Posts Tagged ‘Book reviews’

I originally reviewed this book in September for “Uncaged Book Reviews”.

Joy Smith

Joe Carella’s father is missing at sea, and presumed dead, lost while sailing his beloved yacht, the Anna Bella. Now it falls upon Joe to get the recovered boat from Florida back home to Mystic, Connecticut. He’s no sailor, in fact he has spent his life living under his dad’s controlling shadow, but he feels obligated to get the boat home. To succeed, he will need a good captain who knows what they’re doing.

Marty Chase is a fishing boat captain, now living in disgrace in Mystic, Connecticut. Resigned to painting the undersides of boats since she took the rap for a boating accident, she leaps at the chance to captain Joe Carella’s boat back home. He’s a privileged son of a famous yacht racer. This could be the turning point in her captain career. Never mind she never handled large yachts or deep ocean waters. How different can it be from a fishing boat in local waters?

Set sail aboard the luxury yacht the Anna Bella.  Joe needs this trip to prove something to himself. And so does Marty. What they encounter is bigger than both of them. A brewing hurricane is just the start of their problems. Toss in a jealous ghost onboard, hijackers, being left for dead and having to fight to survive. The story does not suffer from lack of action.

In places the pacing does drag and there are frequent cases of abrupt timing changes. There are times Marty seems confused or inconsistent with her romantic choices between an old lover she knows she has to stay away from and her growing attraction to Joe. However, the chemistry between Marty and Joe is great, it’s hard not to root for them. The sex scenes are short, detailed without being overly descriptive.

The author is knowledgeable about boats and boating and her familiarity shows throughout the pages.

This book easily earns 3 1/2 out of 4 stars.

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I was prepared to like this story. The cover is great. The story-line is promising. I settled in for a memorable read. In the end, “Shattered Lies” did not live up to its promise. While I hate to bad talk any author’s work, I was disappointed with this book.

The main character, Kate Thayer, came across as immature. A divorced, thirty-year-old veterinarian, I had high hopes for her. Yet I never saw her working as at vet. She was only around the esteemed family horses one time, for a couple of pages. She allegedly was supposed to be running the family farm, yet I never read where she actually did anything. So in the end, I am not sure what exactly Kate does. At 30, most women are fairly mature, yet her family continued to treat her as a child. One even continually called her ‘Child’ instead of by her given name. The length of the book should have easily allowed room for building up Kate’s daily work routines.

Kate’s grandmother, Katherine, clearly doted on Kate, which is normal. However, the constant repeat of “darling’ multiple times in each sentence wore thin quickly.

The premise, that horrible things happened the day of Kate’s birth, and were kept from her, allures to the fact she is still considered a child. The lies that were told could have been gently, and truthfully, shared long before Kate stumbled across them. One relative leaks a nugget, and she finds a hidden gem, and Kate is literally off and running. Finally, once the whole, sordid truths come out, the guilty parties cannot stop beating themselves over the head with it all. Endless pages were dedicated to repeating their crimes, and repeating their crimes, and repeating…. I ended up skipping pages just to reach the end.

The racial issues also bothered me with the repetitiveness. It did nothing to endure most the characters to me and the use of Capital Letters B and W was confusing.

My apologies to S.J. Francis, however, I am required to post an honest review. “Shattered Lies” just wasn’t for me

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If you are an artist, reading this book will make you want to get your easel, paints and brushes out. Rich details, both in art, location, culture and more, make this a realistic trip to the past. If you are not an artist, but just like romances, or time travels, with a bit of history, this book will not disappoint you.

A time for love in paris

Meet Elise Sutherland, born in Scotland, and now residing in Paris, France to study art. We see Elise at two stages of her life– two ages–and in three time frames. Living as a young mademoiselle in 1975, she borrows an enigmatic book which mysteriously transports her back to 1895. There, she meets master artist Michel Flaubert. Their attraction is mutual, and fast.

Michel is accustomed to nude women, begging to model for his art. Elise is different. He’s never met a woman like her. She’s confident, opinionated, and mysterious. Then she tells him an outlandish tale. Except, she can prove it. Time travel? Incredible. Everything about her lights him on fire. Elise just knows she loves Michel and traveling between her time in 1975 and his time of 1895 is wearing her out. Their passionate love-making leaves her breathless and her time juggling challenges leave her grappling for control.

