Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Click: An Online Love Story by Lisa Becker

Renee Green, almost thirty years old, always thought she would be married with kids or at least seriously dating by the time she is thirty.  As her birthday is approaching she finds herself very single and decides, with support of her guy friend Mark, to try online dating.  This story is told through a series of emails shared by Mark, Ashley, and Shelley, all of Renee’s best friends.

At first glance of the book I was concerned.  I was not sure how I would enjoy a book that totally consisted of emails.  I am very happy to say that I loved it.  Even written as it is, it was easy to follow and relate to all the characters.  Click:  An Online Love Story is a funny story of Renee’s travels through online dating with narratives by Shelley, the prowess, Ashley, the conservative, and Mark, the co-online dated, all done through emails.

I have to say I loved Shelley.  Shelley seemed to always have a different guy of the night or day or sometimes both night and day and never called them by name.  She always gave then nicknames to describe their time together.  Every name she gave them made me smile and usually laugh out loud.  Shelley’s email usually included the most detail of her and her man’s encounter, some of which made me envious and some made me go ewww.  She was also the friend that would support Renee and tell her to go for it when Renee was feeling doubt or uncertainty about the men approaching her online.

Overall, I truly enjoyed the story.  If you are looking for a quick and easy read about true friendship with a lot of humor and good times in it, this is the book for you.

Follow Lisa Becker

Buy your copy of Click:  An Online Love Story by Lisa Becker

I received this book from the author, Lisa Becker, for a honest review.  

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Coveted by Shawntelle Madison

Reviewed by Charlotte Lynn

Book description taken from

 For werewolf Natalya Stravinsky, the supernatural is nothing extraordinary. What does seem strange is that she's stuck in her hometown of South Toms River, New Jersey, the outcast of her pack, selling antiques to finicky magical creatures. Restless and recovering from her split with gorgeous ex-boyfriend, Thorn, Nat finds comfort in an unusual place: her obsessively collected stash of holiday trinkets. But complications pile up faster than her ornaments when Thorn returns home--and the two discover that the spark between them remains intense.

Before Nat can sort out their relationship, she must face a more immediate and dangerous problem. Her pack is under attack from the savage Long Island werewolves--and Nat is their first target in a turf war. Toss in a handsome wizard vying for her affection, a therapy group for the anxious and enchanted, and the South Toms River pack leader ready to throw her to the wolves, and it's enough to give anybody a panic attack. With the stakes as high as the full moon, Nat must summon all of her strength to save her pack and, ultimately, herself.

Shawntelle Madison wrote a paranormal book unlike I have ever read.  There were the werewolves, fairies, gnomes, and all the others you expect, but I had never read a book about “specials” with OCD, hoarding and other disorders.  From the beginning I liked Nat and felt for her.  It was easy to understand why she ended up living like she does.  Her lack of confidence and wanting to hide her hoarding was also easy to understand.

Thorn was nothing special for me.  He did nothing to help a woman he supposedly cared very much for.  He seemed very selfish.  It sometimes appeared he wanted to be with Nat but not enough to stand up to his dad or the rest of the pack.  Thorn just kept Nat hanging on.

There were times I couldn’t put this book down, other times I wanted to just close it and move on to a different story.  I felt like there was more to the story.  That it focused on Nat, her OCD, and her being wanted by another pack, but I would have enjoyed it more if there were more stories about the other characters, especially her therapy group.

For the most part, I enjoyed reading Coveted.  It was entertaining and easy to follow and read.  I am undecided if I will purchase the next in the series.  I would like to see where Nat and Nick head to.

FTC Disclaimer
As of December 1, 2009, According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC),  product reviewers on blogs must disclose whether they received products for free or received payment for their review.

I was asked to read and review Coveted by the author Shawntelle Madison.This is a very common practice.  We never take payments for these reviews and all the reviews on this site are our own thoughts and feelings and are not influenced.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Zombie Candy by Frederick Lee Brooke

When Candace finds a black bra in her husband, Larry’s, suitcase her eyes are wide open.  Candace decides to get more proof of his infidelities and teach her husband a lesson.

