Monday, January 30, 2012

Lucy Wagner Gets in Shape by Claire Matthews

Lucy Wagner Gets in Shape (Lucy Wagner #1)I got a real kick out of this novel. The first person narrative is REAL and the heroine is witty and honest. Her friends are fun (the kind of friends I wish I had), the banter made me laugh, and the love story...I could feel it. 

Lucy is BFFs with Will and Jenny. They've hung out for ages. They know each other's favorite foods, they rally around each other when there's a break up, they help each other pass exams and prepare for job interviews. So...imagine Lucy's surprise when after a rough break up (her bf was cheating, the jerk), she discovers that Will has feelings for her and has for quite some time and well...she has feelings for him too. 

Is it a rebound thing? Something causes Will to think so. There's misunderstandings, petty arguments, trust issues, surprising revelations, and Lucy is faced with making a difficult decision: career or love? Sacrifice or make someone else sacrifice? Rebound or real thing?

Meanwhile, they are training for a major running/hiking/kayaking event to prove to Lucy's ex that she can do it. "I am proving to myself, and to Paul, that I am not a fat person in a skinny person's body. That I am a woman of substance and conviction. That I am woman worthy of love, and I'm every bit as tough and brave as Langley whatever-the-hell-her-name-is."

But really, she's getting HER LIFE in shape, not her tush.

My favorite moments (some of them): 

"Jen and I have already renamed the master bedroom the 'Puta Palace,' because Jenny is Mexican, and she loves whipping out Spanish cuss words in a crisis."

And after seeing a half naked man while kayaking, Lucy..: "I turn quickly and begin to paddle as fast as I can. I'm not getting very far, because the curved oars of my paddle are facing the wrong way, but I'm pumping away to beat the band."

Hilarious conversation:

Jenny: "Was it like, 'stayed out in the heat too long' body odor or like, 'European earthy guy' body odor?"

Lucy: "I don't know-is there a difference?"

Jenny: "God, yes. European body odor kind of turns me on. It's like stink with a sexy accent."

Five stars. Extremely enjoyable. I would also like to note that this author pulled off the present tense very well. Not many authors can do that. Superbly done. I bought this on Amazon Kindle. 

Forbidden by Syrie James and Ryan M. James

ForbiddenThis just appeared in my mailbox one day, and having enjoyed Syrie's Dracula, My Love and Nocturne, I was excited to read it. 

It's different. It's about angels, only they aren't called angels, and there is no mention of God. Matter of fact, they aren't sure where they get their orders from... It's like a paranormal CIA group. Alec is an angel trying not to be an angel, trying to live a normal teen life despite the fact he is actually over a hundred years old. Claire is...something else. A half breed angel and she and Alec are just figuring it out.. The problem is: Alec is supposed to hire/eliminate people like Claire, but he loves her... What a mess.

What starts out as psychic visions leads to were-wolves and strange fairy god mothers. The were wolf and the Vincent stuff were a little eye rolling to me, but this is a YA novel. I think the teenagers will enjoy it. And the ending left room for a sequel, so I suspect it's the start of a series.

Four stars. Well written, entertaining, just a bit too preposterous. 

Decadent Seconds by W. Lynn Chantale

decadent secondsReally sweet, romantic story about a pastry chef and the father of her son. I say the father of her son and not boyfriend/husband, because they are not together. See, she wanted to get married and do the white picket a family, you know? He had the opinion that live-in-girlfriend was acceptable, PLUS he didn't want her starting her own business. Grrrrr.

No wonder she walked off. But it doesn't change the fact that he is sexy as all get out, and she still wants him.

Can they resolve things? The sex wasn't too risque, and I enjoyed the little kid interrupting things cause well, that's life. It was a realistic story and to the point. No blabbering on and on, no ridiculously lengthy descriptions. 

I bought this on Amazon Kindle. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Bridge by Kay Bratt

The BridgeThis is a very moving and touching novelette. It spoke to me because I know what it feels like to be shunned by others, to be ostracized and ridiculed for having a disability. I felt for Fei Fei. His own mother abandoned him, and perhaps her intentions were good, to get him educated in a blind school, but still, unforgivable.

