Thursday, May 30, 2013

Acadian Waltz by Alexandrea Weis

Title: Acadian Waltz
Author: Alexandrea Weis

World Castle Publishing

Published Date: January 2, 2013

Buy on Amazon: Paperback & Kindle

Author Website:


At thirty, Nora Kehoe is feeling pressured to settle down. On a blind date, Nora unexpectedly ends up in the emergency room where she meets Dr. John Blessing. She hopes the pragmatic Dr. Blessing can make her life complete. Then, a passionate encounter with a childhood friend changes everything.

The charismatic Jean Marc Gaspard manages the family business, Gaspard Fisheries. But rumors abound that Jean Marc is running more than seafood through the waters around Manchac Louisiana. When a family crisis sends Nora to Manchac, she is thrown headlong into the dangerous world of smugglers and swindlers. And as Jean Marc tries to protect Nora from his past, he realizes he may lose her because of it.

The dark bayou waters run deep with secrets in Louisiana, and every Cajun knows how to dance the fine line between the right and wrong side of the law. But for strangers, learning the steps to staying alive in the swamps can be tricky. Life, and love, will be dependent on how well one can master the … Acadian Waltz
My Thoughts:
Acadian Waltz, by Alexandrea Weis, is a romance novel set in and around current New Orleans.  Acadian Waltz is the second book of Alexandrea Weis' that I have read and reviewed.  The first novel of her's that I read was Diary of A One Night Stand (my review can be found at  I really enjoyed Diary of A One Night Stand and was excited to read another novel from Weis.  Acadian Waltz did not disappoint! 

Acadian Waltz centers around Nora, a happy and successful Physical Therapist in Louisiana.  While her life is full, at the pressuring of her affluent mother Nora finds herself on one blind date after another to catch 'the one.'  When it seems next to impossible to find a suitable husband, fate brings Nora together with Dr. John Blessing.  Nora has seemingly found the picture perfect man and her mother couldn't be happier.  

After a short courtship, Nora finds herself engaged to John and starts to realize that marriage is supposed to be more than a business arrangement.  While John is perfect marriage material, Nora uneasily realizes that they are missing the 'spark' to keep the relationship exciting.  To her bewilderment, Nora happens to stumble upon the so called 'spark' with Jean Marc, her uncle's boss and her long time rival.  Will Nora settle for the good Doctor or throw everything away to be with the dangerous Jean Marc?

My favorite character in Acadian Waltz is easily Nora's Uncle Jack.  A lifelong shrimper and fisherman, Jack is the total opposite of his snooty sister Claire (Nora's mother).  Jack is down to earth, hard working, tells it like it is, and often drinks too much.  He also acted as a second father to Nora when her own dad passed away when she was a child.  As soon as Jack meets Dr. John Blessing he makes his opinion known to Nora.  He sees right away that the passion is missing and is worried for his niece.  In addition, Jack plays a vital role in reuniting Nora and Jean Marc after he has an accident which throws the two rivals together.

Weis' Acadian Waltz is a captivating read which I finished in one sitting.  From the get go I found myself pulling for the mysterious Jean Marc and disliking the boring and bossy Doctor John Blessing.  I also enjoyed how the culture of New Orleans played a huge role in Weis' novel.  There are many twists and turns in Acadian Waltz, and the ending surprised me very muchIf you are looking for an interesting summer read, Acadian Waltz by Alexandrea Weis is for you!     

Alexandrea Weis

The author has provided me with a complimentary copy of her book, Acadian Waltz, for the purpose of review.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Dark Water by Jen Talty

Title: Dark Water: NY State Trooper Series Book II
Author: Jen Talty

Publisher: Cool Gus Publishing

Published Date: November 15, 2012

Buy on Amazon: Paperback & Kindle

Author Website:


Lacy DeGeorgio never imagined she'd have to be responsible for anyone but herself. She's strong, stubborn and fiercely independent. She needs no one. She's a woman determined to do things her way, on her own. But when a freak boating accident takes her sister Hannah's life, Lacy finds herself not only back in her hometown of Lake George, New York, but in a custody battle for her eleven-year-old nephew, Andy. Just when things couldn't get any worse, pesky State Trooper Frank Harmon starts showing up, tearing down all her defenses, making her want things she's never wanted before. She'll trust him with her nephew, but can she trust him with her heart? 
New York State Trooper Frank Harmon is a man of honor and duty. He's always done things by the book, believing the law always works in favor of those who uphold it. Until the day he took a domestic disturbance call at the DeGeorgio trailer, and even though he knew something bad was about to happen, he had to walk away. Two days later, he pulled Hannah DeGeorgio's body from the icy cold waters of Lake George, changing his life forever. He sets out to make sure Hannah's killer is brought to justice and in the process makes a home for a family he thought he never wanted.
My Thoughts:

Dark Water: NY State Trooper Series Book II, by Jen Talty, is a great novel featuring plenty of romance, suspense, and tender moments.  I enjoyed Dark Water from the moment it began until it ended.  Since this is the first novel I have read in the
NY State Trooper Series I was a little concerned.  I normally like to read a series in the correct order, however Dark Water is most definitely a stand alone novel.  

