Thursday, March 31, 2016

Karma’s a Killer by Tracy Weber

Summary from Amazon:

     When Seattle yoga teacher Kate Davidson agrees to teach doga (yoga for dogs) at a fundraiser for a local animal shelter, she believes the only damage will be to her reputation. But a few downward-facing dogs are the least of Kate’s problems when an animal rights protest at the event leads to a suspicious fire and a drowning.
     The police arrest Dharma, a woman claiming to be Kate’s estranged mother, and charge her with murder. To prove Dharma’s innocence, Kate, her boyfriend Michael, and her German shepherd sidekick Bella dive deeply into the worlds of animal activism and organizational politics. As they investigate the dangerous obsessions that drive these groups, Kate and her sleuthing team discover that when it comes to murder, there’s no place like home.

My Thoughts:

     This is the third installment in the Downward Dog Mystery Series but the first book in it that I have read.  I feel this may have affected my ability to really connect with the main character, Kate, in that I did not know her background and not much “catch up” is given in this book.
     Karma finds Kate teaching doga (yoga for dogs-who knew this was an actual thing?) at a fundraiser for a local animal shelter after her boyfriend, Michael, coaxes her into it. An animal rights protest at the fundraiser leads to a suspicious fire and a drowning. The police arrest Dharma, a woman claiming to be Kate’s estranged mother, and charge her with murder. Although Kate is unsure of her long lost mother, she feels she must help prove her innocence.
     My main issues with Kate is that she tended to be a little wishy-washy in letting people railroad her into doing things by claiming she wanted to be open minded and have good karma…sometimes she took it too far. Another issue is that Kate is a major animal rights supporter but she leaves her special needs German Shepard in the backseat of her car all day? It just struck me as weird.
     By the end of the book I was finally able to connect with Kate and understand her a little better and I really loved her very pregnant and hilarious best friend, Rene. I love yoga and dogs so I thought that I would really enjoy this series and while I liked it, I wouldn’t say I loved it (this might be because I did not read books number one and two).  I would definitely like to go back and start the series from the beginning and see how that affects my opinion.
3/5 stars*

*I was given an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Forever Pucked by Helena Hunting


     Being engaged to Alex Waters, team captain and the highest paid NHL player in the league, is awesome. How could it not be?
It’s so romantic.

Violet is totally stoked to set a date.

     Eventually. At some point. Likely before the next millennium. Or when Violet stops getting hives every time someone brings up the wedding, and their mothers stop colluding on stadium sized venues. Whichever comes first.

 My Thoughts:

     This is one of those books that I couldn’t wait for it to come out so I could delve right into it and then it showed up on my Kindle and I couldn’t wait to read it! Once I started it though I suddenly didn’t want to because then it would be over and then I would be sad…yes, I’m a weirdo!  I told myself that I had a week to read it so just “take your time”.

     Taking my time is hard to do with these books because they are just so funny that you just don’t want to stop reading!  I managed to make it take around four day to read so I think that I showed great restraint. J
     Alex and Violet are now engaged and really happy but an embarrassing catastrophe at a previous wedding makes Violet extremely wary to have a big wedding of her own.  She’s klutzy and has no filter so what if something humiliating happens and she ruins what should be the happiest day of their lives?

     After Alex is injured rather badly during a game, Violet realizes that she loves him and wants to start a life with him so it doesn’t matter what might happen as long as Alex is her husband at the end of the day.  The trouble is that Alex is now frightened of the future and what his injuries might mean for the future of his career…and then there is the mothers. Ugh.

     Their mothers are planning an epic wedding that involves huge venues and unbelievably large guest list….all of this is making it very hard for Violet to not break out in hives!  Getting through these rough patches make Violet and Alex realize even more how much they want to share their lives and build their own family.

     Once again, Ms. Hunting has given us an amazing installment in what has become one of my favorite series to date!  You get to see Alex & Violet struggle but also to see them grow and become even closer while trying to navigate the bumps in the road of life.  And of course, there are some epically hilarious moments that will have you laughing out loud and embarrassing yourself in public!

      The only thing about this book that makes me sad and worried is the end.  SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT….. 


There was a bit of a glimpse-into-the-future/wrap-up at the end that was wonderful, beautiful, amazing, (insert other great words here) that makes me fear that the series is over.  *sniff*sniff* I floved the ending but I am a little sad that I might not get to hang out with this gang anymore.  I feel like all of these couples have become a part of my own circle of friends.

     All in all this is, again, an amazing series that I guarantee you that I will add to my list of Multiple Reads list. Thank you, Helena!

