Welcome Blog Review Policy My Novels Giveaways Restorer's House

Monday, December 26, 2016

Fated Memories by Joan Carney

A woman, a war, a vision of the future past...

Burdened with the scars of a tortured childhood and a shattered romance, Kitty is being forced to resign from the dull, anonymous job she’s been hiding behind. With her life in shambles and her friends moving on without her, she jumps at her cousin, Maggie’s, invitation to visit. However, Maggie’s new boyfriend, Simon, has a secret that accidentally hurls the trio a hundred and fifty years into the past. Trapped in the midst of the bloodiest war in American history, the events that unfold will require more mettle than Kitty’s ever had.

I received a copy of this novel in return for an honest review.
This book is about a group of friends, Kitty, Mags and Simon who are transported into the time of the Civil War, while not my usual read the first thing I noticed was a lot of research went into this project.
This book was pretty good, it kept you guessing about what happens next and the author was not afraid to do bad things to her characters, which is recommended by great writers like Stephen King.

The characters could have used a little more development and as a warning to other readers there is a rape scene.
This book has a wonderful blend of romance, historical fiction and a little science fiction all rolled into one.

I’m not big on the civil war era, but the feel of the camp and time period seemed pretty accurate to me, plus Kitty’s relationship with Sam was very endearing. Over all there’s nothing to do but recommend this novel.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Wrong Man by K.C. Willivee

The wrong man was tried, convicted, and incarcerated for the vicious murder of Natasha Gwynne’s twin brother. But could sexy Patrick O’Roarke be the right man to win her heart? Freed when DNA evidence conclusively proves his innocence, O’Roarke immediately seeks Natasha out. His only thought is protecting her from the conspiracy that killed her brother and framed him for the crime. The more time he spends with the strong but vulnerable woman, though, the more he’s in danger of falling for her. And as the two flee for their lives across the southern United States, they are forced to confront unexpected betrayals, unspeakable grief, and unquenchable passion....

I received a copy of this novel in return for an honest review
My first issue with this book is that in the In Death series by JD Robb there is a very bad man named Patrick Roarke, so every time I see that name in this book that's who I think of, the author may want to change the first name, at least, as JD Robb is a super popular mystery/romance novel author. 

The writing wasn't bad, though the formatting in the .pdf I got was kind of wonky. There is good story telling here, good character development and a strong plot line.  I however had issue with the subject matter more than anything else. The guy is tried, convicted and incarcerated for the murder of the MC brother, but goes out of his way to meet her, save her and eventually fall in love with her? Only in the world of romance is this romantic, personally I found the idea semi creepy. 

Roarke and Natasha are interesting characters, each with their own positives, negatives and quirks, you can tell the author spent some time thinking about how to write them best. 

The book is a  short, fast paced read, which I liked. A ton of action without dwelling on anything too boring, though it does lead to insta-love. However, in the world of the romance novel (which this definitely is) this is more than acceptable, it's actually preferred. The chemistry between these two characters is HOT! 

The ending is very sweet and the hopeless romantic is me went, "squeee!"  So I recommend this novel if you are looking for a quick, steamy, fun, romantic read. Especially if you have some travel coming up for the holidays. 

The Telling by Alexandra Sirowy

Lana used to know what was real.
That was before when her life was small and quiet.
Her golden step-brother, Ben, was alive, she could only dream about bonfiring with the populars, their wooded island home was idyllic, she could tell the truth from lies, and Ben’s childhood stories were firmly in her imagination.
Then came after.
After has Lana boldly kissing her crush, jumping into the water from too high up, and living with nerve and mischief. But after also has horrors, deaths that only make sense in fairy tales, and terrors from a past Lana thought long forgotten: Love, blood, and murder.

I loved The Creeping  gave it five stars. I was disappointed in this novel. The mc, Lana was dull and her inner thoughts didn't make me interested in her. In fact I was more interested in the side character Car than anyone else and didn't get enough about her.

