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Review: Hot Chocolate by Dawn Greenfield Ireland

hotchocolateThe rich really are different, aren’t they? And the Alcott sisters, Madge, Lila Mae and Dorothea, are a perfect example of ‘different.’ Heirs to the Alcott Chocolates fortune, the ladies are privileged and moneyed, yet don’t seem to be obnoxious about their wealth.

Lila Mae is a hoot. “Oh, no!” she said. “Not only is Mercury retrograde, but the Moon is void and it was just full in Scorpio and will no doubt clobber my sisters big time!” As your first introduction to Lila Mae, you just know that she is going to be a funny character. And she very much is. Astrology, Feng Shui, she is into it all, and has the money to make sure that her wishes are all granted. A “close friend” of Police Detective Chance, there is a cheerful and loving relationship there that brings warmth to the storyline.

Then there is Madge, the oldest of the sisters and quite a character in her own right. When we first meet her, she is trying on clothes, ostensibly for her granddaughter – as if! LOL…. As Lila Mae says when Madge poses in the fitting-room doorway: “Are you going for the ‘I’m sixty-six and have Alzheimer’s so I won’t remember this ensemble tomorrow’ look?” Enough said.

Now, Dorthea is the baby – and “baby” is the operative word here. Constantly working to be the center of attention, and the sister that I considered “spoiled out of her mind,” Dorthea is also the caretaker (if having 12 servants to hand truly qualifies as “caretaker”) to the ladies 92-year-old, grabby-handy father. When the ladies finally agree, with much hand-wringing and theatrical moaning on the part of Dorthea, to place their father in a high-dollar assisted living care facility, it is time for Bambi Chaline, his ‘hot-hotty’ blond bombshell of a nurse, to be let go. While Bambi is more than happy with her more-than-generous severance package and excellent references, her ner-do-well husband, Jimmy Ray, is thrilled to be able to hire a lawyer on behalf of his wife. Jimmy Ray smells a huge settlement against the Alcott Chocolate Empire for wrongful termination, though Bambi is quite dismayed by his actions. And when the court case is summarily thrown out of court, Jimmy Ray is first enraged – and then he is dead, a victim of Dorthea’s prized fork. Yep. Fork.

As the mystery continues to grow, there is an undercurrent of old-fashioned Southern fun and food interspersed amongst the pages, as the girls get down to finding out who killed Jimmy Ray.

I don’t want to give anything else away, but I will say that there are some funny moments in the book that kept me amused. As Elizabeth points out in her Amazon review, there are some issues that set me “that’s not right” meter fairly far off the scale. As a trained crime scene analyst, as is Elizabeth, it is rather hard to understand why the author didn’t do her research. The quirks of the ladies and their friends could have been a bit more fleshed out. Otherwise, for my particular tastes, I would call this a 3.5 star read.

I received this book from the author in return for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own and are not influenced by this fact.

Review: Napoleon, A Pierced Series Novella By J.C. Mells

nap
The last “Pierced” for a while… so if you haven’t read them all, start from the first and sweep right through! These books are like chocolate, you can’t get enough!

I don’t know whether to be happy – or to cry!! I just finished Napoleon, a novella in the world of the Pierced series. And this is going to be the last in the series for a while, as J.C. is going to be moving on to other writings for a while. So – one of my favorite character’s stories comes to a head – but I don’t get my Pierced now! Ah well. I can always go back and reread when I miss Pierce, Lucas, Napoleon and all the gang. And hey, if you haven’t read the series yet, you are in the enviable position of being able to start at the beginning and go straight through, so there is always that!

Napoleon is such a great character. But let’s back up a bit. When Pierce and Lucas, the main characters of the series, first meet, Lucas is wearing a pink gay-pride T-shirt while trying to kidnap her. So, through the rest of the series, she calls him “Pink” – which is hysterical as he is a huge guy, rough, tough and no nonsense. But he wears this shirt, and many others in the same theme throughout the series, to support his sister’s adopted child, Napoleon, who is gay. And of course, being a gay werewolf is pretty far outside the realm of “acceptable behavior” in the wolfie world.

