Thursday, September 21, 2017

Short and Sweet Book Reviews # 142 - Way Station by Clifford D. Simak, Krinar's Desire by Cara Bristol, Second Chance Girl by Susan Mallery

Way StationWay Station by Clifford D. Simak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In 1977 Clifford Simak became the third Grand Master of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. His book Way Station was written in 1963 and is still revenant today. In the book we follow Enoch, how is the stationmaster for a Way Station on Earth. He know what is out in the universe but other people on Earth do not. He feels that life will continue for him for years but then something unexpected happens putting the station at risk. A interesting take on humans and how we act. The book has held up through ages and is still a good read today.

Krinar’s DesireKrinar’s Desire by Cara Bristol
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I purchased this because I like Cara Bristol's books. This is the first time to read any of the Krinar series and I did enjoy it. I liked Caitlyn Meadows. She is a hard working woman trying to make her way is a world that has not always treated her well. I had mixed feeling about Arak, the Krinar. He was very bossy. He wanted Caitlyn but he did try not to rush her. It was heavy on sex while doing a good job of presenting the world building that had already been done in other stories. It also did a good job on back story. It worked OK as a standing alone and left me curious about other stories set in the Krinar world.


Second Chance Girl (Happily Inc, #2)Second Chance Girl by Susan Mallery
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mathias Mitchell is a one night stand kind of guy. Carol Lund is off limits as she is a keeper. The two are friends but it turns out Mathias is more into Carol than he thought. Mathias is one of the twins who it turns out are not twins and he is still suffering from the withdrawal of his brother. We get more of the drama around the Mitchell family but Carol finally convinces Mathias that she is not like others in his life. She is not giving up on him and she is not leaving. There are two love stories in the book as both Carol and her sister find their HEA. Neither have a easy time and that makes for a very good read. While there is a wedding in book two it just provides the framework for the two love stories. Oh and the giraffe plays an important part in the story and gets her happy ending too. In her case it does not involve a male.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Chocolatier's Wife and The Chocolatier's Ghost by Cindy Lynn Speer - Blog Tour and Giveaway





The Chocolatier's Wife &
The Chocolatier's Ghost
by Cindy Lynn Speer

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GENRE: Fantasy Mystery

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BLURB:

The Chocolatier's Wife: ROMANCE, MAGIC, MYSTERY.... AND CHOCOLATE

A truly original, spellbinding love story, featuring vivid characters in a highly realistic historical setting.

When Tasmin's bethrothed, William, is accused of murder, she gathers her wind sprites and rushes to his home town to investigate. She doesn't have a shred of doubt about his innocence. But as she settles in his chocolate shop, she finds more in store than she bargained for. Facing suspicious townsfolk, gossiping neighbors, and William's own family, who all resent her kind - the sorcerer folk from the North -- she must also learn to tell friend from foe, and fast. For the real killer is still on the loose - and he is intent on ruining William's family at all cost.


The Chocolatier's Ghost: Married to her soul mate, the chocolatier William, Tasmin should not have to worry about anything at all. But when her happily ever after is interrupted by the disappearance of the town’s wise woman, she rushes in to investigate. Faced with dangers, dead bodies, and more mysterious disappearances, Tasmin and William must act fast to save their town and themselves – especially when Tasmin starts to be haunted by a most unwelcome ghost from her past…literally.

The Chocolatier’s Ghost is an enchanting sequel to Cindy Lynn Speer’s bestselling romantic mystery, The Chocolatier’s Wife.


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EXCERPT

Chocolatier’s Wife 1

Time was, in the kingdom of Berengeny, that no one picked their spouses. No one courted—not officially, at any rate—and no one married in a moment’s foolish passion. It was the charge of the town Wise Woman, who would fill her spell bowl with clear, pure water; a little salt; and the essence of roses, and rosemary, and sage. Next, she would prick the finger of the newborn child and let his or her blood drip into the potion. If a face showed in the waters, then it was known that the best possible mate (they never said true love, for that was the stuff of foolish fancy) had been born, and the Wise Woman could then tell where the future spouse lived, and arrangements were made.

For the parents of William of the House of Almsley, this process would turn out to be less than pleasant.

The first year that the baby William’s finger was pricked and nothing showed, the Wise Woman said, “Fear not, a wife is often younger than the husband.”

The second, third, and even fifth year she said much the same.

But you see, since the spell was meant to choose the best match—not the true love—of the heart the blood in the bowl belonged to, this did not mean, as years passed, that the boy was special. It meant that he would be impossible to live with.