The book starts out with a bunch of kids drinking at a swimming hole, I can count at least five novels I've read recently that either started this way or had a similar scene, so apparently it's becoming a new YA trope. I maybe did something similar once or twice as a teen, but never some super special "secret" spot adults didn't got to.

It was hard for me to relate to the characters because they were pretty much all either a) mean b) super popular c)genius level smart d) really rich or e) dead f) all of thee above.

I had HUGE issues with how the cops treated the kids in this novel. No cop interviews a kid, especially a rich kid, without a lawyer or a cps worker with them. Not without some conversation about rights waiving. Nor does the main detective involved info dump on a 17 year old girl all the garbage they dug up about a possible suspect or victim.

The dark stories from Lana's step-brother Ben were interesting, a little creepy and creative. Lana's relationship with Ben was also a high light of the story, however I guessed the twist pretty early in, which was disappointing.  Though, Lana is at her most interesting when she has less than charitable thoughts towards the asswipes (her new current friends) who used to bully her.

There is some interesting stuff in here about how mean kids can be to each other, Lana get's hard core bullied. My issue, as a girl who was bullied pretty badly... I could NEVER be friends with the girls who said hateful mean things to me...Pretend to be nice for a little while sure, but like my new best friends? Not unless they apologized and ate some SERIOUS crow. (Which these people did not.) There are still girls who could be on fire on the side of the road that I would drive by and not feel bad about.

The writing was good, and when the novel finally picked up, around half way through, I did enjoy it more and couldn't put it down.  I would still read a third book by this author, but this was sad in comparison to her last novel.

Monday, December 5, 2016

ARC REVIEW: Love and Tumult by K. Kumar

Vik has just turned thirty, and after meeting with a friend, decides to make a change in his life. He takes a job as an auditor and moves to Africa. As part of his job, Vik travels to various countries in Southern Africa and meets with people affected by poverty and disease with the goal of examining whether foreign aid programs are effective. Against this backdrop, he falls for Latha. They work together and they form a relationship in the midst of a difficult assignment in Africa. This relationship eventually manifests into love and tumult.

This is a story about human relationships, discovery, and Africa. As Vic travels throughout the continent, he discovers the majesty of Africa, the beautiful landscape, the hospitality, and deeper truths about human struggles and the power of charity.

I received this novel in return for an honest review

This was an….interesting novel. I got through it fairly fast, thankfully I had a long wait at the eye doctor today. It’s not my normal cup of tea but I did enjoy many aspects.

Vik was easy to relate to, a guy looking for meaning in his life who decides to explore Africa and South America. I really like the portions describing his travels, the author did a lovely job putting the reader in the places Vik was going.

Latha I didn’t like as much, she was written beautifully, but it was too enforced that she was a mysterious and exotic lady. I think the character could have held that on her own without us constantly being reminded of it. Plus the romance between the two never really went anywhere.

I didn’t find the romance very believable and the plot got kind of lost, this was much more a travel book or fake memoir, in my opinion, than a fiction novel.

This novel was quite serious with few light moments- not a bad thing! Just something to consider.

There is some great writing in this book and I did enjoy reading about a place I rarely see in novels and will never see in real life.

Friday, December 2, 2016

The Halloween Host by S.M. Barrett

Arthur Brim owes a debt, and Halloween itself has come to collect.
If he fails to pay, every Halloween will become a bitter reminder of a broken promise to his son. To satisfy his debt, he must open his home to the spirits of the holiday.
Reluctantly, Arthur agrees, and soon meets the otherworldly members of the October Senate.
His guests, both frightful and fantastic, test his willpower and rattle his resolve.
They alter his house.
They shake his senses.
Soon, Arthur begins to doubt that he will be able to pay his debt as the Halloween Host.
There's a knock at the door.
Another visitor has arrived, and Arthur has no idea who, or what, is waiting on the other side.

I received a copy of this novel in return for an honest review

First off let me say this was a seriously cute Halloween book and I am sad I didn't get around to reading it until now. I always enjoy a novel that makes the seasons into living people and Autumn is exactly how I would picture her myself.

