Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Book Tour ~ The Tree of Life (The Tower Room, Book 1) by Dawn Davis

Book Information:

Title: The Tree of Life
Series: The Tower Room, Book 1
Author: Dawn Davis
Publisher: Friesen Press
Pages: 304
Genre: Historical Fiction

About the Book:

Two accidental time travelers explore Canada in 1939 in THE TREE OF LIFE, the first installment in the Tower Room series by Dawn Davis.

As THE TREE OF LIFE opens, Charlotte Hansen and her friend, Henry Jacobs, are hanging out in the old mansion where Charlotte and Leo, her grandfather, live. Henry is there to practice the piano, and Charlotte is waiting for him to finish so that she can supervise his work on a massive school project researching the 1930s. When Leo leaves the house to pick up his friend Gwendolyn Fenton—whom Charlotte does not like—the two eleven-year-olds prepare tea and cookies for the grown-ups’ visit and then rush to the Tower Room. The room is located on the top floor of the mansion. Charlotte is not allowed in the room without permission; but she is headstrong and ignores the directive. After leaving the tray of tea and sweets on the tabletop, Charlotte pulls Henry underneath the table with her.

The children soon hear Gwendolyn telling Leo about a magical brooch from her childhood. Suddenly, a large hand grabs Charlotte, who clutches Henry tightly before the hand thrusts the pair into nothingness. After Charlotte regains consciousness, she and Henry meet the younger version of Gwendolyn, a spoiled force of nature determined to appropriate the brooch her late mother left her brother. The friends learn that they are still in Rose Park, the neighborhood they both call home, but the year is 1939. 

As Charlotte and Henry realize that they have traveled backward to move forward, the purpose of their time travel is revealed: Charlotte is there to help Gwendolyn resolve the pain of her past. During the adventure, Henry advocates against the anti-Semitism and racism of that time, and Charlotte learns to look beyond her own desires to help a person in need.

The idea for THE TREE OF LIFE and the Tower Room series came to the author after she attended a centennial celebration at her daughters’ school. “What might happen,” Davis thought, “if two children lived their research instead of simply reading about it? This one step outside the restrictions of time became the foundation for the series.”

As in THE TREE OF LIFE, the next three books will highlight different time periods in Canadian history, with the one constant being the appearance of Charlotte and Henry. Although the children will appear in each book with different names and bodies, they will be easily recognizable as eternal soul mates, and the harbingers of love and connection for those who have stumbled and lost their way.

For More Information:

The Tree of Life is available at Amazon The Tree of Life (The Tower Room Book 1)
Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Read an Excerpt:

