Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Book Review: A November Bride

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Can a decades-long friendship marred by two romantic missteps ever lead to happily ever after?


Sadie McAllister’s clients know how lucky they are to have her: an ultra-fastidious personal chef who leaves behind a spotless kitchen and a week’s worth of mouth-watering meals.


Erik Davis, her best friend since middle school, is content to enjoy Sadie’s culinary skills too while maintaining their “friends only” status. Most of his energy is focused on his just-launched freelance business and casual dates that never come close to a commitment.


But when Sadie is offered a once-in-a-lifetime cooking job across country, Erik realizes maybe he’s taken his best friend for granted. Even more, he’s about to lose his only chance for lasting love.


How can Erik convince Sadie that the well-known adage “Marry your best friend” just might apply to them? With God’s help, can they both move past their assumptions about each other and their future? Should Sadie and Erik risk taking their relationship to the romantic point of no return? If they do, their decades-long friendship is as a good as done . . . unless it ends at the altar.

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The last book in this series! I'm so not ready for it to be over. I loved each and every novella, without fail. This one..obviously no exception. I loved Sadie and her ocd tendencies. They reminded me of myself during good times. Erik is a total doll and together, they're happily ever after. It's another sweet, fast read from this series and if you loved any of the others, you'll have no regrets picking this one up.

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Monday, December 29, 2014

Book Review: The Princess Spy

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Margaretha has always been a romantic, and hopes her newest suitor, Lord Claybrook, is destined to be her one true love. But then an injured man is brought to Hagenheim Castle, claiming to be an English lord who was attacked by Claybrook and left for dead. And only Margaretha---one of the few who speaks his language---understands the wild story. Margaretha finds herself unable to pass Colin's message along to her father, the duke, and convinces herself 'Lord Colin' is just an addled stranger. Then Colin retrieves an heirloom she lost in a well, and asks her to spy on Claybrook as repayment. Margaretha knows she could never be a spy---not only is she unable to keep anything secret, she's sure Colin is completely wrong about her potential betrothed. Though when Margaretha overhears Claybrook one day, she discovers her romantic notions may have been clouding her judgment about not only Colin but Claybrook as well. It is up to her to save her father and Hagenheim itself from Claybrook's wicked plot.

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While it appears that this is the 5th book in a series, this really does well as a standalone book. While it is supposed to be a retelling of The Frog Prince, I honestly never had that vibe. Of course, it's entirely possible that it's been too long since I read that particular fairy tale. What I did notice was a very well written book that is perfectly suitable for the teen and up set. There's adventure, a bit of romance and more than a bit of bravery involved as Colin and Margaretha race to save themselves, her family and her father's entire kingdom. In some ways, I felt as if it were a coming of age story as Margaretha finds her true self that was buried under all of the teasing that was done by her family. My suggestion? If you have an up and coming reader or if you yourself enjoy a twist on an old story, check out this series of books by Melanie Dickerson.

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Friday, December 26, 2014

Book Review: Aoléon: The Martian Girl

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Crop circles magically appear in Farmer Johnson’s field. A mysterious light sweeps over the night sky and awakens Farmer Johnson and Gilbert, the boy next door.

Curious, Gilbert ventures out to discover the source of the light and stumbles into a beautiful Martian girl sitting in a crop circle. Farmer Johnson also investigates the strange light, and thinking that Gilbert and Aoléon are vandals, he chases them. But they sprint to Aoléon’s saucer and escape only to be pursued by the U.S. Air Force.

Gilbert has never been attacked by swarms of giant killer robots. Never met strange aliens from other worlds. Never skyboarded across a megalopolis hidden deep inside an extinct volcano. Never trekked across a vast Martian desert. And never been eaten alive by a gigantic slor (well, almost never, unless you count Billy the fat bully at school).

And luckily, he has never ever confronted an evil ruler of Mars bent on conquering the Earth to steal its cows.

Never...until now!

This may be the adventure Gilbert always wished for.

If only he can survive.

Join Gilbert and Aoleon in this exciting middle-grade science fiction and fantasy adventure!

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Learning can be fun and this book is perfect for that. Filled with super fun illustrations and a story that keeps moving, you and your kids might just fall in love with this book series. Just don't tell them that they may be learning along the way! While the book says that it's geared towards middle-grade readers, I would put it more at an upper elementary age group. It's a bit simplistic for my middle schooler and some of the words would be too complex for the early elementary crowd. Since the book is about 94 pages long, I think that it would be perfect for those early chapter book readers. The story is fun and fast paced and before you know it, you'll be asking when the second installment comes out.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Book Review: Inside the Test Kitchen

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Tyler Florence does updated comfort food like no one else, but comfort food’s never been updated like this. Join him as he perfects, simplifies, and totally re-invents your favorite dishes in surprising, spectacular ways.

Have you ever wondered which cheese, exactly, will make the stretchiest, cheesiest mac and cheese? Or if you can make Hollandaise sauce without fear, a double boiler, or even a whisk? Or if, instead of having to choose between onion rings or French fries, you can make onion rings crusted with French fries? Tyler Florence has. These are the kinds of questions he obsesses over when he thinks about how to make cooking both easier and more exciting.

For years, while shuttling between his restaurants and TV shoots, Tyler's kept a notebook of ideas to push his own recipes out of their comfort zone. Now, for the first time in his career, he’s established a culinary lab where he can dive deep into the hows, whys, and why-nots of his cooking. He brings you Inside the Test Kitchen to see his experiments, the wins and the fails, and of course, the delicious, foolproof, and surprising recipes that come out of it.

Go from tricks to make basics brilliant—like saucing Double-Creamed Spinach with pureed spinach, or using boiling-hot brine to make a Super-Crisp Roast Chicken— to simpler ways to make the classics, like a nearly no-stir Time Saver Risotto and a Three-Minute Hollandaise, to pure reinvention, like Fronion Rings and almost-instant Modern Burger Buns.

Through these 120 recipes, Tyler invites you to question culinary sacred cows, push your skills to the next level, and make food more delicious than they would have thought possible.