 The writing is good, but the cover art makes this feel like a kids novel and it isn't...not really. Too many big words and the world building is a little complex. My 12 year old who reads at a 12th grade level would probably get it, my 7 year old not so much.

I enjoyed the basic plot line and the characters, however there is a TON of info dumping in the first chapter, all about the October Senate and Halloween Committee and the rules and regulations each season has. It took away a little from the more charming aspects of this novel.

We probably don't need all that information right off the bat. Just knowing that Artie was in trouble with the leaders of the season and Halloween would have been enough. It's one of the reasons I wouldn't recommend a kid read this novel, I'm worried they would get bored by the technical aspects the author threw in and not enjoy the humor and fun.

The story had a Christmas Carol type feel to it except in stead of three ghosts there are ten.  Artie doesn't take his son trick or treating so in punishment the October Committee makes him Halloween Host and he has to deal with each of the senators of the season come the following Halloween.  Each senator brings a little something special and Artie learns a lesson.

This novel was fun, creative and like nothing I had read before. Something to certainly enjoy during the fall.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

In the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighborhood.
In Vassa’s neighborhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling away again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.
But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair…

Ok this is a hard one, but I felt it needed a proper review. Vassa in the Night is a retelling of a Russian folk tale called Vasilisa the Beautiful  which I had never heard before and is quite an interesting tale. I recommend reading it before picking up this novel.

I didn't care for Sarah Porter's other books so much, and enjoyed this one quite a bit more. The writing is beautiful and the story VERY unique. However that uniqueness can work for and against it. This book is weird, and if it's weird for me that says a lot because I enjoy anything odd, macabre or eccentric.  It is a little confusing, there is a lot to keep track of and there are quite a few characters. I got lost a few times and had to go back and re read to make sure I either a)understood what was going on or b)had read what I thought I read.

Vassa is an interesting character, not a Mary Sue, not particularly special in any way by herself. She is a bit whiny, but her character comes together at the end in a nice way. There isn't any romance in this book, which I must say I enjoyed. My favorite character was Erg her talking doll.

I felt the world building was a little lax, if it makes sense, there was too much information and not enough information all at the same time, which didn't help the confusing aspects of this novel. It reads in some parts like a folktale and in others like a traditional YA novel.

This is not a book to pick up simply because you like fairy tale retellings. In fact I probably wouldn't recommend this at all if that's what you're looking for. This book is dark, VERY VERY strange, a bit complicated, funny, heart felt, beautiful and eye twitch worthy all at the same time.  I am glad I read it. Though, it took a bit for me to get into it, about 30 pages.  I am also glad I didn't buy it because I won't be reading it again.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday- Top Ten Best Books- To get you in the mood for Halloween

Top Ten Tuesday is a fun Meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. This week is all about Halloween! I've chosen the Top Ten Best books to get you in the mood for Halloween- that no one ever picks. 

A young girl is drawn into the strange, spooky underworld in the basement of her uncle's funeral parlor.

Five mysterious, spine-tingling stories follow journeys into (and out of?) the eerie abyss.

These chilling tales spring from the macabre imagination of acclaimed and award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll.

Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there..


Serenity Falls is dead. No commerce, tourism, or good will. It gets worse.
An historian has uncovered the town's unspeakable past: lynchings, mass murders, sexual depravity, and rumors of the birth of the anti-Christ. But the darkest secret is yet to be revealed--in the Serenity Falls trilogy.


Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the tender attention her grandmother, Maylene, bestowed upon the dead of Claysville. While growing up, Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual at every funeral: three sips from a small silver flask followed by the words, "Sleep well, and stay where I put you."

