Monday, August 24, 2015

Her Lucky Cowboy (Montana Men #3) by Jennifer Ryan

Title: Her Lucky Cowboy: A Montana Men Novel
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Montana Men
Format: Paperback; 384 pages
Publisher: Avon (August 25, 2015)
ISBN-10: 0062334956
ISBN-13: 978-0062334954
Author's Website: http://www.jennifer-ryan.com/
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher. This is the third book in the Montana Men series.


Years ago Dane Bowden had a blue feather tattooed on his arm with the words, "An angel watches over me" printed underneath. He had gotten it after a chance encounter with mysterious girl who he believes saved his life. Now Dane is about to retire from the rodeo circuit and is attempting to win the Pro Bull Riders World Championship. Unfortunately, the bull he is riding takes exception to his endeavors and throws him unceremoniously in a heap shattering his left leg. Lucky for Dane the mysterious girl from his past, now a doctor, is there to do for Dane what all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't do for Humpty Dumpty--put all the pieces back together again.

Bell has proven to be Dane's lucky charm more than once, will he prove himself to be her equally lucky cowboy?
I will confess that I'm not a big fan of cowboys, but Jennifer Ryan heats up the pages with her sexy suspenseful Montana Men, and has burned a place in my heart for this series. Montana Men is not your average romance series. It's a little more gritty and real to life with a whole lot of suspense mixed in. I wouldn't be surprised if in the future Ms. Ryan follows in the footsteps of Sandra Brown and jumps the genre boundary into thriller territory.

Dane Bowden, known as Great Dane on the rodeo circuit, is good-looking, charismatic, and sexy as all get-out. He's the type of guy who can walk into a bar and in thirty minutes have a woman in his bed. Only one woman has ever caught his attention, but she disappeared as mysteriously as she'd appeared years ago when he needed her most. Now that he's found her again, he's determined not to let her slip through his fingers a second time. The only problem is how can he convince her he's playing for keeps?

Bell is not your average woman. She's a certified genius who graduated from college at 18, medical school by 22, and is one of the best orthopedic surgeons around. She was raised knowing she was the dirty little secret in her family's closet and treated accordingly. She was the result of an affair between a married father and a fortune hunter beauty queen. She was literally the child no one wanted. Hidden away from the world by her grandmother, she's never learned how to fully interact with others. While she never forgot Dane and has followed his career over the years, she's determined not to end up like her mother--abandoned with a baby. From what she's observed, Dane has all the markings of being just as shallow as her father where women are concerned. How could she possibly take a chance on him?

Overall, I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. It was smartly written, suspenseful, and tugged at my heart strings. I loved the way Dane was with Bell, but was a little surprised at how fast their relationship progressed toward the end. I would have loved for the story to have been expanded and gone a little more in-depth as to how Dane won Bell over. She didn't strike me as the type to fall so quickly, but Dane did dangle a very enticing package in front of her which contained the one thing she wanted most--a family. Granted Dane wasn't too shabby himself *grin* so I couldn't blame her for falling fast and hard.  On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a Steam rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed. I loved the chemistry between these two.

Order of the series:

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Review/Giveaway for Blonde Hair, Blue Eyes by Karin Slaughter


    Classification: Adult Fiction
    Genre: Suspense/Mystery
    File Size: 640 KB
    Print Length: 68 pages
    Publisher: Witness Impulse (August 18, 2015)
    Publication Date: August 18, 2015
    Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
    ASIN: B00Z751DUY
Author's Website: http://www.karinslaughter.com/
Notes: This is a novella. I was loaned an eARC by the publisher for review.


"The only reason my daughter has not come home is because someone is keeping her."
Pretty girls have it made, or so people think. Recently, however, several young good looking women in the Athens, Georgia area have gone missing and one person may have just found a common link. Julia Carroll is a college freshman who is on the staff of her college newspaper. Trying to find a topic to impress her teacher she comes across the story of  Beatrice Oliver, a missing 19 year old whose story strikes a chord with Julia. As Julia starts researching Beatrice's disappearance, she realizes she may have stumbled upon a serial rapest or murderer who is targeting beautiful young women. The latest two victims both had blonde hair and blue eyes...just like Julia. Could she about to get her first big scoop?
This was a suspenseful read that kept me glued to my kindle until I read the very last word. I gobbled this short story up and am looking forward to reading 'Pretty Girls' in September to find out what happens next. This is the story of Julia and if you look at the description for 'Pretty Girls', she disappeared nearly 20 years ago. This novella takes place when Julia first disappeared and ends in a huge cliff hanger. Thank goodness 'Pretty Girls' comes out next month or the suspense of it all would be bound to kill someone and I'm not talking about the main character. *smirk*

I couldn't help but give this one 5 out of 5 roses. This is the appetizer to the meal and if the main course is as good as this was, we are in for some fine dining. I am putting 'Pretty Girls' in my top ten most anticipated releases for September 2015 and right now it's leading the pack. I totally recommend reading this novella before 'Pretty Girls' comes out. Just beware, you may become hooked like me. 