Candace, never Candy, hires her best friend since college, Annie, to get her proof of Larry’s infidelities.  Recently returning from Iraq, Annie is reluctant to accept the case, her first PI case ever.  She teams with her PI class instructor and sets out to get Candace the proof she wants, just not in the usual ways.

Larry is Candace’s college sweetheart.  He is a sex addict, a zombie movie addict, and a cilantro addict (GASP).  When he is the winner of a trip for 2 to Italy, his revenge is played out.  The people in the town go all out to help Candace make Larry pay.

What can I say?  I am not a Zombie movie fan.  I am not a sex addict.  I like cilantro, but I am not an addict.  I am a wife, who if her husband cheated would not tolerate it.  I love how Candace did not just let Larry get away with cheating on her.  She wanted proof and boy did she get it.  It seemed every step Larry took was the wrong step.  Whether walking down the street or flying across the ocean he could find temptation and Annie was there to catch it.

The chapters set in Italy were by far my favorite.  What a way to give your husband divorce papers.  The fact that his own obsessions were turned against him  and that the whole town was in on it was the true payback he deserved.  I loved it!

The title of Zombie Candy might have turned me off in the beginning, but by the end of the first chapter I was hooked.  It was a mystery, murder, with a tad of sci-fi all in one.  Definitely a great read.

*Disclosure: Charlotte received this book for a honest review from the author.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rita Hayworth’s Shoes by Francine LaSala

David leaves Amy Miller jilted at the altar.  Her friends are relieved since her relationship with David has been very one sided for years.  Except Amy, who is devastated.

When walking past a local thrift store Amy notices a pair of Rita Hayworth high heels.  After noticing them for numerous days, Zoe, a six year old, and Jane, her best friend, talk her into purchasing them.  Once they are purchased and Amy starts wearing them her life starts looking up.  She decides to quite her job and finish her schooling.  She meets a new love interest, Deck.  But when the shoes break her life may turn a different direction.

Rita Hayworth’s Shoes kept me reading just to see what kind of situations Amy would find herself in and how oddly she could handle them.  For example her wedding, she had to “give in” to David’s wishes for the wedding and have it in a place that was not her choice.   When left at the alter, she waited over 2 hours and then stayed and got drunk, not quite how I would have handled it, but the first of many odd situations Amy got into that made me laugh and shake my head.

I read and enjoyed this book, but I found each chapter to be their own short story.  The chapters did not easily flow from one to the next.  I found that I sometimes could skim over a chapter and feel that I really did not miss anything.   I also felt that the titles of the chapter gave away too much of what was going to be told in that chapter.

The other thing that seemed off to me was Zoe.  Zoe, Amy’s best friends six year old daughter, was portrayed as so much older.  Although she was described as “sagacious”, she just seems to know too many things that six years old should have no knowledge of.
Rita Hayworth’s Shoes was pretty much a quick and fun read.  I will definitely be looking for this as a movie in the future.

*Disclosure: Charlotte received this book as a request from the author to review. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Saffron September by Aliya Anjum

Saffron September is a story of an adult Muslim woman living the in the United States on her own.  Zara tells her experience of trying to date both in the United States and her home of Pakistan.  The story shows how it is hard to meet appropriate men when her family is not around and with the pressures of the United States society.

After many heartbreaks, Zara meets Ali.  After a rough start, their romance moves forward.  The connection and understand between Ali and Zara is amazing.  Zara may get her dream of a husband, home, and family.

I was enthralled with Saffron September.  Some of the religious aspects told in the book I was not able to understand, but I was still able to follow the story and feel  that I did not miss anything.  I think maybe a little less religion would have been nice, I found myself skipping some of the pages that were all about religion.

Looking into the Muslim world through Zara and Ali was so thought provoking.  I learned so much about a culture and religion I was pretty clueless to.  I think that was the best part of the book.  I was able to see past what is told in the newspapers and on television, to better understand the Muslim world.
Saffron September is not a fluffy beach read.  If you are looking for a book you can truly since your teeth into this is the book for you.
Reviewed by Charlotte

Aliya Anjum on Facebook

Monday, October 22, 2012

Enchanted by Starlight by Tina L Hook

Reviewed by Charlotte Lynn
When a comet goes across the sky, Grace, Skylar, and Alina become connected.  This coment grants each girl special powers.