On his seventh birthday, it seemed everyone had quite forgotten all about visiting the Wise Woman until William, who knew this of long habit to be a major part of his day--along with cake, a new toy, and a new set of clothes--tugged on his mother’s skirt and asked when they were going. She stared at him a long moment, tea cup in hand, before sighing and calling for the carriage. She didn’t even bother to change into formal clothes this time, and the Wise Woman seemed surprised to see them at all. “Well, we might as well try while you’re here,” she said, her voice obviously doubtful.

William obediently held out the ring finger on his left hand and watched as the blood dripped into the bowl. “She has dark brown eyes,” William observed, “and some hair already.” He shrugged, and looked at the two women. “I suppose she’ll do. I’m just glad ‘tis over, and that I can go on with my life.”

“For you, perhaps,” his mother said, thinking of what she would now have to accomplish.

“Do not fret, mother, I shall write a letter to the little girl. Not that she can read it, anyway.” He petted his mother’s arm. He was a sweet boy, but he was always charging forward, never worrying about feelings.

The Wise Woman rolled out an elegantly painted silk map of the kingdom and all its regions, his mother smoothed the fabric across the table, and then the Wise Woman dipped a brass weight into the bowl. Henriette, William’s mother, placed her hands on William’s shoulders as the Wise Woman held the weight, suspended, over the map.



Henriette held her breath, waiting to see where it would land. Andrew, her younger son, had his intended living just down the street, which was quite convenient. At least they knew what they were getting into immediately.

The plumb-bob made huge circles around the map, spinning and spinning as the Wise Woman recited the words over and over. It stopped, stiffly pointing toward the North.

“Tarnia? Not possible, nor even probable. You must try again!”

For once, William’s mother wasn’t being stubbornly demanding. Tarnia, a place of cruel and wild magic, was the last place from whence one would wish a bride. They did not have Wise Women there, for anyone could perform spells. The Hags of the North ate their dead and sent the harsh winter wind to ravage the crops of the people of the South. Five hundred years ago, the North and the South had fought a bitter war over a cause no one could quite remember, only that it had been a brutal thing, and that many had died, and it led to the South losing most of its magic. Though the war was long over and the two supposedly united again, memory lingered. “I have cast it twice.” The Wise Woman chewed her lower lip, but therewas naught else she could do.

“Not Tarnia, please?” Henriette, usually a rather fierce and cold woman, begged.

“I am afraid so.” The Wise Woman began cleaning up; her shoulders set a little lower. “I am sorry.”

William, staring out the window at the children playing outside, couldn’t care less. What did it matter where anyone was from? She was a baby, and babies didn’t cause that much trouble.

“Only you, William,” his mother said, shaking her head. “Why can you not do anything normal?”

This was to be the tenor of most of their conversations throughout their lives.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

REVIEW


The Chocolatier's Wife - What a mismatch.  William is from the South and Tasmin is from the North.  The difference is magic and both sets of parents are in no hurry to let the match happen.  I loved both characters. Tasmin is so determined and William is following his own path.  When danger arrives it is a test of their match. What follows is a story with great world building, interesting backstory and filled with fully developed characters.  I found this hard to put down and hated when it was over.

The Chocolatier's Ghost - Well, Cindy Lynn Speer must have heard me lamenting about hating the fact that The Chocolatier’s Wife was over and there was no more William and Tasmin.  Turns out both are back and their HEA is about to get some unwelcome company.  This time there is more danger to the town and to Tasmin.  A very nice mystery filled with anxiety and danger.  Loved the new story and hope that there will be another in the series.

An additional thought.  You can never go wrong with chocolate.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Cindy Lynn Speer has been writing since she was 13.  She has Blue Moon and Unbalanced published by Zumaya.  Her other works, including The Chocolatier’s Wife (recently out in an illustrated hardcover to celebrate its 10th anniversary) and the Chocolatier’s Ghost, as well as the short story anthology Wishes and Sorrows.  When she is not writing she is either practicing historical swordsmanship, sewing, or pretending she can garden.  She also loves road trips and seeing nature.  Her secret side hobby is to write really boring bios about herself.  You can find out more about her at www.cindylynnspeer.com, or look for her on Facebook (Cindy Lynn Speer) and Twitter (cindylynnspeer).


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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION 

One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to visit the other blogs on the tour:


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Short and Sweet Book Reviews # 141 - Acadie by Dave Hutchinson, Welcome to Outcast Station by Jeanne Adams and Nancy Northcott, Skyfarer by Joseph Brassey

AcadieAcadie by Dave Hutchinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is novella. It is a quick easy read that starts out building to a climax and then delivers a unexpected punch line. I liked the characters, especially Duke, but was not expecting the ending. I was glad I got this one free as I would have felt I did not get my money's worth if I had purchased it

Welcome to Outcast Station (Outcast Station #1)Welcome to Outcast Station by Jeanne Adams and Nancy Northcott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I liked the concept of Outcast Station. While this is not a new setting for Science Fiction both authors make a very good use of being sent to the back of beyond.

