Review – The Edge of Lost – Kristina McMorris

the edge of lostThe Edge of Lost
Author: Kristina McMorris
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy provided by Author

On a cold night in October 1937, searchlights cut through the darkness around Alcatraz. A prison guard’s only daughter—one of the youngest civilians who lives on the island—has gone missing. Tending the warden’s greenhouse, convicted bank robber Tommy Capello waits anxiously. Only he knows the truth about the little girl’s whereabouts, and that both of their lives depend on the search’s outcome.

Almost two decades earlier and thousands of miles away, a young boy named Shanley Keagan ekes out a living as an aspiring vaudevillian in Dublin pubs. Talented and shrewd, Shan dreams of shedding his dingy existence and finding his real father in America. The chance finally comes to cross the Atlantic, but when tragedy strikes, Shan must summon all his ingenuity to forge a new life in a volatile and foreign world.

Skillfully weaving these two stories, Kristina McMorris delivers a compelling novel that moves from Ireland to New York to San Francisco Bay. As her finely crafted characters discover the true nature of loyalty, sacrifice, and betrayal, they are forced to confront the lies we tell—and believe—in order to survive.

There are some authors when a new book comes out that you drop everything and read, Kristina McMorris is one of those authors and added to that, its been a LONG two years since her last book was released. So when the Edge of Lost popped as a author donated book in one of my Goodreads groups, there was almost virtual bloodshed over who got to read it first (unfortunately, I lost out and had to wait not so impatiently). So when it finally showed up in the mail, I gazed in adoration at it and then couldn’t convince myself to pick it up and actually read it (yeah, you read that right). I probably have it in my hot little hands for close to 2 weeks before I read it – I think it was trepidation of knowing once I finish it, then there would be a long wait for her next book and I just couldn’t do it…but anyways, earlier this week, I found myself in a situation where I had time to just sit and read (while waiting for my cell phone to charge) and damn, if I didn’t devour it (i mean, I read nearly the whole entire thing in about 2 hours).

As with her previous books, Kristina draws you into the time period for the book, this time the 1920’s and 1930’s which is a bit of a departure from her previous World War 2 focused books. In the beginning, we met Shanley Keagan, a young child in Ireland. As I was reading these chapters, I felt like I was reading (in part) a fictionalized version of Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt) – the similar descriptions of life in Ireland just resonated through me. I’ll admit this isn’t an area of history that I’m familiar with, but after finishing the Edge of Lost, I want to read some more about it.

As the story progresses, we get to experience the trials of being an immigrant through the eyes of an Irish family in New York, the daily struggle to survive and to make something of themselves in the Land of Opportunity. But for me, the best part of The Edge of Lost was when Kristina transitioned to telling the story of Tommy Capello, a prisoner on the rock (also known as Alcatraz). Alcatraz is a place that even now, 80 years after the setting of this book that still brings shivers to peoples spines. Many of us probably grew up hearing stories about Alcatraz and the prisoners that were houses there and how it was believed to be inescapable (but is it really?). Its one of those places that is on my bucket list to visit (I was bummed when I was just in San Francisco and didn’t get a chance to go out there).

The Edge of Lost kept me on the edge of my car seat (as I sat there reading) and I was kind of unhappy when I had to go back to work and couldn’t finish reading it (that’s the sign of a good book right?). 4.5 stars for the Edge of Lost and now begins the waiting game for her next book.

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Posted by on October 30, 2015 in Book Review


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Audiobook Review – Curing Doctor Vincent – Renea Mason

curing doctor vincentCuring Doctor Vincent
Author: Renea Mason
Series: #1 in the Good Doctor Trilogy
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Narrators: Noah Michael Levine, Erin Deward
Run Time: 6hrs, 10 min
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Audiobook Provided by Author

One kinky doctor + one indecent proposal = one life-changing week in Paris

Elaine Watkins, Public Relations Advisor, is surprised when she receives a summons from the very attractive and enigmatic Dr. Xavier Vincent. She worships the talented physician and company icon responsible for developing the cure that saved her sister’s life and isn’t immune to his charm. Even though puzzled by his request, she is excited and eager to get started on his latest project.

But Dr. Vincent has other ideas. Instead of discussing cures, drugs and marketing strategies, he asks Elaine to join him in Paris to indulge his unique sexual appetites.