About the Author:
Karin Slaughter
Visit Karin’s website: http://www.karinslaughter.com/

Karin Slaughter is the #1 internationally bestselling author of several novels, including the Grant County series. A long-time resident of Atlanta, she splits her time between the kitchen and the living room.


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Friday, August 14, 2015

Cover Reveal of America's First Daughter by Stephanie Dray & Laura Croghan Kamoie

Coming March 1, 2016:


America's First Daughter 
by Stephanie Dray & Laura Croghan Kamoie 

About the Book:
In a compelling, richly researched novel that draws from thousands of letters and original sources, bestselling authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie tell the fascinating, untold story of Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph—a woman who kept the secrets of our most enigmatic founding father and shaped an American legacy.

From her earliest days, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson knows that though her father loves his family dearly, his devotion to his country runs deeper still. As Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter, she becomes his helpmate in the wake of her mother’s death, traveling with him when he becomes American minister to France. And it is in Paris, at the glittering court and among the first tumultuous days of revolution, that she learns of her father’s liaison with Sally Hemings, a slave girl her own age.

Patsy too has fallen in love—with her father’s protégé, William Short, a staunch abolitionist intent on a career in Europe. Heartbroken at having to decide between being William’s wife or a devoted daughter, she returns to Virginia with her father and marries a man of his choosing, raising eleven children of her own.

Yet as family secrets come to light during her father’s presidency, Patsy must again decide how much she will sacrifice to protect his reputation, in the process defining not just Jefferson’s political legacy, but that of the nation he founded.

Meet the Authors:

 Stephanie Dray 
Stephanie’s Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

STEPHANIE DRAY is a bestselling and award-nominated author of historical women’s fiction. Her series about Cleopatra’s daughter has been translated into six different languages, was nominated for a RITA Award and won the Golden Leaf. As STEPHANIE DRAVEN, she is a national bestselling author of paranormal romance, contemporary romance, and American-set historical women’s fiction. She is a frequent panelist and presenter at national writing conventions and lives near the nation’s capital. Before she became a novelist, she was a lawyer, a game designer, and a teacher. Now she uses the stories of women in history to inspire the young women of today.
Laura Croghan Kamoie 
 Laura’s Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

LAURA KAMOIE has always been fascinated by the people, stories, and physical presence of the past, which led her to a lifetime of historical and archaeological study and training. She holds a doctoral degree in early American history from The College of William and Mary, published two non-fiction books on early America, and most recently held the position of Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy before transitioning to a full-time career writing genre fiction as the New York Times bestselling author of over twenty books, LAURA KAYE. Her debut historical novel, America's First Daughter, co-authored with Stephanie Dray, allowed her the exciting opportunity to combine her love of history with her passion for storytelling. Laura lives among the colonial charm of Annapolis, Maryland with her husband and two daughters.
~ Giveaway ~
(Ten Readers will receive access to a Digital e-Galley at Edelweiss)

Link to Follow Reveal Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/07/americas-first-daughter-by-stephanie.html 

Goodreads Link:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25743802-america-s-first-daughter
Pre-Order Links:  Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Americas-First-Daughter-A-Novel-ebook/dp/B00ZP4KE70 
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/americas-first-daughter-stephanie-dray/1122135622?ean=9780062347268 
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/americas-first-daughter/id1006670116?mt=11 
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/nl-NL/ebook/america-s-first-daughter

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

Title: The Invention of Wings
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (May 5, 2015)
ISBN-10: 0143121707
ISBN-13: 978-0143121701
Author's Website: http://suemonkkidd.com/
Notes: This was a library loan.




Can you find your own place in a world that has you pegged from birth firmly in one slot?

Sarah Grimke was born in the late 1700s in Charleston. She had aspirations of becoming a lawyer like her father and brothers. It wasn't until she was a teenager that she was rudely awakened to the fact that because of her gender, that future can never be...