They needed to work on our outfits for school on Monday.
There was to be a parade in the playground, a decade fashion show parade. Since most of the parents refused to scour the bins at Good Will for appropriate clothing, Henry and Charlotte were the only ones so far who had volunteered. Technically Henry did not volunteer. Charlotte signed his name in invisible ink and was planning on informing him later this afternoon. She would tell Henry that he would get special marks for being in the parade (a lie) because Henry was motivated only by marks. Their grades were already as high as they could go, mostly for bringing in a lot of old junk from Charlotte’s great aunt Dilys’s decaying trunks; printed spun rayon dresses, white nubuck open-toed Cuban-heeled shoes, step-by-step instructions on how to pluck out all your eyebrow hair and draw on fake eyebrows that had a larger arch, one of the first ballpoint pens ever made (1938), a picture of a chesterfield suite in mohair that cost $1.95 at the Adams Trade-in Store Special, and a spring hat with a lilac ribbon purchased at Fairweathers for $2.00 and still in the bag. In reviewing her list, Charlotte found one item to be extremely interesting. In the 1930s, a hat cost more than a chesterfield.
It irked Charlotte that she needed to refer to her lists to remember how many items she had collected because Henry never needed this crutch. He could recite any list, any page of a book, any tiny print on a newspaper, even if he had only seen it once and for less than a second.
That’s because Henry had a condition called eidetic memory bog.
A bog is a swamp, a very damp place where unpleasant things grow and multiply. This was Charlotte’s way of describing the interior of Henry’s skull.
Eidetic memory: an article in a newspaper, a children’s story, musical notes from dingy old manuscripts, the script on a Chinese menu, junk mail forced through the mail slot, recipes, etc. etc. misc., all absorbed, imprinted, collated and filed away for future reference, word perfect. Although Henry denied it, Charlotte believed he had this disease because of his permanently crossed eyes. Therefore his brain was unable to process information the way the brain of a normal person (like Charlotte’s) did by sucking up facts through perfectly aligned eyeballs and expelling it all through the very same portals. Henry’s out-take portals were plugged by all the surgeries he had when he was a toddler, and Charlotte feared that someday Henry’s brain might explode from all the useless information he could not eliminate.
A handful of people knew he had this illness, and Henry utilized it sparingly.
“Because I appear to be blind, I overcompensate by having an unusual ability to retain data that may or may not be useful in the world at large,” Henry once told Charlotte. “Is that so unusual?”
Of course she immediately had to set him a test.
Henry was lounging around on Charlotte’s bed, breathing her air and staring at her ceiling and moving his lips in a really annoying way so she said: “Let me show you something.”
He ignored her for a while but finally cranked his head over to where Charlotte was stitching together a hole in the leg of one of her stuffed animals.
She dropped the dog and held the World Book up to his face.
“Look at this.” She pointed to the section on German wirehaired pointers. She let Henry look at the article for three seconds and then she whisked the book away and sat cross-legged on the end of her bed because Henry was taking up all the middle space.
“What about it?” he asked.
“What kind of dog is a German wirehaired pointer?” Charlotte asked.
“A hunting dog,” he replied immediately.
“How did it come to be?”
“It’s a cross-breed which means the dog was developed by breeding a German short haired pointer with a poodle pointer.”
“And how much does it weigh?”
“About twenty-five kilos.”
“Does it like having its ears scratched?”
“How many times a day do you have to take it out for a walk?”
“What do you do if the dog howls in the middle of the night?”
Angry silence.
“How long does it take the average German short haired pointer to devour a bowl of food, and what happens if one freshly cooked pea is buried in the midst of its food?”
Confused silence.
“What good does it do you to be able to memorize this anyway?”
Superior silence.
“Facts are meaningless,” she said. “Experience is everything.”
“Shut up,” Henry said. “There is only one fact that is significant. I blend in. I get along just fine.”
In fact, Henry did not get along just fine, and if it weren’t for Charlotte, he never would have survived at Rose Park Public School.
For some reason the mere presence of Henry on the playground at school annoyed a few of the boys in the grade five class, the ones who weren’t very bright—Tyler MacKenzie in particular. Tyler invented a few colourful names which he felt best described Henry’s exterior; cross-eyed creep, frogman, slimebucket, and monster boy were a few of the favourites. These insults usually bounced off Henry, drifting into the air like soap bubbles, which then quietly burst, leaving Henry unharmed. He didn’t seem to hear the words directed at him. But once Henry made the mistake of getting in Tyler’s way. He was standing at the southern end of the playground reading a book he had projected onto the wall of the school, the same brick wall Tyler and his friends were using to see who could slam a baseball the hardest.
Henry didn’t know he was in the way because he was not present to the reality of the moment.
He returned abruptly when Tyler stood before him, blocking his view of the wall.
“Hey, slimebucket, we’re playing a game here. Move.”
Henry didn’t.
“Or maybe we could use you as a target and just aim for your nose.” Tyler touched Henry’s nose lightly with his fingertips. “That would be easier to hit than the wall.”
Henry brushed aside the grubby fingertips and stared straight at Tyler.
“Smell,” he said, “is stored in the limbic area of the brain.” His voice was measured and precise. “That’s why whenever I smell dog shit, I think of you…”
“In fact, all our memories and emotions are stored in the limbic area,” Henry told Charlotte five minutes later as they were both hurried off to the nurse’s office. Charlotte got an elbow in her eye trying to defend Henry whose upper lip had been cut right open.
He continued to talk as blood pooled in his mouth.
“The emotional content we all have stockpiled is extremely personal,” he said matter-of-factly, shifting the ice pack from the staffroom freezer to spit in the yogurt jar from the daycare centre. “And everything we possess inside here,” he said, tapping his forehead with three fingers, “is warehoused instantly with no conscious intervention on our part at all.”
So much for blending in. 
Meet the Author:

Dawn Davis is a writer living and working in Toronto, Canada. Before becoming a writer, Davis worked as a teacher after completing her education at York University and the University of Toronto.

