Friday, August 30, 2013

{Meme} Book Blogger Hop

Welcome to the final August 2013 Book Blogger Hop, hosted by Billy from Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. This meme helps you to know how your favorite (or not-so-favorite) book blogger thinks.

This week's question:

Have you ever ended up reading a book with its last or last few pages missing? What book was it? And how did you manage to get to the end?

Kathy's Response:

Never. I don't think I could. I would be devastated if it was a really good book and this happened to me. I'd probably run out and get another copy immediately so I could read the ending.

Mandy's Response:

No, THANK GOD! I think I am OCD enough that I'd have a conniption fit if the last few pages of my novel were missing. After I was done freaking out, I'd go to the store and find the book and read the last few pages right there ... forget buying it!

I hope this has never happened to you all, but if it has let us hear your story!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

{Review} Common Descent by Natasha Larry

ISBN #: 978-1935563945
Publisher: Penumbra Publishing

Book Summary:
(As provided by the author)

Eighteen-year old Jaycie Lerner's telekinesis is finally in check - too bad levitating a picnic table is now a workout. Not to mention her previously dormant telepathy is back and raging out of control. As she struggles to relearn her frightening power, the Dey-Vah announce they will soon unleash the supernatural world on the human race. To make matters worse, people start dropping dead all over northern Alabama. Then, a mysterious new enemy emerges.

Jaycie must elicit the help of the world's only master vampire slayer and an assassin who gets her tips from the voices in her head. Strengthening the Core is the only way to protect mankind from the coming vampire army, and they aren't even the most dangerous threat.

Jaycie and her family face their darkest hour when an innocent young girl serves as a pawn to form a deadly Alliance. The perfect vampire, Lilith Bradshaw, becomes an eye-opening example of how far the Alliance will go to serve their own destructive ends. The world around Jaycie steeps into darkness, and betrayals from the past threaten to undo them all.

Mandy's Review:

Every now and then we all come across a book in a series that we don't like as much as the rest ... right? Unfortunately, this happened to me with Common Descent.

Jaycie now has access to all of her powers and she has to train to get them under control. She's afraid of using them at all because she doesn't want to experience another surge. That much power in a teenage body can be way too much to handle. Fortunately, she has people around her that can bring her down in case she overdoes it. Matt plans one event to force Jaycie to use her full powers yet have control over them ... an event for which he will have to deal with the repercussions.

Speaking of Matt ... he seems a little diva-esque in this book. Because of the aforementioned event, Jaycie gets pissed at him and "handles" him. When she calms down and is ready to apologize, Matt decides he doesn't want to answer her phone calls for awhile. He intentionally made Jaycie mad and then he's going to play the diva and not accept her calls. Reading his personality in this book made me feel as if he was manipulating Jaycie by ignoring her at times and making her come to him when he's good and ready for her to. I've loved Matt as a character in the first two books, but he just annoyed me in Common Descent.

I was happy to finally see two people "come together" (*nudge nudge, wink wink*) in this book. The sexual tension between the two has been palpable for the whole series. This couple has actually become my favorite couple of the series over Jaycie and Matt. No, I'm not going to tell you who they are because that will spoil some of the story for you.

Overall I feel as if the book mainly focused on the Core and their relationships with each other. The fight scenes were intermingled with the rest of the story, which were probably intended to grow a sense of anticipation within the reader for the showdown that was going to happen. Unfortunately, the showdown was not climatic for me. It could have been a result of my mood while reading or because I thought the showdown was depicted too briefly. Whatever the reason, I did like this book but I didn't love it. You have the opportunity to prove me wrong, however. What do you think about the book?

*An ecopy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, August 26, 2013

{Review} Reasons Not to Diet by Jenny Holmlund

ASIN #: B00CXP7472
File Size: 2804 KB
Copyright: May 21, 2013
Publisher: Turtle Bite Books

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Tired of all the hype, obsession and strict rules around our weight? Do you begin to suspect that dieting is just as effective for reaching your dream weight, as it is to get rich quickly by wishing upon a star? Do you think that beauty is an attitude, and not what the scale says? In this handy book, you get the fifty best reasons not to diet. And it's filled with beautiful illustrations that pay homage to people with curves and sass!

Reasons Not to Diet is a quick read antidote to hostile messages about how we should look. In the tone of a no-nonsense, straight talking and caring friend it will remind you that you are beautiful just as you are and argue why you shouldn't suffer another diet.

Mandy's Review:

As a (currently) plus-size girl, I do agree that society places too much emphasis on dieting and trying to get fat people skinny instead of healthy. There is beauty in curves and having a little extra fluffiness for guys/girls to hold on to. If this book is used to support those curvaceous women (and stocky guys) that are healthy and not obese, then I think this book is wonderful! My concern is that those who are obese and are not trying to be healthy will take this book as an okay to keep pursuing their unhealthy lifestyle.

I am currently in the process of losing my plus-size figure. Not because my husband doesn't love it (because he does), but because I want to be healthier. I'll always be thick and will never be stick-thin and I am absolutely okay with that, but there is something about being healthy. On my journey to being healthy, I am not dieting. I think dieting is for the birds. If that's what you like to do and it helps you, more power to you, honey, I'm proud of you. Dieting is not something I enjoy doing. Instead, I'm focusing on smaller portions and healthier foods. I'm focusing on changing my lifestyle by becoming more active.

If you're fed up with diets, Reasons Not to Diet will encourage you in your continuance to forego dieting. I only wish that it also encouraged healthy eating and an active lifestyle because curvaceous/stocky people are able to live such a life and not lose their lushness.

*An ecopy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

{Review} Hope's Reign by Selina Fenech

File Size: 2088 KB
Page Count: 360
Copyright: May 1, 2013
Publisher: Fairies and Fantasy Pty Ltd

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Everything is slipping away from Memory. The bond of friendship between her, Eloryn, Roen, and Will, that was formed while running for their lives is tearing. In a world that doesn't feel like home, with a mind filled with nothing but questions, Memory struggles to be true to herself ... whoever that is. When her past self starts haunting her, she knows her sanity could be the next thing she will lose.