Now, after all the trials and tribulations of the previous books, we pick up from the last as Napoleon and his friend, Moused, take off for the Big Apple and college.

Moused and Nap go to New York. There ought to be a movie about that, surely.

The only problem is the very hunky, very straight, and undeniably uber-arrogant and spoiled future heir to the Uppsala Pack of Sweden, the largest pack in Europe. Living in Nowhere, Nevada for the summer, the home of Napoleon’s pack, the Prince has made Nap’s life a complete misery, alternately flirting with and flinging Nap away. Thank goodness Prince Sixten Dahl is off for Oxford while Napoleon is for NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and Moused for Columbia. OH, but wait . . . there’s more! For Six is not headed for Oxford after all – and Nap’s life has just become a living hell once again. Crushing on the straight guy. Oy.

J.C. Mells has brought me so much joy with her Pierced series. Her Nowhere Pack is a true treat – mixing wolves, vamps and humans, straights and gays. All the things the straight-laced Packs really, really don’t comprehend. Read the series. If you follow my reviews, you will know if you like the same books I do. And this series is one of my absolute favorites! And remember, J.C. is still giving away free copies of her second in the series, Escaped for a link to your Amazon review of Pierced!

Let me know how you like the series! Bet you will . . .

Review: Hot Blooded By Amanda Carlson

hotblood
I recommend reading the first book before reading this one. You can read this book first, but the story line will be much clearer if you read in order.

In the first book of the series, Full Blooded, we are introduced to Jessica McClain. Jessica is an oddity – born the daughter of her packs Alpha, life should be good. But there is a problem with that – female werewolves aren’t supposed to exist. And no one in the pack is willing to let her forget that she is a freak of nature. Once past puberty and not having shifted, Jessica thought she would live out her life as a human. She left the pack behind, starting a new life with a new name.
Everything was going well, until her wolf decided it was time to surface.

Hot Blooded, the second book of the series, picks up just after the events of the previous book. Told almost entirely on the road, with brief phone updates connecting Jessica to her father and pack at home, Jessica and her rather ‘unusual’ traveling companions, including two vampires loaned to her by the Vampire queen.

It took me a while to read Hot Blooded for the publisher. I started to read the book, but soon realized that I would be much better served to read the first book first. It pulled the story together for me, in a manner which I wasn’t feeling until reading the first. While there are things I didn’t care for all that much. Jessica is a bit of a Mary Sue, overcoming apparently insurmountable odds on her own.

What I did enjoy about the story is just how compassionate Jessica is for all creatures, including humans – a personality quirk that her werewolf brethren definitely are not happy about. Jessica is strong, intelligent and has her own mind, a rarity in the urban fantasy heroine tropes of the day, making her a perfect addition to the genre. I hope that she retains that compassion across the series.

A pissed-off goddess, a bright yellow Humvee, a couple of werewolves, a couple of vampires on loan (and of course, vampires being vampires, there is a heavy price to pay should she live long enough to return. Just sayin’), issues resolved and new issues opened and unresolved leads to an exciting story line which I expect much from in the future.
_____________________________________
I received Hot Blooded from the publisher in return for an honest review. I purchased Full Blooded on my own in order to keep the series in order and to gain a better understanding of the story line. Great cover, though!

Review: Shaman Rises – The Final Volume Of The Walker Papers by C.E. Murphy

shamanrises
I don’t really like the white shirt, it washes her out, but the book itself? AWESOME!!! PUBLICATION DATE: JUNE 24, 2014!! PREORDER YOUR COPY NOW!

The stories that I want to tell, especially as a director, don’t necessarily have a perfect ending because, the older you get, the more you appreciate a good day versus a happy ending. You understand that life continues on the next day; the reality of things is what happens tomorrow. – Drew Barrymore

I am convinced that it is not the fear of death, of our lives ending that haunts our sleep so much as the fear… that as far as the world is concerned, we might as well never have lived. – Harold Kushner

I don’t know whether to smile at another great Joanne Walker book by C. E. Murphy, or to cry like a baby because this is the end. The last volume in this amazing series. And amazing it is. Ms. Murphy created in Joanne Walker, born Siobhan Walkingstick, one of the most interesting, strong and non-stupid heroines of all time.

