Review: A Cadence Creek Christmas by Donna Alward

20140222-225544.jpgEvent-planner and entrepreneur Taylor takes a winter trip from Vancouver to Cadence Creek to plan her brother’s wedding – and spend Christmas with her family. During her take-charge week of wedding plans she meets rancher and business owner Rhys. Taylor and Rhys both feel chemistry, but they have more fun verbally sparring with each other. Though they keep hurting each other’s feelings through judgement and thoughtless wisecracks, something meaningful runs deep, something they both want to explore.

The dialogue in a Cadence creek Christmas was wonderful. Taylor and Rhys joked with and snapped at each other realistically… They reminded me of my husband and me when we are annoyed with each other but still feel the strong, deep undercurrent of love. I also found very natural Taylor’s worries, her chats with her family, and her willingness to help others in a pinch. Taylor’s a doer. She doesn’t sit around waiting for other people to do something. She just takes change and gets things done. I admire that in Taylor, and I like that Rhys saw through the bossiness and appreciated her hard work and efficiency, too.

Rhys was a little bit of a unique hero. He doesn’t rush in and save the day. He fulfills obligations quietly. He does a lot of things without explanation — which confuses Taylor! This reminds me of someone I know and love, so I really felt Taylor’s frustration and confusion. But Rhys is dependable and loyal and honest. And that’s just what Taylor needs.

The hand-holding, snow-falling, and cocoa sipping was all very romantic. The airport scene was a terrific surprise, and the last scene at the diner was perfection. Alward’s characters stayed true to themselves and because of that they felt real. And so did their love.

–Calliope

Buy A Cadence Creek Christmas

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Once in a Lifetime, by Jill Shalvis

1

SOMETIMES WRONG IS OH-SO-RIGHT
After a wrenching loss, Ben McDaniel tried to escape his grief by working in dangerous, war-torn places like Africa and the Middle East. Now he’s back in his hometown and face-to-face with Aubrey Wellington, the hot-as-hell woman who is trouble with a capital T. Family and friends insist she’s not the one to ease his pain, but Aubrey sparks an intense desire that gives Ben hope for the future.

Determined to right the wrongs of her past, Aubrey is working hard to make amends. But by far, the toughest challenge to her plan is sexy, brooding Ben – even though he has absolutely no idea what she’s done . . .

Can this unlikely couple defy the odds and win over the little town of Lucky Harbor?

Can I tell you how much I love Lucky Harbor?? I seriously do. I wish I could live in a place like that. Small towns appeal to me. I want to know EVERYBODY!!! Plus, all those hot guys would be a nice perk. But I’m getting sidetracked here….

Ben and Aubrey bicker every time they see each other. They just don’t like each other. But love likes to strike those who least expect it. And these two most definitely do NOT expect it.

Ben was hired, by Aubrey’s uncle, to help her remodel the bookstore she is trying to get back on it’s feet. She doesn’t want his help, but she can’t stop him. She doesn’t want him around, because she keeps having these crazy feelings for him. And Ben finds more ways to be around her, and he has no idea why. He doesn’t want a relationship, especially not with someone like her.

Aubrey feels unloved. She always felt that way. Listening to her remember her past, broke my heart. She as seriously misunderstood and wrongly accused for a lot of things. But she wasn’t an angel either. So, as she tries to make amends with those she wronged, she feels more guilt over Ben than anyone. But he has no idea why.

On a side note, watching Ben interact and react to Pink and her sister….total swoon. I fell in love even more. I mean seriously, who couldn’t?? And when he brought them in for cookies…*sigh*

As they grow closer, and their relationship, or whatever it is, grows more and more saucy, I was sitting at the edge of my seat wondering when the other show was gonna drop. But when it dropped, and she told him her secret, I never saw it coming. I felt horrible, for both of them!! I wanted to reach in a hug them both.

Can the past stay in the past and not effect your future??