Grace can make men fall in love with her.  Helping her move past her lonely childhood.  Skylar becomes more socially accepted.  In her childhood she was poor and awkard.  Alina gets the power to get revenge and change the course of other peoples lives.  Each woman goes about her own life but destiny keeps bringing them back together.

Grace is the character that I could most relate to.  I loved that her “power” was making men fall in love with her, but soon figured out that having a man fall for her because of who she is was much more rewarding.  Once she realized this her life became much easier and better.

I did enjoy reading Enchanted by Starlight , but sometimes my mind seemed to wonder and not get the point of the chapter.  The book has a lot going for it.  Friendship and love, but just did not entertain me as much as I wish it would have.

FTC Disclaimer

As of December 1, 2009, According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC),  product reviewers on blogs must disclose whether they received products for free or received payment for their review.

I was asked to read Enchanted by Starlight by BookSparks and no payment was given. This is a very common practice.  This review is my own thoughts and feelings and are not influenced.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Cheer: A Novel by Leslie A. Gordon

Reviewed by Charlotte Lynn

Jenny asks her teenage daughter, Ella, to watch her toddler brother, Riley.  Ella doesn’t want to, but her mom leaves anyway.  This small every day event leads to their whole lives becoming filled with guilt, grief, and blame.

Ella becomes a “perfect” daughter, student, and cheerleader, who secretly cuts herself to numb the pain.  Jenny becomes obsessed with getting pregnant again, ignoring the rest of her families pain.  Ethan, the father and husband, tries the hardest just to keep his family together, to preserve what is left of his broken family.

The personal pain portrayed in Cheer:A Novel broke my heart.  To see and follow this family after the loss of a child made me hug and appreciate what I have even more.  Every character in this story was easy to relate to.  The way their world changed after such a tragic event was so believable.  I found myself praying that they family would somehow find their happy ending and pull back together.

Having a teenage daughter myself, I found myself pulled to Ella and comparing her to how I believe my daughter would be if this was my family.  I found it sad that after such a tragic death no one thought to talk to her about it.  No one told her that is wasn’t her fault and helped her deal with the grief and guilt.
But I could not quite blame the parents for this lapse.  It seemed that no one in the family knew how to cop or help each other.   They all went into their own worlds, interacting with each other as little as possible.

I was absolutely totally hooked by this book by the end of the first chapter.  I read it in one day unable to put it down.

FTC Disclaimer
As of December 1, 2009, According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC),  product reviewers on blogs must disclose whether they received products for free or received payment for their review.

I was asked to read Cheer: A Novel but the author, Leslie A Gordon. This is a very common practice.  We never take payments for these reviews and all the reviews on this site are our own thoughts and feelings and are not influenced.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Unfailing Light by Robin Bridges

Reviewed by Laura
I haven’t really read much gothic novels since starting my review blog, but I am a huge fan of the genre. I was contacted if I’d be interested in reviewing The Unfailing Light and I have to admit I was excited to have a change of pace in my reading, but also a bit hesitant because this is book #2 in a series. I hadn’t read book #1. After reading book #2, I would suggest starting with the first book. It’s easy enough to get a good sense of what’s going on, but I think the background story would have added to the pleasure of The Unfailing Light.

The story takes place in Russia in 1889. Katerina (Katiya) Alexandrovna, the Duches of Oldenburg is a necromancer (can bring people back from the dead) and many of those around her also posses supernatural abilities. Katiya wants very much to be a doctor and has been given permission to do so, until Konstantin the Deathless returns threatening Katiya. Instead of being able to go off to medical school, she is sent back to her old finishing school where the empress is able to protect her using a spell. The spell however, has awakened a ghost.

