Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Goodbye Nothing by Beck Sherman

My Thoughts 

This was one of those books that prove blog posts work. I honestly can’t remember what I was actually looking at the day I discovered Goodbye Nothing but I was researching a different book entirely when I came across a reviewer that had featured this novel as well as the one I was investigating.

The cover is simple, nothing exceptional, though it’s use of solid green blocking is rare. The image was dominated by a large font and the title is split into syllables not words. I guess when you’re describing Nothing then going minimalistic is probably the best course. Anyway, despite being nondescript, the cover grabbed my attention and I moved on to read the summary... and then the blogger’s review (I wish I tagged the page as it would be nice to give the blogger kudos).

The summary reminded me of Dean Koontz and his style of stories, the review confirmed this aspect and I was sold. I bought the ebook...  I wanted this book right away and I was going to read it. Once I started I couldn’t stop; which is awesome when you’ve got all the time in the world, but not so great when you have to work.

Goodbye Nothing is almost like a supernatural disease, it details two people who are ensconced in their own feelings of emptiness (though they were not always this way) and they instigate violence as a way of obtaining a high. They become desiccated shells of the humans they were, they denounce their former lives and choose a path of menace, mayhem and destruction... and occasionally “it” spreads - whatever “it” is. (This is not an accurate description but it’s the best I can give you - read the book)

I’m undecided as to whether the violence spawning internal void spreads as a result of contact with the perpetrator or due to the premature departure of a soul that freaks out and seeks a more viable host. But these questions do not detract from the story, they are more a philosophical debate after the fact. 

A lot of the nastiness is described in an abstract way, so I think most people would be able to read this and cope with the heinous nature of the tale. There is however one event that will leave you gasping. I had to put the book down for awhile and walk away to breathe clean air and I guess to grieve a little bit. What is especially profound is the way Beck Sherman describes the transformation of Cain Emmerick. His commitment to the emptiness is sudden, complete, irreversible and oh so devastating.

***Small tangent. I remember hearing about the Port Arthur Massacre and being unable to comprehend how anyone can kill 35 people including children in cold blood. Not long afterwards I was in a discussion with a church minister regarding the concept of redemption. The minister stated that redemption was more than being sorry, it was taking responsibility, owning your actions and bearing the weight of them. The conversation came about when we were analysing how we would feel if God was to forgive to such a person (in this case the Port Arthur Gunman). I said I was fine with that, because if that person  truly wanted to atone for his crimes, he would have had to take on the burden of his actions. He would have to taste the fear they felt as they watched others die, he would have to smell the stick of their sheer terror, for himself. He would also have to should and embrace the grief of the families left beyond and the despair of an entire nation in mourning. Such ownership would surely not allow a person to forgive themselves.

 *** back to my review... Goodbye Nothing had the perfect ending. Forgiveness is  the hardest to obtain from one’s own self. There is no forgiveness here, only the realisation of what has been done and the true understanding that there are somethings you can’t take it back, no matter how much you might want to.

Loved it, and the after taste.

My Rating

This review is totally unsolicited. I bought the story and chose to review it. The opinions expressed are my own. I don’t really like the concept of rating novels as they are subjective and subject to change. A five star book today, may be re-evaluated when compared to future novels.

The Summary

A New Adult Horror Novel

Since the night of the accident, Cain Emmerick has felt different. Empty. What was important to him—family, friends, his job—doesn't matter anymore. His new life revolves around that Nothing inside of him and the extraordinary highs he gets from committing random acts of violence. 

Seventeen-year-old Joey Morgan is blind, but that doesn't stop her from seeing. Something bad is about to happen. Something that could tear her world apart. For Joey, college life isn't quite turning out like she planned, because before good grades, fitting in, and love, comes survival

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Sunday, 1 December 2013

Cover Reveal "Hero, Cursed" by Diantha Jones

Before he knew the Oracle...
Before he knew the Quad...
Before the Great Unknown threatened his world...
He was a hero, cursed forever.