Torn between gratitude for saving her sister, her attraction for the powerful man and compromising her pre-conceived notions of sexuality, she must decide if it’s easier to feed his desires or walk away. Until she devises a plan of her own.

I’d never heard of Renea (which is pronounced Renee) Mason until I got an email from her a few months ago about reviewing the audiobook for her erotic romance, Curing Doctor Vincent. But she managed to catch my attention from the get-go when she compared the narrators of her audiobook (Noah Michael Levine and Erin DeWard) to one of my favorite pairings, Phil Gigante and Natalie Ross (who narrated Karen Marie Monings Fever series). I mean, my initial reaction was like, no one is better than Phil and Natalie – i mean, they totally rock all their narrations. But boy was I wrong – I sat in the car listening pretty much slack-jawed and Noah and Erin rocked this audio and they both earned a place in my top 5 narrators/pairings.

But back to the story itself…if you were offered one week in Paris on a trip of sexual exploration, would you take it? I know that I would probably have to stop and think about it and would probably wimp out, but Elaine did none of those things. Curing Doctor Vincent was a roller-coaster ride of emotions, I know that I experienced pretty much the whole spectrum from anger to sadness; from excitement to deep and abiding love. There is something about Renea’s writing that just made me feel like I was in Paris with Xavier and Elaine, and experiencing all the sexual satisfaction that Elaine was feeling.

the story itself didn’t unfold the way I expected it to when I began. I’ll be honest – my initial thoughts when I read the description would be that Elaine’s experiences with Xavier and his sexual appetites would be the majority of the story. In fact, I was kind of shocked when there was actually more story than sex – haha. I know that probably sounds weird, but its true – there was a lot more to Curing Doctor Vincent than just the trip to Paris and lots of sex – I was actually expected that that would somehow be the cure that was alluded to in the title. But boy, was I wrong! The ending of the story was sweetly satisfying (although there was definitely a scream of agony that resonated when I finished my road trip with 30min remaining on the book – the torture of having to wait until the next day to finish it up…has to fall under cruel and unusual punishment).

I will say holy hotness on the writing of those sexual experiences – so often in erotic romance, those scenes just feel like insert Tab A into slot B, very mechanical or on the other end of the spectrum, overly flowerly purple prose, but Renea managed that fine balance between the two. I will say that I found myself fanning my face several times during my car ride as I was listening. I could probably gush about the audiobook all day, but I will say, my favorite thing about the narration was that it was a true alternating POV narration – where Noah read all the male parts and Erin all the female – so often in dual narration audiobooks (at least in my experience), it ends up being male reads one chapter, including any female dialogue and vice versa – so this was a pleasant surprise.

I gave Curing Doctor Vincent 4 stars and the audio narration 5 stars. I’d recommend this to people who like erotic romance with a solid storyline and satisfactory conclusion (with no cliff-hanger). Unfortunately, now I have to wait for the next book in the trilogy to come out (or at least the audio version)…hopefully that will be relatively soon…

Amazon Buy Link:
Curing Doctor Vincent: The Good Doctor Trilogy – Book #1


Posted by on October 29, 2015 in Audiobook Review


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Review – Unsaid – Avery Aster

Author: Avery Aster
Series: #3 in the Manhattenites series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Author Via Netgalley

Chelsea’s hottie Blake Morgan III has reemerged from a nasty breakup. His marriage was a frigid disaster beyond repair, and he vows to be single—forever. Bruised, but still hot in Prada, he creates his Seven Desires wish list, his sexiest imaginings. Blake soon realizes there’s only one man he may trust to make these uninhibited intentions come to fruition: his best friend Miguel Santana.

Lower East Side multimedia artist extraordinaire Miguel Santana may be known as the cocky Latin stud in the city, but all he’s wanted since college was Blake’s hand in marriage. He was livid when Blake walked down the aisle with the wrong guy. Miguel has his own list titled the Seven Needs, which are quite contrary to Blake’s dirty-boy deeds. They involve serious commitments, which may leave his new-to-the-singles-scene buddy sprinting for the door, destroying any hopes Miguel has for happiness.

Can these two hunks conquer their intimate fears and love one another as only best friends can? Join the star-studded cast in The Manhattanites series and see for yourself!