Ravi in the Accidental Plague is a interesting characters. One of the best academically she is used to being shunned and pushed aside because of her home planet. Using the accidental plague Jeanne Adams manages to secure Ravi a place where she is honored for her work not her planet of origin.

Deputy Marshal Hank Tremaine made a misstep that got him sent to Outcast Station. As The New Badge he is sent on a mission where he is meant to fail. While he finds Marshals who are incompetent he also finds others who are good at their job and willing to help him.

Both novellas do a great job of world building and character development. I did find the back story a little light but it did not weaken the plots or the story line.

I received a free copy of the book in return for an honest review.




 SkyfarerSkyfarer by Joseph Brassey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A quest filled with interesting characters. While I found the world building familiar (islands floating in the sky) the story fit the place. There is a lot of sword fighting in the story. The characters are capable of many kinds of magic. The good guys are good but one of the bad guys is not what he seems. This is the first book in a new series and while the plot points are solved here there is a lot that can still happen. I look forward to new adventures with this crew.

I received a free copy of the book in return for an honest review.

View all my reviews

Friday, September 15, 2017

Dark Genius by H. Peter Alesso - Book Blast and Giveaway



Dark Genius
by H. Peter Alesso

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GENRE:  Fiction

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BLURB:

To the insatiably curious—science is the greatest adventure. So, when scientists at CERN announced the discovery of the ‘God’ particle in 2012, all the world wondered, “How did they find it?”

A decade later, despite his past academic failures and egregious family circumstance, Andrew Lawrence embarked on a journey of discovery, competing against rival scientists to be the first to solve the greatest unsolved mystery of the universe—dark matter—and win the ultimate prize; the Nobel. 

Emma Franklin, a PhD candidate at Harvard, developed software for detecting particle reactions using a quantum computer. To the amazement and excitement of the scientific community, her work revealed two possible bumps in the energy curve that were not predicted by any established theory.

At MIT, Lawrence created a model that predicted the scattering processes of a dark matter supersymmetry particle. Though his early work was disparaged, he improved his theory and found that it predicted the data Emma had discovered. Their professional collaboration deepened into a personal relationship, but when critical data was stolen, Emma found evidence that incriminated Lawrence. Though she withheld the impeaching material from the authorities, she felt she could no longer trust him.

Despite their troubled partnership, and notwithstanding the complexities of nature, Lawrence and Emma persevered against the egos, jealousy, and envy of rivals, on their exhilarating quest to find the ‘Holy Grail’ of physics

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EXCERPT


In one well-lit corner, Professor Stanley Prost sat at his desk studiously examining a computer screen. His long straight nose, jutting prominent chin, and carbon black eyes, gave the appearance of a man not to be trifled with. He held his hand to his brow, masking his eyes, as if to conceal his innermost thoughts. However, his red pitted skin and the twitchy lips destroyed any semblance of a distinguished pose. His overweight frame and slumped shoulders made him look like a bloated figure despite his close-cropped hair and clean-shaven face. An expensive, but ill-fitting suit, hung like a sack over his body leaving an overall appearance of discomfort.

While Prost rapidly slid his finger across the computer screen, Lawrence stood waiting like a statue. He let his gaze wandered to the scene visible from the window—scampering students making their way on their personal college adventure.

Finally, without extending his hand, or looking directly at his visitor, Prost ordered, “Sit.” 

“Thank you, Professor,” said Lawrence in a clear strong voice, despite a peculiar stir of emotions—doubt, tension, apprehension. He had prior experience with this man—with unhappy consequences.

Prost leaned forward and curled his lip as he spat out the words, “Your postdoc appointment was made by the Professor Lloyd—during my absence—without any input from me.”

Lawrence’s eyes darkened to match his tousled hair, but he remained quiet for what seemed a portentous moment. He clenched his teeth and was self-conscious of a bead of sweat on his brow.

Prost waved his right hand in the air and said, “I took no pleasure in the failing grades I gave you, some years ago. Your dismissal from MIT was unfortunate, but I wasn’t the only professor who was disenchanted with a prodigy who skipped classes, took exams cavalierly, and disrupted class with impertinent questions.”

Lawrence shifted in his chair, uncomfortably.

