January 28, 2014

Book Reviews (XXII)

The Little Girl You Kiss Goodnight  by John Tucker
Steph Linder dreams of being an Atlanta policewoman when she graduates high school in 1980’s Georgia. After her estranged mother is killed in Woody Pines, Steph is forced to stay with the grandmother and uncle she blames for her parent’s divorce in order to secretly investigate the murder. In the small, insulated town, Steph encounters a hunky teenager with intimate ties to her mother, three disreputable men who worked with her at a seedy bar, and a friendly librarian with several motives to be the number one suspect.
With only six days to catch the killer before going back to Atlanta to finish her senior year, Steph deals with a lecherous uncle, residents who view her as an unwelcome stranger, and long distance problems with her boyfriend and two BFF’s. Will she find the killer, or fall victim to the same fate as her mother?
The Little Girl You Kiss Goodnight is a teen-noir crime mystery that features a plucky, but flawed heroine, a broken family unit that bands together after eight long years, and a tension-filled denouement that will stay with you long after you finish the novel.

My Review

With a multitude of characters and a writing style that I found really comfortable to read, The Little Girl You Kiss Goodnight stirred my interest. The very first chapter pulled me into the story. It introduces the main character, Stephanie Kaye Linder, a six-foot teenager, with curly blonde hair, who likes to be called Steph. She wants to be a police officer and is an intern in Atlanta. After her mother’s murder, considering that the town police aren’t able to deal with the investigation, she embarks on a dangerous road, determined to find out by herself, the truth. With each chapter the action picks up as much as necessary to make you want to read more.

The world building is well done and Stephanie's take on detective investigation will certainly hold your attention. She is a smart girl and able to put two and two together. One of the things I most enjoyed about the book was the suspense. The author, John Tucker, does a great job of providing the reader with just enough information that she/he wants to keep turning the page.

The plot and characters are well written and consistent. Stephanie is an interesting character.  I loved her personality. She is courageous, daring I may say, with a certain carelessness when it comes to her own life and safety, which makes her very intriguing. At the cemetery, her only thoughts were bent on revenge, rather than helplessly grieve at the passing of Samantha Raye Linder, her estranged mother. Steph considers she is able to deal with things as efficiently as any adult. I love you, Dad, but you’re a big mother hen. You’ve got to let me go sometimes. Maybe if you knew how much of an adult I already am, you wouldn’t get so weirded out.

Uncle Thad or Uncle Big Bad Wolf as Stpeh calls him is another intriguing character.

The story flows extremely well, making  The Little Girl You Kiss Goodnight a good book that you don’t want to put down.

I consider the story not only a nice, Nancy Drew type mystery, but also a quest for Steph. A quest of discovering her own self, growing-up into adulthood and also learning the truth about her mother.

I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest opinion.

I rate it Five Stars

January 24, 2014

Reviews (XXIV)

Adrienne Woods's review for Shadows of the Past by (Goodreads Author)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars (Jan 03, 14)

I was given this novel by the author in turn of my honest opinion.

I really loved this. Although I’m not a historical fan, this one really kept me glued to the pages. Carmen has a beautiful writing style and a real gift for story telling.

Her characters were so well developed that I lost myself in this story.
It follows Anne, trying to connect with Neil, her husband. They went on a camping trip in a forest you would never find me go camping in.

Carmen did the description of these places so well that cold shudders ran up my spines more than once.
Strange things started to happen, one where she discovered human bones with one of those fancy crosses, and that is how the story of Genevieve and Andrew comes to live.

Two characters who couldn’t love one another because of their devotion to God, one a nun, the other a priest. Carmen really outdone her self, as it’s not easy to create that ever lasting love in a novel. You, as a reader feel for these two characters.

But there are also another entity in the forest and somehow started making Anne’s life disturbing but her presence in the novel made you as a reader to want to turn that page.

I really really loved this and I recommend this to everyone that likes historical fiction, romance and mystery.

I gave Carmen a full five stars, although it deserves much much more.

Buy links
Wild Child Publishing

January 20, 2014

Born on the Capricorn-Aquarius Cusp

Wow! It seems the stars favored me and I’m one of them.

If you were born between about January 17 and January 23, you were born on The Cusp of Mystery and Imagination, and there's never a dull moment.

