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Author Archives: Dee

About Dee

I'm one of those people that no matter how many books I have, I can't turn down a sale or a trip to the bookstore. There are no limits to what I'll read and I hope you enjoy my reviews.

Review – Long Way Home – Neve Cottrell

long way homeLong Way Home
Author: Neve Cottrell
Series: #1 in the Mangrove Island series

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
Tyler Barnes can’t believe his eyes when Alexis MacAdams walks back into his life. His high school crush left Mangrove Island seventeen years ago and never looked back. He’s held on to the memory of her, even though she never gave him a second glance. Now Alexis is back for the holidays and Tyler is determined to make a lasting impression before she slips away again. He soon learns, however, that her broken heart needs to heal before he has a chance to win it. Can Tyler convince her to risk her heart for a second time?

Review:
Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a sucker for childhood crush/reunited romance/second chance romance type stories (i’m throwing them all in together, because in general, at least 2of those elements are normally represented somehow). so when Ms Cottrell sent me an email requesting a review for her debut novel, I was intrigued. The cover immediately caught my eye, you could tell that time and effort had been put into the design and it looked suitable for a book set on an island with lots of beach scenes.

Unfortunately, after I started reading, I hit a bit of a snag – I don’t know what it was exactly, but I really struggled with the writing style for probably the first 20% or so. In fact, I actually debated putting it down and not finishing the book. But then, I got stuck on a bus in traffic with only my phone to keep me entertained for a couple of hours and I picked up Long Way Home and started reading again. And this time, it worked. I don’t know what it was when I first tried to read it, compared to the second time, but it just worked for me.

Overall, I thought the author did a good job of developing her characters – there were a few places where I felt like some of the actions of the characters were a bit disconnected with how I imagined them, based on previous descriptions. There were also a few places where the dialogue between the characters seemed overly formal, compared to how people really talk (like the use of contractions). But I think that is something that will develop more fully overtime.

I am interested to see where she goes next with the series, as there were many secondary characters in Long Way Home that I would like to see more of. Overall, I gave Long Way Home a solid 3 stars.

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2014 in Book Review

 

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Featured Author Friday – What Is It?

featured author friday

Featured Author Friday

One of the things I love the most about my blog is the wide variety of new authors that I have been introduced to. These new discoveries have come from friends, from Goodreads (or Amazon) and review requests. Today (November 6), I was thanked by a friend on Amazon for recommending an author to them that I had discovered (the fabulous Kelsey Browning).

So what better way to celebrate these authors that I love, than by starting a new feature about these authors. Every couple of weeks, I’ll post a new featured author on Friday, making that day Featured Author Friday. In this feature, I’ll talk about how I found the author, what I love about their writing and if they are available, a short Q&A with them.

My criteria for this feature is simple, an author that I have read at least 2 books by (no time limit on when the books were read); I need to have rated the books 3.5 stars (or higher) and I need to have recommended the author to at least 1 person recently.

I hope you enjoy the feature and find some new authors to enjoy.

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Review – Hollywood on Tap – Avery Flynn

hollywood on tapHollywood on Tap
Author: Avery Flynn
Series: #2 in the Sweet Salvation Brewery series

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
For years, Sean O’Dell has hidden his past as a Hollywood heartthrob from everyone at the Sweet Salvation Brewery. However, the arrival of nosey efficiency expert Natalie Sweet threatens the status quo. It doesn’t help that with her glasses, buttoned-up sweaters and always pulled-back hair that she’s uncovered one secret already: His attraction for hot librarian types.

Natalie has had enough of the strong-and-silent Sean submarining her efforts to change the brewery for the better. She’s ready to do whatever it takes to make her vision a reality, even if that means taking down the pig-headed and too-hot-for-his-own-good brewmaster.

Sizzling attraction battles stubborn determination as Natalie and Sean go head to head in a battle that’s anything but business as usual.

Review:
Why is it that books I really enjoy, I have a hard time writing reviews of? Case in point, I’ve been staring at the computer screen for this one for at least an hour – so i guess i’m just going to start writing and hopefully something that resembles a good review (because the book was good) will result. But anyways, I remember after I finished reading Enemies on Tap (the first book in the series), that I pretty much sent the author a twitter msg asking when Sean was going to get his book – and of course, I got the very coy response, don’t worry he’ll get his. So when I saw the description for Hollywood on Tap and saw it was his book, there were immediate jumps of joy. I mean, who doesn’t love a curmudgeon (and isn’t that an awesome word) who finds his happy ever after?