Have you ever picked up a book and felt like you were coming in at the 4th quarter of a game with no idea of what had happened in the previous 2…yes? because that is how I felt while reading Unsaid. I had previously read the first book in the series (Unscrupulous) and so when the author approached me and marketed it as bk 3 in the series but able to be read as a stand-alone, I figured what the heck…I have bk 2 on the TBR pile, and looking back, I REALLY wish that I had made time to read it first, because there were so many events that occurred in Unsaid that had a basis in events from Undressed that I felt lost a good portion of the way through.

On its own, I liked Blake and Miguel’s relationship and how their relationship developed…it was all the extra story lines with Taddy (from bk 1) and Lex (bk 2) that had me lost and scratching my head. That being said, I know how bk 2 ends (well, obviously) since Unsaid is basically a spoiler-fest for the previous 2 books.

I will say up front, if you don’t like a raunchy style of writing, then Ms Aster’s books probably aren’t for you. There is nothing prim and proper about her writing style, you know exactly what the characters are thinking, with swearing built in. Don’t get me wrong, bad language normally doesn’t bother me, but at times while reading Unsaid, I felt myself getting tired and skipping through scenes – which for me is the death knell of a book.

Normally a book like Unsaid would take me maybe a couple of days to read (depending on how my schedule looked), but I struggled with it and I think it was closer to a week before I finished it – there was even a few times where i considered putting it on the DNF pile, but I decided to stick it out. I’ll admit that I’m kind of conflicted on knowing whether or not I’ll read any more of Ms Asters stuff, I liked the first book I read by her, but this one not so much – I guess it is something that I will have to ponder in the near future. Overall, I gave Unsaid 2.5 stars but those who have read the previous 2 books in the series may enjoy it more than I did.

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Posted by on October 28, 2015 in Book Review


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Audiobook Review – Rocket Man – Melanie Greene

23688675Rocket Man
Author: Melanie Greene
Series: #1 in the Roll of the Dice series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

Narrator: Amy Rubinate
Run Time: 12hrs 31min
Narration Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

Review Copy Provided by Author

Serena Colby wants one thing. Dillon Hamilton wants everything. Steady, focused graphic artist Serena has her life perfectly planned out. After a childhood being moved from one place to another, she craves the permanence of a home that’s hers and hers alone. And everything is lining up just right. That is, until disruptive copywriter Dillon comes blasting into her workplace and spins her personal life out of control. Though order-loving Serena shies away from Dillon’s messy complications, she can’t escape her fantasies. When Dillon’s determined pursuit leaves Serena breathless, it might just be ‘all systems are go’ for ROCKET MAN.

This is a harder review for me to write because I liked the premise of the story (I mean, I wouldn’t have accepted the audiobook for review if I didn’t) – but at the same time the execution fell a bit flat for me. Taking it from the beginning, I’ll admit to liking workplace romances, although I know how tenuous they can be, especially if something happens and there isn’t a happily ever after – so with that in mind, I dove into listening to Rocket Man (which BTW, I now have that song stuck in my head!).

From the get-go we meet Serena who is very organized and practical (pretty much the antithesis of me) and Dillon who turns her world upside down. If i had to pick a character that I identified the most of the main 2, it would have been Dillon – if you ask any of my friends, they will tell you how disorganized I can do and they are normally in shock, if I actually manage to arrive on time…(apparently 10years in the military didn’t teach me much…lol). but in all honesty, of the characters in Rocket Man, I probably actually identified with Janice the most and since the second book in the series is about her, I am considering reading it.

I think my biggest overall issue with Rocket Man wasn’t the story itself (although, I’ll be the first to admit there were a few times that I felt like Serena needed to be slapped silly – which of course, highlights my violent tendencies at times), was that there were places where the writing felt chunky and redundant. I don’t know if its because I read so fast that I normally don’t notice stuff like that but in listening, I hear everything and there were a few places where it felt like the author was just regurgitating a previous section of the book, not in huge chunks but a paragraph here or there, or a personality detail – it was just enough to irk me and pull me out of the story.

I honestly can’t remember if Amy Rubinate is a narrator that I have listened to before – I recognized her name when the author mentioned it in her review request, but when looking at her narration backlist, I didn’t see any books that I had listened to recently – so maybe its a case of hearing her name mentioned else and recognizing it. That being said, I liked her style of narration, it flowed well and felt very conversational. All of her voices were easily distinguishable for the different characters and it was easy to listen to. I’d likely pick up something narrated by her in the future.