Whether outwardly flamboyant or shy and quiet, Capricorn-Aquarius cuspers always have much excitement going on internally. They have vivid dreams and rich fantasies that need to be expressed creatively if they’re to be happy.

Prone to leading unusual lives, "Capriquarians" often struggle to balance the two very different sides of their personalities -- they are reserved yet social, security-craving but independent, and traditional yet offbeat.
Capricorn-Aquarius cuspers love to talk and entertain, and they especially enjoy intellectually stimulating conversations about any manner of strange topics. This is why no matter how hard they work or how dedicated they are to achieving their goals, things are never dull.
While hard-work and high standards bring these cuspers much success in most career endeavors, they can have more difficulty maintaining personal relationships. This is perhaps due to a need for independence, and a tendency to seem aloof and critical -- sometimes even selfish. However, if they can put forth the loyal, funny and friendly sides of themselves they’ll make fast friends.


January 17, 2014

Reviews (XXIII)

rated it 5 of 5 stars 
Shadows of the Past by Carmen Stefanescu brings together two very different lives of two women. Both are our heroines - one from the 15th Century and one from our modern day. Their lives are intermingled around tragedy, boundless love and the power of good magic.

The story tells the tale of a young nun's difficult life and the contentment she finds living under the protection of a convent. Genevieve decided to join the convent because there were so little choices for young women on their own. Her life there was blissful to begin with but things don't go well when the kind hearted Abbess who has sheltered and nurtured Genevieve is replaced by a wicked, soulless creature whose jealousy and persecution of the young nun is relentless. Things are further antagonized when the beautiful Genevieve falls in love with a man who the evil Abbess has intentions of seducing herself. The man is himself a man of God and this adds to the drama of the tale.

Anne is our modern hero. She's a successful business woman who is trying to repair a damaged relationship. She heads her family's business and is intelligent and articulate. Although worlds apart, the lives of the two women are intrinsically woven together in this charming book.

Meanwhile, Anne is trying to reconnect with a past lover on a hiking holiday. Unbeknown to her she finds herself in the same mysterious forest that has haunted Genevieve. Ghosts and spirits haunt her sleep and visions worry her waking hours. They are her 'Shadows of the Past'.

Ms Stefanescu is able to bring her readers two different stories and lace them together to produce an intriguing and interesting tale. I was able to appreciate the both worlds represented here and I easy became entranced with the suspense and mystery evoked in this absorbing tale.

I am giving this five stars and I am looking forward to reading more from Carmen Stefanescu.

January 13, 2014

Book Reviews (XXI)

TheSapphire Sea by David Andrews
November 7, 2013

Book Description

He would not die.

She was old, bordering on obsolescence, under-powered and small. Her crew were the last scrapings of the barrel, a mixture of drunks, old hands and new chums, yet the Sapphire Sea carried as many hopes and dreams on her last voyage in the Timor Sea as the most modern of her cousins.

Join her in Singapore as she sets sail on her final charter. The crew won’t mind and you’ll glimpse a way of life experienced only by those who had the good fortune to live it.

My Review

            I am a great fan of stories with characters who prove their strength and indomitability, or as one character- Randy- says, is indestructible in harsh circumstances. The Sapphire Sea was deeply satisfying in this respect. Action, suspense and a bit of romance makes this novel a good read both for ladies and gents.
            David Andrews has written an outstanding suspenseful story that will keep you on the edge of your seat. 

The Prologue starts out with the ship that has just sunk after an explosion and we meet Allan Shortland, the main character, a Marine Engineer, trying to save himself from the shark infested waters.

          Important moments of his life link Allan Shortland to the Sapphire Sea - He’d proposed to Sally while she sat in a chair on the ship's board and Melanie was conceived in a bunk of the same ship. But that was twenty years ago and things have changed. Sally's infidelity led to their divorce and now Melanie is getting married and wants her father to be present.  
            As about Allan’s relationship with the crew, skippers felt themselves fortunate to have him on board, but he tolerated no nonsense and had the ear of the company hierarchy.
            Chapter One takes us back before the unfortunate incident, and offers glimpses into Alan's life. The story continues with the description of the crew - many of the members very 'in love' with their drinks, thus a real danger for the ship. Tom doubted their ability to see anything beyond the ring pull of the next beer can. He was not sure which of them is the drunkest. This determines Allan to take drastic measures, limiting the beer cans each of them is allowed. He hopes this will keep the troublesome crew at functioning level. His action will not remain without consequences.
            The abundance of nautical terms - gash can, soogee, deck head survey- shows the author's thorough research or involvement in sailing environment and adds to the book's originality; I confess I liked to learn new things so I wasn’t bothered by them.
The Sapphire Sea offers a glimpse of how life is for those who earn their living on the ocean, as well as their families’ life. It is a well written suspenseful novel, which hooks you in from the beginning. The plot is intense, demanding, and full of hope. Curl up with your copy of the nail-biting suspense, The Sapphire Sea, today.
            I was offered a free copy by the author in exchange for my honest opinion.
 I rate it Five Stars.

