Saturday, November 26, 2011

TBR Challenge - Alicia Rasley

TBR Intervention is a weekly challenge hosted by Dani@RefractedLight , Ayanami@Whatever you Can Still Betray,  and April@Books4Juliet

The goal of this challenge is to help each other (fellow readers and bloggers) manage our enormous and constantly growing TBR (To-Be-Read) List. The rules are simple and everyone is encouraged to participate. It does not force you to commit to more than what you can manage to read in a week or so, but participants are encouraged to read at least one book within a week. You are free to choose the book you want to read and commit to this challenge. You may post your entry every Saturday, at the frequency of your choice--EVERY WEEK or EVERY TWO WEEKS.

Here are the rules:

1. Post the book(s) you committed to read in your last TBR Intervention post and tell us something about it. Did you finish it? Did you enjoy it or not? Post the link to your review (if you have one). 

2. Post a book that you want to read and already own. Pick something that has been sitting on your shelf for too long now (6 months or longer). Commit to read the book in the next couple of days or week.

3. Grab the TBR Intervention Button and post it on your blog sidebar so you will be constantly reminded of the challenge, making it easier for you to commit. This will also encourage other readers/bloggers/visitors to join the challenge.

4. Make sure to visit the other blogs. Comment, encourage, and spread the love to our fellow readers.

This sounds like an awesome challenge. I have many books on my TBR! The one I am choosing this week is: 

The Year She Fell

Here is the blurb:
The tragic mystery at the heart of their family has finally surfaced . . .
When Presbyterian minister Ellen Wakefield O'Connor is confronted by a young man armed with a birth certificate that mistakenly names her as his mother, she quickly sorts out the truth: his birth mother listed Ellen on the certificate to cover up her own identity, but also because Ellen is, in a way, related to the child.
The birth father is Ellen's troubled husband, Tom.
The secrets of the past soon engulf Ellen, Tom, and everyone they love. This drama of love, loss, family and betrayal will capture readers with its unforgettable power.
I cannot recall when I put this on my TBR so I figure it will be a good place to start. It sounds like it will be interesting. I cannot imagine how I would react if  somebody came to me with a birth certificate that listed me as the mother, much less how I would react to find out my husband was the father. I am hoping it is as good as it sounds. What is your choice?
Thanks to Ayanami, April and Dani for this awesome meme!
Comments always welcome!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Extravaganza & WoW

Announcing a special "12 Days of Christmas Extravaganza."  I am so pleased to announce I am teaming up  with two fellow bloggers,  Pawing Through Books and Books and Barks  to present the very exciting event.  There will be new authors featured each day (a new one on each blog each day) and lots of fun giveaways.  Each author will be doing a guest post or interview and many are donating something for a giveaway.  We will also have a grand prize at the end to show our appreciation for all of those that will have joined us for the event.  Stay tuned for more info and to see what authors will be joining us for the event.  I hope to see some of you there.

I am waiting on Shield of Fire by Alaskan author Boone Brux!
It is due out December 6, 2011 by Entangled Publishing

Here is the publisher's blurb:

Protecting humans is the Bringers’ duty. Sending demons to the Shadow World is their pleasure.
In one night, Ravyn’s life plunges from barely tolerable to deadly. Forced to flee the only home she’s known, she stumbles headlong into the clutches of Icarus, a powerful demon intent on stealing her powers. Unfortunately for him, she has no intention of cooperating.
When Rhys realizes the woman he’s rescued from the Bane Demon is no mere human, his obligation as a Bringer dictates he protect and train her in the ways of his people. But he’s unprepared for the intense desire he feels for the fiery Ravyn. To surrender to his need may mean her death.
As the Demon King’s desire for ultimate power escalates, fathers are slated against sons, and foes are made allies. The Bane threat upon them, Rhys and Ravyn must quest to unite the last of the Bringers—and explore a passion too powerful to ignore.

Sounds so exciting doesn't it? I can't wait! What are you waiting on?

Comments Always Welcome!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Katie's Way By Marta Perry

Katie's Way (Pleasant Valley)

Katie's Way by Marta Perry
Book 5 in The Pleasant Valley Series
Paperback352 pages also available in Kindle and E book editions
Published November 1st 2011 by Berkley Trade