Beginning back in 2005, we first met Joanne, a mechanic for the Seattle Police Department, whose life was suddenly turned on its head. Flying back from Ireland, where she has just buried her mother, Jo looks down from her window – to see a young woman fleeing across the parking lot of a church, and a man with a wicked looking knife. Jumping into a cab with a 70-odd year old cab driver, Gary, Joanne tracks the church, finds the woman – and suddenly finds that she has three days to learn to use her shamanic powers in order to save the world from Cernunnos and the Wild Hunt.

What followed was one of those series that I simply couldn’t put down – that I made a point of re-reading every single volume before the next came out. Well, re-listening, as Gabra Zackman (well, Christine Carroll did the first volume) literally nailed the character and voice of Joann, a smart but often fragile heroine, strong, hardheaded, and more than willing to do the hard things to protect her friends and her city. With her best friend Gary, a 70-odd year old taxi driver, and a diverse group of magical and non-magical friends, the series has held my heart for the last ten years.

In this, the final volume, all the stories of the previous books come together, the warp and weave of an immaculate tapestry, story lines resolved, lives saved and lost, with each character’s part reaching full resolution, whether in joy or in heartrending pain. Characters we have loved throughout the series are brought back to the story line in order to fulfill their destinies and do their part to save a world threatened by their oldest and most vicious enemy, The Master a monster of darkness, death and spite, intent on blackening all goodness in the world. And it is Joanne’s job, with the help of her friends, to stop the blackness descending upon the world.

As the book blurb states, and which means more than I can say:

Lives will be lost as the repercussions of all Joanne’s final transformation into her full Shamanic abilities come to her doorstep. Before the end, she’ll mourn, rejoice—and surrender everything for the hope of the world’s survival. She’ll be a warrior and a healer. Because she is finally a Shaman Rising.

I can’t stress enough how much I will miss Joanne Walker. She has brought me many hours of joy over the last several years. Of course, that doesn’t mean that I won’t go back over and again to read her tale. If you haven’t read the series before, start at the first, and work your way through. If you love stupendous, well-realized character development, meticulous world building, and stories which will make you laugh, cry, suffer, and generally run through the gamut of human emotions with the heroine and her friends, I can’t recommend this series highly enough.

Goodbye, Joanne. I will think of you often, and with great regard.

______________________________________________________

Note: I received my copy of Shaman Rises from Netgalley in return for an honest review. I have “honestly” loved this series from its inception, and will miss the exploits of Joanne and her friends more than I can say.

 

Review: Lost Library By New Author Kate Baray

library
A great story by a new author who I will definitely be following! Click for the Goodreads page!

There are a lot of things that catch my attention about different books. Interesting story lines, great character development and wonderful world building are all equally important to me. In the case of Lost Library: An Urban Fantasy Romance it is the heroine of the piece that truly tickled my fancy and kept me reading. This is not to say that the story line and world building aren’t superb. They are. But I could really identify with Lizzie. Maybe it is the fact that she is a lot like me. She works at home, rarely sees even her own clients, and has a terrific best friend, Kenna. She just never sees herself as anyone who is brave or anyone who could be spectacular in any way. But that is about to change.

A book has shown up a Lizzie’s house. A very unusual book. Very old and bound in leather, at first she thinks there is nothing in the book. But she slowly realizes that not only is there writing on the first page of the book, but every time she opens it the writing, and the hand it is written in, changes. Now, if only it wasn’t all blurry and unreadable . . .

