Friday, July 29, 2011

Gothic Romance - My Favorite Read!

"He took a step toward her.
"Go away." she shouted and waved at him.
"Go back where you belong."
He grinned, though barely, and advanced
another step toward her. "I belong here.
This is my room and that is my bed.
Soon, she would want him
there with her...

Whispers on the

By Donna Fletcher

There's a flavor I can't describe for Gothic Romance/suspense. I can't define it either, I just experience it with pleasure when I come across it. Of course, the location, Cornwall, England, the time period, 1808, and the first sentence might have been a clue... "Only the most dangerous ghosts haunt on a stormy night..." I loved it, of course!

Whispers on the Wind
Belinda (Billie) Latham traveled from Nantucket on the skin of her teeth. She had little money and, if she had not received the surprising message, she would have been destitute soon, or forced to marry. "She shivered at the repulsive thought and recalled that Jeremy always smelled of day-old fish and ale which he consumed in equal amounts and was the reason for his big belly."

Was it fate that had resulted in her, a step-daughter, formally being adopted so that she was now the sole heir to Radbourne Manor...located in the small town of St. Clair?

Maximilian Radborne had been the last lord of the manor, with his father being killed recently. It was said that Maximilian haunted the manor. and even the driver had refused to deliver Billie to her new home. Later the townsfolk were quite willing to share the story of what had happened to Lord Radborne.

"The driver shook his cap-covered head and waved his hand in front of her. 'I don't go there. Nobody does, especially on a night like this when the banshees are having a fine time for themselves."
"Lord, not ghosts, Billie thought. The last thing she needed at this very moment was to hear about ghosts. Her legs began to tremble...
"The driver shook his head, crossed himself and spoke in a fearfut tone. 'It's haunted."

Dropped at the local inn, Billie entered and introduced herself. Everybody was surprised that she was a woman, not what the lawyer had been expecting. Fortunately, the innkeeper, Bessie, immediately responded, getting food for her in welcome and, later, forcing her husband to take her on to the manor.

"George banged his near-empty tankard of ale on the table. 'She's the new owner. She should be told. What if she runs into the likes of him tonight?"

Once again Billie was dumped, this time at the gate, so that by the time she finally reached the manor, she was ready only for sleep. After convincing Pembrooke, apparently the butler, that she indeed was the new owner, she was soon preparing for bed.

Billie soon learns that she indeed must contend with Max, as she immediately began to call him, as he appeared and disappeared through the Manor. And then she met his father, who was haunting the caves below. Between the two, plus the town people, including the vicar, she soon began to piece together the story that had resulted in her now being the owner of Radbourne Manor...and that now placed her in extreme danger as the new owner. She had already discovered that Max's father had probably been killed by smugglers that had used the caves for storage...Foolishly she began to investigate... 

Yes, there is plenty of suspense, but readers will probably be having too much fun watching the exchanges between Billie and Max. And when the vicar starts courting Billie; Max fumes! A delightful, somewhat surprising ending resulted in total contentment for this reader! You won't want to miss his one! Enjoy!

"Some say he had the look of a madman that night and others say he acted
like one. He ordered the boats drawn as the first desperate cry of a struggling
survivor sounded. More cries followed. Anguished cries. Fearful cries that
mingled with the road of the brutal sea...
"It was then it was heard. A lone pitiful cry sounding like that of a lost,
helpless child. It drifted in on a wave and crashed upon a jagged rock. The
lord threw his coat off him and marched to the boat. Taking the oars in his
powerful hands and with a shove from some still able men, he rowed out alone,
into the darkness, into the mouth of the rampaging sea."
"The cry soon died away and the villagers waited and waited. Morning brought
with it a calming of the storm...The sea spewed forth remnants of its rampage--barrels
pieces of the wrecked ship, trunks and, near the outcropping of rocks at the far end
of the beach, the rough waves deposited the remains of the broken and battered
rowboat of Lord Maximillian Radborne. The sea had swallowed him, burying him
in a watery grave."

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Allard Merges Paranormal with Romance and Produces Winner!

My LoveImage by Jennuine Captures via Flickr
"I shall never leave you ever," he whispers
in my ear. I promise him the same.
"I do not know how I have been so
fortunate to have this man in my life, but
here he is, before me, wanting me. I am
overcome with the joy of him..."
Her Dear and
 Loving Husband

By Meredith Allard

I, like many potential readers, saw the title of the book and thought it was going to be...another romance. Well, that is true. But, OMG, it is sooooo much more! Escape into the paranormal world created by Allard, where you will meet vampires, werewolves, witches--and even the reincarnated... Then throw in a good taste of destiny for added flavor! I thoroughly enjoyed this romp through the possibilities...There is considerable coverage on the Salem Witch Trials, so those who have an interest in that sad period in our history or in the Wiccan religion will find much to interest them.

Her Dear and Loving HusbandSarah Alexander had been having dreams, that became even more bothersome after she had moved to Salem. There were many reasons she had moved, but it was mainly because she had just been divorced. Salem held some interest because of a past relative who had supposedly been killed during the Witch Trials. She never knew the woman's name but hoped, having started to work within a university environment, that she could do some research. She was now the Humanities I liaison in the library at Salem State college.  She would start by walking around the community and visiting many of the small museums...