A choice must be made, a sacrifice offered, a passion of art foregone for a passion of the heart. Who shall be the one to concede?

The answer may surprise the reader. This story will completely immerse the reader in 1895 Paris, in the world of artists, painters and writers in the time before WWII. History comes alive, both 1895 and 1975, and meet up in our present day now, taking the reader along for all of it. Smells, sights, rituals of the time, and more wait in the pages of A Time for Love in Paris in this page turning romance.

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I bought this because it featured a Chinese crested as a service dog. I was interested in how a tiny crested would be useful.  They may look like adorable ponies disguised as tiny dogs, but”Baby”, aka “Bob”, soon proved he was up to the task.

Marcia James wrote a compelling story, anchoring it with a depressed race car driver who can no longer race and the woman who steps in to help him recover–with some help from a furry friend.

Marcia James

While Ms. James shines a bright light on the developing relationship with Meg and Tom, with some steamy romance, she also brings important attention to therapy and service dogs.

The spicy love story plays out beautifully alongside the excellent canine causes Ms. James subtlety points to. Her knowledge of therapy and service dogs adds a whole new dimension to the romance.

I will be very interested to see more of the service dog romance stories.

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Who doesn’t dream of being Cinderella? The beautiful gown, the handsome man in attendance, and the flights of fancy. Whispered promises and deep kisses. Long, lingering hooded looks.

Cinderella Busted

Lily Foster is the hard working owner of Bloom and Grow Nursery. When handsome Rhett Buchanan meets her there and mistakenly assumes she is a local socialite on a shopping expedition, he asks her out on a date. Lily only wants to have the perfect fairy tale  play out for one night.

It lasts much longer; long enough for Rhett to woe her and for them to both fall deep in love. Except their fairy tale romance isn’t quite perfect. Lily never corrects Rhett’s assumption about her being a wealthy socialite. And there always has to be a wicked witch in all the fairy tales and “Cinderella Busted” doesn’t disappoint.

Delia Armstead is the rich, spoiled, conniving and evil witch we all love to hate, because she makes it soooo easy to hate her. She wants Rhett in her clutches and Lily out of the picture for good. No matter what it takes.

Fortunately, Lily and Rhett have some loyal friends who want to see their fairy tale come true as bad as Delia doesn’t and are equally conniving and determined to help keep these two together. No matter what.

“Cinderella Busted” is a captivating retelling of the classic story, packed with plenty of surprises and characters the reader will care about.

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Last year I read Anne B Cole’s “Souls Entwined” and found it to be quite enjoyable. I was honored when she asked if I wanted to read the sequel, “Souls Estranged”, book two of the Souls Trilogy.

souls estranged #2

“Souls Estranged” picked up where “Souls Entwined” left off. Gretta and Sam are back from their time travel journey but their adventure is far from over. Gretta leaves, haunted by the few memories she has, the many holes in her memories and the decision that it’s only by leaving she can keep Sam and her loved ones safe.

Through Gretta’s adventures, we are introduced to new characters, both likeable and not so much, and we’re reacquainted with familiar ones. We rekindle the lovers Anya and Lorenzo, cheer for ancestors Roxanna and Katarina and growl at the evil pirate Kadir, all from “Souls Entwined”.

There are gut-wrenching moments as Gretta and Sam struggle to find happiness beneath the curse of Gretta’s ring and pulse-pounding pages as Gretta battles constant danger. The action changes from character to character, but seldom stops. I kept wanting to turn the page to see what happened next.

I can’t hardly wait for the third book in the series!

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Feng Shui. The Chinese philosophy that everything has energy and to harmonize ourselves to our surrounding environment will help harmonize balance and well-being. Who doesn’t need some of that?
Linda Bk 2 reasonable

Perfectly Reasonable is Book 2 in the Perfectly series by Linda O’ Connor, neatly sandwiched between Perfectly  Honest (book 1) and Perfectly Planned (book 3).

Trace is preparing for the important exams to get into medical school and his plan is to do up his apartment in Feng Shui for some added help. Not a bad plan actually.

