Review: Thou Art With Me by Debbie Viguie



I’ve been reading and enjoying The Psalm 23 Mysteries since Book 1. Number 11 – Thou Art With Me – might be the best one yet. 

As with the other books in the series, church secretary Cindy  and rabbi Jeremiah pair up to solve a murder. In prior books they developed a friendship and then something deeper. This installment is set around Valentine’s Day, so it’s apt that their relationship evolves even more. 

The murder is a serious one, and there’s real danger to Cindy and Jeremiah. I loved how Cindy got to have the upper hand in this investigation. Her poker skills were amazing, and had I not already loved her she would’ve become my favorite character based on that poker game scene alone.

Debbie Viguie is one of the few authors I’ve read who has a talent for writing a high-quality novel quickly. The dialogue, character depth and authenticity, consistency, and writing technique are TOP NOTCH. Viguie moves the plot along very quickly without sacrificing detail. With this book, and every Psalm 23 Mystery, I am on an amusement park ride that’s fast, fun, and life-changing. I remain impressed, and can’t wait for Book 12. 

-calliope

As of this writing, you can buy books 1-11 on Amazon. If you’d like to order Book 12 or pre-order subsequent books, you may go to Debbie Viguie’s blog and web site.

Buy THE PSALM 23 MYSTERIES

Review: Rock Hard by Nalini Singh

01 rock I have always enjoyed Nalini Singh’s books. My favorites are her Guild Hunter series. It’s hard to move onto another series, after loving those so much. But the Rock Kiss series is a nice series. It’s a change of pace to read about real people and not have the paranormal aspect thrown in.

This book is my favorite of the Rock kiss series so far. I loved the fact that it wasn’t an insta love story. It had plenty of tension and angst, and that’s the best part of love stories. There was a fair amount of flirting and seduction and very subtle foreplay, but the sex wasn’t the main part of the story.

I enjoy stories with a big strong male character and the timid little females. I’m all about being taken care of, even if it’s not the norm. So when my books have it, I love it.

EXCERPT
Charlotte arrived at work at seven thirty the next morning to find Gabriel Bishop’s office door open, but no carnivorous predator inside. A fresh suit was hanging on the back of his door, however, which meant he’d been in already.
Deciding to catch up on e-mails that had come in overnight from international suppliers as well as stores involved in a stock take, she was typing a reply when a sweaty Gabriel arrived fifteen minutes later. He was dressed in black running shorts and a faded University of Auckland T-shirt that was currently sticking to his body.
She’d known he was in shape, but now she realized none of it was an illusion created by his well-cut suits. Okay, she’d already known that, but seeing his muscled body in the flesh was a whole different ball game. He was built like a tank, hard and powerful.
Each of his thighs was thicker than both of hers put together, his biceps toned, his shoulders appearing even wider than usual. Everything about him was big. Civilized clothing didn’t make him look better, she realized—it toned down his intense masculinity. Out of his suits, with the ink on the upper part of his left arm exposed, as well as that on his opposing thigh and…
Her skin hot and lower body clenching, she just nodded in response to his “Good morning.”
Disappearing into his office, he returned with his suit pants and a fresh shirt slung over his arm, along with a sports bag. “Push the meeting with Sales to nine, will you, Ms. Baird? I need to talk to HR about something before then.”
“Yes, sir,” Charlotte said almost soundlessly, but he was already gone, heading toward the employee shower one floor down.
The thigh tattoo went all the way around, the design intricate.
Heart rate a rapid stutter, Charlotte got up after he disappeared and decided to go grab him a coffee. He’d bought her one yesterday after all. She was just being nice. “Oh, shut up, Charlotte,” she muttered once she was in the elevator, and slumped her face into an upraised hand.
The truth was she was running away. Only for a few minutes, but that’s what this was: strategic retreat. Gabriel Bishop was overwhelming. Once, before she’d ever met him and under the influence of cocktails, she’d told Molly she wanted to rip off his shirt and sink her teeth into his pecs.
That desire hadn’t waned even now that she knew he was a T-Rex. Of course, the desire was all strictly in her imagination. The idea of actually handling him in real life? So impossible as to be laughable. Charlie-mouse was not about to play with a predator who could eat her alive and not even notice the bones. The good news was that she could admire him in relative safety—there was no chance in hell he’d ever notice her as a woman.
Getting the coffee from a nearby café, she took it back upstairs. He was in his office when she entered, the striped dark gray of his tie hanging around his neck and his damp hair roughly combed. The scent of clean, fresh soap over warm skin permeated the office. Shooting her a smile that turned him from gorgeous to flat-out devastating, he flipped up the collar of his white shirt to get the tie in place. “Thank you, Ms. Baird.”
Nodding, Charlotte escaped, though she really wanted to stay. She’d never realized how erotic it was to watch a man dress until this precise moment. And she shouldn’t be having these thoughts about her boss—especially since she couldn’t keep from quivering like a rabbit in his presence. Sometimes she just annoyed herself.
“Get to work,” she muttered and knuckled down.
Gabriel was fine for the first hour, but then he began barking orders even a six-armed woman with a split personality would have had trouble handling.
Finally, pushed to the edge, Charlotte snapped. “I’m going as fast as I can!” she yelled when he asked her for something a minute after he’d asked her to complete another task.
He scowled and held out a file. “This is a priority.”
Grabbing it from his hand, she said, “Fine,” and slapped it down on her desk.
It was over an hour later that he disappeared for ten minutes. When he returned, it was to put a small bakery box on her desk. “I think you need something to sweeten your mood today, Ms. Baird.”
What she needed was for the T-Rex who was her boss to stop snarling and growling, she thought as he returned to his office. Not opening the box until her curiosity had almost killed her, she found it held a slice of decadent chocolate cake with a white-chocolate ganache topped with curls of both white and milk chocolate. “I cannot be bribed with cake,” she muttered, eating a bite nonetheless.

