Thursday, August 23, 2012

Review: A Fool's Gold Christmas by Susan Mallery

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harlequin HQN (September 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373777027
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373777020

Book Description

The unrelenting cheer in Fool's Gold, California, is bringing out the humbug in dancer Evie Stryker. She learned early on that Christmas miracles don't happen, at least not for her. And this year seems like no exception. An injury has forced her to return to the family fold, no matter that they're estranged. She won't add to the awkward scenario by being seduced by the bad-boy charms of her brother's best friend, the last man she should ever want to date. Even when she's recruited to stage the Fool's Gold winter festival, she vows to do as promised, then move forward with her life anywhere but here.Jaded lawyer Dante Jefferson is getting used to the backwater town he now reluctantly calls home, but the pounding of little dancers' feet above his temporary office is more than any man should have to take! When he confronts their gorgeous teacher, he's unprepared for the attraction that sears him down to the soul. Evie is his best friend's sister-limits unless he's willing to risk his heart. Dante has always believed that love is the most dangerous force in the universe, but that was before he had to reckon with the magic of a certain small town, where miracles do seem to happen….

About the Author

Join the Members Only area at for free excerpts, exclusive short stories, games, and more. And be sure to look for her on Facebook and Twitter. ***

New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery has entertained millions of readers with her witty and emotional stories about women and the relationships that move them. Publisher's Weekly calls Susan's prose "luscious and provocative," and Booklist says, "Novels don't get much better than Mallery's expert blend of emotional nuance, humor and superb storytelling." While Susan appreciates the critical praise, she is most honored by the enthusiastic readers who write to tell her that her books made them laugh, made them cry, and made the world a happier place to live.

Susan lives in Seattle with her husband and her tiny but intrepid toy poodle. She's there for the coffee, not the weather. 

My Review

Another winner from Susan Mallery.  The  Stryker brothers are all paired off so it's time for little sister Evie.  And who better than Rafe's partner Dante Jefferson.  Evie has been through a lot in her short life and Dante is the perfect man for her...but will he figure that out!

Lovely Christmas story from one of my favorite romance writers!


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Review: Judgment Call: A Brady Novel of Suspense by J. A. Jance

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (July 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061731161
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061731167

Book Description

New York Times" bestselling author J. A. Jance brings back acclaimed sheriff Joanna Brady in an exciting and twisting mystery set against the beauty and isolation of the Arizona desert.

"Judgment Call"

When Joanna Brady's daughter, Jenny, stumbles across the body of her high school principal, Debra Highsmith, in the desert, the Cochise County sheriff's personal and professional worlds collide, forcing her to tread the difficult middle ground between being an officer of the law and a mother. While investigating murders has always meant discovering unpleasant facts and disquieting truths, the experienced Joanna isn't prepared for the knowledge she's about to uncover. Though she's tried to protect her children from the dangers of the grown-up world, the search for justice leads straight to her own door and forces her to face the possibility that her beloved daughter may be less perfect than she seems--especially when a photo from the crime scene ends up on Facebook. A photo only one person close to the crime scene could have taken.

The gruesome picture is just the tip of the iceberg. Even a small, close-knit town like Bisbee has its secrets. Navigating her way through the unfamiliar world of social media, Joanna discovers shocking--and incriminating--information. The details build, from a hushed-up suspension, to a group of teenagers with a grudge against the late Ms. Highsmith, to a hateful video calling for the principal's death. The video evidence points to one particular privileged boy, who's already lawyered up thanks to his father, a well-to-do doctor determined to protect his son's reputation. Yet the deeper Joanna digs, the more complications she uncovers. It seems the quiet, upstanding principal had a hidden past, full of mysterious secrets she'd successfully kept buried for years.

As the seasoned sheriff juggles professional constraints and personal demands--budget cuts, new team members, an arrogant coroner, a confused teenager, a precocious toddler, and a high-maintenance mother--she finds herself walking a fine line between justice and family that has never been so blurred.

About The Author

 J. A. Jance is the New York Times bestselling author of the J. P. Beaumont series, the Joanna Brady series, the Ali Reynolds series, and four interrelated thrillers about the Walker family. Born in South Dakota and brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, Jance lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona.