Now Maylene is gone and Bek must return to the hometown—and the man—she abandoned a decade ago, only to discover that Maylene's death was not natural . . . and there was good reason for her odd traditions. In Claysville, the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected—and beneath the town lies a shadowy, lawless land ruled by the enigmatic Charles, aka Mr. D. From this dark place the deceased will return if their graves are not properly minded. And only the Graveminder, a Barrow woman, and the current Undertaker, Byron, can set things to right once the dead begin to walk


striking, charming fantasy art brings this modern retelling of a classic English fairy tale to life. After the moon learns that bogland monsters have been troubling humans while she sleeps, she vows to put a stop to it. But when she confronts them in their lair, the wicked creatures team up to trap her under the bog. With no moonlight to stop them, the monsters run wild in a neighboring village every night! It will take the combined efforts of a little boy, a wise woman, a courageous magpie and three of the bravest people in town to save the moon and end the monsters’ mischief once and for all! With some scary monsters and a few big words, this book is meant to be enjoyed by kids and parents together.

With parents too busy to pay her attention, an older brother and sister who would rather spend their time with friends, and peers who oscillate between picking on her and simply ignoring her, it's no wonder that Fain spends most of her time in a world of her own making. During the day, Fain takes solace in crafting her own fantastical adventures in writing, but in the darkness of night, these adventures come to life as Fain lives and breathes alongside a legion of imaginary creatures. Whether floating through space or under the sea, climbing mountains or traipsing through forests, Fain becomes queen beyond - and in spite of - the walls of her bedroom.

In time, Fain begins to see possibilities and friendships emerge in her day-to-day reality. . . yet when she is let down by the one relationship she thought she could trust, Fain must decide: remain queen of the imaginary creatures, or risk the pain that comes with opening herself up to the fragile connections that exist only in the real world?


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Monsters Stole the Moon by LD Womack- Illustrated by Derek McKindles

Striking, charming fantasy art brings this modern retelling of a classic English fairy tale to life. After the moon learns that bogland monsters have been troubling humans while she sleeps, she vows to put a stop to it. But when she confronts them in their lair, the wicked creatures team up to trap her under the bog. With no moonlight to stop them, the monsters run wild in a neighboring village every night! It will take the combined efforts of a little boy, a wise woman, a courageous magpie and three of the bravest people in town to save the moon and end the monsters’ mischief once and for all! With some scary monsters and a few big words, this book is meant to be enjoyed by kids and parents together.

I received a copy of this novel in return for an honest review

I started reading this with a bit of bias. I know, personally, both authors. However the bias was not needed.

This is a brilliant children's book. Though children's book is a bit inaccurate- those like me who love dark creepy picture books like Edward Gorey will enjoy this much more so than the average child. Though my 12 year old thought it was pretty damn awesome. This story is little long and wordy to be read by any child under the age of ten and if you tried to read it to a child they might get distracted.

This story is a retelling of an English folk tale called The Buried Moon and is very accurate in it's retelling. There are all kinds of monsters in it, including a few American children might not know like bogles.

 The writing is beautiful, dark and alluring, the story well paced and interesting. The artwork is just amazing and you can buy prints of the original art work online.

So if like me you collect Gris Grimly books or have a fascination with Edward Gorey I would pick this novel up and add it to your macabre collection.

For Sale in Print (and eventually kindle)

Top Ten Tuesday- Top Ten Characters you would name someone after

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish. This week is Top Ten characters you would name a child/pet etc..etc.. after. This is a great one for me because I have actually done this!

FYI: Not all of these are book characters... Some are TV or historical. Also: I do not usually post pictures of my kids in public forums so- none of these pictures may be used/copied/shared without my written consent. 

1) Tatiana (My oldest daughter. Is named after the fairy queen from A Midsummer's Night Dream and one of the Romanov daughters.

2) Ophelia- My youngest daughter. Named after the character from Hamlet

3) Jareth- my oldest son- named for the Goblin King in Labyrinth 

4) Louie and Lestat- My 12 year old half main coons- Named for The Vampire Chronicles

5) Gilgamesh- who passed away two years ago. Named after the main character in The Epic of Gilgamesh

6) Rosie Lass- My Chevy Colbalt. Named for a character from Lord of the Rings, the hobbit Samwise marries.

7) Grimalkin- named after a creepy cat guide in the Harry Dresden novels by Jim Butcher

8) Jack- who passed away five years ago- named for Jack Skellington

9) Mels- named after Melody Pond in her regeneration form as Amy Pond's best friend. "Let's Kill Hitler."

