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The Light Who Shines (Bluebell Kildare Series Book 1)
The Light Who Shines (Bluebell Kildare Series Book 1)
Price: $4.99

3.0 out of 5 stars The Light Who Shines by Lilo Abernathy, December 28, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I have mixed feelings about this urban fantasy. While I liked the overall story, I wasn't a big fan of the style in which it was told. And that was the key problem. The story was being told to the reader instead of being shown. This style made it hard to identify with the characters because it all seemed impersonal. This story is mainly told through Blue's eyes as she investigates the death of a gifted teenager who had been held hostage and tortured. With Blue's Gift of empathy she is a valuable asset to Supernatural Investigation Bureau, but she puts herself at risk in an effort to prove her worth to her team. As Blue's past is unveiled, to both herself and us, it becomes clear that there is more going on than the story at hand.

It is important to note under the chapter headings the POV (point of view) changes are announced along with the date. Some days were several chapters long. I found it hard to follow the dates or day changes. Occasionally the POV changed to Jack's point-of-view, which helped clarify why he responded to Blue the way he did at times. Jack is not only Blue's boss, he is her guardian (which is unbeknownst to Blue) and he is unsure how much of the prophecy surrounding the Grimoire he should share with Blue. He also feels like he doesn't deserve Blue's affections, despite his overwhelming desire for her, because his soul is tainted with Lilith's dark mark.

I really liked Ms. Abernathy's inclusion of Varg, the mysterious wolf that appears when Blue is attacked in the alley. I am a bit partial to wolves and am anxious to learn more of his story. He turned out to be an excellent guardian for Blue. However, I was puzzled when Varg ran to greet the chief of police in the park. It was completely out of character for the wolf and this action was used to force the plot along a certain path of the author's choosing and didn't ring true. I had this reaction with a couple other spots in the story concerning Blue's actions as well.

Bottom line, I think this series has promise. I would like to see the author improve the flow of the story and remain true to her characters personalities by allowing them to lead the story. I felt like the supporting characters were strong and well developed. Maud was a hoot, everyone needs a friend like her, and Alexis was an interesting friend to have around. She was a good emotional support system for Blue to have. I think both friends will play vital roles in the future of this series.

FYI: The Light Who Shines is the first book in the Bluebell Kildare Series.
It contains explicit sex, foul adult language, and graphic violence.

Format/Typo Issues: I found no significant issues with proofing or formatting.
**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy.** December 20, 2014

Lucien's Mate (Soul Mates Book 1)
Lucien's Mate (Soul Mates Book 1)
Price: $0.00

3.0 out of 5 stars Lucien's Mate (Soul Mates Book 1) by Diana Persaud, December 28, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This story had an interesting premise, one a little different from other shifter books I have read. I enjoyed reading both points of view in this novella. Traditionally we get this with regular romance books, not so much with fantasy stories that contain romantic elements. Lucien is not your typical Alpha male either. I liked that he was willing to change his outlook on the accepted norms of the pack when Lanie challenged him. I understood that he was only willing to do so to ingratiate himself with Lanie so she would accept him as her mate. But still, he was willing to listen and consider her feelings on the matter.

Lanie is a human, her brother was a turned werewolf and has since mated, so she was vaguely aware. She is a head-strong feminist, out-spoken, and not afraid to challenge conventions with Lucien or any other werewolves. However, she is totally naïve about pack politics. Ms. Persaud has developed her own unique werewolf existence and rules in this story which I appreciated. I enjoyed reading about her world and it wasn't all about sex. While mating between a werewolf and a human in other stories may not be all that uncommon, it is forbidden in this world. Lanie fears Lucien's attention to her is only a novelty and the desire to have sex with a human, so she runs. Lucien senses that Lanie is his mate and is trying to seduce her with words but when she runs, well he did give her fair warning that his wolf likes the chase. So let the games begin, except Lucien is not playing games.

As I said earlier this novella has an interesting premise but I found problems in the execution of the story. What dialogue there is in this story is good, however there is a lot of telling not showing. There were also a lot of repeated lines or facts that I found annoying. I do believe the story would benefit from additional editing to streamline and tighten up the prose.

FYI: This erotic novella contains graphic language and graphic sex that may be unsuitable for some tastes.

Format/Typo Issues: I found no proofing issues.
**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy.** December 13, 2014

Seasons of the Fool
Seasons of the Fool
Price: $0.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seasons of the Fool by Lynne Cantwell, December 19, 2014
I generally lean away from Women's Fiction stories, they tend to be a little too wordy for their own good. However, I have read most of Ms. Cantwell's fantasy novels and she quickly became one of my favorite authors. I love the way she captures the spirit of those she writes about in her books. So I decided to read Seasons of the Fool despite the genre listing.