Margot comes highly recommended. Plus she’s already a doctor, so she knows about those entrance tests. She is currently taking a hiatus from medicine to do some balancing and focusing of her own–by painting.

Naturally Trace is keen to have Margot help him with beyond a new paint job. Her practical expertise would be invaluable. It all seems perfectly reasonable–so far.

Margot has a secret. The reason she stepped away from medicine is due to what she perceives as a personal failure that led to the death of one of her patients—Trace’s grandfather. If he were to ever find out she was the doctor, doubtlessly he would hate her forever. And she’s already developing some strong feelings for him– and him for her. And it’s perfectly reasonable they can’t help but fall into a romance.

Then an emergency happens, that forces them apart. Feng Shui won’t help as they both have to deal with their own problems. Is it perfectly reasonable to think there can be  a happy ending for Margot and race? Just how powerful is the Feng Shui magic?

~ ~ ~

This book read at a fast pace with believable scenes and deep characters. While I read it as a middle, stand alone book, reading all three would be my recommendation. They would make for the perfect accompaniment for each other.

Linda bk one planned         Linda Bk 2 reasonable           linda book 3 planned


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Lost and Found SBK Burns

I received Lost and Found as a gift. While it is intended for younger readers, it is equally a pleasant short read for those adults who like science fiction and fantasy. It is a story that can be taken at surface value– that being the description of Avatar like beings who suffer a disaster on their planet and need saving. By humans no less. It’s the story of the second contact told by the main character, Marmosette, after her parents and brother experienced the first contact.

The story, while short, also invites the reader to go down a few more layers. What if earth experienced some global tragedy and life here was now uninhabitable? What if we were now the race that needed rescuing from “aliens”? How would we communicate when our language is foreign and our expressions or intentions are not always understood? What would happen to us as a species?

Lost and Found would make a good choice for young readers interested in sci fi and fantasy as well as mature readers who like to dissect a story with countless possibilities.

Currently .99 cents at Amazon.com:


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“Single male searching for single female for Valentine’s date.

Would you answer a classified ad like that? Ericka Lyons did in “Text Me: A Candy Hearts Romance” by Erin Bevan.

After Grayson Turner dumped her via text a year prior, Ericka has avoided any chance at heartbreak again. And now Grayson’s back–as her boss–and she finds herself in a pickle. So she places an ad looking for a one-night date for the corporate Valentine’s party.

Guess who answers it? The very same single male searching for a single female. And just guess who that might be…

Fun. This story reads at a fun pace, with quirky secondary characters—Ericka’s co-workers and roommate and Grayson’s brother. Even the impromptu boyfriend Ericka finds is something else.

While you hope Ericka and Grayson can work it out and get back together, you wonder right up to the end how on earth they can manage to pull it off. And what about the other boyfriend?

Up for pre-order now, available January 27th, (just in time for a great Valentine’s read):



I am glad to say I will have the additional pleasure to have Erin here on my blog January 20th, to share more about her fantastic and funny story, “Text Me”.

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Christmas is only days away and I feel as I just stepped off of a time machine. I just finished reading Protect Her and am now having a hard time bringing myself back to the real world of glittery trees and merry carols. While I normally don’t much go for demons and curses, this was a powerful book to read.

Sophia Kimble cover Protect Her

Golden and Kris are lovers who were cursed centuries ago by a terrible demon–like there’s ever been a good demon, right? The evil Lailoken first condemned Goldhain and Krzysztof to a fiery death, only to return at the appointed time, reincarnated. Destined to meet and fall in love, they could only hold each other a short time until their ultimate date with death once more. Endless times the young lovers reincarnate and repeat the sad cycle, forever trapped in a living, dying curse.

This time, however, it might turn out differently– or will it? Golden is strong, stubborn and smart. Sassy and determined, she might find a way to break the curse once and for all. Or die trying. With her lover and hero, Kris, at her side.

With grand period detailing and great imagery that switches from the creepy to the exotic settings they globe trot to, Golden and Kris’s story is one steamy, hot and intense read. As are the longings between them as they fight their way around and over every obstacle before them.

Five stars for a well written story! Bring on Book 2 please!

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