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Continuing our "Almost Week of Cookbook Reviews," we have the new Tyler Florence cookbook. Laid out as his personal journal, I loved the look of this cookbook immediately. Inside, you see his own handwriting with jotted notes. On the outside, it includes a great band to keep your book closed or to mark your recipe. The recipes all scream yummy! I will, however, warn you that quite a few seemed a bit advanced for things my children might eat. I do intend on working them up to them though because I can't wait to eat more from this book! If I had one complaint, it's that the pages are standard (though heavy) paper and not glossy so if anything gets on them, they will get stained. There won't be anything preventing absorption. That's one minor complaint though for a cookbook that I'm dying to dive further into.


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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Book Review: One Pot

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The editors of Martha Stewart Living take 30-minute meals and everyday food to the next level with one-pot meals; more than 120 innovative, comfort-food recipes make use of just a pot, a sheet pan, a skillet, a slow cooker, or a pressure cooker for meals that are delicious, satisfying, and quick to clean up, too.

MSLO's latest cookbook features something everyone wants more of: all-in-one meals. Packed with 120 gorgeous images and recipes for one-pot wonders (including their food hack for One-Pan Pasta that went viral over the summer), this cookbook helps you get in and out of the kitchen with only one vessel to clean. From chicken and vegetables that roast on the same sheet pan to skillet lasagna, baked risotto, soups, and down-home casseroles, this is the volume that gives you the biggest flavor payoff with the smallest efforts. Here, too, are a dozen recipes for one-bowl desserts that can be ready when you are.

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Ahh Martha Stewart..the woman who it seems can do it all. When offered this cookbook, I couldn't say no. I knew the recipes would be delicious and heck, I love cookbooks. It was a win-win and it turns out I was right. This is a beautiful cookbook. Each section starts with tips and tricks on how to pick the best pan for than section. Every single recipe has a photo to go with it and while some didn't make me drool, others sure did. I can't wait until the boys are here and we can choose a recipe to try out.

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Book Review: A Kitchen in France

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With beguiling recipes and sumptuous photography, A Kitchen in France transports readers to the French countryside and marks the debut of a captivating new voice in cooking.

When Mimi Thorisson and her family moved from Paris to a small town in out-of-the-way Médoc, she did not quite know what was in store for them. She found wonderful ingredients—from local farmers and the neighboring woods—and, most important, time to cook. Her cookbook chronicles the family’s seasonal meals and life in an old farmhouse, all photographed by her husband, Oddur. Mimi’s convivial recipes—such as Roast Chicken with Herbs and Crème Fraîche, Cèpe and Parsley Tartlets, Winter Vegetable Cocotte, Apple Tart with Orange Flower Water, and Salted Butter Crème Caramel—will bring the warmth of rural France into your home.

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I think this is turning into a week of cookbooks! There's this one today and another one tomorrow. Then, I'm not quite sure..maybe we'll take the holiday off. I know that I can't wait to see my boys' faces when they open the few presents that they're getting this year. Anyway...this post is about a cookbook, so on to the review!

A Kitchen in France could almost be a coffee table book. It's filled with beautiful photos that were taken by the author's husband. The recipes are all straight forward and easy to follow. I was really concerned because I've heard that French cooking can be quite complicated, but I didn't find a single one that I couldn't pull off as a home cook. In a lot of ways, Mimi's storytelling gives you access to a part of life that few of us will ever get to experience. After all, how many of us have 7 children, a whole bunch of terriers and live in France? Not I and I for one, don't really want to. However, reading her stories about their lives made me smile and it encouraged me to find my own passions and to follow them instead of living in any sort of envy for what other people do or have in their lives.

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Book Review: I Choose You

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The path of true love was a bumpy one for Ava and Liam. He was her best friend’s ex-boyfriend, son of a local politician and the campus playboy. She was a hard-working, single-minded scholarship student with no time for romance. They were the couple least likely to succeed.


But almost two years later, love is better than ever. Liam’s pursuing his dream of being a college professor, and Ava’s the rising star at a local ad agency. But Liam still has one more goal: marrying the girl who changed his life.


Neither of them realizes that making it to the big day might be their greatest challenge yet. Between his parents’ acrimonious divorce and her family’s ideas of how to plan the perfect wedding, it’ll take the strength of their love—and a little help from their friends--to see them through to happily-ever-after.

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I am so glad that Tawdra came back to Ava, Liam, Jules and the gang. I loved her first two books involving them and to see what happened down the road made me smile. I will say that this book isn't for the prude in the family. These guys are still in lust and don't mind showing each other. I can't say enough good things about Tawdra and her writing. I've never read anything of hers that I didn't love and this book wasn't any different. I'll confess that I wouldn't mind her revisiting these guys five or ten years more down the road to see where life has taken them.

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Book Review: Corporate Cowboy

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Stuart Anderson had led a fascinating life for the past 90 years. He built Black Angus, America's #1 restaurant chain of the 1980s and ranched on a 26,000 acre spread where he raised cattle. His circle of friends has included Hollywood stars and corporate bigwigs. You'll discover his persona history is a lot like the man - larger than life! In addition, reader benefits: * Discover the ins and outs of profitable restaurant management as imparted by a master entrepreneur * Delight in "bone head" mistakes Anderson made early in his career like the case of the "melted chocolate" or "bitter pills for bulls." * Get a backstage look at celebrity friendships and news-making events. * Try some Black Angus favorite recipes and get some diabetic tips Won't you too join in the adventures of this "Corporate Cowboy's" successes and failures which are by turns sobering, insightful, laugh-out-loud funny and full of folksy wisdom.

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Let's start with an editor's perspective on this one. The layout looks like it was done by someone with no real background in book layout and the font is more suitable for those with eyesight issues versus normal eyes. That being said, I found this book to be an enjoyable read. It was a lot like sitting down with someone in their early 90s and just having a chat about the past. It jumps around a bit but there won't be a chapter without something in it to make you smile. On top of that, there are recipes at the end (yep, you know what a sucker for recipes I am by now) that all look super delicious and I can't wait to try them. By the time I finished the book, Stuart seemed like an old friend and one I would love to just sit by the fire and chat with.