This takes place in China, not sure the era. An old woman who can barely feed herself, takes in a boy abandoned at the bridge. He's blind. She takes him to the orphanage and is dismayed to discover, he's treated like a baby, not the intelligent 5 year old he is. Nobody wants to or has the time to focus on a blind boy, to educate him. They just make him stay out of the way. How many of us with disabilities have faced this at some point in our lives??? Too many of us, too often.

To me, this story teaches that handicapped are not any less capable than others, that people judge too quickly, and that love isn't necessarily dictated by blood. Because the old woman falls in love with the little boy and even sells her last piece of jewelry to care for him. 

A beautiful story with a strong message and eloquent descriptions. It does need an editor, however. There were lots of discrepancies with tense usage and some odd word pairings. 

"As she watches, Fei Fei quickly ate the orange and sat quietly awaiting his next instructions."

Like that. 

Favorite quote: " must realize that the world is a very big place. You must keep an open mind and learn new ways to explore beyond what you already know."

Four stars and I got this on Amazon Kindle.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hospice Tails: The Animal Companions Who Journey With Hospice Patients And Their Families by Debra Stang

HOSPICE TAILS: The Animal Companions Who Journey With Hospice Patients And Their FamiliesThis is, so far, the most touching book I have read in some time. I had to dab my eyes on numerous occasions. It's a short read at 100 some pages, but it is loaded with touching stories and moments... It contains enough in those 100 pages to touch your very soul, especially the souls of pet lovers/pet parents.

Like dogs? Cats? Horses? Snakes? There's something for everyone.

There's the man who is afraid to go to sleep for fear he will miss the last dying breath of his loved one. Finally, in the throes of exhaustion, he falls asleep. His little dog wakes him just in time...

There's the woman who reaches out to touch the spot her dog (now dead) had always lied and says, "There you are" before she dies herself.

There's a snake that gives comfort, a cat that helps a woman move past her husband's death, a hamster that brings together a mother and son. And though each one of these stories is sad because someone dies, they are also moments of joy caught in a book forever.

Our pets do so much for us and understand so much more than we give them credit for. This book is a tribute to that. Wonderful. Five stars.

Also, unlike a lot of memoirs that tell and not show, Ms. Stang had a very engaging voice that transported me into the story. A huge thumbs up.

I received this in ebook format from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Waltz at Midnight by Crista McHugh

A Waltz at MidnightWhat a lovely read. It was short, but I feel it was the perfect length for what it was: a historical romance began through letters, involving deceit, high emotions, the baring of souls, and secrets.

It's after the Civil War and Susanna is a former southern belle now housemaid in a school for ladies. When one of the ladies obtains an unwelcome suitor via mail and her father's wishes, she pays Susanna money to write the letters and maintain the correspondence as she has eye and her heart elsewhere. However, whereas Susanna is supposed to convince the young man, Teddy, to look elsewhere, instead, she falls in love with him and the letters continue.

The letters start off funny.

Teddy's view on women and what they want: "Should I promise her the world only to be nagged into eternity when I don't deliver it on a silver platter?"

Susanna is feisty: "If many women have narrow interests, it's because we are confined to the homes of our parents until we are plucked from them by our husbands. We are denied the liberties men are insured."

Through letters, banter and insults turns into baring of their hopes and fears. But when Teddy desires to meet whom he believes in Charlotte, the you know what is going to hit the fan. Or will he forgive her upon finding out the truth?

Delightful, well done, and despite all the letters, it didn't do as many letter writing stories do and be all telling, no showing. It was done artfully. I enjoyed it.

Five stars. I got this from netgalley. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Never Coming Home by Evonne Wareham

Never Coming HomeWow. I love Choc Lit. It's a publisher whose books just work for me. Their latest is not disappointing, and just as good as I hoped it would be.

It's a thriller following a man with a shady past as some kind of secret agent and a woman who believes her daughter is dead, that she died in a car crash. The hero, Devlin, was with her daughter when she they think. When he travels to England wanting to tell the girl's mother about her daughter's last moments, sparks fly between them and together, they uncover one twisted horrific fact after another as she, Kaz, tries to find out what really happened to her daughter and who did it.