I rather liked Katiya who is just 17 and seemed to me dealing with all this supernatural stuff by herself. At the beginning of the book she was very close with her cousin, Dariya but after Katiya returns to her old school she no longer feels she can trust her cousin (a lady in waiting). There is also an interesting love triangle. There is George who has Katiya’s heart, but after he goes off to Paris he really doesn’t seem to have too much to do with her. Then there is Danilo, whom she has a blood bond with (not sure of the whole back story, but she isn't interested and he wants to marry her). During her time at the school Danilo is able to communicate with her telepathically. Oh and she wants nothing to do with Danilo!

Katiya for me was a very likable character. I felt bad for her because she wanted nothing more than to help, but sometimes her helping caused more issues. I also felt bad for her because she clearly needs some sort of a mentor to help her with her powers.

The story starts kinda slow with little bits of action and information, but sort of explodes at the end of the book. There was even a moment where I was blown away! I'll be honest and say I had a hard time keeping track of all the characters and keeping straight who was in the dark and who was in the light court (a chart in the front would have been helpful). Also, all those Russian names! The story itself was very enjoyable. I wished I had read book #1 THE GATHERING STORM and I will be watching for the next book in the series.

If you enjoy Gothic books at all I would recommend this one!

Follow Robin Bridges


FTC Disclaimer
As of December 1, 2009, According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC),  product reviewers on blogs must disclose whether they received products for free or received payment for their review.

The books we review on this site (A NOVEL REVIEW) are sent to us by publishers, authors or downloaded from Netgalley. This is a very common practice.  We never take payments for these reviews and all the reviews on this site are our own thoughts and feelings and are not influenced.

Here are Other stops for THE UNFAILING LIGHT blog tour!!!

September 24thSmitten Over Books
September 25thCasey’s Crew
September 26th: Much Ado About Books
September 26thThe Streetlight Reader
September 27th: Infinite Reads
September 28th: The Hiding Spot
September 29th: Girls *Heart* Books
October 1stMom Reads My Books
October 2nd: The Book Review Club
October 3rd: The Book Review Club
October 4th: Kimba Caffeinated
October 4th: My Life is a Notebook
October 5th: My Life is a Notebook
October 6th: Candace’s Book Blog
October 7thReader Girls
October 8th: Bookish
October 8th: Peace, Love, Books
October 9th: YA Bibliophile
October 9thReader Girls
October 10th: Wastepaper Prose
October 10th: Imaginary Reads
October 11thImaginary Reads
October 12th: Well Read Wife
October 15thLibby Blog
October 16th: Cracking the Cover
October 17th: A Bookish Libraria
October 18th: A Novel Review
October 19thIn the Best Worlds
October 20thTripping Over Books

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Contrails by Robert Anderson

Reviewed by Charlotte Lynn
Sam Claymore is a pilot for Civil Airlines.   He mostly enjoys his job and variety of co-workers.  Same just goes through life, taking the ups and downs as they come.  That is until he is furloughed.  At this point his life changes as he never expects.

Shortly after Sam loses his job his childhood friend, Nate, contacts him.  Nate invites Sam to come stay with him in Miami, promising him a great place to stay and an amazing job opportunity.  Little did Sam know what he was getting into and how deep and dark he would be expected to go.

Being a reviewer who usually sticks close to the chic-lit genre, I was not sure if I could or would enjoy a book about pilots and flying.  There were some parts I could have skipped, not really understanding all the abbreviations and the terms, but most of the book had me hooked.

I have to say Part II:Destination Unknown was my favorite part of the story.  This part seemed to have more action, more drama, and definitely more suspense.  I found myself wondering what would happen next and hoping Sam came out in one piece.

Whether or not you’re a pilot or understand all things pilot, this story is for you.   If you are looking for suspense, romance, action, and a tad of comedy check out Contrails by Robert Anderson.

FTC Disclaimer
As of December 1, 2009, According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC),  product reviewers on blogs must disclose whether they received products for free or received payment for their review.