Jennifer had been the head librarian at the college and was her boss. She had also immediately taken Sarah under her wing, helping her to learn everything she needed for her new job. Soon, she even admitted that she practiced Wiccan, headed a group, and was a witch. Sarah readily accepted her beliefs, not thinking about it much, but later found that Salem had become a location where those involved in paranormal activities congregated.

Often Jennifer would offer Sarah a ride home, since she had not yet bought a car. It was while Jennifer was showing her around town that she saw the house...

"What is that house?" she asked. "It looks familiar."
"James Wentworth lives there."
"Do you know him?"
Jennifer's answer was stilted, as if she considered each word, weighed it, measured it, decided yes or no about it before she let it drop from her lips. "He teaches at the college. He--his family--has owned this house for generations. It's over three hundred years old, one of the oldest standing homes in Salem." Jennifer slowed the car so they could get a better look as she drove past. "Does it still look familiar?" she asked.
"Yes. Even that crooked oak tree in front seems right. I can picture the man I dream about standing in front there kissing me."
"What dreams?" Jennifer gripped the steering wheel more tightly and her eyes brightened..."

Sarah later returned there alone. She looked around and although there was a small light, it seemed that nobody was at home, so she dared to go on to the porch to explore more and then back to the grounds to that certain tree....

When she heard a sound, she immediately thought of leaving, but then he was there...

"He stared at her, his mouth open as if he were trying to speak though he stayed mute. She tried to make herself disappear behind the oak tree, not wishing to disturb anyone, afraid she had been trespassing. She decided she needed to say something to break the awkward silence.
"I'm sorry. I just wanted to look at the house."
She began to shiver, not from the nip of the autumn air, but from the feeling that she recognized him...
He touched his hand to her cheek, "Lizzie. My Lizzie," he said. "You've come home to me..."

Are there truly witches? We know many individuals died during the Salem Witch Trials that were not witches. Some were treated so badly that they died in prison, before they even faced the "trial." James Wentworth's wife died in prison. Her name was Elizabeth...

Whew! If you were one--a witch, a vampire, could you live in today's world as human? A local reporter was trying to prove that, indeed, that was happening right there in Salem. How far would you go to ensure you were able to be with the one that you love? There is much happening in this ebook...more than you might ever dream! This is more than historical fiction, but there is much that historical romance fans will enjoy reading. For lovers of the paranormal, this just might be a must-read for you. Allard has thrown much into her cauldron and stirred up a true winner!

...Sarah, "Who you are is not yourself. The secret to the puzzle is
there. The other psychic you saw was very good. Very good.
She could see that who you are is not yourself. Yes, I can see
that he will find you. He is here and he will find you...He will.
The one who is waiting for you. He has been waiting for you
for oh so very long. You will be afraid. He is not what he was.
You will find your way home again..."
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Violence - Are We By Nature Violent? Can We Change? One Man's Experience...

On November 19, 1979, Edward experienced
 a transformation which completely
 revolutionized the way he perceived reality.
 When the event manifested itself, it was
unlike anything he had ever heard of
 as every belief he cherished was torn asunder..
 Nothing could have led him to expect the form
 it would take. He had the sensation of inconceivable
 powers clashing, as if repeatedly struck from
 within by lightning. When the cataclysmic upheaval
finally subsided, something absolutely new had emerged. 

He brought forth a new human, and a New Consciousness upon Earth.
Edward is a Transformational Relationship Coach who has devoted the last thirty years of his life reaching out to people who are seriously considering the options before them. He has spoken to thousands of people from around the world about “Self-Transformation” and the possibility of life without violence.
Self Transformation:

A New You 

By Edward Jones

Yesterday on the Dr. Phil show, a discussion occurred regarding The Warrior Gene, hypothesizing that some individuals are genetically keyed to violence. This may or may not be proven one day, but I think that each of us has the "potential" for some level of violence. It may be limited to abusive language transactions with others, and it may occur only when under extreme pressure... Or maybe we are conditioned for it...

I had the opportunity to read an earlier version of this book. Although I could believe that something happened to Mr. Jones, I felt that book was not presented well for potential new readers. Mr. Jones was receptive to my critical comments and I must say that I am thoroughly impressed with the published self-help book. It provides sufficient information in a logical manner to allow you to understand the premise upon which Edward Jones speaks. It also includes information from a sample workshop with an open exchange of questions and answers. You may find more information on Mr. Jones site by clicking the title of this article.

Throughout my life, I've been an individual who is "willing" to explore. Many years ago, I was an avid reader of self-help books and attended many workshops and classes exploring Maslow, Yung, et. al. I am a Christian, but I am not afraid to explore alternatives and question... I think I can say, with some degree of expertise that, if YOU are looking for something...then Edward Jones' book could very well be one that will interest you.