Dark Water centers around the characters of Lacy, Frank, and Andy.  Lacy escaped the small town she grew up in after her father was murdered.  After some bumps in the road, she began to make a great life for herself in Las Vegas.  However, her life comes crashing down around her when she receives a call that her sister was found at the bottom of a lake.  Afraid that there was foul play, Lacy rushes back to her hometown to get custody of her eleven year old nephew, Andy.  What she faces when she returns home is a cold investigation, a scarily different Andy, and her sister's estranged husband battling her for custody of a son he doesn't care for.

Lacy begins to fear that Andy knows more than he is saying regarding his mother's death as he becomes withdrawn and rebellious.  Fearing that Taylor, Andy's father, is holding something over his son's head, Lacy turns to the police where she finds no answers.  However, Sergeant Frank comes into their lives as he develops feelings for Lacy and bonds with Andy.  Frank soon realizes that he has his work cut out for him as accidents keep happening around Lacy.  Frank decides that no one is going to harm either Lacy or Andy on his watch, and whoever is trying to frame Lacy for wrongdoings around town better be prepared.       

One of my favorite parts of Talty's novel was Lacy's relationship with her nephew, Andy.  While he matured a lot since his mother's death, he was still an eleven year old boy at heart who needed someone to be in his corner and love him.  Lacy was determined to fight tooth and nail to get custody of Andy, and build a secure and happy life for him.  It was easy to see throughout Dark Water how much Lacy and Andy loved and relied upon each other.  While Andy was sullen and rebellious much of the time, Lacy knew that he was a hurting little boy who needed patience and understanding.  It was very rewarding to see where their relationship stood at the end of the novel. 

I definitely recommend Dark Water to all romance and suspense lovers!  There is also quite a mystery thrown in with many twists and turns.  Talty did a great job in creating likeable characters, witty dialogue, and a book that I couldn't put down until it was completed!  I look forward to going back and reading the first book in the NY State Trooper Series and will definitely be checking out the third book, Deadly Secrets.  Happy reading!

Jen Talty

The author has provided me with a complimentary copy of her book, Dark Water, for the purpose of review.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Summer Melody by Toddie Downs

Title: Summer Melody
Author: Toddie Downs

Publisher: Booktrope Editions

Published Date: October 10, 2012

Buy on Amazon: Paperback & Kindle

Author Website:



In a town called Daedalus Falls, it's easy for the weight of wings to overwhelm. But in the summer of 1992, three generations of women in the Stanton family realize untapped strengths that give them the power to soar. As her aging mother falls prey to the ravages of dementia, Bonnie races to make sense of both her past and present, discovering that the truth of long-buried family secrets has the power to destroy—or to heal. Her niece Meg, meanwhile, is planning a wedding to the perfect man—and then watching fear and uncertainty pull them apart. Finally, teenage Jane, turning away from the burden of family history, comes of age in a way she never thought possible as she learns to care for an autistic boy. Ultimately, all three women discover grace and truth within themselves and their common bonds in this story of love and hope.

Summer Melody is a testament to how, in the face of tremendous challenges, family can bring us strength to survive, endure, and maybe even flourish.
My Thoughts:

Summer Melody, by Toddie Downs, is a novel revolving around three related women and the personal struggles they go through during the span of one summer.  Bonnie is the mother to fourteen year old Jane and the aunt to twenty-something Meg.  Summer Melody demonstrates the different stages you go through during life.  Downs' does a great job in writing a realistic and honest book.  It would be easy to believe the fictitious Summer Melody was actually about a real family and the struggles they faced.

Freshly divorced Bonnie is struggling to raise her two children and deal with her Alzheimer afflicted mother, Elizabeth.  Elizabeth had two daughters, Vivian and Bonnie.  Vivian and her mother have been at odds for years over something Bonnie never understood.  Vivian removed herself from her mother's life and as a result her daughter Meg never really knew her grandmother.  Bonnie, on the other hand, never felt close to her judgmental and cold mother but remained a part of her life.  Once Elizabeth grew sick it fell on Bonnie's shoulders to take care of her and eventually admit her into a Nursing Home.  Bonnie makes sure to visit her mother everyday, even after Elizabeth doesn't recognize her daughter.  It is during this time that Elizabeth starts talking about a past that Bonnie is unaware of.  As her mother enters her final days, Bonnie embarks on a mission to uncover the family secrets that have been buried for decades.   