Very well told. The love between the hero and heroine grows gradually even though the attraction is instant. Both of their "narratives" have funny, sarcastic, and honest bits. Both characters are extremely likable. The mystery... I confess I had the "whodunit" part figured out early in the story, but there's a lot more twisted and gruesome details than I anticipate and I was still surprised by a lot of things in the outcome.

Laugh out loud moment: (What does Devlin think when faced with a five year old girl?)

"He could do this. It was female. Pint-size but still female. Although the usual passwords, Manolo Blahnik, diamond earrings, weekend in Paris, weren't going to work here. He'd just have to go with charm."

Loved this book. Perfect blend of sex, suspense, horror, mystery, passion, and warm-hearted moments. 5 stars.

I received this as an egalley from the publisher. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Right to Vote by Dee S. Knight

The Right to VoteAnother book I accidentally ran across and had to have due to its Women and the Vote theme.

A little novellette at 30 or so pages, it was a treadmill book. Olivia believes women should have a voice, but her father doesn't, and him being a senator, she must keep her suffragette activities a secret. Her father is a firm believer that "women should be wives and breeders of children, not breeders of social causes" and that "women should leave running the world to the men." So when a handsome reporter threatens to tell her father her secret, she ends up paying some attention to him.

One thing leads to another, and they partner up to prevent her father from marrying her off to another senator. Olivia feels she should choose who she marries, and she decides she wants Hunter, the reporter.

A good story with a feel good ending. Not a whole lot about the movement, but how can there be in 30 pages? I read it's accompaniment the other day, Speak Easy to Me and liked that one more. Why? I love the hero in that book. This one, not so much. His taking her to bed the way he did and some of his ways of love making such as telling her what he was going to do was a bit weird.

Four stars. I bought this on Amazon Kindle.

For the Sake of Sin by Suzie Grant

For The Sake Of SinThis was a short, erotic, historical tale involving a courtesan, an assassin, and a corrupt mayor. I think it's a good way to sample Suzie Grant's work. I read her Wrong Kind of Paradise recently and thoroughly enjoyed it as well. 

For a short story, it was good. I did find the falling in love and opening up to each other with their dark secrets be a bit abrupt and sudden, but again, it's a shortie. Ava is a courtesan who wants to hire Gabriel to kill her lover. Why? Because her lover killed her family... Well, Ava is a lusty woman who enjoys her job. I'm not into whores, myself, but I appreciated that this heroine enjoyed sex. It was a pleasant change from the frightened, simpering whores you often find in historical romances. Ava uses sex to her advantage and likes it. 

I also liked that the sex scenes had some unique language/descriptions. Suzie Grant has a unique style and a good writer's voice.

I downloaded this free on Amazon Kindle.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Speak Easy To Me by Christine DePetrillo

Speak Easy to MeI only found this book because I was browsing the publisher's "calls for submissions," and you know that saying, "Everything happens for a reason?" I figure the reason I haven't heard squat back on my latest story submission is because then I wouldn't have been browsing publishers submissions still seeking a home for the darned thing, and I wouldn't have run across this awesome little story.

It's 2012, but I'm a suffragette. I love reading about them. I guess this publisher did a series type thing about suffragettes cause I found two titles and this was one of them. I read it while on the treadmill. It's only 30 pages and whereas it doesn't really go into the right to vote, the fact that the heroine is a suffragette plays cutely into the tale.

You got a suffragette who thanks to her brother, has to somewhat submit herself to the pawing hands of a speak easy owner...and when the piano player/former WWI soldier helps her avoid her face, the love bells go ringing. It's sweet and cute and thoroughly enjoyable. 

It's only 30 pages so I really didn't expect it to delve too deeply into the Right to Vote, but I sure did enjoy these little parts:

"Will spun on her booted heel and rejoined her fellow demonstrators. She wanted to change her sign to read, Brothers Are Morons. She was more convinced than ever that women needed to run the country. Hell, women needed to rule the world."