This book is not for the average reader. it is not fiction, even though you may not believe anything that is said. It is one person's experience--an experience that totally transformed his life. Basic Premise: I am a liar and Truth is the answer (my interpretation) Highly recommended for those seeking new answers... The following are examples of what I found of importance:

  • Anger is a part of the defense and control mechanism. Angry people can defend themselves from anybody getting too close, and they can control their surroundings.
  • We are selfish little clods, clawing everything to ourselves that we can to hold on to it.  I even had a friend who had a big sign in his office which read, He who has the most toys when he dies wins.
  • Even in the Bible it says not to hide your light under a basket. The truth is your light. The truth will set you free, and the truth about everything needs to be spoken.  
  • Consider the word God.  The newspaper recently ran a story about a married couple who were convicted of second-degree manslaughter because they prayed for their sick child to get well. They believed that God would intervene, but the child died. In that case, thinking was thinking those parents.
  •  I say the only possibility we have is to speak the truth in our lives. Speaking truth is the emptying of our consciousness. What fills up our consciousness is the memory, or rather the attachment to the memory. Speaking the truth relieves that attachment and clears our heads, so to speak. 
  • Being knocked out of our language reactions would be the same action we’d take if we came around a corner and suddenly saw a rattlesnake. We would get out of its way very quickly. After we were out of its way, it’s probable that only then fear would show up about being bitten. Can we see that we allow language to bite us daily? 
  • I know someone who was raised to be a fundamentalist Christian, and he told me that he would be asked questions like, “Is your faith strong?” or “Do you love God?” to elicit a certain kind of response or behavior. After a while his responses became automatic. Repetition will do that. I call that a frozen belief. That’s when the belief becomes so strong you don’t even realize it’s a belief. You think it’s true.
  • The linguistic action is the action of creation. But as with so many other things, knowledge and belief get in the way. We have been so busy for the last few thousand years repeating, repeating and repeating that there can be no creation. In repetition there can be no love, no intelligence. It’s all being blocked by the ignorance of knowledge and belief.
I had made highlights on many paragraphs throughout the book. The above are used as presented and are not intended to be the most important, merely just the first of many that affected me personally.  When I first started working at West Virginia University in the early '60s' I wrote a letter to the campus newspaper in response to some article or letter, I don't remember what. The thrust of my letter was that each of us must find Christ--we cannot know God just because our parents knew him and taught us about him... I think several of these examples reflects my thoughts at that time. Is your Christianity your own or have you been conditioned...

Then taking that a step further... If you are a Christian, are you also a liar...  Please note that Christian can be replaced by Buddhist, Muslim, Atheist, or any other belief you use as an identification for yourself

Are you satisfied with today's world? I'm not! I think violence has increased so much so that our children could very well be conditioned to be violent... Why else? Is it really a part of our DNA or can the world change; i.e., can I change? More importantly...will I?

Book received
from Author


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Heartwarming Inspirational Story Leaves You Smiling...

A mall in Destin, FloridaImage via Wikipedia
"Looking back on the situation she told herself
 she'd been an idiot to think she and Jay would
marry,  buy a home in Cedar Forks,
and attend church together.
Now here she was in Destin, Florida,
where she knew no one, except Bill
 of course, and she'd just met him this morning."

Love Turns The Tide

By Gail Pallotta

Suspense coupled with lots of romance will entice new fans for Gail Pallotta in her new inspirational novel, Love Turns the Tide. The beautiful cover is only a hint of the many romantic walks and beautiful shore living that Cammie O'Shea found surrounding her new home. Still, when she was transferred to Destin, Florida, she was not sure she wanted to leave her family and friends. The only reason she had for leaving was Jay, her ex,  who had, unbelievably, been arrested for assaulting a woman:

Bill Collins was trying to get a small local newspaper off the ground. The Sun Dial was so new that Bill was the only one there so he had called for help from the Dexter Group and been "loaned" Cammie--who really had no choice in the matter. And now her very first major assignment was starting off badly. Not only did Vic Deleona cancel out on meeting with her, but he did so rudely and was clearly, in Cammie's opinion, not interested in granting her an interview...

Vic Deleona was a major real estate developer and was presently working on his new high-rise project called Pelican Point. He was a very important member of the business community and if he liked Cammie's story, he might begin advertising in the newspaper. So when Cammie returned to the office, Bill immediately asked how things went...responding worriedly when she shared he had cancelled.

"In a strained voice Bill said, 'I hope he gives you another time slot. Vic's so successful he doesn't need our help. We need him. If he likes the article you write and advertises with us, every developer from Fort Walton Beach to San Destin probably will..."

As Cammie waits for her interview, she creates a new series about the largest fish catch to occur by local fisherman, immediately gaining interest and ad income...she could do this if only given a chance!

But when the apartment of a new friend was broken into, and then her own was also, Cammie once again began to wonder about staying there. She had finally completed the article on Deleona and had even begun having dinner and long walks with him...but was it enough to keep her from going back home?

Love Turns The Tide has a good solid story line that allows readers to immediately empathize with the main character. We could be walking in her shoes--angry and upset over a broken relationship with a tarnished hero, forced to change jobs, move to a new location, leaving family and friends behind, and trying to once again gain the professional respect that can only be earned not demanded. Cammie is quick to share her concerns in prayers and to seek out scriptural references to guide her, sharing where she goes to find her inspiration to meet each day and move toward an unknown future. There is warmth and love surrounding Cammie and I quickly decided I wanted everything to turn out perfectly for her...