The Tree of Life is Davis’s debut novel, and the first book in her Tower Room series.

For More Information:

Visit Dawn Davis’ website.
Connect with Dawn on Facebook.
Visit Dawn’s blog.

Book Review: Women on the Brink by G. Elizabeth Kretchmer

About the Book:

Women on the Brink is a stunning collection of loosely linked stories in which women aged thirteen to ninety must face the unwelcome realities of their lives. Sometimes gritty, sometimes humorous, and always compassionate, G. Elizabeth Kretchmer’s prose takes the reader on a compelling ride alongside these ordinary women as they wrestle with family relationships, self-esteem, socioeconomic status, maternal obligations, and need for independence. 

Each story is enhanced by one of fourteen original poems contributed by talented poets specifically for this collection and its themes. Although the stories stand alone, they are further strengthened by the relationships among the various characters throughout the collection. Readers of Ms. Kretchmer’s first novel, The Damnable Legacy, will also delight to find that some of the characters from that novel have reappeared here. 

The women in this collection may or may not be the type you’d invite over for lunch. Some of them are tough. Some aren’t all that likeable. Some might not see the world the way you do. But they’re compelling in their own right as they reflect women in today’s world—women who have come along a difficult path—and as they courageously take control of their lives.

Book Details:

Paperback: 368 pages
Kindle File Size: 1278 KB
Publisher: Booktrope Editions (October 7, 2015)
ISBN-10: 1513702351
ISBN-13: 978-1513702353

My Review:

Women on the Brink is exactly how it's described in the above synopsis - a Stunning Collection. Each individual story is prefaced by a poem. These stories are then written around the theme of the poem. Some of them are soft and compassionate and others will leave your mouth hanging open as you contemplate what exactly the woman in the story was thinking about. No one story is like the next. The women are at different stages in their lives; teenager, new mothers, older, wealthy women tired of being alone, and the like.  I've read the author's first novel, The Damnable Legacy, and it was nice to see some of the characters from that book make their way into this one.

Each story may unique and stand alone, but they are united by the need for changes in their lives. The inner strength each one is able to muster becomes their power. With that power, these women are able to stand up and take back the reigns of their own lives.  As you read these stories, reflect on them and think about what they are trying to convey.

Even though Women on the Brink is considered Women's Fiction, these women may very well be someone in your own family or circle of friends.  These women could be your neighbors, co-workers, or your favorite hairdresser.  One of these stories may just describe you.  

This collection is well-written.  Each individual story has emotional content that will have you sympathizing, crying, or laughing right along with the characters.  Some of the topics are dark and disturbing.  I still get emotional when I think about Skydancer and the tones that are set within Marisa's story.  You may not like each story that's presented but I guarantee some of them will pull at you, keep you engaged, and resonate with you long after you close the book.

The review copy was provided by the author, at no cost, in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:

Monday, December 28, 2015

Release Blitz & #Giveaway ~ Smolder (Hailey Holloway Series, Book #4) by K.C. Stewart

Happy Release Day to K.C. Stewart and Her Newest Novel in the Hailey Holloway Series!!