And after making love to the gorgeous piano player, our tough, ballsy heroine says, (and this is the best part!)
"I still want the vote for women, but perhaps men aren't totally useless."

For what it is, a short historical romance, I loved it. It's a perfect treadmill/lunch break book. Five stars. (I bought this on Amazon Kindle.)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen

ScarletThe story of Robin Hood has been done over and over again, but never like this. This is not only from a female POV, but the heroine of the tale isn't a pretty fox who play crocquet on the lawn,  nor is it a damsel in distress waiting in a castle. There are those, just not the heroine. 

This heroine is a part of Robin's gang and often mistaken for the Hood himself when she wears a hood. (She pretends to be a boy.) He's good with a bow and arrow. She's a master with knives, and she uses them as she robs people in order to get tax money for the poor and food to feed them. See, the sheriff is taxing people so highly, they can't pay it, and if they can't pay, they not only go hungry, but their children get hung one by one till the tax is paid... Their homes are being burned... 

Loved how tough this chick is.

"I turned to see three men on  Rob, and I felt the sting of insult. Honestly, I were just as much a threat as him. Why did I only get one?"

None of this.. No, ma'am.
"Never would I have a man saying what or who were best for me, and that were all there were to it."

Notice the "weres?" No, I didn't mis type. The heroine speaks and narrates throughout the entire novel in that manner. She never uses the word "was." This was a minor irritation that I soon was able to ignore. At first, it was a distraction.

In between robbing people and trying to avoid the clutches of a foul thief taker who has her on his radar for some interesting reasons, Scarlet is torn between two men. Both love her, but show it in different ways. She's confused. Meanwhile, her past is catching up with her, and it could lead to the downfall of all her and the Hood's crew have been working for.

My major quibble is I got confused often. Some things they crew did didn't make sense. I mean, okay, in once scene, if the guy was able to help Scarlet get out, why didn't he take Robin too? Why go back? Some things here and there just had me scratching my head. And the ending.. was NOT satisfying. It left me feeling, "What??? Your problems aren't over at all..." Ack! Despite the terrible ending, I really enjoyed the book and I give it four stars.

Favorite moment: "I stopped running and took a deep gulp of air. Then I spat out every foul curse word I'd ever learned, even knowing I'd have to confess them all on Sunday. Rob looked a little shocked. "Don't you look at me like that," I snapped at him. "Just because I can't trim a beard don't mean I can't swear."

LOL moment: "I wouldn't never bathe with him or pass water when he were near. He got suspicious quick. Seems real boys are awfully eager to parade their bits around."

I got this from netgalley.

The Ruins of Us by Keija Parssinen

The Ruins of Us: A Novel (P.S.)This is not about the ruins of just "us." It's about the ruins of a family. Who'd have thunk that taking on another wife could lead to so many problems? (sarcasm)

Abdullah is the head of the family and rather than fix his relationship with his longtime American wife, Rosalie, he takes another wife and sets her up in a house down the street. According to Saudi law, this is okay. According to Rosalie, it is not. When the secret is revealed to the rest of the family, everything comes to a head.

Abdullah must slowly admit that he fell out of love with Rosalie because she no longer acts American. Rosalie admits that she fell in love with Saudi Arabia more than Abdullah. She struggled to fit in and be loved in a foreign country.. thus the loss of her Americanism. The children, Mariam and Faisal have their own issues. Faisal has been shunned and treated like crap overseas since 9/11. He comes home and finds acceptance in a group of extremists and replaces his unhappy home life with religion.. that he takes a bit too far. Mariam.. I wish there was more about Mariam. I loved her character, what little there was of it. she's a revolutionary, arguing for the rights of women and starting a blog.

Very good story with lots of hidden messages about how things we do or say have a domino effect. But I didn't care for the characters much at all. (Quibble number one.) Rosalie stays with that jerk??? Ugh. Abdullah isn't there for his family at all. When one woman displeases him, he goes to the other's bed. Faisal is a little terrorist. (Will he see the error of his ways? I'm not saying.) Dan is obsessed with his ex wife and read more into Rosalie's actions than is there. I think had there been more of Mariam, I would have been more pleased. Also wouldn't have minded seeing things from the "other wife's" POV too.

