Tangled Moon by Olivia Stocum

Tangled MoonTangled Moon by Olivia Stocum

She could feel her blood pulsing through her veins. Her heightened senses had turned inward and all she knew was this moment and what he was doing to her. She held him tightly, wishing she could pull him inside of her. Pull her inside of him. Something. Someplace where the unrelenting tug and pull between them could finally end…

Danielle Howard likes her life, as strange as it is. For her, this is as good as it gets. Who needs things like family, a home, and romance, anyway?
She spends her days as a mortal woman, and her nights as a wolf, killing vampires for a living. What could be better than that?

Well, maybe there is one thing missing…

Danielle thought one day she and her hunting partner, Lothar, would be more than friends. But some things just can’t be. Lothar is next in line for the High Council seat, and that means he is way out of her league. She’s talked herself into doing her job, with or without his love. He’s still her alpha, and that has its own appeal.

Nick Shepard knew there was more to life. He’d just never been able to find it. When the sexy Danielle comes into his life, everything changes.
All he’s ever wanted is to know who he is, and why he’s different.
Being unprepared for the truth, isn’t going to stop him from embracing it. Whether Danielle is a part of his future or not, he’s not sure, but he knows one thing…

He is never going back.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are a lot of books out there with werewolf and vampire characters, but few of them hold my interest. This one did. I liked the way the author handled the story, making sure this was not just another repeat of other books that have come before it.

Lothar, Nick and Danielle are all really interesting characters and the strained relationship between them gives this series a solid foundation to work from. As is the norm with this author’s books, you know from the beginning that you are in for some serious surprises and she doesn’t let you down. There is plenty of action in this novel to keep you whipping through pages, but she also gives you the emotional aspects of her characters and their relationships to one another. Even the side characters come off as important and integral to the overall plot.

There is enough steam in this novel to keep the romance readers happy, but not so much that it is intolerable for those of us that don’t want to read a book with a million pointless love scenes. The descriptions of the scenery and the shifting in this book are fantastic. I could feel the atmosphere from the first page, perfectly appropriate to the plot.

If you are looking for something paranormal but different, this will satisfy the craving. I’m looking forward to seeing where this series goes next.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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Why do you read?

books and flowers

As an author, I am always curious about what motivates people to read. I’ve done posts before about how people choose books, about covers and colors and what you seek in a blurb, but this post poses a simpler question with perhaps an opportunity for more complex answers.

Why do you read?

Sometimes I read to learn, sometimes to go on an adventure in a far away place I will probably never get to in real life. Occasionally, I read because it is such a part of me. Whereas some people enjoy movies, music or the theatre, favourite sports or socialising with others, I like books. I love the feel of them, the scent of them, the way they make you feel like someone understands when no one else does.

Sometimes I read to improve my craft. There are so many reasons. I also love the feeling of finding a new book–you know the rush of wondering what is inside the cover and if it will be as good as it sounds. The excitement of a new book can be better than…

My heart flutters and I dance from foot to foot until I can get the book home and see what it has to offer. I might be a little obsessed.

So what about you? What makes you return to the pages of a book? Why do you read?

Another You by Jane Cable

Another YouAnother You by Jane Cable

Sometimes the hardest person to save is yourself…

Marie Johnson is trapped by her job as a chef in a Dorset pub and by her increasingly poisonous marriage to its landlord.

Worn down by his string of affairs she has no self-confidence, no self-respect and the only thing that keeps her going is watching her son, Jude, turn into a talented artist.

But the 60th anniversary of a D-Day exercise triggers chance meetings which prove unlikely catalysts for change.

First there’s Corbin, the American soldier who she runs into as she’s walking on the cliffs. He is charming and has a quaintness about him, calling her an ‘English rose’.

Then there’s George the war veteran, who comes to dine at the pub, and his son Mark. George fascinates Marie with his first-hand accounts of the war, whilst Mark proves helpful in making sense of the pub’s financial situation.

And there’s Paxton. Another American soldier with an uncanny resemblance to Corbin. Young, fit and very attractive, Marie finds him hard to resist. But little does she know Paxton is also battling some inner demons.

As the heat of the summer intensifies, so do the issues in Marie’s life.

Why is Corbin so elusive? Why is the pub struggling to make ends meet? Why has Jude suddenly become so withdrawn and unhappy?

Can she help Paxton open up and begin to deal with his pain?

Or will she be shackled to the pub and her increasingly spiteful husband forever?

But as events unfold, Marie finally realises that she is not trapped, but stuck, and that it is down to her to get her life moving again.

