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Posts Tagged ‘new novels’

Love’s Road Home

By Lisa Lewis

Black Lyon Publishing – 4-1-2010

ISBN: 978-1-934912-25-6

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Loves-Road-Home-Lisa-Lewis/dp/1934912255/

Author Website: http://www.lisalewisbooks.com/

Bethany Miller’s life was not going as she envisioned it all those years studying her butt off at Stanford. After working extra hard and earning her MBA a year early an internship with a prestigious accounting firm turned permanent and she landed a great job. However, the older guy that swept her off her feet turned out to be a money grubbing swindler embezzling company funds while framing her. After a trial, threats and a failed romance Bethany grudgingly agrees to do what she vowed never to do again – live the life of a roadie. She finds security with family, but can’t believe she is back on the road for a summer gig with her band manager dad. After the death of her mother Bethany was raised on the road and decided from a young age that she would take a path to a more stable, more settled life. Needing space from recent events and telling herself it was only temporary, she sets out to meet the band and find her place with the crew. She will be cordial, but she doesn’t plan to make friends. Still stinging from lost love and betrayal she plans to especially avoid the male band members including the gorgeous lead guitarist with his crooked grin and boyish charm.

Tom Crowley is looking for a break that will lift his band to the next level.  Music is his passion and after playing small clubs in small cities he is thrilled that his band, Roadhouse is embarking on its first major tour. He wants things to go smoothly and is slightly irritated at the last minute, hiring of a bristly female crewmember he meets the day of departure. She is nice to look at, but that may be a distraction he can’t afford. He vows to focus on music!

It doesn’t take long for the two to become involved. They share stories of their pasts, but Tom senses that Bethany is always holding back. As he is learning of her past hurts and worries, they suddenly come racing to the present when the police inform her that her ex boyfriend escaped custody and may be on the way to carry out some threats he made in the courtroom.

Tom’s jealousy soon fades and he takes on the role of protector. He quickly falls in love with Bethany. She is attracted to Tom and eager for a physical relationship with this sexy band member, but reluctant to declare love or make any lasting commitment. She doesn’t see herself married to someone on the road. That isn’t the life she dreamed of. She doesn’t want to travel full time nor does she want to be a wife who sits home while her husband is out on the road weeks at a time. When she first realizes she is falling in love, she is determined that it won’t work. Tom loves his music and if she loves a musician she can’t ask him to give up his passion or his dream.

The author did her research on bands, touring and life on the road. The language and atmosphere described was very fitting and realistic. The book was a little on the short side making the romance seem a bit rushed. The characters were likeable and well described. The genre is contemporary romance so intimate scenes are to be expected. Those included were fitting to the plot, but to be honest, they’re written in a little more explicit detail than Pearl cares to read.  Pearl feels that some details may be better left to the reader’s imagination. That is just a personal opinion and not a slam against the author or the book. The overall story was well written and the characters were suitably developed.

Both Bethany and Tom are likeable characters. They bring past hurts and struggles to their developing relationship. Tom is sensitive and sexy, eager to protect Bethany and make the relationship permanent.  Bethany is beautiful and determined. She enjoys the attention and craves the physical relationship, but is she ready to commit her heart?  Readers learn just enough of Bethany’s ex-boyfriend Eric Sharpe to dislike him and understand why she mistrusts men. Life on the road includes fans. Readers will enjoy the character of Cassiopeia Sommersby. The waiting, plotting escapades of this crazed fan brought a nice dimension to the story. Her attempts to win Tom’s love go from humorous to alarming to criminal. Her character keeps readers guessing and helps portray the vulnerability of both Tom and Bethany.

I really enjoyed the characters in this book. The author did a nice job helping readers get to know them early on in the story. Although not the main focus of the book, I enjoyed the relationship between Bethany and her father. At first I didn’t find it believable that a successful accountant would leave the business world to go on a music tour with her manager father. However, as the story unfolded and the author sprinkled events from Bethany’s past here and there it became a believable possibility. The revelation of childhood events show her vulnerable side and recent tragedy shows her need for protection. Although she hated life on the road, she craved the safety found with her father. She planned to tolerate the roadie job while buying herself a little time. Although she secretly liked to sing she didn’t expect to enjoy the road, the people or the lifestyle. She certainly didn’t expect to find safety or love from a handsome band member.

This energetic contemporary romance by Lisa Lewis will be available in April. It will be her first published book but I dare to say it won’t be her last. Love’s Road Home is an upbeat romance full of fun characters, clear descriptions and realistic dialogue. If you like rock and roll love stories, this book is for you.