Quibble two: Bit drawn out as it gets into the characters' pasts. 

Favorite quote:

"There should be some sort of training before you got yourself mixed up in such things-marriages and divorces and children and second marriages. He had trained for every part of his life, football as a youth and then business and economics as an adult. Even driving required training. Yet when you are married, what advice did people give? Only congratulations, and what good does that do anyone?"

Very true. (That quote could be changed before publication.)

Three stars. Good look at modern day Saudi life and times and how a family can crumble under one person's mistake.

I got this from netgalley.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Flowers of War by Geling Yan

Flowers of WarImagine a church, the attic full of Catholic schoolgirls, the cellar full of whores, and toss a few men in between them to feed them and maintain order...and you get chaos!

What I liked: Tell of the rape of Nanking in a better fashion than Nanjin Requiem did, IMO. Nanjin was far too brutal, like a listing of brutality after brutality... This story, though it rarely left the church walls, told what was going on inside and out. Inside, you got a bunch of ungrateful whores that have bullied their way into the church and expect it to be a 5 star resort and though it wasn't conveyed very well, there are romances flourishing.

And the girls upstairs are dealing with conflicting emotions, growing pains, and petty bickering.

The soldier and his scene at the mass execution... WOW.

What I didn't like: Something was muddled in the translation. Badly. Lots of telling, little showing, and a ton of head hopping. Also came off a bit cold. And I sure did hate those whores. 

In the end, it felt like a bunch of selfish people who didn't care that they were endangering other people. And sadly, that seems to be humanity.

Three stars. I got this from netgalley.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Ride for Rights: Lillian Heath

Ride for RightsMy YA historical, Ride for Rights is due out in just a month, Feb 10th, 2012 from MuseItUp Publishing to be exact. If you haven't already marked your calendar, perhaps the cover will convince you... :)

Meanwhile, while you contemplate whether or not you want to read it, I want to talk about Lillian Heath, another real life woman I feature in the book as a fictional character. 

The women tentatively followed Lewis up the front stairs, staying a few feet back and gripping the wrought iron railing. It was not until the man had opened the front door, taken off his hat, and hollered to someone within the house, that Angeline allowed her tense shoulders to relax a bit.
“Lillian!” Lewis’s voice boomed. “There are some ladies who need your assistance.” He held the door open for the sisters.
            “Be right there!” A woman’s voice and the sound of rapidly approaching boot heels on the hardwood floor answered Lewis. “Well, what have we here?” The woman came within view and peered over her spectacles at the two relieved women before her.
            Angeline was surprised at the woman’s appearance. She was wearing trousers as well! The similarities ended there, however. The woman appeared to be fiftyish and somewhat matronly. She was wearing trousers and a white dress shirt, but her graying brown hair was long and pulled back demurely, and laugh lines crinkled on either side of her eyes. 

Who she was: The first woman doctor in the state of Wyoming and the first woman doctor west of the Mississippi. She had a man's skull which she used a door stop and a pen jar. This skull and the story behind it is mentioned in the novel. Though she retired from the medical profession in 1909, she was still residing in her family home, and I have no doubt she would have opened her door to the real life Van Buren sisters had they shown up at her step injured. 

Fear of Landing: You Fly Like A Woman by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley

Fear of Landing: You Fly Like a WomanI was excited about this book, another read to add to my growing list of "women in aviation" books. It was good though not quite what was I expecting. 

It's a memoir so it's a lot of telling rather than showing. "Showing" a memoir is hard, I know. And for some reason, I thought it was chronicling many episodes of flying, but it just tells about this woman learning to fly in Spain. What starts out as a whim and a way to keep the month long flight school cheaper for everyone in involved becomes a serious accomplishment even if it takes her two weeks longer than the rest of the class. Also, it's not as humorous as I was expecting. The cover had me thinking I would laugh a's a cute cover though.