Mandy's Review:

With Hope's Reign being the second book in the Memory's Wake Trilogy, let me give you a brief background on the first book, Memory's Wake. Memory is a teenage-girl who entered a new world through a Veil Door. Upon arriving in Avall, Memory (who has ironically lost all of her memories) meets Eloryn, who turns out to be her twin sister, Roen, who is currently a thief because of his royal family's current living situation, and Will, who is a boy from her world whom she hasn't seen in a long time. They join together and defeat Thayl, the man who loved Memory and Eloryn's mother but was also the person responsible for getting her killed. Once Thayl is captured, the rule of Avall is given back to Eloryn and Memory, the last blood heirs to the royal family.

In Hope's Reign, Eloryn and Memory are being taught the proper royal etiquette so they know how to behave after Eloryn becomes Queen and Memory a princess. Legally, Memory should be Queen since she is the first born of the twins but Eloryn's personality is better suited for ruling ... or so they think.

Eloryn really annoyed me in this book. It was blatantly obvious to everyone that Eloryn was being manipulated by Hayes. Eloryn remained clueless and naive. She wound up giving Hayes way too much power all because she didn't have the backbone to make a few difficult decisions.

Memory's magical abilities are starting to become out of control. Any time she feels a strong emotion, things happen without her meaning them to. The one teacher she finally finds that can help her control her magic conveniently winds up dead. Is it an assassination attempt on the twins or was it intentionally done to prevent Memory from getting knowledge about her abilities?

Roen has been re-established as royalty but still feels some guilt and shame about his thieving ways. He formally asks for permission to court one of the twins, but is refused by the Council because he is the seventh son of a seventh son and, therefore, has no magical abilities. He agrees to move on, not because he doesn't love her (I'm not going to tell you who) but, because he loves her so much he wants the best for her.

Thayl winds up being even more mysterious in this book. He connects emotionally with Memory and makes mention that he is glad she never had a father like him. Then, later on in the book, it's mentioned that Memory and Eloryn's mother never had "relations" with her husband, insinuating that Thayl may be the twins' father after all. This never gets fully confirmed or denied, in my opinion, and I'm still wondering which is true. I'm hoping this will be fully explained in the third book.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and appreciate how the author ended it. Hope's Reign is the perfect continuation of this trilogy. The writing remains superb and engaging. This is a unique storyline that I've not seen before and think many of you would enjoy reading.

*An ecopy of this novel was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

{Review} The Prodigal by Michael Hurley

ISBN #: 978-1482694277
Page Count: 358
Copyright: May 28, 2013
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing

(Taken from back cover)

This sweeping, allegorical tale begins in 1851 with the escape of a Gypsy princess and her young lover from her father's camp, recalling the flight of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. The boy steals Prodigal, a sailing ship blessed with unnatural speed, and the lovers escape to sea, leaving the father to grieve for the loss and pine for the return of his child.

More than 150 years later on Ocracoke Island we meet Aidan Sharpe, an aging lawyer, as he rises from the sand of a remote beach after a lost weekend. In a strange foreboding, one woman gives him wine and another gives him water just as his world is about to be consumed by scandal. While struggling to rebuild his life in this lonely outpost of the Outer Banks, Aidan is caught up in a two-thousand-year-old mystery that unfolds with the sudden reappearance of Prodigal off the coast, adrift and unmanned. Its discovery will lead him and those close to him into the deep, in a race between time and eternity.

Charlene's Review:

In the opening of The Prodigal, we see a glimpse of a young couple and their escape from an angry father, aboard a ship in 1851. Shifting forward to 2010, we meet Aidan, a vacationing lawyer. Awakening on a deserted beach, Aidan has no idea that his future choices will soon place him right back on this very beach and right in the middle of an ancient mystery.

I was deeply drawn into the novel on many levels. A gifted writer, Mr. Hurley weaves a powerful story of love, mystery, and nautical beauty that ties together delicately through parallels from the Bible. In addition to his masterful symbolic storytelling, his characters are humanly flawed and endearing. I felt as if I was sitting on the beach as part of the mystical, emotional adventures, myself.

There are so many levels to this story, from the personal struggles for forgiveness, to a historical mystery, to a cover-up in the Vatican, it is difficult to sum it up, especially without spoiling the plot. Whether you are a believer, or not, I think everyone will appreciate the intricate writing that so beautifully mirrors the stories of Christ. This story will stay with me as one of the best reads in 2013, and I highly recommend it.

5 out of 5 stars!

*A physical copy of this novel was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

A Note from the Author:

The Prodigal was chosen as a finalist along with four other novels by reviewers for the 2013 annual BookBundlz Book Club Pick contest. The finalists were announced on August 1st. This is an annual contest to select the best novel for thousands of book club members around the world. The reviewers selected the finalists, but the winning book, to be named on September 1st, will be determined solely by the greatest number of votes from the general public between now and August 31st. People can sign up at the BookBundlz website to vote once per day and see where each of the five finalists stands in the running day by day. You can click here to go vote!

Winning this contest means enormous exposure for the book and the author, which explains why Random House and other established publishers have 3 out of the 5 books in the finals. I'd like to help my book stand out in the crowd.

Thank you for your support!

Friday, August 23, 2013

{Meme} Book Blogger Hop

Welcome to another weekly edition of the Book Blogger Hop, graciously kept alive by Billy from Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer.

This week's question:

Book blogging is more than just reading. Who helped you set up or run your blog? Or did you do it all yourself?

Mandy's Response:

I set up and, pretty much, run the blog myself. I have the help of some wonderful ladies with reviews (thank goodness!), but the typing of the posts and blog decoration, layout, etc are all me. There are days when I wish I had some help with the running of the blog, but I don't know that I'd want to give up control. I'm a bit of a Type A personality. There are things I see on other blogs that I wish we had on here, but I've not had the time to learn how to do them or where to acquire the knowledge. I suppose those things will come with time.

Monday, August 19, 2013

{Review} Ghost Hand (The PSS Chronicles) by Ripley Patton

File Size: 429 KB
Page Count: 386
Copyright: November 28, 2012
Publisher: Ripley Patton; 1st Edition

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Seventeen-year-old Olivia Black has a rare birth defect known as Psyche Sans Soma, or PSS. Instead of a right hand made of flesh and blood, she was born with a hand made of ethereal energy.

How does Olivia handle being the girl with the ghost hand? Well, she's a little bit morbid and a whole lot snarky.

