Monthly Archives: May 2012

In My Inbox (7): Sunday 27 May 2012

Welcome to
In My Inbox!!

I have been treatening to do this for a some time now – and here it is: the list of the ebooks I have downloaded, for free, from Amazon during 2011; the 2012 books will appear in a later IMI post.  Now I can see them all, I realise that I’ve been a bit like a small child in a sweet shop, grabbing pretty much anything I can see.  In fact, I’ve downloaded more books in three months than I said I’d read in a year for the Goodreads Challenge!  I think I need to take a few deep breaths and be a little more picky…or have someone tell me to “put down the mouse and step away from the computer” 🙂

I have read quite a number of these books (more than I’ve yet registered on Goodreads…that’s next on my To Do List) and I’ve linked the ones I’ve already reviewed.  I doubt I’ll come back and retrospectively link, since the next item on my To Do List (it’s a long list) is to update my reading challenge pages with the appropriate books.

FREE eBooks downloaded in October 2011:

1. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (with Cross-References): Old and New Testaments by Crossway Bibles

2. The Holy Bible: HCSB Digital Text Edition by B & H Publishing Group

3. The Man Who Knew Too Much by Chesterton, G. K. (Gilbert Keith)

4. Beowulf

5. How to Live on 24 Hours a Day by Arnold Bennett

6. Winning the Zero Moment of Truth – ZMOT (Enhanced Version) (Kindle Edition with Audio/Video) by Jim Lecinski

7. Prayers for Today by Kurt Bjorklund

8. Secrets Uncovered – Blogs, hints and the inside scoop from Mills & Boon editors and authors by Various Authors

9. Overcoming Redundancy: 52 Inspiring Ideas to Help You Bounce Back From Losing Your Job by Gordon Adams

10. Self-Empowerment through Self-Hypnosis: Harnessing the Enormous Potential of the Mind by Carl Llewellyn Weschcke and Joe H. Slate PhD

11. Spying in High Heels (High Heels Mysteries) by Gemma Halliday

12. The Iliad by Homer

13. The One You Love (suspense mystery) by Paul Pilkington Read

14. FREE 25 Language Phrasebook by Mobile Reference (Mobi Travel) MobileReference

FREE eBooks downloaded in November 2011:

1. First Impressions (Grace deHaviland) by David DeLee

2. Legwork (Casey Jones Mystery Series) by Katy Munger Read

3. The Samurai Strategy by Thomas Hoover Read

4. QB1 by Pete Bowen Read

5. Killing Faith (A Gabriel De Sade Thriller, book 1) by Eric Meyer Read

6. Chili Con Corpses: A Supper Club Mystery (The Supper Club Mysteries) by J.B. Stanley Read

7. Inspector Zhang Gets His Wish (a free short story) by Stephen Leather Read

8. Delver Magic Book I: Sanctum’s Breach by Jeff Inlo

9. Delver Magic Book II: Throne of Vengeance by Jeff Inlo

10. Delver Magic Book III: Balance of Fate by Jeff Inlo

11. The Thorn (The Chronicles of Gan) by Daron Fraley

12. Comic History of England by Bill Nye

13. Verse and Prose for Beginners in Reading Selected from English and American Literature

14. The Glass Wall (Book One – The Glass Wall) by Carmen Caine & Madison Adler Read

15. History of Egypt, Chaldea, Syria, Babylonia, and Assyria in the Light of Recent Discovery by L. W. King (Leonard William) & H. R. Hall (Harry Reginald)

16. Exposed:Misbehaving with the Magnate by Kelly Hunter Read

17. Sephardic Israeli Cuisine: A Mediterranean Mosaic by Sheilah Kaufman

18. The Personal Credibility Factor: How to Get It, Keep It, and Get It Back (If You’ve Lost It) by Sandy Allgeier

19. Make More, Worry Less: Secrets from 18 Extraordinary People Who Created a Bigger Income and a Better Life by Wes Moss