Like I said, lots of telling, little showing, and it got a bit technical at times, but if you're looking for a short, contemporary read about a woman learning to fly, it's free on kindle today. (I bought mine when it was 99 cents.)

My favorite scene was the dog and the little girl running across the runway. My heartbeat picked up as I read that bit. Scary! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sophie and the Rising Sun by Augusta Trobaugh

Sophie and the Rising SunI am really torn about this book. One one hand, I see a beautiful love story... Oto loves Sophie right away, and his is a beautiful love. There nothing even remotely ugly about Oto. His love isn't one of those, "Oh my manhood stirred at the sight of her and I imagined myself.." kind of loves. His love is pure, his character innocent and naive. Sophie, too, has a clean love for Otto. 

On the other hand, where the heck is this love coming from? Oto sees her and from then on, it's all about this weird crane sighting... How do you love someone so passionately that you have only seen from afar or sat there quietly with?

What I did love about this book, however, is the narrator's voice. It's narrated by an older woman who hired Mr. Oto to be her gardener and then sheltered him from all the evil, prejudice town folk after Pearl Harbor. Through her, we get a lesson in not judging others, that we are Americans first and foremost, and along with that, we get a dose of humor and a handful of chuckles. Delightful.

The does leave you hanging. I thought it was a bit week. I am not going to say anything more about that because I don't wish to ruin it, but really, WTH?

Three stars and I got this from netgalley.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Interview with Chastity Bush, author of Tumbleweeds

TumbleweedsIf you believe in love at first sight and you feel that true love conquers all and like some sexy sheriffs with that, you may want to read Tumbleweeds by Chastity Bush. 

Upon "meeting" this fellow Oklahoman author, I couldn't resist finding out more about her and her work.

One of her books is called Tumbleweeds. It's a western about a girl who works in a whore house AS A BARTENDER. Get your minds out of the gutters. It's inevitable that some fellows will get the wrong idea though, and when some men try to get her to add to her job duties, a sexy sheriff steps in, and they both catch each others' eyes.

Berry doesn't have a high opinion of men...and it's no wonder as the man you could call her fiance visits the whorehouse himself 6 times a week and it's not to see Berry... Tavis, however, the new sheriff, aims to marry her. But someone from his past comes riding into town and just may throw his plans haywire.

A very enjoyable read. I confess I've friended the author on facebook, and I saw her sense of humor that I have come to know online, show up between the pages. The book also has a strong moral about not judging others based on their friends, occupations, so on. 

Now, back to Chastity. She's agreed to come on here and answer Ten Questions from Tara.

Tara: Tumbleweeds takes place in the old days of the West when women were either married homemakers, whores, saloon madams, or bartenders. Which would you have been and why?

Chastity: My hubby and I both agree on this one. I’d probably have been a madam. Looks like a lot of excitement without all the skirt lifting. That, and the fact that I love all the frills, hot dresses, big beds, etc. That sounds right up my alley. :)

Tara: Mr. Clemmons is good looking, but can't find his way home without a map. Berry calls him an imbecile. (That's a funny moment by the way.) Do you know or have you known many men like this? Got a funny story you can share about one of them?

Chastity: I’ve met several people like this. You think their so handsome/beautiful then blam! They open their mouths and you can’t help but wonder how these people are even capable of dressing themselves in the morning.

Tara: If you were to choose an actress to play Lily Bell, whom do you visualize?

Chastity: Oh, wow. I haven’t thought about this at all. I really have no idea. She would have to be beautiful, sassy, spunky, and able to stand her ground, not just in the movie, but in real life as well.

Tara: You live in Whitefield, Oklahoma. Were you visualizing your town long ago when you wrote this?

Chastity: Yes. Where I live in Oklahoma you can’t help but to think about those days. There’s plenty of pastures, cattle, barns, and farmers.

Tara: I've never heard a whorehouse patron/client called a tumbleweed before. How did you dig this up or come up with this? 

Chastity: This is something I’ve always heard the client of a whorehouse called. I’m not sure where it originated, but I love the term and had to use it.  

