Friday, 28 March 2014

Please Do Not Come Home to Me - Come Home to Me: Review


dear readers,

This blog post was really hard for me to write.  In fact, it took me a few days after reading the book to even sit down to rate it.

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


COME HOME TO ME 
(Book 6: WHISKEY CREEK)
written by Brenda Novak
genre: contemporary romance, fiction 

3 STARS


Presley Christensen has returned to Whiskey Creek with her 18-month old son, Wyatt.  Presley and her sister, Cheyenne, try and keep Wyatt away from Aaron as he might suspect Wyatt is really his son. As she opens a new business and sets up a home for her and her son she is pursued by Riley, a well-respected man wanting a relationship, and Aaron, her ex, who is not sure what he wants in the future but wants Presley right now. But will his feelings change when he discovers the truth about Wyatt? And, how will this secret affect Cheyenne and her husband, Dylan who is Aaron's brother and also in the dark?

As you know I am a big fan of Brenda Novak's books and love the Whiskey Creek series so it killed me to rate it only three stars.  I rounded up from 2.5 just because of Novak's writing skills and that I was able to get through the book.  What didn't work was that Cheyenne, a heroine from a earlier book had a personality transplant for the worse.  Without giving away any plot details I found that Cheyenne's decisions in this novel were not only bad but ridiculous.  The baby issues this novel were straight from daytime television and no one seemed to have any common sense.

The ending of a Whiskey Creek novel usually leaves me counting down to the next book and this time I am actually okay with waiting and do not know if I will put it as a priority read.  I feel so bad for Dylan, Cheyenne's husband, that I almost hope there will be a future novel where he will find a woman who deserves that love he has.  I am also not looking forward to Eve finding love as she also seems step on another woman's heart to try and get a man.  And, the storyline with Dylan's father makes me cringe for the Amos boys.

I will still continue with the next book in Whiskey Creek because I do want to see where Novak takes us next.

love,
kris



Monday, 17 March 2014

Review: Dating, Dining and Desperation

dear readers,

I read Lock, Stock and Over a Barrel last month (http://mynoveladdiction.blogspot.ca/2014/02/review-lock-stock-and-over-barrel.html)and just finished the follow-up book...


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



DATING, DINING AND DESPERATION
(Book 2: Dear Daphne)
written by Melody Carlson
genre: contemporary fiction, christian fiction, romance


3 STARS 

Daphne is still looking for a husband in order to fulfill her Aunt's condition of her inheritance. With less than a year left Daphne has to start dating ASAP.  She has help in her new Southern neighbour, Sabrina who has moved to town to get away from her ex-husband.  While Sabrina pushes Daphne at any and every man, her father and friend, Olivia still want her to date Ricardo, the owner of a local diner.  Daphne has been brooding over her aunt's lawyer, Jake who is on vacation with his ex-wife.

While her love life seems to be taking over everything she comes across a young girl who is being raised by her elder sickly grandmother.  Daphne inserts herself in Mabel and Vera's life and wonders if adopting a child would trump getting married.

Dating, Dining and Desperation is what I would classify as a middle book in that it carries on from the last book and sets up the next novel. Not a bad light contemporary romance but nothing special. I also do not like the heroine's love interest as it seems forced and I am just not feeling the chemistry. 

love,
kris

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Review: Waking the Dead

dear readers,


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


Last March 2013 I read...


LET THE DEAD SLEEP
(Book 1: Cafferty & Quinn)
written by Heather Graham
genre: romantic suspense, paranormal

3.5 STARS 

"It was stolen from a New Orleans grave - the centuries-old bust of an evil man, a demonic man. It's an object desired by collectors - and by those with wickedness in their hearts. One day, its current owner shows up at Danni Cafferty's antiques shop on Royal Street, the shop she inherited from her father. But before Danni can buy the statue, it disappears, the owner is found dead...and Danni discovers that she's inherited much more than she realized. In the store is a book filled with secret writing: instructions for defeating evil entities. She'd dismissed it as a curiosity...until the arrival of this statue, with its long history of evil and even longer trail of death. Michael Quinn, former cop and now private investigator, is a man with an unusual past. He believes that doing the right thing isn't a job - it's a way of life. And the right thing to do is find and destroy this object weighted with malevolent powers. He and Danni are drawn together in their search for the missing statue, following it through sultry New Orleans nights to hidden places in the French Quarter and secret ceremonies on abandoned plantations. Cafferty and Quinn already know that trust in others can be misplaced, that love can be temporary. And yet their connection is primal. Mesmerizing. They also know that their story won't end when this case is closed and the dead rest in peace once again." (From Amazon)