Handful is a slave in the Grimke household who was given to Sarah when she was 10 and Sarah was 11. She was born into slavery and the odds are that she'll be one till her dying day. She dreams of one day being free, but with slavery so ingrained in the lifestyle of the south, that dream seems one that will never be..,.

Why would God plant such deep yearnings in us . . . if they only come to nothing?” It was more of a sigh than a question. I was thinking of Charlotte and her longing to be free, but as the words left my mouth, I knew I was thinking of myself, too. I hadn’t really expected Lucretia to respond, but after a moment, she spoke. 

“God fills us with all sorts of yearnings that go against the grain of the world—but the fact those yearnings often come to nothing, well, I doubt that’s God’s doing.” She cut her eyes at me and smiled. “I think we know that’s men’s doing.” She leaned toward me. “Life is arranged against us, Sarah. And it’s brutally worse for Handful and her mother and sister. We’re all yearning for a wedge of sky, aren’t we? I suspect God plants these yearnings in us so we’ll at least try and change the course of things. We must try, that’s all.”




I enjoyed this book and the way we get a look not just from one woman's perspective, but from two as the chapters alternated between Handful's and Sarah's points of view. I loved seeing Handful's inner turmoil over liking Sarah while knowing Sarah represented and was part of everything that took her freedom away. I admired Handful's inner strength which kept her from losing all hope and spurred her small acts of defiance that seemed at times to test Sarah's loyalty and friendship as well as question her beliefs. I also enjoyed watching Sarah struggle with the fact she was born into a family who owned slaves yet was helpless to stop it. It was fun seeing her grow as an individual and finding a way, on her own terms, to protest against slavery and gender discrimination especially after Handful pointed out, “My body might be a slave, but not my mind. For you, it’s the other way round.”  I loved watching the friendship between Handful and Sarah grow and strengthen over the years.

I couldn't help but give this book 5 out of 5 roses. The symbolism of the wings stitched throughout the story quilts strengthened and bound the two viewpoints together much like the layers on a quilt as each of the main characters struggled to figuratively gain their wings and fly. The ending was bittersweet because while there was happy ending, not all dreams were realized which added a touch of realism to the tale. I enjoyed how both Handful and Sarah reached for the sky and each figuratively managed to capture a little piece of it for themselves as they soared.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger


    Title: Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School)
    Series: Finishing School (Book 1)
    Classification: Young Adult Fiction (12 and up)
    Genre: Steampunk
    Format: Hardcover; 320 pages
    Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (February 5, 2013)
    ISBN-10: 031619008X
    ISBN-13: 978-0316190084


Ms. Sophronia Temminick is by all accounts a troublesome young lady. She is a headstrong, fiesty fourteen year old who can't seem to resist urge of getting into mischief. She loves to spy on her mother and her friends, climb, and wear pants--all of which is the epitome of unladylike behavior. The last straw which sends her mother over the edge comes when her actions accidentally cause one of her mother's guest, Ms. Barnaclegoose,  to be covered in the afternoon's dessert. At her wits end, her mother decides to send her hopeless daughter to finishing school--Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality to be precise. While Sophronia is both upset and hurt by her mother's actions, she soon realizes there is something not quite right about Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing School. Something she's not all together certain her mother would approve of, if she had a clue. For it appears to be a place where Sophronia can fit right in and reach her full potential while becoming the person she was meant to be.

"What, precisely, will I be expected to learn here?"

Lady Linette twirled one curl of blonde hair around the tip of one finger. "Information gathering and object retrieval, of course. But mostly, you should learn how to finish."

"Finish what, exactly?"

"Why, anything or anyone who needs finishing my dear."

Photobucket

If you've read Ms. Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series, then you know you're in for a real treat. This is the young adult prequel to that wonderful series. Now, I have to admit, people tend to either love or hate Ms. Carriger's writing style and I am one of the ones who absolutely adores it. It's quirky, funny, and at times a touch silly. If you haven't read any of Ms. Cariger's other books, Captain Niall is mentioned in Changeless and he had passed away prior to that book. I believe Captain Niall was the Alpha prior to Maccon. He apparently will marry Sidheag Maccon (aka Lady Kingair) so look out for sparks going off between the two. Also, The Great Picklemen revolt was talked of in Timeless, so I can't help but wonder if it takes place during this series? I'm crossing my fingers.