Tara: The heroine's name is Strawberry Meadows. That sounds like a really good wine. What's the story/reason behind this?

Chastity: I knew right off the bat I wanted Berry to have deep, dark, red hair and I wanted it to be incorporated into her name, something that made her unique. I needed something original to compare her hair to. Of course, a strawberry popped into my mind, and it all came together.

Tara: Berry has a really low opinion of men until she meets Tavis. Does this parallel anything in your own life?

Chastity: No. I will admit that I’m a little mistrustful, but that isn’t just with men, that’s with everyone. I’m always a little leery of people until I get to know them. It’s just who I am.

Tara: Berry and Tavis feel instant attraction to each other. Was it like that for you and your husband?

Chastity: Yes. I swear, the moment I laid eyes on my husband I knew he was the one. It was just a feeling that filled me. It was so crazy, but here we are still married fourteen years later.

Tara: Berry hesitates over marriage. Were you also hard to convince?

Chastity: Nope. I wanted to be married. Perhaps that lack of apprehension was because of the wonderful man I was marrying. I’ve never had a bad opinion of marriage, even after watching my mothers’ divorces. I think they actually helped me see what I needed to do and not do to make a marriage work. Of course we have our ups and downs, we all do, but I love being married.

Tara: I'm a dog mom so this is always my last and final question. Do you have pets? If so, please tell me about them and provide a photo.

Chastity: We don’t have any pets anymore. We had a cat for a long time, but he lives with my dad in Texas now, and our big, hairy, weird but awesome guinea pig passed away a couple years ago. Since then, we’ve been a pet free house. We do like animals; just don’t really have time to care for them as they need. 

Thank you, Chastity! For those of you interested in Tumbleweeds, you can buy it here:

Tumbleweeds Paperback
Tumbleweeds Kindle

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Graveminder by Melissa Marr


Imagine being a den mother to the dead. Your job is to make sure the dead stay dead. The only way to do that is be sure that every single person born in the town is buried there in town. If they don't die in the town, you got to go find them and bring their dead bodies back. If you don't, if they find their own way back, they'll eat people along the way, so you'll have lots of naughty dead children. 

The official name for day care provider for the dead: graveminder.

The job is inherited, and Rebekkah has just found out the task is hers. She joins forces with the Undertaker, a man she loves, but doesn't want to love in a town where the sheriff looks the other way rather than get a migraine with a dead zombie is on the lose eating people.. or is it more than one? I mentioned she and the undertaker, Byron, have a love/hate thing going on...well, they got to get it together cause they are the only two people who can deliver the zombies back to the underworld.

The underworld is the coolest thing about this book. Visualize a town of buildings from all centuries with people dressed from all eras walking around it. Too cool!!!! I loved these scenes and morbid as it sounds, wanted to visit the place... This was a real good, spine tingling read. It was a bit confusing at first, but it was well done as the secrets kept piling up and the suspense about killed me.

The only thing I didn't like was the love/hate, pull him to me/push him away thing going on with Rebekkah and Byron. She began to irritate me. The love/romance was a bit lacking. Can't say I felt it that strongly.

All in all, genius idea! The town of dead, the deal made with the Grim Reaper, basically, and the town founders.... I'm hoping that there is a sequel as well as I was really super intrigued by a character named Alicia. I'm thinking a prequel type thing is in order about her, her life, and why she's chosen to live in Death Town. I found myself picturing Sharon Stone in The Quick and the Dead. 

Great read, four stars, and I received it from the publisher. Thank you, William Morrow. Really. This was a terrific change from my normal reading material. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Ride for Rights Has A Cover!

I'm thrilled to announce that the cover is done!!!! What do you all think???? 

For those new to my blog, Ride for Rights is my YA historical coming out from  MuseItUp Publishing Feb. 10th of this year. 

Blurb: In the summer of 1916 women do not have the right to vote, let alone be motorcycle dispatch riders. Two sisters, Angeline and Adelaide Hanson are determined to prove to the world that not only are women capable of riding motorbikes, but they can ride motorbikes across the United States. Alone. 