Her mother thinks her obsession with death, black clothing, and the local cemetery is a bid for attention. But when Marcus, the new guy in Olivia's calculus class, stares at her like she's a freak, Olivia doesn't like it. And when her hand goes rogue, doing things she never imagined possible, Olivia finds herself running for her life with Marcus from a group of men bent on taking the power of her hand for their own nefarious purposes.

Mandy's Review:

I'm not exactly sure how or where the author came up with the idea of PSS but I'm glad for whatever it was that inspired her. Ghost Hand is a unique paranormal YA story that will capture your attention and keep you engaged. Although this is marked as a YA book, I would recommend it for the older YA audience due to some of the language in the story.

Olivia is a teenager who is dealing with the tragic loss of her dad, which adds to her morbidity. She loves black and wears it as much as she can. Most of the time she can handle the idle curiosity her ghost hand brings. It's not until the fingers of her ghost hand elongate and enter into someone's back does she think she may not have control over it.

Marcus, the new kid in town, notices Olivia's ghost fingers enter into Passion's back. Instead of freaking out, he reaches over and helps her ghost hand return to "normal." Now that he's shown he's familiar with PSS Olivia is intrigued and wonders how he knew the maneuver that corrected her hand. Thus begins Marcus' and Olivia's acquaintance.

Throughout the course of the story, Olivia learns that there are lobbyists who aren't just politicians. They are after her, and others similar to her, for her PSS in order to extract it and use it for their purposes. Marcus and his band of misfits help Olivia learn who they are and try to stop them.

I actually loved this story, but it did leave me with quite a few questions that I hope will be answered in the last two books:

  • How do people get PSS? I know they're born with it, but is it hereditary? If it's not hereditary, then how does it manifest in the mother's womb?
  • Is Olivia's mother what she appears to be? Sometimes I think her behavior was an act and she's really mixed up with the CAMFers (the politicians after Olivia).
  • Does "The Other Olivia," a painting done by Olivia's dad, have any special powers? It almost seems alive in the story, like it does have powers and is just waiting to be revealed.

This is definitely a story that I would recommend to you YA paranormal lovers out there. Ghost Hand is not your usual paranormal story and that is the reason why I think it would be a worthy addition to your personal library.

*An ecopy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

{Review} Fleeting Note by Sherban Young

ISBN #: 978-1490444109
Page Count: 216
Copyright: July 9, 2013
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing

(Taken from back cover)

Baltimore's Pendleton Institute of Music wants to host a dinner to pay tribute to George Enescu, Romania's most famous composer. Naturally, they call on the man's most distinguished descendant: Enescu Fleet, the world-renowned (semiretired) private detective. The only problem is, Enescu Fleet isn't related to George Enescu. He isn't even Romanian.

From this mild deception comes a cacophony of lies, intrigue and murder. And that's barely before the salad course has arrived. It will take a steady hand to conduct the Pendleton through the chaos. Can Fleet serve up another winning performance?

Charlene's Review:

In Fleeting Note, Enescu Fleet and his friendly group of amateur detectives attend a tribute to a famous composer. During the dinner course, a music critic "drops by" their table, and with his dying breath, whispers "Frank Sinatra."

Speculation ensues, and so begins another Enescu Fleet mystery. Linking the killing to a missing rhapsody, Hathaway, Hutton, Ate, and Lesley are hot on the trail, but things grind to a halt when they, along with Pixie, Enescu's prize mutt, get captured. It's up to Enescu Fleet to rescue them all and save the day.

This series may be one of my all-time favorites. I applaud Mr. Young for his ability to deliver fresh stories while maintaining the status quo of his characters. Johnny is my most beloved character because of his facetious wit. I never really know what he's going to do, or say, next, and I am never disappointed. I would love to meet him in "person."

Mr. Young put a lot of work into the clue that the dying man provided, setting up numerous leads connected to Frank Sinatra, some informative and some laughable. I hope the series continues and that I have the pleasure of reading them. Fleeting Note is, as are all of Mr. Young's books I've read, highly entertaining. I have never read a mystery as engaging and inherently funny.

Keep 'em coming!

5 out of 5 stars!

*A physical copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

{Review} Cruxim (Paranormal Fallen Angel/Vampire Series) by Karin Cox

ASIN #: B00AX00912
File Size: 530 KB
Page Count: 224
Copyright: February 26, 2013
Publisher: Indelible Ink Press

Book Summary:
(Taken from Goodreads)

Amedeo is Cruxim, a mysterious, immortal fallen angel. Destined to seek redemption as a vampire hunter, he quenches his insatiable hunger on vampire blood. But when the object of his passion, the novice nun Joslyn, is turned into a vampire and enters a vampire coven, Amedeo's worlds collide. Shattered by the loss of his beloved, he vows to rid the world of vampires once and for all, even if it means destroying Josyln in the process.

A Paranormal Game of Cat and Mouse
Joining Amedeo on his quest to rid the world of the undead is Sabine. Half-woman, half-lionness, she is a Sphinx, a Guardian who has protected humans from vampires since the dawn of time. Yet Sabine comes to this fight pursued by her own enemies. An evil scientist, Dr. Claus Gandler, knows the secret of Sabine's mythological past, vowing to torment her for eternity or destroy her forever.

Immortal Ever After
Captured by the evil doctor, Amedeo and Sabine are paraded as sideshow freaks in the Circus of Curiosities. Only vampire Joslyn has the power to intercede. Will she prove Amedeo's redemption, or his destruction?

Kathy's Review:

As a reviewer, I have many books to read and only so much time. When I get a long book to review, sometimes it's a chore to get through, knowing that there's so many other books on my list waiting to be read. I breathe a sigh of relief when I get a shorter book. I can get through it quickly and move on to the next one.

Cruxim is the rare case of being a short book that I wish was longer. From the first page to the last, I was hooked and wanting more. I do love a good vampire novel. Vampires are kind of my favorite supe. In this one, the main bad guy is a vamp, and our protagonist is a vamp killer. OK. I can still dig it! Because guess what - there's a star-crossed lover story here - his child ward, Joslyn, grew up, tried to seduce him and then got vamp'd. And his other lady friend is s sphinx.

I can't say enough how much I enjoyed this story. Amedeo, the Cruxim, is a tormented soul trying to save his sphinx and vamp love from the bad vamp and the demented doctor who tries to collect them all for his circus freakshow to torture and experiment with them. Some sick, sick stuff happens at the doctor's hands in this story.