Kate Baray has written a fast paced, interesting book which I glad to say is much more story than ‘romantic scenes.’ Her magical world building is both unusual and comprehensive, and made me smile over the creativity. Overall, the only thing I don’t care for is that now I have to wait for the next book! It seems clear that there is more coming in what I hope will turn out to be a series. However, there is no real “cliffhanger” at the end. There is plenty of room for “more” but if you want a stand-alone, well, you could certainly end here and be satisfied. Of course, again, I really like Lizzie and hope that we can learn more in future about her growth as magical ‘Record Keeper’ and her interactions with others of the magical world.

Highly recommended – and not just for romance readers. While there is an undercurrent of romance and “boy gets girl” there is good, solid storytelling to be had in what appears to be Ms. Baray’s first published work. I look forward to more from this talented writer! Besides, anyone with a pack of pointers and a bloodhound has got my attention anyway!

A Fundraiser for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society By Lilo Abernathy – Author The Light Who Shines

the light who
What you may not know about Leukemia and Lymphoma. They are blood cancers and often target children, even infants, even babies in the womb! Blood cancers are the most common type of cancer children face. My daughter, Evelyn, was one of them. For more on my daughter’s story: http://lilojabernathy.blogspot.com/

When Paranormal Investigation Bureau agent Bluebell Kildare (a.k.a. Blue) arrives at the scene of the crime it is obvious the grotesquely damaged body of the deceased teenage boy was caused by far more than a simple hit and run. Using her innate sixth sense, she locates a powerful magical artifact that acts as a key to an ancient Grimiore and is likely the motive for the crime. She soon discovers the Grimiore has a dark past as it was instrumental in the creation of the Vampire breed and still holds the power to unravel the boundaries between hell and earth.

Blue and her faithful wolf Varg follow the trail starting at the Cock and Bull Tap and all through the town of Crimson Hollow, which leads to plenty of dead ends; some more dead than others. Between being sidelined by a stalker that sticks to the shadows, and chasing a perpetrator that vanishes in thin air, things are getting complicated. Dark vampire activity is at an all time high and hate group activity is increasing. However, it’s her burgeoning feelings for Jack Tanner, her sexy Daylight Vampire boss, who alternates between warm affection and cool indifference that just might undo her.

While Blue searches for clues to nail the perpetrator, someone seems to be conducting a search of their own and things are getting extremely messy. Who will find whom first?

Danger lurks in every corner and Blue needs all her focus in this increasingly dangerous game or she risks ending up the next victim.

This book has an active discussion group on Facebook for those who have finished reading it.


Bluebell Kildare Book 1: The Light Who Shines

Lilo has invited you to the event: Book Fundraiser: Leukemia and Lymphoma Society: The Light Who Shines (Urban Fantasy).

Date: May 16, 2014 12:00AM
Venue: Online
Location: The United States
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Book Fundraiser

The Light Who Shines

 

What you may not know about Leukemia and Lymphoma.

They are blood cancers and often target children, even infants, even babies in the womb! Blood cancers are the most common type of cancer children face.

My daughter, Evelyn, was one of them.

For more on my daughter’s story: http://lilojabernathy.blogspot.com/
(scroll to bottom)

Your Response:
Yes
No
Maybe

See who else is going and get more info

Amazon US Link: http://amzn.to/1eL48yy (available in other countries)

From: Fri., May 16Sun., May 18

I pledge 50% of the total royalties earned on my novel, The Light Who Shines, (print or ebook) to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Please consider:
– recommending this book it to your Goodreads friends
– inviting your friends to this event

What kind of book is this?
The genre is Urban Fantasy, which is a mix between:
– Fantasy
– Mystery
– Thriller
– Romance

It is genre-crossing and will also be enjoyed by lovers of:
– Action
– Crime Thrillers
– Detective Stories
– Paranormal
– Animals

This book is intended for adult readers only.

How good is this book anyway?
So far the reviews have been fantastic. It’s holding the following ratings:
Amazon: 4.8 stars
Goodreads: 4.3 stars

Enter To Win! The Light Who Shines (Bluebell Kildare #1) by Lilo Abernathy

lilo
Click to go to Lilo’s Goodreads page for The Light Who Shines to enter to win an autographed copy!