Book Information:

Publication Date: December 28, 2015
Genre: Urban Fantasy

Hailey was finally ready. After months of uncertainty she was prepared to be mated to the man and the dragon she loved most in the world. There was just one problem, he hadn’t asked her yet. Of course that didn’t mean he wasn’t teasing her relentlessly. Dacea was getting down on one knee at every chance he had but the right question had yet to pass his lips. He had a plan, one Hailey was not privy too, and all of this was just for show until the day came that he would make her his mate. A tragedy will rock them all but none more than Dacea. In the aftermath, he can’t find the will to keep going forward with his plans. It will be up to Hailey to take charge and make an honest man out of him.
Spark (Hailey Holloway #1)
Amazon US | UK | CA || Smashwords|| Kobo
Singe (Hailey Holloway #2)
Amazon US | UK | CA || Smashwords || Kobo
Scorch (Hailey Holloway #3)
Amazon US | UK | CA || Smashwords || Kobo
Smolder (Hailey Holloway #4)
Amazon US | UK | CA || Smashwords || Kobo

He knelt in front of her with a bouquet of red sunflowers. They looked like a sunset exploded over the soft slim petals. His hair was thick and dark, just begging for her fingers to slide their way through their silky locks. The smile he wore was devilishly handsome. But it was his eyes that had caused her breath to hitch in her throat. Such love and devotion stared at her from those amber spheres. Hailey felt his love shining out of those eyes of his, felt it to her core. This man was everything to her, and he was finally getting off his ass and on his knee to ask her to mate him.
Apparently her declaration of wanting to spend forever with him was not good enough. He had to do it his way and that meant waiting three months for him to finally get around to this. Hailey’s patience had been wearing thin on the subject. Every time she would ask about their mating, he would smile, a secret hiding in the expression and tell her to not worry about it. He must have forgotten who he was talking to because worrying was a favorite pastime of Hailey’s.
But now, in this moment, he was getting around to doing what she had dreamed countless nights on. Sharply dressed in one of her favorite suits, he looked cleaned, pressed and sexy as hell. He wanted to look nice for her, she realized. Dak knew how much she enjoyed looking at him in a suit, it was like lingerie to a woman. Hailey however was something of a mess. She had been painting a bookshelf and for some reason, the paint was more attracted to her than the wood. She had blue smudges all over her arms and legs, matting a few pieces of her hair and a big spot on her cheek where a mosquito had bitten her and she slapped at it.
Dak reached into his jacket and pulled out a box. It was small and one every woman knew the shape of by heart.
“Céile,” he paused, mischief glittering his eyes. The anticipation that has nestled in her chest and the smile that had been growing on her face faltered. His expression wasn’t right. It didn’t match the situation. He was too excited, too mischievous and too playful. “Will you… hold these for me?” He handed her the flowers and bent to…tie his shoe?
What the f*ck?
Hailey stared open mouthed, gaping and hands full. Without thinking, she flipped opened the box and found it to be empty. Her breath was ragged as color began to creep up her neck. This wasn’t the proposal she had thought it was going to be. Hell, it wasn’t even a proposal! What was he playing?
When Dak was done tying his shoe, he stood and took the flowers and box back from her. “Thanks,” he grinned and she wanted to smack him. “Oh wait, no. These are yours.” He handed back the flowers. “How’s the painting going?”
Still a bit shell shocked, Hailey took back the flowers but didn’t say anything. Her eyes were wide and she felt she had no control over her features as her mind raced. How could he just? When he knew that she? And then he?
Dak was smiling at her, knowingly. The Bastard.
“Sorry, Céile. I’ve got to get this box over to Dane.” He tossed it in the air and caught it. Her eyes followed the flip. “What would you like for dinner later? I’ve been craving Mexican, myself.”
Hailey finally found her voice. “T-that’s fine.”
“Good.” He kissed her cheek, the non-painted one and then walked passed her over to Dane’s cottage.

She found that even though he had given her flowers, she still wanted to throat punch him. 

K.C. Stewart is the self published author of the Hailey Holloway series and most recently, the Adirondack Pack series. All her life she had fantasized and day dreamed on a regular basis but it wasn’t until she began writing flash fiction and that she made those fantasies a reality. Now she has graduated to novels but still dabbles in the occasional flash fiction and short story. Because of her love for reading and the written word, K.C. is currently continuing her education at Clarion University for Library Science. When she isn’t taking photographs, studying or writing, she is supporting a very real gummy bear habit. Currently, she lives with her boyfriend, german shepherd and cats in central Pennsylvania.
Social Media Links

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Book Review: The Spider (Elemental Assassin Series, Book 10) by Jennifer Estep

How did I end up in a career where I always have blood on my hands? Well, let me tell you a story about an assassin who thought she could do no wrong. . . . 