Excerpt
“You’re incredible, Ben, you know that? You’re an insensitive, first-class jerk, and–”
He leaned in. “And what?” he asked, voice dangerously low.
“And…” Stymied at her ridiculous and constant reaction to him, Aubrey put her hands to his chest to give him another shove, but somehow got her wires crossed and she fisted his shirt instead.
“Dare me,” he said softly.
Oh, how she hated how well he knew her. “I dare you to kiss me,” she whispered, and then to make sure he did, she put her mouth on his first…

I seriously can’t wait til the next one!!

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Buy Once in a Lifetime (Lucky Harbor)

Once-in-a-Lifetime-Blog-Tour

Review – The Good German by Joseph Kanon

147326There have been thousands of books written about WWII, but not as many focus on the immediate aftermath, let alone set in immediate post-war Berlin. In The Good German, Joseph Kanon explores the many different facets of war, the intricacies of motive, and the ethical dilemmas one can be faced with when carrying out actions in the name of love and war.

The plot follows Jake, an American reporter that is on his way to Berlin to write an article on the post-war efforts to re-build the city. Once in Berlin, Jake stumbles upon the body of an American soldier and finds evidence that all may not be what it seems. Along the way, Jake encounters a host of characters that he will later reunite with further in the story. The plot essentially is split up between a love story and a mystery; Jake has a secondary reason for going to Berlin, which is to seek out his former Girlfriend, Lena, who he had met on a previous trip. Rest assured though, there are many plot twists and diversions in order to save it from becoming a two dimensional experience.

What I loved most about this book, apart from the entertaining plot, was that it really made you question your already strongly held morals. It presents both sides of an argument and doesn’t necessarily side with either argument. What you once thought hypocritical, might actually make sense. What you once found acceptable might now be unacceptable. What you once found abhorrent might now be not so abhorrent. There is no right or wrong answer set in stone. If you want a book that will question and challenge your views/morals and not a cozy mystery that will sit you around a camp fire, with you signing kumbyah, and present you with a box of answers with a nice bow tie on it (I don’t knock any that type of book – sometimes we need that!), then do yourself a favour and pick up The Good German.
Hope to see you next week for another review!
~ Pegasus.
The Good German

Review and Blog Tour: Midsummer Sweetheart by Katy Regnery

My review: Aah the romance of Montana summers. This was such a satisfying read. Katrin and Erik complemented each other perfectly: he being exaggerated in size and power, but gentle in spirit; and she being small in stature but powerful in her convictions.

My favorite parts of the novel were Katrin and Erik’s dates. Full of banter and flirtation, lots of conversation, and swoony hand-holding, the picnics and walks and drives felt so real to me.

I’ll be honest, the beginning of the book was awkward. The dialogue was forced, the writing was repetitive, and I felt like I was reading a soap opera.

Then at about chapter 5, the writing tightened up and Regnery found a groove. I was pulled in emotionally and intellectually. I was IN Montana. The suspense was awesome, and the love story had me sighing dreamily.

Though Regnery might have had difficulty with the beginning of Midsummer Sweetheart, she sure has a wonderful way with endings. This happily ever after was sweet, and perfect.

As a language lover, I REALLY had fun reading (ok and trying to pronounce!) the Swedish and Norwegian endearments. Thank you, Miss Katy!

This review was posted on Amazon and goodreads on 22 February.

-Calliope

Buy Midsummer Sweetheart



BLURB:

During the annual Montana festival of Midsommardagen, a law enforcement official must protect a beautiful nurse from her past, thereby breaking his own vow to never risk his heart.
SYNOPSIS:
Erik Lindstrom never had much faith in love. He saw his parents’ marriage collapse and vowed to avoid the same anguish himself. His fiercely protective nature drew him to a career in law enforcement, where he’s managed to keep himself and his heart safe…until now.
Katrin Svenson is in danger. After leaving her home in secret, her only hope for safety seems to lie in the hands of a man who has steeled himself against her deep blue eyes and sunny smile. But sparks fly between the nurse and her handsome protector, and those sparks become fire as Katrin melts the ice surrounding Erik’s heart. That fire will ward off the dark force determined to keep their sweet midsummer nights from being an impossibly perfect forever.