5/5 stars!





Google Play:


Thursday, March 24, 2016

When I’m Gone by Emily Bleeker

Summary from Amazon:

Dear Luke,
First let me say—I love you…I didn’t want to leave you…
Luke Richardson has returned home after burying Natalie, his beloved wife of sixteen years, ready to face the hard job of raising their three children alone. But there’s something he’s not prepared for—a blue envelope with his name scrawled across the front in Natalie’s handwriting, waiting for him on the floor of their suburban Michigan home.
The letter inside, written on the first day of Natalie’s cancer treatment a year ago, turns out to be the first of many. Luke is convinced they’re genuine, but who is delivering them? As his obsession with the letters grows, Luke uncovers long-buried secrets that make him question everything he knew about his wife and their family. But the revelations also point the way toward a future where love goes on—in written words, in memories, and in the promises it’s never too late to keep.

My Thoughts:

     After Luke’s wife, Natalie, passes from cancer he is understandable sad and lost.  He has three children to raise alone with only part-time help from Natalie’s best friend, Angie, for help.  On the day of her funeral a letter is dropped through his front door mail slot with Natalie’s handwriting all over it and everything begins to change for Luke.
     While Nat was going through her chemo treatments and working on her Master’s degree she starting writing letters to Luke in a journal.  These letters start showing up randomly in the mail after her death and Luke is overjoyed and desperate for any contact with his wife but perplexed as to who is mailing them.  Nat’s advice helps him to cope and help the kids mourn but overtime, he begins to wonder about some of the people mentioned in her letters. 
Natalie gives him unusual advice and many times asks him to do things without questioning why…this leads to many discoveries into Natalie’s life that Luke was unaware of for the 15+ years of their marriage.  I cannot say much else without giving things away but suffice is to say that there are many twists and turns in this story, a few you see coming but several you do not.
          This is a well written thriller full of tears, gasps and a few laughs.  Ms. Bleeker has written a lovely story of marriage, loss and mourning with several exciting twists and turns that kept me very interested in the outcome. 
4/5 stars.
Emily’s website:

Monday, March 21, 2016

Felony Ever After

     *Little bit of a change up around here for the next few weeks as I have gotten so many great opportunities to preview upcoming releases! I will have Monday reviews this week and next so I can get word out to you on these great books before they are released so you can preorder-YAY!

Summary from Amazon:

***13 Authors put their brains together to write ONE story***

     Verity Michaels is new to New York City, but even she knows riding in a stolen a cab is not a normal way to meet someone. Damn it if that tattoo-covered would-be felon isn’t everywhere now, and lighting everything on fire under her skirt.
     His name is Hudson Fenn, and he’s frustratingly impossible to pin down. He works as a bike messenger, but has the manners of a prince—along with a strange tendency toward breaking and entering. As much as Verity knows he’s not her type, and likely to land her in jail, she can’t help but find her truest self when they’re together.
     Can she be brave enough to give Hudson a real chance? Will he be bold enough to reveal the man beneath the ink, or will his secrecy doom their connection? Also, WTF is the deal with Verity’s boss? No less than thirteen of your favorite romance writers have teamed up to tell this sexy, wacky, snort-inducing tale.

My Thoughts:

     I was slightly concerned that having thirteen different authors writing one book might make it awkward and stilted but I was so wrong!  This book was so much fun and introduced me to some great new authors that I hadn’t had a chance to read as of yet.  This is a quick, fun little romp full of funny, sexy times!
          Verity has taken a “proper job” in NYC to please her father and while it pays well, her boss is totally pervy and weird so she’s not sure it’s worth it.  She loves the city and her friends and one night after leaving them to head home in a cab she ends up being forced to share it with a tattooed stranger and then while stopped in traffic-he steals the cab!?! He oh-so-graciously takes her home but it was still the weirdest experience of her life!
     A few days later, Verity’s Creeper Boss gets the second of many mysteriously bizarre packages delivered and guess who the bike messenger is? Her tattooed, cab stealing, felony committing buddy, Hudson, and ….he’s cute.  She keeps running into Hudson and begins to realize that there is a lot more to him that she first realized.  He’s really nice but he doesn’t share much about himself. After Verity snoops a bit and her Creeper Boss reveals some really weird habits of his own and then outs some of Hudson’s as well….Verity doesn’t know who to believe.  Is her Tattooed White Knight really a nice guy?
     This book was so much fun to read that I read it all in one day!  It’s a fast read but so much happens.  These writers did a great job teaming up and passing around the chapters to give us a hilarious and fun romp through New York City.  Verity is sassy, strong and a great female character-no wishy-washy females here! And all the secondary characters are so much fun and add a lot to the story.  The only complaint about it that I can come up is that it was too short and I wish there was more!
4.5/5 stars                               

Felony Ever After comes out tomorrow, March 22nd!