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Book Blast: Clockwork Fantasy

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Clockwork Fantasy - A Steampunk collection has just been release in time for Christmas. It is sure to please the steampunk lover on your list. Buy on AMAZON Four Steampunk Fantasies in one collection:

CHRONICLES OF STEELE: RAVEN (complete series novel)
Human life has value. The poor living in the gutter are as valuable as the rich living in a manor. The scoundrel is no less valuable than the saint. Because of this, every life a reaper takes must be redeemed.

Raven has lived by this first tenet since she was trained by her father to become a reaper. But since his death, she’s been spending years redeeming the lives she’s taken. By her count, she’s even and it’s time for that life to end. If she settles down and becomes a wife, she might just feel human again. But on the way to the life she thinks she wants, the baron of New Haven asks her to complete a task which she cannot ignore… Just when Raven decides to give up on her life as an assassin, she’s pulled right back in.

HEARTLESS IN NEW ORLEANS (short story)
Helen's time has run out, and she must sneak into the graveyard to get the key she needs from her former master. It is a race against time and the ticking of her own heart.

ARMORED HEARTS
When a crippled young lord rescues a girl falling from a tree, it reveals a secret about himself and his mother's side of the family that could put him at the center of a war with beings he thought only existed in fairy tales. Tristan Gareth Smyth lived his entire life stuck at home at Waverly Park and left behind while his Grandfather makes trips to London, all because of his blasted wheelchair. Then an American heiress falls in his lap, literally, and he must find a way to keep her at a distance to protect not only his secret, but everyone around him from an assassin sent to kill him.


WINTER FAE ~The Short Story Prequel to ARMORED HEARTS (Steampunk Fantasy)~
Once upon a time, a fairy princess gave up her home, her family, and her birthright for the love of a human lord. But life outside has made her sick. When she returns to the land of fae with her son, she discovers things are not as they should be. Will she find the healing she so desperately seeks for herself and invalid son? Or will she be received with the coldness of winter?

Pauline’s Newsletter Sign Up http://eepurl.com/Oe2Fn

Pauline CreedenPauline Creeden

Pauline Creeden is a horse trainer from Virginia, but writing is her therapy. In her fiction, she creates worlds that are both familiar and strange, often pulling the veil between dimensions. She becomes the main character in each of her stories, and because she has ADD, she will get bored if she pretends to be one person for too long.
Follow Pauline Creeden: Website | Facebook | Twitter
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Book Review: Precious Children of India

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Children around the world are living in dire conditions without even the basic necessities of water, food, shelter, and love. They often suffer in silence, struggling simply to exist among the unexplainable and irreversible conditions in which they find themselves. Many are so young they do not even know what they lack the love of a family and the comfort of a home. Survival is their only concern as they grow up in a world of adults who seem to have forgotten them or are so busy with their own survival that they really do not have time to care. These first-person narratives are compiled from conversations with dozens of boys and girls in India. The stories put a voice to the suffering that they and thousands more like them endure every day. Children bravely share their stories of being caste bound, trafficked, beggars, witnesses to murder, unwanted, and of suffering great loss. Each child is a witness to his or her own story of survival. From their voices can be heard the desperate plea for someone to care, if not for themselves, then for those even less fortunate whose voices have not yet been heard."

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While simply written (after all, it is in the children's own words), this book is full of heart breaking imagery that with every page made me more thankful for what my boys and I do have. We might be poor and struggling, but we're not out picking through garbage looking for food or items that we can sell...and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Living where we do, perhaps we've grown a bit hard to the struggles of families elsewhere, but this book opened my eyes and there isn't a single person out there that I wouldn't suggest read it.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Book Review: Love at Mistletoe Inn

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They've helped orchestrate the perfect day for countless couples. Now twelve new couples will find themselves in the wedding spotlight in the second Year of Weddings novella collection.

An owner of a Victorian inn and charming rustic barn is used to creating the perfect setting for other couples nuptials. But when she falls head over heels for the new man in her life, will she be prepared to walk down that aisle?





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Ahhh! Another year in the bride series, except they're calling it the wedding series. I love love love love love these novellas and this one wasn't the exception to the rule. Hope had her reasons for how she was and what she did. So did John. Imagine both their surprise when their pasts came back to "haunt them". I loved these characters, especially Amity. I do hope that someone writes her story at some point. Honestly, if I keep reading, I'll just keep gushing. Just go get these.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Book Review: Little Things Long Remembered

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“Little Things Long Remembered,” updated for today’s time-strapped families, offers hundreds of ways to create treasured childhood rituals. Chock full of thoughtful and loving ideas that mean a lot—especially to children.

Chapters are divided into convenient timeframes: Gestures to strengthen family ties that take seconds, activities when you have five minutes, half an hour, or the entire weekend. Plus special circumstance suggestions for when your child is not feeling well or when you travel, for birthdays, major and minor holidays--including a set of Cardinal Rules to insure whatever you do is fun, builds character and celebrates your family.

Small parcels of time well spent shape long-lasting memories that are the backbone of family unity...and the glue that holds families together. Every single day offers fertile ground for creating positive recollections. Dig in to find “little things” that will inspire loving remembrances of growing up...and of you.

“Little Things...” is the perfect new baby, Mother or Father’s Day, or any day gift for parents and grandparents.

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As a busy stay-at-home mom who these days never feels like she's at home, I can sometimes get into a rut when it comes to making memories with my boys. So, I was completely thrilled when this book turned up and I started flipping through the pages. While a lot of what's in it is really geared towards younger children, there are things that you could do with teenagers in it. As my boys get older, it's become more and more important to me that we create memories together. Before I know it, they'll have moved out and started lives of their own and I want them to be able to look back and say, "Hey, remember that time we...." This book is full of ideas and would be great for anyone who spends time with children.