My Review

 First of all I have a bit of an issue with book pricing.  I bought the trade paperback of this book at Costco for three dollars less than the Kindle edition is priced.  I find that really annoying.  I have a lot of books and to save on clutter I prefer ebooks these days of novels.  I don't think that any ebook should be over $9.99 and if they are priced more than that then it is very unlikely I will purchase it.  I will wait my turn at the library usually.

Anyways, another good read by J.A. Jance. I've always enjoyed this series set in Bisbee, Arizona.  Sheriff Joanna Brady has a lot to deal with having a new husband, young son, teenage daughter and a mother who is a piece of work!  The mystery around the murder of the high school principal hits close to home in more ways than one.  But there is an interesting back story about her father's death.  

Good, easy read!


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Review: Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society: A Novel by Amy Hill Hearth

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; Original edition (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451675232
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451675238

Book Description

 A brilliant debut novel from a New York Times bestselling author about a transplanted wife from Boston who arrives in Florida in the 1960s, starts a literary salon, and shakes up the status quo.

In 1962, Jackie Hart moved to Naples, Florida, from Boston with her husband and children. Wanting something personally fulfilling to do with her time, she starts a reading club and anonymously hosts a radio show, calling herself Miss Dreamsville.

The racially segregated town falls in love with Miss Dreamsville, but doesn’t know what to make of Jackie, who welcomes everyone into her book club, including a woman who did prison time for allegedly killing her husband, a man of questionable sexual preference, a young divorcee, as well as a black woman.

By the end of this novel, you’ll be wiping away the tears of laughter and sadness, and you just may become a bit more hopeful that even the most hateful people can see the light of humanitarianism, if they just give themselves a chance.

About The Author

Debut novelist Amy Hill Hearth is a former journalist and the author or coauthor of seven nonfiction books, including Having Our Say: The Delaney Sisters’ First 100 Years, the New York Times bestseller-turned-Broadway play. She met her future husband, Blair, who was raised in Collier County, while she was working as a reporter in Daytona Beach, Florida, in 1983. She is a graduate of the University of Tampa. 

My Review

 Amy Hill Hearth is a wonderful storyteller. This is a story of friendship.  It is a story of a time and a place that are gone forever.  It is a story about ordinary people being brave.  And a story of love.

Set in early 1960s small town Florida and told by Dora Witherspoon, the Turtle Lady, a young divorcee who is trying to get on with her life and making new friends.  It is a story about Southern women, one transplanted Northern woman and a gay man in a time when men were not gay.  Sometimes the bravest thing you can do is live your life the way you want to.

When I think of Florida I don't think of it as part of the antebellum south ( I tend to think of it as a giant theme park, retirement haven and Cuban culture) but in the early 1960s Florida was still part of the deep south.  Segregation was ever present and it did not seem to long ago that slavery existed.  I find this all so fascinating as I will be in Florida for a conference next month and now I 'm going to be looking for signs of Old Florida everywhere I go.

Hearth made these characters come alive on the page. You could feel what they were going through and you were glad they found each other.  Jackie Hart, an outspoken Northern woman transplanted in Florida makes things happen!  She is the undisputed star of this book and the title character.  Miss Dreamsville anonymously hosts a radio program late at night.  Everyone wonders who she is.  She is considered the ultimate woman and adored by her fans.  Yet they've never seen her.  People do tend to jump to conclusions don't they.

Great book! You'll warm to all the characters right away.  Short read but full of emotion.  It will be released on October 2nd.  Be sure to pre-order a copy!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Review: Last Chance Beauty Queen by Hope Ramsay

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Forever; 1 Original edition (February 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446576085
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446576086

Dear Reader,
Gracious me, my beautiful daughter Rocky sure could use my help. I always knew she wasn't much interested in the local boys - but who'd have thought she'd come home with English royalty?
Trouble is, Hugh wants to buy some of our folks' land. We don't want to sell, but Rocky's job depends on her closing the deal. And though Hugh's obviously smitten, I'm not sure he's right for my Rocky. Oh, he's classy and handsome - and you should've seen the way he judged pies and fixed stock cars at our Watermelon Festival! - but what do we know about him, really? I know I sound like a nervous mother hen, but after forty happy years with my Elbert, all I want is to see my little girl find the same.
Well, time for me to quit chattering and get back to Miss Bray's wet set. Always nice talking to you, and remember: the Cut 'n Curl's got hot rollers, free coffee, and the best gossip in town.
See you real soon,
Ruby Rhodes

