Monday, October 16, 2017

Dangerous Illusions by Irene Hannon


Trish is under a lot of stress and attributes some of her recent absentmindedness to that stress. But when her mother suddenly passes away it appears that Trish may have mixed up her medication by mistake. Detective Colin Flynn is handling the case and at first it appears that Trish's mother's death is just a terrible accident. Trish is still having memory lapses and is thankful for her mother's accountant Matt who manages her mother's charity. Trish's mother would have liked nothing better than for Trish and Matt to get together. But there is no chemistry between the two of them and when Matt's behavior changes after her mother's passing, Trish becomes suspicious and enlists Colin to look into Matt's background. What at first appears to be a squeaky clean background soon turns up some pretty shady dealings that could put Trish at risk. Will Colin be able to find out all he needs to know before Matt's past catches up with him?

Wow! Dangerous Illusions had some amazing twists and turns and kept me turning the pages until the end! It was filled with suspense and deception and a bit of romance, the perfect trio of things I love in a story. Just when I thought I had everything figured out I'd turn the page and another twist would present itself! Dangerous Illusions will keep you awake into the early hours even when you tell yourself, "Just one more chapter." But you still have to continue on to find out what happens next.  I can't wait for the next books in the series because I really enjoyed Colin's friends and look forward to reading their stories.


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Their Mistletoe Matchmakers by Keli Gwyn



Lavinia and Henry arrive to take care of their nieces and nephew after their parents die. Henry has been given guardianship of the children. Lavinia has been brought up in privilege and believes that her father can give the children a better life. Even though her father has never acknowledged the children before, he is now interested in them. Lavinia sets out to win her case to take the children away from Henry. But the children are only interested in making a match between Lavinia and Henry! And even though Lavinia believes with all of her heart that she would be the better guardian, she cannot help but admire Henry and the way he is with the children.

Oh Lavinia, Lavinia! I say that while shaking my head! At one point I had to message the author and tell her that Lavinia needed a "Come to Jesus" talk! My goodness that girl made me want to reach through the pages and shake her til her teeth rattled! Henry was much more understanding than I ever would be. He admired Lavinia for her stubbornness because he knew that she didn't have a leg to stand on to get the children. He was so patient in helping Lavinia understand that her grand schemes were just what her sister had escaped from and that the children would appreciate a more simpler way of life. I love when a book gets you so involved in the characters that you feel as if you are a part of the family. When I finished reading I truly missed Henry and Lavinia. Being thrown together to care for the children and with the help of the scheming trio, Henry and Lavinia's romance developed slowly and naturally. Their Mistletoe Matchmakers was a sweet Christmas read that will definitely help get you into the holiday spirit!


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Pride and Prejudice Read-Along: Week 2

This is the second week of our discussion of my favorite Austen book. Check out Amber's blog at Seasons of Humility for all of the details.

Favorite Quotes:

"I admire the activity of your benevolence, observed Mary, but every impulse of feeling should be guided by reason; and, in my opinion, exertion should always be in proportion to what is required."-Mary Bennet

"He must be an oddity, I think, said she. I cannot make him out.--There is something very pompous in his style.--And what can he mean by apologising for being next in the entail?--We cannot suppose he would help it if he could.--Could he be a sensible man, sir?" -Elizabeth Bennet

"You judge very properly, said Mr. Bennet, and it is happy for you that you possess the talent of flattering with delicacy. May I ask whether these pleasing attentions proceed from the impulse of the moment, or are the result of previous study?"-Mr. Bennet

"His guilt and his descent appear by your account to be the same, said Elizabeth angrily; for I have heard you accuse him of nothing worse than of being the son of Mr. Darcy's steward, and of THAT, I can assure you, he informed me himself."-Elizabeth Bennet

"You could not make ME happy, and I am convince that I am the last woman in the world who could make you so."-Elizabeth Bennet

"An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do NOT marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you DO."-Mr. Bennet

Words that I had to look up:

Panegyric: public speech or published text in praise of someone or something.
Celerity: swiftness of movement.
Appertain: relate to; concern.

Thoughts:

Mary totally cracks me up! Hence the reason I picked that quote above! I agree with her! Why exert yourself unless it is necessary?