Amazon US:
Amazon CA:
Amazon UK:
Amazon AU:
Amazon FR:
Amazon DE:
iBooks: B&N:

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Summary from Amazon:
Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood--those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard--a growing Red rebellion--even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

My Thoughts:
     Mare Barrow is a Red, which means she is a mere human, and is destined to either work for the god-like Silvers as a laborer for the rest of her life or she is headed off to die on a battlefield.  Not much to look forward to, right?  But Destiny brings Mare to the Silver’s playground and she discovers that there is more to her than just a thief, a soldier, or a laborer.
     You suffer and worry for Mare and her family. You want to trust and care about the princes but are too scared to.  You want to trust and rely on some of the Silvers and some of the Red servants but you’re just not sure who you can trust….Red Queen takes you on an interesting ride through a very uncertain world!
     I have heard a lot of great things about this series so when book one, Red Queen, went on sale I thought to give it a try.  I wasn’t sure that another dystopian type saga was something I could get into but I liked The Hunger Games so why not? 
     At first, I had a little trouble getting into the story because there were just so many people and so many different places, houses, and names to remember that I wasn’t sure I could keep them straight but I shouldn’t have stressed myself! The author does an excellent job of keeping you “in the loop” with everyone and their special abilities so after a chapter or two I got past this issue and was able to enjoy the story.
     The book has a lot of twists and turns and although Mare finds people within the Reds and the Silvers that she trusts, I did not.  I had a feeling about how things would end up and I was right.  Normally, this would bug me, but in this instance it did not matter at all.  The characters are all so intriguing and even though you may guess the end results you will still enjoy the ride getting you there.
     This is considered a YA fantasy novel as all the main characters were teens.  If you enjoyed The Hunger Games or the Divergent series this is in a similar vein.  I liked The Hunger Games but wasn’t that into Divergent as much and in my opinion, Red Queen is better.
3.5/5 stars

Monday, March 14, 2016

Books I’ve Been Meaning to Read…

     Do you have a pile of book that have been sitting there waiting for you to read for quite some time? I have several that have been around for months but there are a few that I have had for YEARS (eep!) that I just never seem to get around to reading.
     These are books that I truly do want to read but I just never seemed to have been in the mood or there is something about that book that just scares me…

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte: As much as I love Jane Austen, I’ve always assumed that I would enjoy this book as well BUT…I own not one, but two copies and I’ve still never talked myself into reading it.
The Red Queen by Phillipa Gregory: I started this series several years ago and even got this next installment for free yet there it is still sits…  In my defense, when I first got it, it reeked of cat smells so I had to sit it outside to air out for quite a while to rid it of the odors.  I just haven’t been in the mood.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: Many have raved about this book and I believe that it even won several awards but…kids, war, and Nazis…haven’t worked myself up to it yet. Sorry.
Fall of the Giants by Ken Follett: I started this book a few months ago and read a few chapters but just could not concentrate on it nor could I keep all of the characters straight.  I am sure this will be an amazing series if only I could concentrate enough to give it a proper chance.
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen: This is probably the second most popular book of Ms. Austen’s but I haven’t managed it yet.  I LOVE P & P but every time I try to read something else of Jane’s (Mansfield Park *cough*cough*) it just isn’t as great to me so it always leaves me disappointed. 
Dead Wake by Erik Larson: Again, historical fiction that I am sure that I will love if I could just get past the first few chapters and get
to know the characters.  I love historical fiction but I guess I just have to be in a certain mood for them and that just hasn’t happened lately.
     There are several more that have been languishing on my shelves for quite a few months but these are the ones that I feel most guilty about!  What book(s) do you have that you have always wanted to read but just never got around to?

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Summary by Amazon:

Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this powerful debut novel reveals an incredible story of love, redemption, and terrible secrets that were hidden for decades.

New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939—and then sets its sights on France.

An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.

For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.

The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland—as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.

My Thoughts:

     Lilac Girls is based on a true story but is classified as a work historical fiction.  If you enjoyed The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (one of my favorite books of 2015) you will enjoy this book.  I love reading books from the World War II era and especially when they are from the female perspective as we rarely get to see that in movies or television.