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Book Blast: Fusion

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 Authors: Shannon Mayer, Denise Grover Swank, Addison Moore, Shelly Crane, Amy Bartol, Eve Langlais, Stephanie Erickson, Jesi Lea Ryan, JC Andrijeski NEW from HIJINKS INK PUBLISHING….. FUSION: Nine outstanding fantasy stories merged together to create a bestselling reaction. An anthology designed for readers of fantasy . . . Paranormal, urban/contemporary fantasy, science fiction and dystopian fused together in one epic fantasy bundle. Make your way through fire and ice, love, lust and hate as NINE International Bestselling Authors come together to spin their tales of magic and destruction. This is a truly unique bundle that successfully blends all aspects of the Fantasy genre.  

Buy on Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo | Smashwords

    "ELEMENTALLY PRICELESS" an EXCLUSIVE Novella by SHANNON MAYER (International Bestselling Author) Urban Fantasy, Heat Rating: 2 "My name is Rylee, and I am a Tracker." A missing child, a deadly prophecy, and a world of unusual supernaturals slam together in this EXCLUSIVE novella from Shannon Mayer. Meet Rylee, a Tracker of missing children, and Lark, an Earth Elemental as they tackle a case neither could crack on their own dodging the world of the supernatural and FBI alike. Separate, they are deadly, strong, and determined. Together, they are unstoppable. Or so they think.

  "ETHEREAL (Celestra Series, Book 1)" by ADDISON MOORE (NY Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author) YA Paranormal Romance, Heat Rating: 2 The Celestra Series has been optioned for film by 20th CENTURY FOX Sixteen year-old, Skyla Messenger is a dead girl walking. With her life in upheaval, she finds refuge in Logan Oliver, a boy who shares her unique ability to read minds and has knowledge she desires. If only he would share. Skyla’s bloodlines to angelic beings may not be able to save her from those who want her dead, but Skyla is nowhere near done living --- and she’s not going down without a fight.

  "HERE (On the Otherside Series, Book 1)" by DENISE GROVER SWANK (NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author) YA Science Fiction, Heat Rating: 2 Sixteen year old Julia Phillips buries herself in guilt after killing her best friend in a car accident. But guilt can’t explain how she can suddenly draw, has false memories of the accident and how a bracelet engraved with her name ended at the scene. Suddenly, Evan Whittaker is interested in her and her life. Why he was missing for two days and returns wearing a pendant she’s been drawing for months leads the two on a journey to find out how Monica is still alive and just where Even is really from.

  "INESCAPABLE (The Premonition Series, Book 1)" by AMY BARTOL (International Bestselling Author) YA Paranormal Romance, Heat Rating: 2 I’m Evie and this was to be the making of me-my first year of college. I’d hoped that once I’d arrived at Crestwood, the nightmare that I’ve been having would go away. It hasn’t. At 17, I may be inexperienced, but I’m sane. When Reed is near, however, nothing makes any sense. He’s not what he seems to be…and neither am I. I’m afraid that the nightmare my dream is foretelling is…inescapable.

  "THE CURE” by STEPHANIE ERICKSON (Bestselling Author) YA Dystopian, Heat Rating: 1 “One life will make the difference.” Macey Holsinger has heard that phrase her whole life, in the name of fighting a disease that has claimed so many lives. How much will she be willing to sacrifice in the name of the cure?

  "UPRISING (A Collide Novel, Book 2)" by SHELLY CRANE (NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author) YA Science Fiction, Heat Rating: 2 Sherry and Merrick come face to face with old friends and new enemies in this sequel to Collide. When a little girl is found, things change for everyone and loyalties will be tested. New romances, drama and rivalries may upset the delicate balance they established while transformations on both sides of good and evil will arise as the series continues.

  "ARCADIA’S GIFT (Arcadia Series, Book 1)" by JESI LEA RYAN (Bestselling Author) YA Paranormal, Heat Rating: 2 When teenager Arcadia Day wakes in a hospital after what can only be described as a psychic episode, she finds her family in tatters. As her home life crumbles and her emotional control slips away, she begins to suspect that her first psychic experience was just the beginning.

  "BIRTH (Allie’s War, Early Years)” by J.C. Andrijeski (Bestselling Author) Contemporary Fantasy, Heat Rating: 4 High in mountain caves, surrounded by kind-hearted monks, the shadow of the Rooks hangs over Revik’s head, a constant reminder of the dark warrior he used to be. When strange, militant Seers appear, asking for his help, his first impulse is to say no...until he learns it is Kali who needs saving… the one person he cannot refuse.

  "WICKEDEST WITCH” by EVE LANGLAIS (New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author) Paranormal Romance, Heat Rating: 4 Evangeline is not a very nice witch, and she’s not afraid to show it. She lands a job where she is forced to work with a rude, cocky and totally unsuitable shifter. Despite it all, she can’t help craving his touch. When Ryker is partnered with the witch, he does everything he can to fight her allure. And fails. Vampires, a wedding from hell, and a cackling boss make this an action packed and humorous romance to remember.  

About the authors:

Shannon Mayer: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShannonMayerAuthor Website: http://www.shannonmayer.com/ Newsletter Sign Up: http://eepurl.com/CNe8T Author Bio: Shannon Mayer lives in the southwestern tip of Canada with her husband, dog, cats, horse, and cows. When not writing she spends her time staring at immense amounts of rain, herding old people (similar to herding cats) and attempting to stay out of trouble. Especially that last is difficult for her. She is the author of the The Rylee Adamson Novels, The Nevermore Trilogy, A Celtic Legacy series and several contemporary romances. Please visit her website at http://www.shannonmayer.com for more information on her novels.

  Addison Moore: Website: http://addisonmoorewrites.blogspot.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Addison-Moore/140192649382294 Newsletter Sign Up: http://blogspot.us6.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=75b60ef733&id=b8bbf0dd80 Author Bio: Addison Moore is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author who writes contemporary and paranormal romance. Her work has been featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine. Previously she worked as a therapist on a locked psychiatric unit for nearly a decade. She resides on the West Coast with her husband, four wonderful children, and two dogs where she eats too much chocolate and stays up way too late. When she's not writing, she's reading. Addison’s Celestra Series has been optioned for film by 20th Century Fox.

