Friday, September 20, 2013

Cape Cursed by Janice Lane Palko

BLURB:

Bliss Sherman doesn’t believe in curses—that is until she arrives at Cape Destiny, North Carolina.  Bliss comes to the cape determined to make a name for herself and her new firm by accomplishing an incredible engineering feat—moving the Cape Destiny Lighthouse inland before it's swallowed by the Atlantic Ocean. 

Bliss, who has struggled with dyslexia, discrimination, and betrayal by her ex-husband and former business partner, Jonathan, faces her greatest challenge when she falls in love with the handsome, mysterious descendant of the lighthouse keepers, Parker Swain, who is vehemently opposed to the lighthouse’s move.

When someone targets Bliss, she begins to wonder if the curse that is rumored to be attached to the lighthouse may be true.  Who is sabotaging her dream?  Who is trying to harm her?  Who wants to kill her?  When all clues point to Parker, she dismisses her suspicions, deciding to trust him and her heart.  But as the evidence mounts against Parker, she begins to doubt not only herself and her heart, but also Parker.  

Can she trust her judgment?  Can she trust Parker?   Most importantly, when she is trapped inside the lighthouse with him during a raging hurricane, can she trust Parker with her life?  

A romantic suspense with all the seaside moody romance of du Maurier’s Rebecca and the spine-tingling thrills that keep you turning the pages, Cape Cursed casts a spell of sensuous deception and seductive danger. A Category 5 of a romantic suspense novel, Cape Cursed barrels in packing a surge of suspense that knocks you off your feet and a blistering romance that sweeps you up and carries you away. 

My Review

For the most part I enjoyed this book.  The mystery was decent, though I had pegged who the psycho was before the middle of the story.  Do not let that deter you from reading though, I have a knack for figuring things out in books and movies - I am more pleasantly surprised when I cannot figure out the Big Bad.

First, I love the name Bliss, and I really enjoyed her character.  It would have been easier to relate to her if I were biracial, but Palko was able to get across the feelings that Bliss had with regard to her hardships because of it.  Second, I loved Parker.  More so than Bliss.  He was a definite Southern gentleman that any girl would fall for.  In fact, his character was more believable than Bliss.  She seemed too naive to have gotten where she was in her career.

There were parts in the book where the author tried to throw the reader off of the Big Bad's trail (as I said it was pretty easy to figure out who the Big Bad was - so I understand why she did it), but it was a very unrealistic attempt.  Sort of.  I think that with Bliss being as naive as she was, I could see why she believed what she did, but I had a hard time believing Bliss to be that naive.  Again, this was because of her success with her business.  

I have to add that once we get to the big reveal I was on the edge of my seat.  That was, by far, my favorite part of the book.  Palko writes the suspense aspect very well, and the way that she uncovered the underlying issues with the Big Bad was amazing.  

I will not read this book again, but there are quite a few people that I would recommend it to.  Palko has great potential and I would actually read more of her work as she progresses as an author because I can see her going far.

Side note:  I love the cover.  It is so nice seeing a cover that is not a face, or a headless naked body.  Covers like this speak to me much more loudly than those of chiseled abs.  Don't ask me why, I'm not really sure. Maybe it's because everyone seems to be doing the same thing? 



Excerpt

Bliss walked into the Beach Mart.  June, who was arranging cartons of cigarettes behind the counter, looked up when the bell on the door jangled.

“Hello, June.  How are you today?” Bliss said as she walked up to the counter.  “As you can see, I need something for this sunburn, and I came to pick up a prescription.

June shoved a carton of Marlboros into a vacant space and turned to Bliss.  “Well, if it isn’t the celebrity herself.  Fancy a star like you gracing the Beach Mart.”

Bliss chuckled.  “I like keeping in touch with the little people.”

June leaned over the counter and exclaimed.  “Did you know you were all over the news last night?  Why, my sister-in-law out in Phoenix even saw you on the national news!”

Bliss smiled, “Oh, I’m quite the media darling these days.”

