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Sunday, October 09, 2016

What I've been up to lately

Okay, so here is the thing... I haven't been reading a whole lot lately because I've been reformatting books I wrote years ago and putting them on kindle myself. I asked for the rights back because it seems more people borrow my books through kindle unlimited than actually buy them. I don't mind that, but if I have publishers that don't use kindle unlimited then the books are not available for my readers. That said, here are the buy links to the books I recently posted...

Saturday, September 24, 2016

My review of My Girlfriend's Boyfriend by Elodia Strain

About the book:

Jesse is looking for the "right guy." When she bumps into Ethan, a despairing writer who she inspires, she thinks she's found him. But only moments later she meets Troy, a successful advertising executive who makes almost every moment romantic. Both seem perfect, but things aren't always what they seem in this fun romance that blends warm sincerity with fresh storytelling. 

My review:

I saw this movie years ago and loved it. It's a perfect RomCom. While not often the case, the book is just as good as the movie was. The story is compelling and hilarious because of the heroine's quirky sense of humor. It makes you think and makes you laugh. I loved everything about it and would highly recommend the book to anyone as it has no objectionable content. There is literally nothing that is offensive - not in the least. It's just a sweet love story that shows true love happens by having a best friend in the man you love. He has to be a man you can trust. And I won't post a spoiler, but it made me get a bit tearful near the end, just like the movie did. Loved it!

My Girlfriend's Boyfriend was published by Bonneville Books and released in 2011 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

My review of Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory

About the book:

As sisters they share an everlasting bond; As queens they can break each other’s hearts.

“There is only one bond that I trust: between a woman and her sisters. We never take our eyes off each other. In love and in rivalry, we always think of each other.”

When Katherine of Aragon is brought to the Tudor court as a young bride, the oldest princess, Margaret, takes her measure. With one look, each knows the other for a rival, an ally, a pawn, destined—with Margaret’s younger sister Mary—to a sisterhood unique in all the world. The three sisters will become the queens of England, Scotland, and France.

United by family loyalties and affections, the three queens find themselves set against each other. Katherine commands an army against Margaret and kills her husband James IV of Scotland. But Margaret’s boy becomes heir to the Tudor throne when Katherine loses her son. Mary steals the widowed Margaret’s proposed husband, but when Mary is widowed it is her secret marriage for love that is the envy of the others. As they experience betrayals, dangers, loss, and passion, the three sisters find that the only constant in their perilous lives is their special bond, more powerful than any man, even a king.

My review:

I have read a number of books by Ms. Gregory and have enjoyed them all. This one didn't grab me as much as others like Lady of the Rivers and The Kingmaker's Daughters. At any rate, I did enjoy this story. With so little being known about the main character, Margaret Tudor, who became the queen of Scotland at the same time her brother, Henry VIII was king of England, the author had a lot of unknown details where she could use creative license to fill in the blanks. Other than the fact that she married three times, there was a lot of leeway for the author to create a background to explain why she might have married two more times. 

The first time resulted in King James of Scotland. The other two were with clansmen, one with noble blood and one without. I found it interesting how she went from loving her sisters (Kathryn of Aragon by marriage and Mary Tudor, her younger sister) to hating or envying them quite a bit. Her attitude changed like the wind and she was full of pride, yet she had a softer side to her. I think the fact that it rarely came out made her less likable, though she was a strong woman. In the beginning she seemed a bit weak because of her human desire to be wanted and loved. Interestingly enough, the three sisters all had something in common. The first time each of them got married it was by contract and planned for political reasons. After being widowed, they each married for love and not for political reasons. 

The point of view of Margaret Tudor provided an interesting perspective of how Kathryn of Aragon may have been perceived by many in England. She was loved by the people because of her commitment to the king, her husband King Henry VIII, despite how he treated her toward the end. I found it interesting how Margaret Tudor was granted a divorce from her unfaithful and power- hungry husband of the Douglas clan before her brother King Henry VIII sought his divorce (though they were requested for different reasons) and how that would reflect on the Tudors as well as the perspective of the time - marriage was for life when it came to royalty. And yet they each broke their marriage contracts.  

Interesting book with one main character - Margaret Tudor. I always wondered what her life might have been like and Ms. Gregory provided some details that painted a picture, though it is obviously fiction.  

Three Sisters, Three Queens was published by Touchstone Books and released in August 2016.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

My review of Nothing But Echoes by Anne Montgomery

About the book:

The past and present collide when a tenacious reporter seeks information on an eleventh century magician...and uncovers more than she bargained for.