  Denise Grover Swank: Website: www.denisegroverswank.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/deniseswank Newsletter Sign Up: http://eepurl.com/j9OQj Author Bio: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Denise Grover Swank was born in Kansas City, Missouri and lived in the area until she was nineteen. Then she became a nomadic gypsy, living in five cities, four states and ten houses over the course of ten years before she moved back to her roots. She speaks English and smattering of Spanish and Chinese which she learned through an intensive Nick Jr. immersion period. Her hobbies include witty Facebook comments (in own her mind) and dancing in her kitchen with her children. (Quite badly if you believe her offspring.) Hidden talents include the gift of justification and the ability to drink massive amounts of caffeine and still fall asleep within two minutes. Her lack of the sense of smell allows her to perform many unspeakable tasks. She has six children and hasn't lost her sanity. Or so she leads you to believe. You can find out more about Denise at www.denisegroverswank.com or email her at DeniseGroverSwank@gmail.com.

  Amy Bartol: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoramyabartol Website: http://www.amyabartol.com/ Author Bio: Amy A. Bartol is the award-winning and bestselling author of the Premonition Series, which includes: Inescapable, Intuition, Indebted, Incendiary and Iniquity. She has also written the Kricket Series, which includes: Under Different Stars, Sea of Stars, and Darken the Stars. She lives in Michigan with her husband and two sons. Visit her at her website: http://www.amyabartol.com

  Stephanie Erickson: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stephmerickson Website: http://www.stephanieericksonbooks.com/ Newsletter Sign Up: http://www.stephanieericksonbooks.com/thanks-for-reading/ Author Bio: Stephanie Erickson has always had a passion for the written word. She pursued her love of literature at Flagler College, in St. Augustine, FL, where she graduated with a BA in English Literature. She has received several honors in her writing career, including recognition in the 72nd Annual Writer's Digest Competition. After graduation, she married and followed her husband in pursuit of his dream. The Cure and The Blackout were written to reignite Stephanie's passion, when she found the time. Now that he is settled in his career, it's her turn to devote more time and energy into writing. Unseen, released in November, is her first book since she started writing full time. Stephanie has three projects planned for 2015. Her next release is well underway and is slated for a March, 2015 publication date, with the sequel to Unseen—Unforgiven—slated for release in July. Stephanie, of course, loves to read and write. She also enjoys living on the beach on Florida's Treasure Coast. Most of all, she and her husband are head over heels in love with their baby girl.

  Shelly Crane: Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/shellycranefanpage Website : http://shellycrane.blogspot.com/ Author Bio: Shelly is a NEW YORK TIMES & USA TODAY bestselling author from a small town in Georgia and loves everything about the south. She is wife to a fantastical husband and stay-at-home mom to two boisterous and mischievous boys who keep her on her toes. She hoards paperbacks, devours sweet tea, searches year-round for candy corn, and loves to spend time with her family and friends, go out to eat at new restaurants, site-see in the new areas they travel to, listen to music, and, of course, loves to read, but doesn’t have much time to these days with all the characters filling her head begging to come out. Her own books happen by accident and she revels in the writing and imagination process. She doesn't go anywhere without her notepad for fear of an idea creeping up and not being able to write it down immediately, even in the middle of the night, where her best ideas are born.

  Jesi Lea Ryan: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jesi-Lea-Ryan/152086598147945 Website: http://www.jesilea.com/ Newsletter Sign Up: http://jesilea.us8.list-manage2.com/subscribe?u=f64bf4e1a803d3df961f0a6da&id=d5961348b5 Author Bio: Jesi Lea Ryan grew up in the Mississippi River town of Dubuque, IA. She holds bachelor degrees in creative writing and literature and a masters degree in business. She considers herself a well-rounded nerd who can spend hours on the internet researching things like British history, anthropology of ancient people, geography of random parts of the world, bad tattoos and the paranormal. She currently lives in Madison, WI with her husband and two exceptionally naughty kitties.

  JC Andrijeski: JC’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/J.C.Andrijeski JC’s newsletter sign up link: http://tinyurl.com/JCAndrijeski JC’s Website: http://jcandrijeski.com Author Bio: JC Andrijeski writes urban fantasy, dystopian and paranormal romance. Current works include the gritty, epic, urban fantasy series, Allie’s War, which follows Allie Taylor and her antihero partner, Revik, in their attempts to save the world from a dark, psychic force bent on controlling Earth. She also has a new adult dystopian series, Alien Apocalypse about Jet Tetsuo, survivor and slave under alien conquerors, and the Gate Shifter series, about a shape-shifting alien and a tough-girl PI. She also writes crime fiction, children’s and some literary under different names, although her first love will always be of the supernatural, especially when it involves kick-ass superpowers and people fighting for the light and against their own inner demons. JC currently lives and writes full time in Bangkok, Thailand, although she tends to get itchy feet on a fairly regular basis, so can’t quite commit to that as a final resting place...

  Eve Langlais: Website: http://www.EveLanglais.com/ Newsletter sign up: http://www.evelanglais.com/newrelease Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eve.langlais.98 Author Bio: Hello, my name is Eve and I am a Canadian author who pens steamy romance--usually with shapeshifters, cyborgs or aliens lol. I love to write, and while I don't always know what my mind is going to come up with next, I can promise it will be fun, probably humorous, and most of all romantic because I love a happily ever after. I look forward to seeing you again, whether online or between the pages of a book.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Book Review: Magnolia Market

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Fresh starts aren t nearly as glamorous as they appear. And love isn t any easier the second time around.

Avery Broussard was savoring her long-dormant optimism. It was the first anniversary of her husband s death, and she was fi nally going to buy the dress boutique from her former mother-in-law. After a year of saving, the deal was nearly done. Avery was about to get her life back.