The author, Robert Anderson, asked me to read and review his book. This is a very common practice.  We never take payments for these reviews and all the reviews on this site are our own thoughts and feelings and are not influenced.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

11/22/63 by Stephen King

November 22nd, 1963, the day JFK was shot in Dallas Texas.  Stephen King writes the what if book.  What if you could go back and change the past?  How would it effect the present?

Thirty-five year old English teacher, Jake Epping is told of a portal that will take him back to 1958.   Al, who owns the diner where the portal is, enlists Jake to return to 1958 and change the assassination of JFK.  So Jake returns to 1958 and becomes George Amberson, the man who stops the assassination of JFK.

This is my very first Stephen King novel and was suggested to me by a librarian friend.  Seven hundred pages later I am hooked and will be checking out other Stephen King novels.

Jake Epping, the lead character, is an incredible character.  Real, down to earth, loving, and so strong in his beliefs are words I would use to describe Jake.  You could not help but totally believe that he was going back in time and trying to make life so much better for his friends and co-workers.  My favorite part of this story has to be Jake, AKA George, falling in love in the past and trying to make Sadie’s life better with promises of the present (2011).

When I started this novel I was very unsure about the author and the subject.  I would say sci-fi, historical, maybe a lil chic-lit (due to the romance) would describe this story.  Now that I finished 11/22/63 I cannot help but keeping thinking about it and wishing there was more to come.  Every chapter pulled me in deeper and deeper.   Whether you are a true Stephen King fan or this is your first book of his, you will love this story.  It has something for everyone.

Reviewed by Charlotte 

Learn more about Stephen King

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Twelve Days of Christmas by Michele Gorman

When Sam suggests to Hannah that he go home with her for Christmas she is ecstatic.  But when he said he had something important to talk to her parents about, Hannah’s nerves kick in.  Would she say yes or no?  She was unsure.  Hannah knew she loved Sam, I mean she did move to Hong Kong to be with him.  She had no doubt Sam loved her, he told her daily.  So why was she unsure of her answer?

Hannah decided she had to get Sam to ask her to marry her before they go home for the holiday, I mean how awkward would it be if she answered no when they were thousands of miles from home.  With every failed attempt to get Sam to ask, Hannah gets more and more nervous.   As the nerves kick in she realizes that it isn’t Sam that makes her nervous, but it is the things she has either kept from Sam or that he just doesn’t know about her.

The Twelve Days of Christmas read just like a Debbie Macomber story.  Easy and so entertaining.  Hannah’s indecision made me smile, made me laugh, and made me tear up.  Same is the type of guy every girl dreams of.  Handsome, caring, loving, and wanting to marry the love of his life.  There were times in the story that I wanted to yell at Hannah to get over her fears and say YES!  But as the story unfolded, I realized the truth behind her anxiousness.  I was glad that this went a little deeper then just fall in love and get married.

Any romantic at heart should read this and the other books in this series, although this one could be read as a stand alone also.  I loved this book and will definitely be reading the rest of her books

NOTE FROM AUTHOR:  If you are thinking about stocking stuffers, I’d love to sign the books for you (eBooks can be given as gifts through Amazon and Barnes and Noble). You  can make a request for a personalized eBook inscription through (adding their friend’s email address and a note so that I know who it’s from/for and the occasion). For paperbacks you can request through my website ( and I’ll send a bookplate to paste inside the front cover.
You can purchase The Twelve Days of Christmas by Michele Gorman on Smashwords

And since my first-born, Little Sacrifices (which of course I love just as much as his sisters) is feeling a little left out after all the chick-lit fuss around The Twelve Days' arrival, I'd like to offer everyone this 50% off gift voucher. If you'd like Little Sacrifices, go to Smashwords by November 11th and enter voucher code LH58H. He's available globally in all eBook formats. 

*Disclosure: Charlotte received this book from the author for a honest review. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Because of You by Jessica Scott

Jen St. James is a recent mastectomy patient who is understandable self conscious about having only one breast.  Going out to the bar in not her first choice in activities, but she agrees to go to support Laura, whose husband, Trent, is shipping out to Iraq the next day.