This book begins with Sophronia getting her first taste of Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing School and right from the beginning we know we're in for a wild ride. I love the concept of a spy school for ladies being disguised as a finishing school. It's inventive, it's creative, and so much fun. Sophronia is impulsive and too smart for her own good. Prior to her being enrolled in the spy school she kept finding herself in one type of trouble or another. Trouble that was most improper for a young lady in the making to find herself in. She is the first covert recruit in years to be recruited outside the normal family connections and she'll have to find her place among those who were born to be spies.

Favorite quotes:
- “It's no good choosing your first husband from a school for evil geniuses. Much too difficult to kill.” 

- “We are an institution of high learning and higher manners. We simply cannot shoot first; it isn’t done. Now, remember that, Miss Temminnick, do—a lady never shoots first. She asks questions, then she shoots.” 

- “What on earth could we girls possibly learn from a werewolf?" Sophronia wondered.
  "How to keep a hat on no matter what the circumstances?" hazarded Dimity.” 

I couldn't help but give this one 5 out of 5 roses. I adore Ms. Carriger's sense of humor and writing style. It always gives me a good chuckle and leaves me grinning from ear to ear. It's fast paced, creative, full of action, and tickles my funny bone. What more could a person ask for in a book?

The Book Trailer:


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Someone Else's Love Story (Shandi Pierce #2) by Joshilyn Jackson


    Title: Someone Else's Love Story: A Novel (P.S.)
    Classification: Adult Fiction
    Genre: Realistic Fiction
    Series: Shandi Pierce (Book 2)
    Paperback: 336 pages
    Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (August 5, 2014)
    ISBN-10: 0062105663
    ISBN-13: 978-0062105660
    Author's Website: http://www.joshilynjackson.com/jj/?page_id=776
    Notes: I recieved a copy from the publisher.


Sometimes it takes something drastic in our lives to make us face our worst fears...

Shandi Pierce was in the process of moving into her father's condo with her son when she ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time. The gas station she and her best friend, Walcott, picked to stop at is being held up. Things start getting intense and one of the other customers helps her shield her son and keep him safe. As they go from hostages to being free, Shandi attempts to find out more about the man who helped keep her son safe. She's convinced their paths crossed for a reason. That it's destiny that threw them together as she connects dots nobody else sees.

Years ago something happened to Shandi Pierce which she has chosen to believe resulted in a miracle. Nine months after the incident in question, she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, yet the doctor declared her still a virgin.They say life's what you make it and the same goes with what you make of the events in one's life. When she realizes that William Ashe, the man who helped protect her son, is a gene therapist, to her everything fell into place and became perfectly clear.

"Do you believe in miracles?"(...)

"Define the term,"he says.

"Like when the Red Sea parted, or when Lazarus got back up," she says. She swallows and looks away."

"No," he says.


It's time for Shanti to face reality and find out what really happened.
Several month's back there was a lot of controversy over a certain dress' color. People were basically divided into two camps-- the blue and black camp and the white and gold camp. Some people even swore they looked at it one moment and thought it one color and then looked at it again and thought it was the other. Experts are trying to explain how this strange phenomena could happen talking of pixel colors and lighting. Regardless of the reason, this book kind of reminds me a little of that dress. How, you ask? Well, sometimes your interpretation of a story hinges on what's going on in your life or what your mood is at that particular time. A picture or story can look different to different people when staring/reading the exact same thing. Many people have commented that this book seems to take rape too lightly while others think that's not the case. I'm of the latter camp. I'll try to explain my stance by telling you about somebody else's miracle...and, yes, it's a true story.


Years ago I met a couple through my church with several children. Their youngest child was in my son's Sunday school class or rather nursery class. While both of his parent were white as well as all of his siblings, he was of a much darker complexion. I asked the mother if they'd adopted him because a large number of couples in our church had adopted children, but that was not the case. That was when she told me her story. Please bare with me because the details are rather fuzzy as this was over ten years ago. Basically the mother had an illness that was curable if she could find a donor who matched her rare blood type. I don't think it was Lukemia, but something rarer and I can't remember what it was she needed. They had tested her children and husband and none were a match. In fact, there was no hope of any future children between the two having the right makeup because of her husband's blood type. They prayed for a miracle.

Long story made short, one night when her husband was on a business trip a burglar broke into their home. Along with stealing various items from the house, he also raped the wife. The hospital attempted to use the morning after pill which was supposed to ensure she wouldn't become pregnant, but nine months later a beautiful black baby boy was born into the world. Low and behold, he was the perfect match for his mother.