Win an autographed copy of Lilo Abernathy’s The Light Who Shines.

When Paranormal Investigation Bureau agent Bluebell Kildare (a.k.a. Blue) arrives at the scene of the crime it’s obvious the grotesquely damaged body of the deceased teenage boy was caused by far more than a simple hit and run. Using her innate sixth sense, she uncovers a powerful magical artifact nearby. She soon discovers it acts as a key to an ancient Grimiore that was instrumental in the creation of the Vampire breed and still holds the power to unravel the boundaries between Earth and the Plane of Fire.

Blue and her clever wolf Varg follow a trail that starts at the Cock and Bull Tap and leads all through the town of Crimson Hollow. Between being sidelined by a stalker who sticks to the shadows, and chasing a suspect who vanishes in thin air, the case is getting complicated. If that isn’t enough, Dark Vampire activity hits a record high and hate crimes are increasing. However, it’s her growing feelings for Jack Tanner, her magnetic Daylight Vampire boss, that just might undo her.

While Blue searches for clues to nail the perpetrator, it seems someone else is conducting a search of their own. Who will find whom first?

Danger lurks in every corner and Blue needs all her focus in this increasingly dangerous game or she risks ending up the next victim.

NOTE FROM LILO:

Between Friday May 16 – Thursday May 22 I will donate 50% of my royalties to the Leukemia and Lymphoma foundation. That is for ebook and print versions.

Later on in the year I will do the same for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Maybe in October to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

My daughter has been in remission for 3 years. Crossing our fingers for another 2 which will put her risk on par with the average citizen.

We wish Lilo’s daughter the very best in her recovery and remission!!!

_________________

liloabI’m currently forty-two, but that could differ depending on what year you read this. Unless some fundamental laws of nature change, I expect that number to only get higher. I am half Italian and half Irish. Well, the Irish side is sort of an Irish/German/English/French/Scottish mix, but since I believed I was truly half Irish until my mother’s foray into genealogy, I’m sticking to that story.

I live amidst the Smoky Mountains and can sometimes see the shadows of clouds lying on the mountains from my front porch. I am not yet snobbish enough to call it a veranda, but time will tell. I’m a great believer in the proof being in the pudding. Sometimes my young adult daughter joins me on the veranda… err, porch to admire the view. Often my Australian Shepherd runs around the veranda looking for things to shepherd in the yard. Because we are decidedly lacking in livestock, he frequently presents me with slobbery balls to throw. I, in turn, do my best to ignore them. I feel justified in this neglect because I am planning on adopting a girlfriend for him soon so they can wrestle over the slobbery ball together to wagging tails’ content.

I started working full time while in high school and haven’t stopped since. My illustrious career began with a smattering of service experiences at various fast food and restaurant chains, went on to fine jewelry, slipped into property management for housing projects, morphed into corporate real estate, then ended up in mergers and acquisitions. Please don’t ask me how that happened as I would have to kill you if I told you.

My home is a modestly sized ranch, recently purchased and still not completely unpacked. The walls are a boring light beige, but they make the perfect backdrop for my brightly colored Gustav Klimt canvas prints. Van Gogh hopes to join Klimt on my walls soon, but right now the brakes on my Cube need to be fixed, and the washer overflows if I place the water level on super-duper high. Priorities, priorities.

More importantly than all of the above, you absolutely must know that my favorite color is purple. Not Barney purple, no offense to Barney, but more of a medium eggplant purple. I like to think of it as a “mature” purple, but deep down I know it is really just purple.

Amazon Link: http://tinyurl.com/kq8yoro

B&N Link: http://tinyurl.com/ldaa6oe

Lilo on Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/meldy2p

Lilo on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Lilo_Abernathy

 

Release Launch! UNBREAKABLE by Gigi Aceves


RELEASES: MAY 22, 2014
 
 
SYNOPSIS:
 
Jake Oliver,
a typical guy, never expected to fall in love with his best friend’s girl. Jake
learned to love her from a far, he watched her constantly and supported her
endlessly.
Trish Wilson
thought she found the love of her life in Dylan, until tragedy struck and fate
decided for her when Dylan died in Afghanistan. Will she survive and get over
her fear to love again? Will she find her one? Will her heart ever truly heal?
 