Even in the suspense and concern of the breakins, readers will be pleasantly surprised with the outcome, which, when it occurred, allowed Cammie to make her most important decision for the future. Heartwarming and enjoyable reading from Gail Pallotta. The e-book is available from Awe-Struck Publishing! Don't Miss This one!

Book Provided Through
Facebook's Reviewers Roundup

"Softly, she spoke, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and
only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have
eternal life." (John 3: 16). It had been the first Bible verse she had
memorized. She hadn't thought of it in a long time, but she was glad she
remembered it now. She stood for a few minutes and watched the
seagulls soar over the crystal green tinted water, flying to the bright white
sand bar across the way to dive for fish, their course sure, their
destination fruitful. If God directed their paths surely he would guide her too.
For a reason she couldn't explain she felt close to Him now. It was as though
He was telling her everything was all right..."

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Monday, July 25, 2011

JCGardner Provides Family Saga Like No Other...

San_Carlo_2011 (17)Image by Scuolesancarlo via Flickr
Not even the cosmetics sold by
Jarconni International could cover
the sins of the family...
"Thanks be to God for the ability to tell a story, for we know all stories ain't pretty."--JCGardner

Sinful Liaisons

By JC Gardner

The Jarconni family, owner and operators of an international, multi-million dollar spa and cosmetic company, earns the spotlight in a complex intriguing drama--one that will pull you in quickly and keep you reading until the shocking ending. Readers keep hoping that love will win out, but what if that love is based upon sinful liaisons...then perhaps...
"The nurse stared at the doctor in disbelief. Nurse Hilton would not let the issue rest," Nurse Hilton persisted, "I was in the delivery room with you when..."
Dr. Tonak became infuriated. "You are fired! Pack your things and get the hell out of this hospital.
Lewis Jarconni was still head of  Jarconni, International, but he had hoped that his son, David would now be nearing the time to take over. Instead, David had never really even held a position there, refusing to work for the money he constantly wasted. On the other hand, Carol, Lewis' daughter, had been actively involved with the company and was now in charge of public relations and advertising and, as far as she was concerned, would one day head Jarconni.

In fact, knowing that David was the assumed heir to the company, she had begun her own private campaign, providing special "favors" to many influential people who could help her. And, if that didn't work, using a tape recorder allowed a little "pressure" to be placed on those individuals...

Sinful Liaisons
Perhaps Danielle had the necessary influence to have David consider his role with the company... Danielle was a top model who had been selected to represent Jarconni. While she worked for Carol, when she saw David in the elevator one day and received his immediate attention, she happily disagreed with Carol and allowed David to stay and  watch the shoot...

The love they shared grew, it was real and soon David could not think of being without her...

Neither of them were aware that Danielle's brother had a history with David, one that involved drugs and David's usual response to trouble--moving fast and getting out, even if others were hurt or killed. Carol's brother had tried to get her out of the relationship, without explaining their background, but Danielle saw what she wanted to see--a wonderful man who would someday owned Jarconni International.

But what actually forced David to finally go to work was blackmail. He either would work, or he would go to jail:
"Nicole stared at David and wondered where she went wrong. "I don't think your father is planning on bailing you out of this one. He plans on leaving you locked up. He is even thinking about allowing you to go to trial and the whole nine yards."
..."David, I think I have the answer."
..."Well, you go and work for your father and learn the business so that you can take his place the way he wants you to. You learn to run Jarconni International and make a decent life for yourself....I know your father would have a change of heart if he thought you were ready to turn your life around."
Nicole's guidance would start the war between her children, ending with the death of one of them...and so much more...

I kept hoping, right up to the end, that things would work out, that there would be some salvation for this family. Only Nicole had been blameless, not knowing of the past until it was too late. Would she have forced David to work at Jarconni if she had known? Or had, really, she loved her children too much and not taken the time to see their true character?

One bright spot in all of the liaisons was a minor character who worked as head of security in Jarconni. Not only had he changed his life around because he knew he had met the right woman for him, but many, many years later, she came back into his life and he swore she would not get away this time. Watch for this little subplot and enjoy!

There is much to learn about life from Sinful Liaisons... What is fantastic is that you really won't realize that until you have completed the book! The drama is fast-paced, totally believable and relevant to today's world, spotlighting a love that was pure and innocent in itself, but unable to be fulfilled within the outside reality in which it lived. Truly memorable and highly recommended. Click on the title of this article to connect with this new author at Facebook... I'm already looking forward to seeing how she can "top" this one!

Book Received Via
Author Marketing Experts, Inc.


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Sunday, July 24, 2011

A. R. Alan Provides Humorous Life Situations for Women (and Men)!

She had overheard Maloney call her
"a fat sausage" when he heard about her
promotion. Now, he was snapping the
photos for her first modeling gig...
hating every minute of it!

Do I Flaunt My Fat,

or Jump Off a Bridge?

By A. R. Alan

There are not too many people these days that are not watching their weight, to a lesser or greater degree. So, if you have found yourself in that situation and have to struggle, then this is the book for you! Really, anybody who enjoys laughing at great humor will find satisfaction reading this novel by A. R. Alan... Highly recommended!

I was once a guest on a cruise provided by a company that went out of business when the owner died. But during the times I had met many of the employees, I did notice something--many, and even most of them, were overweight. I discovered that the company president knew what I did also--overweight people are, generally, very good employees! So I wasn't surprised Mr, Diddles, head of the Diddles, Diddles and Maloney Modeling Agency had noticed Sabina's work ethic as bookkeeper.

Do I Flaunt My Fat, or Jump Off a Bridge?While he awarded her with a raise, a new office and new furniture--was that enough for her to have to take on the problem that both Diddles Junior and Maloney were padding their expense accounts? Diddles Senior wanted to retire soon, but he knew that would not be possible unless he had somebody to take on management of his shares of the company. Sabina Sunday had the background and had proven her it was up to her to see if she could deal with the financial management issues...

Sabina could handled those responsibilities alright, but having overheard Maloney call her a fat sausage had not only hurt her, it had made her mad--mad enough to finally take control of her own life. And the biggest obstacle was her mother... her provider of delicious fattening food...

Sabina, whose original name was Shirley, lived with her mother in a rent-controlled apartment. When she decided to start losing weight, bringing home Jenny Craig supplies, her mother immediately reacted...
"Mama laughed. "We'll see. I'll bet you anything that you won't be able to keep your hands off my apple strudel tonight, or the potato kugel that's baking in the oven. I wanted to cry. I wanted to shout out the insult I was given in the office..."
At the same time both Junior and Maloney were also fuming and yelling about the new approval procedures for gaining authorization for the many social expenses that went along with modeling interviews. But both of the partners had also been using the expense account to wine and dine potential lovers...and everybody knew it...

Sabina realized that she needed help. She joined Weight Watchers. There she met Thomas who admitted to her that he had also joined Overeaters Anonymous...his father was chef of a fabulous Italian restaurant and Thomas' weight was the result of never-ending leftovers... Thomas was a psychiatrist.

Sabina and Thomas agreed to help provide support to each other and soon became friends. Things were going along well for the most part, until one of Thomas' patients was stabbed...
.."That's what I saw on the news before I came to play cards. The reporter said the woman was a midget... "A Chinese midget? Are you saying that a Chines midget woman was stabbed thirty-seven times? ..."Lee was a nymphomaniac. She had lots of boyfriends. Thomas shook his head. "I shouldn't have said that..."
Everybody got involved in trying to find clues, including Sabina's mother and her friends! So, between Sabina's new job, attending weight loss support meetings and trying to keep her mother and friends out of trouble, Sabina was somewhat overwhelmed when Junior came to her one day, in a panic because he had not done his job, and needed Sabina to fill in as a plus-sized model... She was immediately a success--but what did that mean related to her efforts to continue to lose weight?

Plan to cry a little, empathize, sympathize...but most of all laugh with Sabina as she faced a struggle common to many women and men... I loved this one!

I have read two other novels by A. R. Alan, due out soon! If you haven't earlier met her, click on the title of this article and head over to her Facebook page and click "Like." I can guarantee you are going to hear more from her before the end of the year, including Kisses to Die For and Fireflies, two uniquely different novels that surely must be considered for your TBR list!

Book Received
from Publisher


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Friday, July 22, 2011

Prequel to Webs of Power Series An Exciting Addition!

"Why would Mitchell send white roses when he knew...?
A picture of Gran in her coffin flashed before her eyes.
For a moment she doubted herself. Hadn't she
mentioned...? She had. Ashleigh had specifically
told him that white roses reminded her of death..."

Webs of Fate

By Darlene Quinn

Scheduled Out October 1, 2011
Pre-Order Now...

Whew! The Prequel to the Webs of Power series is fantastic! If you haven't read Quinn yet, I encourage you to start with this prequel before moving on to Webs of Power and Twisted Webs (Click to my earlier reviews). It is, of course, a great stand alone novel, but also does provide an earlier look at several of the main characters that brings each even more alive to readers.

Ashleigh McDowell, our main female character, had been engaged before. She had loved Dan dearly and before he died, Ashleigh had promised to look after her sister Danielle Norman. Now years later, Danielle was working as a buyer for Bentleys Royale, while Ashleigh was the leader in the human resources area and had done much to ensure personnel issues were routinely and quietly handled. She was well respected by all, even though none of them really knew her secret connection to Bentleys Royale.

Webs of Fate
Now, Danielle has disappeared and there were signs that she may have been attacked and taken from Bentleys...

But there are also signs of major financial tampering in her sales area--was she responsible for the thefts or  had she discovered what somebody else had done and been taken because of that knowledge?

Fighting against Danielle's supervisor who immediately wanted her fired and replaced, Ashleigh realized that they needed to find Danielle to really prove her innocence. But she was met with resistance from everybody, including Mitchell, her fiancee, who was just too selfish to have time taken away from him, even for Ashleigh to help a close friend.