A good supernatural romance set against the backdrop of contemporary New Orleans.  I loved the descriptions of the French Quarters and spooky graveyards.  If you like romance and mystery this is a great book.



WAKING THE DEAD
(Book 2: Cafferty & Quinn)
written by Heather Graham
genre: romantic suspense, paranormal

4 STARS 

The novel opens with Quinn returning to New Orleans and Danni and Quinn decide that being apart is not what they want or need.  As soon as Quinn's plane hits the runway he is involved in another murder case... this time it is a painting from 200 years ago that seems to have a history of murder.  

"In the case of Ghosts in the Mind by Henry Sebastian Hubert, that's more than just an expression. This painting is reputed to come to life—and to bring death. The artist was a friend of Lord Byron and Mary Shelley, joining them in Switzerland during 1816, "the year without a summer." That was when they all explored themes of horror and depravity in their art….  Now, almost two hundred years later, the painting appears in New Orleans. Wherever it goes, death seems to follow.   Danielle Cafferty and Michael Quinn, occasional partners in solving crime, are quickly drawn into the case. They begin to make connections between that summer in Switzerland and this spring in Louisiana. Danni, the owner of an eccentric antiques shop, and Quinn, a private detective, have discovered that they have separate but complementary talents when it comes to investigating unusual situations.  Trying to blend their personal relationship with the professional lives they've stumbled into, they learn how much they need each other. Especially as they confront this work of art—and evil. The people in the portrait might be dead, but something seems to wake them and free them to commit bloody crimes. Cafferty and Quinn must discover what that is. And they have to destroy it—before it destroys them." (From Amazon)

I enjoyed the first book in the Cafferty & Quinn series - romantic/paranormal-suspense - so was excited about the second book and was not disappointed. The novel, Waking the Dead has a Nora Roberts feel to it - the connections and chemistry between the characters. I also liked the storyline about a haunting and/or haunted painting.

love,
kris



Raybourn Returns to the British Colonies: Reviews

dear readers,



WHISPER OF JASMINE
(Book 0.5)
written by Deanna Raybourn
genre: historical fiction, romance

4 STARS 

Delilah Drummond, heroine from A Spear of Summer Grass, is throwing a grand New Year's Eve party in 1914.  She will not let a little thing like war stop her from having the party she wants.  Also on the socialite's agenda is matchmaking for four of he friends. But within minutes of them all showing up the dashing archaeologist, Gabriel Stark tries to sweep Evangeline Merriweather, a practical girl wanting adventure and love off of her feet.

The Jasmine books seem like a spin-off from the Ryder books but do not look like they are part of one series.

This a short fun romantic story that introduces readers to Gabriel Stark and Evangeline Merriweather.  As the novella ends you ready for the full-length novel and what their next adventure is. Right away you are charmed by the shy but adventure-seeking heroine, Evie and fall for lovely Gabriel.


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


CITY OF JASMINE
(Book 1)
written by Deanna Raybourn
genre: historical fiction, romance

3 STARS

The Great War has ended and the now widowed, Evie is trying to support herself and her aunt Dove with her fame as an aviatrix.  Evie and Gabriel were going to divorce before he died on the Lusitania and Evie was left with mix feelings.  While their whirlwind courtship and marriage was ending Evie has always loved her adventurer husband.  Five years since Gabriel's death  Evie is finally moving on with her life when she receives a recent picture of Gabriel.  She suddenly puts her life on hold and sets out to find out the mystery behind the picture.  

Since the novel was set in the 1920s I cannot help but picture Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable as Evie and Gabriel.  I did like the banter between and love story of the Starks but there were times in the novel where the book dragged on longer then it should have.  I enjoyed the novel but I still prefer Lady Julia.

love,
kris



Mine to Read: Reviews

dear readers,

I don't read erotic fiction for the genre alone but I have recently been reading romantic suspense that has more sensual scenes than normal.  One author that I will read anything by is Cynthia Eden...


