like how the main character, Princess Meredith, views the world around her. She's a down to earth type gal who just happens to be a princess and have magical powers.

But what I didn't especially like was all the meaningless sex with sooooo many partners, especially in such a short time frame. What ever happened to fear of STDs? They were never mentioned. Maybe in Laurell K. Hamilton's fantasy world STDs don't exist.

Anyway, I'm more of a believer in monogamy, even in my fictional life, or at least more than a 24 hour span between partners. But hey, that's just me.

King of PaineKing of Paine by Larry Kahn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a novel for adults and if you are squeamish about the realm of BDSM it might not be for you. That said, however, the novel is not about BDSM - although it does play a part in this story of an ex-Hollywood-actor-turned-FBI agent, the woman he did wrong, and a conscienceless murderer who needs to be caught.

Larry Kahn follows the formula of a good suspense novel - he doles out little bits of clues that keep you hanging on and wanting to keep reading until you have solved the riddles he has created along with his characters.

I thoroughly enjoyed this.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie SocietyThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'd give this book 3 and 3/4 stars - I've rounded that up to 4 for the sake of expedience. :)

This is a nice little book - it has a lovely cast of characters that, for the most part, I would love to be friends with. It is charmingly written in a style that is a bit different - in the form of letters, most of which are to or from Juliet (the main character). It is informative regarding the effect of WWII on Guernsey - a British Isle - and a small community of the residents there. It is fiction but I'm certain much of it is based on fact of situations that occurred to many during the war.

But this book isn't about the war. It takes place a few short years after the war. The central character is a London writer who happens to become acquainted with a few residents of the isle of Guernsey. She travels to meet them and finds herself there. This book didn't arouse strong emotion in me, but I did enjoy it and would recommend it.

Evernight (Evernight, #1)Evernight by Claudia Gray
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I rate this 3 1/2 stars.

Evernight is a creepy boarding school. This is the story of Bianca and Lucas, two new students at the school.

Vampire stories are all the rage, but what I haven't read until this book, was one written from the perspective of the vampire. What happens when a vampire and a vampire hunter fall in love? Lots of drama for sure.

I was left wanting more...

View all my reviews

The DressThe Dress by Sophie Nicholls
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Three and 3/4 stars for this one.

Sophie Nicholls was kind enough to send me this book to read and review. Thank you Sophie!

The Dress starts out as a sweet, gentle story of a vibrant, exotic mum who opens a vintage dress shop, and her self-conscious teen-aged daughter - the new kid in town who is having trouble figuring out where she fits in. The first half of the story continues in this vein as we get to know Fabbia and Ella. Enjoyable reading.

About half way through things take a slightly darker turn and in the end we learn more of what has shaped the lives of Fabbia and Ella.

It reads as if it is a period piece yet it is set in modern day.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.

A Ripple in Time - Angel of the Titanic (Celtic Cousins' adventures)A Ripple in Time - Angel of the Titanic by Julia Hughes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a creative novel involving one of my favorite elements - time travel.

While I found the beginning of this novel a bit confusing, about half way through it started to make a bit more sense to me and I caught on.

It is the story of Wren, a time traveler who has inadvertently wreaked havoc on the world by saving the Titanic from sinking. He, his cousin Rhyllann, and the spunky Carrie, must find a way to go back in time and make sure the Titanic is not saved in order to restore order to their world.

A harrowing ride, where it seems the good guys aren't always good and ethical challenges abound Julia Hughes shows a great deal of imagination. I enjoyed this.

Midnight ReflectionsMidnight Reflections by P.M. Richter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3 1/2 stars.

I liked this book, but I didn't love it. It did have flaws, but overall the story was interesting.

Julia, however, was a bit annoying as a heroine. She was really wishy/washy and a bit childish over the whole Robin thing and she behaved like my least favorite type of character - risking the lives of others over her stupidity and stubbornness. She also seemed quite naive - someone has murdered her brother and now knows she is on to them, yet just by going home she is supposed to be safe? And somehow figures he is not serious about wanting to kill her? Huh?

Anyway, Julia's flaws aside, the book was enjoyable. The part after the climax was a bit longer than it needed to be, but this book was not bad at all and I'm very grateful that Ms. Richter gave me the opportunity to read and review this. Thank you.

No WorriesNo Worries by Bill Condon
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This novel was heading toward a 4+ star rating. Until the ending.

I really enjoyed the story of how Bri was coping with the difficulties in his life, his issues with his parents, his new job, and his newfound relationship with Emma. It was interesting and it felt true-to-life.