Author Bio:
Katy is a 2013 NECRWA First Kiss and 2013 NTRWA Great Expectations contest finalist who
has always loved telling a good story and credits her mother with making funny, heartwarming tales come alive throughout her childhood. A lifelong devotee of all Romance writing, from Edwardian to present-day, it was just a matter of time before Katy tried her hand at writing a love story of her own. Katy lives in the relative-wilds of northern Fairfield County, Connecticut where her writing room looks out at the woods, and her husband, two young children and two dogs create just enough cheerful chaos to remind her that the very best love stories of all can often be the messy or unexpected ones. Katy has a Paranormal alter-ego: KP Kelley –
https://twitter.com/KPKelleyAuthor
Her
Paranormal It’s You is
scheduled for a Winter 2014 release. 
Goodreads:

Purchasing Links ==> will be provided when they become available.




Midsummer Sweetheart Blog Tour
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Review: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

RebeccaUffda….where to start….I found myself at times so aggravated with this book that I wished nothing more to give it a hard throw against a solid brick wall….whilst at the same time, I really found myself enjoying the writing style of du Maurier. I had no problem walking away from the book for a day or two at a time…yet whilst reading it, I really did enjoy it. I’m not at all sure I’ve experienced this feeling before…I usually love and obsess about a book, hate it and am angered by it, or am bored and can’t be bothered by it….never before have I felt all of these things at once….

I can’t even begin to express my disbelief in how someone as spineless as the current Mrs. de Winter can exist in the *real* world. I understand she was young…I understand she was shy…..I understand she felt outclassed…I understand she lacked confidence….but damnit….she also lacked a fracking brain!!!! I can’t think of a single literary character (or a real live person for that matter) that I wished to take by the shoulders and shake until some resemblance of sense came upon her….

Here’s the thing…it was a great story….it was full of surprises (although throughout the entire novel I kept having feelings of deja vu…perhaps I read this as a teenager?)…although nothing that happened was a huge surprise, I did not guess all of the plot twists…and I surely did enjoy all of the twists….the last twenty percent of the novel had me where I simply could not put the book down….I was racing to get to the end to find out how it would all come together….

****Somewhat Spoiler*****

My discomfort came only with the *evil* housekeeper….I just felt the current Mrs de Winter took too much from her….It’s not that I wished the character was any nicer….or that Mrs de Winter was any less naive…I just thought the housekeeper could have been more…errrrrr…covert in her doings and still had the same effect…at times I found it almost comical that she was able to bully in such an open way with no repercussions….if she had been more sneaky in her ways, I would have found the current Mrs de Winter a more believable character….obviously, as often happens, I stand on a lone island with my views….as it’s very obvious that other’s did not have this same problem with the current Mrs. personality….

I will only add-on that the way this book ended was frightening….not because I was shocked…or wished it had ended any other way….but the ending….again….uffda!!!!! Mr de Winters talks of his wife growing up and loosing that youthful look of innocence….later, it is noted that she looks like she has grown up years in a space of hours….but by the end of this novel, I think perhaps she is no braver, more confident or has any more of spine that she showed at the beginning of the novel….in fact, I am more disappointed in her than ever….without giving too much away, there is simply no way to go into this…but damn, girl….get some gumption…..for all of her talk of no longer being intimidated or afraid…well…..screw that….she was no better at the end than the beginning….perhaps she was even worse…

Should you read this book? By all means, yes….there is a reason why this book has never been out of print….This book is over 70 years old, but it could have been written today….I’ve read classics before of course….but this might well go down as one of my favourites….regardless of my dismay for the current Mrs. de Winters….Daphne du Maurier sure can spin a tale….romance, suspense, mystery and more….UFFDA!!!!

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Preview: Hope Springs(Longing for Home #2), by Sarah Eden

1 After I read Edenbrooke and Blackmoore, I was on a mission to find similar books. So when I stumbled upon this author, I was very excited to read one of her books.