I’m to be rebuked for the sins of the past.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

As a scientist and author specializing in technology innovation, H. Peter Alesso has over twenty years research experience at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). As Engineering Group Leader at LLNL he led a team of scientists and engineers in innovative applications across a wide range of supercomputers, workstations, and networks. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a B.S. and served in the U.S. Navy on nuclear submarines before completing an M.S. and an advanced Engineering Degree at M.I.T. He has published several software titles and numerous scientific journal and conference articles, and he is the author/co-author of ten books.
http://www.hpeteralesso.com/images/pete2.jpg

Email: h.alessocomcast.net


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GIVEAWAY INFORMATION


The author will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Short and Sweet Book Reviews # 140 - Zakota by Ruby Lionsdrake, Star Hero by Susan Grant, Barbarian by Anna Hackett

Zakota (Star Guardians, #5Zakota (Star Guardians, #5 by Ruby Lionsdrake
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A nice ending to the five book series. Katie is one of the Earth women stolen by slavers and rescued by the Star Guardians. She is a pilot and really wants to fly a star ship. Zakota is a pilot on the ship and with a lot of pleading and a bet he lets her fly a shuttle . In the coming battle she gets to do more flying and be in more danger than she really wanted. Along the way she and Zakota start on their HEA. This was nice ending to the series but I would love to see more of the Star Guardians. The world building and back story is already done so I hope to see more stories set in this fascinating universe.

Star Hero: A Star Series Novella (#4.6)Star Hero: A Star Series Novella by Susan Grant
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was one of the stories from Pets in Space #1 and is a slightly upgraded version. I loved Bang Bang when I first read the story and still loved him reading this again. Bang Bang helps bring two people together and works to make sure they survive when danger arrives. The puppy that is in the first of the story gets his story in Pets in Space #2 coming out in October.


Barbarian (Galactic Gladiators, #6)Barbarian by Anna Hackett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nero just opens his mouth and inserts his foot every time he talked to Winter. He sees he as weak because of her size and because she is blind. It was great fun seeing how his perception changes as the story progresses. Turns out Winter is not weak at all and she is a perfect match for Hero. The Galactic Gladiators are still looking for and rescuing the women from Earth. They find one, add another and still have one lost as the story ends. The next book is already scheduled for release. I don't know who will get their HEA next but I keep hoping for Galen,

View all my reviews

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Billionaire Ever After - Book Blast and Giveaway


Billionaire Ever After

by Mary Hughes,Victoria Pinder Arabpour, Tia Morris, Courtney Runion Hunt, Ann Omasta, Christine Kingsley, Traci E Hall, Rossie Cortes, Margo Bond Collins,  A.E .Easterlin Elayne Cox, Blaire Edens Lateia Elam Sandifer , Tierney O'Malley, Cheryl Phipps, Michele De Winton, K.L. Brady, Talia Hunter, Allison Gatta, Debbie White, Stephanie Queen, Caitlyn Lynch Catherine Bilson, Cristiane Serruya

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GENRE: Romance

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BLURB:

Feel the sparks fly off the hot romance and action-driven pages of these EXCLUSIVE TITLES—unavailable separately in ebook format anywhere else!

From sweet to sensual, they’ll satisfy your most indulgent fantasies as you fall in love with an array of billio
naire beaus in this contemporary romance collection by some of today’s hottest New York Times, USA Today, and International bestselling authors.

Quench your book-boyfriend addiction with page-turning stories overflowing with decadent luxury, heart-warming love, heated adventure, steamy scenes, and happily-ever-afters.

Featuring billionaires from bad boys to Marines and CEOs to cowboys, this set will take you around the country and jet-setting around the globe with intense, passionate men who always get what they want and fulfill the desires of the women they crave.

Relish each journey in this LIMITED-TIME collection PACKED with novels and novellas that will provide over one hundred hours of reading.

Grab your copy today before these hot billionaires fly off into the sunset!


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EXCERPTS

Mary Hughes
Bad Boy Billionaire’s Lady

Elizabeth promised a dying man she’d protect his charitable legacy. But how, when the greedy, manipulative sharks on the board want her out? And now the biggest shark of all, the Lovless heir, is coming home.

Rebel Lovless joined the Navy to escape his robber-baron grandfather molding him into a ruthless copy. So when the old man dies, the SEAL returns to give away his billions, only to find surprise charities—and a hostile board tearing at the throat of charity organizer, classy lady Elizabeth Rothschild.

Excerpt

Just let me escape. I vow never to take a shortcut again.

Feet pursued Elizabeth. A hand clamped onto her coat. Her pulse kicked into overdrive.

“Where d’you think you’re going?” Skullcap dragged her to a stop.

She swung around, messenger bag first, the kitten carrier clamped to her body.

The mugger grabbed her by the lapels—and tore open her coat beneath the carrier strap.

