Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Review: Every Waking Moment

dear readers,

Looking for a standalone romantic suspense...

Every Waking Moment
Written by Brenda Novak
genre: romantic suspense, mystery


Emma has finally escaped her dangerous boyfriend is on the run with her diabetic son, Max. As she tries to put distance between the man who has ruined her life she worries for the ones who have helped her escaped. Max's father will not let her go and turns to a stranger, Preston for help. Preston has his own secrets and the last thing he wants is to care about someone.

My first novels of Brenda Novak were romantic suspense - The Last Stand series - and had me hooked. This standalone novel is Novak at her best. If you know about Novak's personal life you know her youngest son has diabetes. It is a cause she is active in and has great respect for. Emma's son, Max has diabetes and the way in which Novak writes about diabetes and about a mother and boy who have to live with it is written realistically. 


Novak is Back with a Historical Romance: Through the Smoke

dear readers,

I have been a fan of Brenda Novak's romantic suspense when I read her Last Stand series. Next I tried Whiskey Creek and became a fan of her contemporary romance.  Only one more of Novak's romantic genre was left to try...historical romance... 

(I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review).

Written by Brenda Novak 
genre: historical romance


Although Truman's wife Lady Katherine betrayed and taunted him he must find her murderer.  While his powerful in-laws are hoping he is hanged for their daughter's death he tries to find out who was responsible for the fire. After much investigating alongside his butler, Linley he turns to bookstore owner Rachel for answers.  Was her father paid to set Truman's house on fire? And who paid him to do it? 

Rachel meanwhile loses her mother and Truman's attention has turned the townspeople against her.  Without her bookstore and having to take care of her brother she takes Truman's offer to work in his household service.  

As the two try to stay away from one another Lady Katherine's murder seems to bring the two closer.  As they try to figure out the mystery the more desperate the murderer seems to become.

Brenda Novak started out writing historical novels and has returned to her roots with Through the Smoke.  This is my first historical novel by Novak and definitely will not be my last.  I read this novel in one setting and really enjoyed it. I like historical romances but the mystery and suspense in this novel just heighten my enjoyment.  If you are a fan of historical romances, mystery and suspense or of Novak you will need to read this novel!

*Through the Smoke was published October 15, 2013.

Read an excerpt on Brenda Novak's website:

For more Historical Romances by Brenda Novak:


Newest WHISKEY CREEK novel by Brenda Novak: Review

dear readers,

I am in LOVE with Brenda Novak's Whiskey Creek series.  The characters in this series are so realistic and relatable.  I like that we meet most of the characters in book 1 and as the series continues we continue to see them grow.  These are not just novels about a couple coming together but about romances, relationships (friends and family) and life's up and downs.  It is not contained in just one novel but spill into the next book.

Brenda Novak has stated that these novels can be read on their own but I have to disagree.  To get the greatest enjoyment and to really understand the town and the characters it is best to start with the novella and read in order.  If you do decide to read them out of order please note you may get annoyed with the feeling that you are missing something.

Whiskey Creek:

When Lightning StrikesWhen Snow FallsWhen Summer ComesHome to Whiskey Creek
Take Me Home for ChristmasCome Home to MeWhen We Touch

 -When We Touch (Novella) 2012 
 -When Lightning Strikes (Book 1) 2012 
 -When Snow Falls (Book 2) 2013
 -When Summer Comes (Book 3) 2013
 -Home to Whiskey Creek (Book 4) 2013
 -Take Me Home for Christmas (Book 5) 2013
*COMING SOON -- Come Home to Me (Book 6) March 25, 2014

For my reviews of Whiskey Creek's novella and book 1 -3:

For my review of Whiskey Creek's book 4:

Now in time for the holiday season comes the newest Whiskey Creek novel (Released today October 29, 2013)...

(I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review).

(Whiskey Creek: Book Five)
Written by Brenda Novak
genre: Contemporary romance


When Sophia's abusive husband, Skip is first found missing she cannot help but hope he never returns.  When she discovers that he has drowned in an attempt to run from the FBI her life turns into a bigger nightmare.  Once Sophia and Skip were the golden couple with money and now with Skip's crime she is left with no money and the whole town has turned on her.  Skip cheated the townspeople of Whiskey Creek and now Sophia has to face their wrath.

Ted was once in love with Sophia and then she left him for the wealthy Skip which has left Ted bitter towards Sophia.  He won't even let her attend their coffee club.  But when the town turns maliciously against her he offers her a job as his housekeeper.

As Sophia tries to rebuild her life and reconnect with her daughter, Alexa, Ted tries to keep away from her.  He even tries to start a relationship with their mutual friend, Eve to make his point.  As they get closer to Christmas will the holiday spirit bring the two to forgiveness?

I have been waiting for Sophia's story since I first read When Lightning Strikes.  You have a spoiled mean girl who has now become an almost recluse because she is being abused by her husband.  While I enjoyed her story and her reconnecting with her young daughter, Alexa I was not impressed with Ted - her love interest and Eve her supposed new friend.  Even with the weak romance story I really enjoyed this novel.  There was so much to discuss with this novel and the characters in this novel keep you interested.


Tuesday, 15 October 2013

REVIEW: Take Me Back - Again

dear readers,

(I received an ARC from the NetGalley in exchange for an honest review).

 is the author of seven novels: Heart and Soul (Ballantine); Out of the Blue (Ballantine); A Time to Sing (McGraw Hill/Harper-Collins); Portrait of a Married Woman (Bantam); Quinn (Delacorte/Dell); Change of Heart(Delacorte/Dell), and Take Me Back, whichwill be published by DiversionBooks in September 2013. Change of Heart was on The New York Times bestseller list for ten weeks. The film rights were sold to Columbia Pictures. 

Mandel spent two years writing for television’s Guiding Light and was awarded an Emmy in 1992. Two of her screenplays have been optioned and she is a two-time winner of the Montage/HBO Screenwriting Competition. 

She lives in New York City with her husband, and is at work on a new novel.

Written by Sally MANDEL
genre: Literary Fiction


The matriarch Lily Adams is in the twilight years and is reflecting back on her life.  There is her granddaughter, Amy her kindred spirit and the love of her life, who rushes to be by her side when Lily takes a turn for the worse. She worries over Amy's lack of a stable relationship or career.   Stella, her only child, has never understood her mother and always takes life as it comes. She wonders if Stella will be okay and move forward in her life.  Stella's ex-husband, Steve is Lily's friend Grace's son and becomes like his mother in America. As her daughter's marriage falters she cannot help but be in her son-in-law's life.  Finally, there is her late husband, William whom she married because of his sheer determination to have her. 

Take Me Back is novel broken into smaller stories told from five characters point of view.  It spans decades giving us vignettes of Lily's life through her own stories and those most important to her.  Mandel's writing invites you in their lives as if you are a friend of the family.  The one drawback was the stories of Steve and William as they did not seem to add much to the story as a whole.  It felt almost forced rather than flowing with the women's section.  I would have liked more stories from the women and seen the men through their eyes only.  

The relationships between the three women are so rich but it felt a bit like you were just getting a taste of it when it ended. Yet overall, the ending was satisfying and left you still thinking about the three generations of women that made this family vulnerable yet strong. The sign of a good novel is that it still lingers in your mind days later.

I am looking forward to looking at Mandel's backlist of novels and trying another novel soon.

Change of Heart (1979)
Quinn (1982)
Portrait Of A Married Woman (1985)
A Time to Sing (1989)
Out of the Blue (2000)
Heart and Soul (2002)