In 1939, archaeologists uncovered a tomb at the Northern Arizona site called Ridge Ruin. The man, bedecked in fine turquoise jewelry and intricate bead work, was surrounded by wooden swords with handles carved into animal hooves and human hands. The Hopi workers stepped back from the grave, knowing what the Moochiwimi sticks meant. This man, buried nine hundred years earlier, was a magician.

Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archaeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.

My review:

I chose this book from a pile I had scheduled to read and figured if it held my interest I'd keep going. Well, I finished the book so it obviously kept me reading. It was set up to alternate from the past (1098 AD Arizona) to the present day. As the reporter tried to investigate the history of the magician, there was a parallel story alongside the present day that showed what happened in the past with the native people who settled in that area. I found it interesting how the author sort of gave you a lesson on migration and trying to assess where people groups originated from based on bead work and artifacts. That was really interesting. There were some colorful characters in both the past and present era. I loved how the author gave the disabled child (who had one leg much shorter than the other) a talent for carving items out of wood and for painting pottery.

The author's writing was good and nicely descriptive. There were some point of view switches mid scene but they weren't jarring and didn't pull me from the story. I found some of the odd incidences with spirits from the past a bit confounding though I think I understood what the author was trying to show (what comes around goes around maybe?) Also, the story had nice pacing for the majority of the book, yet it felt a bit rushed at the very end.

Regardless, I did enjoy the story and especially the fact that most of it occurred in Flagstaff and/or around NAU, where my sons both attended college in the past. The way the author told the story was unique. Since the setting was in Arizona and I've visited many of the places in the story, I found it especially fun to read. Some of her descriptions really gave me a sense of time and place,  like the sound of the wind whispering through the pines. Ahhh. It's gorgeous in Northern Arizona.

If you enjoy stories about ancient American cultures and archaeology, you will enjoy this book. Nothing But Echoes was published in January 2016 by Sara Book Publishing.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

My review of You Make Me by Erin McCarthy

About the book:

The guy she wants…

Growing up on the coast of Maine with a revolving door of foster siblings, Caitlyn Michaud spent one intense and passionate year falling in love with her foster brother, Heath. Then he left without a word. The betrayal devastated Caitlyn and made her vow to forget the compelling bad boy. But forgetting his sensual touch and their deep all-consuming friendship is easier said than done.

Isn’t the guy she needs…

Determined to move on, in college Caitlyn has risen above her small town impoverished roots and has joined a sorority, reinvented her appearance, and landed the right boyfriend. Pre-law major and frat president, Ethan, is thoughtful and always laughing, and he makes her feel happy, calm. He also gives her the social acceptance she craves.

But the perfect world she tried so hard to attain is ripped apart when Heath appears one night out of nowhere. Caitlyn remembers all the reasons why she loves him, even if they don’t make sense to anyone but her. Out of the military, Heath is as brooding and intense as ever, and he is determined not only to win her back, but to exact revenge on everyone who kept him from her…

And when one love allows her to breathe, but the other feels as essential to her life as air, how does she choose between them?

My review:

I saw this book on Bookbub, and it was free on Kobo, so I thought why not check it out. It helped that the intro said it was written by a NY Times Best-selling author, so I assumed the book would be decently edited and be well-written. I was right.  

Once I started I couldn't stop reading until I got to the end of the book. This was a very intense read and I loved this story. While steamier than I typically read, I found it to be tied to emotion so it was gratifying in a sensual yet emotionally-driven manner. That's my kind of story. Plus I love when people are so wrapped up in each other that it makes them feel crazy. Like they are fighting an irresistible pull.

The hero was very heroic. The heroine was lovable and never wanted to hurt anyone. I found some of her characterization deep because it tied into her very dysfunctional past. I totally adored the foster care them underlying some of the irrational emotion sand abandonment issues that came out during some heated arguments. This story had a theme that made me think of the line, "You complete me."

I don't want to risk a spoiler so I won't say anything else except that the feel of this book reminded me of a movie I watched with Kirsten Dunst called Crazy Love. The writing was excellent too. Steamy but not nasty like erotica. This was above love and intense need. It was about losing your heart so completely that... Okay, sorry I said I wouldn't give away a spoiler, so you'll just read the book. I read it straight through in a day. I can't remember the last time I did that. It has been years. Yeah, it truly was compulsively readable.

 It's free today on Amazon, Kobo and I think Ibooks. Snap it up while you can HERE. I do believe I will be buying more of her New Adult books.
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