But every deal in Samford, Louisiana, can change at the whim of a Broussard. After being unceremoniously ejected from the very boutique she planned to buy the boutique she herself had rescued from ruin she becomes a woman without a future . . . suddenly at war with her late husband s family.

When carpenter T. J. Aillet begins working for the Broussards doing manual labor, he overhears enough to know that Avery is being victimized. Soon enough, T. J. is lassoed into the squabble by his family connections, his good heart . . . and the undeniable attraction he feels toward Avery.

But the Aillets are no strangers to Samford society and T. J. knows what happens when you cross the Broussards. Could these two misfits ever make a start together? Or will the pressures of Samford society pull them apart before they even get a chance to try?"

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Another late night read when I couldn't fall asleep. As usual, I'd planned on only reading a chapter or two and yet didn't close it until I'd finished the last page. While the second book in a series, this book can easily stand on its own. I hadn't read the first book and it didn't make a lick of difference. The characters are well developed and the story keeps moving right along. I'm now wishing that I'd had a chance to read the first book in this series because I'm sure hoping that there's a third. If you're looking for a nice, easy read about small town life and "high" society, I think that you'll enjoy this book, especially if you enjoy underdogs.

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Book Review: 365 Weird Criminal Law Stories

8:41 AM 0 Comments
This volume of Professor Birdsong’s Weird Criminal Law Stories is written just for fun and enjoyment. This time around he brings you his “365” Weird Criminal Law: Stories for Every Day of the Year. He hopes it will bring you laughs all year long.

Professor Birdsong has been involved in serious criminal law work over the years as a federal prosecutor, a defense attorney, and a law professor, However, he knows that it is good to get a good laugh at least once every day. That is why several years ago he began to collect and edit from the wire services and news the types of weird and funny criminal law stories that appear in this volume.

Professor Leonard Birdsong lives in Orlando, Florida where he teaches Criminal Law, White Collar Crime, Evidence, and Immigration Law. He has written many scholarly legal pieces since joining the legal academy.
Professor Birdsong writes in the areas of the Criminal Law, Death Penalty Law, Evidence, and Refugee Law. A number of U.S. courts have cited Professor Birdsong’s scholarly pieces in their opinions: including the state Supreme Courts of Idaho, Illinois, New Jersey and Utah.

This work that you have purchased is not one of those scholarly pieces!

You may find other volumes of Professor Birdsong’s Weird Criminal Law Stories at Amazon.com, or by going to his website: Leonard Birdsong.com.

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Professor Birdsong’s Weird 365: Weird Criminal Law Stories for Every day of the Year365 weird criminal  banner This time the professor uses his expertise and experience in criminal law to bring forth his “365,” weird criminal law stories for each day of the year. This is his funniest volume of criminal law stories mostly from around the States to date. This book covers more than a lot of silly and unlawful conduct one could imagine. Full of his witty “Birdsong” commentary and observations the book is sure to deliver some great laughs. There’s a story about the 54-year-old man who attempts to perform an exorcism on his 80-year-old girlfriend to get the devil out of her; a story about a Czech man who uses a chain saw to slice his way back into a restaurant after closing time; a story of an alleged child pornographer caught downloading child porn on his phone while being question at police headquarters; a story about a Tennessee man who had a stroke who thought he was dying confessed to a 1977 murder – he didn’t die and now is facing a murder charge; a “drunken dummy” or two; and a wide variety of just plain, stupid criminals that make this anthology worth reading.

Buy on Amazon

 

birdsong-colorAbout the author:

Professor Birdsong received his J.D. from the Harvard Law School and his B.A. from Howard University. He teaches law in Orlando, Florida. After graduation from law school he worked four years at the law firm of Baker Hostetler. He then entered into a varied and distinguished career in government service. He served as a diplomat with the U.S. State Department with various postings in Nigeria, Germany and the Bahamas. Professor Birdsong later served as a federal prosecutor. After leaving government service, and before he began teaching, Professor Birdsong was in private law practice in Washington, D.C.

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If you love page a day calendars, shows about the world's dumbest criminals and quick reads, this book is for you. Each story is no more than a short paragraph and while not all are amusing, most will leave you shaking your head. I'm not sure if I should be horrified that so many of the ones just in January took place here in Michigan... I'm just going to tell myself that in every batch, there are a few odd shaped apples. Honestly though, this book will have you shaking your head, grinning and being tempted to read the entire month in one sitting. I found it hard to put down because I wanted to see what weird thing someone was going to do next. I think this would make a great stocking stuffer, white elephant gift or secret santa.

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Book Review: Death Fricasse

10:00 AM 0 Comments
Want a recipe for disaster? Take one thirty-something food columnist, living the high life as the youngest resident of a Florida retirement community in the house she inherited from her grandmother. Sprinkle with early-bird specials and nights of bingo.

Add one college professor-turned-novelist, seasoned heavily with deep, dark secrets sprung from a night of drunken fun that left him changed in ways he doesn't understand.

Toss in a dash of murder that rocks a quiet community.

And heat until neither one can deny their growing attraction to each other.

Best served hot with a side of wicked humor and a glass of Pinot Grigio.

Bon Appetit!

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Some of you may know that I'm a pretty big Tawdra Kandle fan. Her writing always pulls me in and I never stop before the last word on the last page. This has led to some seriously late nights, but I've never regretted one moment of it. Death Fricassee is no different. It's a great blend of romance, love, loyalty and paranormal. The characters are well written and though two of them appear in a previous book, this book really can stand on its own. Also, I'm happy to say that while this book is the first in a series, it doesn't end in a cliffhanger..it ends just right, leaving you wondering the answers to some of the mystery. The rest of this series is already on my mental wish list.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Book Review: The Publicist

8:38 AM 0 Comments
Welcome to the world of publishing. The ego has landed.

Can one woman change an age-old institution like publishing? Probably not, but Kate Mitchell sure wants to try. As a publicist with a large, respected New York publishing house, Kate finds herself at the mercy of a broken publishing system, books that don’t sell, and author egos that are often, well, as big as the island of Manhattan.