Perfectly blending the complexities of twenty-first century life with the dramatic history of World War Two, Another You is a charming tale that will warm your heart.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I noticed with Jane Cable’s previous novel that she has a way with descriptions. Setting this book in Dorset, she did a beautiful job describing the area and creating the perfect atmosphere for a book that is part romance, part history and part–everything else. I wanted to be on that beach admiring Old Harry or in the pub awaiting a drink and a sandwich as I read this.

If you enjoy immersing yourself in emotional novels that are well-paced and have a lot to do with the study of a person’s life, this one will make you feel right at home. This is not a fast paced book, but it isn’t slow or boring either. Marie is a complex character with many different layers that are revealed throughout this novel and even without the addition of great secondary characters, she is enough to make you want to keep reading.

Jude became my favourite character in this novel early on, but there are many that are interesting and will keep you turning pages, wanting to know more about them. This book could have been based on any one of us and it is this feeling of reality and of being able to identify with situations and internal struggles of the characters that makes this such a heart-wrenching book.

I liked the different paths this novel took to get to an ending that is subjective to the beliefs of the reader. Jane Cable gave us enough information to appreciate things that were happening in the story, but not so much that we feel like we can’t use our imaginations just a little as well. I think everyone will walk away from this book with a little bit different opinion on what was really going on.

This is an emotional book, with themes of new love, loss and forgiveness included in the story. If you like literary novels, this would be a good one to choose.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, Provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Those Who Lie by Diane Jeffrey

Those Who LieThose Who Lie by Diane Jeffrey

Emily Klein doesn’t know she has killed her husband until the day of his funeral.
At first, signs point to a tragic accident. Yet, as Emily pieces together the events before his death – events which led to her own memory loss – she begins to suspect that her husband’s death may have been the result of more than a terrible twist of fate…

But the accident is only the beginning. Because while Emily’s physical scars will heal, the trauma of the accident has awakened old ghosts. She hears strange sounds, catches things that can’t possibly be there in the corner of her eye. Before long, everywhere she looks, she seems to see her husband.

And suddenly, Emily finds herself asking the most dangerous question of all.

Can she really trust herself?

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thought this was a decent book, but it didn’t grab me from the very beginning and refuse to let go. It was more like it was evenly paced and I didn’t want to set it down and forget about it, but wasn’t overly, ferociously determined to get to the end either. It was good, and definitely intriguing, but I felt there were some areas, such as how the MC felt about her husband’s death that could have been explored in more depth before the end of the novel.

Still, this book has a lot going for it and a lot to recommend it. Even when I was half way or so through the book, I never really knew who I could trust. Even the main character seemed to be on shaky ground and that made it far more interesting. I liked her personality and the way she presented herself when there was trouble happening all around her. Emily is a strong female character with a lot of determination to survive and find answers to both her murky past and her present situation.

The secondary characters were also interesting and made the book worth reading. This novel has a twisty plot that will keep you reading, and keep you questioning what you think is really going on. Overall, it was a pleasure to read.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Expecting to Die by Lisa Jackson

Expecting to Die (To Die, #7)Expecting to Die by Lisa Jackson

The menacing woods of Grizzly Falls, Montana, are not for the faint of heart. But for some, they’re the perfect setting for partying and pranks. They don’t know there’s a rapt audience amid the tangled trees, a killer with a different kind of game in mind, for whom the woods are dark and deep and perfectly deadly.

Some places earn their bad reputation through tall tales or chance. Grizzly Falls is different. Here, killers aren’t just the stuff of legends and campfire lore. Someone is in the night-time shadows, watching the local teens play around in the moonlit woods. Waiting for the right moment, the right victim. Waiting to take away a life.

Detective Regan Pescoli is counting the days until her maternity leave. Exhausted and emotional, the last thing she needs is another suspected serial killer. Especially when her daughter, Bianca, is swept up in the media storm. When a reality show arrives in town, the chaos only makes it harder for Pescoli and her partner, Selena Alvarez, to distinguish rumor from truth.

Another body is found and another. And as the nightmare strikes closer to home, Pescoli races to find the terror lingering in the darkness, where there are too many places to hide and countless places to die.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love series that are set in small towns and Grizzly Falls is one of those places where you come to feel like you know everyone there and could easily navigate the streets if you came to visit. It’s also the perfect setting for a book where a killer need a place to hide–with the forest and mountains and location out of the way of the modern world surroundings. The author takes full advantage of that and thrills her readers from beginning to end with “Expecting to Die.”

I’ve always had a thing for Lisa Jackson books because I know the suspense will be high and it will be hard to guess the ending, and this book is no exception to that rule. This novel has a pretty large cast of characters and gets more complex as the plot moves along, but is never confusing. I liked Bianca a lot in this book and although some of the subject matter could have gone awry and become worthy of an eye-roll, it never did. Lisa Jackson could turn just about anything into a solid hair-raising story, just as she proved with this book.