Julia is in the middle of a crisis and searching for answers to why she always seems to choose the wrong men to love. She decides to move back into her grandparent's summer cottage near Lake Michigan, which she now owns, to find peace and heal her soul. The elderly ladies who live down the lane feel a little responsible for her situation and are determined to set things right. This story weaves Magical Realism into Julia's dilemmas', was it fate or freewill that lead to her choices in life?

What I loved most about this story was the fact that Julia wants to become a writer. Ms. Cantwell exposed her own writer's soul developing Julia, it all felt very personal and rang true. The way the subplots were woven into the overall arc of the story was handled expertly and never lagged. David's journey was more heart-wrenching but equally as complex as Julia's journey. The philosophical aspects and the turning of the seasons as the story moves forward all hold spiritual significance as the story unfolds. I think this is a story you could re-read and see different lessons each time depending on where you are in your own life's journey.

I enjoyed my time in Michiana, perhaps Ms. Cantwell will take us back there some day for more journeys through the labyrinth. My mind spins with a few possibilities. :)

Format/Typo Issues: I read an Advanced Readers Copy but came across no significant editing issues.
**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy.** December 12, 2014

Blood Diva
Blood Diva
Price: $3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Blood Diva by VM Gautier, December 13, 2014
This review is from: Blood Diva (Kindle Edition)
This vampire story grabbed me by the throat and wouldn't let go from the very beginning. Alphonsine Duplessis/Camille St. Valois, as she was now known in present day New York City society, had a fascinating history as a beautiful and charming Parisian courtesan from a very early age. In her first life, during the mid-1800s, she was known as Marie Duplessis and lucky enough to have a patron who saw to her education that led her to more aristocratic and artistic suitors. Unfortunately, she contracted consumption and was on her deathbed when she met Anton, who turned her into a god. He claimed beauty such as hers was a gift to the world and he only wished to preserve it.

The problem was she couldn't get away from her courtesan lifestyle, it was who she was, and the high sexuality of a vampiric life didn't help in that regard. Problems also developed when Camille was questioned during a murder investigation after being identified with the victim from surveillance video in a hotel lobby. Tenacious New York City cops, Cara O'Brien and Jaime Izaguirre, felt she was involved but couldn't prove it. To top this trifecta off Camille fell in love with the highly gifted and handsome human, Dashiell Alexander. I had no problem shoving believability out the window with VM Gautier's picturesque prose.

I was a little concerned that I might not be able to keep up with the opera references. However, I had no problem and actually enjoyed learning about the stories and characters behind the operas. I applaud the way they were woven into the storyline. I found Blood Diva captivating and felt transported into the scenes. I found Camille's dilemmas were complex and emotional. The supporting characters were all well developed and I found myself mesmerized by the dialogue as Camille was trying to work through her issues and find her purpose for being.

This story was a unique look at high society lifestyles in this age of surveillance cameras and other high-tech devices available to today's criminals and law enforcement agencies. I also liked the question being asked of how much longer vampires could go undetected by a modern society with these devices so readily available. I was satisfied with the ending and found it apropos. I would recommend this story to anyone who appreciates a skillfully told story with discernible moral issues.

FYI: This book contains adult language and graphic sexual content that some readers may find objectionable.

Format/Typo Issues: Small number of proofing errors.
**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy.** December 8, 2014

The Great Brownie Taste-off (The Yolanda's Yummery Series Book 1)
The Great Brownie Taste-off (The Yolanda's Yummery Series Book 1)
Price: $0.00

3.0 out of 5 stars The Great Brownie Taste-off by Lisa Maliga, December 13, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I had a problem getting drawn into this story. Ms. Maliga spent way too much time describing scenes, apparel, and what street or route Yolanda took to work, her friend's house, or back home again. None of this moved the story forward and seemed to be added for word count value alone. Yolanda's boyfriend Zac was an egotistical slump who cared more about himself than anyone else. He holds himself in high regard being the golf pro at Green Palms Mini Golf Course. Yep, you got it. He is the pro at a putt-putt golf course. I found his arrogance off-putting and Yolanda's tolerance of his attitude did not sit well with me. This is not the kind of role-model I like to promote in books.

Yolanda could have been an interesting person if she had shown some emotion or a little backbone. She has a knack for baking and dreams of opening a bakery of her own. It will be called Yolanda's Yummery because everything she bakes is yummy. The Brownie Taste Off gains her some notoriety and temporarily helps the cat shelter. There is more going on than meets the eye with Whisker, Yolanda's newest cat that she adopted from the shelter. This storyline could develop into something bringing in an element of fantasy to the tale.

Yolanda's brownie recipe is included at the end of the story, however there is one secret ingredient that is withheld. It seems to be a "magical" something that was left by her grandmother in the back of the spice cabinet.

Format/Typo Issues: I found no significant proofing errors.
**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy.** December 4, 2014

The Divorced Not Dead Workshop
The Divorced Not Dead Workshop
Price: $2.99

3.0 out of 5 stars The Divorced Not Dead Workshop by CeCe Osgood, December 8, 2014
Best friends Dorsey Bing, Pilar, and Mimi are all likable and realistic characters. Dorsey hits on an idea to "desuckify" men by teaching them how to not be jerks with a dating workshop. Pilar, being an event planner, jumps on the idea. Mimi is the quiet mysterious friend who goes along for support. When Pilar books the workshop in the same week as a previously planned wedding cruise, the workshop is moved to a cruise ship going to Cabo San Lucas. Dorsey's stepfather entertains on the ship and is planning to wed Audrey, Theo's aunt by marriage, in Cabo.

When Pilar ends up missing the ship, Dorsey has no choice but to step-up and run the workshop without Pilar's notes or game plan. Dorsey is stressed, ill prepared, and insecure, but rises to the challenge in order to save Pilar's reputation. The participants in the workshop are a small group of diverse, well realized characters that consist of both men and women who are having trouble sustaining relationships after their divorces. At first the workshop felt like I was reading a self-help book until the characters started to get involved with the exercises of changing their expectations when meeting new people. It was entertaining watching the different personalities learn to converse and lower the walls each had built around themselves as they each grew more confident.

The story is told through Dorsey. She is smart, funny, kind, and a bit too impulsive for her own good. She ends up learning a lot about herself during her Divorced Not Dead Workshop. Unfortunately, I came across several proofing errors that need further attention. These range from missing words or quote marks to extra words scattered throughout the story. This is a light, surprisingly insightful, entertaining read with several humorous elements that is well worth investing in another round of proofreading.

Format/Typo Issues: I found a significant number of proofing errors throughout this story.
**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy.** November 29, 2014
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Hoodoo Money (The Stolen Nickel Series Book 1)
Hoodoo Money (The Stolen Nickel Series Book 1)
Price: $2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Hoodoo Money by Sharon Cupp Pennington, December 1, 2014
What a twisted web of intrigue Ms. Pennington weaves in this story told through different points of view. Most of the story centers on Braeden McKay, an idealistic children's author, who had researched a local murder story several years earlier. She stored all of her pictures and interviews away for safe keeping because something didn't feel right about it.

While accompanying her childhood friend, super model Angeline St. Cyr, on a shoot in New Orleans, Braeden gets mugged. Sanderson Montgomery is not the officer working her case but recognizes who she is and is inadvertently drawn to her. He is a smart detective, as he learns more about Braeden and her history he starts making connections that may be relevant to the murder case she researched years ago. In the meantime Cooper, Angeline's hired driver for the week, decides to take her out of town for a little R&R, and to avoid reporters swarming the hotel since Braeden's mugging. Angeline finds Cooper quite charming and despite their diverse backgrounds they are both attracted to each other However, he has a colorful history of his own, which the author has woven quite skillfully. It is a tangled web of deceit, murder, and disaster deluxe.

When tragedy strikes Braeden blames herself for not insisting that Angeline return the nickel souvenir she lifted off the gravestone of a Hoodoo woman after a photo shoot in the New Orleans graveyard. Grief stricken Braeden returns home to Texas. As murders start piling up in connection to Braeden's mugging, Sanderson fears for her safety and finds an excuse to follow her to Galveston. More mysterious happenings around Braeden's home cause Sanderson to start working with the local police. Most of the main characters are well written and believable. The plot was suspenseful and well-paced as elements from Cooper's past become germane to Braeden's cases in both New Orleans and Galveston. I had a small problem stretching my believability with one character and how things played out in the end. Then after the climactic scene the next chapter starts eight months later? ~sigh~ I have to say I was disappointed about this lapse of time. I felt like I didn't get to savor the outcome before moving on.

FYI: This is book 1 of The Stolen Nickel Series, book 2 is also available and titled Mangroves and Monsters.