About The Author

 Hope Ramsay was born in New York and grew up on the North Shore of Long Island, but every summer Momma would pack her off under the care of Aunt Annie to go visiting with relatives in the midlands of South Carolina. Her extended family includes its share of colorful aunts and uncles, as well as cousins by the dozens, who provide the fodder for the characters you'll find in Last Chance, South Carolina. Hope earned a BA in Political Science from the University of Buffalo, and has had various jobs working as a Congressional aide, a lobbyist, a public relations consultant, and a meeting planner. She's a two-time finalist in the Golden Heart, and is married to a good ol' Georgia boy who resembles every single one of her heroes. She has two grown children and a couple of demanding lap cats. She lives in Fairfax, Virginia where you can often find her on the back deck, picking on her thirty-five-year-old Martin guitar.

My  Review

Really enjoying this chick lit series by Hope Ramsay when I need a light read.  I read the first two books, Welcome to Last Chance and Home at Last Chance during recent hospital stays.  Really helped to pass the time.  Excellent light reads.

Last Chance Beauty Queen features the only daughter of Elbert and Ruby Rhodes.  Rocky aka Caroline Rhodes is a career driven young woman.  I don't really buy the English Lord bit though.  The sorrowful angel bit is all too much for me as is obviously the ghost of Haley's mother.

It is a well written book and very readable.  Ramsay is good at weaving a good tale. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Review: Ten Girls to Watch: A Novel by Charity Shumway

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press; Original edition (July 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451673418
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451673418

Book Description

A funny and uplifting debut novel about stumbling through the early years of adulthood while taking (or not taking) the advice of the women who've gone before you. 

Dawn West is trying to make her way in New York City. She’s got an ex-boyfriend she can’t quite stop seeing, a writing career that’s gotten about as far as penning an online lawn care advice column, and a small hometown in Oregon that’s her last recourse if she can’t make next month’s rent.      So when Dawn lands a job tracking down the past winners of Charm magazine’s “Ten Girls to Watch” contest, she’s thrilled. Not only is she being paid to interview hundreds of fascinating women, but she’s also sharing office space with “Secret Agent Romance,” Charm’s resident dating columnist, and he just happens to be giving her butterflies.     As Dawn gets to know the life stories of these former winners, she’ll discover that success, love, and friendship can be found in the most unexpected of places. And even more importantly, she’ll find that though those who have gone before us can be role models, ultimately, we each have to carve our own way.    Both an insightful look at the trajectory of female experience over the past fifty years and a witty coming of age story, Ten Girls to Watch introduces an unforgettable new voice in women’s fiction.

About The Author

 Charity Shumway received an MFA in Creative Writing from Oregon State University and a BA in English from Harvard University. Her writing has appeared in Glamour, where she reported on the fiftieth anniversary of the magazine’s “Top Ten College Women” contest, Ladies Home Journal, and Fitness, among others. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

My Review

This delightful novel which was released on July 31st is a pleasure to read.  Charity Shumway has successfully captured the angst of a twenty something young woman trying to find her way as a writer in New York City.   Dawn was on a course to enter law school when she graduated but instead decided to give writing a try.  She spends quite a bit of time pondering her relationship/non-relationship with college boyfriend Robert.  Even though Robert has moved on she cannot get him out of her head and her heart.

Ten Girls to Watch is the central theme of the story.  This is an annual contest in the fictional magazine Charm.  Dawn is hired to track down the 50 years of winners and get their stories.  During this process Dawn not only has her eyes opened by what these women have accomplished, she starts to become empowered herself.  You really sympathize with Dawn and are cheering her on to find herself and find her self worth.

This is a very entertaining book.  It is well written.  It would be perfect for a woman's reading group. It also has prepared questions for a group at the end of the novel.  They say to write what you know and Ms. Shumway has successfully done this.