But this story ends abruptly at a climactic point and we are left hanging. It feels very unfinished. There is no conclusion. There is not even a hint of a conclusion. It just ends at a very strange point. It feels very unfinished.

Following my review of this one I got a note from the author. It said:

I'm Bill Condon. As explained to another reader, Katrina, the ending was based on an actual incident that happened to me. There is no magic bullet to cure very dark depression, so I wrote that open ending, which to me showed that there were hard times ahead, but if you kept on going and hoping, you had a chance.

I responded:
Cheryl Casement Hi Bill,
Thanks for your explanation. It is wonderful to get feedback on my review from the author.

I understand your point. Unfortunately, that doesn't change my opinion. I agree there is no magic bullet cure, and maybe there isn't even a truly satisfactory way to end the story, but as a reader I just would have really liked to see something pointing which direction Bri was heading - good, bad or otherwise. The book was so good up to that point that I couldn't say I didn't like it, but I can't say I loved it which up to the ending I did, because of that truly (in my humble opinion) far too abrupt ending. I truly felt like pages were missing. But it was a great story to that point.

You are a fantastic writer and obviously have truly profound stories to tell.
And a last response from Bill:

Bill Condon Thanks,

Nice to hear from you, and I entirely understand your point of view.
Happy Christmas.


It was truly a pleasure for me to get feedback from Bill on his perspective. 

Looking for AlibrandiLooking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4 1/2 stars for this one.

This is the story of a young Italian-Australian girl in year 12 on scholarship at a posh Catholic High School. It is a coming of age story but so much more. Josie deals with so many adult situations along with the typical teenage situations like first love. We watch her grow and mature and find herself.

It's a beautiful story and expertly written. I highly recommend it to all who like YA lit.

View all my reviews

These Is My WordsThese Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book started a little slow for me. From page 1 to 186 I could take or leave this book, but I like to finish what I start. On page 187 that changed for me. Something happened on that page that touched me to my core and it made me cry for Sarah. From that point on I was hooked.

Sarah is a pioneer traveling with her family in the western territories of the United States in the late 1800s. She is uneducated, but not ignorant. She is hard-working, loving, feisty, and independent. And she goes through many of the struggles that women of that time had to deal with. Illness, death of loved ones, the instability of the relations between the settlers and the Native Americans. Lots of death in this book, but I don't think it was exaggerated for the time period.

I loved and hated the ending.

Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #1)Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Three and a half stars for this one.

This book is about a kick-ass vampire killer/animator. I think the book would have been a little bit better if Anita had actually had any emotional attachment to any of the other characters in the book. Instead she is pretty much a loner. That probably works for her chosen career, but doesn't give me as much as a reader. It also contained quite a bit of gore, but I guess that goes with the territory of being a vampire killer.

The book is very fast paced and is quite action packed and an overall pretty good read. I just prefer a little more emotion and, quite frankly, I am getting bored with vampire books.

Still I liked Anita and it was a good story.

Naked in Death (In Death, #1)Naked in Death by J.D. Robb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Four and a half stars for this one.

This it the first of the "In Death" series by J.D. Robb aka Nora Roberts. I have read some of the other books in this series out of order and felt it was time to go back and read the first. I'm glad I did.

This one contains the beginning of the relationship between Eve Dallas, tough and brilliant homicide detective and Roarke, former bad-guy turned good-guy, also brilliant, sexy and very wealthy.

The series is set in the not too distant future and I enjoy the author's imagining of how technology will have advanced. Nora/J.D. is a fabulous story teller and an expert at drawing out the mystery as well as heating up the romance.

The Brightest Star in the SkyThe Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3 1/2 stars

What if you were a soul in search parents to be born to? That is the premise of this book.

A soul has been directed to 66 Star Street - four flats - where it will find at least one of it's parents. It must observe the residents and determine which of those residents will become it's parent(s). We get to spend 60 days observing the residents with this soul before it finally makes it's choice.

It is an interesting concept and the stories of each resident are very well told with humor, understanding, and emotion.

I did enjoy this book quite a bit purely for the uniqueness of perspective and the enjoyable writing. It is, however, quite a long book at 612 pages and I'm not quite sure the length is justified.

Agnes and the HitmanAgnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads recommended this one to me because I have read Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series.

They are right. If you are a fan of the Stephanie Plum series, you will most likely enjoy this book. It has the same basic formula, of feisty heroine, sexy hero, and is chock full of wacky characters, murder, mayhem and humor. And unlike the Stephanie Plum series there is no love triangle and there is a satisfying conclusion between the hero and heroine. A plus in my book.

This book won't change your life, but it is a light and fun read and although I rarely laugh out loud when reading I did while reading this novel.