I am very excited to see where this series is going to go!!

~Melpomene

Be sure to enter the rafflecopter for a $50 Amazon GC HERE

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Review: The Bean Trees: A Novel by Barbara Kingsolver



Although this book was written more than 15 years ago, it’s certainly a timeless story. 

Taylor Greer leaves her Kentucky home to make her own way in the world. After a few unexpected pit stops and the gift of someone else’s baby, Taylor lands in Arizona. And so begins the story of a young woman making a stable life, with a job, friends, love, and this baby who was given to her. 

This beautifully written novel is about beginnings and endings and human connections.  Taylor’s Guatemalan friends lost a baby, Taylor gained a baby. Lou Ann lost love, Taylor’s mom (and maybe Taylor, too) found love. April lost a mom, then gained more mother figures than she could ever imagine. I could go on and on. 

I can’t stop thinking about April planting things. Was she trying to put down roots? Bury the past? Become one with the land? In any case, the circle of life plays a large role in The Bean Trees. 

I cried slow, deep tears reading this book. The sweet, steady beauty of humanity strikes in harsh contrast to the spare, dry landscape and the cold politics of the government. And I was left with the knowledge that the love of a mother knows no bounds. Read it, and your heart will be touched also. 

-calliope 

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Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

mebeforeThis is another prime example of why I don’t read book descriptions. If I had read this book’s description I doubt if I would have given it a chance…If I had done that I would have missed out on this fantastic novel.

Yes, I won’t lie…it is sad….I would even say it is somewhat predictable. I knew long before the reader was *told* what was going on. I also knew how it would end. However, I will say that unlike a “Nicolas Spark” (yes, I am about to be negative about NS, get over it) I did not feel like the ending was done just to jerk on the readers emotional chain. I don’t feel like it was done for shock value. I feel it was done to keep the book honest.

It doesn’t really matter if you agree with the choices the characters made for their future (without giving massive spoilers here it is very difficult to discuss this novel)…the point of the novel is that it is ultimately the character’s own choice. No matter how much we love someone. No matter how much we want to do the right thing….at the end of the day we have to love those in our lives enough to let them make their own choices, even if we disagree with them with every fiber of our being.

Moyes does a fabulous job of pointing this out. Of, hopefully, making the reader aware that we shouldn’t be so quick to judge the actions of others. That we should never ever say what is right for another person.

I think much of the public think that the choices discussed in this novel are *easy* choices…or an *easy* way out of a terrible situation. After reading this novel I’m pretty sure it’s obvious that this just isn’t the case. Bravery and selflessness is shown by all the characters in this novel. Yes, it is something they are all struggling with….but at the end of the day they all put away their own desires to support an unbearable end…

I had my own personal beliefs about issues discussed in this book before I read it. I still have the same outlook after reading it. Bottom line….you have no idea of the struggles people go though, even those that are closet to you and ones that you love. You have no right to press your viewpoints on to someone else. You have no right to tell someone what they must do, even if you do so with the very best intentions….As humans we have a basic obligation to respect each other’s wishes and to not pass judgement on something we don’t have a clue about. No one knows how they would act in a situation until they are actually in THAT situation. You can tell yourself a million times that “I would never make that choice”, but until you’re forced to do so you really can’t be sure….