Cover Designed by: Colin F. Barnes
Publication Date: March 18, 2014
Genre: YA Mythology
Series: Mythos: Stories from Olympus #2/Oracle of Delphi #3.5

My Thoughts

The first thing that strikes me about this cover is the art work. I love it when a clever artist creates something interesting to look at. This cover is not your quick glance and move on type of cover. I am fascinated by the bird of prey and where it sits on the hero's torso, the curve of its head and neck taking the same line as the shoulder, the large part of its face perfectly ensconced in one beautifully defined pectoral muscle, its beak crossing the centre chest at just the right spot to add to its definition. Nothing about the bird detracts from the hero's form at all. Beautiful!

The font and the tones used are also suited to the cover and the images within. There is an element of heat alluded to in the golden glow of our hero and the rich browns of the bird. Earthy and Primal. The font though bendy and almost cursive has hard protruding edges that add to the rough and raw nature, whilst its crisp colour and outline give it prominence in the overall arrangement.

*WARNING* To be read after Prophecy of Solstice's End (Oracle of Delphi #3)
Contains MAJOR spoilers!

Shunned by a family that doesn't understand him, demigod Lenka Tahile aka "Swindle" is a complete loner and he likes it that way. Then he meets the hero, Ace Remedy, the brother of an infamous demigod Prince, and his life goes from bad to worse. Ace is loud, rude, and disruptive to his peaceful existence in every way. He's also hilarious and daring, and Swindle ends up finding a friend just when he thought he'd never have another.

But little does he know, becoming friends with Ace was all part of the Fates' plan. Now his past is slowly coming back to haunt him and there's nothing he can do to stop it. Nothing but try not to bring to light the lost love, the failed hopes, and the cursed existence that he would kill to keep in the dark.

Five Facts about Hero, Cursed

1. Lenka Tahile is a South African name. The MC was born in South Africa.

2. "Swindle" is Lenka's celestial name. He is a son of Hermes. Figure it out.

3. The hawk on the cover is not a tattoo. His name is Bill and he's Swindle's Fauna Morph, an animal that morphs into a weapon on command.

4. Though it isn't showcased on the cover, Swindle has extremely curly hair. Out of control, I tell you.

5. Just like Solar, Defeated, this novella switches back and forth between the present and the past, and reveals what life was like for Swindle before the Oracle of Delphi came along.

Mythos: Stories from Olympus #1

Amazon  |  Barnes&Noble  |  Goodreads

Diantha Jones was born the day thousands of turkeys sacrificed their lives to fill millions of American bellies on November 22 which also happened to be Thanksgiving Day (Her mother says she owes her a turkey). She is a Journalism graduate who wants to be a career novelist (of books, not Facebook posts). When not writing or working, she is reading on her Nook, being hypnotized by Netflix or on a mission to procure french fries.

The Oracle of Delphi fantasy series is her first series. She is also the author of Mythos: Stories from Olympus, a companion series, and there is another fantasy series in the works. She also writes (new) adult fantasy/paranormal romance under the name A. Star. Invasion (An Alien Romance) is her first title released under this pen name. Future releases under A. Star include, Mythos: Gods and Lovers series, the Love & Steampunk series, the Purr, Inc. stories, and more.

Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  Pinterest  |  DJ's Book Corner

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Book Blast! Tearing the Shroud by J.M. Bray