She sucked in a shocked breath. Inhaled a wash of male stink. She recoiled automatically, heart hammering. The kitten released a terrified screech.

“Well, well.” The mugger dragged her back, his foul excitement pouring off him. “What’s this?”

She struggled against Skullcap’s hold, impotently, horrified that the situation had careened so out of control. Her blood thundered in her ears as she tried desperately to think of a way out…or was that the sound of a motor?

Suddenly, the hard roar of a powerful machine filled the mouth of the alley.

Beyond the muggers, a motorcycle skidded into the narrow way, its harsh engine reverberating against the buildings.

The goon spun toward the intruder. Freed, Elizabeth clutched the carrier and stumbled back, her pulse racing frantically.

The bike tore down the pavement and squealed to a stop a few feet from the mugger.

A big, helmeted, leather-clad man sat easily on the low-slung seat. Scuffed, shitkicker boots rested flat on the pavement.

Her panted breaths rasped in her ears. The mugger’s more dangerous biker pal? God, and she’d thought things couldn’t get worse.

One boot rose to toe the stand down. With a fluid lift of his muscular leg, the man dismounted easily, unfolding to almost a giant’s height. Face completely covered by a mirrored visor, he stood before them without a word.

More dangerous? Try deadly.

Elizabeth’s breath came in frosted little pants. Was she rescued, or in even more trouble than before?

http://maryhughesbooks.com http://www.facebook.com/MaryHughesAuthor http://www.twitter.com/MaryHughesBooks      https://www.bookbub.com/authors/mary-hughes


Victoria Pinder Arabpour
Tempting Harry

As the Christmas holiday approaches, Roxy’s determined to lay low and get through the holiday unscathed, but when she meets Harry, her plans suddenly change. Could their chance meeting lead them in a better direction or will their broken hearts and spirits prevent them from finding their happily-ever-after?

Excerpt:

Her face was hot. Chris had been supposed to come for Thanksgiving, but when they were about to make the trip up, he broke up with her and slept with another woman, all on the same day. Which was sadly fitting as he’d cheated on his fiancĂ©e, Calliope, when he met Roxy. Her mother would probably say publicly that she got what she deserved, if she was given another opportunity. She had already told her privately, on more than occasion. Roxy thought it herself. She hugged her stomach, then looked at her mother’s blue eyes and squared her shoulders. “If I go offer to get him a drink or something, you’ll leave me alone and not talk about either my looks or my love life?”

“Oh, very well. I’m sure you’ll like him.” Her mother pushed her slightly again, to tell her to move faster. She hated having to introduce herself to anyone. Someone else had introduced her to Chris, so the social awkwardness had been lessened when she met him. But she had no time to think about any of that now. She took a step forward, lightly tapped the man’s rather strong muscular arm, and did exactly what her mother had told her. “Hello, would you like a drink or something?” At that moment, the front door opened and everyone in the room grew silent. The attractive, so far unnamed man placed his hand on her shoulder. “Stand behind me.” Without another word, he blocked her view. She peeked around him and saw Gabe and her uncle Tom greet a dark-haired man. “Who is that?”




Tia Morris
Billionaire Puppy Love

A sexy, busy corporate CEO and billionaire hires an attractive woman as his live-in pet sitter when a basket of puppies is dumped at his corporate office by his zany aunt who wants him to settle down and find love.

Excerpt

This was a date, not a business meeting, and she’d taken the job as his pet sitter in hopes of being his PA. Well, they could spend time together, and she would keep things very professional. Friendly, but not romantic.

They stopped to admire the silvery light of the moon shining on the nearly flat ocean. Emma sighed and plopped onto the sand.

Max sat next to her. “I was going to be a gentleman and remove my jacket so you wouldn’t get your dress sandy. And then I remembered I didn’t wear a jacket.”

She gave him a shy smile. “I like you in these clothes better than a suit.”

He leaned close. “Look at that moon,” he murmured, sliding an arm around her waist.

And then he was stroking a hand down her back, his touch assured and confident, but amid the hunger on his face was absolute tenderness.

The tender look evaporated all her resolve. Emma fell backwards onto the sand on her side. Max did the same, facing her.

She didn’t care if her dress was stained or that sand covered her bare legs. All that mattered was this moment…and Max.

“You’re so cute,” he murmured, cupping her cheek.

Emma wrinkled her nose. “Puppies are cute. I’m not a puppy.”

“When you do that little thing with your eyes…”


He didn’t need or want a body guard, but the last thing Jack expected was to be turned-on by a woman who was ready to aim her Glock at anyone who threatened him.


GIVEAWAY INFORMATION 




The authors will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway