Monday, December 30, 2013

Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay
Released: August 2009

Linwood Barclay initially caught my attention after I had been perusing "best of" book lists on Pinterest and saw that Trust Your Eyes was recommended as one of the "best thrillers that you can't stop reading." I couldn't find a copy of Trust Your Eyes at my local bookstore, but I did manage to pick up the only other title that was available, which was Fear the Worst.

In Fear the Worst, Tim Blake - an average divorced guy who works as a car salesman at a Honda dealership - searches high and low for his teenaged daughter after she seemingly disappears without a trace. After having eaten breakfast with her one morning before work, Sydney never comes home after her shift at a local motel, and not even her closest friends know where she's gone.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Sarah's A to Z Bookish Survey

photo courtesy of radish reviews
It's been awhile since I wrote any posts that were fun and light, so after reading Jamie's very awesome A to Z Bookish Survey over at The Perpetual Page-Turner, I decided to do the same!

Like Jamie, I am also coming out of a blogging slump, but for completely different reasons. The last few years have been unusually busy. Not only have I been moving up and down the west coast, but until recently, I was balancing a number of clients and projects because I just wasn't completely sure about the direction I've wanted to take from a work standpoint. 

But finally, FINALLY I've been able to put down roots for a little bit and get into a comfortable rhythm with clients I love working for and on projects that I genuinely love, which have also help me grown as a writer.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen
Released: May 1998

I usually avoid YA books like the plague because 99% of the time, I find that the teenaged characters are almost ALWAYS annoying and bratty, yet paradoxically mature beyond their years. Yeah, right.

Plus, I can't handle all the flighty and stupid-sounding teen lingo (O-M-G! Totes!). It's just not cool, cute, or entertaining (although I'm sure teen readers love it because hey - that's the target market, right?). My parents seriously would have killed me if I so much as uttered the word "ain't," much less all the other crazy vocabulary used by teens nowadays, which most of the time I need to google to even remotely understand what it means.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Post Office by Charles Bukowski
Released: 1971

Despite my negative feelings about Post Office, I have an amazing story associated with this novel that could be better than the review.

I ended up with Post Office by accident and on purpose all at the same time.

So. There's a man at the grocery store I really enjoy talking to, and on a recent visit, we began talking about books.

For those of you who are well-read, talking about books with someone new can EASILY make or break your overall impression of that person. When someone tells me they like to read, I automatically tense up and go on the defense, ready to throw punches if they ask me if I've ever read the Twilight series, or Harry Potter, or Dean Koontz, or books by that Mary Higgins Clark person who "really writes good mystery stories."

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Laughing Corpse by Laurell K. Hamilton
Released: September 1994

The Laughing Corpse is the second book in the "Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter" series by Laurell K. Hamilton. I first read this novel about 15 years ago, but the humor in this series failed to entertain me, so I quit around books #4 or #5. With renewed interest in the paranormal romance genre, I've decided to start over with the series. Just for fun. To see if I've changed my mind.

Vampire hunter and zombie animator Anita Blake continues to spend her nights raising the dead by profession. When a number of families are found brutally murdered and torn apart inside their homes, Anita suspects that a very old and very powerful zombie is behind the gruesome killings.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Fairest of Them All by Carolyn Turgeon
Released: August 2013

Back in January, I kicked off the year of 2013 with Turgeon's Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story (read my review here). I fell in love with the novel, and with Turgeon's dark and twisted, yet beautiful approach to such a classic fairy tale.

Last month, I was contacted by Simon and Schuster and offered a copy of The Fairest of Them All for review. Needless to say, I was thrilled at being given the opportunity to read Turgeon's latest work because I absolutely LOVED Godmother!

The Fairest of Them All is a fairy tale mashup about the lives of Rapunzel and Snow White.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Echo Burning by Lee Child
Released: June 2001

Echo Burning is the fifth novel in the "Jack Reacher" series by Lee Child. I'm OBSESSED with this series, and figured I'd better write up and post the review for Echo Burning before I read the sixth book and they all start blending together.

Somewhere in Texas, in the middle of the scorching summer, Jack Reacher finds himself hitchhiking along a deserted stretch of highway. Not expecting anyone to pick him up considering his intimidating 6'5" muscular physique and rough persona, Reacher is surprised when a beautiful, petite young Hispanic woman named Carmen Greer pulls over and offers him a ride.

As they start to drive, Reacher learns that Carmen Greer has been searching for a man just like Reacher to fulfill a devious plan - a plan that involves the assassination of her abusive husband and an escape from a meddlesome upper middle-class and very racist white family.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Conversations with the Fat Girl by Liza Palmer
Published: September 2005

I was instantly drawn to this book because of its title, which no doubt invokes plot possibilities involving American obesity, type 2 diabetes, dieting, weight loss, and all other facets related to being overweight or obese.

Since obesity, weight loss, and bariatric surgery are some of the dominant key topics I write about professionally as a medical and health writer, I decided to buy this book after the synopsis informed me that one of the main characters undergoes gastric bypass surgery.

(I was also partly curious to see how Palmer's research about bariatric surgery panned out.)

Friday, July 5, 2013

Moonlight in Odessa by Janet Skeslien Charles
Released: September 2009

Moonlight in Odessa is Janet Skeslien Charles' debut novel, and a sensational one at that. I had won a copy of this novel during Fall 2010 after participating in a blog giveaway, but ended up packing it away for 3 years while I spent time traveling. After having settled down for a bit and unpacked boxes of books, I found myself drawn to this book's synopsis. Once I started reading Moonlight in Odessa, I was addicted.

Daria is the oldest 23-year-old you'll ever meet. Growing up in modern Ukraine post-perestroika, Daria has committed herself to learning fluent English and IT computer skills so she can have a professional advantage over her desperate Ukrainian peers. However, despite her hard work and superior office skills, Daria only makes enough money to support her and her grandmother, with whom she shares a tiny apartment just outside the busy Odessa city limits.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Discarded: Celebutantes by Goldberg and Hopper
Released: February 2009

Sometimes the bargain bin at my local bookstore has some good finds - other times, it's a total crapshoot. I found Celebutantes in the store's bargain bin, and I should have known better after seeing that Amazon officially sells this novel at a never-changing "Bargain Price." After attempting to read this novel, I totally get why it's officially become a bargain book.

I couldn't make it past page 30 of Celebutantes.

Celebutantes is written by Amanda Goldberg and Ruthanna Khalighi Hopper. According to the book's back cover, the authors are apparently "two daughters of Hollywood royalty." Goldberg's father is a television and movie producer, and Hopper herself is also a producer.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich
Released: November 2011

Explosive Eighteen is one of the latest novels to be released in the "Stephanie Plum" bounty hunter series by Janet Evanovich. If you haven't read all of the previous seventeen books in the series, don't worry - Evanovich will provide you with an adequate history and summary of Stephanie's life-situation and aspects of the ongoing plot in every novel.

In Explosive Eighteen, Jersey-renowned bounty hunter Stephanie Plum is finally returning home to New Jersey after having spent a mysterious vacation in Hawaii. On the airplane, the man sitting next to Stephanie secretly hides a photograph in her luggage, which Stephanie immediately discards upon discovery. After getting home, Stephanie finds herself being chased by a number of henchmen trying to get their hands on the photograph, which Stephanie now no longer has in her possession.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Dearest by Peter Loughran
Released: 1983

I actually found Dearest by accident (literally) at my local bookstore. While browsing horror novels by Bentley Little, this novel slipped out and fell to the floor. As if the front cover weren't quite creepy enough, the back cover blurbs convinced me to give this novel a try.

The book's synopsis reads:
"He was a taxi driver with very definite ideas about women. The trouble was that no woman - no matter how much he might love her - could ever live up to his expectations. 
Then he met Jacqui. She was a beauty. Really gorgeous. And after she began to carry his unborn child, and he gave her a ring in the prospect of marriage, he knew he had to take certain steps to preserve her and their relationship permanently."

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Cries of the Children by Clare McNally
Released: September 1992

It's been years since I read any horror novels by Clare McNally, and I've missed her! I have fond memories of reading McNally during my pre-teen years spent living in Hawaii, after a new library opened and began carrying fresh and spankin' new copies of all her novels. I've always been a huge fan of McNally.