Genre: Romantic Fantasy, Fantasy, New Adult
The Summary
Fall in love, be possessed, hunt a sorcerer and save the world — and Vincent thought calculus was tough.
1984 — Vincent expected college to be about freedom and girls, but then the nightmares of sorcery, monsters and other worlds began. Not even the surprising attention from his dream girl, Julie, could shake them.
Before he's even nailed his second date with Julie, he's possessed by Coleman, a warrior from another realm. Coleman is hell bent on defeating the monstrous Kafla who threatens to tear into Vincent's reality, changing both his and Coleman's worlds forever. They have one chance to stop them: Vincent must allow Coleman to share his body and wage war against the sorcerer.
Now it's up to them, the women they love, and Vincent's rag-tag bunch of role- playing and gaming friends to save the world, or see 1984 descend into the apocalypse.
About the Author
J.M. Bray lives in Southern California with his college sweetheart and their two dogs. After a lifetime together, they are happier than the moment they met.
When not writing or working his "day job", he loves to cook, play the guitar, and travel with his wife. Every chance he gets, he races an old Porsche named "Tuffy" at tracks in the southwest.

Connect With J.M. Bray Through

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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Jumping Ship by Janice Ross

A pre-release novella to the Island Hopping Series
66 pages

My Thoughts

Jumping Ship was an easy read, delivery exactly what the blurb described whilst alluding to a further mystery. What happened to Pet and Mikey? How did Sakkara come to be abondoned? Something disastrous must have happened in the three months since Pet and Mikey’s escape. Three short months to disaster... Book 2 will hopefully be much more revealing and I am looking forward to it.

I think perhaps the summary gives too much of the story away, it could almost have been a synopsis. Nothing much happened beyond what was outlined. That’s not to say that Jumping Ship  is not worth reading, it is. It details the plight of Pet and Mikey in a sweet, simple and profound manner. 

I enjoyed Janice Ross’s writing style, she didn’t get bogged down in too much extraneous detail and delivered the story in a concise linear order. 

My Rating


I obtained an ARC from the publisher (via Netgalley) with a view to providing an honest review. The thoughts expressed above, are entirely my own. I don’t really like the concept of rating novels as they are subjective and subject to change. A five star book today, may be re-evaluated when compared to future novels.

Rafflecopter a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Summary 

The year was nineteen seventy-five. Pregnant seamstress, Petrina Dugal, became a runaway at the age of twenty-six. She ran away from a brutish husband, Roger, and a well-loved South American home in Georgetown, Guyana; at the heart of her rebellion – an enigmatic lover named Michael Chen. Pet and Mikey allowed love to blossom in front of her police officer husband and an intrusive community. Were they not aware of the dangers? Or did the pursuit of love trump obligations?
Pet and Mikey’s journey to their new life took them through a multitude of the Caribbean’s treasure trove of islands – Antigua, Martinique, Barbados, Grenada, Trinidad & Tobago, and Saint Lucia. More than a month later their voyage landed them at JFK airport, in New York USA. And they disappeared, as though their existence was a myth. During this time, barren couple, Pearl and Edward Bailey stumbled upon a newborn baby girl. Her cries could only be heard by a true mother, which Pearl immediately became. Bundled up with their new child, they discovered a parcel of artifacts and a scribbled note that read: Sakkara.
Sakkara Riley grew up with two loving parents – adoptive parents to be exact. She never knew the circumstances surrounding her discovery, until the age of sixteen. The personal artifacts that were handed over had haunted her from that point on. After eight more years, including much research and probing, she was given the opportunity to begin her journey of self-discovery. 

“Jumping Ship” provides the introduction to Sakkara’s attempts to commune with her true heritage.

About The Author

Janice was born in Guyana, South America and migrated to the USA in 1980. Although her citizenship certificate now reads the United States of America, she considers herself a citizen of the world. Sure she has not physically been around the world and back, she’s travelled in her mind and dreams.

Janice is an author. She enjoys writing about social issues and personal experiences. Her latest release, Jumping Ship is a dedication to her country of birth and an introductory novella to the Island Hopping Series – due out in 2014. It’s poised to be a colorful and emotional experience of life, love and family.

Janice enjoys reading. And is drawn to stories with distinct characters that she can love or hate - characters she can form alliances with or characters that she can swear off and despise. She is also weak for a good cultural tale, preferably in the form of historical fiction - whether present day or in the past. Janice love to be taken off guard by clever language or settings.