From a dance hall in Chicago to a jail cell in Dodge City, love and trouble both follow Angeline and Adelaide on the dirt roads across the United States. The sisters shout their triumph from Pike’s Peak only to end up lost in the Salt Lake desert. 

Will they make it to their goal of Los Angeles or will too many mishaps prevent them from reaching their destination and thus, hinder their desire to prove that women can do it? 

Laugh, cry, and smile with Angeline and Adelaide as they take their ride full of adventures, their ride for rights.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Dog Who Danced by Susan Wilson

The Dog Who DancedThey say some people handle grief in bad ways...I think this couple does. First, let me say this is a good story, not so much about a dog, but about handling grief and loss and a how a dog can help people heal.

Justine's dog is dog napped, basically and then abandoned. While she struggles with bitter feelings with her step family and her father dying AND searches for her dog, an older couple picks her dog up and replaces their lost daughter with the dog. The dog brings them together again. No longer are they sitting apart, but together in order to pet the dog who lies on both of their laps. No longer are they spending days trying to avoid each other, but bonding as they walk the dog, take the dog for rides..and so on.

My problem with this book was solely: I can't stand any of the characters. I thought the heroine, Justine, was irresponsible. I have three adorable dogs and I would never EVER leave them in the cab of some truck driver's truck, especially not a man I barely knew or knew from a bar. She also packed up her little boy and left her husband. Not a smart move. Wasn't like he beat her.. and she could barely provide for the kid.

The couple: The whole, "Let's not find his owner/let's place an ad but be half-witted about it/No, of course he doesn't have a chip.." stuff didn't fly with me. I get they loved the dog and I personally felt the dog was better off with them than Justine, but they struck me as so corrupt, I had a difficult time stomaching the whole situation.

Good book and well written, but I don't think it will agree with everyone.

Favorite quote from the dog: "Humans have this nee to express themselves through their mouths, and he supposes that this is because they are so poor with their noses." LOL

Three stars.

This was an ARC from Amazon Vine so the quote may not be exact.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

La Desperada by Patricia Burroughs

La DesperadaThis is another old romance that got a makeover to keep up with the kindle age. Take a good look at that cover and title. Of course I had to read it. Thoughts of woman bandits ran through my head....

She's not a bandit though, not really. Yes, Elizabeth is running from the Law, but she's being falsely accused of murdering her own husband and her brother in law is the accuser AND the town sheriff, so really, what choice does she have but to let the famous outlaw, Boone Coulter out of jail and coerce him into helping her escape?

What follows is days trail riding, trying to stay under the radar, avoid trouble, and going hungry to boot. Elizabeth also realizes there's more to Boone than meets the eye. Is he really the cruel outlaw everyone says he is? Or did he take this path for a deeper reason..a reason of revenge?

It's revenge all right and it involves her dead husband, her evil brother in law, and things of the past. But while she is trying to avoid the BIL, Boone has a bone to pick with him. 
What Wild Ecstasy

Enter a strange Spanish man with a drug problem, a mysterious and very dead deformed woman, a whore who aims to get to NY, a nosy reporter, and a young and naive deputy, and you have a cast of characters that tie in to an action packed, keep you guessing story and a surprise ending. I especially enjoyed a scene in which Elizabeth steals the mail to score some necessary money, but as she goes through the envelopes, realizes she can't do it.. she can't take the money sent from mother to her son begging her son to buy a horse and come home... Thus, Elizabeth doesn't have a bandit's heart. At all.

I really enjoyed it, but some parts seemed a bit drawn out unnecessarily, such as the drug user and his weird fantasies. LOL I give it a four and I recommend it to all fans of historical romance. 

Favorite passages: 

"A lady endures, whether it be poverty or a pitiful, drunken husband, or even simple loneliness...and a lady...through he very act of her weakness, is stronger than anyone can ever imagine a lady would ever have to be."

"If you can see the wrong and point it out then that makes you feel like you're right. It seems that there's so much wickedness in their world, that people have to point their fingers and call names at your to convince themselves that they're keeping things under control."

I was provided an ebook of this from the author, no strings attached.