Mr. Collins is just gross! I mean, I cannot stand his arrogance and his pompous attitude. He really is clueless!

Oh Mr. Bennet! He and I would get along real well! I totally get his subtle sarcasm and totally love it! He makes me laugh!

Mr. Wickham is the fly in the ointment. He is charming yet I find him too flattering and since I know what his character is already I think he is a scammer and can see right through his ploy. As smart as Lizzie is I am totally surprised she doesn't see it.

Mr. Darcy, I still love him. Even though he is standoffish I just love him!

Bingley's sisters are brats and remind me of what mean girls are like in high school.

Discussion Questions:

Which quote or scene made you laugh/smile the most?

"You judge very properly, said Mr. Bennet, and it is happy for you that you possess the talent of flattering with delicacy. May I ask whether these pleasing attentions proceed from the impulse of the moment, or are the result of previous study?"-Mr. Bennet

This quote always causes me to snort-laugh!

 Mr. Darcy is often silent: in social settings, in his feelings toward Elizabeth, and in defense of his side of Wickham's story. Do you think his silence is "golden" (a wise choice), or do you think he should have been more vocal in these chapters?

I think that his demeanor would have offended no matter what he did. Should he have spoken out against Wickham? I don't think so. I think if he did he would have been stooping to Wickham's level. It is so hard to know when to call out a person in public and when to stay silent. We all know what Darcy keeping silent does to the Bennet's. 


How would you respond to Mr. Collins if he proposed to you?

Oh ewww! The answer would be a definite NO! I picture him as a booger-eating kid running around with drool on his shirt. Just bleck! And to have to listen to his speeches for the rest of my life? Oh spare me! ha

So there you go! This week's discussion. If you are reading along with us leave a link to your post or feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments. Have a great week!






Monday, October 9, 2017

A Zen For Murder by Leighann Dobbs


A murder on Mooseamuck Island has Dom and Claire dusting off their investigator caps and helping the local police solve the crime. Both Dom and Claire are retired, but when one of their friends is murdered neither one can stand by and let someone else investigate the crime.

If you like cozy mysteries this will be right up your alley. I enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading others in the series. I am excited to see what Dom and Claire will be up to next and if anymore murders will happen on their quiet little island now that they seem to be back in business.


Thursday, October 5, 2017

All Roads by Holly Schindler



Jesse spent his life in foster care and now is on his own travelling around in his old RV. He finally gains a companion when he finds a stray dog named The General. Jesse and The General spend a few weeks together before they arrive in a small town. There Jesse runs into Louisa who claims The General is her dog! Jesse is not going to leave town without HIS dog so when he is invited to have dinner with Louisa and her family he stays hoping that he can escape with The General. The longer that Jesse stays with Louisa's family the more he feels that he has finally found his place, but will Louisa's resentment and suspicions send Jesse packing?

Awww, I loved this heart-warming story! I loved each character in the story. I could feel for Jesse because he has been alone all of his life. I could feel for Louisa because she feels that a part of her is missing. I loved Betsy who just drug Jesse, a complete stranger, into her home and treated him so nicely. And The General who manages to bring them all together! Holly Schindler knows how to communicate her characters feelings so well that the reader feels as if they are a part of the story instead of just an observer. All Roads is a great Fall read and highly recommended!



Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Targeted For Danger by various authors


Targeted For Danger is a compilation of 8 short stories written by 8 different authors. For the most part I enjoyed all of the stories. It is hard to develop characters in such a short amount of words, so I found some of the relationships worked for me and some did not. I found some of the suspense worked for me and some did not. I reviewed each book individually so here are my thoughts:

Crossfire by Susan May Warren

Kade has returned to his family home where his past is catching up with him. Witnesses to a murder, Kade and his best friend Nash have been hiding for years in the hopes that they wouldn’t be found. Circumstances have now brought them back home. Haddie is also home. The girl that Nash was engaged to, but that Kade has loved from the moment he met. Seven years is a long time to be gone, but not long enough to make Kade forget that he still loves Haddie and will do anything to keep her safe.