Yea…yea….yea….I know this is a rubbish review and you’re wondering what the hell I’m talking about….so stop reading it already and go out and read the damn book whydon’tcha?

Until next time….
Urania xx

Buy it now Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Review: The Executioner’s Daughter by Jane Hardstaff

9781405268288When I was a kid, I loved simple horror stories. Just enough to raise the goosebumps on your arm, maybe a bit more to keep you awake at night. And I still love those kinds of stories today. The problem is, especially for me as a teacher, most scary stories don’t fall within the acceptable range for younger readers. This one by Jane Hardstaff is an exception to that rule.

Meet Moss, a young girl who lives alone with her dad. Dear old Dad just happens to be the executioner of the Tower of London. And Moss is responsible for collecting the heads after each beheading, catching them as they drop and putting them in a basket. It’s the only life she’s every known, and her dad is the only parent she’s ever had since her mom died during childbirth.

But there’s more to that story than Moss has ever been told, and it’s the reason they can’t leave the Tower of London. When Moss finds a way out, she’s inexplicably drawn to the river. The river is slow and steady some days, fast and unpredictable on others. And there’s something lurking just under the surface, something that’s taking young children. Moss discovers that she’s tied to the river in a way she never dreamed possible, going all the way back to her mom’s death.

This book was a pleasant surprise. Not that I was expecting bad things, but you just never know. It’s historical, most definitely, but it has a healthy dose of paranormal/thriller thrown in. And I have to say, this is the first book I’ve read that’s set in Tudor times. This is a story that I’ll definitely be recommending to some young readers who I know. And the sequel, River Daughter, is high at the top of my TBR list.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: The Executioner’s Daughter

Review: The Perfect Homecoming by Julia London



This is the third book in the Pine River series… And my favorite. All three books deal with some heavy problems, but The Perfect Homecoming has a wonderful balance of sorrow, love, redemption, and humor. 

Emma left L.A. for the Pine River mountains to deal with the ranch her jerk of a father left to her and her two half-sisters. While the three sisters figured out how to get along, an old acquaintance of Emma’s turned up in Pine River. A really good-looking acquaintance. One Emma remembered sharing a few sparks with the first time they met at a Hollywood party. 

Although Cooper went to Pine River for work, he was able to break through Emma’s walls and start a relationship with her, as well as growing close with Emma’s friends and family. 

My favorite part of this book was how realistic Cooper’s confusion was when Emma acted a little crazy. The plot line with Emma’s friend Leo was beyond heartwarming. Family love, friend love, and romantic love all play big parts in this complex, beautifully written novel. And London tied them all together at the wedding at the end of the book.  

-calliope

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Review: Changing Everything by Molly McAdams

01cha “I’ve always been yours, Eli. My love for you has never been a show for everyone else. It’s always been just for you; that’s not changing now.”

I love friends to lovers stories. I really do. I love the fact they they are so close but it’s always one that never realizes how close they really are.

Synopsis
Paisley Morro has been in love with Eli since they were thirteen-years-old. But after twelve years of only being his best friend and wingman, the heartache that comes from watching him with countless other women becomes too much, and Paisley decides its time to lay all her feelings on the table.

Eli Jenkins has a life most guys would kill for: Dream job, countless women, and his best friend, Paisley, to be the girl he can always count on for everything else. But one conversation not only changes everything between them, it threatens to make him lose the only girl who has ever meant anything to him.

When tragedy strikes his family and Eli is forced to reevaluate his life, he realizes a life without Paisley isn’t a life at all. Only now, he may be too late.

This novella was a quick little read and still packed the punch, the way you expect from a Molly McAdams story. Was there emotion? Yep. Was there excitement? Yep.. Was there sauce? Holy bananas, YES!!! In fact, there was a couple scenes that made me blush. And I’m not one for blushing. Perfection.

Paisley has been waiting 12 years for Eli to notice her for more than just a friend, but she’s tired of it and ready to lay her cards on the table and see what happens. But when his reaction is not what she wants, she is forced to try and move on without her best friend.

Seeing Eli suffer with the knowledge that he did in fact love his best friend, but pushed her away, was a bit hard on the heart. You know he loves her, but he never knew how much, til the thought of never having her again, drives him to do whatever it takes in order to show her that he does in fact love her the way she deserves to beloved.

It was nice to see a glimpse of Rachel and Kash, even if it wasn’t under the best of situations. Tha was needed in order to mentally slap some sense into Eli and make him realize that what he’s been searching for was right under his nose the whole time.

~Melpomene

Buy Changing Everything: A FORGIVING LIES Novella

Review – The Skin Collector by Jeffery Deaver.