Sergeant First Class Shane Garrison wants to spend his last night in the US before shipping out to Iraq relaxing at home.  When men from his platoon try to talk him into going with to a local bar he gives in deciding he will go just to keep them out of trouble.  At the end of the night everyone leaves to go home and Jen and Shane are the last two there.

The next day Shane shows up for his release physical and finds Jen there as his nurse.  Against her better judgment she releases Shane to Iraq, hoping he returns in one piece.  Many months’ later three men from Shane’s platoon return to the US wounded and Shane is one of them.   Jen and Shane both fight their own personal demons and help each other to try to find happiness.

Although I cannot totally understand how Jen feel after her surgery, I do understand how she can feel so self conscience about her appearance.  She truly showed how strong she is by not giving up on her life and falling in love with a tough soldier.

My favorite story line of this book was between Laura and Jen.  The way they supported each other and helped each other stay strong was so inspiring.  They were so lucky to have each other through their own personal trials, to know without a doubt there was unwavering support.  Exactly what ever girl looks for in a girlfriend.

Even though I could predict where this story was heading and for the most part how it was going to get there, I could not stop reading.  There were a few twists and turns that I did not anticipate and they just made the story that much more entertaining.  I cannot wait for the next book in this series to be released.

Reviewed by Charlotte

Jessica Scott on Facebook

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Haole Wood by Dee DeTarsio

Reviewed by Charlotte Lynn

Jaswinder got a mysterious call to head to Hawaii immediately to help her grandma, Halmoni.  As soon as she gets to her grandma’s house she finds out that Halmoni has been arrested for having marijuana.  After getting her grandma out of jail she decides to go for a night out and meets Mike, an important, not so well liked developer on the island.   The next day Mike ends of dead from poison.  Halmoni, the island healer, is the main suspect.  Jaswinder and her crush, Dr Justin Case (Yes he was teased in school) work hard to find the evidence to prove Halmoni is innocent.  What started out to be a few days trip ends up being a lot longer vacation.

Jaswinder was so entertaining.  Having been the daughter growing up that things just happen to, she is use to things not going her way.  Things still just happen to her as an adult.  It seemed that with every chapter she had another “thing” just happened to her most of them made me laugh or giggle, a few times I’m sure my jaw dropped and I though “Aww poor Jaswinder.”

By far my favorite character was Halmoni.   I loved that even though her and Jaswinder did not speak the same language she could show her love and support my making the right tea brew, a touch, a look, and of course “”Not that.”  The fact that her potions could cure almost any ailment from ear aches to sunburn just made her more lovable by all.

I had many ideas as to who was Mike’s murderer, knowing that it could not possibly be Halmoni.  I’m so glad I was wrong and couldn’t figure it out.  The ending of the book was perfect.  After finish the book I had a few ah-ha moments, where it all clicked into place.

Haole Wood was on my wish list and I was thrilled when Dee DeTarsio asked me to read and review this book.

FTC Disclaimer
As of December 1, 2009, According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC),  product reviewers on blogs must disclose whether they received products for free or received payment for their review.

I received a copy of Haole Wood from the author. This is a very common practice.  We never take payments for these reviews and all the reviews on this site are our own thoughts and feelings and are not influenced.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dogs Have Angels Too by Sarah Cavallaro

Let me start by saying I am not an animal person.  Taking on this book pushed me to read a topic I would normally pass.   I am very glad that I did not pass on this book.

Ms. Pink, not her real name, loses her husband to his mistress, then loses her job to a merger.  Her pride got in the way and she refused a severance package.  When her money runs out and she is forced to leave her apartment and most of her belongings behind, she finds herself homeless.

Ms. Pink struggles to find any job and starts volunteering at an animal shelter.  She becomes an advocate for the dogs, an angel of sorts.  She manages to find other people who are down on their luck and give them a purpose.   The story tells how even when down on your luck you can make the world a better place for animals and people.

This story is an eye opening story on how when things look bad there is a silver lining to be found.   Ms. Pink comments that things are better this week than last week.  Her life struggles are very real to many people.  Even losing her husband and high powered job are not enough to break her or keep her down.
If you are an animal lover this book is a definitely a have to read.  If you are like me, not an animal lover, and are just looking for a good book to read, this book it for you.