Ten years ago. A blistering hot August night. I remember like it was yesterday. The night I, Gin Blanco, truly became the Spider. Killing people is what I do best, especially now that I’ve honed my Ice and Stone magic. But back then, I had yet to learn one very important rule: arrogance will get you, every single time. 

This particular job seemed simple: murder a crooked building contractor with ties to ruthless Fire elemental Mab Monroe. My mentor, Fletcher Lane, had some misgivings, but I was certain that I had the situation under control . . . right up until I exposed my weaknesses to a merciless opponent who exploited every single one of them. There’s a reason assassins aren’t supposed to feel anything. Luckily, a knife to the heart can fix that problem, especially when I’m the one wielding it.
(Photo and blurb courtesy of

Book Details:

Kindle File Size: 7120 KB
Print Length: 401 pages
Publisher: Pocket Books (December 24, 2013)
Publication Date: December 24, 2013
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Amazon Link:

My Review:

Links to my reviews of previous books in series ~

Spider's Bite, Book 1:

Web of Lies, Book 2:

Venom, Book 3:

Tangled Threads, Book 4:

Spider's Revenge, Book 5:

By A Thread, Book 6:

Widow's Web, Book 7:

Deadly Sting, Book 8:

Heart of Venom, Book 9:

The Spider begins the same way as the rest of the books in the series but quickly changes gears. After receiving a mysterious delivery, Owen, Gin's boyfriend, questions the origins (not in a jealous manner but inquisitive). Gin flashes back ten years prior to a time in her life where she thought she was invincible and knew everything.  She, unfortunately, learns the hard way that patience is a virtue, not everyone is nice, and that when your gut (or Fletcher or Fin's) says something is wrong, step back and reassess.

Gin and Fletcher's newest target is Cesar Vaughn, owner of Vaughn Construction.  The person/persons that set up the contract with the Tin Man seamlessly deposited money in their bank account but didn't provide any details.  Fletcher is unable to trace the money thereby he's a tad uneasy with the hit.  The only thing that can be found about Cesar is that a stone terrace built by Vaughn Construction collapsed and killed some patrons.  Could it be the family members of one of those that was killed?  

As the case progresses and Gin stalks her prey, she develops a romantic interest, as well.  One that has her feeling loved and important.  - Here is where we discover that hard-as-nails Gin is a product of what happened 10 years prior.  Here is part of my review from Book 9 that is totally relevant to this book:

"As in the last book, Gin really impresses me in Heart of Venom. Some have said that Gin is a  pushover, that she's so desperate for love that she clings or ignores or grasps as whatever scraps she's thrown. I'm hear to state that's a load of crap. If you've read the other books, especially those where Owen fell off the sanity wagon, then you know that she didn't drag her ass over to Owen begging to be forgiven for killing Salina. She didn't grovel at his feet and ask him to take her back. She stayed away from Owen, giving them both the space they needed to deal with what Salina had brought to Ashland."

Just an FYI ~ I figured out who the villain was almost from the very beginning. Even knowing far before I'm sure the author had planned for anyone to pick up on it didn't at all ruin this novel for me. I really find that this novel is a great mid-series U-turn that does include information not previously known about Gin.  

I didn't find the fact that 95% of the book takes place in the past to be a detraction and thoroughly enjoyed seeing an earlier version of Gin.  We also get glimpses of other characters that are part of Gin's modern day crew as they cross her path early on.  One my favorite parts of The Spider is that we get to see Fletcher again.  His demise was rather unfortunate and I wish Jennifer Estep would find a way to bring him back (like pretend he's been in the witness protection program or something) - a girl can dream....can't she??