Cries of the Children tells the story of three young children who are left confused, abandoned, and alone in various parts of the country. First, there is 8-year-old Julie, who awakens to find herself in the care of Samantha, a 35-year-old doctor who lives near the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Then there's Lorraine, a 5-year-old girl who finds herself in New York City alone and with a suitcase full of money, who eventually gets taken in by a homeless woman. Lastly, there is Steven, a 10-year-old boy who is taken in by a close-knit and loving family of four who live in Columbus, Ohio.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Beach Girls by Luanne Rice
Released: August 2004

I've been seeing Luanne Rice's books everywhere for years, and despite her being so prolific, I've never read any of her novels. But - on a recent contemporary romance book-buying binge, I decided to take a break from my other favorite romance authors (Barbara Bretton and Nora Roberts) and take a chance on Luanne Rice. I'm glad I did! Rice is now ranked high on my list of favorite contemporary romance authors.

I decided to read Beach Girls this month because its title qualifies for the June reading challenge over here at Bookmark to Blog. "Beach" is one of June's keywords, and of course, what better time to read a beach novel than during the summertime?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Discarded: Virgin Soul by Judy Juanita

Released: April 2013

Virgin Soul is the first novel by Judy Juanita - a celebrated playwright and poet from the California Bay Area.

Virgin Soul was provided to me by the publisher, Viking, after they had asked me to review this novel. I agreed to review Virgin Soul because its synopsis sounds exciting, rich, full, and controversial, especially for those interested in the civil rights movement period. The novel takes place throughout the 1960s.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Dreams in the Womb by Brandon Gene Petit
Released: December 2012

I agreed to review Dreams in the Womb after corresponding with the author - Brandon Gene Petit - on Twitter regarding the power of muses. His quick replies about the topic instantly intrigued me. After visiting Petit's website, and reading more about the synopsis of Dreams in the Womb, I decided that I couldn't pass up his volume of poetry and prose, most of which, I soon came to realize, is inspired by one or more muses.

After all, dreams are what inspired me to pursue a writing career years ago, so I couldn't help but recognize Petit as a kindred spirit. Like I said - how could I not be intrigued by his work?

It took me just a few blissful hours to read Dreams in the Womb. I knew I'd love the book after reading Petit's introduction, which is more like an explanation about the source of his creativity, and in which he says he made the decision to write because he is, "...forever gratefully burdened with the pangs of inspiration."

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton
Released: October 1993

Guilty Pleasures is the first book in the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton. I first read this novel and a few of its successors nearly 15 years ago, but don't quite remember why I ended up losing interest in the series. On a recent venture to my local indie bookstore, I decided to restock my shelves with the first few books in this series to try it again, and to see where my opinion of the series now stands as a professional reviewer.

In the end, I'm glad I decided to give Guilty Pleasures another try, because I truly enjoyed my time with the novel, and thought it very original.

Running Blind by Lee Child
Released: July 2000

Running Blind is the fourth novel in the "Jack Reacher" thriller/suspense series by Lee Child. At the time of this writing, there are 18 books in the series. A movie based on the series called "Jack Reacher" was also recently released, starring the 5'7" Tom Cruise as the 6'4" Jack Reacher. Let's just say this is another case in which the movie was NOT better than the book.

If you've never had the pleasure of reading any novels in Child's "Jack Reacher" series, then you're missing out on getting to know the toughest, most hard-core and bad-ass fictional character in existence.

I chose to read Running Blind this month because the title meets the criteria for the Monthly Keyword Challenge over here at Bookmark to Blog. One of the May keywords is "run," so obviously I jumped all over choosing Running Blind for the reading challenge.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro
Release date: May 2013

The Perfume Collector is the fifth book by Kathleen Tessaro. If you've missed out on my previous reviews for books by Kathleen Tessaro, know that you better add all this author's works to your wish list. She's an absolutely amazing and beautiful writer, and underrated compared to some other well-known "chick-lit" novelists. The Perfume Collector might be her best yet.

I've been sitting on The Perfume Collector since I finished it back in January, when it was sent to me from the publisher for review. I've been holding off on writing the review because I've been waiting for the perfect moment of inspiration - the book is so beautiful that I wanted and needed to be in the perfect mood to write about it! After having had a small amount of inspiration triggered by a certain muse, I'm thrilled to finally be writing about this elegant novel.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Killer in Crinolines by Duffy Brown
Release date: May 2013

Killer in Crinolines is the second book in the funny and quirky Consignment Shop cozy mystery series by Duffy Brown.