     Lilac Girls offers us three very different perspectives from the war:
     Caroline, who is in her late 30’s at the beginning of the war, lives in New York City and is the real life heroine of this story.  A former Broadway actress and socialite she has given up the limelight to volunteer at French Embassy. 
Caroline’s activism helped many before and after the war. Her story and selflessness are extraordinary and I find it very sad that until this book it was never really heard. Caroline’s home in Connecticut where she housed many of the prisoners from Ravensbruck (called the Ravensbruck Rabbits) is now open to the public. 
     Kasia, a teen at the start of the war, is a half German/half Polish girl living in Poland.  She becomes involved in activities with the resistance and eventually is taken a prisoner and sent to Ravensbruck, a concentration camp for women where experimental surgeries were performed on prisoners, with her sister, mother and several friends. 
Kasia’s determination to survive and get her family back home are inspiring and made her a character that you want to root for and see happy again.  While Kasia’s character, as well as her family, is fictionalized they are very realistic and help to give you the inside perspective of the war and the concentration camps.  They give you a sense of the despair and heartache but also the strength of the victims and how they never gave up.
Herta is a German medical doctor in her 20’s working for the Reich in the Ravensbruck hospital.  At first I thought there was a chance that I might actually like Herta because I felt that she was just brainwashed like most of the Germans at this time.  I kept waiting for her disillusionment and for her to leave the Reich but sadly, she did not.  This character, like Caroline, is a real part of World War II history.
Lilac Girls was an amazing story of the women and children of World War II that we don’t often hear about and I am so glad that I read it.  So many times we forget that many people suffered who were not on the frontlines and many not on a battlefield were also real life heroes. 

4/5 stars*

*I was given an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Caroline Ferriday with some of the Ravensbruck Rabbits.





Link & source for pics:

Monday, March 7, 2016

Forever Pucked is coming!!!

Being engaged to Alex Waters, team captain and the highest paid NHL player in the league, is awesome. How could it not be?

In addition to being an amazing hockey player, he’s an incurable romantic with an XL heart, and an XXL hockey stick in his pants. And he knows how to use it. Incredibly, orgasmically well. Alex is the whole package and more. Literally. Like his package is insane. Total world record holder material.

So it makes complete sense that Violet Hall can’t wait to nail him down to the matrimonial mattress and become Mrs. Violet Waters.
It’s so romantic.

Violet is totally stoked to set a date.

Eventually. At some point. Likely before the next millennium. Or when Violet stops getting hives every time someone brings up the wedding, and their mothers stop colluding on stadium sized venues. Whichever comes first.

March 29!!!
Preorder is available now through iTunes or you can preorder the print book only through Amazon...Kindle link is not available yet.

     So excited for this next installment of the Pucked series by Helena Hunting! She has become one of my favorite authors and I cannot wait to read more of this great series.  Such a hilarious series and I cannot wait to see what Violet says next! I'm using too many exclamation points-that's how excited I am! :)

Check out her website for more info on the rest of this series and her other books:

Thursday, March 3, 2016

After You by JoJo Moyes

Summary from Amazon: 

 “You’re going to feel uncomfortable in your new world for a bit. But I hope you feel a bit exhilarated too. Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle. Just live well. Just live. Love, Will.”

How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future. . . .

My Thoughts:

     So to be honest, I was scared to read this book.  I loved Me Before You so much even though it left me a hungover, sobbing mess.  JoJo Moyes gives you real, amazing characters and makes you a part of their lives and their pain.  The thought of the sequel not living up to the first or the possibility that Lou would end up not a person I could love or relate to made me very scared to pick up this book.
     After I have now womanned up and read it I am so mad at myself for waiting!  Is After You as amazing as Me Before You? No, but it is close! We join Lou eighteen months after she lost Will and she has done some of the things that she promised him but she is still lost and still not really living. 
          This book is sad but it is also very funny.  Lou is struggling to learn how to not only live again but to also have a life!  She has a dead end job, she barely leaves her apartment, and she has no one to talk to outside of her weekly support group meetings.  It all sounds very depressing but Lou is struggling and ends up with people in her life that are understanding to her grief and are also very humorous. 
     I don’t want to spoil anything here for you but she meets many new people who help her to grieve and to slowly come out of her depression.  These people become instrumental in making Lou eventually realize that she can’t just go through the motions, she has to LIVE!  I was so happy to see Lou begin to heal and learn to open back up again to become the Lou we all fell in love with in Me Before You.
4.5/5 stars