As the investigation continued however, Mitchell became involved personally when one of his investments, Medley Originals, was named as one of the vendors who apparently was involved in the embezzlement.

"Ashleigh fingered through the Medley Originals sweaters, which were displayed in new Lucite bins, and looked up when the associate returned from the dressing room, her dark eyes filled with enthusiasm. She pointed to her special twenty-four-karat, gold-plated associates' badge with two sparkling diamond chips, which identified Angela as a member of the honorary Hundred-Thousand-Dollar-Cl;ub. Though inflation had more than doubled the average sale over the past two decades, for the sake of morale, the sales requirement for the honorary club had not been raised..."

Amid the constant daily business life of the struggling but highly recognized Bentleys Royale, readers see the beginnings of corporate takeovers, merging, and loss of autonomy by the leaders of individual stores. One man, in fact, Conrad Taylor, had already been brought in and was overseeing activities at Bentleys. But he also one night met Ashleigh outside the home of Danielle Norman, both there to try to find some reason, some understanding of what Danielle has gotten herself into. Ashleigh finds herself attracted to him, even as she becomes more sure that she cannot marry Mitchell Wainwright. What she can't understand is why Conrad is personally involved and, even more, why he has access to Danielle's home...

However, when Ashleigh becomes the target of death attempts, she is glad Conrad has her back!

Webs of Fate is the best of Quinn's books, in my opinion, providing an outstanding drama and excellent murder mystery. The fact that it also provides a solid background to this series is a bonus. Having read the entire series, knowing that each are powerful novels, I choose this as my favorite just because I enjoy the whodunit aspect wherever I find it! For corporate power action and suspense, the entire series must be applauded. It is clear that the author has a solid background in the world of department store management. This latest novel shows her expanding beyond her, perhaps, comfort zone into the mystery/suspense genre. Certainly a success! Highly recommended...

Book Received
from publisher


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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Adult Novel Witty Erotic Satire of Well-Known British Story...

"Elizabeth did not know which was more unpleasant--the sight of her mother or that of her sister Mary, whose moustache had now been joined by a beard..."

"One Morning Mr. Bennet announced
to his family that a guest would be arriving
at Longbourn. "I have received a letter from
my cousin, William Collins, who, when I am dead,
may turn you all out of this house as soon
as he pleases,.."
Pride and Prejudice:

Hidden Lusts

By Mitzi Szereto

I admit I decided to read and review this book out of curiosity because I had never read the original Pride and Prejudice given my business education and background. After reading the book, I did a little research and confirmed that this book does faithfully follow the original story line. Check out an excellent overview plus an interesting relationship diagram of the characters. Let me quickly say that any potential reader should understand that the book primarily consists of that specified in the subtitle. Indeed, I would say that it probably should have been the main title, as that is the predominant theme...

What I am saying is that nearly every character in this novel will be sharing their hidden lusts...with you... If you don't want to read these erotic thoughts and actions, please don't buy the book.

The most fascinating thing about the book I found was the seamless way in which Szereto has merged her contributions. While I didn't compare the actual wording, I believe the tone and majority of the concepts are true to the original story that spotlights on a family by the name of Bennet who has five unmarried daughters. As the father contemplates their future, he realizes that, should he die, they will be homeless since even their home would be inherited by the next male in the family.

Mr. Collins, in fact, has also been thinking about this, but for his own reasons. Through support from a wealthy woman in his small town, he has been named rectory of Hunsford parish. But stories have started to circulate about his involvement with the young boys of the congregation and his benefactor Lady Catherine de Bourgh has demanded he get married and settle into proper married life.

Having some sense of familial responsibility, Mr. Collins decides that one of the daughters of the Bennet family would undoubtedly fit his needs. He chooses the second oldest daughter, Elizabeth, after being told that Jane, the oldest was already involved. And thus it began...

Pictures of high society women's fashion during those days has always amused me, given the propensity for the decolletage and the willingness to place a woman's breast out for view. When I saw this caricature, it so fit with the Hidden Lusts that run rampant in this adaptation that I had to include it. For surely even other women sometimes doddled:

"Elizabeth, finding herself rather annoyed at her sister, rejoined her friend Miss Lucas... Charlotte's fingers once more sought out Elizabeth's arm, stroking the exposed flesh above her glove in a manner that was not at all displeasing, particularly when they quite by accident brushed against her bosom, seeming to remain at that vicinity far longer than was prudent...

In fact, Elizabeth was quite distraught that Mr. Darcy, about whom she could not decided whether she hated or loved him,  was being pursued by a woman of his own class, who wore this type of gown, offended Elizabeth:

"That she had chosen again so inappropriate a gown to wear in mixed company was a source of amazement to Elizabeth, who considered it most impolitic for a lady to place on display the areolae. Unless she was very much mistaken, Miss Bingley appeared to have applied some form of rouge to them..." 

Readers, don't even attempt to get seriously involved in the trials and tribulations of young girls who face the possibility of being homeless unless they find suitable husbands, and, preferably, someone with whom they would fall in love. This is a racy romp that is funny--perhaps just because it is a satire of a much-loved novel?