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



MINE TO TAKE
(Book 1)

3 STARS 

Skye Sullivan is being watched and no one believes her so she is not receiving any protection.  Old flame, Trace is now wealthy and has his own security agency.  When Skye comes to him he drops everything and guards Skye himself.  As the threat continues Trace himself is obsessed with Skye and his lust takes over.  

This novel is more erotic romance than a romantic suspense.  I do not read many erotic novels unless it is the side effect of a romantic suspense.  This one is the opposite where "suspense" is the side story.  Eden is a good writer so there is suspense but at times it does get forgotten.


MINE TO KEEP
(Book 2)

4 STARS 

Mine to Keep continues Skye and Trace's story...after surviving her ordeal Skye wants to have a normal safe life with Trace.  Unfortunately, Trace's past has come to the present day to tear them apart.  Trace's past, after he left her, has been a secret to Skye and Trace still wants to keep her in the dark.  However, his past has come to take his life...which is Skye and he must trust his past friends to survive.

This novel has more action and suspense than the first novel.  I really like Trace's friends from the past - Noah and Drake. I loved the ending as I did not see it coming but also disliked it (cannot say more without revealing spoilers). More please!





MINE TO HOLD
(Book 3)

4 STARS 

Now that Skye and Trace are safe and rebuilding their life, Claire has left town to ask for Noah York's help.  She needs a job and at this point he may be the only one who can help her.  Her parents were murdered by her teenage lover when they would not tell him where Claire was hidden.  After the murder Ethan is sent to prison but his obsession has not ceased nor has his father's anger with Claire.  When she tries to rebuild her life and get a job Senator Harrison is there to make sure it crumbles.

From the moment Noah York met Claire his life has begun to change...he wants to protect the proud fragile woman.  He will do anything he can to make sure she is safe including murder.  When Ethan is attends his father's funeral his car is blown up and Ethan is the first to be suspected...

The novel continues from Mine to Keep and has the same suspense and romance to engage the reader.  I liked the relationship between Noah and Claire and we got to see more the couple's past.  A great book.


MINE TO CRAVE
(Book 4)

3 STARS 

The fourth book in the series features Trace and Noah's tortured friend, Drake Archer and a mysterious thief, Jasmine Bennett.  Jasmine seems to be connected with his past and bringing him down.  Jasmine hold more secrets than Drake. WIll their pasts and secrets get in the way of them being together?

With the last two novels being steeped in suspense this novel fell a bit flat.  The secrets and twists kept coming at you that you soon did not care anymore as it seemed to be the same every time.  I also did not like Jasmine for Drake.


There will be another book in the series...

love,
kris




Lincoln, the Civil War and Chiaverini: Reviews

dear readers,

I have taken some courses in American History but many were beginner courses that briefly touched on Civil War and Lincoln.  Jennifer Chiaverini seems to have done a great deal of research pre to post Cival War and the key players...she has written three standalone historical fiction focused on that time...


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



MRS. LINCOLN'S RIVAL


4 STARS 

Kate Chase Sprague is the eldest daughter of an ambitious lawyer, Salmon P. Chase who had his eye on the Presidential seat.  With the death of his second wife, Kate becomes Salmon's hostess.  She was at his side to attend parties and threw parties on his behalf.  Kate saw herself as the First Lady as her father rose in politics.  Unfortunately for Kate and Salmon, Abraham Lincoln would become President and thus putting Kate and Mary Todd Lincoln's at odds.

While Kate liked Mr. Lincoln she felt snubbed by his dull wife.  Mary  on the other hand thought Kate was snubbing her because Kate felt she was the rightful First Lady.  The two would try to outdo the other through proper social circles.  

Kate then focuses on her own life and falls for an ambitious Rhode Island politician William Sprague.  The two political minds seem perfect for one another or do they?