Reviewed by Charlotte

Sarah Cavallaro on Facebook

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Until There Was You by Jessica Scott

Reviewed by Charlotte Lynn

Evan, Captain Evan Loehr, is a by-the-book West Point educated and trained military man.  But this man has a deep dark secret that has kept him from having a true relationship in his adult life.  And Evan never mixes business with pleasure.

Claire, Captain Claire Montoya, is a hard working, loyal, gutsy military woman.  But this woman has a deep dark fear.  Because of this fear she has not had a true relationship in years.  Claire will always stand up for her friends, even if it means sacrificing herself.
When Evan and Claire are put together to train a team getting ready for deployment , the sparks fly!   This mission will force them to work past their secrets and fears possibly leading them to find their hearts.

The chemisty and fireworks between Evan and Claire starts from the very first chapter and never slows down.   This book is more than romance, it covers some very real life issues.  Dealing with guilt, abandonments, and alcoholism to name a few.  All these make Until There Was You impossible to put down.

I loved how Claire stood her ground and was incredibly loyal to her true friends, even in their dire times.  She was even willing to sacrifice her career to help them out of some tough spots.  And Evan, oh Evan, he was amazing!  Realizing Claire just needed to trust and not giving up or letting go til he got that trust, even though it would have been easier to give up and walk away.
The only thing I didn’t like about the story was that there wasn’t more pages to it.  But the ending was perfect.  Anyone who likes a man in uniform who is willing to fight for what he wants should absolutely read this book.  

After reading book one in the Coming Home series, Because of You, I knew I had to read Until There Was You when Jessica Scott asked me.

FTC Disclaimer
As of December 1, 2009, According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC),  product reviewers on blogs must disclose whether they received products for free or received payment for their review.

The books we review on this site (A NOVEL REVIEW) are sent to us by publishers, authors or downloaded from Netgalley. This is a very common practice.  We never take payments for these reviews and all the reviews on this site are our own thoughts and feelings and are not influenced.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

THE FIVE W’S Of Erika Marks

I am so excited to have Erika Marks here at A Novel Review today! I 'met' Erika last year via twitter and facebook, when her debut novel Little Gale Gumbo was released. She always came across as sweet and genuine. So when she contacted me to review her newest novel, The Mermaid Collector I jumped at the chance. Let's get to know...
The 5W's of Erika Marks
I’m a writer who is as stubborn and determined as they come—and I have almost 15 unsold manuscripts on discs (some are even on floppies! Remember those?) to prove it. I am mom to two little girls who I treasure beyond words and wife to a man who still makes my pulse race after almost ten years together. I am a great believer in finding the celebration and the adventure in every day. I know an obscene amount of movie trivia and I am always up for a road trip (Going to the grocery store counts!). I still bite my nails when I’m deep in edits (and my five year-old scolds me constantly for it) and I unplug the coffee maker before I leave the house “just in case.” I went to LA after college to try to make it in movies and still have a great love for community theater. I worked in construction and got my masters in Historic Preservation so I’m nuts about old buildings and have been known to climb through windows into abandoned houses to get a look at historic interiors. I always feel better when I can smell the ocean. But most of all, I am grateful for the gift of my family and the time I get to be with them.

WHAT? What do you enjoy doing other than writing in your spare time? 
My husband is a biologist so we are outdoors all the time. We’re big campers and hikers and bird watchers. And we are a family of adventurous eaters! Being married to a native New Orleanian who is a tremendous cook means the kitchen is the heart of our house and it’s usually a lively place with all four of us in the mix. We’re constantly coming up with new recipes, trying out new ingredients. It’s a blast.

What I don’t do nearly enough of in my spare time, however, is clean. I am a hopeless housekeeper. My solution to avoiding clutter is to throw away anything that isn’t bolted down which, as you can imagine, can be problematic. But as long as the sink is empty of dishes, the counter is clean and the bed is made, I can ignore a scary amount of dust. Especially when I’m on deadline.