Talk about a love triangle! Mistakes that ruined friendships. And danger lurking at every turn and you have a wonderfully suspense-filled romantic short story that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. I also loved the spiritual aspects of the story! Apparently Kade is a character from another series that Susan May Warren has written, The Montana Rescue series, which I haven’t read, but must remedy soon. 

Taken by Dark by Christy Barritt
Declan left his hometown and the girl he loved years ago to pursue a career in the FBI. Willa has stayed in their hometown and had plans to raise her family there. Both Declan and Willa have lost their spouses and now Willa is in danger. At the request of Willa’s brother, Declan returns to investigate and hopefully find out who has targeted Willa.

I liked that Declan and Willa had a past. It helped when things seemed to move along a bit too quickly  in their relationship for me. While there were elements of suspense, it seemed that the majority of excitement happened at the end of the story and then it galloped on to the ending rather quickly after that. I actually would like to go and read the rest of The Carolina Moon series that this novella is a part of.

Lethal Homecoming by Lynette Eason

Callie was sent away from her home and the man she loved 6 years ago. Now she is returning thinking that all danger is now gone. Unfortunately before she even reaches her home her life is threatened and she is once more thrown into danger. Nolan never knew why Callie left, but he does know that he’s never stopped loving her. Can he find out who wants her dead before it is too late?

Honestly, this wasn’t one of my favorite Lynette Eason books. I don’t know if it just felt too rushed or if I didn’t care for the characters or what. I knew who the killer was before the final reveal, but usually that doesn’t detract from the story for me. It did have it’s exciting moments that I did enjoy, I think it just needed to be fleshed out a bit more. The romance felt a little forced even though Callie and Nolan had had a relationship in the past. I really think I enjoy this authors full-length novels much better than the novella’s. 

Treasure by Ginny Aiken

Chloe is an archeological reporter and is sent on assignment to cover the latest findings. When Chloe arrives at the current dig site she is shot at and her bodyguard is almost killed. Ridge arrives on the scene to save both Chloe and her bodyguard. Someone doesn’t want precious ancient manuscripts found and they will do anything to stop Chloe and Ridge from continuing their search.

This one just didn’t work for me. I’m sorry to say, but I think it was too disjointed so I felt like I was missing pieces of the story. I thought the romance was forced and didn’t seem like Chloe and Ridge knew each other long enough to even form an attraction let alone a long term relationship. There was a lot of excitement with people trying to kill Chloe and Ridge, but again the reason was a bit ambiguous to me and left me feeling like I was missing something. 

Deadly Secrets by Margaret Daley


Sarah left home 15 years ago. She left her fiancĂ©, Hunter, at the alter with no explanation. Now Sarah has returned for her niece’s wedding. But her niece has been kidnapped and Sarah and Hunter must work together to find her before it is too late. Can Sarah overcome what happened in her past? Can she learn to forgive? Will Hunter be able to let go of his resentment in order to work this case?

Once again I was glad that this couple had a past in order to forward their relationship in this story. I did feel a bit like we were tossed into the middle of a story without any background, but it was slowly developed and revealed and ended up with a pretty exciting and suspenseful ending. It turns out that there are several books in this series of STRONG WOMEN, EXTRAORDINARY SITUATIONS. 

Double Exposure by Elizabeth Goddard

Tara just witnessed an atrocious crime and now she is hiding away, hoping that the people who were involved in the crime think that she is dead. Grant has found where Tara is hiding and must work to gain her trust. Unfortunately those bent on killing her to silence her have also found her so there is no time for Grant to gain that trust. Will they live long enough to stop a biological terrorist attack?

This was an exciting read as Tara and Grant were pretty much on the run the entire time. Even their rapidly developing relationship seemed to work in this story. The circumstances and Grants background into Tara helped that romance along. There are other books in the Exposure series that I would like to explore. 

Cold Terror by Susan Sleeman


Gage and Hannah were romantically involved many years ago but Gage couldn’t commit. Now both have lost their spouses and each have a child. Hannah is a forensic artist commissioned to reconstruct a skull when she is attacked. Hannah manages to escape with her son and miraculously they are rescued by Gage. Gage now owns his own protection/training facility so he takes Hannah and her son there in order to keep her safe from the man that has tried to kill her more than once. Can Hannah trust Gage to protect she and her son? And what are they to do with the feelings that have seemed to be reignited after all of these years?