I enjoyed this novel but it is a bit overly descriptive in the day to day activities I appreciated most of the acts as I did not know too much about Lincoln's presidency or the key players.  At the time I found the main character, Kate Chase, to be arrogant but she did not turn me off reading the book. Other than Lincoln and Kate's younger sister most of the characters seemed unlikeable - very flawed but realistic characters.

After reading this novel I was hooked and decided to read Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker which seemed to detail more of Mary Todd Lincoln's life through her personal dressmaker...


MRS. LINCOLN'S DRESSMAKER

3 STARS 

Mrs. Lincoln dressmaker is Elizabeth "Lizzie" Keckley a freed slave with her own dress shop frequented by all the women in Washington high society.  When Abraham Lincoln becomes President his wife Mary looks to Lizzie to dress her for every event.  Mary is a nervous woman afraid that everyone is looking down on her and is easily agitated.  Lizzie soon discovers more about the First Lady and become her confident.  In fact, Mary greatly relies on LIzzie.

First half of the novel is LIzzie getting to know Mary and is living a good life.  When the President is assassinated Mary is left alone and becomes more unstable.  Mary now has less pull and even less wealth but has not come to terms with it.  Once her debts get out of control she asks Lizzie to help sell the dresses Lizzie made for her.

Mary's debts and instability brings Lizzie down as well.  She leaves her shop to help Mary and loses revenue and clients.  Her association with the former First Lady also brings her down socially.  Lizzie seems to be Mary's maid more than a friend that she says she is.  When Lizzie is pushed into writing a memoir she thinks this may restore Mary and her's reputation instead this breaks their friendship and Mary spirals down mentally.  

Elizabeth "Lizzie" Keckley does in fact write a memoir and this seems to be the basis of this novel.  Again Chiaverini gives a lot of information and some of it is not useful to the story.  Rather it seems like a random trivia bit.  I did not like this novel as much as Mrs. Lincoln's Rival.  Mary and Lizzie were not overly likeable but also seemed to lack the engaging characteristics.

The Spymistress is also a story involving a real-life historical figure but is told from the South...


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



THE SPYMISTRESS


4 STARS 

In Spymistress Chiaverini tells the story of a wealthy Southern spinster who aligned herself with the Union side.  Elizabeth Van Lew's finacee died before they could marry and has remained true to his memory.  She lived with her widowed mother, married brother (with his wife and two daughters) and houseful of "freed" slaves.  Her slave-holding father made a stipulation in the will that the slaves could never be freed but the Van Lew women have told the slaves in their eyes they are.  

When the Civil war begins the Van Lew family, minus her sister-in-law, align themselves with the Union but have to do so quietly.  It becomes dangerous to help or side with the Union side so Elizabeth decides to go undercover like other "Unionists".  She and her household risk everything to save innocent lives - black and white.  

"Although Van Lew was inducted posthumously into the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame, the astonishing scope of her achievements has never been widely known. In Chiaverini's riveting tale of high-stakes espionage, a great heroine of the Civil War finally gets her due." (From Amazon).

I knew that the Confederates were unkind to the Union side but I did not know that civilians in the South were treated so unkind.  The atmosphere reminded me of Germany Nazi or the Salem Witch trials and made me shudder.  I liked Elizabeth Van Lew a lot as well as her mother.  I think this is a novel I would read again.



Chiaverini has my interest so I will definitely read more books by her and I will try her Elm Creek series in the near future.

love,
kris

Review: Shoreline Drive


dear readers, 


I was iffy about the first novel in the Sanctuary Island series (http://mynoveladdiction.blogspot.ca/2014/02/review-sanctuary-island.html)but had already said yes to reviewing book 2 so I went ahead and read it...


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



SHORELINE DRIVE
(Sanctuary Island: Book Two)
genre: contemporary romance


4 STARS

Merry and Ella have decided to stay in Sanctuary Island - Ella with her new love Grady and Merry with their mother and new baby, Alex.  While she loves getting to know her mother she is not sure living together is the best situation.  Ben, the vet, who helped deliver Alex decides to strike a deal with Merry...is he marries him he will provide for her and the baby and give Alex all he needs.  Ben tells Merry he cannot have kids and Alex is his and his family;s last chance at a heir.  Merry accepts his proposal but can the two keep from loving one another?