Backward and self conscious Jane is dreading the summer and already planning ways to hide from the probing eyes of her mother and annoying little brother.  However, her plans of hiding away in her room are disrupted when a neighbor asks Jane to babysit for her son.  Thinking it is one way to make money and stay busy, Jane hesitantly accepts the position.  However, she soon finds out that this is not a normal summer babysitting job as the young boy she is hired to watch has a disorder on the Autism Spectrum.  Gone are the days of thinking only of herself.  Jane finds that it is important to her self-worth to become friends with the young boy and gain his trust.  What follows is a summer she will never forget as she leaves behind 'old' Jane.   

Meg is a carefree young women who has a close relationship with her Aunt Bonnie and cousins Jane and Davey.  Meg doesn't know if she will ever find a man worth settling down for, until she meets Brady.  Their whirlwind courtship quickly turns into an engagement and has all the qualities of a fairytale ending until Brady is brutally mugged and beaten.  The once happy go lucky Brady is suddenly withdrawn and different.  Meg must decide if she can still marry this new Brady, and if she truly has what it takes to stick around through thick and thin.

Toddie Downs has written a beautiful novel.  Throughout Summer Melody, Bonnie, Jane, and Meg grow close and form a bond that will last a lifetime.  At the end of the summer all three women have grown and changed for the better.  Get ready for an emotional ride full of ups, downs, and surprises. 

Toddie Downs
The author has provided me with a complimentary copy of her book, Summer Melody, for the purpose of review.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Running Against Traffic by Gaelen VanDenbergh

Title: Running Against Traffic
Author: Gaelen VanDenbergh

Publisher:, Inc

Published Date: February 15, 2013

Buy on Amazon: Paperback & Kindle

Author Website:



Paige Scott spent her childhood shuffled between relatives who ignored her, and her adult life hiding in her crumbling marriage to wealthy David Davenport. When David suddenly thrusts her into a remote, impoverished world, Paige is forced to face the betrayals of her past - not to mention the colorful townies of her present. Unexpected friendships and her discovery of running propel her on a jagged and comical journey toward learning how to truly live.
My Thoughts:

Running Against Traffic, by Gaelen VanDenbergh, is a witty and sarcastic novel focusing on the worst (or maybe best?) year of Paige Scott's life as she begins a journey of self-discovery.  Materialistic Paige lives in a world that includes a rich husband, a swanky home, and more money than she knows what to do with.  Her days revolve around ignoring her husband David, relaxing at the spa, shopping for things that she does not need, and then ends with dinner and drinks with said husband and other elite members in her social circle.  Not wanting anything more or anything less, Paige is content with her vapid lifestyle. 

Unfortunately, Paige's world is turned upside down when her husband dumps her in the middle of nowhere at a dilapidated house that he announces is now hers to do with as she pleases.  With a quick speech saying they are over and feel free to date, he quickly peaces out and leaves her stranded with nothing more than the crumbling house's keys, her luggage, cell phone, and a debit card to a local bank.  Paige slowly realizes that her husband is not playing a joke on her and that she is truly without anyone for the first time in her life.  After a week of stewing in her own misery and eating the food that David had stocked in the falling apart and outdated kitchen, Paige snaps to her sense and realizes that she needs to wander into the little town for more food and to figure out just what she is going to do.

Paige soon finds herself under the wings of Deirdre, the town mother hen whom everyone can count on for food, advice, and comfort.  Slowly placing a plan in place, Paige learns that she does not have enough money to hire a divorce attorney so accepts a job as the secretary of the town lawyer in exchange for his legal services and a small salary.  Paige also realizes that there is not enough money in the bank account that David left her to hire someone to fix up her house AND to keep herself alive.  Not having any other option, Paige allows sexy Al, a contractor, and his younger friend Bryce (preferred to be called Starfire) to take the two guest rooms in exchange for labor.  And so begins Paige's new life.

In Running Against Traffic, Paige must go on a personal journey in order to discover just who she is before she can become whole and find happiness.  With quirky new friends, Paige slowly begins the process of beginning again in Wells Lake.  She must find both her self confidence and self worth.  Also, Paige sadly realizes that she has no hobbies, her former empty life was full of drinking top shelf liquor and socializing with women she didn't like.  Trying to piece together who she thinks she is, Paige unknowingly starts a Wells Lake Running Club and begins to grow a green thumb as she embraces growing a garden.  Paige takes Deirdre's advice of faking a smile seriously as she finds herself fitting into Wells Lake and growing close to her new set of peers.

