Friday, May 31, 2013

Storm by Evan Angler

This is the 3rd installment of The Swipe Series. The Dust are kind of spread out in this story. Some are left in Beacon to try and find and rescue Eddie(their antics to get the IMPS out are pretty entertaining). Some are looking for a cure for Erin who has the Trumpet disease. They go to the doctor that invented the disease, but find that it is not the original disease that she created. Soon many more Marked will come down with Trumpet and with no known cure many will perish. Logan and Hailey are off on a mission by themselves. It hasn't rained on America for months. It looks like someone has sabotaged the seeding plant and Logan and Hailey are determined to prevent the final sabotage. Meanwhile Cylis and General Lamson begin to distrust each other and plan out their own strategies to become the only leader of one united country.

I really enjoyed the first two books in The Swipe Series. I have to confess that this 3rd installment lacked something that kept me from thoroughly enjoying it. I don't know if there were too many stories involved that kept some sort of cohesiveness from happening in the story or if I was distracted while reading the story(which is entirely possible) and therefore was easily lost while reading. One of the complaints I had in the first two books was that these are marketed as Christian books but yet nothing led me to believe that they were except for the "clean-ness" of them. Storm brought out a bit more "religion" in that Logan is carrying around a Bible that someone gave him in one of the former books. He prays in Storm, but to whom or what we are not told. God is never mentioned and Cylis's name is used as a curse word as people are in the habit of using "god" as a curse word now. Will I read the next book to come out in The Swipe series? YES! I need to find out what happens to Logan and to find out what the author is doing by putting himself into the story. I can't decide whether that is genius or annoying!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Countdown City: The Last Policeman book 2 by Ben H. Winters

In book two of The Last Policeman trilogy COUNTDOWN CITY, the earth has only 77 more days before a giant asteroid destroys it. Once again Hank Palace is on a mission to solve a mystery. An old family friend has asked him to find her husband who has gone missing. As Hank searches for Brett Cavatone his investigation leads him through many twists and turns. Was Brett the devoted husband that his wife led Hank to believe or has he embarked on a crusade that will put him and anyone looking for him in danger? 

I really enjoyed COUNTDOWN CITY. I found Hank’s desire to help a family friend and his tenacious ability to not give up until he completes his mission admirable. In a setting that has turned into “every man for himself” it is refreshing to see Hank’s character caring for his fellow human beings. Hank is an unwitting hero with a desire to fulfill a promise that he has made. I’m looking forward to the last book in the trilogy with the hopes that somehow the earth will be saved and for Hank’s sake set to rights once more. I have a feeling that his sister will be very much involved in that endeavor! An entertaining sequel to THE LAST POLICEMAN. 

For more information about COUNTDOWN CITY visit the publishers site: Quirk Books. There is also a very SHORT bio on the author Ben H. Winters! 

Read my review of the first book in the series The Last Policeman.

I received my copy of COUNTDOWN CITY from the publishers Quirk Books for my honest opinion. The book will be released July 16, 2013. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Love's Miracles by Sandra Leesmith

Margo Devaull is a psychologist. When Vinnie Zanelli tells her that his brother Dominic (Zane) has agreed to therapy but refuses to leave his home Margo agrees to go to Zane. What she finds is a man that has cut himself off from any emotional connections and has secluded himself from his family. Zane has not agreed to therapy and he is in denial that he needs it. It only takes Margo a short visit for her to realize that Zane could be suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) from his time in Viet Nam.  Margo has experience with counseling soldiers with PTSD and knows that she can help Zane if he would just open up to her. 

Zane has no intention of opening up to anyone. He has worked for years burying the secret that he has carried from Viet Nam. What he doesn’t realize is how persistent Margo can be and also how much he comes to look forward to her visits. The law dictates that no doctor can become involved personally with a patient until after therapy has been ended for 2 years. Margo knows that Zane needs help, but he refuses to seek it from anyone but her. The problem is that Zane and Margo are drawn to each other, which makes it impossible for Margo to be his doctor. Unable to give up on trying to convince Zane to get help, Margo risks losing her license and practice. 

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed LOVE’S MIRACLES. It was well-written and kept the interest of me as the reader. I enjoyed the romance between Margo and Zane, even though it was forbidden it was understandable. There was a bit of passion that at times threatened to go beyond the bedroom door, but even though both characters expressed a desire for a more physical relationship the author managed to keep the story PG. I’m looking forward to trying another one of Sandra Leesmith’s books soon. 