Hollywood on Tap picks up a few months after Enemies on Tap. While EoT (since i’m too lazy to write out the whole title) occurred during a time of upheaval in the brewing company, Hollywood on Tap, finds things mostly settled down and a normal rhythm being established. I say mostly settled down because there were some events that occurred in the previous book that had some influence in how Hollywood on Tap played out.

I will admit that I had a hard time connecting with Natalie as a character because I am likely the complete antithesis of her – i’m not organized, I attempted to color-code something (which lasted all of about 5 minutes) and my office (as my mother will attest) resembles Sean’s in organizational level. And of course, I loved Sean from when he was introduced as a character – that being said, I’m also not a huge fan of the secret identity trope – I get why people may do it (I mean, heck, I just participated in a blog hop about pseudonym’s in blogging) – but it just felt like something was missing.

Don’t get me wrong, Hollywood on Tap was filed with Avery flynn’s spunky characters and whitty reparte (oh why can’t I write like that) – and I loved seeing Logan/Miranda from book 1 again (albiet only briefly) – but I wanted a bit more. The mystery element was nice, even though I kind of had it figure out how it was (even with the twist). i think my favorite part of the story is seeing the town and how people interact with others – those who step up to support the Sweet’s and those that continue to hold grudges against them (cough, like the local law enforcement, cough). I do feel like the story could have had a little bit more at the end – everything turned out a bit too pretty and tied up in a bow (for lack of a better term) for me.

Overall, I gave Hollywood on Tap 3.5 stars (rounding it up to 4 on Goodreads/amazon) – a solid story, hot in places which made for an entertaining read. I’ll be interested to see where the next book in the series takes me.

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2014 in Book Review

 

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A blogger’s response to Hale – #haleno

hale new header

A Blogger’s response to Hale’s article “Are you a catfish reviewer?”

It’s been about 3 weeks now since the Guardian posted an article by author, Kathleen Hale, titled “Am I being catfished?’ – an author confronts her number one critic. As I read through the article, a very long and detailed article, I felt a sickening feeling develop in my stomach. In this article, the author describes her reaction to receiving a one-star review and the steps that she took the address this issue. I’m not going to recount everything that occurred, as there are other authors and bloggers who have discussed it much more succulently than I can.

Alex Hurst’s Hale vs Harris, and the Breach of Online Ethics” and The Moonlight Reader – When Manipulation Masquerades as Memoir: The #HaleNo edition provide good summaries of the events, as does Dear Author – ‘On the importance of pseudonymous activity. You can see other blogs/discussions on the topic by searching the hashtag – #haleno (this works in google as well as twitter and facebook).

What I want to talk about in this blog is more about why reviewers reacted the way they did and why they are concerned about the actions of 2 authors (another author, Richard Brittain, recently attacked a reviewer with a wine bottle in Scotland).

I’ve seen posts on Facebook and in other forms of social media where it has been said (and I’m paraphrasing), “why are bloggers letting two people control their actions?” My initial reaction to that post was, why shouldn’t we freak out? I mean, two instances being reported in less than a week of reviews being stalked/attacked for simply expressing their opinion.

Now, I don’t know about you, but that kind of freaks me out a little bit – with my background in psychology, it could be hypothesized that for every reported incident there are multiple unreported. So for the two that were reported, there could be 10-20 unreported events, where authors who disagreed with bad reviews took some type of action against said reviewer. It could be something like:
• posting the negative review on their Facebook page and having friends/followers attack the reviewer
• attacking a review who didn’t understand their work (because obviously, if you give a book a negative review, it is because you didn’t understand it)
• posting an article in an online magazine about how reviewers are out to trash your book, or
• an article on how to avoid bad book reviewers (this happened to me several years ago when I started reviewing books on my blog).
Whatever the case may be, as a blogger, the action of these authors is making me reconsider my stance on reviewing, especially reviewing those that have been provided from the author.

2014-Blogger-blackoutThere was quite a bit of discussion throughout the blogging community on how we (the universal we) wanted to handle the situation. Were we going to quit blogging completely and lock blogs down? Would we limit reviews to authors who were well-established (although that in and of itself isn’t a guarantee of good behavior)? Or was there an alternative option? Ultimately, a review blackout was proposed and accepted by many bloggers and while we continued to discuss bookish things, no new book reviews would be published during an identified period. Some bloggers opted for a week-long blackout, others for longer. Katiebabs has a good discussion of the #BloggerBlackout HERE. Personally, I haven’t posted anything to my blog since Oct 22, although I have plenty of reviews that need to be published.