As the month of August burns hot and humid in Savannah, Georgia, amateur sleuth and consignment-shop owner Reagan Summerside is busy gearing up her store, "The Prissy Fox," for the upcoming fall season.

While visiting a wedding to quickly drop off a bow tie for the groom, Reagan stumbles upon the groom's dead body lying face-down in his wedding cake with the cake knife sticking out of his back. The number one suspect turns out to be Chantilly Parker, Reagan's close friend and the community's local UPS delivery driver.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
Released: March 2011

I've always been a huge fan of Jodi Picoult, and I've read all the books she's ever published. I chose to read Sing You Home because it qualifies for the April monthly keyword challenge at Bookmark to Blog. "Home" is one of the keywords for the month of April.

In Sing You Home, Picoult addresses the controversial topics of gay marriage and same-sex parenting.

40-year-old Zoe Baxter and her husband Max have been trying to have a baby for years, but both husband and wife have fertility problems that have prevented them from conceiving. Finally, after years of fertility treatments, Zoe is 7 months pregnant and just weeks away from giving birth. Unfortunately, Zoe experiences complications during her baby shower and is rushed to the hospital, where she gives birth to a stillborn son.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
Released: October 2007

Halfway to the Grave is the first novel in the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost. I purchased this novel at one point because it was featured and recommended by some form of media (which I now don't remember) as being one of the best paranormal romance novels. I'm glad I listened, because Halfway to the Grave lives up to its hype, and I've already added the next book in the Night Huntress series to my reading wish list.

Catherine "Cat" Crawfield is half-human, half-vampire - the result of an unwanted coupling between her mother and the vampire who raped her. These days, the 22-year-old red-haired vixen spends most of her nights hunting and killing vampires to fulfill her mother's wishes of killing off the entire vampire race.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Covet: A Novel of the Fallen Angels by J.R. Ward
Released: September 2009

Covet is the first book in the Fallen Angels series by J.R. Ward, who also writes the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

I discovered Covet after reviewing various lists of "top erotica novels" on (what can I say, I was hankering for a saucy erotica novel!), and found that J.R. Ward novels were constantly ranking high on every list. The following Friday, I visited my local bookstore to hunt down and buy a copy of Covet, and wow - haven't come to regret it in the least.

The cover for Covet, as you can see above, sort of makes the novel look like a cheesy, sappy bodice-ripper romance, but let me tell you: DON'T BE FOOLED. Covet is far classier than the cover makes it out to be, so just this once, don't judge a book by its cover (don't lie, I know you still judge most books by their covers!).

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Burning Air by Erin Kelly
Released: February 2013

I received The Burning Air for review in the mail a little over a month ago, and after having read this novel, I regret that I allowed the book to sit on my shelf for as long as I did - what a thrilling and fun read!!

The synopsis of the book as printed on the cover initially gave me a different impression of how the novel would turn out. Here's my version of the synopsis:

The MacBride family has always lived an upper-class life. Rowan MacBride, the patriarch of the family, is an administrator at the prominent Saxby Cathedral School in England, and his wife, Lydia MacBride, is a magistrate. Their three children - Sophie, Tara, and Felix - have never wanted for anything, and have received fine educations at their father's school, tuition-free of course.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Teach Me by R.A. Nelson
Released: August 2005

Teach Me is R.A. Nelson's first novel, which has won a number of children and teen's book awards, including Best Teen Novel. Teach Me initially caught my eye because I've always been drawn to the taboo story about a love affair between teacher and student.

Sadly, I can't say that my high school ever had sexy or desirable teachers, so books of this nature always manage to fill that empty spot in my heart reserved for books featuring impossible high school cliches: such as handsome and sexy bad-boy jocks that fall for smart band nerds (never happens), aspiring journalists who publish the one article in the school newspaper that changes the way every other student thinks (definitely never happens), and your best friend of the opposite sex who has been madly in love with you for years, and you've never managed to see it...