The Killing HourThe Killing Hour by Lisa Gardner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This novel contains everything an intense thriller/suspense novel should. Creepy psychotic bad guy, strong driven and intelligent hero/heroine, and plot twists that you didn't quite see coming. It also contains enough information to give you empathy for the characters so that you are rooting them on all the way.

Lisa Gardner is a master of her craft.

Heart's PromiseHeart's Promise by Jeanette Hornby
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I won this book though the Goodreads giveaway. Thank you!

I'd rate this 2 and 3/4 stars.

This is the story of six years in the life of Millie Garcia.

There were some things I didn't really like about the way this novel was written, but with some additional editing I think it could be even better.

I didn't like the way that Millie's thought were continuously written as if she was speaking them. I found it very distracting. I also felt it was a little disjointed when jumping periods of time. Millie's paranormal experiences didn't seem to add to the story at all.
And lastly, reference points to some national and world events were made, but they didn't seem to have any relevance to the story.

I would have liked to get a bit more into Millie's head. To find out how she felt about some of the big things happening around her. I would have also liked to know a bit more about what happened during those gaps in time and to have delved a little deeper into how Millie dealt with Patty's death and it's effect on her life.

I think Jeanette Hornby shows a lot of promise as an author and I hope she keeps writing.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Forbidden (The Guardian Chronicles, #1)Forbidden by Megan Curd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is a YA Fantasy. It is the story of Levi, a Guard (kind of like a guardian angel for the dark side) and his Call, Hannah. Levi's job is to keep watch over sixteen year old Hannah until it is her time to die.

This story tells us what happens when a Guard breaks all the rules because he thinks they are wrong. There is a great deal of imagination about the workings of Heaven and Hell, as well as normal teen angst, lots of action and teen romance too.

It is pretty fast paced and kept my attention all the way through. I couldn't wait to find out how Ms. Curd was going to end it. I enjoyed it.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Upside Down, Inside Out by Monica McInerney


My Rating: Three Stars

This is a bit of a light fluffy kind of a read. No real drama or pathos, a little bit of humor and a little bit of romance.

Eva is an Irish shop assistant who once had dreams of being an artist. She's at a crossroads in her life and takes an impulsive trip to Australia to think over her options. Joseph is a successful English entrepreneur who travels to Australia on a business trip. The two meet by accident, and each gives the other a false impression of who they really are. Twists and turns in revealing their true identities ensue and the "will he/she love the real me" question comes into play.

This was a charming story. A bit predictable, but charming nonetheless.

The Spellman Files (The Spellmans #1) by Lisa Lutz


My Rating: Four Stars

I'm undecided about how this book was put together as far as the chapters and the timeline, but I did really enjoy the story and the writing and I actually laughed out loud several times while reading this one which is a rarity for me.

I liked Izzy and her whole family although they would drive me nuts too. I was cheering for Izzy and Daniel. I suspected part of the resolution of the case she was working, but the author still managed to surprise me and I didn't see the bit with Rae at the end coming at all.

Very satisfying first book in a series. Now I just might have to read on!

Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie


My Rating: Five Stars

I don't want to give too much away with this one. Really liked it! Great story - lots of romance, humor, paranormal activity, and really likable characters.

Graveminder by Melissa Marr


My Rating: 3 1/2 stars.

Melissa Marr has one heck of an imagination! This book was a little darker than I usually prefer and it is far from fast paced. There is little romance here. Although the main two characters are "destined", I never felt a real connection between them.

What I liked best about this story is that it was quite different from anything I've read before.

Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher

My Rating: Four Stars

This is a charming, albeit long at nearly 600 pages, novel full of lovable odd characters, a freezing Scottish winter, and lots of friendship and love. There is tragedy and loss, but there is also rebirth and recovery. Life goes on. Circumstances change and much like in real life these characters keep going and try to find their place in things.

Others have criticized Pilcher's moral code with the drunk-driving and infidelity threads in this novel, but I think Pilcher probably feels much like I do - kind of a live and let live attitude. If you love people you don't dwell on their flaws. If I had one criticism of this novel it would be that there are far too many polo-necked sweaters in this book. But that is really neither here nor there and plays no significant part in the storyline.

This is a warm, gentle novel that you will enjoy spending time with. Kind of like a favorite relative.

Sister by Rosamund Lupton


My Rating: Three Stars

Bee's sister Tess is missing and subsequently found dead. The death is ruled a suicide, but Bee is certain her sister was murdered. The book is written in the form of a letter from Bee to Tess outlining what happens from the time Tess is determined to be missing and Bee's struggle to get anyone to believe her.