I’m not saying that I am going to quit blogging, not by a long shot, but I am going to be much more circumspect in accepting books for review and the policies that I will be applying when I screen books for review. This whole incident has also made me consider what precautionary measures, if any, I should take in order to protect myself. Recently, a blogger mentioned at a panel that she has contingency plans in place for her children should she be threatened by an author. For myself and others, our livelihoods could be affected, should be author, or fan decide to take action against a negative review. I’ve heard reports of workplaces being contacted by authors in an attempt to gain information about reviewers, for what purpose I don’t know (and do I really want to?) Ultimately, risking my career isn’t worth it for a hobby and that is just what blogging is to me, it is a hobby. One that I enjoy and want to continue (and will do so as long as I am able), but is it worth the risk?

Authors, SEO Specialist, Reviewers, Readers.. anyone who has been reading the news has seen the Hale incident. In response to this and many other incidents cropping up, have been brought together by AUTHOR CEO founder, Naomi Blackburn brought a group of us together for this Blog Train. Each of us are sharing a specific aspect of the issue as a positive response to the incident. We invite you to join with your own response

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2014 in Blogging Community

 

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Audiobook Review – Euphoria – Lily King

euphoriaEuphoria
Author: Lily King

Narrators: Simon Vance, Xe Sands
Run Time: 6hr 53 min

Review Copy Provided by Publisher via Audiobook Jukebox

Description:
English anthropologist Andrew Bankson has been alone in the field for several years, studying a tribe on the Sepik River in the Territory of New Guinea with little success. Increasingly frustrated and isolated by his research, Bankson is on the verge of suicide when he encounters the famous and controversial Nell Stone and her wry, mercurial Australian husband Fen. Bankson is enthralled by the magnetic couple whose eager attentions pull him back from the brink of despair.

Nell and Fen have their own reasons for befriending Bankson. Emotionally and physically raw from studying the bloodthirsty Mumbanyo tribe, the couple is hungry for a new discovery. But when Bankson leads them to the artistic, female-dominated Tam, he ignites an intellectual and emotional firestorm between the three of them that burns out of anyone’s control. Ultimately, their groundbreaking work will make history, but not without sacrifice.

Review:
I had heard this book raved about in several audiobook groups I am part of, so when I was offered the opportunity to review it through audiobook jukebox, I jumped on it (mostly because the copy at my library had 60+ people on the wait list..). Plus the narrators (Simon Vance and Xe Sands) are two of my favorites. There was something about the description that caught my attention – i haven’t read a lot about cultural anthropology but it is an area that interests me, the idea of living intimately with a group of people for a period of time, learning about their way of life.

However, I don’t think that I could truly appreciate the beauty of the language and writing style because I made the dumb mistake of listening to the audiobook while on a road trip. And I know now that I really shouldn’t have been listening at 11pm at night – it wasn’t fair to the author or the book. That being said, I did like what I remember listening to. The language was lyrical and the story moved at a nice pace. I felt like the author did a good job of managing the tension in the relationships between the three main characters.

I think my one disappointment with the story was that I expected a bit more about the tribe of people they lived with – at times, it felt like the lives of Nell, Fen and Andrew drown out the premise of living with the natives in New Guinea. It also felt like the ending was a bit rushed to me – I was left (even if it was 3am) feeling like something was missing. I guess because I am ultimately a romantic at heart and the ending didn’t quite feel complete to me.

While I had some issues with parts of the storyline, I had no issues with the narrators. Simon Vance has been a favorite of mine since I listened to him do the Steig Larsson books and Xe Sands is one of my favorite romance narrators. I do wish that there had been more Xe – the majority of the book was narrated by Simon Vance – not that I don’t like him (in fact, I totally fangirl gush over his narration at times), I just wanted more Xe. I’ll say that while she warned me prior to listening that I may need to turn up the volume for her parts because they were quieter, I didn’t have that issue – I didn’t have to adjust the volume on my car audio at all while listening.

Overall, I gave both the book and the narration 3.5 stars but am intrigued to see how that would be adjusted should I re-listen to it later on.

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2014 in Audiobook Review

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – 10 series I want to start

top ten tuesday

Where to begin…I thought when I took a look at this Top 10, that coming up with 10 series that I REALLY wanted to start would be easy – I could just look through my Goodreads shelves and be done…but of course that wasn’t the case. I had a lot of books that were first in series on them, but when I sat down at thought about it, I wasn’t jumping up and down to read them – which is kind of how I interpreted the “want to start” portion of the question. My other issue is that books that were first in the series that I wanted to start reading, I had either already read a later book (for whatever reason)…so those were also knocked off my list.

Either way, here we go (these are in no particular order for excitment/intention):

a trace of smokeHannah Vogel – Rebecca Cantrell
Book #1 – A Trace of Smoke
A mystery series, featuring crime reporter, Hannah Vogel, set in 1930’s Germany. This series intrigues me because of the time period – I’ve always been interested in the 1930’s and 1940’s, particularly in Europe. I’ve never read any of the authors stand-alone books, but did enjoy the book that she co-wrote with James Rollins.

the coronerJenny Cooper – M.R. Hall
Book #1 – The Coroner
I’m a huge fan of mysteries with a medical basis, so with the main character in the Jenny Cooper series being a coroner, it seems to be right up my alley. Plus, I’m on a bit of a kick of books set in the UK right now.

dragon actuallyDragon Kin – G.A. Aiken
Book #1 – Dragon Actually
Lots of my friends swear by this author (who also writes under the name Shelley Laurenston) and this book has been loitering on the virtual TBR pile for a while – supposedly if you like humorous paranormal romances, she is a go-to author. I’ve found her books under her other name to be a bit hit/miss – sometimes the humor is pitch perfect, other times it feels really forced. But I’m interested in checking this one out.

night falls darklyShadow Guard – Kim Lenox
Book #1 – Night Falls Darkly
I’m always on the lookout for unique paranormal romances – and while I don’t remember when I added this one to my shelf, I occasionally come across it and think that I need to try the series, but then I get distracted. I love the idea of paranormal romance that is set in a historical time period, rather than contemporary.

mind gamesThe Disillusionists – Carolyn Crane
Book #1 – Mind Games
This might be a little bit cheating because its only a trilogy and I technically read the prequel to it in an anthology a couple of years ago, but I recently found my copy of the book when I was tidying up my bookshelves which reminded me that I still needed to read it. Looking forward to digging in soon.

teh restorerGraveyard Queen – Amanda Stevens
#1 – The Restorer
I’ve been told that I HAVE to read this book and its on the TBR pile – I really like the idea of a Graveyard Restorer – it is something that I have never come across in a book series before. I’m looking forward to reading it sometime in the near future.

still lifeChief Inspector Armand Gamache – Louise Penny
Book #1 – Still Life
This is another series where reading friends swear up and down that I need to read – in fact, I’ve had book 1 in audiobook format sitting on the virtual to-listen pile for a while. Although reviews of the most recent book were a bit iffy, so I’m undecided if I want to risk diving into another series that I may end up disliking

return of captain john emmettLaurence Bartram – Elizabeth Speller
#1 – The Return of Captain John Emmett
I’d actually never heard of this series until I randomly came across book 1 while I was browsing the audio books at my local library – but after reading the description – a mystery set in post-WW1 England, I’m intrigued and looking forward to reading it. Plus a friend of mine who is a notoriously hard reviewer gave it 4 stars, which means it must be good

lickStage Dive – Kylie Scott
Book #1 – Lick
This is a series that many of my friends, both on Goodreads and blogs are raving about right now. I will admit that i have a fondness for rock star romances – I love the bad boy trope. But I will admit upfront that I am probably going to read this series out of order, because my library have #3 available to borrow the other day and I grabbed it.

prudenceThe Custard Protocal – Gail Carriger
Book #1 – Prudence
So this series isn’t being released until March next year, but I can’t wait to read it. I loved all the books in the Parasol Protectorate series (even the one that others seemed to hate), as well as the pseudo-prequel books in the Finishing School series.

The only question remaining is: What do I start?

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2014 in Meme

 

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It’s Monday – What Are You Reading?

monday reading
Have you every had one of those weekends where you know the rest of your work week is going to be long and painful. That was me this weekend – being a Navy reservist, I do one weekend a month of duty – which normally means long hours – case in point, last night (Sunday), I didn’t walk i the door until 7:30pm after leaving at 5:30am. Yes, I know it probably seems a bit whiney and I shouldn’t but some days I get grumpy. I think I may put a grumpy bear warning on my desk at work. Hopefully, reading this week, will put me in a better place.

murder on murray hillMurder in Murray Hill – Victoria Thompson
Frank Malloy has never known any life other than that of a cop, but his newfound inheritance threatens his position within his department. While trying to keep both his relationship with Sarah and his fortune under wraps, he’s assigned to a new case—finding a missing young woman for her worried father, Henry Livingston.

It seems the girl had been responding to “lonely hearts” ads in the paper for months before she disappeared. Her father thinks that she’s eloped with a deceptive stranger, but Malloy fears the worst, knowing that the grifters who place such ads often do much more than simply abscond with their victims. But as Sarah and Malloy delve deeper into a twisted plot targeting the city’s single women, it’s their partnership—both professional and private—that winds up in the greatest peril

I’ve been reading this series in bits and pieces over the last few months. I like the fact that I can easily jump around between books in the series without being too lost – while there is some story arc, it isn’t so detailed that you get lost. I’m only about an hour into this audiobook but I am enjoying it so far and looking forward to listening to it during my commute to work this week.

i shall be near youI Shall Be Near You – Erin Lindsey McCabe
Rosetta doesn’t want her new husband Jeremiah to enlist, but he joins up, hoping to make enough money that they’ll be able to afford their own farm someday. Though she’s always worked by her father’s side as the son he never had, now that Rosetta is a wife she’s told her place is inside with the other women. But Rosetta decides her true place is with Jeremiah, no matter what that means, and to be with him she cuts off her hair, hems an old pair of his pants, and signs up as a Union soldier.
Rosetta drills with the men, prepares herself for battle, and faces the tension as her husband comes to grips with having a fighting wife. Fearing discovery of her secret, Rosetta’s strong will clashes with Jeremiah’s as their marriage is tested by war. Inspired by over two hundred and fifty documented accounts of the women who fought in the Civil War while disguised as men, I Shall Be Near To You is the intimate story, in Rosetta’s powerful and gorgeous voice, of the drama of marriage, one woman’s amazing exploits, and the tender love story that can unfold when two partners face life’s challenges side by side.

I won this book during the Penguin First Reads giveaway about 6 months ago, but like normal, it got added to the mountain range that is my to-be-read pile – but for some reason, it right it looks intriguing, so I’m digging on in. I’ve heard good things about it from people on Twitter, so fingers crossed.

designed by loveDesigned By Love – Kelsey Browning
Ashton Davenport: Hot blonde. Old Money. Off-limits.
That’s how Mac McLaughlin sees her, anyway. And now that he’s enduring a temporary self-imposed exile in tiny Shelbyville, Texas, he’s seeing her way too often. Mac only wants to succeed as the contractor for the Lily Lake development in order to rebuild his reputation and return to Dallas, pronto. A sexy distraction like Ashton was not in the plans.

Mac McLaughlin: Hot builder. Cash poor. Hands-on.
Ashton kissed her trust fund goodbye and left her life as a society princess to prove she could make it on her own. Developing Lily Lake is her big chance, but it’s hard to stay focused working side-by-side with bossy, rough-around-the-edges Mac. Especially when he pulls off his shirt.

When the discovery of an endangered species derails the project, Mac can’t afford to stick around for a stalled job. His and Ashton’s explosive chemistry aside, he’s outta there…unless she can convince him that they just might be able to build something together

I always love getting ARC’s from authors I love – and Kelsey Browning is no different. This is the 4th book in her Texas Nights series and the second one i’ve gotten the opportunity to read/review early. Its actually been burning a hole in my TBR pile for close to a month, but since it isn’t released until November, I wanted to hold off reading it for a little bit while – so my mind was fresh-ish when it came time to post my review

judgmentJudgment – Carey Baldwin
hen a coed falls prey to a sadistic murderer, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caitlin “Caity” Cassidy and Special Agent Atticus Spenser are called in to testify–one for the defense, one for the prosecution. With warring approaches to justice, these two rivals have been butting heads for years–both inside the courtroom and out. And at first, this case appears to be no different.

But when a brutal attack leaves the accused man dead and Caity in critical condition, petty differences take a backseat to saving lives. As the lone survivor, Caity knows too much, and the killer–a madman calling himself the Man in the Maze–is coming back for round two. Now Caity and Spense must join forces to uncover the killer’s identity before Caity’s time–and luck–runs out.

This is another new to me author – I happened to come across her in a facebook group (I think it was for Avon romance…) and she was looking for reviewers for her new book – I was intrigued enough by the description that I asked her for a review copy and looking forward to reading it.

Wish me luck on my reading week ;)

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

 
 
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