Now some of you may choose to see this as a tragic story of rape while others, including his parents and I, see it as a miracle that wasn't exactly delivered in the most pleasant of ways. Now don't get me wrong, what happened was a terrible thing. It's all a matter of how you choose to see it, and that's kind of how this story plays out. It's almost like one of those famous drawings with two completely different images and what you see is dependent upon your perspective. Ex:

(Image courtesy of Google Search)

I personally don't believe the author was trying to make light of what happened to Shandi, and her situation was rather complicated by the events. What I believe the author was trying to do was make you see sometimes things aren't as cut and dry as one might think. I enjoyed the journey of finding out what happened to Shandi all those years ago. I felt the process helped her to finally sleigh all her dragons and face her fears. In the process, she learned a lot about herself and could finally fully move forward with her life. It was nice that while William helped her accomplish what she needed to, she, in turn, helped him. Both were at a bit of a crossroads with the outcome dependent upon whether they could independently face what happened to each of them so they could deal with it.

Overall, I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. I loved how the two stories in this book came together with the stories overlapping into one another. I liked how we got two happy endings instead of just one. I also adored how even after reading the book, it made me keep thinking about all that happened and the twist at the end. While there are romantic elements to this novel, I'm forgoing my romance rating scale as its not primarily a romance and by including it in the rating system of true romances it would be unfair. I truly enjoyed this one and feel it would make for an excellent book club discussion.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Early Review of Brown-Eyed Girl (Travises, #4) by Lisa Kleypas

Title: Brown-Eyed Girl: A Novel
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Hardcover; 304 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (August 11, 2015)
ISBN-10: 0312605374
ISBN-13: 978-0312605377
Author's Website: http://www.lisakleypas.com/
Notes: I received an ARC from the publisher. I am a huge fan and part of Lisa's Divas which means I will give an honest rating, but shameless let you know her books are out so you can buy them.


Avery Crosslin is one of the best wedding planners in the business, and she's starting to get noticed. She goes above and beyond the call of duty to make sure everyone gets the wedding of their dreams, but ironically never had one of her own nor feels it's in her future. She believes happy endings, like those in fairy tales, are a possibility for everyone but herself.

Joe Travis comes from a very wealthy family and is a hard man to say no to. He's one of Houston's most eligible bachelors, and as one of Avery's employees points out, he's everyone's type--rich, single, and a Travis. While she tries not to admit to it, she's attracted to the handsome, charismatic man. He's the type that once he decides he wants something goes after it wholeheartedly and he's decided to go after her. Will she be able to resist his charm and perseverance? Perhaps the bigger question is will she want to?
This book reminded me of why I fell in love with Lisa Kleypas' romances. They're charming, sweet, witty, humorous, and full of a warm and fuzzy goodness that leaves you smiling long after you've finished reading. This is the fourth book in the Travises series, but you can read it out of order and not feel lost. I will admit, however, it will kick the up the level of charm by a notch if you read the novel's predecessors because many of the characters from previous books make an appearances in this one.

Avery is a  warm, smart, and caring individual whose job includes making sure all the details, both big and small, go according to plan during her clients' weddings. If that includes talking a hesitant groom into going through with the wedding, so be it. She tries to stay out of the limelight by wearing oversized outfits, not because she afraid of hogging the spotlight from the bride, but because she doesn't want to encourage any attention from the male population. Three years ago she almost walked down the aisle and the break up had a profound effect on her. She hasn't dated since. When Joe Travis meets her, she intrigues him and he realizes there's more to her than meets the eye.

Joe is more approachable then you'd expect someone of his pedigree to be. When Avery meets him she accidentally mistakes him for one of the hired help. Years ago, Joe decided to go against the family tradition of working for the family business, as his father wanted him to, and pursued a career as a photographer. Since then, he's gained a name for himself and even managed to win an award or two along the way. He's the type of man everyone notices and is a full out alpha male.

I loved watching Joe's pursuit of Avery and her slow realization that maybe letting Joe go would be a huge mistake. The chemistry between these to was scorching. I couldn't help but give it 5 out of 5 roses. I loved that the central theme permeating through the story was about taking a chance on love and letting go of the fear that it won't work. With so many marriages failing and people making light of the sanctity of marriage, taking the plunge is a scary prospect, but if you're lucky enough to find that special someone, the gain well out weighs the risk. Putting your emotions and well being in the hands of another is not always an easy thing to do. It requires a leap of faith and a commitment to one another. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.

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