WHEN? When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I have As far as when I knew I wanted to be a published writer, I have a very vivid memory at nine of pulling out a copy of She Was Nice to Mice in our town library which Alexandra Sheedy (who we all know now as Ally Sheedy!) had penned at twelve. It clicked in that moment that maybe I could get published too. (I ended up being quite a bit, ahem, older than Ms. Sheedy when it finally happened for me.)

I’ve had a lot of different jobs in my life—and I mean A LOT—but the one constant was always my writing. It was the one goal I stuck with, the one profession I was determined to grow and mature and improve in, the one project I refused to put away.

WHERE? Where do you write?
My writing desk is a corner of the gorgeous dining table my husband built our family out of Michigan cherry. Out the window behind me, our bird feeder is always bustling (my husband calls it our cable TV), so I will often turn from my screen to watch the activity when I need a break. We always talk about how the next house we move to will have an extra room so we can have a designated office and not cover up our dining table with our work but honestly, I’m not sure I could bear to leave my “corner.”  I can be a terribly superstitious person!

WHY? Why do you write? 
Oh, Laura, I’m sure I’m far from original when I answer (with a whole lot of double negatives) because I couldn’t not write, but it’s the truth. I am always threading together stories in my head. There have certainly been periods of time when life has stepped in to keep me from working on a story, but the stories are always building and the desire to flesh them out is truly an addiction. I’m hopeless about taking time between projects—no sooner do I finish one novel than I am itching to start another. Even as I write this, I’ve just put a draft of my third novel to bed and I’m starting on book 4. It’s like I’ve just cleaned up from one meal and now that the kitchen’s all nice and clean I’m rearing to start cooking the next one!

Thank-you so much for stopping by, Erika! It was fun getting to know a little more about you. I always love hearing stories from authors about their love for reading, but I have to admit you win hands down when it comes to tenacity! I am so glad you kept at it!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio

Reviewed by Charlotte Lynn

Blackberry Winter is a story with decades separating them end up being intertwined.

May 1, 1933.  Vera Ray leaves her three year old son, Daniel, to go to her maid job at a fancy hotel.  A huge snow storm has blown in and she hates leaving her son for the night.   After working all night she returns home to find Daniel gone.  The police write him off as a runaway and do not do much to help, since Vera is a poor single mother.

May 2, 2010.  Claire Aldridge wakes up to find a huge snow storm has hit the city.  As a reporter Claire is told to write a story about the two storms.  In doing her research she discovers Vera and Daniels story and knows she has to investigate and find the answers.  While doing the research she meets new friends that help her heal from her own recent struggles and loses.

Of the two main characters, I felt most for Vera.  Her story was so sad, the fact that no one would help her because she was poor and wrote her son off as a runaway broke my heart.  Sarah Jio gave just enough clues in each chapter to keep me having to read, having to know what would happen next.  Would the truth about what happen to Daniel ever be known?

Claire, living her own heartbreak and relationship problems, was a believable character that also touched your heart.  I kept hoping Claire and her husband would be able to find their way back to each other and save their marriage.  I love that the reason for their problems was not told right away and I had to keep reading to find the reasoning and to find the answers.

As a sad story, with two sad story lines, Blackberry Winter is a heartwarming story.  The way the stories come together make it impossible to put down.   I shed many tears and smiled many smiles.  Truly loving this book. 

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FTC Disclaimer
As of December 1, 2009, According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC),  product reviewers on blogs must disclose whether they received products for free or received payment for their review.

I was asked to read Blackberry Winter as part of the SheReads Blog. This is a very common practice.  We never take payments for these reviews and all the reviews on this site are our own thoughts and feelings and are not influenced.

FTC Disclaimer
As of December 1, 2009, According to The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), product reviewers on blogs must disclose whether they received products for free or received payment for their review.

The books we review on this site (A NOVEL REVIEW) are sent to us by publishers, authors or downloaded from Netgalley. This is a very common practice. We never take payments for these reviews and all the reviews on this site are our own thoughts and feelings and are not influenced.