I absolutely can't wait to read the next installment in this series, Creche. This, to me, is like the next Anne Rice series. There's a love story alongside some pretty gruesome and evil stuff. I like the contrast and the fact that both can live in harmony in a very well-written, character-driven novel. Bravo to the author, Ms. Karin Cox!

*An ebook was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, August 16, 2013

{Book Blog Tour - Review/Giveaway} Wink by Eric Trant

File Size: 445 KB
Page Count: 275
Copyright: April 16, 2013
Publisher: WiDo Publishing
Twitter Hashtag: #WINK

Book Summary:
(As provided by the tour host)

A moving, fast-paced and incredibly emotional story about love, friendship and transformation.

In this thriller set in a rural Gulf Coast town, Marty Jameson finds refuge in the attic from his mother's abusive rages. But only during the day. At night the attic holds terrors even beyond what he witnesses in his home. With a family made up of a psychotic mother, a drug-dealing father and a comatose older brother withering away in the spare bedroom, Marty feels trapped.

Next door, wheel-chair bound Sadie Marsh obsessively watches Marty's comings and goings from her bedroom window, despite her mother's warning about the evil in that house. Evil which appears to Sadie as huge black-winged creatures.

Marty, emotionally torn by the violence and dysfunction in his family, is drawn to Sadie and her kindly mother. But if he is to save his new friend from the supernatural horror threatening them all, Marty must transform himself from victim to hero. And to do so, he must first confront what lurks hidden in the shadows of his attic.

Wink is a thriller that captivates readers and leaves them longing for more. Trant is a talented author whose character descriptions go far beyond the physical.

Author's Bio:

Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories and the novels Out of the Great Black Nothing and Wink from WiDo Publishing, out now! See more of Eric's work on his blog:, order directly from Amazon, or wherever books are sold.

Eric is an advocate for organ donation and lost his 18mo son in May of 2012. Eric and his wife courageously donated their son's heart, kidneys, and liver. The couple went on to begin a foundation to support organ donor families. Eric speaks openly about this emotional journey on his blog and the topic of organ donation is very close to his heart.

Find out more about the author by visiting him online:

Mandy's Review:

By the time I got around to reading this, I had forgotten what the book was about. So, while I was reading it, I was often thinking, "what the heck?!" This book was weird and freaky in a good way.

Marty is a quiet boy who stays to himself. If he doesn't, he is usually in the line of fire from his parents. His mother is out to kill him every chance she gets. And, let me tell you, this woman is psycho-crazy. Some of that may be from the drugs she takes, but I believe that her actions stem more from an emotional break a few years back. Marty's father's preferred method of abuse is to beat on him, until one night when Marty's father gets a taste for killing, then he sets out to kill Marty, too. This kid just can't catch a break.

Sadie, Marty's neighbor, lost the use of her legs a few years back from an accident she and her parents were in. The accident killed her father and left Sadie and her mother alone. Where Marty's family is dark and evil, Sadie and her mother are good and wholesome.

I enjoyed hearing about Marty's uncle, whom Marty used to stay with when he was alive. Before Marty's uncle died, he gave Marty some guidance on what to do when he needed help the most. On one of the worst nights of Marty's life, he remembers his uncle's advice and goes to dig up the required artifact ... which helps transform him from victim to hero.

I loved this story. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. The supernatural aspect was surprising, yet perfectly fitting. I've never seen good and evil portrayed in this way before. The uniqueness of it was superb. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys these type of stories. With the way it ended, I do hope there's another one in the works. I want to see what else is in store for Marty. Well done, Mr. Trant!

*An ecopy of this book was provided by the tour host for the purposes of this tour in exchange for an honest review.


I'm going to make this easy for everyone: Leave your name and email address in a comment below. A winner will be randomly chosen on Wednesday, 8/21.

Good luck everyone!

{Blog Tour - Review} The Rockin' Chair by Steven Manchester

ISBN #: 978-1611880670
Page Count: 272
Copyright: June 18, 2013
Publisher: The Story Plant

(Taken from back cover)

Memories are the ultimate contradiction. They can warm us on our coldest days - or they can freeze a loved one out of our lives forever. The McCarthy family has a trove of warm memories. Of innocent first kisses. Of sumptuous family meals. Of wondrous lessons learned at the foot of a rocking chair. But they also have had their share of icy ones. Of words that can never be unsaid. Of choices that can never be unmade. Of actions that can never be undone.

Following the death of his beloved wife, John McCarthy - Grandpa John - calls his family back home. It is time for them to face the memories they have made, both warm and cold. Only them can they move beyond them and into the future.

A rich portrait of a family at a crossroad, The Rockin' Chair is Steven Manchester's most heartfelt and emotionally engaging novel to date. If family matters to you, it is a story you must read.

Charlene's Review:

The McCarthy family, like most families, has grown and gone their own ways. Devoted to his life-long love, Alice, Grandpa John watches as he slowly loses his beloved "Squaw" to Alzheimer's. Thinking over his past, he realizes that more than memories have been damaged over the years, and he sends letters to his grandchildren to return home before it's too late.

I'm not sure I have ever read a more heart-warming, yet eye-opening story. Grandpa John holds so much insight into life and how things work, yet, like a lot of men, struggles to embrace the very emotions that hold families together. Reading The Rockin' Chair took me back to my childhood in the country, to a slower pace and a lifetime of memories of those I love most. It also reminded me of the tough exterior of a father that loved me the best he knew how, yet never with the words or actions (I thought) I needed.

Several excerpts left me reeling with their truth:

The elderly should be envied, he decided ... Even Alice ... even though she can't recall a minute of it, that ol' girl's loves are still loved, her dreams realized, deeds done, sufferings endured and meanings of life fulfilled, John thought. Disease or no disease, her life's like money in the bank.

Mr. Manchester gives a wonderful testament to life's worth.

Then, when speaking with his grandson, John imparts:

"... you came from folks who was dirt poor and not so schooled. Ever since you was young, you dreamt of runnin' from all of it. First chance you got, you did ... but you forgot where you came from, boy. You forget who you were and those that loved ya deep. I reckon just on principle that's what's caused a good heap of the pain in that big heart of yours ... You see, even though you felt lonely ... you was never alone."

The Rockin' Chair takes the reader into the deepest, saddest remains of a family and gives you hope that forgiveness and love can still conquer all. This story will remain with me, with any hope, reminding me of what true inheritance means.

5 out of 5 stars.

*A physical copy of this book was provided via the tour host in exchange for an honest review for this tour.

{Meme} Book Blogger Hop

Welcome to the weekly edition of the Book Blogger Hop, kept alive by Billy from Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer.

This week's question:

Were you a born bookworm or did somebody get you in the habit of reading?

Kathy's Response:

Natural born bookworm! I think I was reading by the time I was 5, and have been going strong ever since! I was a voracious reader all through school - digesting piles of paperbacks at a time. And I continue to love to read today!

Mandy's Response:

I come from a family of book-lovers and writers, so I am a natural born bookworm. I would sneak those forbidden books from my grandmother's and mother's shelves around the age of 9 or 10 and read them incessantly. I would always take out too many books from the library knowing I wouldn't be able to read them all before they were due back. It was only natural that I'd wind up as a book reviewer with an overflowing TBR pile!

How did you turn into a bookie?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

{Review} Forget the Past by Ian Fox

ASIN #: B00AR8Z5F0
File Size: 633 KB
Page Count: 323
Copyright: December 20, 2012
Publisher: Ian Fox; 1st Edition

Book Summary:
(Taken from Goodreads)

Madness, Murder and Mystery

Psychiatrist Patricia Bellows, a beautiful forty-year old woman and recently widowed, owned a psychiatric clinic and hospital and hired four other psychiatrists and two registered nurses. She had inherited the funds from her deceased husband with which to build it. The story opened with her counseling Anya Horvat, who although thirty-five years old, could not sustain a relationship with a man. Anya was particularly hesitant to discuss any of her thoughts relative to sex, feeling it was unimportant in a relationship. When Anya left the clinic, her car wouldn't start and she saw a large man eyeing the clinic. She called him over and demanded that he look at her motor. Finally he did, but couldn't fix it and called a garage to come tow it. He later became an important person in her life.

Dr. Bellows lived in an expensive two thousand-foot apartment and was found by her maid dead in bed, her body covered with countless cuts. Anya who was a journalist was then visited by Patricia's sister, Bertha Hoff and her husband, Hunter. Bertha complained that the police were doing very little after a few days having passed. She told Anya she knew who killed her sister and it was Benny Martin, Patricia's lover. She wanted Anya to investigate Benny and find the proof so he could be arrested. Anya had only been a journalist two years and knew nothing about investigative reporting, but later when talking to her employer Pamela, the owner and publisher of the newspaper Clarice, Pamela told her she was broke and the newspaper would be closing in three months and if Anya could find out enough facts to make it a good story for the newspaper, perhaps the paper could become solvent again.

Kathy's Review:

This is my third Ian Fox novel, and although it's been a while since I read the other two, this one seems to follow his same writing style. I don't really care for the way he writes his characters' dialogue, but he does construct a very engaging plot. This is a murder mystery centering around a psychiatrist. Her sister hires one of her patients, a journalist, to do some snooping around to try to find the killer, because the police apparently aren't doing a good enough job. So let's just pretend that this would actually happen in real life.

There are many characters who seem like they could be the murderer. In fact, everyone, including journalist Anya, seems like they could be a suspect at one point. Just about every character in Forget the Past has some sort of mental illness or quirk, or is just plain nasty. The motives for murder abound, as well, ranging from a large inheritance, to spurned lovers, to jealous co-workers, to crazy stalker patients. So who is the murderer? Probably not who you think, although you might suspect it at one point or another and then dismiss this person. The ending gets a little crazy, like an over-the-top action movie, and then wraps up neatly.

But I may give too much away if I say more.

This is a good mystery novel. Not great - good. To be great I think the dialogue and characters could be a little bit more realistic.

*An ecopy of the novel was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

{Cover Reveal} The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

Sue Monk Kidd, bestselling author of The Secret Life of Bees, has a new novel coming out this January. The Invention of Wings (Viking; On sale January 7, 2014) is a sweeping novel of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world.

The Invention of Wings tells the entwined stories of Hetty "Handful" Grimke, an urban slave in early 19th century Charleston, who yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls of the wealthy Grimke household and the Grimke's daughter, Sarah, a real-life historical figure, who grows up to become a leading abolitionist and women's rights pioneer. Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented.

To learn more about the novel, you can visit Kidd's website. You can also follow her on Twitter to keep up on the latest.

Friday, August 9, 2013

{Meme} Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop is a meme kept alive by Billy from Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer - thanks, Billy!

This week's question:

If you don't like a book that you said you would review, do you graciously turn it down and explain why or do you struggle through it and hopefully come up with a half decent review?

Kathy's Response:

I think I'm pretty honest in my reviews. I can usually tell from the review request if it's going to be something that I absolutely will not like, so I'll turn those down. But anything I read, I will give my honest opinion. Sometimes I do try and sugarcoat the really negative things I have to say but I don't hold back. I don't think it's fair to an author to just hear the good. In order to grow as a writer you should be open to criticism.

Mandy's Response:

Some of you may not like me after this, but I will let you in on a little secret ... First, though, let me tell you that I agree with Kathy. I can also tell from the review request if it's going to be something that I absolutely will not like and I will turn those down. There are those books, however, that I'm unsure about and if I feel adventurous I will give them a shot. Sometimes that bites me in the butt.

Generally, I will struggle through the book and try to come up with a half-decent review while explaining what I didn't like about the book. Then there's the others ... and this is where my secret comes in at ... that are just so horrible I cannot continue reading it. What?! You don't finish reading the book?!! It doesn't happen often, but it does happen. When I just can't read any more, I will write an extremely negative review. Maybe that's not polite or socially accepting, but that's how I roll. You opened yourself up to my criticism when you requested I review your work, so you're going to get my thoughts with both barrels blazing. Some people respect that. Some people curse me. All I can say is ... you asked for it.

Let us hear your thoughts ... =)

Thursday, August 8, 2013

{NetGalley Review} Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen

ISBN #: 978-1476702919
Page Count: 336
Copyright: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Gallery Books

Book Description:
(Taken from Amazon)

A writer and his demons. A woman and her desires. A wife and her revenge ...