Enter the star Editor, MacDermott Ellis: Tall, handsome, charismatic, married, and ready to save the day. Then there’s Allan Lavigne, once a revered author--now as forgotten as last year's bestsellers and his nephew Nick: Tall, gorgeous, sweet, single and ready to sweep Kate off her feet. Kate wants to do the right thing but her hormones seem to be driving her decisions.

As Kate tries to navigate the landmine of publicity, over-the-top author expectations, and the careful dance of “I’m sorry, your book isn’t on the bestseller list this week,” she also finds authors who are painfully overlooked by a publisher wanting more sex, more celebrities, and more scandal.

The story only an insider could tell.

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I don't know the last time that I listened to an audio book, but in the name of expansion, I took this one on. What I found was a cleverly narrated story that I hated to turn off when I had to go or do other things. I will warn you that it ends rather abruptly, but it's a great set up for the second book in this series.  In this book, you'll find romance, attraction, some drama and some excitement, but be prepared to follow all of that right into the next book.  I don't want to give too much away since I'll be reviewing the print book next month, so stay tuned and you'll hear more about this one!

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I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts, comments, and opinions are my own.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Book Review: Make Comics Like the Pros

2:18 PM 1 Comments
A step-by-step guide to all aspects of comic book creation--from conceptualization to early drafts to marketing and promotion--written by two of the industry's most seasoned and successful pros.
Every aspiring comic book creator wants to know: what separates the beloved comics of major publishers like Marvel, DC, Valiant, and Image from all the rest? Fan-favorite comic book writers Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente reveal the secrets of comics' top talents in "Make Comics Like the Pros." The authors take readers step by step through the comics creation process from idea to finished work, and along the way offer examples and insights from their own careers as well as their collaborators'. Not only that, but Pak and Van Lente also join forces with Eisner Award-winning cartoonist Colleen Coover to produce an original comic inside the book! With its unprecedented level of insider access, "Make Comics Like the Pros" gives comic book hopefuls the tools they need to reach the next level of sequential arts stardom.

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 Ever wondered just how many people it takes to make a comic book and what all of those fine folks do? This could just be the perfect book for you. It covers everything and does it in such a way that is easy to follow along and learn a lot along the way. Throughout each section, folks in the industry tell you how they do their job and do it well. As someone who has a minor role within this industry (both as an editor and reviewer), it was a delight to see the full behind the scenes make up for any comic.

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Book Blast: The Metabolism Solution

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Are you ready to lose 1 pound a day? Have you tried every weight loss plan under the sun? Don’t give up in frustration; The Metabolism Solution will make it faster and easier. What makes The Metabolism Solution different? It will teach you how to safely harness the power of your metabolism to lose weight and melt belly fat fast. You will learn the right way to work out to boost your metabolism with the best part being seeing results the first day after your first 30-minute workout. You will learn how to address your weight loss and fitness issues from the inside out, allowing you to focus on what created the weight gain in the beginning and how to correct those issues. Do you love delicious food? You'll adore Lisa Lynn’s 100 irresistibly delicious fat blasting recipes. The Metabolism Solution is the perfect roadmap for not only transforming your body, but changing your whole life.


Author's Bio:

CELEBRITY FITNESS AND NUTRITION EXPERT LISA LYNN has devoted nearly three decades of her career to personal training, specializing in metabolic weight loss and performance nutrition. Coupled with her vast experience in the field of fitness and nutrition she has earned four educational certificates from the International Sports and Sciences Association’s Professional Division including: Certified Fitness Trainer, Specialist in Performance Nutrition, Fitness Therapy and Elite Trainer.

Lynn’s years of research in metabolic boosting and performance nutrition resulted in the development of herLeaner Lifestyle DVD Series, specifically designed to promote healthy fat loss by boosting the most sluggish and stubborn metabolisms. She is best known for her 13 years as MARTHA STEWART’s personal trainer who has said, “Lisa is the only trainer that made a difference.” Lynn is also a regular go-to nutrition and fitness expert on THE DR. OZ SHOW appearing in two of his highest rated episodes. Major media outlets frequently call upon her for her expertise in fitness and nutrition. Lynn maintains a diverse portfolio of clientele including professional bodybuilders, models, actors, CEOs and real-world people throughout the country.

Lisa just released her award winning book The Metabolism Solution that has helped thousands of people lose weight and reach their fitness goals. Available www.lynfit.com.

Connect with Lisa: Website  ~  Facebook  ~ Twitter  ~  Pinterest  ~  Youtube Channel


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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Book Review: The Bachelor

1:52 PM 0 Comments
In this sequel to The Bargain, Betsie Troyer is back home in her Amish community where she knows she belongs, free from the confusing Englisher way of life. She and Charley Yoder have made promises to each other, and her life is back on track--until Gerald Sullivan shows up with his young daughter, asking for Betsie's help. He’s on his way to find his estranged wife, and begs Betsie to take young Sheila in. When she agrees, Betsie's carefully planned life is shaken up again. Sheila's newfound faith is troubling to Charley--and his attraction to another girl is beginning to be a problem. But how can Betsie confront him when she is still trying to confront her own feelings about Sheila's brother, Michael? Keeping the peace between the Amish man she's always loved, a twelve-year-old Englisher girl, and a draft-dodging hippie is more than she ever thought she’d have to deal with in her simple, orderly life. Still, Betsie is convinced she can keep things from falling apart completely. Then during her best friend's wedding, tragedy strikes and her world is upended. She has to make a decision: does she love Charley or Michael . . . or is she craving a deeper love that only God can give? The compelling second novel of the Plain City Peace series, The Bachelor deftly weaves together the strands of a solid, simpler time with the turmoil of an era of change, revealing the strengths of both in its powerful narrative.

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I really enjoyed this book. The story moves at the perfect pace to keep you turning page after page after page. The characters are engaging and you can't help but love little Sheila especially. If I had one complaint it's that this is the second book in a series and while it works well as a standalone, there are many, many unanswered questions at the end so you or I will have to go get the next book to find out the answers. Personally, I'm going to be keeping my eyes open for it.