I’m a glutton for punishment. I love reading thrillers at night, when the house is dark, or when we are out in the wilderness somewhere camping and away from civilisation. This is just the kind of novel that would scare the living daylights out of me in such a situation (it did, at night, on the couch) and so if you, like me, want to go prematurely grey with worry over what is stalking you that you can’t see but can feel just beyond the tree line, this is the book for you.

In the end, this was a great book with a lot to recommend it. If you love stories that never stop and hardly slow down, surprise endings and characters that make you care what happens to them, this is a great book to choose. Read the rest of the series as well, they’re a lot of fun, too.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided by netgalley. All opinions are my own.

The United States of Absurdity

The United States of Absurdity: Untold Stories from American HistoryThe United States of Absurdity: Untold Stories from American History by Dave Anthony

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thought this book was hilarious. I loved the way the narration pointed out the finer points in the stupidity of history, and thought the running commentary on absurd history was great. This book may not be for the feint of heart, as there are some very strange, as well as…ewww, moments included in it. If, however, you are a brave individual with a strong stomach, I say go forth and populate the earth with the knowledge that you gain from this book. Just don’t sue me for your psychiatry bill. Go for the authors instead. They are at the root of this mess.

This is the kind of book that makes you laugh at inappropriate times and in the worst of places. It also makes you feel lucky that we live in modern times, until you realise that history is doomed to repeat itself because we are all morons that don’t learn from books like this. Then you feel something else.

In any case, I’d recommend this book to anyone who wants a good laugh and to learn about the stupids that came before us. If nothing else, it will make you think. Thoughts you might not want to share. Those are the best kind.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided through netgalley, who must have decided my stomach strength passed the test and decided to offer me the book in exchange for an honest review.

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the Sister by Louise Jensen

The SisterThe Sister by Louise Jensen

Grace hasn’t been the same since the death of her best friend Charlie. She is haunted by Charlie’s words, the last time she saw her, and in a bid for answers, opens an old memory box of Charlie’s. It soon becomes clear there was a lot she didn’t know about her best friend.

When Grace starts a campaign to find Charlie’s father, Anna, a girl claiming to be Charlie’s sister steps forward. For Grace, finding Anna is like finding a new family, and soon Anna has made herself very comfortable in Grace and boyfriend Dan’s home.

But something isn’t right. Things disappear, Dan’s acting strangely and Grace is sure that someone is following her. Is it all in Grace’s mind? Or as she gets closer to discovering the truth about both Charlie and Anna, is Grace in terrible danger?

There was nothing she could have done to save Charlie …or was there?

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Even after finishing this book, I struggled with what I thought of it. On one hand, this is an entertaining and mysterious read with enough complexities to keep you hungrily reading. On the other, some of the characters have so few redeeming qualities that it is hard to feel anything for them other than dislike.

Grace is an interestingly flawed character, but the kind that you want to like. Ever read a book and wish you could slap some sense into the main character because things they entirely miss are so plainly obvious to you, as the reader? That was how I felt about Grace. I understand falling apart at the seams after a tragedy, but there comes a point when you have to move on…and I almost felt like the idea of her grief was the only thin thread holding this book together. Everything else that happened was only possible because the main character was such a clueless mess.

I hated Anna and was mistrustful of her intentions from the very beginning. As the story progressed, I hated her even more, along with Grace’s husband. It was hard for me to read the ending of this book and not think…”that’s it?” As I truly wanted retribution for Grace.

In the end, this wasn’t a bad book, but one that I felt left more questions than answers.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the publisher, provided by Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

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From Tours to Paris by Linda Kovic-Skow

From Tours to Paris (French Illusions Book 2)From Tours to Paris by Linda Kovic-Skow

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Usually, I am not much for memoirs, but Linda Kovic-Skow writes such personal and intriguing memoirs that hers are one of my dedicated exceptions to this rule.

From Tours to Paris is an interesting read of a young woman experiencing life and love away from home. From financial worries to matters of the heart, this honest memoir leaves nothing out. Written from the authors journals and her memories, this is a heartfelt book that will keep you turning pages and happily entertained until the very end.

I liked that she included so much emotion in this book, describing her experiences and love affairs both with the city and some genuinely interesting people. This is the kind of book that reminds you good food, good friends and your will to survive trying situations can get you through almost anything. I could identify easily with many of her thoughts and feelings.

Particularly, I was impressed with the way Linda chose to end this book. I didn’t feel that anything was left hanging and although I was curious about what happened later in her life, I felt satisfied at the end.