Overall, I gave both the story and the narration of Rocket Man 3 stars, but I was intrigued enough to want to potentially check out more by the author in the future.

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Posted by on October 27, 2015 in Audiobook Review


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Review – Obscured – Cat Waters

Author: Cat Waters (AKA Tara Sue Me)
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Author

There’s the truth you know….

At age 16, Athena Hamilton traded her body for survival when a powerful Vegas hotelier and pimp lured her into his world. Ten years of turning tricks has taught her to trust no one and feel nothing. Yet a chance meeting with a childhood crush sparks hope for something more.

The truth you believe…

There’s no way Isaiah Martin could want her. He’s a pastor. Too good. Too pure. But when she learns her days are numbered, she runs into the safety of his arms and trusts his promise of protection.

And the truth you never imagined…

The aftermath of a tragic accident and a bitter betrayal leaves her destitute and alone. The one man she shouldn’t trust offers her a chance to escape. But when good and evil collide, what do you do when the truth is Obscured?

**May Contain Spoilers**

This was my first time reading Tara Sue Me (or as she was writing this book under the name Cat Waters), although I had heard about her previously on different discussion boards. But there was something about the description of Obscured that caught my eye – the idea of prostitute and a priest, …but color me damned when there was a huge twist that I totally wasn’t expecting (well, obviously of course, because you shouldn’t see those twists coming, but you guys know what i mean right?).

I think for me while reading Obscured that one of the biggest things to hit home was that what was happening to Athena was a modern day type of slavery. Every year, the Navy makes me go through trafficking in persons in training and every year, i moan and groan about doing it, but reading Obscured made me think more about that training and how valuable it actually is. I have to wonder in general, how often we (as people in general) have turned a blind eye to young women who were potentially in situations like Athena’s in the book – i don’t think we can know for sure, but its potentially an interesting and yet depressing thought.

There is something about the authors voice that feels authentic, i can’t say if it is for sure, but there was just something…maybe its hard to explain, I don’t know. I think my biggest issue with the story in general was the initial belief that Isaiah (the priest) was going to be Athena’s savior and yet ended up being her Judas. I know that Priests are people with real vices, but I just had a hard time overcoming that plot twist…I wanted/expected so much more from Isaiah.

There was a bit of a cliff-hanger at the end of the book, so that is something for reader’s to be aware of, but it was more of a series to be continued type cliff-hanger rather than mid-plot line. I’m pretty sure that I will be picking up the next book when its released. Overall, I gave Obscured 3.5 stars but would recommend it for people who like romance with a dabble of suspense/mystery and don’t mind a touch of betrayal.


Posted by on October 26, 2015 in Book Review


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Audiobook Review – I Will Always Write Back – Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda

i will always write backI Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives
Authors: Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Narrators: Chukwudi Iwuji, Emily Bauer
Run Time: 8hrs 52min
Audiobook Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Audiobook Review Copy Provided by Hachette Audio

It started as an assignment. Everyone in Caitlin’s class wrote to an unknown student somewhere in a distant place. All the other kids picked countries like France or Germany, but when Caitlin saw Zimbabwe written on the board, it sounded like the most exotic place she had ever heard of–so she chose it.
Martin was lucky to even receive a pen pal letter. There were only ten letters, and forty kids in his class. But he was the top student, so he got the first one.

That letter was the beginning of a correspondence that spanned six years and changed two lives.

In this compelling dual memoir, Caitlin and Martin recount how they became best friends –and better people–through letters. Their story will inspire readers to look beyond their own lives and wonder about the world at large and their place in it.

I’ll admit that many times when it comes to reading/listening to memoirs, I end up coming away under-enthused about the subjects, because there always seems to be something fake about them (even if that is not entirely the case). However, when I was browsing the recent audiobook release offerings from Hachette, this YA memoir caught my eye and I am beyond glad that I requested it. Not only because the audiobook was nothing short of amazing, but because there seemed to be an honesty in the writing of both Caitlin and Martin. But let’s back up…

I grew up around the same time period as Caitlin and Martin (they are a couple of years younger than me), but I think for me when listening, it helped to establish a commonality between what they were talking about and somehow I had experienced it. I remember signing up for pen pal programs in school, although my experiences tended to be more like Caitlin’s classmates – one or two letters and then it kind of dwindled off – compared to the friendship that Caitlin and Martin developed over the years. Its kind of sad knowing that in the technological age that kids grow up in today, that joy of waiting for letters from some mysterious place overseas is something many likely won’t experience. Nowadays, we shoot off an email and it miraculously appears in someone else’s inbox on the other side of the world, the country or even next door. I love to see people take the time to write letters (and wonder if there are still organizations that do penpal exchanges out there…).