18453226I don’t read many series, but the Lincoln Rhyme novels by Jeffery Deaver, is one series that I do enjoy. In Deaver’s latest novel featuring ex-NYPD Captain Lincoln Rhyme, we are introduced to a killer that abducts his victims and takes them to tunnels or underground rooms where he precedes to tattoo a message onto their skin. However, the tattoo machine is not just filled with ink, but indeed a fatal and extremely painful poison.

Sounds like a real gent, doesn’t he?

As I’ve been reading this series since the very first book, The Bone Collector: The First Lincoln Rhyme Novel , There were no real surprises in terms of content, characterization, or the style of writing. Deaver delivers many twists and turns, even if admittedly, some of them do appear very far-fetched. That’s why we read our “cozy books” though; we don’t have to think too much, we can totally escape in the comfort that some of these events are far too grandiose to ever occur in our lives, and we know that our “hero” will always save the day.

If you’re a fan of the Lincoln Rhyme series, then you can’t miss this latest installment. If you’ve never read any books of the series, then why not start with The Bone Collector, and see if it would be something to invest in? You have nothing to lose!

Ok friends, stay warm and safe!

Pegasus.

The Skin Collector (Lincoln Rhyme)

Review: Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich



I enjoy this mystery/caper/comedy series very much. Book 21 is no exception.  It’s well written with consistent characters and excellent dialogue. Personal interactions seem real, even when they’re over the top.  Evanovich knows her characters and keeps them true to themselves in each and every book.  

Want to know how good it is? A recurring-in-the-series secondary character who I just can’t stand plays a big role in Top Secret Twenty-One. I cringe at his name. In previous books I’ve even skipped over paragraphs that concern him. I couldn’t do that in this book because the plot depended on him. And I STILL LOVED THE BOOK. Despite Randy Briggs annoying the heck out of me, I was able to enjoy every word and joke and hug and criminal confrontation. 

As usual, Stephanie Plum cracked me up. Lula and Grandma made me laugh even harder. And Morelli and Ranger … Well, see for yourself. 🙂

-calliope

Buy TOP SECRET TWENTY-ONE

Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

martianWhat a pleasant surprise this book turned out to be! Okay, come on now….admit it….many of you are like me….you hear “Sci-fi” and you automatically tune out of the conversation or turn the page and ignore all together….

I’m one of those annoying people who *say* they will read just about anything….however, even I draw the line at self-help books and Sci-Fi…….this book reminds me how much I am limiting myself by doing these silly things….If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a 1,000 times (WAIT!!!! DID MY MOTHER JUST INVADE MY BODY???? Who besides my mother says such silly things….”if I’ve said once….” Are you kidding me????) But really….I’ve said it many times….a book doesn’t matter what genre it resides in….if its a good book it can appeal to any type of reader. This is a good book!

I’ve seen it on countless Goodreads’ Lists….and when I saw it being offered for review at Edelweiss, I went ahead and applied….then when I was approved and I thought, “oh no…now what?”

Well, I finished a wonderful book and thought I would dive right into this one….it should be different and it’s rated so highly! Pretty much from page one it was a read that reached out and grabbed me. See here’s the thing about really good books…..they aren’t just about space, or romance or horror….or whatever else genre you wish to categorize them into….they are about PEOPLE….and every day struggles…okay…perhaps being stranded in space isn’t a struggle you’ll ever find yourself in….but you will find yourself in some sort of struggle at some point…and when the s**t hits the fan and it all looks like a hopeless mess, you’ll (hopefully) eventually say, “okay, let’s step back and tackle this bit by bit”…..but surly, if you look at the whole big, huge, all-encompassing problem you won’t ever find the strength to even start tackling it…..sometimes you have to just focus on one screw up at a time……

Yes, at times, I though the main character was just too darn smart….I mean he’s like Johnny Appleseed/Macgyver/Neil Armstrong/Gregory House/Chuck Noland/Truman Burbank all rolled into one…..and what person can NOT fall in love with a man like that?

At times the descriptions do get a big long….but I think the author needed to do that to make it easily understandable for us simple folk 🙂 Hahaha…..really, there’s some complicated stuff going on at times, but the author does a great job using layman’s terms so anyone can understand what’s happening…

This is a suspenseful read that will grab you right from the start….it will have you holding your breath and cheering….it will have you yelling, “Oh no!!” on numerous occasions…..and it will have you rooting for the hero and for a happy ending……

Until next time…
Urania xx

Review Copy provided by Edelweiss for an honest review

Buy it now The Martian by Andy Weir