Saturday, May 12, 2012

Ruthless ~ review... not for those under 18

Book Review of Ruthless by Cheryl Douglas

Book Synopsis:
Book Three
Nashville Nights Series
By Cheryl Douglas

Marisa Turner has wanted Luc Spencer forever, but she also wants a baby, and it seems Luc isn’t up to the challenge. She has to choose between the man she loves and the family she hopes to have. Fortunately, there’s another man waiting in the wings who would love to make her baby fantasy a reality.
Luc Spencer is tired of hearing about marriage and babies. He loves Marisa, but he’s not a forever kind of guy. After two years together, she tells him it’s over. He’s not worried; he believes she’ll be back. But what will happen when he finds out there’s another man waiting to take his place? 

Book Two
Nashville Nights Series
By Cheryl Douglas

Lexi Brooks has overcome adversity to build a successful real estate business that will enable her live life on her terms. The life she envisions includes travel, fun, and excitement, not marriage, kids or commitment. But will Trey’s sexy bodyguard throw a wrench into her plans?

Being a cop taught Josh Cooper to take calculated risks, but he’s tired of living with the daily threat of danger. He’s ready to settle down with someone who wants to be a step-mother to his two teenage sons. Too bad Lexi isn’t that woman.

She’s smart, sexy, and head-strong, and they’re totally in sync in the bedroom, but she isn’t willing to ‘settle’ for a life of domestic bliss. Or is she?

Book One
Nashville Nights Series
By Cheryl Douglas

Trey Turner may be topping the country music charts but his life has been going downhill since his wife left him five years ago. He’s desperate to make amends for the mistakes he’s made and convince Sierra their love deserves a second chance.

Sierra Brooks is happy for the first time since her divorce. She has a career she loves and a fiancé who loves her.

Unfortunately, her fiancé isn’t the only man professing his love. He may be able to offer her safety and security but will she decide to risk everything for another chance with the man who broke her heart?

Author Information: 

It took me thirty-seven years to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. I thought I'd found my calling. In fact, I worked as a nutritionist for twelve years before I finally admitted to myself that while I enjoyed my work, I couldn't imagine doing it for the next thirty years.
My sub-conscious knew that I wanted to be a writer long before the conscious part of my mind decided to get with the program. While my sub-conscious was hard at work creating character profiles, plots and storylines, my conscious mind was telling me it was crazy to give up a successful business on the off-chance one of my manuscripts might rise to the top of someone's never-ending slush pile. After years of listening to that negative voice, I was finally ready to stop making excuses, face the fear and follow my dream of becoming a full-time writer, no matter the outcome. I'm so thankful I did.
I love bringing my characters to life and I am so grateful to have readers who love those characters as much as I do.
When I take a break from writing it's to spend time with my husband (a.k.a. my real life hero), my son, and my writing partner, Tia, a spirited Havanese who enjoys tapping her paw on my keyboard whenever I need a little comic relief.

Book Review:

While this is a review of Shameless, you have to take all the first two books also.  These three stories are about a circle of friends and family who can’t seem to get it together when it comes to love.  Not that they don’t love each other (as friends and as lovers) but they just can’t seem to get on the same page.  Past history, past mistakes, family backgrounds, and other issues conspire to keep these couples from their happily-ever-after.

Cheryl Douglas has taken a slice out of life in these books.  There was something and someone in each one that I could relate to and a few things that made me want to give a big ole “B” slap to the side of someone’s head… so shake them until their teeth rattled.  And then there is the passion…. Spicy, caliente’, and body tingling.  No these are not your mother’s romance novels, but then again if the New York Times best seller list can have spice on their list… so can you.

I give these books 4 out of 5 clouds and a steamy 9 on the pepper scale.

Promises~ review and first chapter excerpt

Book Review of Promises by Amber Garr

Promises:  Book One of The Syrenka Series
By Amber Garr
Genre: fantasy/paranormal YA

Book Synopsis:
Sometimes following your heart can end up destroying the ones you love.

When seventeen-year-old Eviana Dumahl is faced with the responsibility of an arranged marriage and clan leadership, she is forced to choose between the life required of a mermaid and one of a teenage girl simply infatuated with the wrong guy. Kain, her devoted fiancé would make a wonderful husband except that she’s been in love with Brendan, a shape-shifting selkie, ever since they were kids.

Choosing to abandon her family, her clan, and her life with Kain will have dire consequences far beyond anything she could have imagined.

A war is brewing amongst the clans and Eviana unwittingly becomes a pawn in the intricate schemes of a twisted mastermind. With Brendan’s life on the line, she has no choice but to involve those who she once considered friends. Amidst encountering senseless tragedies and immense loss, Eviana discovers that she is more valuable as a clan leader than anyone ever suspected. Her survival is not only dependent upon the loyalty of her friends, but also on her acceptance of a life that she had so adamantly tried to escape.

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Author Information:

Amber Garr spends her days conducting scientific experiments and wondering if her next door neighbor is secretly a vampire.  Born in Pennsylvania, she lives in Florida with her husband and their furry kids.  Her childhood imaginary friend was a witch, Halloween is sacred, and she is certain that she has a supernatural sense of smell.  She writes both adult and young adult urban fantasies and when not obsessing over the unknown, she can be found dancing, reading, or enjoying a good movie.

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Book Excerpt:

I barely heard her parting words as the screen door slammed shut.  My head was spinning in desperation as the anger coursed through my bones.  “Get back in here Eviana!” she continued to scream at me.  “We are not finished with this conversation!” 
I was already racing down the deck stairs towards the sandy beach, kicking off my shoes and unbuttoning my blouse.  We are for now, I thought as my blood boiled with rage and resentment.  I was going to be trapped!  How dare they?  This was not the eighteenth century anymore!  I had rights! 
I stumbled onto the sand, taking just a brief moment to savor the warmth and the feeling of the grains massaging my toes.  My shirt came off and I started to unzip my jeans.  No one was around.  But I wouldn’t care anyway.  The water was calling me and it was the only voice that I could hear now.  With one pant leg off, I hopped along in my forward progression until the other one was free.  My oasis was so close now that I could taste the salt in the air.  The sun broke free of a cloud, stopping me for a moment.  It was late afternoon and the sunset was still a few hours away, but the sky was already turning multiple shades of pink and orange; the coloration reminding me of the inside of a brilliant conch shell.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.  I knew that there was going to be hell to pay when I returned to the house.  Marguerite, my mother, had tolerated my rebellious behavior when I was younger, giving me more freedom and second chances than anyone in our clan.  But apparently now, at seventeen, I was an adult.  Adult enough to bear children.  Adult enough to participate in clan gatherings.  Adult enough to navigate our youth through their transition period.  But not adult enough to choose who to love. 
A slight breeze wafted off the ocean, bringing with it scents that filled my gut with longing.  The freedom of the ocean.  Why couldn’t I just stay there forever?  A gull called overhead, beckoning me to join him.  The splashing waves calmed my inner rage as they ebbed and flowed in a hypnotic pattern.  A distant moan of a shipping vessel reminded me of our history.  I opened my eyes to see that I was standing alone along miles of sandy beach interlaced with large rocks and cliffs emblematic of the northern California coast.  So beautiful.  I stripped off the rest of my clothes and ran into the ocean.
As soon as I was under the water, I could feel the transition begin.  My lower body ached as the bones adjusted from a life on land to one at sea.  Both legs began to fuse together and work as one.  My foot bones elongated while I prepared for the agony.  I was accustomed to the changes now, but it was still a struggle of mind over matter.  Breaking through the surface of the water, I grabbed one last breath before the final jolt of pain ravaged through my body.  I bit my bottom lip and squeezed my eyes shut willing the moment to be over.  At last I felt an electric tingle move from my hips to my toes as the hardened iridescent, scales appeared on the bottom half of my body.  I opened my eyes to find that the internal transformation was complete as well.  My vision cleared.  My lungs expanded.  I could hear for miles.  I was free.
So I swam.  I swam away from the shore and the house that I lived in.  I swam away from my fears and obligations as though they could disappear with the distance.  I would temporarily forget my responsibilities, my duties, and the argument with my mother.  In here, I wasn’t trapped.  The sea was my true home.  I was a mermaid and this was my world.