Its hard to say that I loved how the differences in Caitlin and Martin’s lives were portrayed, because you couldn’t help but get emotionally involved in Martin’s story – him and his family struggling for food, the type of house that they live in (if you could call it a house) and ultimately, how little it took to get them much needed supplies. And that Caitlin and her family just stepped up and did that because of the friendship between the two of them (actually, amend that, they are family), shows what a difference that little bit extra can be. How the actions of one person can literally save a life, or lives. I wonder if Caitlin hasn’t picked Zimbabwe from the list of countries, what if she had gone with France or Spain, or one of the more common countries…its mind-boggling to me how that one tiny decision had some many ramifications over the years.

I don’t know if the audiobook producers could have selected two narrators who were better suited to this project than Chukwudi Iwuji and Emily Bauer. Emily pegged the narration for an American teenager from the East Coast, down to the bratty-ness that I kind of expected at times; along with a touch of self-centered ness – seeing Caitlin transition from that I’m the center of the world, to wow, there is so much out there that I don’t know/understand was for me one of the best parts of the book. While I’m only had limited opportunities to interact with individuals from Africa, Chukwudi is how I visualized Martin sounding – that way of speaking with the very proper/formal English, compared to the more relaxed form that you hear elsewhere. For me, the audiobook just took what was already a good book and made it a great book.

I think this book (either reading or audio) would be a great addition to school classrooms when it comes to studying other countries (do they still do that?) and I’m going to recommend it to my local library to buy if they haven’t already. I’m intrigued enough to see if i can find any similar books (either fiction or non-fiction). I gave the book 4 stars and the narration 5 stars.

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Posted by on October 8, 2015 in Audiobook Review


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Dishing with Dee…San Fran Part 1

dishing with dee 2

So i’m going to break my Dishing with Dee posts about my trip to San Francisco into two posts, in part because I have some great pictures that I want to share with you guys and in part, because I want to draw out the torture of why I was in San Francisco, a little bit longer ;)

REX_Exterior-600x600So after leaving a very wet Washington DC and flying for 5+ hours (thankfully, I wasn’t overly crowded on my flight), I arrived in San Francisco at like 8pm (which for you who can do time zone calculations is about 11pm my normal time). One of the best things about traveling when its an all expenses paid trip (yes, you read that right), is the cool places you often get put up. Case in point, those of us who were attending this event in San Francisco were put up in the Hotel Rex. If you look closely at the picture, you can almost see my room, i was up on the third floor, but had a great view of the street and the fire escape (although it did get a bit loud at 5am when the trash guys came around).

REX_LibraryBar_Overview-1200x800What is great about this hotel, especially since all of us who were in San Fran were heavy readers, was that the bar is called the Library Bar where all the food and drinks on the menu were all american classics, like a Rob Roy or a West Side. Unfortunately with our schedule i didn’t get as much of a chance to check out the area as I hoped. But my kind of funny story, when I got there Thursday night, I went down to the bar for food and a drink, and the bar tender started speaking french to me and while I know a smattering of it, for the most part I was completely lost. When I said I didn’t speak French, he was like, oh, aren’t you here for French club…once we clarified that i wasn’t, I was able to order food and move on. The other bonus of being in a hotel with a bar called the Library bar, is that the hotel has its own little lending library – its one of those borrow a book, donate another book kind of set ups (and I did my due diligence but donating a couple of romances to the shelves, since they were lacking in that forum).

And last but not least, as you walked up each landing to the next floor (because I personally hate taking elevators), there were these cool quotes from different authors…and being the dork that I am, I had to take photos of them!

san fran quotes

Stay tuned for more of my adventures from San Francisco…coming soon!

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Posted by on October 8, 2015 in Dishing with Dee


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