The outrageous humor kept my interest throughout most of the novel, although toward the end it was getting a bit much for me. Still, for the appropriate adult audience, I must add my agreement that Ms. Szereto has, while honoring the original manuscript, done an excellent job in inserting those hidden lusts that could very well have been in in the minds of each and every character from the original novel. Readers--you know who you are...

Book Received
From Publisher


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Walter Ramsay's Mystery Sizzles with Suspense and Mystic Revelation!

CampfireImage by JelleS via Flickr
"Tucker for the first time, had a clear view
of his great-great-uncle. His long hair
was raven black, his body tanned and
muscular. His face had sharp, distinctive
features. The high cheekbones, slim nose,
and wide, almond-shaped eyes gave him
a unique look. Tucker was astounded to
see his ancestor at such close range.
Osci sat cross-legged with the palms of
his hands resting on his knees. Tucker
was drawn to the opposite site of the fire...
'My nephew, Osci started, 'You are my
chosen one..." (p. 154)
Beneath the Dune

By Walter Ramsay

What a very cool book! I loved the concept, the merge of history and American Indian mysticism and the acquisition of justice, albeit after hundreds of years...

"Oh, there was a time when big things were planned for me. But wow, how things had changed. A budding star on the court and my extended future resting on bigger things to come later on in the newsroom. I had my sights set on being the guy to sign autographs and in my later years be the announcer who says, 'At the buzzer, what a shot to win it all! Your new NSA champions are...!' Damn, ESPN would have loved me." (p. 6)

Losing a planned career in the sports arena can follow you through the rest of your life. For Tucker Lee Anderson, it had resulted in his working sports for a local paper, which was even limited to just community and high school news! "This was my purgatory. High school and recreational sports, no coverage of college or pros. That was our policy." (p. 9)

Beneath the DuneSo Tucker spent a lot of his time cruising, drinking and flirting...and ignoring calls from his ex for child support. It didn't matter that he was living in a trailer and she and the kids were now with their stepfather and living in a million-dollar home...

But readers will see a major change in him when he is asked to cover for another reporter and provide a news story when the remains of a baby were found in the dunes...

His boss and the police thought it was the body of the last victim of a serial killer. It seemed like old news to many of the news agencies, so his boss decided to have Tucker interview Ed Ventara, who was already scheduled for the death penalty. Not only did Ventara assure Tucker that the body was not that of his last victim, but he was found dead in his cell soon after, supposedly from suicide.

Besides by then Tucker knew how and when the baby had been killed...

He had been visited by his ancestor through a series of dreams that had taken him back to around the time of the civil war. His ancestor had fell in love with a white woman who had been married off by her father, thinking he would be providing protection and family for her during the war. The husband had been cruel before he too left for the war. Osci was gentle and wonderful and their love brought forth a child...

But the final ruling announced was that the child was Ventara's final victim and the cold case was officially closed...What Tucker and his connections had determined to be true--that the body was too old to have been Ventara's victim, for instance, was falsified by higher officials. Even his boss, who had been looking for a big story now told Tucker to back off. But Tucker now had a purpose to his life, one that was important to him and his family. All he had to do was figure out how to ensure this cover up not only was not permitted, but that he could fulfill his promise to his ancestors that justice was done!  

Walter Ramsay not only provides a remarkable main character who I hope will be seen in future books, but his addition of important strategic "honest" people in positions where they were able to assist in solving a crime that was being covered up by those high enough to ensure lies were told, provided a much-needed moral to the story that corruption cannot be carried on forever and justice will ultimately be served... Given some of the  stories in today's headlines, I found solace in Ramsay's main characters, knowing that, in the end, justice will indeed prevail... A great whodunit, but even more, a literary historical fiction novel worthy of consideration by all.

Book Received Via
Bostick Communications


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Monday, July 18, 2011

Fun, Light Adventure for Late Teens!

"I have to agree with Massimo, you two.
I've seen a lot as a psychic-medium,
but I've never heard of a historical doll encased
in a glass box in a building moving itself
and causing a motorcycle accident to
injure someone who'd posed in a picture with it."
Ghost Huntress:

The Discovery

By Marley Gibson

I enjoy Ghost Whisperer on television, so I thought this book might be interesting even though I hadn't read any of the series. The book stands well on its own and presents a story line well grounded in "today's" teen life, including school, dating, texting, etc. A number of students, however, have formed a group of ghost hunters--not just for fun, but to actually provide professional support for those who are haunted. Of course, there are some requests that are just toooooo weird:

"Oh, you'll love this one. We've gotten an e-mail from this guy in Savannah who insists that he has a 'haunted sandwich' in his house," ... "One James Pendergrass reports that he made a ham sandwich for his son, Jeffrey, age seven, two weeks ago, and before his son could eat it, a Civil War soldier came up out of the floor in his kitchen and went into the sandwich...Mr. Pendergrass claims that this turned the sandwich into a ghost and it's now haunting him."