The Spider is another fantastic installment of the Elemental Assassin series. The entire series has pulled me in and kept me engaged from the very beginning. These are the types of books that have me longing for the next one. They are written with vivid descriptions and genuine feelings, allowing the reader to become totally immersed in this world. 

My review copy was courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley, at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:

Book Review: Tex's Bloody Ground by Jason H. Campbell

About the Book:

They had him running, and he was not the running kind. He lay low over his horse; his shirt was stuck to his back, soaked in blood. He knew they meant to kill him. One man alone he could take, but they were many. And like an animal outnumbered by wolves, he ran for his life

One of the men he had killed was riding his horse. A horse that he had raised himself from a colt. Now it had been any other horse, he wouldn’t have minded so much. He’d just steal him back. So when they stole Ole Blue, they made a mistake. Ole Blue was tall, and built for speed, with not an ounce of fat on him. And when he felt like moving, there wasn’t a horse around that could keep up with him.

So when he fount out what happened. He just saddled up his mare, and lit out after them, following the tracks. The trail finally stopped at a little town, riding in slow he tied the mare up, and strolled in. Where he came from, back in the mountains of Kentucky he was taught one thing the weak brag and the strong do without talking. As soon as he stepped in, he took one look at the man he knew had stole his horse, then he went for his gun.

Book Details:

Paperback: 206 pages
Publisher: America Star Books (January 25, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1456054317
ISBN-13: 978-1456054311

Amazon Link:

My Review:

Tex's Bloody Ground is not for the faint of heart.  There is so much bloodshed that the cover depicted above is pretty accurate.  So much bloodshed, in fact, that it completely detracted from whatever story the author was trying to tell. Truth be told, I'm not really sure what that story is supposed to be. 

When I was given a copy of the book (a long time ago) I was a new blogger/book reviewer.  I accepted it not really realizing that Tex's Bloody Ground has absolutely no synopsis anywhere.  You go to Goodreads and there isn't a book description anywhere; the same goes for Amazon.  I was just excited that I had someone offer me their book to review.  

The synopsis I have typed above is what was provided to me by the author.  At the time I figured the story was going to be about a cowboy trying to get his horse back.  When I started reading the book a few days ago I realized that the synopsis provided to me is actually the first three paragraphs of Chapter 1.  So, what started as a cowboy getting his stolen horse back, turned into a lot of western cowboy justice - whether it was deserved or not.  

I had a really hard time finishing the book.  The plot is all over the place.  The sentence structure needs a lot of work in many places.  There is punctuation in the middle of sentences (such as periods) that are completely inappropriate and caused me to go back and have to re-read them.  There are so many abrupt thought/scene/dialogue changes that it's really hard to keep up with what is going on - and like I said above, even after I read the very last word of the book, I'm still not sure what exactly the story was supposed to be conveying.  

I wasn't able to really get into the book at all.  None of the characters were likable at any point.  The only exception may be the girl that Tex saves from a brutal sexual assault at the hands of a bunch of ruthless men.   Then again, we only get a glimpse of her, then she's dumped off at her grandfather's, only to resurface at the end because Tex now wants to marry her.  Ah, what?!

I truly believe that the author was trying to put too much into one book.  Nothing is really well developed in terms of world building, character descriptions, or linking of events to other happenings in the story.  At times, we went a half of a chapter or more without any mention of Tex.  Each situation that goes on in the book is rushed.  If the author took the time to build his western (blood and all), he may have been able to actually produce a decent 2 or 3 book series, or more.   

I received a copy of this book from the author an embarrassingly long time ago.  


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Book Review ~ Two Moons of Sera, Volume 2 by Pavarti K. Tyler

About the Book
(According to

Volume Two in the Two Moons of Sera series. Continue to follow the adventure of Tor and Sera!

In a world where water and earth teem with life, Serafay is an anomaly. The result of genetic experiments on her mother's water-borne line Serafay will have to face the very people responsible to discover who she really is. But is she the only one?

All the Fun of YA written for Adults

My Review:

When I obtained Two Moons of Sera, they were in a 4 Volume series.  Now, I believe it is one book. 