June smiled knowingly.  “I hear tell it you’re not only their darling but somebody else’s as well.”

Bliss stared at her.  “What are you talking about?”

She looked up into the air.  “Oh, a little birdie told me that somebody didn’t come home last night.  Spent the night at the Keeper’s House with one Parker Swain.”

“How do you know that?” Bliss asked, astonished that not only was she the center of attention around here, but she was being spied on.

“Oh, some sissified fellow, with a split lip, came in here looking for some bandages and an ice pack.  Told me he got into a scrape this mornin’ with Parker Swain over a woman.  Josh Mooney, my cousin, is the night desk clerk at the Destiny Cove, and he said there was a frantic woman who called all night trying to get in touch with you.  She looked at Bliss with the satisfaction of Miss Marple after solving a case.  “Now, I wonder where you were last night?”

Bliss blushed, making her sunburn more vivid.  “Nothing happened.  It was completely innocent.  I passed out from the heat, and Parker found me.  He gave me water and dinner.  I fell asleep on his porch swing.”


About the Author

In addition to Cape Cursed, Janice Lane Palko is the author of the romantic comedy St. Anne’s Day and the Christmas novel, A Shepherd’s Song.  She has been a professional writer for nearly 20 years.  During her career, she has written everything from greeting cards to web content and has taught several classes at the local community college including Building English Skills to Creative and Memoir writing. 

She is currently on the staff of the website Popular Pittsburgh and has been the executive editor of Northern Connection and Pittsburgh 55+ magazines, where she also contributed to the editorial content, writing her own column and numerous features. Palko has also been a columnist with the North Hills News Record.

Her work has appeared in publications such as The Reader’s Digest, Guideposts for Teens, Woman’s World, The Christian Science Monitor, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and her essays have been featured in the books A Cup of Comfort for Inspiration, A Cup of Comfort for Expectant Mothers, and Chicken Soup for the Single’s Soul.

A graduate of Union Institute & University with a B.A. in Writing & Literature, Palko has won several awards for her writing including the prestigious Amy Foundation Award of Merit. Her writings have also garnered accolades at the The Kent State Writer's Conference, and she has been selected as Writer of the Month by Oatmeal Studio greeting cards.

She is at work on her next novel, another romantic suspense entitled Most Highly Favored Daughter.

Stalk Janice
Website | Blog | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | janicelanepalko@gmail.com

Purchase any of Janice's novels on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords!



Thursday, September 12, 2013

To Right a Wrong by A.C. Wilson

Synopsis

Orphaned. Rejected. Ruined. How many wrongs can any one person take?

Miss Candace Green is orphaned along with her younger sister and sent to her paternal uncle's home. Intruding on his bachelor's status, he sends them to be "lady's companions" in Bristol. 

A year in Bristol envelopes Candace in darkness and desperate to keep her sister from such a fate, they escape to find shelter with their mother's estranged family in London. Family that disowned their mother for marrying a man beneath their class, their father. 

En route to London, Candace encounters many people who will change her life forever. She is stunned by their kindness, humbled by their understanding and overwhelmed by their love. As one such person, Lord Blackstone is determined to introduce Candace into polite society while securing her position in the arms of her family. All the while he must fight to hold onto her while trying to right so many wrongs. Is love enough? Can it heal such devastating wounds?

My Review

I am a huge fan of period pieces, so when this book was requested for review I snatched it right up.  I am so glad that I did!  It was the first time in a long time that I was reading an Indie book that felt as though it was mainstream.  The author's writing style was almost classic and she captured the period magnificently.  

I absolutely loved Candace - she is such a strong woman and seems to be well beyond her years.  There were times that I felt her sister stole the show, though.  This is not a bad thing.  Considering what happened to them, Candace managed to shelter Catherine enough that she seemed almost oblivious to the whole situation.

What I loved most about this story was that it was believable.  It was a horrible situation the girls were forced into, but even today it is not something that does not happen.  It was nice to read a book that was not so far fetched that I could not connect with the characters or believe the story.