This bit of comic relief comes throughout the book, bringing a smile or two. However, I did have to wonder why this group didn't "do" something in response to the request--do you just ignore somebody who has responded to your ad? My professional side felt everybody was owed at least an acknowledgment, even though I did enjoy the occasion break.

Ghost Huntress Book 5: The DiscoveryKendall Moorehead is the main character. She is an orphan who was fortunate to be adopted by a wonderful supportive family. Kendall had recently begun to look for her birth father, based upon some guidance she had received...Kendall is psychic and apparently is very good at using her gift. But this time, the information was leading her to seek out a family member of, hopefully, her father. This side story is an intriguing addition and provided info on this important potential use of DNA testing.

The group's interest in older homes and the potential of ghost activity merges with homework when a historical display, focusing on the town's haunted past, was scheduled and a teacher required they attend and write a paper.

Anything that could potentially give off the appropriate vibes on their equipment was of interest to the ghost hunters, but when they learned that Xander the Doll was going to be part of the display, everybody knew they had to see him! The old doll was said to be cursed and was known to be found in places where he was not last placed and that household items had been destroyed, apparently by the doll. One of the ways to stir up trouble was by taking a picture of the doll...

And that's exactly what happened when one of the students decided to include pictures in her paper...

Those who participated in the picture taking began to have accidents and were told to write to the doll. When one of the most popular girls in town didn't take the time to write a letter of apology (yes, I'm serious). she was killed in an accident.

Then she became a ghost who helped Kendall since her gifts also included talking to the dead...

I liked the addition of a religious character who provided acceptance and support for the group. The supernatural is not something to delve into at any age, so I appreciated the author's awareness and inclusion of this character's guidance for our young ones. When you just spotlight what actually happened, and at least one individual being killed, it seems questionable whether they book is a suitable read for 12+ as listed. For me, late teens should be the target age for the book.

Still, for the appropriate age group, I found the book fun, different, and thoroughly enjoyable. The mix of a number of paranormal characters and situations might have been a "bit much," but the story moved quickly and engaged interest through to the very end, that even included many former slaves being guided into the light... If you enjoy paranormal stories, then this one should definitely be considered for its light entertainment value as opposed to indepth paranormal issues. Have fun and enjoy...

Friday, July 15, 2011

James Becker Series Includes Funny, Talented Husband/Wife Team!

Crystal methamphetamineImage via Wikipedia
"Though he was an American soldier, 
Fuentes considered his Ranger team
 a covert element in the larger conflict
 between the Mexican people and the cartels.
 This was a war he knew
 he would be fighting for a long time,
 whether under the American flag or not."

The Covert Element:

A James Becker Thriller

By John L. Betcher

I continue to so much enjoy John Betcher's  Series, especially when Beth, his wife, takes part in solving the crime. James and Beth are fun to get to know through scenes such as this: 

"What have you been doing while I was at work anyway?" Beth asked, assuming a defensive posture."
"Pretty much rolling around in the neighbor's sand box. Why? Is there something unsavory about me?"
"I'd say you're pretty much out of savor. Now go get cleaned up so I can show you what I found."
With a bow and a doff of my imaginary cap, I was off to the shower. I knew Beth thought the cap thing was stupid. But far as vices go, a quirky doff isn't so bad.

The Covert Element: A James Becker Thriller (Volume 3)Beth's background is CIA and has extensive computer skills that were very much needed.  Beck had been called by Doug Gunderson (Gunner), Ottawa County Chief Deputy Sheriff, to meet him at the site where a meth lab had been destroyed. More importantly, the "twenty-odd murder victims lined up outside" appeared to be execution style, perhaps gang related...

Information about what might be happening comes through Beck's friend and sometimes investigative assistant, Bull. His former sarge in the Rangers, had called, asking for help. He had told Bull there had been a massacre and that he was sure the Mexican Drug Cartel was involved. Beck knew that the police had not released any information about the meth lab deaths and immediately was suspicious how Bull's friend could know. 

When Bull asked Beck to be in on the meeting with Fuentes, he agreed, hoping to gain further information. 

Meth labs could be built/maintained within the US borders, thus improving quantity and saving both transportation and patrol problems. The head of the Mexican cartel had moved into the Minnesota area without anybody knowing it. Mexicans had been in the state for many years and were accepted by the people in the small surrounding towns. Now one lab had been destroyed--perhaps by another cartel? But there was also a major lab, ingeniously hidden within another organization--but where was it? At least one individual knew, was it the same one who had murdered those near the lab that had already been destroyed?

Tackling a major, known problem within the United States is just what James Becker would have done had he still be working, wherever he had worked...So even if he was now retired, Beck was still in there, doing what he does best to support the USA.

Influence of the Mexican Drug Cartel
Follow the potential life of one Mexican-American individual who dedicated his life to eliminating the Drug Cartels. John Betcher's choice to use this character is intriguing, allowing us to see into the heart of many Mexicans who are just as concerned, or maybe even more so, about the influence of drugs in the United States and throughout the world. I commend John for this effort and look forward to future important books in this series. Highly recommended.

Book Provided Via
Facebook Reviewers Roundup


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