Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Reunion by Marina Martindale

Title: The Reunion
Author: Marina Martindale

Publisher: Arizona Living History Press, LLC

Published Date: December 21, 2011 

Buy on Amazon:
Paperback / Kindle 

Author Website:

Synopsis from Back Cover:

Gillian Matthews is becoming famous in the art world. All her hard work has finally paid off and her paintings are being sold in several prestigious art galleries. Yet in spite of her success and accomplishments, one thing has always eluded her—true love. Then one night, during her opening at a Denver art gallery, a man from her past suddenly and unexpectedly appears. Her long lost true love. The one man she never forgot, never got over, and never expected to ever see again. Has her old flame come to wish her well?  Or are his intentions less than pure?

My Thoughts:

Marina Martindale's The Reunion, is a great romantic read for the upcoming fall and winter season.  If you are a romance lover, you must check out this novel.  Set in present day Denver, Gillian (a thriving artist who owns her own art gallery in Phoenix) travels to Colorado to show her artwork at a local gallery.  However, her world turns upside down when her ex-lover, Ian, makes an appearance at her opening night show hoping to reconnect.  Twenty-five years have passed since he broke things off with her after graduating college, and Gillian was never truly able to get over him.  While time has passed and life has changed both Ian and Gillian, their chemistry is still as strong as ever.  Will Gillian let Ian back into her life?  And if she does, will he walk out on her for a second time? 

I really enjoyed the different storylines that were present in The Reunion.  There was truly never a dull moment.  From the start of their reconciled friendship, Ian and Gillian did not have an easy go of it.  It seemed that at every turn life was throwing them curve balls.  In order to have a lasting future together, the two must survive Gillian's homicidal ex-husband, Ian's bold ex-wife and two young adult sons, and manage to get over their own insecurities and doubts.

The plot twists in The Reunion truly surprised me.  Martindale kept me on the edge of my seat because it felt that as one crisis passed something else happened.  I believe the part of The Reunion that I enjoyed the most was Gillian's friendship (or romance?) with Ian's oldest son Jeremy.  Twenty-one year old Jeremy reminds Gillian of how Ian was when he was that age.  I really liked reading about how their relationship evolved.  I also found it interesting how Ian reacted to the closeness between Jeremy and Gillian.  Ian brought everything upon himself, and yet he still found himself jealous of his son's relationship with his ex. 

I recommend Marina Martindale's The Reunion to all romance genre lover's.  Gillian and Ian's love story will grab you from the start.  As the weather gets colder, treat yourself to a relaxing evening by curling up in front of your fireplace or soaking in a warm bubble bath while reading The Reunion.  You won't be sorry!

Marina Martindale
Marina Martindale has provided me with a complimentary copy of her book, The Reunion, for the purpose of review.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Blog Tour- Guest Post from Author Clare C. Marshall


Guest Post from Author Clare C. Marshall

 On October 11th, Clare C. Marshall's novel The Violet Fox was released on Kindle.  I am very excited to present to you a Guest Blog Post by Clare!  Enjoy!!!!!

Title: The Violet Fox

Author: Clare C. Marshall
Publisher: Faery Ink Press

Published Date: October 11, 2012

Buy on Amazon: Kindle


There are two kinds of people in the land of Marlenia.  The Marlenians, who live on the surface, and the Freetors, who are forced to live underground.

The war between them ended two hundred years ago, but the Freetors still fight for the right to live under the sun. Fifteen-year-old Kiera Driscoll embodies the Freetors’ hopes as the Violet Fox. In a violet cape and mask, she sneaks around Marlenia City stealing food and freeing her people from slavery.

Then the Elders task her with a secret mission: retrieve a stolen tome that contains the secrets of Freetor magic, something the Marlenians both fear and covet. Kiera must disguise herself as a noblewoman and infiltrate the Marlenian castle before the Freetor-hating Advisor finds out her real identity, before her brother is imprisoned because of the secrets he hides, and before she falls any more in love with the prince she’s supposed to hate.

More is happening in the castle than she realizes, and Kiera is faced with a difficult choice. Will she be loyal to her people and their fight for freedom, or will she be loyal to her heart?