Janice is also a devout supporter and promoter of other authors through social media. She hosts a weekly show, Cultural Cocktails, on the largest social radio network, Blog Talk Radio.

Friday, 22 November 2013

The Missings by Peg Brantley

The Missings by Peg Brantley. 

This novel has been difficult to define. I did enjoy the story and at times I even found myself intrigued by the investigation into “The Missings”. The plot line should have been engaging enough to hold my attention, but I found myself struggling to get through it all. It is only now that I sit at my computer that I feel I am able to explain my response.

There was no mystery. Every piece of information was made available to the reader, early on. We all know someone with repetitive story syndrome... Reading this book, was exactly like that, your listening to a story you’ve heard before, you know what’s going to happen and you try to stifle a yawn so as not to appear rude.

“The Missings” read like a rather long synopsis. A body has been found, chest cavity open, internal organs removed; The detectives decide there are two likely scenarios. Option one is quickly discounted, option two is the path they follow. The culprit is decided upon and found easily. All that remained for the author to outline was the gathering of the evidence. 100 pages of detail.

Ok, now that, made it sound worse than it was, and I don’t think it is quite fair. There was a lot involved, including some little diversions with individual characters along the way, that gave the story substance. In this instance not enough weight was given to the characters, their relationships and their motivations. I wanted to understand them, I needed to relate to them, their lives were so deep and complex. But I was just an onlooker listening to something akin to a news item. Distant, dry and impersonal.

My Rating


I obtained an ARC from the publisher (via Netgalley) with a view to providing an honest review. The thoughts expressed above, are entirely my own. I don’t really like the concept of rating novels as they are subjective and subject to change. A five star book today, may be re-evaluated when compared to future novels.

The Summary

Aspen Falls, Colorado.
Secrets within a community.
Secrets within a family.

Detective Chase Waters finds himself working the most interesting case of his career—one that comes closer to home than he could ever imagine. 

Are the mutilated bodies of young men and women the result of cult… or commerce?

The Author

A Colorado native, Peg Brantley is a member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and Sisters In Crime. She and her husband make their home southeast of Denver, and have shared it with the occasional pair of mallard ducks and their babies, snapping turtles, peacocks, assorted other birds, foxes, a deer named Cedric and a bichon named McKenzie.

Connect With The Author On

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

The Lies You Wanted to Hear by James Whitfield Thomson

Available from Sourcebooks

My Thoughts

The Lies You Wanted to Hear spans decades in the lives of Matt and Lucy retelling the complexities of their relationship. The story details their introduction, growing affection, sacrifices, disappointments and betrayals... I came away from this book disturbed by the knowledge that people do crap things to those they are supposed to love. It was quite depressing really.

There was nothing wrong with the writing and there was really nothing wrong with the content. There was an allusion to danger, that the author portrayed quite vividly. I turned the pages dreading what was going to happen, the potential for serious escalation was there, but it just didn’t eventuate and I couldn’t decide whether to be relieved or disturbed by that.

The Lies You Wanted to Hear is actually a great discussion book. In fact there are topical questions to explore with your book club listed in the final pages, that are designed to encourage the reader to analyze their responses to what they have read - which is fantastic; if that’s what you’re after.

This book and I were just not a good match. I read for pleasure, to escape the everyday concerns and enjoy some light fantasy. If I want to wax poetic about moral versus ethical issues, I’ll attend a philosophy class. If I feel the need to debate the levels of sin, determine who’s lies/crimes are greater, I’ll visit my pastor. If I want something heavier, I’ll put myself in the head in a detective and maybe solve a crime. Want I don’t want; what I’ll never need; is to involve myself in the righteous misery that some people think they are justified to inflict on each other.

My Rating


I obtained an ARC from the publisher (via Netgalley) with a view to providing an honest review. The thoughts expressed above, are entirely my own. I don’t really like the concept of rating novels as they are subjective and subject to change. A five star book today, may be re-evaluated when compared to future novels.