1845: New York City is a sprawling warren of gaslit streets and crowded avenues, bustling with new immigrants and old money, optimism and opportunity, poverty and crime. Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" is all the rage - the success of which a struggling poet like Frances Osgood can only dream. As a mother trying to support two young children after her husband's cruel betrayal, Frances jumps at the chance to meet the illustrious Mr. Poe at a small literary gathering, if only to help her fledgling career. Although not a great fan of Poe's writing, she is nonetheless overwhelmed by his magnetic presence - and the surprising revelation that he admires her work.

What follows is a flirtation, then a seduction, then an illicit affair ... and with each clandestine encounter, Frances finds herself falling slowly and inexorably under the spell of her mysterious, complicated lover. But when Edgar's frail wife Virginia insists on befriending Frances as well, the relationship becomes as dark and twisted as one of Poe's tales. And like those gothic heroines whose fates are forever sealed, Frances begins to fear that deceiving Mrs. Poe may be as impossible as cheating death itself ...

Mandy's Review:

I have read some of the Mrs. Poe reviews on Amazon and Goodreads written by other "readers" of this novel. I say "readers" because it is evident by their review that they either a) didn't really read the novel, b) didn't really understand the novel, or c) were so caught up in making sure it was historically correct that they forgot that this is a fiction novel based loosely on facts.

For example, one Goodreads reviewer stated that she was disappointed because the title implied the novel would be about Mrs. Poe when it was really about Poe's mistress, Franny. If the reviewer would have read the novel, she would have seen within the first chapter or two that "Mrs. Poe" was a title suggested by an editor of a newspaper to Franny. Here's the basis of that suggestion: Franny is trying to get some of her poetry published. Her poetry, however, is flowery and sweet. The public is thirsty for things that will terrify them. So, to Franny, the editor suggests that she write something more macabre, perhaps something similar to Edgar Poe whose "The Raven" has been widely accepted ... a sort of "Mrs. Poe," if you will. Later on in this novel the reader sees that the actual Mrs. Poe does play a (somewhat) major role. Actually, it's her presence, felt by Franny's guilty conscience, that is her most prominent role. So to say the title is misleading is false.

An Amazon reviewer stated there was a lot of name dropping in the novel. Instead of just looking at the people's names who were "dropped" into the story, consider this: perhaps the author was giving the readers some references as to the time frame of our nation. I don't know about you, but when I see a year (i.e. 1847) I don't automatically think, "Oh, that was right around the time Mr. Graham invented the Graham cracker." To have those references written into the story gives me a frame of mind when reading the novel. It was a time of burgeoning inventions, abilities, and writers that we still use and read today. Back then, it wasn't name dropping to say who was at what event, unless they were already well established. The people of that day had no idea how infamous Mr. Graham, Mr. Morse, or the author of a well-beloved Christmas poem would become. It was just another day to them.

And then we have another reviewer who claimed Fran was wishy-washy in how she felt concerning her relationship to Poe. Fran was never wishy-washy. She never WANTED to end her relationship with Poe, but she did try a few times to leave him alone based on several reasons: her children, Poe's legal wife, and her safety as well as the safety of her friend's and children. In spite of all those obstacles, she continuously loved Poe. She ached for him. She longed for him. With a love that strong, a person would be hard-pressed to be wishy-washy in their affections. However, a person does have the right to decide, no matter how difficult the decision, to try and leave their loved one alone for the betterment of all persons involved. It doesn't mean she loved him any less. It just means she was trying to be the responsible party and live with her undying love in private.

Overall, I did find this novel haunting, thrilling, and engaging. I fell in love with Poe and Franny's romance. I'm already a fan of Poe's work. To see another side to him, a softer side to his tormented soul, was refreshing and wonderful. There is no way I can give this novel any less than 5 stars. Way to go, Mrs. Cullen!

*An ecopy of the book was provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

{Review} Liberating Sky by Susan Spence

File Size: 534 KB
Page Count: 273
Copyright: April 13, 2013
Publisher: Susan Spence

(Taken from back cover)

Sky Daly graduates from high school in 1968 with a plan for her life. It involves traveling from the family ranch in Montana to California to find the one person she thinks can make her plan a reality. Upon arriving, she finds herself in the middle of the peace movement and her conservative upbringing immediately clashes with the liberal attitudes of the young protesters.

The freedoms they're fighting for is what she's resisting. After her family is torn apart by tragedy, however, she is forced to adopt to the world that's changing around her.

But as she fights to save the family ranch she finds that some things never change. The threats she faces are different than her great-grandfather faced, but they're just as deadly. She realizes, like him, she will do whatever it takes to save the ranch. Whatever it takes.

Charlene's Review:

Headstrong and focused, Sky knows exactly what it will take to reach her goals. When the one she was most depending on to realize them moves away, Sky is sure she can track him down and bring him back home. When she reaches California, however, she finds more than she bargained for.

Returning home alone, she works to formulate a new plan. Tragedy strikes soon after, and Sky is forced away from the land she loves. After many misfortunes and restarts, Sky is able to come home and reclaim the ranch, and life she dreamed of.

Reading Ms. Spence's novels, it is easy to visualize the beautiful land that her stories are based on. Deep detail and obvious love of nature abound in her words and reading her novels are like watching a silent picture play before your eyes. In Liberating Sky, not only does the background shine, but so does the passion in the person of Sky Daly, a young woman with a dream of working the ranch she loves. Ms. Spence uses her own rich surroundings to paint a vivid, heartwarming picture of the West that takes you right into their world and leaves you wanting for the fresh air and open land.

5 out of 5 stars!

*A physical copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

{Release Day Review} The Butterfly Sister by Amy Gail Hansen

ISBN #: 978-0062234629
Page Count: 320
Copyright: August 6, 2013
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Original Edition

Book Summary:
(Taken from back cover)

To uncover the truth about a friend's disappearance, a fragile young woman must silence the ghosts of her past in this moving debut tale that intertwines mystery, madness, betrayal, love, and literature.

"My past was never more than one thought, one breath, one heartbeat away. And then, on that particular October evening, it literally arrived at my doorstep."

Twenty-two-year-old Ruby Rousseau is haunted by memories of Tarble, the women's college she fled from ten months earlier, and the painful love affair that pushed her to the brink of tragedy.