"The Difference Between Literary and Genre Fiction.  Does it Matter?"
by Guest Writer Clare C. Marshall

I was never really taught the “real” meaning of what literary fiction is. It wasn’t really until I started researching the publishing world that I cared. I knew what I liked: science fiction, fantasy, horror, but most importantly: stories about people that I could care about, doing important but difficult things. That’s pretty broad, I know. But there are a lot of books out there that don’t have characters that the reader can care about, or do things that jolt the reader out of the created reality, making them say, “What?” But back to the definition of literary fiction.

I once asked one of my publishing friends, and while we struggled to come up with an all-encompassing definition, we managed this: literary fiction is a story that has multiple layers of meaning, and explore deeper themes in the narrative. It’s a “serious” work and often has dark tones, and usually has a slower pace than a genre story. They are also often critically acclaimed.

Genre fiction, instead of focusing on a larger theme and having a serious tone, is more defined by the rules within a narrative. For example, science fiction usually takes place in space, or in the future, or uses technology or science in a way that it isn’t in real life. Horror fiction usually means someone is going to die, or you have to have tension that makes the reader feel on edge or scared. You could also define genre fiction as stories that are written to please a wide variety of audiences.

Personally, I dislike these distinctions. I prefer to think of literary fiction as its own genre. Just because a book is “literary” doesn’t mean it’s better than a genre fiction book. Genre fiction can just as easily explore big ideas. Just look at science fiction! I guess I’m biased because I prefer genre fiction, and I read to escape and enjoy new worlds, not to purposely think about big ideas (but if that happens by accident, that’s just part of the fun of reading).

Overall, it doesn’t really matter to me where a book is set, or how a bookstore or a publisher or an author defines the category in which he or she writes. What matters is the plot, how it’s told, and the characters that participate in or drive the story. Because when it comes down to it, how the reader becomes immersed the story is the most important measure of how much he or she enjoys the book. 

Clare C. Marshall

**Other Information**

Clare is doing a giveaway as part of the blog tour. A lucky winner will receive a physical copy of The Violet Fox, an ebook copy, a handmade journal with a retail value of $35, and some Faery Ink Press SWAG!

Social Media Links:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ClareMarshall13

You can purchase The Violet Fox from:

**The Violet Fox is also available in select Canadian bookstores. See http://www.faeryinkpress.com/books to see which ones currently stock it**

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Grace Unexpected by Gale Martin

Title: Grace Unexpected
Author: Gale Martin

Publisher: Booktrope Editions

Published Date: July 2, 2012 

Buy on Amazon:
Paperback / Kindle 

Author Website: 

Synopsis from Back Cover:

Thirty-something Grace Savage has slogged through crummy jobs and dead-end relationships with men who would rather go bald than say “I do”. In search of respite from her current job, she visits Shaker Village in New Hampshire. Instead of renewal, she’s unnerved to learn that Shaker men and women lived and worked side by side in complete celibacy. 

When her longtime boyfriend dumps her instead of proposing, Grace avows the sexless Shaker ways. Resolved to stick to her new plan – dubbed the Shaker Plan – despite ovaries ticking like time bombs, she returns to her life in Pennsylvania. Almost immediately, she's juggling two eligible bachelors: Addison, a young beat reporter; and True, a venerable anthropology professor. Both men have ample charms and soul mate potential to test her newfound Shaker-style self-control, and Grace appears to be on the fast track to a marriage proposal… until secrets revealed deliver a death rattle to the Shaker Plan.

My Thoughts:

Gale Martin's Grace Unexpected is a quick and hilarious contemporary read that left me wanting more.  Revolving around Grace Savage's love and professional life, Grace Unexpected shows readers what a newly single, 'cougar' goes through when trying to find the perfect man to settle down with.  

Grace's world is turned upside down on her 35th birthday by none other than her love.  Expecting an engagement ring from her boyfriend, she instead gets the boot in a very unconventional way (my mouth was hanging open reading it go down!)  Grace concludes that she has had enough of her doomed love life and sex crazed men.  Drastic times call for drastic measures, and Grace decides that she is going to go on the 'Shaker Plan,' a plan she dreamed up after learning that Shakers were celibate while working side by side with the opposite sex.  No more wild, partying ways; instead Grace swears off men and sex until she finds 'the one.'  She also decides this could help her advance her career where she works in a local college's University Relations office.

As luck would have it, as soon as Grace implements her Shaker Plan she meets two men.  Addison and True are two completely opposite, intelligent, and sexy bachelors that want Grace.  However, both men are out of her normal dating age range.  Addison is a twenty-four year old reporter who is staying at the college Grace works at.  True is a sixty-something Anthropology Professor Grace meets while auditing his class.  As both men romance her, Grace realizes her Shaker Plan may not be all that it is cracked up to be. 