The Amazon link is:  Two Moons of Sera

Here is the link to my review of Vol. 1:

Volume 2 finds Sera and Tor, along with Elgon, Tor's canine companion, being discovered by others in the area. In order to protect them, and possibly figure out exactly who she is, Sera persuades Tor to go with the newcomers. They are taken to a compound where Sera and Tor try to fit in - will they get information they seek before being outed as imposters?

This was a great addition to the story told in Vol. 1 and gives a little more insight into the world that has surrounded Tor and Sera. They were isolated from everyone and everything, which worked to their advantage since Sera is a hybrid - she's the genetic result of experimentation between 2 species. She's half-Sualwet and half-Erlander and wants to know what exactly that means.  She's hoping that being at the compound helps answer her questions. 

Written in a steady style, Two Moons of Sera Vol. 2 continues the tale of two outcasts who suddenly find themselves among strangers.  The story is full of different emotions as Tor tries to acclimate to his surroundings while Sera tries to fit in by talking to others in their housing unit.  Neither are sure this is the best solution but until they can find a way out, they are stuck.  I love the sweet romance that seems to be brewing between Sera and Tor and can't wait to start the next part of the story.

My Rating:

Friday, December 25, 2015

Book Review: Jenna's Christmas Wish by Debra Parmley #Christmas #Holiday @DebraParmley

Looking for Your Next Holiday Read?

Look No Further ~~

Title: Jenna's Christmas Wish
Author: Debra Parmley

Genre: Holiday Contemporary Romance 

About the Book:

Santa, if there’s one thing I want for Christmas more than anything, it’s someone to spend Christmas with, not as an afterthought invitation because they feel sorry for me, but someone who really wants me to be there. 

Romance author Jenna Heart is headed to the mountains of East Tennessee for a December writer’s workshop. Since her mother passed after a long illness, Jenna has had one wish: she doesn’t want to spend Christmas alone. Every night she makes her list of five things for which she is most thankful. 
Meeting Nicolo Maldini, cover model and actor, could make more than Jenna’s Christmas wish come true. If Ember Morten, Nicolo’s ex girlfriend doesn’t do something crazy to stop Jenna and Nicolo from being together.

My Review:

Jenna's Christmas Wish is such a wonderful holiday story.  Full of loss and sadness after the death of her mom, Jenna goes to a writer's retreat quite a distance from home.  She's determined not to explain her loss to avoid sympathy and enjoy the retreat for what it is.  Along the way Jenna meets some wonderful people that seem truly interested in her.  When one of them is a very popular and highly sought after cover model named Nicolo, she wishes she could have someone like him in her life.

Nicolo is used to having women surround him all the time - it's an occupational hazard.  When he meets Jenna at the writer's retreat, he can't help but be intrigued.  She's unlike anyone he's ever met.  She's down to earth, wholesome, and simply gorgeous.  Now, he just has to convince her that he truly wants to be with her and that they can make it work.

Enter one psycho who doesn't understand the word - "Over" - and Jenna's Christmas Wish may just end up a disappointment.

This short 120 page novella is a cute holiday romance.  The story is full of emotional scenes - some happy, some sad, and others full of disappointment.  I'm going to let you know that I don't like her best friend one bit.  Chyna is very negative toward Jenna and I found her character lacking any warmth or compassion.

I loved Jenna's character.  She's had a rough last few months with death of her mother.  I admire her determination to get out and be with others during the holidays.  Her choice to go to the writer's retreat provides her with the company she desires without people knowing the pain of her past.  She does confide in a couple of the attendees but she doesn't want her grief to define her.

Nicolo is a great hero.  He is humble and down-to-earth.  He even brings his mother to the retreat as his guest.  Jenna and Nicolo hit it off really well after Jenna gets over her nervousness.  I enjoyed reading the slow build up of what could be a long-lasting relationship between them.  The story was well-written and fluid.  The relationship was not perfect, making it seem more realistic.

A sweet holiday romance sure to make you smile!