When a suitcase belonging to a former classmate named Beth arrives on her doorstep, Ruby is plunged into a dark mystery. Beth has gone missing, and the suitcase is the only tangible evidence of her whereabouts.

Inside the bag, Ruby discovers a tattered copy of Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own, the book she believes was a harbinger of her madness. Is someone trying to send her a message - and what does it mean?

The search for answers leads to Tarble. As Ruby digs into Beth's past, she has no choice but to confront her own - an odyssey that will force her to reexamine her final days at school, including the married professor who broke her heart and the ghosts of illustrious writers, dead by their own hand, who beckoned her to join their tragic circle.

But will finding the truth finally set Ruby free ... or send her over the edge of sanity?

Mandy's Review:

I did not want to put this book down until I was finished with it. Unfortunately, sleep and work called so I had to. Don't think I didn't take it to work with me so I could sneak in a few pages here and there ... because I did. Shame on me, I know, but what was I to do? I was hooked.

The twist and turns in this novel are stunning. Normally I can guess at what may happen next. I wasn't able to do that with The Butterfly Sister. It's very rare that this happens for me and I loved every minute of it. Interweaving the works of Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath and other suicidal female writers was genius.

I'm not really sure what else to say about this novel without giving any of the plot away ... and I surely don't want to do that because I want you to order a copy and read this for yourself! This novel would be ideal for chic-lit fans, suspense fans, mystery fans, literary-fiction fans ... It almost has something for everyone. What are you still reading my review for? Go buy this book!

*A physical copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, August 5, 2013

{Review} Renhala by Amy Joy Lutchen

ASIN #: B009I3SO9E
File Size: 753 KB
Page Count: 405
Copyright: September 26, 2012
Publisher: Amy Joy Lutchen

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Kailey Rooke, timid accountant, dedicated to philanthropic work, finds herself spiraling into a deep depression after she suffers a horrifyingly odd and humiliating assault, to only discover more of these freakish assaults occurring across the globe.

A chance discovery leads Kailey to a meeting with elderly Gunthreon, actual master of persuasion. Gunthreon, who seems to know too much of Kailey's history for her liking, opens Kailey's eyes to a coexisting realm she never knew existed: Renhala, while entrusting her with the knowledge of her newfound power as karmelean, serving as a beacon to the Higher Ones. Kailey slowly starts revealing new talents, and Gunthreon is fascinated with what she starts achieving.

She soon discovers that Renhala is in danger, and this danger has been leaking into her own realm. As she uncovers secrets within herself, and attempts to toughen up, she fuses with an unlikely band of fellow travelers (including a dragon, woodsprite, six-hundred-pound greble, her faithful female canine companion, and a "giver"), falls into an unexpected love triangle, deals with her sexy and flirtatious best friend's "issues," and finds the courage to master a new deadly weapon.

On her mission to save Renhala, Kailey will find herself running from life-threatening disasters, such as greble Tartarin, who likes to remind Kailey that when he catches her, he plans on eating her brains with ice cream; she'll run from the deadly meeples: small cute bunnies with talons and an undeniable thirst for imposing self-destruction on others. Kailey will also run into the possibility that a centuries-old Renhalan rumor is true, that advanced technology existing in Kailey's realm shortens all life spans.

As blood is shed and puzzles near completion, Kailey pulls from deep within herself, conjuring up mystical qualities that enable her to astonish as once predicted at her birth, but despite the newfound strength, Kailey will discover that monsters not only come in ugly packages, but can be easily disguised as those she has come to love and trust.

Mandy's Review:

I know there are a lot of fantasy novels out there that introduce an alternative, and coexisting, realm full of strange creatures. Renhala is one of those. In this story, the evil creatures of Renhala are planning to overtake this realm, known as Abscondia. It is the stopping of this infiltration that Kailey and her motley band of misfits are trying to stop.

Kailey is an emotional and psychological wreck resulting from her attack. Her mother does what she can to comfort her, but it's when she meets Gunthreon that Kailey starts feeling better about herself. Gunthreon introduces her to Renhala, the disturbances in that realm, and awakens the awareness of her abilities that Kailey never knew she had.

As Kailey grows in her powers, she becomes part of a group that is dependent upon each other. When Gunthreon, their natural leader, brings to everyone's attention that there is likely an informant in the group, the trust among them begins to crumble. Only Kailey, a karmelean, can truly tell what everyone's intentions are. Despite the fact that she doesn't feel any betrayal among their group, she still has her doubts.

While the group works on their trust issues, they continue on with their quest of finding Neda and trying to stop the evil from overtaking Abscondia. It's at Kailey's best friend's wedding when the proverbial poo hits the fan.

There is quite a lot that happens in this novel. Some might say it's too much, but I think it's just right. Upon finishing, I was left with some questions though: Who was it that attacked Kailey in the beginning? If Ladimer was to be watching over Kailey her entire life, what became more important than watching her the night of her attack?

Overall, I believe this to be a novel that fantasy lovers would enjoy. It was an easy, yet entertaining, read that transported you into its world. A wonderful beginning to a new series.

*An ecopy of this novel was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

We Need You!

You may have noticed the above button in our sidebar. We are partnering with Billy from Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer for this year's 31 Days of Halloween event ... and WE NEED YOU!

Whether you're an author, publisher, book blogger, or just an average Joe/Jane with a love of books, especially scary ones, we need your help. Here are some of the ways you can help:


We would love to have sponsors hosting different giveaways. The giveaways can consist of gift cards, swag, books, movies based on books, or anything else you can think of. The only stipulation is that we would like to keep it within the Halloween theme, where possible.

If you don't want to sponsor a giveaway but you have books and/or swag you can donate, let us know! You can email us at and let us know what you have. We'll give you our address so you can send it to us and then we'll handle sending it out to the winners.

Guest Posts/Reviews:

Got something scary to say? Have something enlightening you want to share about October, Halloween, a scary story or writer? Hit us up! We would love to see what you have to say! You can send your submissions to the same email address as above:

Depending on the amount of submissions we receive, we may not be able to post all of the stories we receive, but we will do our best. If, for some reason, we are unable to use yours, we will be sure to let you know ahead of time.

