Monday, June 18, 2018

Monday Book Review: Playing With Her Heart, by Lauren Blakely

Playing with Her Heart, by Lauren Blakely
Published 2013 by Lauren Blakely Books

About the Book:
He's sexy, sophisticated, possessive...and my boss. 
I'm trying to resist him, I swear. I'm good at resisting, and at playing pretend too. It's what I do for a living. But as Davis Milo directs me in my first Broadway play, I'm having a harder time pretending that I don't want him to take me. On the piano. In the limo. In the dressing room. Anywhere and everywhere. And the more he guides me through staged kisses, the more I want them to be real. 
I damn well know the first rule of directing: Never fall for your leading lady. But I'm captivated by her raw talent, and fighting this desire grows harder every day I spend with her. Keeping things professional isn't an option. I want all of her. Soon we're staying late in the empty theatre, our private rehearsals spiraling into new, forbidden territory. I swear I'm not playing with her heart, but how can I be sure that what she feels is real, and not a part of the play?

My Take:

Hot, sexy romance set in New York City's theatre district, between a young Broadway hopeful and the Tony award winning director who sees something irresistible in the younger woman. Lauren Blakely is a New York Times #1 bestselling author, having hit the bestseller listings more than 100 times. She knows her way around contemporary romance.

He said/she said points of view help give the story depth and perspective, especially in this #MeToo era of casting couch accusations.

This is not that. This is a romance and the reader can see both sides of the equation, and how perfect these main characters are for each other, even before they realize it themselves.

Well paced and well written, this is another great story to add to your summer reading list!

Grab a copy on AMAZON

Monday, June 4, 2018

Monday Book Review: Goody Two Shoes, by Janet Elizabeth Henderson

Goody Two Shoes, by Janet Elizabeth Henderson

Published 2014
About the Book:
Take one American singer who doesn’t believe in falling in love…

Josh McInnes’ biological clock is ticking and he wants to get married—now. After 20 years singing soppy love songs, he knows that there is no such thing as romantic love. There’s only hormones and lust. At thirty-five, he’s tired of his playboy lifestyle. He wants a wife who isn’t interested in fame, money, or romance. A sensible wife, who values commitment. He wants a partnership, a friendship, and none of the craziness that goes with falling in love. As far as he can see, there’s only one way to get exactly what he wants—he needs an arranged marriage.

…add a Scottish librarian who has given up on ever falling in love…

Caroline Patterson terrifies men. With her no-nonsense attitude, and ice queen demeanour, she’s in control of everything—and everyone—around her. Her sensible shoes and grey skirt suits act like a force field, repelling male attention. At thirty-one, she can’t remember the last time she went on a date and is beginning to think she’ll never have a family of her own. When an American stranger approaches Caroline with a marriage proposal that resembles a business contract, she quickly accepts. She doesn’t expect romance. But she does expect to control each and every detail of their lives together. Because as life has taught her—if you aren’t in control, bad things happen.

…and you get romance Invertary style!

Josh and Caroline learn the hard way that falling in love isn’t something you can avoid. And it definitely isn’t something you can control. Their well laid plans are about to degenerate into chaos, as they fall in love the Scottish way.

My Take:
This is my second book by Janet Elizabeth Henderson, and I enjoyed it just as much as the first. Quirky characters in a small Scottish town, this fun romantic comedy kept me turning pages as fast as I could. The characters who were introduced in the first book still populated the background, but the new main characters dominated the story lines, with a subplot of second chance romance that added dimension to the main story. I had no idea this was a series, or I would never have waited this long to read the second book!

This is a standalone romantic comedy, and you don't need to read the first book or any of the subsequent books to be satisfied and smiling. Everyone is introduced in the context of this story, without background explanations needed. However, of you find you enjoy the authors voice and style, I can wholeheartedly recommend book one as well, Lingerie Wars, which gives us Caroline's best friend Kristy's story.

Josh McInnes is famous for singing ballads and love songs, but doesn't believe in love.  He decides he wants - no needs- an arranged marriage in order to protect himself from gold diggers and women trying to use him to further their own careers.

Caroline Patterson lives and works in the small Scottish town of Invertary where Josh has recently purchased a castle as a vacation home and recording studio. Headstrong Caroline heads multiple committees around town and is the one who organizes and gets things done.

Stubborn Josh has decided Caroline checks all the right boxes to make a suitable wife, and an arrangement is agreed upon. A commitment where love is not involved.

This may not sound like the setup for a romantic comedy read, but the clashing of the strong-willed main characters is fabulous and  the circus of secondary (mostly geriatric)characters are sprinkles on this sundae of fun. The subplot of Josh's parents and their marital troubles shows a softer and totally different angle to finding and keeping love alive, enhancing the situation the main characters find themselves in... When they actually begin to fall in love.