The tragedy
that caused them great sadness also brought them together. Jake’s love for
Trish gave her the strength to overcome her fear to love again, while Trish’s
love pushed Jake past his guilt. However, when your soul mate’s life is at
stake, will they fold in fear or stand their ground? Will they fight to live or
prepare to give up? Will they allow fear to break them or will they let love
make them UNBREAKABLE.
 
“Though one may be overpowered by another, two
can withstand him.
And a
threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12
 
Add to your TBR List:
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21622846-unbreakable?from_search=true
 
 
 

 

 
I’m a middle child, and no, I don’t suffer from the middle
child syndrome. According to my parents, I’m the craziest, and I think, my
husband and children agree with them.
 
Besides the births of my two children, my husband’s
successful transplant is one of the most memorable moments of my crazy life!
After dealing with two bouts of cancer, my husband served as an inspiration to
me and my children. I’m privileged to be married and go on this crazy ride, we
call life, with a man who doesn’t know the meaning of giving up.
 
I’m known as The Crazy Cat Lady, in the Wanted World. Am I
crazy? Well, the jury is still out on that one, but I’d like to think I can
make one person smile with my craziness.
 
 
 
 
 

 

Review: Shiftless – Aimee Easterling – A Paranormal Fantasy

Sometimes, being a female werewolf can be a flat out nightmare. Especially when your father, the pack alpha, is a brutal, psychotic mess whose only interaction with you is to issue orders on your birthday every year, then walk away. And things are made even more difficult when you can’t seem to manage your shifts, making the thought of saving yourself from the situation even more impossible.

shif
A new author with a fresh perspective on the werewolf world. Worth spending a bit of your precious reading time with.

Hated by her own father and marginalized by her father’s repressive, misogynist pack, Terra struggles with her change and, when her father demands on her sixteenth birthday that she be mated and bred, Terra finally gathers her strength and flees her fathers hateful pack. Now on her own, life as the equivalent of a teenaged runaway is hard, cold, and more often hungry than not. Then, when the unthinkable happens, Terra knows that it is time to step up and bring her wolf under control – to lock her away and live solely in the human world.

Flash forward ten years, and we find Terra curled up in a chair in a bookstore, intent on a Patricia Briggs novel. If she can’t have a pack, she can at least read about them, right? But again, fate deals her a blow as a pair of werewolves, an alpha – on leash of all things – and his beta walk into the bookstore, and straight into Terra’s life. Oh, shit. Not another alpha! And the world continues to crash around her when her father reappears in her live with ultimatums and torments, threatening to force her back into the life of servitude she has worked so hard to escape.

Will the alpha known as Wolfie and his highly unusual pack be able to protect Terra and her nephew from the torments of her father? Or will she be forced to give up her life, to bend to the will of her brutal former pack in order to save her nephew and the members of Wolfie’s pack?

This is a first novel for Aimee Easterling, and for a first, it is very well written. Even more pleasant, it is well edited, which in and of itself is a positive. The book has many of the same tropes as the ubiquitous werewolf and paranormal romance novel, which in itself is not a bad thing. Ms. Easterling has put her own unique twist onto the culture, especially in regards to Wolfie and his oddball, loveable pack. They were my favorite characters, from the yahoos (you will get the reference when you read the book) to the lesbian couple, something one doesn’t often show up in the werewolf/paranormal genre, and is a pairing that I found quite refreshing.

Overall, this is a pleasant, quirky read, recommended for a lazy afternoon with tea and a quilt, curled in your favorite chair. The book does end on a tiny bit of a cliffhanger, but not unpleasantly so. I look forward to reading the next book and watching to see if wildly disparate groups can learn to function as a community.

This book was reviewed at the request of Readergiveaways.com. All remarks and thoughts are my own.

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