Scary Story Contest:

Yes, we are hosting a scary story contest! Anybody can enter. Submissions are due by September 24, 2013 to, so we have time to read over them and judge them. Stories must be between 1500 and 2000 words. Anything longer will be rejected - and, yes, we will be checking. You are allowed to submit more than one story. We will have 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners. Prizes are to be determined.

If anybody would like to donate to the prizes for this contest, please feel free to let us know at the aforementioned email address.

We are really looking forward to this event and hope you'll join us! =)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

{2013 TBR Pile Challenge - Review) Life of Pi by Yann Martel

ISBN #: 978-0156027328
Page Count: 326
Copyright: May 1, 2003
Publisher: Mariner Books

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

The son of a zookeeper, Pi Patel has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior and a fervent love of stories. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes.

The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days while lost at sea. When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard Parker flees to the jungle, never to be seen again. The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his story and press him to tell them "the truth." After hours of coercion, Pi tells a second story, a story much less fantastical, much more conventional - but is it more true?

Kathy's Review:
(Reprinted with permission from her personal blog, Grown Up Book Reports)

If I'm being honest, I didn't care for the first part of this book. I was just all, GET TO THE TIGER PART. If I didn't know there was a tiger part, maybe I would have settled into the story more, the part where he learns multiple religions, etc. But then THE TIGER PART CAME. And it sucked me in, the gruesome, yet necessary, things that happened in order for Pi and the tiger to survive their time on the lifeboat. And the zebra ... the poor zebra!

But in the end, was this a story about a boy trapped at sea with only a tiger for company? Or was there a larger metaphor at play here? I'm not smart enough to figure this out, so I suggest you read it and get back to me. I took it at face value while it was happening, and if you do that, I think you still come away with a fantastic story of determination and triumph against all odds. But if you look below the surface, there's a whole religious undertone happening here. Pi himself practiced three religions and so clearly Pi drew upon his faith to make it through his ordeal.

The final portion of the book tells of when he washes up on shore and a team of investigators comes to interview him. They don't believe his story, so he tells them another one, without animals. They don't believe that one, either, and in the end, don't care. They just want to know what happened to the Japanese tanker Pi was on that sank and left him afloat.

The Goodreads reviewers have some much more detailed, smart, insightful opinions on this book, so I defer to them if you're really looking for a review from someone who "got it." In fact, I feel dumb after having read those reviews. I feel like maybe I missed the point of this book. Maybe I should watch the movie instead.

Anyway, I did enjoy what I came away with from this book. So I guess that counts for something.

Friday, August 2, 2013

{Meme} Book Blogger Hop

Hey there blogger buddies! Welcome to another weekly edition of the Book Blogger Hop hosted by Billy from Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer.

This Week's Question:

How do you turn down a review request?

Kathy's Response:

I let Mandy handle this. ;-)

Mandy's Response:

Yes, I am the "bad guy" of Literary R&R. I am generally the one reading through all of your review requests. I used to respond to every single email. With the amount of emails we get each week, though, it got to be too much. Now, I mostly delete the rejected request without responding. Every now and then I will respond to the author or publisher we're rejecting. It's nothing personal, but often times our TBR piles are so extensive it would really be unfair if we accepted your work for review.

Let us know how you handle rejecting review requests ...

Thursday, August 1, 2013

{Release Day Review} City of Mirrors: A Diana Poole Thriller by Melodie Johnson Howe

ISBN #: 978-1605984681
Page Count: 279
Copyright: August 1, 2013
Publisher: Pegasus

Book Summary:
(Taken from dustjacket flaps)

Running out of money, Diana Poole is forced to go back to the only work she knows: acting. Her much-loved husband and movie-star mother have died, and now Diana is forty. In Hollywood that means she might as well be dead.

Still, a few key people remember her talent, and she lands a role in a new movie. But an actress should never get her hopes up, especially when Diana discovers the young female lead's murdered body. Raised in her mother's shadow, Diana knows people in "the business" will go to dangerous lengths to protect their image. When her own life and career are threatened, Diana decides to fight back and find the killer.

But unmasking the surprising identity of the murderer isn't so easy, Diana discovers, especially as she begins to uncover what's real - and unreal - in her own life.

Mandy's Review:

A former actress is writing about a former actress. Is that groaning I hear from you? It does seem like it would be a bit autobiographical with a fictional twist, doesn't it?

Diana Poole grew up in Hollywood with an actress for a mother. She stopped acting soon after she was married so she could devote more time to her husband and their marriage. After her husband's death, she decides it is probably time to return to work. Diana winds up playing the motherly role to a 20-something, not-even-trying, wasting-everyone's-time actress. Unlike other actresses, though, the producer doesn't fire her. Instead, he asks Diana to speak to Jenny and talk her into trying harder.

When Diana shows up to Jenny's place to run lines, she discovers Jenny's murdered body. And there starts the shit-storm.

In very short order, Diana is thrust into a murder investigation while people want her dead and her best friend, whom she's had since they were sixteen, is lying to her. Who in the world can Diana believe in a town where everybody's lies and tells half-truths to cover their own ass?

As Diana begins uncovering truths, she winds up with the help of a person she thought she'd never trust. Their chemistry is very palpable, but also very realistic. Even though they're attracted to each other, it's not a fictional Tinseltown romance. They're portrayed as actual people ... and I like that. I respect that. Kudos, Melodie!

I loved Diana's attitude. She got scared, yes, but she was an actress and knew how to play her part. Some of her comebacks made me want to clap out loud and yell, "Yes!" I was proud of her. For example, in one instance she's talking to Mr. Bad Guy ...

"We kept it out of the news. Suicide is betrayal, too. First my daughter dies, now my wife. This has been the blackest period of my life."

"I wonder if Hitler felt as victimized as you do."

I literally laughed out loud when I read that. Diana is a sassy, sarcastic lady that I would love to befriend. It may just be her acting skills, but I think all acting comes from a place of reality in one's life. You have to have something to draw from, right?

City of Mirrors is a quick read. The chapters are kept short and the writing is exceptional. Just when I thought I knew what was going on the author changed the game on me. I loved that. I don't mind the book being a little predictable, but I especially love it when what I thought was going to happen didn't. Or when I think someone is a certain person, they turn out to be someone else entirely. Like I said, exceptional writing. Anybody who enjoys a good thriller should pick up a copy of this book. You will not be disappointed. I am now carrying around a Diana Poole thriller addiction.

*A hardcopy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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