 –Pearl

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scoundrels-kissScoundrel’s Kiss

Carrie Lofty

Kensington Publishing – January 5, 2010

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Scoundrels-Kiss-Carrie-Lofty/dp/1420104764

Author site: http://www.carrielofty.com

 

When I read the synopsis for Carrie Lofty’s ‘Scoundrel’s Kiss’ and saw that the story was set in the year 1201 I questioned whether I was the right reviewer for the book. I have long been a fan of the Historical Romance genre, but since this was a completely new time period for me, I’ll admit to being afraid I’d have to wade through pages of unfamiliar dialects and customs, hence detracting from my enjoyment of the story. I needn’t have worried. From its opening scenes I was completely swept away by this 13th Century tale of addiction and deception, of love and abuse.

In a life she can barely remember, beautiful and intelligent Ada worked as a foreign languages translator for noblewoman, Dona Valdedrona. Due to a case of mistaken identity, she was kidnapped and tortured. She turned to opium as a means of coping with the horrors she endured and the nightmares that would seemingly plague her for the rest of her life. Her need for the drug soon consumed her, and there was nothing she wouldn’t do to satisfy her addiction. In her new life, she lies and steals to obtain what she cannot beg or borrow.

Gavriel, a novice monk in the prestigious Order of Santiago, hides within the hallowed halls of a monastery in Ucles to try and escape some nightmares of his own. A former slave warrior, he took vows of chastity and nonviolence in the hope of atoning for the sins of his past. Healing Ada of her addiction remains his final test before he can become a full-fledged member of the order. What is at first merely a mutual temptation of the flesh soon becomes a battle of wills, but the pair discovers they must unite if they are to survive danger that lurks in unexpected places and defeat enemies neither knew they had.

Reading this extremely well plotted novel was much like watching a really great action adventure movie. Ada and Gavriel find themselves in danger from their first encounter, and things go from bad to worse for them as the story progresses, leaving the reader on the edge of her seat. Add to that elements of betrayal and deception, a few well placed love scenes, and political intrigue and you have a genuine nail-biting, can’t-put-downable reading experience. 

Though the characters are well drawn, I’ll admit it took me awhile to warm up to Ada. Headstrong and tough as nails, she seemed overly nasty at first. But as I journeyed deeper into her past I was able to understand her flaws better and I so loved watching her evolve into the character she became in the end. The equally flawed Gavriel, with his endearing blend of strength and self-doubt, came alive for me from the start. He is one of the hottest heroes I’ve come across in quite some time and I must admit Ada’s was not the only heart he captured! The story is populated with a cast of secondary characters that are no less lifelike than the hero and heroine, and the reader gets a sense of real people with very real struggles and triumphs.

In short, Carrie Lofty has created a dynamite story with interesting, likeable characters and a richly layered plot. By turns scorchingly sexy and tantalizingly tender, Scoundrel’s Kiss not only sizzles, it sparkles.

Honeybee

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Accordin- to-JaneAccording to Jane

By Marilyn Brant

Kensington, September 29, 2009

Genre: Light Contemporary Women’s Fiction

Author Website: http://www.marilynbrant.com

Pre-order buy link: http://www.amazon.com/According-Jane-Marilyn-Brant/dp/0758234619/

Bookworm Ellie Barnett is sitting in Sophomore English class with her newly assigned copy of Pride and Prejudice when sexy Sam Blain makes his move. Sam had been tormenting Ellie since kindergarten, but this was the first time he’d actually touched her skin and spouted blatant sexual innuendo. Although Ellie feels a strong physical attraction for Sam, he can annoy her more than anyone she knows. She feels she’s much too smart to allow a little thing like lust to override her good sense, especially with a boy as dangerous as Sam.

Ellie isn’t the only one who thinks Sam is the kind to stay far away from. Somewhere inside her mind Ellie hears another voice declaring Sam to be Ellie’s Mr. Wickham. Hearing the ghost of Jane Austen inside her head, Ellie decides she’s either crazy or suffering some terrible head injury. Jane convinces her she’s neither and that her ghost is there to guide her in the ways of life and romance, and that they both have lessons to learn from each other. Over the next twenty years Jane advises Ellie on all aspects of life, love, and romance, supporting her through many disastrous relationships. Ellie ignores most of Jane’s sage wisdom, preferring to tread her own path while searching for her Mr. Darcy.

When I first got this book for review, I knew it would be great fun and I was right.  According to Jane is an intriguing, appealing story full of warmth and wit. Although I consider myself more of a Bronte’ girl than Austen, I adore both Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. So the plot for Ms. Brant’s novel greatly peaked my interest.