About the Author:

Sandra loves to hike, read, bicycle, and write. She lives in Arizona with her husband and Labrador retriever. During the hot summer, she and her husband travel throughout the United States in their motorhome, where she enjoys the outdoors and finds wonderful ideas for her next writing project.

You can learn more about Sandra and her books at

LOVE'S MIRACLES is currently on sale through Amazon for $2.99 to purchase go HERE.

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Lock, Stock, and Over a Barrel by Melody Carlson

Moving to New York after college Daphne had dreams of becoming a great writer. Getting a dream job for The New York Times she thought she was all set. But a failed romance and years of being stuck in the same job disillusions Daphne.

When Daphne's Aunt Dee passes away Daphne travels to her hometown to attend the funeral. When the will is read leaving the bulk of her Aunt's estate to Daphne she is as surprised as the rest of her relatives. According to her Aunt's attorney though there are some stipulations in the will that may keep Daphne from inheriting.

While Daphne gets to know her hometown all over again she meets many people that help to welcome her to her new life in Appleton. She gets reacquainted with her old friend Olivia who helps her choose paint colors to give her Aunt's house a facelift. She meets the local diner owner whom her father thinks would be a great match for her. She meets her Aunt's gardener who happens upon her sunning in the backyard in her nightgown. And her Aunt's attorney seems to be taking an interest in Daphne's social life as well. When a man from her past shows up to try and win her heart again, Daphne is confused about what she wants and wonders what her Aunt was thinking when she made the stipulations in her will.

Lock, Stock and Over a Barrel was a cute read. It kept me entertained throughout. I enjoyed the small-town atmosphere of Daphne's hometown and all of the people that came into her life once she moved there. I did find myself getting a bit frustrated at Daphne's indecisiveness, but as the book progressed she seemed to grow as a character. Being Book One in the new Dear Daphne series I am hoping for more maturity on Daphne's part to develop in the next book. I'll be looking forward to reading the next book to see if Daphne is able to meet all of her Aunt's stipulations to claim her inheritance. And of course to see if any of the eligible bachelors capture Daphne's attention ;)

I received my copy of Lock, Stock and Over a Barrel for review from the publisher B&H Publishers. This review is my honest opinion.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

No Way Out by Susan Sleeman

While out running Alyssa Wells stumbles across a clandestine meeting between police officers that her husband worked with before he died. What she hears shocks her. Knowing she cannot let the men know that she has heard them Alyssa tries to escape quietly. Unfortunately she falls and alerts the men to her presence. Rushing to escape and hoping that they do not know who heard them Alyssa encounters Cole Justice. Cole and his siblings own a private investigator business and Cole agrees to help Alyssa bring the men to justice and hopefully prove that her husband was not a part of the drug ring that the officers belong to. Cole and Alyssa are attracted to each other but both carry baggage. Alyssa thinks she can never trust another man in her life and Cole has demons chasing him from his time in Iraq. Alyssa has put her trust in God to help her through her situation but Cole has lost his trust in God and feels he can only trust in himself to keep the people he cares for safe. As a killer begins to make threats to Alyssa and those closest to her, Cole is determined to keep her safe, but will his efforts be enough?

NO WAY OUT was a great suspense and held my interest throughout. Even though we knew who the main "bad guys" were from the beginning of the story that didn't take away from the suspense of how the story unfolded. I liked both Cole and Alyssa's characters. Even though Cole had demons from his past experience in Iraq he felt his heart thawing when Alyssa and her twins came into his life. Slowly but surely Alyssa was able to once again put her trust in a man and allow him to care for her and her children. Her faith was a great example to Cole and rang true throughout the entire story. I enjoyed this book so much that I went to Amazon and ordered two other books in the Justice Agency series. I'm looking forward to reading them as I love a romantic suspense story!

For more information on Susan Sleeman and The Justice Agency series check out her website HERE.

Thanks to the author for my copy of NO WAY OUT. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Love At Any Cost by Julie Lessman

In Author Julie Lessman's own words from interview on MY FAVORITE PASTIME April 5, 2013:

Tell us about upcoming releases and works in progress.

Julie Lessman:Well, the “Heart of San Francisco” series, which launches April 15, 2013, is kind of a poor-man, rich-man scenario among three cousins during the Irish-political landscape of 1902 San Francisco. Think Little Women meets Dynasty And for those too young to remember the TV show Dynasty, think family wealth and poverty in a political setting.

This series is a bit of a departure for me because it’s a lot lighter and I hope a lot more fun than the angst and high drama of my two prior series.  It will be shorter and less complicated than the O’Connor saga, which means the books will be about 400 pages rather than my usual 500+, and the plots will be two-tier instead of three- and four-tier.

You’ll have the romance between the hero and heroine front and center, of course, but also a second-tier love story between the older couple in the series, just like there was with Patrick and Marcy O’Connor. Only instead of a happily married mother and father such as we had in the O’Connor saga, Caitlyn McClare is a godly widowed matriarch who butts heads (and hearts) with her rogue brother-in-law Logan McClare, with whom she was once in love. Engaged to Logan at a very young age, Cait broke the engagement when she discovered Logan’s infidelity, resulting in her marrying Logan’s brother instead. Now, twenty-seven years down the road, Cait is a widow and Logan is determined to win her back, so the romantic tension between these two undergirds the romantic tension between our heroine, Cait’s niece Cassie McClare, and the hero, Jamie MacKenna.

The one-line premise for Book 1, Love at Any Cost is: “A spunky Texas heiress without a fortune falls in love with a handsome pauper looking to marry well.” And here’s the jacket blurb:

Fooled by a pretty boy once, shame on him.

Fooled by a pretty boy twice, shame on me.

Jilted by a fortune hunter, cowgirl Cassidy McClare is a spunky Texas oil heiress without a fortune who just as soon hogtie a man as look at him … until Jamie MacKenna, a handsome pauper looking to marry well, lassoes her heart. But when Jamie discovers the woman he loves is poorer than him, Cassie finds herself bucked by love a second time, sending her back to Texas to lick her wounds and heal her heart. In her absence, Jamie discovers money can’t buy love, but love built on faith can set a heart free, a truth he discovers a little too late … or is it?

I guarantee you there’s a lot of sass and fun in this new series, so I’m really looking forward to introducing my readers to this lighter style and the San Francisco McClares!
Check out the full interview featured HERE.

Here is an awesome video of the book:


Make no mistake, when Julie Lessman says that there is a lot less drama and angst in this book, that does not translate into "boring"! LOVE AT ANY COST is anything but boring! There is drama, there is angst and there is romance and humor. And all of that squished into about 100 pages less than what Julie's novels normally are. While LOVE AT ANY COST gave my heart less of a workout than former Julie Lessman books I can't say that it gave it a total rest! The romance between Jamie and Cassie is fraught with humor and tension. Jamie is determined to do whatever it takes to win Cassie even if he has to fake a faith that he doesn't have. Cassie is determined to never be taken in by a pretty-boy again. When Jamie's plans are thwarted and Cassie's heart is once more broken it seems that nothing can bring them together again. As with all of Julie Lessman's books there is a secondary romance going on. Or at least Logan wishes there was a romance going on! He was once engaged to Cait, but she married his brother instead. Now she is widowed and Logan hopes to win her heart once more. One thing Cait has taught Cassie is that the man she courts needs to share the same faith as her. Now Cait finds that she must remember her own advice. With so many hurting hearts in this book one wonders how Julie will wrap it all up, because as she has always assured me all of her books have a happy ending and that is what keeps me reading to the end! I definitely recommend LOVE AT ANY COST and I am looking forward to the next book in the Heart of San Francisco series.


I was one of the winners in a contest that Julie was having to have a character named after me in LOVE AT ANY COST. Julie Lessman asked me whether I would like to have a lady of the evening or a socialite named after me. I chose the lady of the evening character! Why? Honestly I thought it would be interesting to choose something more edgier, totally opposite of what people would expect of me. So if you go to page 42(Chapter 4) Julie, a lady of the evening in the Barbary Coast is introduced. And this is the part of the story where I fell in love with the character of Jamie MacKenna!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Guest Blog Post by Author Serena Chase

As part of the EYES OF E'VERIA blog tour Serena Chase agreed to do a guest post on My Favorite Pastime:

Serena's Bio:

Serena Chase is the author of the Eyes of E’veria series (The Ryn, March 2013 and The Remedy, April 2013.) She lives in Iowa with her husband Dave, daughters Delaney & Ellerie, and a very ornery goldendoodle named Albus. She is hard at work following random trails toward the completion of the third book in the series, due to release in 2014.)