Cold Terror starts off exciting and doesn’t stop until the very last page! Since this is a novella the romance happens pretty quickly, but it works because Hannah and Gage have already had a relationship. The suspense is exciting and keeps the reader engaged and wanting more. I especially liked the spiritual scenes. They weren’t preachy, but they were truthful and insightful and not only spoke to the characters, but also spoke to my heart. I definitely recommend. 

Once a Thief by Jan Thompson

Reuben was once an art thief, but he has done his time in prison and paid his dues. He is now helping the good guys find stolen art. Helen owns a private investigation company. She has just discovered that her mother was involved in the theft of some famous eggs(not the Faberge ones), and now her mother has been kidnapped and Helen and Reuben have teemed up to find her.

This had the potential to be a good story, but unfortunately I just found it to be disjointed and hard to follow. It does say that it is a stand-alone, but there are other books in the series. I felt like we were plopped into the middle of something that we were clueless about. And the romance between Helen and Reuben did not ring true to me. It was rushed, and random. 

So there you go, my review of the 8 books in this compilation. I'd give the whole set a 4 out of 5! If you are a fan of short stories then this will probably be right up your alley. If you love suspense and romance then definitely try it out!


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Pride & Prejudice Read-Along-Week 1


I've been waiting for this Read-Along for a long time now! If you have read my blog you have seen several times in the past that Pride and Prejudice is my absolute favorite Jane Austen book. I have several copies of P&P and debated which one I would use for this read-along. I have opted for a Kindle version that I got for free a while back. I can't find the exact copy of it now, but I find it is easier on my eyes to read on my Kindle than to try and read the small print of one of my hard copies. I've read this book several times over the years since I was a teenager. I've had several different editions of it throughout the years as well. I hope you are joining in on the Read-Along and that you go over to Amber's blog SEASONS OF HUMILITY and check out her posts as we discuss the book. Here's this week's discussion questions and my observations:

Favorite Quote:

One of the most popular quotes of all time:

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."

And sorry y'all, I can never pick just one quote, especially in this book!

"You take delight in vexing me, You have no compassion for my poor nerves." "You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these last twenty years at least."

Oh my goodness I love that quote! Mr. Bennet has a sharp tongue all crouched in kindness and mildness and with perfectly gentleman-like manners!

General Impressions:

I love everything about this book! I love how it didn't take long for the entire assembly to realize that Mr. Darcy was a proud and arrogant man, but I loved Charlotte Lucas's assertion that he had every right to be proud and haughty.

"His pride, said Miss Lucas, does not offend ME so much as pride often does, because there is an excuse for it."

"This is very true, replied Elizabeth, and I could easily forgive HIS pride, if he had not mortified MINE."

I loved the fact that Mr. Bennet surprised the whole family by having gone over and introduced himself to Mr. Bingley before anyone else.

I'm having a hard time separating the movie version and the book version. So far in the book I am not seeing the obnoxiousness of Mrs. Bennet. She of course wants all of her girls to marry well just like the rest of the women in the area want. She does tend to get on Mr. Bennet's nerves it seems, but so far he seems like an indulgent father figure to her.

I'm ready for more!

Questions:

Amber has a set of 3 questions on her blog that you can either answer all 3 or pick and choose which you would like to answer.

 What do you think of the portrayals of marriage/courtship so far? Charlotte claims, "It is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life." Do you agree or disagree?

I think that Mr. Bennet is kind of swamped with women in his life and he much prefers a good book in his library without disturbances of the household. I really think he is leaving the girls in the hands of an indulgent clueless mother and that will come back and bite him in the end. 

As for Charlotte's claim I would tend to disagree. I think you should go into marriage with your eyes wide open so that you aren't broadsided by some definite character flaw. If you can't learn to deal with the flaws in your intended before you are married they are just going to become more magnified through the years of your marriage. 


It's not to late to catch up on the reading and join us! This week we will be reading chapters 7-20.