The Summary 

A deeply moving, beautifully-written picture of how the smallest crack in a relationship slowly, over decades, becomes a canyon too wide to bridge.

When Lucy meets Matt on a blind date, Matt is instantly hooked; he sees Lucy as the fun, sexy, and wickedly smart girl of his dreams. Although she’s still getting over an old lover, Lucy is won over by Matt’s sweet, thoughtful nature. But 20 years later, alone in an empty house trying to imagine the lives of her two young children, Lucy comes to realize that the little lies you tell can create more damage than the truth you’re hiding.

"A gripping debut....a morally complex and thoroughly grown-up novel. " - Margot Livesey, New York Times bestselling author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy

"Hard to believe Thomson is a first time author, given the achievement of this novel. ... I'm still not entirely convinced that these characters are fictional; that's how much they lived and breathed on the page." - Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Lone Wolf and The Storyteller

"No spouse or parent who picks up this book will be able to put it down. Nor will anyone else." - Andre Dubus III, NYT bestselling author of Townie and House of Sand and Fog

The Author

James Whitfield Thomson grew up on the North Side of Pittsburgh and attended Harvard College on scholarship. After graduation he served three years in the Navy as navigator of a supply ship off the coast of Vietnam. Jim earned a Ph.D. in American Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, writing his dissertation on the detective novelist Raymond Chandler. Following a brief stint teaching literature in academia, he joined a start-up venture as a salesman. The company’s rapid success allowed him to retire early and devote himself to writing. He has published stories in a number of literary magazines including Agni and The Ledge and has been a Massachusetts Council for the Arts grant recipient. Jim and his wife, Elizabeth, live in a Victorian farmhouse outside of Boston and have five globe-trotting children. Lies You Wanted to Hear is his first published novel. You can find him on Facebook or at www.jameswhitfieldthomson.com

Friday, 1 November 2013

Cover Reveal; Waken by Angeka Fristoe

Check out this Cover - Half Human, Half Bird (?). Well blended and TOTALLY AWESOME!!

Waken (The Woods of Everod, #1)
by Angela Fristoe
Expected Release: January 2014

Moving to her parents’ hometown of Everod is the last thing Janie Lyndon wants. After years of abuse and eventual abandonment, she’d rather forget they ever existed. Haunted by nightmares of her mother killing her, Janie just wants to be normal.

The gorgeous Davin Andersen is out of her league, but for some reason he seems to actually like her. The emotions he draws from her are almost enough to make her ignore all of the weird things he says. Almost enough to ignore the way the entire town seems ready to pounce on her as if she were fresh meat.

Almost, though, isn’t enough when Janie finally discovers what the town is hiding. The town of Everod has been waiting for Janie and if she hopes to survive, she’ll need to confront the truth of who and what she really is.

About the Author
Born in Northern Canada, Angela grew up on the Canadian prairies amid dreams of becoming the next Dian Fossey or a world famous flight attendant. Those, however, were never meant to be. Instead she moved to the United States where she divides her time between her family, writing, and her day job as an instruction coach.

Angela was the winner and double finalist in the Romance category of The Strongest Start Contest 2010 hosted by TheNextBigWriter.com. She currently has three young adult novels published through Little Prince Publishing and her fourth novel, Waken, has an anticipated release of January 2014.

Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter

Other Books by Angela Fristoe



Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Wild Child by Molly O'Keefe

Wild Child by Molly O’Keefe is the complete package. This is more than your simple romance novel, there is drama in a multitude of misunderstandings; deception in both internal (self deception) and external (deceiving others) forms; hope in the competition that could save the town; humour in many absurd situations and a rather comical looking dog; and complexity in all manner of relationships (familial, community and personal).