There is a twist at the end of the book, but for me it wasn't as shocking and unexpected as others have deemed it. Although it does give the story a nice little edge I actually found it, in hindsight, to be rather logical.

One thing I will say, is that I really dislike it when an author leaves the outcome of the story up to the reader.

Committed: A Love Story by Elizabeth Gilbert


My Rating: Two Stars

I found Elizabeth Gilbert's Committed primarily to be annoyingly rambling narcissistic insecurity similar in vein to Woody Allen, only not at all funny. While I understand being afraid to jump back into the fire once you've been burned, writing an entire book about it seems a bit over the top. She convincingly writes of a million reasons why she shouldn't get married, and only one reason why she should - immigration laws. For a world traveler she also seemed extremely naive about the fact that Felipe shouldn't be living in the USA on a tourist visa (especially since he was apparently doing business in the USA). Of course that was going to come back and bite them.

I didn't realize that was the theme of the book. I expected it to be as marketed - a story about different types of marriage in many different cultures.

The book isn't a total loss. When Ms. Gilbert wrote about her personal experiences with members of other cultures and her own family's experiences I found those bits interesting. When she goes on and on about the writings of other authors I found it boring like reading a text book for a class in which you have no interest.

To Taste the Wine by Fern Michaels


My Rating: Two Stars

I read it because it was reported to be the story of a woman who throws caution to the wind and moves to the Australian wine country. And while that holds true it just wasn't what I was hoping for. Other than dust and drought conditions, not many elements of adjusting to Australia and the conditions there were included.

If you are a fan of bodice-rippers with heroines who like being sexually dominated this may be the novel of your dreams. It wasn't mine.

It is a smutty, trashy romance in the best possible connotations of the genre. My only complaint - if that were the type of book I were going for - would be that the ending is quite abrupt and leaves the reader with questions.

While it did contain all the necessary elements of a great trashy romance, that just wasn't what I was looking for. My score reflects less on the novel and more on my mood.

The Monarch by Shannon Esposito


In the vernacular of my Aussie hubby this was a "fan-bloody-tastic" book! It had everything that I love in a novel - fast paced, great suspense, a little romance, and a touch of the paranormal. The author leads you along the path she wants you to follow and you follow eagerly because you can't wait to see what happens next!

Brilliant job Shannon Esposito!

I'm George, mwm, 52 by George Everyman

My Rating: Two Stars

While fairly well written, I thought the author's point was a bunch of hooey. For the majority of the book, he's trying to tell us that all men really do think with their penises and he claims to be "everyman". He claims that he doesn't present himself that way in real life, but that his inner being is (in my words, not his) a man driven only by the goal of how much sex he can have, and he hopes his wife is having an affair because that means they can have an open marriage.

Throughout the book he tries to convince us he has a good marriage, but it would be better if he (and his wife) could sleep around too. While I respect the fact that people can define their relationships any way they want as long as they aren't hurting anyone, I got quite annoyed with all the "licking the kitty" references. I just didn't enjoy this book. The only reason it even got two stars is because I managed to slog all the way through it.

Vampires Rule (The Rule #1) by K.C. Blake


My Rating: Three Stars

I enjoyed the authors take on vampirism/werewolves and destiny. This is a solid YA novel with no sex and only the amount of violence appropriate to a vampire/werewolf novel. My only problem with it is a discrepancy that bothered me. 

***SPOILER ALERT***At one point Jack and Silver figure out they can see memories if they touch an object together, but only if they touch it at the same time. Yet at least once Jack somehow managed to see memories when touching an object on his own.

I did like that this appears to be book one of a series and I would look forward to reading the rest of the story of Jack and Silver and their destinies.

The Reluctant (Crayder Chronicles #1) by C. S. Splitter


My Rating: 3 and 1/2 stars.

I'm not going to be as effusive with my praise of this novel as some of the other reviewers have been.

Overall a good and interesting story, with action, adventure and a bit of humor. I like the twist with Lorena.

My only true criticism is that there is way too much info about flying contained herein. Stuff about flaps and air currents and things like that that only another pilot would care about.

I did enjoy this story and would be interested to read more of the adventures of Tom Crayder.

Endlessly (Endlessly #1) by C. V. Hunt


My Rating: Three Stars

The story started out slow for me and is a little bit darker in some ways than a lot of the vampire/shifter books out there. It's a bit gory in places, but overall not that bad. I liked the love story and the ending.

The Girl Who Tweaked Two Lions Tails by Pierre Van Rooyen


My Rating: Four Stars

I felt like the dialogue in the book was a bit forced or uncomfortable for me, but that could just be because I am not familiar with the way English speaking Africans speak.