I can honestly say I’m kinda glad I never read the first book. This book ended so perfectly. I think I might’ve been mad if I had to endure the possible love triangle in the first one. I wasn’t sure who was more perfect for Katie, in the beginning. But after a bit I figured out who I liked.

Katie has lived a very hard life, filled with much suffering and death. I was struggling with hearing it all myself, and watching her go through much more. I swear, the last 15% of the book, my nerves were shot and I spent the entire time with tears glistening in my eyes. I know times were tough, but I never even imagined one person going through so much.

The love triangle was perfectly written. Katie has had no one to look after her, for so long, she really doesn’t know what she’s feeling or how to deal with those feelings. I truly felt bad for Joseph and Tavish as they both were vying for her affection, while all this was going on.

Watching the town, on the verge of self destruction, was heart breaking also. These people just didn’t want to let go of their prejudices and live peacefully. So property damage, stolen property, and physical injuries were just a part of their problems.

Katie tried everything in her power to get things turned around. She knew if something didn’t happen, someone would eventually get killed in the crossfire. Sadly, she was right. That was part of where my tears came from. Devastated.

By the time the ending came around, I was emotionally drained, but that’s the way I like my books. I can’t wait to see what else Ms. Eden has in store for us.

I received this ARC, for an honest review.

~Melpomene

Release date: February 14, 2014

Preorder Longing for Home, Book 2: Hope Springs – A Proper Romance

Review: Doing Harm by Kelly Parsons

20140215-082959.jpgThere was a time, not so terribly long ago, that medical thrillers were my book of choice. Having discovered Robin Cook, I devoured all of his work and then searched for any similar authors I could find. But, as is the case with too much of a good thing, I grew tired of this genre and moved on to different things. I’ve read maybe three medical thrillers in the past year and none of them have been very memorable. This book changed that in a big way.

Dr. Steve Mitchell’s life is as good as it gets. His medical career is on the fast track, and he’s in line for a position at the prestigious University Hospital in Boston. He has a wife he adores and two beautiful daughters. But then everything begins to spiral downward. Mistakes are made. Patients begin dying at an alarming rate. A sociopath is at work playing a dangerous game.

This was a good little medical story until about 40% in. It was humming nicely, if somewhat predictably, along. Lots of details about life as a resident, medical student, or intern as well as play by plays about what goes on in surgery and how easy it is for mistakes to be made. Still, I found myself wondering where the mystery/thriller part was. And then the bottom dropped out. In a big way. From that point on it was a mad dash to the finish for me.

Doing a Harm is an excellent debut novel by Kelly Parsons. While some aspects are slightly far-fetched, the medical details are highly believable as you would expect from an author who is also a doctor. With this novel, Parsons has renewed my interest in this genre. Five stars for me!

~Thalia

Buy it Now: Doing Harm

Review: Killer (Alex Delaware #29) by Jonathan Kellerman

killerI have long been a fan of Jonathan Kellerman. There was a time where thrillers/mysteries such as Kellerman’s were all that I bothered to read. Kellerman was always a “must-read” author for me during this dozen or more years of my life. The Delaware series has always been enjoyable for me, but after reading so many of them my passion somewhat slacked off a bit and I wasn’t in a huge rush to give up other reads to continue on with the series….as many can relate to, reading time is often a very precious thing. One can never seem to find enough time to read all of the books we so desire….

So, basically it’s been a few years since I’ve picked up a Alex Delaware novel. I must admit, I enjoyed this one much more than I have the last few I read. There was less focus on Delaware’s lady-love.

There were some faults here, I thought….the rapport between Delaware and his mate Milo didn’t seem to be as close as it has been in the past….It almost felt like Delaware was resentful of Milo….too many comments about his overeating and being out of shape….In the past maybe this didn’t bother me…but something about it this time just made me feel like Delaware was looking down upon Milo for these things….that he was a bit resentful and perhaps a bit disapproving of him. The warmth between the two friends just didn’t seem to be there…

Much like real life, I suppose, once the mystery was figured out, it all wrapped up rather quickly….