After being disappointed with the first novel I was not expecting anything.  I just wanted to read the book to complete my obligations...but WOW, a complete turn around.  While the story is cliched and predictable you wanted to see how the characters evolved.  With the second novel the author focused on fewer characters - Merry and Ben's story and Taylor's story.  This allows the reader to connect with the characters in my opinion.

Yes, I will be continuing the series...Heartbreak Cove (expected date 2015).

love,
kris


Fear for Me is for Me! (Review)


dear readers,

I have only read a few books by Cynthia Eden but she is fast becoming a favourite!


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


FEAR FOR ME
(Book Two)
written by Cynthia Eden
genre: romantic-suspense, thriller, romance

4 STARS 

"She's the obsession two men share: one wants her love, the other wants her life. 
A shared passion for justice first brought Baton Rouge district attorney Lauren Chandler and US marshal Anthony Ross together--when each played their part in bringing down the infamous Bayou Butcher. The sparks flying between the two made it clear they weren't just a legal dream team. Then desire had to make way for duty, and what they had was done. But it would never be over.

Five years later, it's none other than the Butcher who gets things started again, when his shocking jailbreak reunites the lawyer and the lawman...and reignites their love. But this time, the pair is in danger of being permanently parted--by a killer with revenge on his mind, and Lauren on the top of his list. As a new wave of terror sweeps through the streets and swamps of Baton Rouge, one man will pit his boundless passion against another's relentless hate, for the life of the woman who obsesses them both." (From Amazon)

An amazing follow-up to the first book in Eden's romantic-suspense series.  The books are loosely tied together but can be read as standalone. Lauren is strong female character that gives Anthony a run for his money,  Fabulous chemistry between the hero and heroine and great suspense.

I will be reviewing Eden's Mine series in the next few posts.

love,
kris

Miss. Silver is on the Case! (Reviews)

dear readers,

As you know I love mysteries from the Golden Age so reading Patricia Wentworth's well-known series, Miss. Silver Mysteries was right up my darkly lit alley...

Miss. Silver Mysteries: Reviews
written by Patricia Wentworth
genre: mystery, suspense, noir, classic






GREY MASK

(Book 1)

4 STARS


(I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review).
Please see previous post:  http://mynoveladdiction.blogspot.ca/2013/08/grey-mask-book-1-miss.html




THE CASE IS CLOSED
(Book 2)

4 STARS

Geoffrey Grey has been convicted of his uncle's murder but his wife and wife's cousin think he is innocent.  Just before his murder Geoffrey's uncle, James changes his will to a nephew he has always disliked.  Upon telling Geoffrey that he no longer his heir the older man is found dead in a locked room with the knife in Geoffrey's hand.

Hilary, Marion Grey's cousin is heartbroken over the conviction and what it is doing to her cousin.  When on a train she is confronted with James's cook she begins to think there is more to the story than what was presented in court.  As the young girl gets deeper into solving the murder she also becomes a target.  Her ex-fiance hires Miss. Silver a P.I. who steps in to help.

This is the second novel in the Miss. Silver and I am hooked.  Unlike other novels from the era the knitting P.I. has a smaller role in the books,  She is often called on the case halfway through the novel.  The book focuses on the character involved in the novel.  If you like cozy mysteries, noir, old time radio programs this might be the novel for you.  

LONESOME ROAD
(Book 3)


4 STARS 

After a few close call accidents Rachel Treherne starts to believe her life may be in jeopardy and the killer may be one of her own family members or a close friend. She looks to governess turned private detective, Miss Silver to help unravel the mystery by staying in the Treherne mansion.  

Rachel's father has left his fortune to her and her desperate family members want more than their share and cannot wait till her natural death.  Then there is her maid who has an unnatural obsession with her and new neighbour who shows his interest in her.  Each day Rachel's suspicions get the better of her and hopes Miss. Silver can help her.

The thought of living with people who may be plotting your death is handled brilliantly by Wentworth.  This one had me guessing at first and then I sat back to see if my guess was correct.  