The characters are complex and have emotional baggage. Their issues run deep and at times I wondered if Monica and Jackson (the main protagonists) would ever resolve a thing. I despaired they would ever get together. It appeared that Monica’s (heroine) hangups would derail their budding relationship, fortunately the author recognised this as “point of no return” and Monica found herself struggling to rein in her anxiety levels before demonstrating an element of personal bravery. Thus began her journey to recovery.

Jackson (our hero) was a walking contradiction. After years of selfless service; he put his life on hold, first for his sister and then for his home town Bishop - he plans a future without either of those things. His superficial goals are the reason most of his relationships are shallow, they are also the impetus behind some rather poor decisions. Fortunately he too, comes to appreciate the town and its inhabitants and begins to make better choices than before

Without detracting from the main story, Molly O’Keefe introduces a series of secondary plot lines with characters who serve to enrich Monica and Jackson’s interactions and promote their personal development as they each begin to open up to themselves, each others and their friends. 

A truly a well rounded book.

My Rating


I obtained an ARC from the publisher (via Netgalley) with a view to providing an honest review. The thoughts expressed above, are entirely my own. I don’t really like the concept of rating novels as they are subjective and subject to change. A five star book today, may be re-evaluated when compared to future novels.

The Summary

Monica Appleby is a woman with a reputation. Once she was America’s teenage “Wild Child,” with her own reality TV show. Now she’s a successful author coming home to Bishop, Arkansas, to pen the juicy follow-up to her tell-all autobiography. Problem is, the hottest man in town wants her gone. Mayor Jackson Davies is trying to convince a cookie giant to move its headquarters to his crumbling community, and Monica’s presence is just too . . . unwholesome for business. But the desire in his eyes sends a very different message: Stay, at least for a while.
Jackson needs this cookie deal to go through. His town is dying and this may be its last shot. Monica is a distraction proving too sweet, too inviting—and completely beyond his control. With every kiss he can taste her loneliness, her regrets, and her longing. Soon their uncontrollable attraction is causing all kinds of drama. But when two lost hearts take a surprise detour onto the bumpy road of unexpected love, it can only lead someplace wonderful.
About The Author
Molly O’Keefe has always known she wanted to be a writer (except when she wanted to be a florist or a chef and the brief period of time when she considered being a cowgirl). And once she got her hands on some romances, she knew exactly what she wanted to write.
She published her first Harlequin romance at age 25 and hasn’t looked back. She loves exploring every character’s road towards happily ever after.
Originally from a small town outside of Chicago, she went to university in St. Louis where she met and fell in love with the editor of her school newspaper. They followed each other around the world for several years and finally got married and settled down in Toronto, Ontario. They welcomed their son into their family in 2006, and their daughter in 2008. When she’s not at the park or cleaning up the toy room, Molly is working hard on her next novel, trying to exercise, stalking Tina Fey on the internet and dreaming of the day she can finish a cup of coffee without interruption.
Connect with the Author
On TwitterFaceBookGoodreads & Molly's Website

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Shadow Woman by Linda Howard

My Thoughts

I actually loved Shadow Woman by Linda Howard - right up until the ending. The prologue intrigued me; I wondered what occurred to warrant Lizzie’s transformation and her isolation? How did she come to be under surveillance, watched 24/7 by two separate groups? I listened to this book in audio format, and those around me at the time were also interested. We had discussions about what happened to Lizzie; we speculated as to the link between her and X; we debated her association to the events outlined in the beginning?

Where did the story go wrong? Linda Howard spent the bulk of the novel leading up to a massive climax. The reader is lured into thinking a fantastic shoot out is coming, and it doesn’t happen the way it should. In fact, the two main characters are barely involved in the conclusion at all. How is that even possible? If the book is about Lizzie and X, the finish should be theirs as well. 

Now, as a reviewer of mostly romance novels, I’m also going to add something quite unusual for me... A profession of love could have been left out of the story all together. It was out of character and if genuinely delivered, the recipient should have been floored, but it was just ignored. Furthermore, I don’t think the declaration was necessary, I mean who stalks someone for several years, on their own dime, if not for love?