The author’s inspiration of having Jane Austen’s ghost living inside the heroine’s head was almost too delightful for words. But our heroine didn’t always find it so very delightful. Although she credits Jane with helping her get through high school and felt she was her best friend—the one person who was always there for her, she learned early on to block Jane’s presence when she needed to. And she especially needed to during the more intimately, sensual moments of her life.

Ms. Brant cleverly entangles the two women’s emotions and opinions, as Ellie seeks true love and Jane offers her, sometimes not appreciated, judgment of the men Ellie chooses to date. According to Jane is a fast read, perfect for the busy woman and the author has a definite gift for keeping you turning those pages. This is a book you don’t want to miss if you’re a fan of Austen, romance, coming of age, women’s fiction, or if you’re just looking for a highly entertaining story from an author with superb style and fresh voice.

–Willow

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gone-tomorrowGone Tomorrow

Lee Child

Delacorte Press, 2009

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Gone-Tomorrow-Jack-Reacher-No/dp/0385340575/

Try as I might, it’s never been easy for me to turn lemons into lemonade. What can I say? I’m not a “glass half full” kind of gal. But if anything good can come out of a teacher spending the first three days of her summer vacation with torn ligaments and pulled back muscles, then I would have to say that one thing would be three full days of sitting, feet propped on a chair, and reading. Completely uninterrupted by household tasks. Completely guilt-free. And I would have to say that hands-down Lee Child’s GONE TOMORROW would be the perfect book.

If I am not a “glass half full” kind of gal, I am even less a fan of tough guy, blood and guts fiction, so when a friend recommended this book, I don’t mind telling you, I was skeptical.

The story opens with the novel’s hero, Jack Reacher, sitting in a New York City subway car at two o’clock in the morning. An ex-Military cop, Reacher is well trained in the arts of defense and survival. He knows what a suicide bomber looks like. And on that muggy, September morning he’s pretty sure he’s sitting across the aisle from one…

The first chapter of this book consists of four pulse-pounding, tightly written pages. By the time I reached the words Chapter Two I was thoroughly hooked. With his broad knowledge of all things Military and a super-keen eye for details, Lee Child creates a story full of compelling characters and provocative situations that continually shift, keeping the reader perpetually on edge. Mystery. Suspense. Political intrigue. GONE TOMORROW has it all.

Downsized from the army after thirteen years of service, Jack Reacher is smart, tough, and oh-so-sexy. But he is far from perfect, and it is his flaws that make him so endearing. Reacher sometimes feels his age. He makes mistakes. But he learns from them, and comes back tougher and more determined than ever. The novel’s secondary characters, Theresa Lee, a NYC cop with a conscience, John Sansom, a clean politician with a terrible secret, and Lila Hoth, a beautiful millionaire with ties to Al Quaeda, are cast dead-on in their roles without being stereotypical. They add flavor and credibility to this fast paced, NY City story.   

Judging from the inside flap, I’ve got some catching up to do. GONE TOMORROW is Lee Child’s thirteenth in the Jack Reacher series. I definitely won’t wait for another back injury to get reacquainted with my new favorite tough guy!

 …Honeybee

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browngirlsBrown Girls

By John Wesley Ireland

Suspense Thriller

May 17, 2009

Buy Link: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1937

Jack Nolan had his moment of fame having a best selling novel published at twenty-five and later writing the screenplay for the movie made from it. But Jack wasn’t thrilled with his new lifestyle or the hypocrisy of the people in it. His writing dried up. His agent was robbing him and his wife left, taking most everything his agent hadn’t. Jack went to the Cook Islands to get away and began taking freelance photos for the local newspaper. He stayed because he loves the islands. He loves the people.

When a tourist is found dead in one of the hotel swimming pools, no one seems to think it anything more than an accident, including the police. Jack isn’t so certain and his peaceful existence is about to explode. While he investigates the man’s death, a young girl disappears and Jack believes the crimes are connected. When the clues begin to add up, he finds himself dealing with the most monstrous criminals.

His personal life is disrupted as well by the arrival of an abused island girl to his home. Maina Rima’s family owns the land and the house where Jack lives and according to island custom she has the right to stay there. Jack isn’t thrilled with sharing his home with a roommate, but morally has no choice. Maina becomes a blessing in disguise, as she acts as his muse and he’s finally able to begin writing again. But Maina is hiding something that puts both her life and Jack’s in danger.