One of my favorite characters in Grace Unexpected is Goody, Grace's assistant.  Young, hip, and witty, Goody lends an ear when Grace needs someone to vent to and is her partner in crime.  I loved that he always had something clever to say and was laugh out loud funny. 

I was happy with how Grace Unexpected ended, yet it left me wanting more.  I wish it would have shown a snippet of Grace's future relationship.  My finger's are crossed for a Grace Unexpected 2...or maybe Grace Expecting!

I absolutely LOVED Gale Martin's, Grace Unexpected and recommend it to anyone who loves chick lit.  Grace Unexpected has it all: sexual frustration, great friendships, witty dialogue, hilarious scenes, and even a shocking twist thrown in that will shock you!  Do yourself a favor and read this great book, you won't be disappointed!

Gale Martin
Gale Martin has provided me with a complimentary copy of her book, Grace Unexpected, for the purpose of review.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Hour of Predators by Lane Stark

Title: The Hour of Predators
Author: Lane Stark

Publisher: Lane Stark

Published Date: November 18, 2011 

Buy on Amazon:
Paperback / Kindle 

Author Website: 

Synopsis from Back Cover:
It was the hour of prowling bears, circling nightowls, vengeful spirits, and savage hearts. It was the hour of predators.

Two gruesome murders have shocked and divided the community of Bella Coola, a small, isolated village in a remote river valley on the coast of British Columbia. The evidence points to a teenaged Nuxalk boy, and the simmering tension between whites and tribe members heats up.  RCMP Inspector Marcus Chao must sort through misleading clues, cultural conflicts, tangled relationships, sexual scandals, and even rumors of sorcery to find the truth.

My Thoughts:

Lane Stark's, The Hour of Predators, is a thought provoking murder mystery set in the small fishing village of Bella Coola, British Columbia.  Tensions start to escalate between the native Nuxalk Indian's and white community when two white men are murdered by what looks like Daniel, a young Nuxalk boy.  Marcus, a member of the Vancouver RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) is assigned to the case and realizes there is more than meets the eye as he starts to dig around and speak with the people of Bella Coola.  With one twist after another, The Hour of Predators is sure to keep you on your toes and wanting more.

There were several characters in The Hour of Predators that grabbed me from the get go. Claire Lester is a stunning young Nuxalk girl who has dreams of escaping to the big city of Vancouver.  She wants to be successful and powerful not due to her looks, but her intelligence.  However, her reality is that she lives with her elderly, yet scary, great-grandmother in a house where time has stood still.  Claire must quit school in order to work as a janitor in the local elementary to provide for her younger siblings.  Daniel, the breadwinner for his younger siblings and alcoholic father, has loved Claire since they were children.  A responsible and hardworking young man, Daniel soon finds himself the key suspect in the murders of two local men.  With all of the evidence pointing towards him, he is not worried about clearing his name, rather keeping Claire safe.  

Gemma, a linguist from Vancouver, spent some time in Bella Coola studying the Nuxalk language.  While there she grew very close to the young Daniel and mentored him.  Gemma also got to know the beautiful Claire and her family.  When her ex-husband (whom she still loves) asks for her help in translating phrases at the murder scenes, Gemma finds herself torn between her Vancouver life and helping the friends she made during her time in the small village.

 I, personally, am not a huge fan of mystery novels.  They have just never been my 'thing.'  This being said, I started Stark's novel with a bit of trepidation.  However, any worries I at first had disappeared as I started reading The Hour of Predators.  Stark's novel is not just a murder mystery, it has romance, historical content, and some paranormal elements thrown in. I really enjoyed all of this book, and it kept me on my toes as I tried to figure out just what was going on in the town of Bella Coola.  I also found myself invested in the relationship between Marcus and his ex-wife Gemma, as well as many of the characters, including Claire and Daniel. 

I definitely recommend Lane Stark's The Hour of Predators to all fiction lovers.  I truly believe her book has something for all readers, as it delves into a story full of mystery, family ties, suspense, Nuxalk ancient traditions, romance, and even a little sorcery.  I am looking forward to the second book in Lane Stark's Marcus Chao Mystery series, A Premature Death. 