Format/Typo Issues: I came across a few small proofing issues.
**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy.** November 23, 2014

Blue Creek Bachelor
Blue Creek Bachelor
Price: $2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Blue Creek Bachelor by Joanne Hill, December 1, 2014
Jilly O'Conner has been on the run for a year now. Trying to protect her young son, Joel, from the man she believes caused the car accident that killed her husband a year ago. Joel was in the car with his father when it was forced off the road but has no memory of the accident. He now sleep walks and suffers night terrors, which the doctors believe are his memories trying to resurface. Jilly moved from the east coast to the small rural town of Blue Creek, Wyoming hoping she had covered her tracks well enough. When an office manager's job with Clay Matheson, a local veterinarian/rancher, becomes available she applies for the job. Employment includes a small cabin on the ranch not far from the main house.

The characters are well developed, realistic, and likable. Flo, the housekeeper, was entertaining and a bit eccentric. You couldn't help but like her, she was a no nonsense type of character and very outspoken. The hired ranch hands John and Mitch live in the bunkhouse, so they are always close by. John Floyd was friendly and good natured. Mitch Callaghan was always cranky and not pleased that the boss had hired a city slicker and with a kid to boot.

The plot moved at a good pace as we learned more about Clay's past and why he shielded his heart. He knows Jilly is hiding something about her past and feels betrayed and lied to when she won't confide in him. The sexual tension is palatable and I wanted more. I like my romances a little spicy. Tension rises when Joel goes missing and the whole town gets in on the search to locate him. The situation is realistic and I felt invested in the outcome.

This is a quick easy read you are sure to enjoy.

FYI: Ms. Hill, being from New Zealand, uses UK/NZ/Australian spelling conventions.

Format/Typo Issues: I found a small number of proofing issues. One of which was a wrong character name. Poor Stacey was called Tracey.
**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy.** November 25, 2014

The Christmas Honeymoon (A Holiday Luv Novella)
The Christmas Honeymoon (A Holiday Luv Novella)
Price: $0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Christmas Honeymoon by Alicia Street, November 23, 2014
I needed something short and sweet after my last suspenseful read so I picked up this novella, Christmas Honeymoon. I liked Serena right away and couldn't wait to read more about her story. She was personable and didn't shy away from Damien's Grinchy attitude about Christmas, but challenged him on it. Damien was an interesting character that developed great depth as the story went on. He became my favorite character in the book. I love that he wasn't quite sure what attracted him to Serena at first. However, it became clear they both had qualities that the other needed to learn from each other.

This story was an enjoyable journey as Serena learns she has the courage to face her fears as Damien points out how she has been courageous in other aspects of her life. Serena returns the favor by giving him new memories for the Christmas season that has always been full of painful memories from the past. This doesn't eliminate the pain but allows him to move forward and make new memories to focus on in the future. Serena and Damien complimented each other well and I enjoyed my time with them.

Format/Typo Issues: I found no significant editing or formatting errors.
**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy.** November 16, 2014

The Wedding Promise (The Bridesmaids Series Book 1)
The Wedding Promise (The Bridesmaids Series Book 1)
Price: $0.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wedding Promise by Melinda Curtis, November 18, 2014
Tiffany Bonander is in the middle of an Ecuadorian rainforest in her pink rain slicker to try to reestablish her grandfather's abandoned cocoa plantation. If her daddy had made a few sound management decisions and squandered less money perhaps he wouldn't have run the family chocolate business into the ground and she wouldn't have had to come to Ecuador at all. Rejuvenating the family's cocoa fields with a new strain of cocoa would save the family chocolate business and Tiff is convinced she can manage this feat despite her reputation as a spoiled heiress.

Caught in a torrential downpour trying to get back to the convent with a wheelbarrow full of cocoa beans she runs into Jackson, while trying to evade a huge snake. Unfortunately, Jax is blinded by a PSTD flashback brought on by the thunder and lightning from the storm. Refusing to kill anything ever again he fires a warning shot to frighten the huge snake away, from that point on Tiff nicknames him Tree-Hugger and Jax gives her the name Snake Bait.

This is a light-hearted story as two damaged souls try to salvage what is left of themselves and start a new life by leaving behind old emotional baggage. They both know they have something to prove to themselves before they can successfully move forward. The plot has a serious theme and moves forward in a realistic fashion. The dialogue is fun and entertaining and the three Sister Marys added their own special touch to the mix. Ms. Curtis was able to carry off these three nuns without any confusion by their defining descriptions. I think this is a great start to a new set of stories including Tiffany and Jackson because even if Tiff is able to establish herself as a strong business woman she still has the hurtle of getting past five fiancés in four years to get over. I think fun times are ahead.

FYI: This story is included in Sweet Christmas Kisses: Fourteen Sweet Christmas Romances bundle under the title Christmas Promise.

Format/Typo Issues: I found no significant errors in editing or formatting.
**Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy.** November 12, 2014

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