14 year old Angelina and her aunt Maude survive a plane crash in the African bush with 11 others. Chased by diamond smugglers they try to find their way back to civilization and rescue.

I loved the story - lots of action, adventure, danger and inventiveness. I think this story would make an excellent movie.

A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard


My Rating: Four Stars

At the age of 11, while walking to her school bus stop in the morning Jaycee Dugard was abducted by a perverted pedophile and his wife. Jaycee spent the next 18 years of her life verbally and physically abused by this couple and forced to bear two children when she was only a child herself. Although she has made great strides in her recovery the torment she endured will haunt her forever.

This is Jaycee's story in her own words. It is poignant and powerful, heartbreaking and heartwarming. Jaycee is a remarkable woman and survived what many could not.

Her story brings hope to those who have missing loved ones.

I highly recommend this book.

The Necro Device (Rise of the Mandiev) bY M. T. Dismuke


My Rating: I'm giving this one 3 1/2 stars. 

I kind of have mixed feelings about it and I've been trying to sort them out before I wrote this review. Overall a book I am glad I read. Definitely worthwhile.

First I'll list my pet peeves with this. Mr. Dismuke either had no editor or had a bad one. There were far too many "motionless waves" and the typo "shinning" when the intention was "shining" was repeated many times. "Click" and "Ding" are not dialogue and I didn't like them written as such. It's like the author was trying to put in sound effects. But none of this impacted the storyline. They just bugged me.

The storyline was quite inventive.

First the good stuff:

Truly an original story. I had initially thought maybe it was to be in the vein of Stephen King's The Shining, but was glad it was not in the end. So many twists and turns. So many people you weren't sure if they were bad guys or good guys until the end. Lots of suspense. Lots of intrigue. Lots of "paranormal". A satisfying conclusion.

Now the bad stuff:

*****SPOILER ALERT******

I didn't really find any of the characters sympathetic and felt that attempting to make Mary a heroine of sorts at the end was difficult for the reader to accept considering she'd been a bit of a bitch throughout. I guess we were supposed to let that pass because she had been drugged for so much of the book.

It was good to see John and Felicia get their comeuppance, but at the same time how do you deal with the fact that your daughter and husband tried to kill you? It doesn't appear that Mary dealt with that at all. She just moved on to a relationship with the doctor that I guess we are to assume was meant to be because he had saved her life when she was a child.

I had trouble understanding all of the mechanics of the machine, but that is really neither here nor there.

A Bella Street Mystery: The Secret Formula by Clare Havens


My Rating: Three Stars

This is a short book, but what it lacks in length it makes up in substance.

A good mystery/adventure for teens, but a little too scary in parts for younger kids.

The Legend of Oescienne: The Finding (Volume 1) by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson


My Rating: Three stars

Did you watch the first Lord of the Rings movie and just sit there stunned at the ending which had no conclusion like I did? That is kind of how I felt about this book.

This is a fantasy story that appears to be written for pre-teens. It is the story of Jahrra, a human child born in a time when humans are extinct because the human race was changed into a race of dragons due to a curse.   We watch Jahrra grow from infancy to about age 12 in this first book in the series. She is raised as a Nesnan and is unaware that she is human. She is being groomed for her destiny but is unaware of what her destiny is. She experiences loss, has to learn to deal with bullies, and explores the forbidden woods.

I liked this story but just feel like a lot was missing. The story is a little slow and many items hinting at something about to happen are referenced, yet that something doesn't happen in this book of the series. I sure hope it does in the next.

The Shadow of Tiamat THE DRAGON'S BLOOD CHRONICLES BOOK I by Sean T. Poindexter


My Rating: Four Stars

My review of this novel is slightly mixed. Lots of graphic violence and lots of explicit sex in this one so definitely not one for the kiddies.

On the one hand you have a lovely CPS worker who is dating a sexy good-guy dragon, dragon bad-guys who want to annihilate the human race, and a couple of bad vampires thrown into the mix with lots of action, intrigue and romance. What's not to like? And I really did like this book overall and am left really wanting to know more about what Meg is. I would love to read the sequel.

But here's what I didn't like. Near the beginning where Megan and Garrett have their first sexual weekend together, I got the feeling that the author couldn't decide if he was writing a fantasy novel or a FANTASY novel - if you get my drift. For a while it was reading like some hard-core porn. I'm not a prude and don't mind some good sex scenes in a novel, but this seemed pretty extreme to me.

If you can get past that sexually explicit bit and get into the meat of the story though, I think you'll really enjoy this book like I did. And if you like your books graphic when it comes to sex - well that's even more to love.