Lane Stark
Lane Stark has provided me with a complimentary copy of her book, The Hour of Predators, for the purpose of review.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Diary of a One Night Stand by Alexandrea Weis

Title: Diary of a One Night Stand
Author: Alexandrea Weis

Publisher: World Castle Publishing

Published Date: July 25, 2012 

Buy on Amazon: Paperback / Kindle 

Author Website:  http://www.alexandreaweis.com/

Synopsis from Back Cover:
Resilient and practical, Kara Barton has continually strived to live a respectable life. She went to college, embarked on a promising career as an attorney, married a great guy, and always appeared to be the perfect wife and mother. But all is not what it seems, and the troubling past Kara has been running from her entire life is about to catch up with her. 
Urged on by her insecurities about growing older, and desperately wanting to feel one more night of passion, Kara agrees to share a tryst in a hotel room with a sexy business associate, Scott Ellsworth. But Scott wants more than one night together, and Kara quickly discovers it is impossible to resist him. Soon Kara finds herself transformed into the kind of woman she vowed never to become, and the secure world she has struggled all her life to build begins to fall apart. 
Kara Barton is about to find out how a one-night stand can change everything.

My Thoughts:

Alexandrea Weis' Diary of a One Night Stand could easily be placed in both the romance and chick lit genres.  Kara, the main character, is a forty something year old wife and mother with a great law career. On the outside looking in, it appears that Kara has the perfect life.  However, after her husband, Cal, has emergency heart surgery, Kara begins to feel a detachment in her marriage.  After months of unhappiness, bickering, and going through the motions in order to keep the status quo, Kara meets Scott Ellsworth.  Scott is the playboy (or playman) of New Orleans, with a bedpost full of notches.  Scott quickly sets his eyes on Kara as his latest conquest.  Kara makes a hard decision and feels that she deserves one night, and one night only, of passion with a stranger.  However, she soon realizes that for her there are no such thing as one night stands. 

Weis did a great job in setting up the love triangle in Diary of a One Night Stand.  I feel that Weis wanted readers to have trouble deciding who Kara should be with.  At first I really disliked Cal.  He was a bully with a bad temper, a workaholic, and a middle aged man who had for all intents and purposes 'let himself go.'  In the beginning Scott was a breath of fresh air.  He was handsome, respectful, and intelligent.  However, as the book progressed I began to be Team Cal for many reasons.  It was very hard for me to get past the fact that Kara was married with a child and had vowed to be with Cal through sickness and in health.   

I found it interesting how Kara's mother, Helen, had always bad mouthed Cal (who she not so affectionately nicknamed 'The Ogre.')  For years it was the same thing: Helen disliked Cal and Cal detested Helen; neither of them were afraid to let Kara know precisely how they felt about the other.  However, I was very surprised to see the role Helen played in Kara and Cal's marriage towards the end of the book.  Cal began calling Helen for advice and Helen quickly saw that Cal did indeed love Kara.  During a particularly heated conversation between Kara and her mother, Helen said, "The ones that stick around after everythin' has become routine are the good ones.  I was never fortunate enough to find one of those men, but you found one in Cal.  The guy left holdin' your hand when life turns to shit is the man you should give your heart to...when you know your child is makin' the same mistakes you did, you step in.  That's what I'm doin', Kara...You think long and hard about the life you're gonna have with that rich man, and then you think about what you gave up with the ogre." (Weis 222-223)  To me this conversation really pointed out to me how astute Helen was.  Helen was far from the greatest mother in the world, but she began to pull herself together once Kara was an adult.  Helen's advice made me realize that she did love her daughter and wanted her to have what she herself failed to maintain- a life long partner who loved her.

The end of Diary of a One Night Stand really threw me for a loop.  I did not see the ending coming at all and was really blown away!  I actually wish that there would have been one or two more chapters at the end because Weis really left me wanting more!  I also enjoyed how Kara came full circle and was able to finally find true happiness and contentment.  Diary of a One Night Stand is definitely different from your typical romance book, instead it revolves around Kara, Cal, their daughter, and Scott.  Finally, I enjoyed feeling the anger, happiness, sadness, and confusion that Weis' characters felt.  Alexandrea Weis' Diary of a One Night Stand is definitely a book that I recommend, it is a great read. 

Alexandrea Weis has provided me with a complimentary copy of her book, Diary of a One Night Stand, for the purpose of review.