IN THE BALANCE
(Also published as DANGER POINT)
(Book 4)


4 STARS 

Miss. Silver is on the train returning from her holiday with her niece when a young lady stumbles into her compartment.  Right away she can tell the young girl is afraid of something and tries to get her to open up.  The young woman, Lisle overheard some women gossiping about her husband.  His wealthy first wife's death may have not have been accident and now that his estate is in jeopardy again will Lisle be next? 

A predictable but engaging mystery.  Like in Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca the new bride is frightened into thinking her husband is the killer of his first wife.  And, also like in Rebecca you will be at the edge of your seat wondering if the husband is misunderstood or a monster.


THE CHINESE SHAWL
(Book 5)


4 STARS 

Laura Fane has returned to London to collect her inheritance but it is not the happy moment she anticipated.  Her father was expected to marry a cousin but instead fell in love with Laura's mother.  Her father has left her everything including the estate that his jilted finacee occupies.  She wants Laura to sell her the place so she can leave it to her niece Tanis.  Laura os not sure what to do.

When Laura is summoned to visit Tanis' aunt Laura discovers Tanis is manipulated and will do anything to get her way, including blackmailing.   When Tanis ends up murdered Miss Silver is on the case and everyone is a suspect.

Another great mystery in the Miss. Silver series.  Randal March, Miss. Silver's former charge aids her in solving the murder.  I like the chemistry between the two much like Holmes and Watson.  The way they bounce off of each other makes the solution of the mystery much more enjoyable.



MISS. SILVER INTERVENES
(Also published as MISS. SILVER DEALS WITH DEATH)


4 STARS 

In an apartment building in London the tenants are a little more involved in each other's lives than they really know.  Meade Underwood's finace, Giles has been lost at sea and so she lives with her aunt and uncle miserable but then he returns but cannot remember much of past few years.  Meade's neighbour, Carola Roland a very beautiful and scheming girl announces she is Giles's wife.  Carola has also been seeing another man in the building, and may be a blackmailer.  So when the young beautiful woman is found dead in her apartment the whole building is a suspect. Enters Miss. Silver to help the police with this case.

This Miss. Silver Mystery had me guessing as I could not imagine anyone not wanting to kill the wicked Carola Roland.  The one thing I like about these mysteries is that police always works well with Miss. Silver.  They accept her talent and often look to her to help them.


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

THE CLOCK STRIKES TWELVE 

(Book 7)

4 STARS 

Patriarch James Paradine invites his family over on New Year's Eve to confront them.  Someone has stolen blueprints and Paradine knows who and that it is one of his close family members.  He gives the thief until midnight to come clean.  A few minutes after the clock strikes twelve James Paradine is found dead and whoever stole the blueprints is the murderer.

Another case where everyone seems like a suspect until Miss. Silver steps in an unravels it all.  The mystery is great but the side stories and possible motives are what engages the reader to keep reading and have a ball doing so.


Please let me know if you have enjoyed this series when you get to it...as I know you will ;)

love,
kris





Saturday, 8 March 2014

Lawhon Beautifully Revives An Old Case

dear readers,

By now you know I love a good mystery and historical fiction...add a true cold case story and it is the perfect night of reading...


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


THE WIFE, THE MAID, AND THE MISTRESS
written by Ariel Lawhon
genre: historical fiction, true crime, mystery, suspense




4 STARS 


Based on a true scandalizing case where 1930's Justice Joseph Crater seemed to disappear into thin air.  Ariel Lawhon uses fiction along with facts to weave an answer to Crater's disappearance.

We see Crater through the eyes of three women...his wife, Stella, who is the ultimate supportive trophy wife dressed in designer duds and lives her life according to society's rules...his mistress, Ritzi, a girl from a small town trying to become an actress but is only a chorus showgirl...his maid, Maria Simon, wife of a police detective trying to earn money to supplement their lives...each holds secrets of the man and of their own.

Thirty five years later Stella meets Detective Simon and finally offers him the truth..

Lawhon uses fiction along with facts to really make the story come alive. The writing and setting of the 1930s seemed quite realistic. It adds flavour to the setting and story.  The three women in this story each tell their story and Lawhon does a great job weaving their story together.  
Justice Joseph Crater

For more information about this case and what is fact from fiction please see wikipedia: 
//enwikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Force_Crater









love,
kris