Book Review:

            When I was a kid I always wanted to be a mermaid.  I even made my now husband watch “The Little Mermaid” with me (and we didn’t even have kids so we could pretend we were watching it for them).  I have heard a lot of stories, folktales, and myths about mermaids and read numerous stories, but never anything like this.
            The detail and different mythological water creatures brought to life in this story are amazing.  The idea of mer-people living on land and changing in the sea, while not completely new, is used in a new and creative way.
            I could go on and on about all the intriguing things in this story, but that would just give away too much of the story.  And trust me, this is one you have to read for yourself.
            I give this 4 out of 5 stars.  A definite good read.

Book Review of Stealing Breath

Book Review of Stealing Breath by Joanne Brothwell

Book Synopsis:
Stealing Breath
By Joanne Brothwell
Deep in the backwoods of North Dakota, Sarah Ross is searching for a missing child when she is attacked by a glowing-eyed, transparent creature.
Using mysterious abilities, Sarah escapes, only to run directly into Evan Valente, a handsome, charismatic stranger who helps her back to safety. But why is Evan out in the forest so early in the morning?
Sarah learns her eyes bear the mark of the Indigo Child, an evolved human with the ability to feel the emotions of others; unfortunately, her indigo aura is highly desirable to those who wish to steal her powerful essence.
Soon, Sarah falls deeply in love with Evan and wants nothing more than to follow her heart, but she can't ignore the lingering feeling that Evan is hiding a terrible secret. The deeper she digs, the more danger she faces, forcing her to face the darkest, innermost parts of her soul.

Author Information:

Joanne Brothwell is the author Stealing Breath, a paranormal romance from Crescent Moon Press, who has also published Vicarious, the prequel to Stealing Breath. Joanne lives in the country with her family where her stories are inspired by the dead things that appear at her doorstep on a daily basis. You can find her online at
Author Joanne Brothwell
Joanne Brothwell