Overall, this was a pleasant and enjoyable read that roused a lot of emotion and curiosity within me. Even if you are not a huge fan of memoirs, this book will most likely still delight you. It gets my vote.

This review is based on a complementary copy from the author, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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Parenting with Wisdom and Compassion by Ilene Val-Essen

Parenting with Wisdom and Compassion: Bring Out the Best in Your FamilyParenting with Wisdom and Compassion: Bring Out the Best in Your Family by Ilene Val-Essen, Ph.D.

Imagine a new paradigm of parenting that dramatically changes the way we relate to our children. Doors open that were previously closed, freeing us to parent with a wiser and more compassionate heart. Dr. Val-Essen reveals a new vision of the parent-child relationship and provides a Six-Step Process to help us realize it. Powerful stories, proven skills, and practical exercises inspire and guide us to expand our minds and open our hearts. As we gain a deeper understanding of our children and ourselves, we’re able to parent with wisdom and compassion even when buttons are pushed and fear takes center stage. Children and parents flourish. Family life becomes deeply rewarding.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I agreed to take this book, it was for one reason. I liked the idea of a book about parenting with the word “compassion” in the title. In my opinion, as a non-expert on parenting and just a mum who loves her kids and wants what is best for them, I have thought many times about the lack of compassion in this world for the needs of our youth. We are always being bombarded on social media, in newsprint and on the television with all the things you can do to screw up your children, but rarely do we get any good advice for how to improve our skills as parents. That is where this book comes in.

Ilene Val-Essen takes a different approach with this book. Rather than slapping parents, educators or anyone else responsible for youth across the face with a message of “you are doing this wrong!” She takes the time to explain her gentle approach and really break down what she means in her title.

This book is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to understand more about why conflicts in families arise, and how they can be resolved. With the understanding that you don’t have to change who you are, what your values are or completely revamp your parenting style to appreciate this book and the advice given in it, you will find that the ideas presented here can work in nearly any situation, regardless of who you are.

There is far too much in this book to do an individual review on each section, or this review would never end, but there are some definite jewels worth mentioning. This book promotes the self awareness of the parent so they can identify with the child’s emotions, reactions and address any issues they might have that remain under the surface. There are tips here for recognising stress in the family and how to calm that stress. The author has included charts and easy steps to follow to defuse situations before they become major problems.

Honestly, I think this book has some very good specific and situational information, but it would work just as well if the principals set forth here were used in other, everyday situations. It is not just children that are affected by the way we view ourselves and how we treat others, and this book, in my opinion, is titled perfectly. We could all do with a dose of compassion, from others, for others.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. It is a brilliant read and an honest and open message from an author who has lived what she writes about. Five stars.

Northwoods by Bill Schweigart

NorthwoodsNorthwoods by Bill Schweigart

Some borders should never be crossed. From the author of The Beast of Barcroft comes a waking nightmare of a horror novel that’s sure to thrill readers of Stephen King and Bentley Little.

Ex–Delta Force Davis Holland, now an agent for the Customs and Border Protection, has seen it all. But nothing in his experience has prepared him for what he and the local sheriff find one freezing night in the Minnesota woods.

Investigating reports of an illegal border crossing, the two men stumble across a blood-drenched scene of mass murder, barely escaping with their lives . . . and a single clue to the mayhem: a small wooden chest placed at the heart of the massacre. Something deadly has entered Holland’s territory, crossing the border from nightmare into reality.

When news of the atrocity reaches wealthy cryptozoologist Richard Severance, he sends a three-person team north to investigate. Not long ago, the members of that team—Ben McKelvie, Lindsay Clark, and Alex Standingcloud—were nearly killed by a vengeful shapeshifter. Now they are walking wounded, haunted by gruesome memories that make normal life impossible. But there is nothing normal about the horror that awaits in the Northwoods.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think I must now admit that I have been hiding a dirty secret. I am addicted to these books and I fear my addiction has no cure, so keep writing, Mr. Schweigart, I need my next fix.

If you haven’t yet read “the Beast of Barcroft,” what are you waiting for? Everyone needs a good monster/horror tale now and again to remind them how normal our lives actually are by comparison, and these books are not only entertaining, but a hell of a lot of fun in the process.

In this latest book, I was seriously impressed with the growth and development of Alex Standingcloud. He became my favourite character at the end of the last book, and then went on to prove why he is worthy of such a title in the second. I liked the Native American lore that was weaved into this story, and loved the action scenes.

If you can’t handle a little tension and some minor gore, then skip those parts and read the rest, but, read it none-the-less. You will surely find yourself entertained.

I am looking forward to see where these characters find themselves next. Recommended.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided by Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

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