January 9, 2014

Book Reviews (XX)

Pills and Cigarettes (The Wasteland) by Steve Bargdill  

(Apr 4, 2013)

Book Description
Brandon languishes in a boarding house, picking up random men, smoking cigarettes, and gets high on weed.

When his cat Squiggles dies, he decides he needs to change his life.

Filled with drugs, sex, and cigarettes, the fifth of six inter-related short stories that make up the entirety of the Wasteland series all styled after Winesburg, Ohio and As I Lay Dying.

My Review

The main characters are quite a strange mixture: Brandon who tries for the thirteenth time to kill himself, but fails. So he goes and buys a packet of Benson and Hedges. Worse than having not died was having to deal with people.
            He leaves home and after traveling over two thousand miles he settles in a new place, Sacramento. Here he meets Danny Crane in a gay bar and they become friends and lovers. Danny's dream is to become a world famous painter. Richard who considers that the aliens turned his blood to powder and sees only conspiracies all around- the Nazis, the FBI the government, the aliens they were all after him. He drinks birds' blood to turn his blood into liquid but this is not enough and starts killing; Danny one of the victims. And Jack and Squiggles.
            This short story is, in my opinion, a quest into manhood and into accepting the true self. There is flow in the seemingly disjointed ideas and episodes. I would say Brandon's dilemma is his state in between adolescence and adulthood. He continually attempts to find his way in a world in which he feels he doesn’t belong. While Brandon views himself to be as mature as adults, he is quick to become emotional. He feels sorry for a kitten that he brings home to feed. Squiggle's death urges Brandon it's high time to change his life.
I was offered a copy by the author for an honest opinion.
I rate it Five Stars

January 4, 2014

Guest Promo (III) - "The Great Escape" by Susan Day

The first fellow author I welcome on my blog in 2014 is the lovely Australian author Susan Day and her book The Great Escape.


A secret organization exists without detection and operates right under our very noses. Its sole purpose is to save dogs from neglect. It is manned by a tunnel digging terrier who carries a diamond encrusted nail file. A large dog for which the complexities of door handles are a complete mystery and who, instead, opens everything with his head. As well as, a commando, khaki wearing Blue heeler who is armed with a hunting bone and a smell grenade. And that’s just to name a few!
In The Great Escape, we meet Astro, possibly one of the most spoilt dogs in the world, who calls on this secret organisation to save him from what he falsely assumes is imprisonment.
Commander Rocky, head of The Organisation, decides to teach Astro how lucky he is by taking him to the one place all dogs dread, The Check Out! However, things don’t go to plan and Commander Rocky learns that below the shallow exterior of a grey shaggy dog is a brave, kind hearted hero.
A hero called Astro.

About the author - Susan Day

Susan Day is passionate about children's literature and wants to inspire children to be better people and encourage them to follow their dreams. She created the Astro’s Adventures series and is currently illustrating other titles for children.

Susan travelled around the world twice before she was seven years old. It was the sixties and the cheapest way to circumnavigate the globe was by cruise ship. It seemed only fitting that the wonderful events she experienced and the places she visited on these journeys be recorded for history. Thus, her story telling skills began. Firstly, to Rupert Bear, her lifelong companion, and then to a host of imaginary friends and finally to her pet dog once the family finally set down roots in Australia.

Each book Susan creates encourages and promotes the wonderful art of story-telling with organic illustrations that reach to the very essence of the reader portraying similar character traits that their pets share.

Susan lives with her family and her dogs, in particular, Rocky the Border collie and Stella, the blind dog.  She is a canine behaviourist by trade and spends her time writing and illustrating; training and counselling dogs and being bossed around by the family cat, Speed Bump Charlie. 



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