The only issue I had with the story was how it ended.  Once we got to the climax my heart was pounding and I swear that I actually started biting my nails, but I think that the conclusion fell a bit short.  Wilson wrote the book with such detail and amazing build up that once I reached the end I thought that there was something wrong with my copy.  I would have liked a bit more detail once the conflict was resolved (more about why it happened - what her uncle actually owed and how he ended up owing it), what happened to Fuley (did they turn him in??), and one more chapter at the end to close the story up a bit more.  That being said, there was plenty of closure.

One question for the author, though:  What ever happened to the little grey fuzz ball?! It was such a small part of the story, but having children I just loved that little bit!

I know that I will be reading any and all books from this author moving forward! 

Get your copy here:


About A.C. Wilson

A.C. Wilson grew up as a farmer's daughter near Morrill, Nebraska, United States. She learned hard work and discipline at a very young age on their family farm that has been in their family for over a century.

She loves the Midwest. It is significantly overlooked for its soft beauty and wonderfully friendly people. After college, she moved to Kansas where she married her sweetheart and has two boys. 

She loves to read. She loves to listen to many different genres of music. She finds artistic value every where she looks. Writing was always a passion which started in poetry and has now led to romance novels. It has been one adventure after another!!

Stalk A.C. Wilson
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***Review has been done in conjunction with Nerd Girl Official. For more information regarding our reviews please visit our Fansite: www.facebook.com/NerdGirl.ng ***

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Beyond Control by Karice Bolton

Synopsis

Gabby Sullivan learns in college that some things are impossible to control, and whenever life has spun out of control bad things seem to happen. She promises herself that she’ll stay a safe distance from the top three culprits:

Sex
Love
Relationships

But some things are beyond control…

Gabby handles her mom’s death and brother’s sudden abandonment just about as well as anyone could at the age of twelve. Left feeling alone, she finishes high school, developing a bit of a wild streak, and lives like there’s no tomorrow. That is until an illness stops her in her tracks. Learning to control life around her becomes her comfort. With a visible scar that reminds her and the world that she beat the odds, it’s impossible for her to put everything behind her, no matter how hard she tries. 

Right out of college she begins working at her family’s company and buries herself in the safety of the corporate world. No extra time, no life, no relationships. It’s safe to say she might be a little demanding and overly ambitious. She’s got everything under control, just how she likes it. 

Jason’s been trying to piece his life together after a personal tragedy, only it’s not working. He’s thrown himself into his work, but he’s only becoming angrier. He’ll never forgive himself and doesn’t expect anyone else to either.

When the back of his vehicle is clipped by a hurried limo driver he can’t wait to let the driver have it until he hears Gabby’s voice coming from inside the sedan. There’s something soothing about it, something familiar. 

The moment she sees Jason, she knows her life will never be the same. But she doesn’t know why. He’s everything she said she never wanted. He’s cocky, arrogant, and infuriating. With his dazzling amber eyes, dark hair and chiseled features she can hardly remember where she’s going, let alone where she’s been and maybe that’s a good thing. She begins to let him show her what life could be, if she really lived it.

Neither wants their past to define their future, but sometimes destiny has something else in store. It’s only as their love grows and secrets are revealed that they realize a devastating connection from their past might actually tear them apart.

My Review

I absolutely loved this book and I am over the moon happy that Karice decided to go outside of her comfort zone to write it.  I have read every book Karice has written and she never disappoints.  Her ideas are unique. She can take an overdone genre and make it her own.  

This book was just amazing.  I loved how dysfunctional the family is.  I loved how quickly I fell in love with both main characters.  I loved how fun the supporting characters were.  Their personalities were so believable and the entire time I read the book I just felt as if I was there, in the moment with them.  