Review copy courtesy of the author, at no cost, in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:

Grab Your Copy Today:

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Meet the Author:

Debra Parmley is an author whose goal is to spread love, one story at a time. Happiest writing in more than one genre, her published works to date are in the genres of western historical romance, 1920's romance, contemporary romance, futuristic romance, paranormal romance and poetry. Debra enjoys writing, reading, coaching her writing students, medieval re-enactment events and world travel. Her work as a travel consultant gave her the opportunity to visit many countries and the theme of travel often appears in her work. 

Her three favorite things are dark chocolate, visiting the beach and ocean, and hearing from her readers. Each letter, card and email is a treasured gift, like finding that perfect shell upon the beach.

Readers who sign up for her newsletters are eligible for insider contests not available elsewhere. 

"Spreading love one story at a time."

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Review: Fifth Grave Past the Light (Charley Davidson, book 5) by Darynda Jones

Synopsis via back cover of paperback copy:

Charley Davidson isn’t your everyday, run-of-the-mill grim reaper. She’s more of a paranormal private eye/grim reaper extraordinaire. However, she gets sidetracked when the sexy, sultry son of Satan, Reyes Farrow, moves in next door. To further complicate matters, Reyes is her main suspect in an arson case. Charley has vowed to stay away from him until she can find out the truth…but then dead women start appearing in her apartment, one after another, each lost, confused, and terrified beyond reason. When it becomes apparent that her own sister, Gemma, is the serial killer’s next target Charley has no choice but to ask for Reyes’ help. Arsonist or not, he’s the one man alive who could protect Gemma no matter who or what came at her. But he wants something in return. Charley. All of her, body and soul. And to keep her sister safe, it is a price she is willing to pay.

Book Details:

Series: Charley Davidson (Book 5)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (December 31, 2013)
ISBN-10: 1250043387
ISBN-13: 978-1250043382

Amazon Purchase Link:

Sapphyria's Review:

My Reviews of Books 1-4 may be found at the following links:

Book 1, First Grave On The Right
Book 2, Second Grave On The Left
Book 3, Third Grave Dead Ahead
Book 4, Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet

Warning: This review may contain spoilers for the previous books.

While trying to catch a client's husband cheating, Charley finds herself inundated with the ghosts of several women of various ages. Charley also meets a living woman that has a talent that becomes useful to her.  There is also an arsonist running loose that the police are sure is Reyes.  Charley and Uncle Ubi aren't so sure but Charley is supposed to be staying away from Reyes, just in case.  In between working on the case of the cheating spouse, the case of her suddenly crowded apartment, and operation "burning down the house," Charley still finds time to steam up the pages with Reyes - even though she's supposed to be keeping her distance

Reyes is as smoldering as ever and has found another occupation besides being the Son of Satan.  His new job is the talk of the town and has the womenfolk fanning themselves and their menfolk seething.  Reyes also intervenes in some serious situations that could easily find our Grim Reaper in a lot of hot water otherwise.  Be prepared - He also has a few tricks up his sleeve.

We also get a glimpse into Garrett Swopes' life a bit more.  I've always been a fan of Swopes' and am glad he finally gets a bit more screen time.  He has put up with a lot, seen a lot, and dealt with a lot since meeting Charley.  The revelations help put several things into perspective.  Plus, I absolutely love the banter between Garrett and Charley.  They are quite entertaining at times.  

Fifth Grave is another masterpiece by Darynda Jones. I absolutely love how she is able to write a mystery that is both suspenseful and humorous with both supernatural and paranormal aspects. Charley's penchant for naming her body parts, furniture, and vehicles gives the novel a lighter tone to sections of a rather dark book. We were shown a different, softer side of Charley in Book 4, but in Book 5 we also see the vulnerable side she's kept hidden.

There isn't anything about this book, and series, in fact, that I didn't like. The pacing is great, the plot is strong, and I absolutely adore the unique cast of characters.  The Charley Davidson series is one series that keeps getting better with each an every book.

Review Copy Courtesy Of:  My Bookshelf.  I purchased this from

Sapphyria's Rating: