Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Emma's Secret: A Novel by Steena Holmes

Emma's Secret, stands on its own. I had no idea that there was a book before it, titled, "Finding Emma."

Emma was kidnapped by a senile old woman, who thought, Emma was her granddaughter. Dottie and her husband Jack raise this little girl for two years. They were loving and caring. Emma formed intense bonds with them.

Emma is returned to her family after, Dottie passes away. Emma's parents and siblings are having a difficult time acclimating to having her back. There are feeling of guilt, anger and frustration. Jack and Emma both long for one another. Emma aches to see her grandfather but her mother won't allow it.

This is an extremely emotional r
ead, however there isn't a set solution to the issues at hand and you're left hanging. Wondering what happened to these characters?

Grade: B

Friday, August 23, 2013

he First Affair: A Novel by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

The First Affair goes on sale, August 27. 2013

The First Affair is a highly entertaining read that can easily be compared to the Clinton/Lewinsky affair.

The writing is much like that of a memoir, making it  easy to forget that it is a work of fiction. Jamie, is only 22 years old, when she gets an internship working for the, White House. She quickly finds herself enamored with the very handsome, President Rutland.

President Rutland and Jamie have an intense attraction to one another and when their affair is made public, Jamie learns who she can and can not trust.

This book is character driven and the point of view if from the  females prospective. This allows you to get into, Jamie's head.  You get the behind the scenes view from the woman involved in the sex scandal  and not just what the media portrays.

This book definitely exceeded my expectations. This is a perfect weekend or beach read.

Grade: A

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson

When, Sophie's father passes, she is sent to live with her godfather, Monsieur de Cressac. Life at, Wyndriven Abbey in, Mississippi is very different from her life in, Boston. 

Monsieur is wealthy and strange --- Sophie had always been showered by gifts from him but had never, laid eyes on him until she arrived at his estate. She is initially charmed by his good looks and and charisma but that quickly dissipates and he takes total control of her life.

She is not allowed to leave the grounds, or explore certain areas of the estate. She soon finds that, Monsieur has, had a slew of wives and the each of them, had the same lovely, vibrant red hair that she has. She slowly begins to unravel the mystery's surrounding their lives and finds herself chilled to the bone.

This story is based on Bluebeard fairytale and the creep factor will keep you entertained and turning the pages. The book is slightly, slow paced and predictable yet the layering of manipulation and cruelty build a strong enough foundation that you can't but help to love this debut novel.

Grade: A

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian

The Light in the Ruins in an intense and suspenseful historical fiction, novel. It is told in alternating chapters, that take place in 1943 and 1955. There are also sections written from the prospective of the serial killer. It is set in, Italy during WWII.

Someone is killing members of the, Rosati family and removing their hearts. Serafina is the detective assigned to the case. Like members of the, Rosati family the war has left her emotionally scared.

As the story is unveiled you find out, the tragic events that shaped the lives of, Serafina and the members of the Rosati family. Their stories are emotional and the character development is at its finest and the exposition is explosive.

If you only read one --- historical fiction book this year --- let it be this one.  There is never a dull moment or any degree of predictability.

Grade: A+

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Cell Phone Lot by Stephanie Elliot

Stephanie Elliot's writing is sweet, sexy and fun.

I've been following, Stephanie Elliot's blog for years now and if you haven't, you should! Visit her blog here at,  Booking with MaNic . This short novella is available at, Amazon for only $0.99! It's worth every penny and more! You can purchase it by clicking right here

I finally -- put aside other books and made time for her book. My only regret is that I waited so long! You'll be completely absorbed in the characters and plot. YOU, will finish this in one reading!

and -- Review time:

Grant and Bridge each find themselves waiting in the cell phone lot on a wintry, Chicago day. Grant is reluctantly picking up a woman he met on the Internet and Bridge is waiting for her sister.

Bridge's cell phone is dead, the snow is coming down harder and her car won't start! Grant takes notice and lends a helping hand. Both flights are delayed and Grant and Bridge use that time to get to know one another. Sparks are flying, conversation is flowing and then -- Grant's Internet friend arrives.

Read the rest to find out what happens! My only, only criticism is that it was too short and I wanted, more, more, more!!! Are, you listening to me, Stephanie? More, please!

Grade: A

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Lemon Orchard by Luanne Rice

It's been five years since, Julia lost her husband and daughter. She seeks solitude in her Aunt and Uncles, Lemon Orchard in Malibu, Ca.

She has no idea that this visit, will forever change her life. She meets, Roberto, an undocumented immigrant, who manages the farm. They slowly reveal their life stories to one another and Julia finds out that when Roberto and his daughter were crossing over (illegally) into the United States, she was lost during a raid.

Roberto holds out some hope that she is still alive --- and Julia makes it her quest to find out what happened to his daughter, to give Roberto some degree of, solace.

The connection between, Roberto and Julia moves slowly from friends, to confidants to lovers. The romance is sweet, seemingly innocent and beautiful.

This is a multifaceted story, that focus on immigration, hope, love and family. Rice, manages to add a very comparative analysis between the immigration of the Irish and the Mexican.

The plot is well structured, the characters are likable and the read is emotional.

Grade: A

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

The Chaperone is quite a lovely, historical fiction novel. The characters are witty, the writing is superb and the storyline is engaging.

This splendid novel takes us back in time, The 1920's in fact. It, briefly follows the life of, silent movie actress, Louise Brooks. However, it  mainly focus on her chaperone, Cora Carlisle.

Cora and Louise head of to, New York City. Lousie is to attend a prestigious, dance school, while Cora secretly uses this visit as an opportunity to dig into her past. She is determined to find out who her birth parents are.

The story flips back and forth between present time and the past. The past reveals parts of Cora's youth, her courtship and her married life.

There are some surprises along the way and some not so believable events. The twist and turns in the plot keep you turn the pages, faster than you can read.

Grade: A

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Joyland by Stephen King

Joyland is more supernatural, then horror. 

It's 1973,  Devin Jones is 21 and working at an amusement park in, North Carolina.  An, amusement park that has a bit of an interesting story. An unsolved murder occurred on the premises and there have been ghost sightings. It's said that one ride in particular is haunted and many of the carnival workers, refuse to go near it, much less go for a ride.

Devin finds himself drawn to solving the murder and when the story begins to unravel, he finds himself in danger.

This coming of age story has well developed characters. Don't expect, King's usual work or writing style. This one is a bit different and the murder/paranormal mix makes for an interesting read.

Grade: B

The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson

Charlotte Gorman is a librarian, a "nerd" and enjoys being casual and comfy. Her twin sister, Ginny is an famous instagram conte...