Tons of fun, well written, and totally recommend for your summer reading list! Grab a copy on AMAZON

Monday, May 28, 2018

Monday Book Review: A Thousand Faces, by Janci Patterson

A Thousand Faces, by Janci Patterson
Published August 2015 by Garden Ninja Books

About the Book:
In her debut YA science fiction novel, Janci Patterson presents a thriller that #1 NYT bestseller James Dashner calls "a fantastic book" and #1 NYT bestseller Brandon Sanderson calls "hands down one of my favorite novels of the year."

In the world of high-stakes espionage, it pays to be able to change your face. And that’s just what sixteen-year-old Jory and her family of shape-shifting spies can do—alter their faces and bodies to look like anyone. Jory is in training to be a full member of the family business—when she can convince her parents to let her help with their elaborate cons.

But when Jory’s parents go missing on the job, Jory is thrown into a world of secrets, lies, and stolen identities that will put all her training to the test. Jory’s always wanted to be a member of the team—

But saving her family may be the most difficult job of all.

My Take:

Unique and totally absorbing, this YA paranormal deserves a whole lot more recognition than it's received so far.  Author Janci Patterson creates a new kind of human shape shifter - one that doesn't turn into an animal, but rather can change their bodies, faces, and even voices into other people. There have been aliens and robot terminators in books and movies who've had this ability - but a shape shifting race of humans? The concept and the world building the author invests is fascinating and utterly believable.

If you like YA paranormals and enjoy new twists and concepts, you need to read this well-written, well-executed story - the bonus being that it's the first of a three book series, and Book One is currently free, and can totally be enjoyed as a standalone, or as the start to a delicious new series.

As I'm writing this, the Amazon book only has 24 reviews - which probably has more to do with Amazon's new screwed up policing efforts and algorithms than anything else. But that's a story for another blog. Trust me, this book is so much better than many YAs I've read with hundreds more reader reviews. Which proves the point that number of reviews doesn't correlate to quality whatsoever. And that Amazon needs to figure out how to police reviews without blanket deletion.

Anyway. Back to the story.

Jory is a sixteen year old girl who's been learning the "family business" and is eager to take on more responsibility, although her parents aren't sure she's ready. The business? Corporate espionage, and the book starts with her first solo assignment, "breaking into" a high tech company by pretending to be one of the employees. Very Mission Impossible, but without the prosthetics or gadgets, because Jory and her family are shape shifters, who can mimic anyone's body, face and voice.

Shape shifters live in the shadows, staying under the government radar. Their existence is barely hinted at on conspiracy websites, and shifters are cautious about getting caught and ending up in some Area 51 vivisection laboratory. Needless to say, Jory's family moves around a lot. She doesn't attend school or have friends - only one other shifter family that they work with, who happen to have a teenaged son.

Kalif is the first shifter boy Jory has ever known, and he's somewhat of a tech genius. She's developed something of a crush on him, which her parents notice and tease her about. But when her parents don't come home from a routine assignment, Kalif is the only one Jory can trust to help her find out what happened.

Both teens have been somewhat sheltered by their parents, not allowed to participate in higher stakes missions or informed of some of the dangers of their world. Their parents think they're kids, and not ready to handle or execute anything of importance, trying to exclude them from investigating what happened to Jory's parents. Together, Kalif and Jory use their training to search for answers and conduct undercover ops that reveal uncomfortable truths for everyone.

This is a unique coming-of-age novel, told exclusively in Jory's first person point of view. The first-love romance between Jory and Kalif is sweet (nothing beyond kisses and hugs, and a growing attachment.) I think the book is misclassified as science fiction and should be YA paranormal, which would be a better audience for the POV and storyline. Because despite some tepid Amazon reviews, this is an awesome storyline, great characters, well-executed timing, and world building of a secret subset of society that doesn't rely on any apocolyptic shift in the current world, but layers right into the shadows of real-time America.

Obviously, I can't say enough good things about this book. Grab a copy on AMAZON and decide for yourself.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Graduation Season! Where does the time go??

It seems like yesterday - well, maybe the day before yesterday - when I snapped this photo of my oldest son and his dog. Where does the time go?

And now he's all grown up. And graduating.
And going on to pilot training. Like, totally adulting right out of the gate.

I'm so proud, but at the same time I feel the tears burning the backs of my eyeballs.
I keep telling myself this is normal. This unwillingness to let go. Like I have a choice in the matter.

I keep telling him that he'll always be my baby, but really, I have to admit that he's all grown up.

Congratulations to the graduating class of 2018, not just at the Air Force Academy, but everywhere.

You guys and gals are the future. And it's filled with opportunity and possibilities.

Go for it.