10) Chistery- the cat I gave my best friend for Christmas two years ago. Named after Elphaba's flying monkey in Wicked.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Author Spotlight: Nara Duffie- The Monster Realm

Todays' author Spotlight is on a young author named Nara Duffie. She has written two books; The Monster Realm and The Three Worlds. Both books were published before she turned 13 and are marketed towards Middle School readers.

The Monster Realm
Medusa aimed her poisoned arrow right at Lillian ...

Lillian always loved stories about myths and monsters--until she found herself inside one, fighting for her life!

Joined by her best friends, Katy and Maisy, Lillian must cross a sea guarded by Krakens and sirens, race through a dark forest haunted by elves and chimeras, and cross mountains ruled by griffins and rocs.

Where in this world is Lillian's sister? Who is the mysterious boy with the stone medallion? Why do the monsters hold an ancient grudge against humanity? And what is the secret hiding at the heart of it all?

The Three Worlds
Lillian and her best friends, Katy and Maisy, barely survived their first adventure in the Monster Realm. Now they have only days to stop a war between the worlds, a war in which the mythical creatures of Lanodeka plan to reclaim the earth as their own.

But this time, the girls have to face more than dragons and griffins, sirens and elves, rocs and harpies. They discover the real power behind the war, a power that is using the Creation Stone to build an army unlike anything they could have imagined.Worlds are about to change.

If you would like to purchase or peruse her novels further, you can find them here: They are both available in ebook and paper back, on amazon and barnes and noble



Author Links

Twitter: @naraduffie

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

ARC Review: At First Light by Suzanne Paschke

Having escaped the clutches of her abusive and controlling husband Cheryl Prescott flees the city she grew up in to live a new life under a false name. Years later when her car breaks down in the small town of Mount Kiernon, Cheryl – who is now better known as Sarah Walker – is forced to spend the night waiting for it to be repaired.
Discovering a town that is hurting as much as she is, Sarah decides to settle down and call the town her new home, opening a cafe along with her heart to the people of Mount Kiernon. As relationships with her customers grow, so do the feelings she has for the local mechanic, Jamie.
Will Sarah open her heart to let Jamie in, or will the new life she has built on lies crumble when her past threatens to return?

I received a copy of this novel in return for an honest review

This was an interesting read, I am not sure what category it really falls in. It kind of feels like a Nicholas Sparks novel, not quite romance and not quite normal fiction. What I must mention first is there is a HUGE trigger warning in this book for domestic violence, the main character; Sarah is on the run from a very abusive ex. 

The novel starts out in the present in Sarah's third person pov, then jumps to her friend and co-worker Gloria, then to the past when Sarah decides to open Dawning- her cafe. At the start there is about two pages of info dump on Mnt Kiernon (the town) that was not really needed. In fact those first 15 pages are kind of hard to get through, but after that this is an easy read, with really good writing.

The story moves along at a steady pace, but not a lot happens that could be deemed exciting. Sarah buys a house and starts a business, she makes friends, goes out to eat, attends Christmas and begins to fall in love with Jamie. That's about it until around 80% of the way through when the baggage of her ex begins to leak into her life. 
Jamie, the love interest, is an ex player, down to earth, small town boy. He is nice, patient and sweet. I enjoyed how their romance takes a lot of time. In fact he dates someone else while Sarah is unsure if she can be romantic with him. This novel spans several months. The slow build of their romance is a nice contrast to the insta-love I see in many books. 
This book ends on an unnecessary cliff hanger. I don't think this needs to be a series. Not enough actually happens for it to be as drawn out as it is. I would have enjoyed this novel better had the entire story been one book. I am not sure if I will read the sequel.
The parts I enjoyed best were about Sarah's past and her ex husband. We don't get all that information at once, it's in drips and drabs- which is VERY successful writing. I kept wanting more information, more drama and liked each piece of the puzzle I was given.

So if you enjoy Danielle Steele or Nicholas Sparks I recommend giving At First Light a chance, it is a slow paced, sweet natured romance.