When the big twist came my jaw dropped and I wanted to kick myself for not thinking of it before I got to that point.  Seriously, it should have been so obvious, but it wasn't!  That, my friends, is what good writing does.  And what I loved best about this particular part of the story is that I felt it.  Deep down in my gut.  My heart hurt, I was depressed, and all I wanted to do was get in my pajamas (oh shut up, who cares if I was already in them) and eat pint after pint of Ben & Jerry's.  And possibly ungodly amounts of chocolate chip cookie dough.  And brownies.  And down a bottle of tequila.  Or Patron Cafe.  Or both.

But wait, there's more...  Just when we make our way to the end of the story and everything seems to be going much better, the floor drops out from under you and you feel heart broken all over again.  And for those of you who have read the story already, just a teensy, weensy spoiler alert - the first chapter in the next book in the series does nothing to alleviate it.  You heard it here first, people.  Get out the tissues!

Get your copy of Beyond Control on Amazon!
Also available on Barnes & Noble and Kobo!

About Karice Bolton

Karice married the love of her life who she met in high school, and she still can't get over how cute and funny he is. They have two English Bulldogs that are the sweetest bullies in the world, and they use their cuteness to get what they want. Karice loves the snow and gravitates towards the stuff as often as possible! She enjoys skiing and tries really hard to snowboard, but often makes a nice little area to sit while everyone zips by on their board. She enjoys writing, and she also loves to read just about anything with print.

Karice would love if you stopped by her blog or FB page to find out the latest news on giveaways and upcoming releases, or you can just send her an email. She loves hearing from her readers and responds as soon as she can. 

Well then, lets not disappoint!  Let the stalking commence:

I highly suggest checking out her blog.  There is a giveaway to celebrate the release of Beyond Control.  Winners will be chosen September 20, 2013!


Rising by Holly Kelly

Synopsis

In a war between the humans and the inhabitants of the sea—humans will lose. Xanthus Dimitriou—the most lethal Dagonian to rise from the ocean—is on a mission to save mankind from annihilation. But first there’s one small thing he needs to do. Kill a young woman in a wheelchair.

Killing her doesn’t start out as part of his plan. He entrenches himself deep in the human world. Aligning himself with his enemies, he prepares to send them to Triton to face their punishment. Then Sara Taylor rolls onto the scene. Xanthus knows at once she’s a criminal. And her crime? Being born. She’s a human/Dagonian half-breed, an abomination. Killing her should be an easy job. All he has to do is break into her apartment, slit her throat, and feed her body to the sharks. Simple, right? Wrong. If only she weren’t so beautiful, so innocent, so sweet... Saving the world may have to wait. It appears he has a woman to save. But protecting her may cost him his own life.

My Review

Being a part of the Clean Teen Publishing street team comes with the wonderful perk of being able to read and review their books before they are released.  My favorite part about this perk is that their books are always so unique.  I have not read a book from them that reminded me of any other book I have read.  Their authors have such original ideas and they translate onto paper (or ereader screen) wonderfully.

Rising is no different.  I have never read a book about mermaids (and in this case Dagonian) since The Little Mermaid.  What I loved most about this book was the Greek mythology tie-in.  You can tell that Holly did her homework before sitting down to write, and did not just throw together random bits of information. There was action, adventure, new beginnings, and a whole lot of shenanigans.  Fun. Fun. Fun.

Now, I will warn you that this is not a sexually explicit book, so some things are left to the imagination.  It was actually one of my favorite parts of the book - well after reading the book and having conversations with a few others who read the book.  Trying to decide how certain things would work in this type of situation. Holly happened to see this conversation and decided to inform us so that we weren't quite so confused.  She explained that the female anatomy of a "fish" (as I so eloquently put it) is the same as ours, but everything is in the front.  She continued, "When it comes to males, you don’t really see much unless they are… you know… Need I go into detail? If you don’t understand, go ask your mother." Ha!  

About Holly Kelly

I'm a mom who writes books in her spare time: translation--I hide in the bathroom with my laptop and lock the door while the kids destroy the house and smear peanut butter on the walls. ;) I was born in Utah but lived in Salina, Kansas until I was 13 and in Garland, Texas until I was 18. I'm now back in Utah--"happy valley". I'm married to a wonderful husband, James, and we are currently raising 6 rambunctious children. My interests are reading, writing (or course), martial arts, visual arts, and spending time with family.