Book Promo:  Chapter One:
I awoke to rustling outside my tent. The crunching of footsteps on gravel, twigs and branches snapping. Was that a voice? I lay motionless inside my sleeping bag, heart pounding, listening.
“Help.” A disembodied whisper. Was it right outside? I strained to hear but the throbbing pulse in my head drowned everything else out. I sat up. The atmosphere within the domed tent was wet, ripe with morning breath. The tip of my nose was cold as an icicle.
“Help.” The murmur came a second time, more audible than the last. I was sure it was a child’s voice. My heart skipped a beat. Could it be the voice of the eight year-old, Jessica Crow, who had gone missing from the neighboring Indian Reservation three days ago?
I thought of the drive out to the campgrounds when my friends, Amber, Kate, and I had been listening to the radio report on the status of the missing girl from the Wakina Reservation.
Poor Amber. Once again, she’d cried at the reminder of her third cousin, Jessica, lost and alone in the forest. Everyone in the community, including Amber, had been searching for her night and day but had found nothing. I’d practically dragged Amber along camping, telling her she needed a night off from her worries. It was a hard sell, but she’d finally agreed.
I glanced at where Kate and Amber should have been laying, but their sleeping bags and pillows were missing. The last I’d seen them had been around the bonfire at two in the morning. They could have ended up crashing just about anywhere, and I wasn’t about to go peeking into random tents to find them.
Having fallen asleep in my jeans and a long-sleeved shirt, I slipped on my jacket and shoes, pulled the ponytail holder off my wrist and wrapped my hair into a tight bun. I swallowed hard and took a deep breath. Then, unzipping the door flap of the dome tent, I stuck just my head out.
Nothing was out of place. Empty cooler bottles atop the picnic table, charred wood in the fire-pit, and the car we came in. Every campsite around us was nearly silent. The sounds of late-night make-out sessions, pounding music, and yelling were replaced by the occasional snore.
Using my empathy, I focused on trying to pick up on the emotions of any lucid person around, hoping I would hone in on Jessica’s emotions. Normally, the waking feelings of others hit me like a gale force wind, without my even trying. In fact, it had always felt like a bit of a curse that I was a walking sponge for other people’s pain. But right now, all I felt was…nothing.
The voice had seemed right outside the tent. Could I have imagined it?
I slipped out. A low, white fog blanketed the earth, enveloping the world in silence. The temperature hovered around freezing, way too cold for camping. And last night’s vodka was no longer taking the edge off. I shivered.
After checking around the cars and circling the campsite, I started down the road. Inside the forest, the eerie glow of early morning and the cool fog blanched the world a ghostly white. The moist nip in the air sharpened the scent of pine needles that littered the camp ground. I continued down the road for about ten feet until it led to the mouth of a hiking trail.
Now that I was half-frozen and shivering, the May long weekend at the campgrounds of Greater Slave Lake, North Dakota, seemed like a very stupid idea, even if it was the annual spring kick-off party.
“Help!” the diminutive voice called out again, this time, louder.
The memory of Jessica’s face flashed through my mind when I’d met her last summer; honey-brown eyes and springy hair that always stuck up around her head with static, and her sweet smile, part baby teeth intermixed with adult teeth. She was such a sweet, innocent child. If she had survived this long, she could be dangerously close to death from cold. My heart battered against my chest wall, and I fought off the urge to start running, directionless, into the bush to find her.
The voice had originated from further within the tree-line, I was sure of it. Closer now, yet still far away. I entered the trail and headed straight.
“Jessica?” I called out. No response but the echo of my own voice from the trees around me.
The trail was straight and narrow for well over a hundred feet, the trees like two solid walls of green on either side of me. Then the trail began to snake back and forth until it forked into several side-trails. I stopped to listen.
A dry crackle emerged from the trail to my right, and I immediately followed the sound. This far into the forest it was darker, the only light filtered through evergreens and fog. I looked back. The vapor had closed in behind me, obscuring the pathway like a curtain of white. Shivering transformed into shaking.
Despite running these trails in the early morning numerous times, today it looked different. I cursed under my breath and shoved my hands into my pockets.
“Hello?” I called, my voice immediately diminishing, muffled by the woods. Other than the odd bird chirp and frog croak, the forest was quiet. If the voice really had been Jessica, she would need help and most likely immediate medical attention. I forced myself forward.
The trail wound to and fro, the brush dense, the fog almost material as it clung to the spruce needles. The path grew thin and sparse, barely enough room to place one foot in front of the other, with the way the underbrush encroached on the trail. I stumbled on twigs and logs as branches clawed my cheeks and pulled my hair. I began to trip, reaching out for something to hang onto. I fell, my hand forced into a thorny bush.
Damn it! I stood up and peered at my scraped hand, blood beading out of paper-cut sized scrapes. I’d been out here for at least ten minutes, but still, I heard nothing but the crunch of my feet snapping the twigs underfoot and my breath echoing through my own head. Ready to turn around and head back to my tent, the high-pitched voice rang out once again.

Book Review:

I was totally shocked when this book ended.  I was so wrapped up in the story and while much of the issues had been resolved, I was still so engrossed in the story that I was surprised it ended.  I love books like that. 
            I think all stories should end leaving you breathless like you just got off a roller coaster or jumped out of a plane.  Yes, I like the thrill.. or at least the controlled terror.. that is a roller coaster.  This story was that for me.  Not terror, but that exciting butterfly feeling in your stomach.
            Loved the Native American folklore combined with Native Italian lore.  I don’t think those are cultures that I would have every thought to put together, but it so worked.  My only complaint is not knowing what happened to the people later… but we can’t have everything.
            I give this story 5 out of 5 stars.  Intense, creative, and totally engrossing.