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Book Review: Liesl's Ocean Rescue

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Lisel’s Ocean Rescue by noted children’s author Barbara Krasner, recounts the story of Liesl Joseph, a 10 year old girl aboard the ill-fated MS St. Louis. On May 13, 1939, together with her parents and 937 other Jewish refugees they left Germany on the MS. St Louis attempting to seek temporary asylum in Cuba.

Accomplished artist Avi Katz has beautifully illustrated this age- appropriate, yet historically accurate story.

Liesl’s Ocean Rescue is a worthy and strong addition to Holocaust literature and curriculum at the elementary school level. The book provides an excellent bibliography of additional resources and will facilitate teaching of a difficult but necessary subject. The poignant and uplifting account should encourage our children to stand up for what they believe is right and to make a positive difference in the lives of those less fortunate.

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Liesl's Ocean Rescue speaks to a time when the world was in chaos and so many were just trying to survive. It's honestly a piece of history that I didn't know about until I picked up this book. The book, while an easy read, is geared more towards older children than younger. It tells Liesl's story in such a way that none of the more disturbing truths about that time come through so I promise that your child will not be traumatised, just a bit more knowledgeable. If I had any complaint about this book, I felt as if it were abrupt and would have worked better as a short chapter book than in the format that it's in. I did especially appreciate and enjoy the black and white art work that is throughout the book. I'm dubbing this one a great book for the history lover in all of us.
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Monday, December 8, 2014

Book Review: To Love a Cyborg

7:00 AM 1 Comments
Genetics,Corruption,Romance, and passion .
To Love a Cyborg is an action filled Blockbuster; a chilling book that will set the pulses racing.
It is 2065, No-one knows the true identity of Detective Chief Superintendent Ben Tobin or where he came from. His world turns into a nightmare with a spate of shocking homicides and abductions. Never encountering such evil before, Ben suspects they are ritual killings carried out by more than one killer. Determined to solve the sinister notes left with the bodies, he turns to American psychologist Lucy Roberts. She informs him genetic research could be involved. Working together they begin a passionate affair that turns into a nightmare. Can Lucy resolve her fears? Can she accept Ben?
The clock is ticking, as the crimes take them across the world, and out to the Asteroid Belt.
As Ben races to save the victims, Lucy disappears.
Fast paced and gritty, this is an electrifying read. A dark thriller that will take you into the night.

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Genetics, Corruption,Romance, and passion. To Love a Cyborg is an action filled Blockbuster; a chilling book that will set the pulses racing. This author’s work has reached the top 100 in her genre. approx. 300 pages It is 2065, No-one knows the true identity of Detective Chief Superintendent Ben Tobin or where he came from. His world turns into a nightmare with a spate of shocking homicides and abductions. Never encountering such evil before, Ben suspects they are ritual killings carried out by more than one killer. Determined to solve the sinister notes left with the bodies, he turns to American psychologist Lucy Roberts. She informs him genetic research could be involved. Working together they begin a passionate affair that turns into a nightmare. Can Lucy resolve her fears? Can she accept Ben? The clock is ticking, as the crimes take them across the world, and out to the Asteroid Belt. As Ben races to save the victims, Lucy disappears. Fast paced and gritty, this is an electrifying read. A dark thriller that will take you into the night. Sensual Level : Hot, Sexy and sensual for the mature reader.

Buy on Amazon US | Amazon UK

 

About the author:

katy My main loves are writing, painting and singing. I began work as a PA but to my joy was spotted by an agent in London and had an exciting career as a singer, meeting and singing with some wonderful people. Singing meant a lot of travelling both in the UK and abroad. At one time, I toured Germany and Turkey singing for the American troops, which was a fantastic experience. But then, my husband and I wanted a family, so I said good-bye to the singing career, although I did the occasional gig. Having children is such a precious time, and I would say to anyone, treasure it, it goes so quickly and before you know it, you’re waving them off to Uni or pursuing their own dreams and their own homes. I have always had a deep interest in psychology for various reasons, and especially the area of neurosis arising from abuse. Later, I was to study how we could use our body, mind and spirit to relieve pain and overcome some life-threatening diseases. One important thing here is, I always told my patients to continue with medical treatment along with the complementary and spiritual methods, for I believe medical research and medication is also a gift from God, Spirit or the Universe, as each of us wishes to name it. I have loved writing from a child and during the years of study, research and treating some wonderful people, whom I called my friends, I would write at night, mainly short stories, and reams of poetry. I wanted to learn how to write self-help books for my clients, so I took creative writing courses at university, which led to writing a novel. So self-help novels turned to fiction but even so, I hope the novels help the reader through their own challenges, as the characters experience love, loss, passion, jealousy, illness, joy and conflict, even the threat of death.

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I'm honestly not sure what to say about this book. For some reason, it just didn't click with me and no matter how hard I try, I can't quite figure out why. The writing was good, the characters were well flushed out and the story moved at a good pace. Nope. I still can't put my finger on what it was that didn't work for me. I'm pretty sure this is the vaguest, most useless review I've ever written, but bear with me and hopefully we'll get through it together.

As I said, the characters are well flushed out. As a cyborg, Ben really seems more human than machine but that's really the point behind this whole book. I'm not going to spoil it for you, just say that you'll see if you read it. Lucy is an interesting character and her love for her pets made me smile more than once. Together, well that's one interesting combination...

The story starts a bit slow but quickly picks up pace. I did find that had a tough time keeping track of the various victims and which one was which. I did like the parts where they interacted with one another and I felt like that side of things was missing towards the end of the book. It's almost as if their perspective was forgotten and now that I think about it, we never did find out what happened to all of them. I also would have liked to have seen more of the viewpoint of the bad guys. I know that the whole point was for the police to figure out who was behind these crimes, but the work that the bad guys were doing was really interesting and you only get glimpses of it at the end.

All in all, I'm going to say this is a pretty good read for anyone interested in police drama, sci-fi and futuristic books with a bit of romance thrown in.

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