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Rocky Mountain Fugitive by Ann Voss Peterson
Released: April 2010

I chose to read Rocky Mountain Fugitive this month because it fulfills the March keyword reading challenge here at Bookmark to Blog ("mountain" was a March keyword).

Initially, my book for the March reading challenge was Street Magic by Caitlin Kittredge ("magic" was another March keyword), but I just couldn't handle the fantasy, and chose to discard that particular novel.

I purchased a bundle of these Harlequin Intrigue novels months ago while on a major romance binge. I rarely read romance, but sometimes I need a break from the more severe literary novels, and from all the horror novels I frequently read. These short Harlequins are just a small enough dose of romance and innocence to satisfy me for a few days before I dive back into intense reading.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Death of a Dustman by M.C. Beaton
Released: March 2001

Death of a Dustman is the sixteenth book in the Hamish Macbeth cozy mystery series by M.C. Beaton.

In Death of a Dustman (a dustman, by the way, is the British equivalent to a garbage man or trash collector here in the U.S.), an abusive jerk husband and dustman by the name of Fergus Macleod is found dead in a trash bin. After some investigating, Hamish realizes that Fergus had been using trash evidence to blackmail a number of people in his local town of Lochdubh.

Of course, Hamish has his work cut out for him as always, as he must narrow down the list of murder suspects - which is basically the entire town of Lochdubh.

Friday, February 22, 2013

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver
Released: March 1981

Raymond Carver was perhaps best known for his prolific collections of short stories and poetry.

I initially learned about What We Talk About When We Talk About Love in an Esquire magazine feature, where it was included in a list of "must-reads" for men. Of course being female, I was instantly intrigued by the list, and added a number of its books to my reading wish list.

There are 17 short stories in this collection, most of which are about 3 to 4 pages long. Practically each story is a gritty account of someone's downfall in life, and reflects our less-humane sides that are usually kept behind closed doors.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Rogue Angel: Solomon's Jar by Alex Archer
Released: September 2006

Rogue Angel: Solomon's Jar is the second book in the Rogue Angel series, which is written by a team of authors known as Alex Archer under the Harlequin label. At the time of this writing, there are 43 books in the Rogue Angel series - quite the fruitful reading journey if you enjoy series!

In Rogue Angel: Solomon's Jar, Annja Creed (who is Joan of Arc's descendant, or successor) is on a mission to track down the real Solomon's Jar, of which rumors had said it was last spotted somewhere in the Middle East. Since Annja is on a mission of God (or for the good of mankind, as Annja often says), she hopes to claim the artifact to prevent it from falling into the hands of a person interested in using the jar to summon demons for personal gain.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Sweetman Curve by Graham Masterton
Released: 1979

The Sweetman Curve is one of Graham Masterton's earliest novels - a thriller about a deadly scientific graph that a corrupt politician uses to his advantage. I chose to read this book not only because I'm a die-hard Masterton fan, but also because it contains the word "sweet" in its title, which meets the criteria for the February keyword reading challenge here at Bookmark to Blog.

In The Sweetman Curve, a sniper kills random people in their cars as they drive on California freeways. As John Cullen drives his father home from the airport, a sniper kills John's father right before his eyes. Unwilling to believe that his father was a random target, John becomes obsessed with finding a reason for his father's death - a "purpose" that compensates for the murder. When the same sniper tails John on the freeway once more in an attempt to kill him, John's suspicion about the murders not being random is confirmed.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Witch of Little Italy by Suzanne Palmieri
Release Date: March 2013

The Witch of Little Italy is the first novel by author and essayist Suzanne Palmieri.

Eleanor "Elly" Amore is pregnant with the baby of her evil and abusive boyfriend. Desperate for support and a fresh start after her theater-actress mother leaves her to deal with her pregnancy alone, Elly decides to reunite with her estranged aunts (all of whom are rumored to practice witchcraft) at their Bronx family home.

Although Elly knows in her heart that she loves her aunts, her memory is fuzzy about the time she's spent with them, and she cannot recall exactly why her relationship with them is estranged.

Just Another Sunday by Elizabeth Good
Released: August 2012

Just Another Sunday is the first novel by author and dental office manager Elizabeth Good.