So... how do I rate a book that was awesome until the very end? 2+ seems too harsh and 3 feels too generous. I really am that disappointed.

My Rating



I purchased an audio book for my own reading pleasure. The thoughts expressed above, are entirely my own. I don’t really like the concept of rating novels as they are subjective and subject to change. A five star book today, may be re-evaluated when compared to future novels.


Lizette Henry wakes up one morning and makes a terrifying discovery: She doesn’t recognize the face she sees in the mirror. She remembers what she looks like, but her reflection is someone else’s. To add to the shock, two years seem to have disappeared from her life. Someone has gone to great and inexplicable lengths to keep those missing years hidden forever. But the past always finds a way to return.

Strange memories soon begin to surface and, along with them, some unusual skills and talents that Lizette hasn’t a clue about acquiring. Sensing that she’s being monitored, Lizette suddenly knows how to search for bugs in her house and tracking devices in her car. What’s more, she can elude surveillance—like a trained agent.

Enter a mysterious and seductive stranger named Xavier, who claims he wants to help—but who triggers disturbing images of an unspeakable crime of which Lizette may or may not be the perpetrator. With memories returning, she suddenly becomes a target of anonymous assassins. On the run with nowhere to hide, Lizette has no choice but to rely on Xavier, a strong and magnetic man she doesn’t trust, with a powerful attraction she cannot resist. As murky waters become clear, Lizette confronts a conspiracy that is treacherous and far-reaching and a truth that, once revealed, may silence her and Xavier once and for all

Connect with Linda Howard

on Goodreads 

Sunday, 20 October 2013

The Countess's Groom by Emily Larkin

Published by Entangled Publishing

The Countess’s Groom by Emily Larkin

I want to ask why is this a short story? It was a fantastic read, but it ended to soon. It was certainly over before I was ready for it to be done. It could have been longer and at times I felt that that story lines were cut too short. Information that the reader could have benefited from appeared to have been axed, quite brutally. Yes, this kept the plot moving, there were no lengthy descriptions waxing poetic at the scenery, but it also meant there was some depth missing to important event sequences. 

I would like to see this extended into a full length novel.

Emily Larkin does a fantastic job at making the reader invest in her characters, even within the limited word count. She created a tale that was, well, a little bit nerve racking... I worried the Countess’s letters would be found and her affair would be exposed. I worried her vile husband would discover her duplicity and foil her plans of escape. I worried she would suffer more beatings. I worried the groom would be accused of theft, then I worried he wouldn’t return. My autocrit report is going to pull me up on how many times I used the word “worried” in the sentences above, but I think it’s important to let you know just how anxious I was.

Is a short story really supposed to illicit such strong concern? 

My Rating

I would happily read more from Emily Larkin, especially something of a greater word count

I obtained an ARC from the publisher with a view to providing an honest review. The thoughts expressed above, are entirely my own. I don’t really like the concept of rating novels as they are subjective and subject to change. A five star book today, may be re-evaluated when compared to future novels.

The Summary
Rose, the Countess Malmstoke, is trapped in a marriage from hell. Escape seems impossible—until her horse groom Will Fenmore offers to help her find a way out.

Will has loved Rose since she was brought to Creed Hall as a new bride, but their relationship has only ever been that of mistress and servant. Born worlds apart, Will knows he could never be her husband, but maybe he can be her salvation.

As they plan her escape to the American colonies, Rose learns to trust Will with her life and her heart, but trusting him with her body is another matter. Can she conquer her fear of the marriage bed? Is the future she dreams of—being Will’s wife—possible?