*I was given a copy of this book for review. The opinions expressed are my true feelings. No compensation for this review was received. This review is part of Virtual Tours*
Good Reads:
A quilt shop brings Amish and Englisch together, and trouble follows...
After a thwarted romance, Katie Miller starts over by moving to Pleasant Valley and opening a quilt shop. Soon Amish and Englisch turn the store into a lively the consternation of Caleb Brand, who crafts furniture next door. Then Katie's sister joins her, to escape rumors of her wild rumspringa, and Katie feels the burden of responsibility for a restless teenager. Even worse, her efforts to bring more people to Main Street arouse resistance among local businesses. When acts of vandalism threaten Katie's shop, she turns to Caleb for comfort, and their friendship deepens. But will Caleb's secret past prevent him from embracing a future with Katie? Or will their fragile romance develop the strength to last a lifetime?
My Opinion:
I find there is something so peaceful in reading books that feature the Amish community. Maybe it is the fond memories they evoke of fall vacations to  Elkhart County, Indiana. I loved going there and was always fascinated by the peace I felt there. This book was a true pleasure to review. 
The story line held my interest. I loved the characters. One thing I truly appreciated was the way Marta brought both communities together. In a lot of Amish based stories the community tends to be broken between the Amish and the Englisch. Marta acknowledges that but also weaves them together in a very believable way. I also like the way Marta portrayed Katie's father and the Bishop. Many older men in the Amish books are written of in a harsh unyielding way.  Katie's father believed in her and supported her decision to move away from their community and open a business. That was so refreshing to read. Marta wrote of the Bishop's wisdom and compassion and let him show it throughout the book.  
The romance between Katie and Caleb had a rocky start. Katie was jilted by a man who married her best friend.  Caleb was working through having the woman he was to marry leave the community, pregnant, many believed, with his baby. Marta wrote of their feelings and matched it to their actions. It flowed very well. 
Katie's younger sister, Rhoda, coming to live with Katie is another story line. Having been fodder for the Amish grapevine, Katie was able to react differently and in ways her sister needed. This was also a very interesting plot that was written in a believable fashion. 
There is a third plot to this book. Katie decides to hold quilting classes in her store with both Amish and Englisch women attending. I enjoyed how Marta showed all the women with their quirks coming together, getting to know and care about each other. When Katie teams up with an Englisch business owner from her quilting class to form Pennsylvania Dutch Days the plot thickens. There also is a part dealing with a domestic violence issue between one of the Englisch woman and her boyfriend. I thought it was handled pretty well. Even when I saw it coming I was still surprised by how that worked out. If this seems like a lot of stuff going on, it is and it isn't. Marta does a wonderful job of weaving all the plots together. None of the plots interfere with the main plot. They are blended in to keep the story moving at a brisk pace.  I found I did not want to stop reading this book once I started. It moved along fast enough and held my interest so I was able to read it in one afternoon. 
Marta also included a small glossary of Pennsylvania Dutch words and phrases as well as a few recipes at the end of the book. I loved that! I made two of the recipes already. An excerpt of her next book Hannah's Joy is also included.  Hannah's Joy is due out the summer of 2012 along with two other books by Marta. 
Katie's Way is part of The Pleasant Valley Series. I have not not read any of the others and was able to follow this book with no problem. I now plan to read the rest of the series. Most likely on those between Thanksgiving and Christmas stress days. If you are stressed out and looking for a romance you can relax with and feel good about I recommend  Katie's Way. 
Marta's books, (this may not be a complete list):
Pleasant Valley
Leah's Choice (Pleasant Valley, #1)  Rachel's Garden (Pleasant Valley, #2) Anna's Return (Pleasant Valley, #3)  Sarah's Gift (Pleasant Valley, #4)

Three Sister's Inn
Hide In Plain Sight A Christmas To Die For Buried Sins 
Amish Suspense
Murder in Plain Sight (Amish Suspense, #1) Vanish in Plain Sight (Amish Suspense, #2)
Restless Hearts (Love Inspired) Twin Targets (Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense #180) (Protecting the Witnesses Bk 1)  Her Only Hero (Love Inspired) Hero Dad (Love Inspired) Hearts Afire (Love Inspired) 
Unlikely Hero (Love Inspired) A Soldier's Heart (Love Inspired) Promise Forever (Love Inspired) Hunter's Bride (Love Inspired) Mission: Motherhood Hero In Her Heart (Love Inspired) Final Justice (Reunion Revelations, Book 6) (Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense #104) Mistletoe Prayers: The Bodine Family Christmas\The Gingerbread Season (Love Inspired) Twice in a Lifetime 
Tangled Memories (Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense # 28) (Lowcountry Suspense Book 2) Heart of the Matter (Steeple Hill Love Inspired (Large Print)) The Doctor's Christmas (Love Inspired) Season Of Secrets (Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense #32) (Lowcountry Suspense Book 3) The Guardian's Honor (Love Inspired) 
True Devotion (Love Inspired) In the Enemy's Sights (Faith at the Crossroads, #5) (Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense, #19) A Mother's Wish (Love Inspired) Father Most Blessed (Love Inspired) Lost in Plain Sight Father's Promise (Love Inspired) Desperately Seeking Dad (Hometown Heroes) (Love Inspired) A Time To Forgive A Father's Place 
Marta has a website: 
Comments Always Welcome!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Candy, Murder & Me - Carolyn Chambers Clark, Anthony Auriemma

Candy, Murder & Me - Carolyn Chambers Clark, Anthony Auriemma
Kindle  -  Ebook

* I reviewed this book as part of Indie of the Month. I was not compensated for my review. All opinions are my own.*