I absolutely LOVED VanDenbergh's Running Against Traffic.  It has an original plot, spunky dialogue, and great characters that sprung to life with each page.  VanDenbergh's characters are very realistic with their own flaws.  I believe Bryce was one of my favorite characters.  Born to a young drug addict mother, Bryce grew up to be a troubled young man.  Turning to drugs and alcohol for peace, entertainment, and everything in between, Bryce at times finds himself hooking for money.  Seeing a kindred spirit in Paige, Bryce is able to open up to her and allows her to try and help him face his demons.  

If you are looking for a great summer read, Gaelen VanDenbergh's novel, Running Against Traffic, is definitely the book for you.  You will find yourself rooting for Paige and her friends as they face the hardships that life throws their way head-on.  I dare you to try and put this book down! 

Gaelen VanDenbergh
The author has provided me with a complimentary copy of her book, Running Against Traffic, for the purpose of review.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Timekeeper by Alexandra Monir

Title: Timekeeper
Author: Alexandra Monir

Publisher: Delacorte Books

Published Date: January 8, 2013

Buy on Amazon: Paperback & Kindle

Author Website:




When Philip Walker appears as a new student in Michele Windsor's high school class, she is floored. He is the love she thought she lost forever when they said goodbye during her time travels last century. Overjoyed that they can resume the relationship they had a lifetime ago, Michele eagerly approaches him and discovers the unthinkable: he doesn't remember her. In fact, he doesn't seem to remember anything about the Philip Walker of 1910.

Michele then finds her father's journals, which tell stories of his time-traveling past. As she digs deeper, she learns about his entanglement with a mysterious and powerful organization called the Time Society and his dealings with a vengeful Windsor ancestor. Michele soon finds herself at the center of a rift over 120 years in the making, one whose resolution will have life-or-death consequences.
My Thoughts:

Timekeeper, by Alexandra Monir, is the sequel to her 2012 novel, Timeless.  I didn't realize that Timekeeper was a sequel until I started to do a little research about it before I began reading it.  I'm not one who will normally read a sequel before the first book so I was a bit hesitant to read this without reading Timeless.  However, once I started reading Monir's Timekeeper I was relieved to find that I was able to follow the novel easily without needing to have read the first book.

Timekeeper is part of the Young Adult Literature genre.  I was quickly drawn into the novel as the plot and characters unfolded before me.  Timekeeper was a very fast read- at 260 pages I was able to finish it in one day.  Granted, I couldn't put it down!  Monir did a great job in creating a realistic world where a secret society of timekeepers dwelled.  In Timekeeper,  teenaged Michele has discovered that she posses a special gene that has been passed down to her from the father she never met.  This gene, along with a special key that was once his, allows her to travel to both the past and the future.  Early in the novel Michele finds out that someone from her father's past wants her dead.  She has seven days before the threat becomes a reality.  Michele comes up with a plan which includes traveling to the past to learn as much about her father and the mystery woman as she can.

Also center stage in Timekeeper is Michele's relationship with a boy named Philip.  Monir explains in her second novel that Michele met and fell in love with Philip when she traveled to the past in Timeless.  However, not knowing how to control her time traveling, Michele was unable to stay and live her life with Philip.  He promised her that one day he would find her.  Fast forward to Michele's present day high school and in walks a new student that looks exactly like Philip and even shares his name.  On top of trying to prevent herself from being murdered, Michele also tries to figure out how Philip found her...and why he has no memory of their past.    

I found the character of Michele's ancestor Rebecca interesting.  Rebecca lived in the 1880's and was a close friend to Irving, Michele's father.  While Rebecca doted on Irving, she was mean spirited to everyone else that she came in contact with.  Rebecca was a very self centered character, and it surprised me that Irving would befriend her in the first place. However, since they were brought up together as children it makes sense that he would look past her flaws.  I really enjoyed seeing the mystery of Rebecca unfold, and learning how she became such a powerful time traveler.  Monir did a great job in connecting all of the different times being visited and having the storyline flow easily.  

Alexandra Monir's Timekeeper is a novel that I recommend to all lovers of Young Adult Literature and the paranormal genre.  While you would not have to read Timeless, the first book in the series, I think that you will want to in order to see first hand the background of the characters.  I am curious to see if there will be a book number three in this series.  If so, it will definitely be on my To Be Read list!

Alexandra Monir

The author has provided me with a complimentary copy of her book, Timekeeper, for the purpose of review.