About the Author

Emily grew up in a house full of words and books -- her mother worked as a librarian and her father was a novelist – so perhaps it’s not surprising that she became a writer.
She loves to travel and has lived in Sweden, backpacked in Europe, and journeyed overland in the Middle East, China, North Africa, and North America. She enjoys climbing hills, yoga workouts, and watching reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly.
Emily writes fantasy novels (with strong elements of romance) as Emily Gee, and historical romance novels as Emily Larkin.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Accidental Cowgirl by Maggie McGinnis

Published by Random House

I gave this book a solid 


Accidental Cowgirl - a delightful and easy read, a little outrageous, a tad reminiscent of soap opera and totally unbelievable! The only reason I didn’t award the full daisy chain was because I thought Maggie McGinnis included a crisis or two, too many. In the words of Austen Tayshus “How much can a Koala Bear”?

This book has everything; betrayal, massive injuries, psychological trauma, panic attacks, rogue police officers (with Alzheimer's) , jealous ex-girlfriends,  pushy new love interests, mean tricks, lost girls, freak storms, bear scares, bar fights, broken bones and near fatal barn fires. I may have missed something, but I’m sure you get the picture. Poor Kyla Bennet, she’s a disaster magnet,  more accident prone than Bella Swan (Aca-Believe It!) 

Decker Driscoll hasn’t fared any better in life. His family history is quite heartbreaking. Reading his about his past made me cry, an element of reality that grounded the story. So much suffering portrayed with sincere meaning and beauty.

The relationship between Decker and Kyla grew slowly. Decker needed to contend with many interruptions; other girls trying to stake a claim; guilt, pride and a sense of unworthiness also played a role. Kyla was just plain vulnerable as a result of her ex-fiancĂ©s deceit and she found it difficult to trust her own reactions and responses. The rest of the novel, the parts that were light, they were necessary to allow both the readers and the characters room to breathe. 

A well crafted emotional journey... superbly done.


I obtained an ARC from the publisher (via Netgalley) with a view to providing an honest review. The thoughts expressed above, are entirely my own. I don’t really like the concept of rating novels as they are subjective and subject to change. A five star book today, may be re-evaluated when compared to future novels.


In her Loveswept debut, Maggie McGinnis tells the tale of a city girl who’s running on fumes—and the cowboy who shows her all the good things she’s been missing.

After being betrayed by her con man ex-fiancĂ©, Kyla Bennett nurses a broken heart. But Kyla’s friends have other ideas and when they whisk her off to Whisper Creek, a dude ranch staffed by cowboys so hot they dim the Montana sunset, all Kyla wants to do is hide under a quilt. Then in rides Decker Driscoll. He’s hauling about as much emotional baggage as Kyla, but when he stands close by, both of them want to stay close—and begin to succumb to an undeniable attraction.

After experiencing personal tragedy, Decker never thought he’d see Big Sky country again. But now that his family's Whisper Creek property is in deep with a Vegas gambler, Decker’s back for the summer—and spending all his time running from “cowgirls” who come to the dude ranch to score some dudes. Then he meets Kyla, a kindred spirit who brings on a stampede of protective feelings . . . and a powerful hankering to sear her with a new brand of love.

About Maggie

Maggie started writing when her twins were infants and she was desperately seeking sanity. The fact that she found it only with imaginary people makes her a bit concerned, but at least they do what she tells them to … usually. 
She lives in New England, though she spends an inordinate amount of time on Arizona real estate sites in mid-January. While snow piles up to her windowsills, she cyber-stalks the blue skies and pink houses of the Southwest. It's cheaper than therapy … 
She used to be an English teacher, a certified black belt, and a cool-car driver. Then ... twins. Now she swills caffeine while driving the one vehicle she swore she'd never own: a minivan. It sort of hurts even to admit it. 
Her debut novel, a cozy mystery, was a Golden Heart® finalist, and her debut romance, Accidental Cowgirl, will be published in October of 2013 by Random House Loveswept! 
Maggie is thoroughly grateful to her wonderful agent and fabulous writer-gal friends for making this journey so much fun!
She's just hoping that one of these days, her family will understand...
Connect with Maggie
on Twitter @Maggie_McGinnis
on her Website