Good Reads:
CANDY, MURDER, AND ME is an 80,000-word cozy mystery set in Florida, in and around a dress design company, which co-stars Sigmund Freud, a psychoanalyst dachshund. 
When full-figure dress designer and candy addict Cookie Berelli discovers the PI she hired to clear her of embezzlement charges dead in her design studio, she investigates, to wacky results. For example, is Eugene Gemstone involved? After all, he is her number one fabric cutter at Florida Fashions, and he did start acting overemotional after he wore one of the dresses she designed into the ladies’ room at Chez Riso and got arrested. He's especially suspect now that he's disappeared with all of Cookie's candy stash. Then again, it could be that cute PI, Andy Shea, who shows up at the funeral of her dead PI, and makes her hear the love song from GONE WITH THE WIND in her head, or it could be just about anyone else on the planet. 
Everyone's starting to look suspicious now, especially Yuri Yarutski, who owns a sports bar in the bad part of town and wants to go a few rounds with Cookie, the woman who lives in a tree (who in Florida can live withoutair conditioning?), and even Bernadette Humphreys of Bernie's Tattoos who comes up with the weirdest body art. Okay, yes, Cookie did find the body, in fact two of them,and so she has to clear herself, but does that mean the murderer has to go after her?
Recipes from her Norwegian and Italian heritage including Grandma Berelli’s Pralines (“Worth going to jail for”), Cookie’s Maple Candies (“So good they’re criminal”), and 
Nana’s Kringlas (“To kill for” - ), among others, are available throughout the story to break up the mayhem.

My Opinion:
I don't think I have ever ate so much candy while reading a book before. Good thing it was after Halloween so I had a stash to raid on hand. Candy aside, I honestly had fun reading this book. It is fast paced and crazy. At certain points I was even hearing the boss's voice from Charlie's Angels, (the old series from back in the day),  which I thought was hilarious. I love candy and I am slightly crazy sometimes, (shut up wise children of mine or Santa will not stop by), my boots must match my dress and accessories must match my jacket and clothes,  (honey please stop mumbling about money, fashion and this is Alaska while I'm writing my blog. You know you like how cute I look. Besides everything was on sale. Really.), so I could relate well to Cookie. She was hands down my favorite character in the book. I could imagine so many good times with her. I could see us sitting in the back seat of a cop car, looking at each other and asking , at the same time, 'what's your plan now?'.  

There is a fair amount of violence in the book but nothing too graphic. It is a murder mystery so some violence is to be expected. There was no heavy sex scenes even though there is a possibility of romance. No bad language so it is perfect for those who wish to read without language issues. We meet Cookie's family and I really loved the strong bond presented there. 
Cookie and Rhonda made a nice pairing. I could see Joey, (Cookie's brother), hooking up with Rhonda and PI Andy hooking up with Cookie. I hope there are future books with the four of them keeping open the business and getting into some zany predicaments. 

The mystery itself was not too bad. It did seem slightly tangled as there were other issues going on. I would hope that the main mystery is just a bit cleaner next time. I was confused at the ending the first time I read it. I got it after reading through a second time. I did like that there were a few cases Sam was investigating when he died. It left more suspects and seemed more like an agency than it would have if Cookie's case was the only one. I liked that they were solved along the way and not just mentioned and dropped. I hate when that happens.

There are recipes scattered throughout the book. I liked that they were spread throughout the book, appearing wherever they were mentioned in the story. The one thing I would ask the authors to do is add an index with the titles of recipes and location of the recipe listed. I made the Cajun Chicken and it was great! However it is time consuming to go back and find the recipes I want to make.  

Overall rating of this is 4 stars from me. I had fun reading it and that was the whole point.  It moves fast and is not to lengthy. Just be sure to stock up on some mixed candy before starting it or you will be looking for some. 

Other books by Carolyn include, (this is not a complete list):

Living Well with Anxiety: What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You... That You Need to Know (Living Well (Collins)) American Holistic Nurses' Association Guide to Common Chronic Conditions: Self-Care Options to Complement Your Doctor's Advice Living Well with Menopause: What Your Doctor Doesn't Tell You...That You Need To Know (Living Well)


Vertical Stripes Can Kill You (Alexa Robb, Super-Sized is Beautiful Mysteries)  FORENSICS BY THE NUMBERS Morgaina, Her Magic Horse, Ghosts and Gods 

And currently available FREE

How I Became a Wimbledon Ball Girl, Met the Queen, and Found the Boy of My Dreams tells it all!

Takes place in Wimbledon, England. Will teach you some BritSpeak as well as show you what happens during the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament...of course it's fictionalized, but still, you can almost hear the roar of the crowds!

To get a free copy just go to Carolyn's Good Reads page  and Tweet about this free giveaway, put information on your Facebook page, blog about it, or email 10 friends about this offer and then on Carolyn's Good Reads page about how you spread the word about this giveaway!

Comments Always Welcome!

Review: Inheriting Murder: A Bobwhite Mountain Cozy Mystery

Inheriting Murder: A Bobwhite Mountain Cozy Mystery by Jamie Rutland Gillespie My rating: 5 of 5 stars ...