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Rising will be available on September 6, 2013 on Amazon!


For more information on Clean Teen Publishing, please visit their website!
For information about their adult division, please visit Crimson Tree Publishing!


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Open Your Eyes by Jani Kay

Synopsis

Second chances? Twisted love triangle? Hot steamy sex? Hell YES!

Open Your Eyes:
Shattered and disillusioned after separating from her domineering husband, all Natalie wants, is a peaceful Christmas vacation in New York City, with her 21 year old daughter, Olivia. Uncomplicated. No pressure. Fun.

What she didn’t expect, was meeting a dangerously handsome stranger in an art gallery. He is charming, sexy as hell, and does funny things to her insides. Her frozen heart slowly melts as he seduces her, awakening her deepest desires, showing her that the kind of love she craves is very possible. She wants him as much as he wants her.

Battling his demons from the past, famous photographer Nicholas Gallagher has successfully evaded serious relationships, earning him the title of the world’s most eligible bachelor. But from the moment he lays eyes on Natalie, she stirs something in him. Compelled to chase the sadness from her vivid blue eyes, Nick is captivated by the spirited Australian beauty.

Hot romance. 
Steamy sex. 
Absolute perfection. 

Until Natalie gets a call from home – one she can’t ignore. In a fateful moment the game changes and throws her life into chaos. Gabriel, her jealous ex, wants her back. Two powerful men want her. She is forced to make a choice that will tear her apart. 

Will Natalie make the right choice? Will she finally find her soul mate, the one person who can look into her eyes and see deep into her soul, everything she is and everything she desires… will she finally open her eyes?

My Review

Open your eyes is a good book to read when you have a little bit of extra time.  It could have just been me, but it seemed to take me a little bit longer to read the book.  I think that is in part because while the actual plot is unique, it is still a very played out idea.  I am a little burnt out on love triangles.  I got really irritated when I read this book because the main character - Natalie - made the wrong choice.  I get that she did what she felt she needed to do, but it was the wrong choice.  It felt as though Natalie should have been called Bella.  She could not make up her mind about who she wanted and was too scared to go for what she really wanted.  She based all of her decisions on how others would view her as a person.  I also felt that the epilogue would not have happened had this been reality.  I loved the epilogue though, because she finally made a good choice!  

While I got irritated at some parts of the book (like Natalie using both men whether she realized she was doing it or not), I did enjoy reading it.  It was a nice change of pace from the deeper books I have read and a nice break from the smutty books I have been reading.  That was my favorite aspect of this book.  There is just enough smut to keep you from having to imagine exactly what was going where, but it wasn't overpowering to the point of annoyance.  

Overall I would recommend it to some, and tell a few to avoid it (only because I know their tastes and Natalie would get on their nerves).

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Get your copy of Open Your Eyes Here:


About Jani Kay

Jani has been married for a long time to a special man, and her two children and their partners are the sunshine in her life. She is a voracious reader and would spend her last dollar on a book - always fascinated that for the mere price of a book (often less than the price of a coffee!), she can escape her world for a while and see through someone else's eyes.

Besides reading, her favorite 'thing' is traveling - she has traveled the world, learning about the ways people live and has come to the realization that no matter where we live, we all ultimately want the same things. Her hobby - Scrapbooking - keeps her up till way after midnight and her usual subjects are her family and her travels.

Ever since she can remember, Jani wanted to write stories about people, about their lives and loves. Relationships and Happiness - arguably the most difficult things to master in life and yet exactly what everyone ultimately desires (in her humble opinion).

She would love to hear from you, please email her at janikaybooks@gmail.com

Stalk Jani

***Review has been done in conjunction with Nerd Girl Official. For more information regarding our reviews please visit our Fansite: www.facebook.com/NerdGirl.ng ***
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