I am much more likely to hurry and pick up the next installment of this series because I really enjoyed this novel, despite the few flaws I felt it held….

I’m not sure what has happened…perhaps Kellerman is just a bit tired of Delaware…but the character really seemed to lack the warmth and openness of the past….Delaware seemed to want to explore some of his feelings and perhaps some actions, but at the end just didn’t seem like he could be bothered with it all and just let it go….

ARC provided by NetGalley for an honest review….

Until next time….

Urania xx

Buy it now Killer (Alex Delaware #29)

Review — The Fall of Saints by Wanjiku Wa Ngugi

18144135Wanjiku Wa Ngugi’s debut novel entices the reader with an interesting premise that has the potential to be different, and yet remain in the comfort zone of the “don’t trust your spouse” sub-genre that has dominated 2013/2014. In reality however, it falls a little short.
As an expat myself, I am always interested in stories told from the point of view of a person who is not on home turf. That element, added to the fact that it had potential to explore modern African culture, is what initially attracted me. The novel has all of these aforementioned elements, but the exploration of each one is rather lackluster. It is almost like an imposter, a fake, trying to emulate these experiences, has written the story, and that is really disappointing. Disappointment is the main feeling I experienced when reading this novel.
The suspense element was fine; it wasn’t particularly nail-biting, but it kept you on your toes for a few chapters. However, some of the dialogue and the situations that the characters faced, felt very trite and forced, resulting in a lot of eye rolling and mutters of “really?”.
However, in amongst the negative points, there were a few positive aspects. The scenes in Kenya were interesting and descriptive. They felt organic and genuine for the majority of the time. Also, as previously stated, the main protagonist, Magure, did have some potential moments that manage to escape from the disappointing moments.
It really wasn’t a bad read, but I think I set myself up to expect a lot more than I received. I definitely recommend you try it; after all, there are far worse books out there, and the author will hopefully produce a stronger novel in the future.

Pegasus.
(ARC provided for an honest review)

The Fall of Saints: A Novel

Review: The Bat (Harry Hole #1) by Jo Nesbø

The BatThe Harry Hole series by Nesbo has gotten a lot of attention in the last few years. I’ve been meaning to try it out for quite some time….as it goes with so many of my OMGIWANTOREADTHISSOFREAKINGBAD books, the series just kept getting bumped for one reason or another. Lucky for me a friend gifted me the first of the series (thanks Art…xx). Also, lucky for me, I waited long enough for the first two book to actually get published and didn’t have to start the series in the middle….

As I marked this book “to read” I noticed that a couple of friends had read it and weren’t that impressed with it….however, I believe that they read the later books first, as those were the first ones published in English….after seeing the ratings, as anyone that has thousands of books on their TBR list, I was apprehensive of wasting time on a book that I might not like…but since this was a gifted book..and since I’ve been wanting to try the series for a few years, I went ahead.

All I can say is I am very glad I did. No….it is not a perfect book. I’m not sure all the clues added up correctly. I am not sure if everything was laid out properly….but I am very sure that I seriously like Harry Hole. I am sure I was entertained by this book as well. This book has just the type of flawed hero I really enjoy. This read made me remember why mysteries/thrillers/crime novels were just about the only type of books I read for over a decade. I so enjoyed loosing myself in the world that Nesbo painted…Sure, lots of people wish to lose themselves in a world of romance, chocolate, roses and true love….but screw that…give me the smell of gun powder, addict’s stale sweat, the metallic scent of blood, and the tension from cops racing against the clock any day of the week…

I’m seriously excited about the lower ratings from all of my friends now. If they didn’t much care for this novel, but loved the others….well well well, I might just be reader’s ecstasy once I give them a shot….There’s so much in Harry to build on. So many ghosts in his past. So many demons he must fight daily….oh hell yea….I’m seriously excited now…bring it….

Until next time….

Urania xx

Buy it now The Bat (Harry Hole #1)