Here's the synopsis for Just Another Sunday according to Amazon and Goodreads:

Set against the backdrop of the turbulent late 1960s and early 1970s, Just Another Sunday is inspired by actual events and follows Lia Benedict, a teenager growing up in the suburbs of New Jersey. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Entertaining Strangers by Jonathan Taylor
Released: October 2012

Entertaining Strangers is the first novel by Jonathan Taylor, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at De Montfort University, UK. Taylor has also published a memoir, and writes short stories and poetry.

Entertaining Strangers is narrated by Jules, a young homeless woman who is welcomed into the home of Edwin Prince, an odd, yet eccentric and intelligent man obsessed with ants.

A seemingly (at first) passive character in this novel, Jules innocently and lovingly accepts Edwin's hospitality, and goes on to narrate and recount Edwin's relationships with his landlord, relatives, and ex-wife, all while sharing breakfasts together that consist of nothing but vermouth. Jules becomes fast friends with Edwin, and even attempts to help him collect ants for his ant farm, and rekindle (or smooth out) a few of his relationships.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story by Carolyn Turgeon
Released: March 2009

Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story is Carolyn Turgeon's second novel. Since Godmother's release, Turgeon has published The Next Full Moon and Mermaid, the latter of which is currently in development for a movie by Sony Pictures.

In present-day Manhattan, an old woman with beautiful white hair named Lil divides her time between working in an independent book shop and her lonely apartment. Her friends are few and far between, mainly because Lil has an important secret she can never share with anyone.

Lil is actually Cinderella's notorious fairy godmother, but was banished to our real world forever for appearing to Cinderella's prince as a human and making him fall in love with her. As punishment, Lil must spend years in our world without her one true love, while also maintaining large fairy wings she keeps hidden and bound to her back each and every day.

The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell
Released: April 2010

The Carrie Diaries is the prelude to Bushnell's infamous Sex and the City, which, as you know (unless you spent the last 15 years in a bomb shelter), was made into a successful and widely-popular HBO television series years ago.

I've been a major fan of Bushnell since I read Sex and the City months before it premiered on HBO, and have read all of her novels with the exception of Summer and the City, which is the sequel to The Carrie Diaries. I decided to read this novel prior to the release of the new Carrie Diaries television series on the CW, which aired just a little under a week ago.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Flame in Byzantium by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Released: October 1987

A Flame In Byzantium is the first novel in the Atta Olivia Clemens trilogy by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. The trilogy is a spinoff of Yarbro's Saint-Germain vampire series, in which Olivia Clemens was one of Saint-Germain's lovers.

I've had this novel and most of the Saint-Germain novels on my bookshelves for years, but for some reason, never placed them high on my reading list. However, I tackled A Flame In Byzantium specifically so I could participate in a reading challenge for the 2013 Monthly Keyword Challenge being hosted at Bookmark to Blog. "Fire" was one of the keywords in January's challenge, so since "flame" is a variation of the word "fire," this is what I chose to read.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Spitting Image by M.K. Mattias
Released: October 2012

Spitting Image is the first book in the Simone Darling series by M.K. Mattias.

Freelance art restorer Simone Darling is not having luck with her art restoration business at home in Sydney, Australia. So when her newlywed mother offers her a chance to appraise art for thousands of dollars in Miami, Florida, she immediately boards a plane for the sunshine state with her boyfriend, Kevin.

Shortly after arriving at her mother's home in Florida, Simone and Kevin discover a dead body in the refrigerator that happens to look very much like Kevin. Simone then becomes intent on learning why her mother's new, mysterious husband Curtis is storing dead bodies in their freezer, especially when they are dead ringers for her beloved boyfriend.

Friday, January 4, 2013

In the Manor With the Millionaire by Cassie Miles
Released: July 2008

In The Manor With The Millionaire is just one of many romance novels written by Cassie Miles (a pseudonym for Kay Bergstrom). This novel is part of the Harlequin Intrigue series, "Curse of Raven's Cliff."

During 2012, I went through an off-and-on phase in which I craved nothing but Harlequin suspense romances. I purchased this book on one of several buying binges.

The title of this novel reminds me of the board game and movie Clue: "Madeline Douglas, in the manor, with the millionaire (and a candlestick? No - his son)," and the power to, well, seduce, I guess.