I’d love to say a lot more about this amazing book, but I don’t want to spoil the suspense for other readers. The author’s writing grabbed me with the first sentence and held me captive all the way to the last. A phenomenal writer, Mr. Ireland uses a scarcity of words that keeps the suspense high. Every line is significant—every word has importance. But even with that, his vivid descriptions of the islands and their people have a beautiful poetic flair that brings the scenes to life and absorbs the reader into the story. I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes the genres of suspense, crime drama, mystery, or just a darn amazing read by an extraordinarily gifted writer. Don’t miss this one.

 —Willow

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beyond_the_quietBeyond the Quiet
by Brenda Hill
Vanilla Heart Publishing, 2009
Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Quiet-Brenda-Hill/dp/1935407082

 
Emotionally abused as a child, Lisa Montgomery learned at an early age to keep her feelings well hidden, believing that the only way to be loved and accepted was to be perfect. As an adult, she finds stability and happiness in Mac Montgomery. When Mac loses his battle with cancer after twenty-five years of marriage, forty-four year old Lisa is devastated. On her own for the first time in over two decades, she returns to her job as a real estate agent, desperate to escape the pain of losing her husband and determined to carve out a new life for herself. Just when things seem to be getting better, she receives a strange notice in the mail; a letter stating that Mac’s post office box is due for renewal. The couple had always received their mail through home delivery, so thinking it must be a mistake, Lisa heads to the post office to straighten it out. What she discovers is the beginning of a nightmare as Mac’s secret life of lies and betrayal begin to unravel.

This book took me on an emotional roller coaster ride; a ride that pulled me along and refused to let me go until it reached its final destination. I was gripped by Lisa’s situation from the opening scenes, and with each turn of the page I found myself making more of an emotional investment. Lisa deals with some tough issues that any woman can sympathize with: an alienated daughter, a friend’s betrayal, a husband’s deceit. The plot took many twists and turns as Lisa made her journey to self-discovery, learning how to love again, how to live again. I was right there in every scene, feeling her joy, her anguish, and her outrage.

Brenda Hill succeeded in creating a character that I truly cared about and even loved, and placed her in a setting that became as real to me as my own neighborhood. Beyond the Quiet is a love story, but more than that, it is a life story. It is the story of what it means to be a woman.

Honeybee

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tiffanysSundays at Tiffany’s

By James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet

Hachette Book Group, January 2009

Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Sundays-at-Tiffanys-James-Patterson/dp/031601477X

 

As a child I enjoyed fairy tales as much as the next girl. They were happy, pretty stories that made me feel good inside for having heard them. Even so, the small details that didn’t quite ring true always left me feeling vaguely unsatisfied. The charming prince who climbed to Rapunzel’s rescue, using her hair as a ladder (ouch!) The busy mice that helped to sew Cinderella’s gown (oh, please!) Such was the case with James Patterson’s latest effort, Sundays at Tiffany’s. A nice, happy story. But …

   

For eight-year-old Jane Margaux, childhood is a lonely time spent living in the shadow of her successful, controlling mother, Vivienne. The pain and confusion of being a little girl living in a grown-up world is softened only by the presence of Michael, Jane’s imaginary friend. Their time together includes Sunday afternoons at New York’s St. Regis Hotel, where the pair shares sundaes and secrets while Vivienne conducts business. When he leaves Jane on her ninth birthday for a new assignment, Michael softens the blow by promising her she will forget him by the next day. But Jane never forgets. Twenty-plus years later, Michael returns to Jane’s life, the perfect man, and the friend she needs more desperately than ever.

 

This charming story has a lot going for it. I found the characters to be extremely likeable, especially Jane. Despite her high-power job and posh lifestyle, Jane is as short on self-confidence as she is long on human kindness. Though he has his flaws, Michael possesses the sort of kindness that restores one’s faith in humanity. The author’s descriptions of New York are spot-on, transporting the reader into the beauty and chaos of the Big Apple, allowing them to alternately experience a night at the Metropolitan Museum, and an afternoon at a Spanish Harlem homeless shelter, without missing a beat.

 

Unfortunately, Patterson/Charbonnet’s story line was not quite as believable as their chosen setting. I had a hard time accepting the premise of a child’s imaginary friend returning to her adult life, and that skepticism made it tough for me to really connect with this story. I found the shifting viewpoints (first-person for the Jane chapters, and third-person for the Michael chapters) to be slightly irritating. Even so, the story was written with a nice blend of humor and touches of poignancy that tugged at the heart strings. It ended on a positive note, with a message of hope that left me feeling good, if somewhat skeptical.

 

— Honeybee  

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