Words from Serena: 

All Tangled Up in World’s Largest Ball of Twine
(and other dangers and exultations of writing by the seat of your pants)
by Serena Chase

I am a little in awe of my author friends (okay, a lot in awe!) whose creative process includes detailed outlines, but whose finished product can still bring me to tears or laughter. I don’t really write that way, and being the emotional rollercoaster that I am, I can’t imagine how I could ever seriously outline *shudders* and still produce a scene that would result with a deep emotional response in a reader.  I’m what you might call an “organic writer” or a “pantser”—someone who writes by the seat of my pants. And it’s a pretty messy business. 

My outlining friends have a method to their madness. All I have is . . . madness. Yes, I’m the nutjob who stares at the blank computer screen with only a vague notion of where I want the story to go, but no bloomin’ idea of how I’m going to get there. It’s a little like setting out on a vacation with friends you don’t really know that well yet, with no map, no GPS, and only “Oh, I don’t know. California, I guess? Or somewhere like California?” as the destination. 

So, you start driving. You know that to reach California (or somewhere like California) you have to go west and a little south, so you head that direction. Pretty soon, one of the characters along for the ride shouts, “Did you see that sign? Next exit is the National Mustard Museum! We should totally check that out!” 

Everyone agrees, so you take the exit and pretty soon you’re laughing and having a pretty good time in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin because, hey, you just happened to show up on the day the city held its Annual Festival and there is all kinds of stuff to see and do in this Place-You-Never-Even-Knew-Existed. But just as you’re about to find out how a cracker tastes when dipped in cranberry-caramel mustard, the sky darkens—it goes a little green—and the crowd hushes just in time for the tornado sirens to go off.

You look at your traveling companions, wondering, “Can we make it out alive? Will we be forced to leave someone behind?” And then The Loud One, the One Who Must Be Heard, speaks a crazy sort of reason against the pounding beat of your heart, “We’re strangers here,” he says, “and the Beast of Doom knows it! We can outrun it! I know we can!” And because The Loud One is right more than he is wrong, and because the first hard, slapping drops of rain are hitting your face, you realize there is no other option: you must flee Mustard Town to survive.

Finally, you make it back to the interstate, the beast loses your trail, and everyone breathes a sigh of relief. After you take a moment to make sure you’re still headed either south or west, you turn up the radio and, with California (or someplace like California) in mind, you set off again.

And so it goes. Every once in a while, you pause at a scenic overlook to take in a spectacular sunset, or you get a flat tire in a creepy wooded area, or you glance in the rearview mirror to find two of the characters traveling with you are beginning to make googly eyes at each other when they think the other one isn’t looking. As the road unfurls toward your vaguely defined destination, you may pull off a lonely stretch of road to take everyone’s picture by a random sculpture of a giant pumpkin.
You could find yourself and your companions tangled up in World’s Largest Ball of Twine. You may be forced to leave someone behind. But, eventually, you realize you are having the time of your life and a story has emerged and . . . you have become deeply in love with each and every character on the journey with you.

That is how I write. Sometimes it involves laughter, sometimes tears. Other moments find me simply amazed at how clever—or stupid—these characters I love can be.

I have wonderful professional relationships—even friendships!—with many left-brained, organized authors, but I’m pretty sure that if they spent even one day observing my process they might end up screaming, tearing at their hair, and running away. Like I said, it’s messy. 

And for the record, yes, I do tend to road trip in the same way I write; and, yes, I do often urge my family to “pull off at the next exit!” to see something odd or strange that might make for a good story to add to family lore. I have yet to experience the World’s Largest Ball of Twine, but I have taken pictures by The Great Pumpkin and I have been forced to flee a severe storm shortly after visiting the National Mustard Museum simply because a billboard alongside of the road made me laugh and sparked my curiosity. I mean, an entire museum dedicated to . . . mustard? That I gotta see . . .

Julie at My Favorite Pastime: 

Thanks so much Serena for sharing! I think I might like to be traveling in your car sometime as it sounds very adventurous! Well, maybe not if we have to flee from a severe storm, or leave someone behind...
I think seeing that World's Largest Ball of Twine needs to be on your bucket list! 

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