20. The Kerala Kitchen: Recipes and Recollections from the Syrian Christians of South India (Hippocrene Cookbook Library) by Lathika George & Latha George Pottenkulam

21. Cuisines of the Alps: Recipes, Drinks and Lore From France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Italy, Germany, Austria and Slovenia (Hippocrene Cookbook Library) by Kay Shaw Nelson

22. Cooking from China’s Fujian Province: One of China’s Eight Great Cuisines by Jacqueline M. Newman

23. Gypsy Feast: Recipes and Culinary Traditions of the Romany People (Hippocrene Cookbook Library) by Carol Wilson

24. Nile Style: Egyptian Cuisine and Culture: Ancient Festivals, Significant Ceremonies, and Modern Celebrations (Hippocrene Cookbook Library) by Amy Riolo

25. Aprovecho: A Mexican-American Border Cookbook (Hippocrene Cookbook Library) by Teresa Cordero-Cordell & Robert Cordell

26. The Best of Polish Cooking: A Delightful Compilation of Traditional Polish Fare in an Easy-to-use Menu Format by Karen West

27. Healthy South Indian Cooking by Alamelu Vairavan & Patricia Marquardt

28. Give Me – A Romance of Wyrd and Fae by LK Rigel

29. The God’s Wife by Lynn Voedisch

30. A Little Bit of Everything For Dummies For Dummies

31. Holy Bible, GOD’S WORD Translation (GW) (with direct verse lookup and book and chapter navigation) by Baker Publishing Group

32. Falling Star by Diana Dempsey Read

33. Write That Book Already!: The Tough Love You Need To Get Published Now by Sam Barry & Kathi Kamen Goldmark

34. Strategy Power Plays (Infinite Success Series) by Tim Phillips & Karen Mccreadie

35. Legends of Babylon and Egypt in relation to Hebrew tradition by L. W. King (Leonard William)

36. South: The Story of Shackleton’s 1914-1917 Expedition by Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton

37. The Book of Household Management by Mrs. Isabella Mary Beeton

FREE eBooks downloaded in December 2011:

1. Resting In the Bosom Of the Lamb by Augusta Trobaugh Read

2. The Bell-Ringer of Angel’s by Bret Harte

3. A Dog Named Slugger by Leigh Brill

4. A Bell’s Biography by Nathaniel Hawthorne

5. Praise Jerusalem! by Augusta Trobaugh

6. Striking Back by Mark Nykanen Read

7. The Diving Bell Or, Pearls to be Sought for by Francis C. Woodworth (Francis Channing)

8. Sophie and the Rising Sun by Augusta Trobaugh Read|Reviewed

9. Biographical Notes on the Pseudonymous Bells by Charlotte Brontë

10. Masters of Space by Morse, Thompson, Bell, Marconi, Carty Towers, Walter Kellogg

11. The Past Came Hunting by Donnell Bell Read|Reviewed

12. Records of a Family of Engineers by Robert Louis Stevenson

13. Mai Tai One On by Jill Marie Landis Read

14. Desperate Housedogs by Sparkle Abbey Read|Reviewed

15. Exposure by Donna Ball Read

16. Renegade (Devoncroix Dynasty) by Donna Boyd Read|Reviewed

17. Night Flight by Donna Ball Read

18. Sanctuary by Donna Ball Read|Reviewed

19. Sweet Tea and Jesus Shoes by Sandra Chastain, Deborah Smith, Donna Ball, Virginia Ellis aka Lyn Ellis, Debra Dixon, Nancy Knight Read

20. Dwelling in His Presence / 30 Days of Intimacy with God: A Devotional for Today’s Woman (NavPress Devotional Readers) by Cynthia Heald

21. The Cart Before The Corpse (The Merry Abbot Carriage-Driving Mystery) by Carolyn McSparren Read

22. Mossy Creek by Deborah Smith, Sandra Chastain, Debra Dixon Read

23. Blood Rock by Anthony Francis

24. Beyond The Misty Shore by Vicki Hinze

25. Carl von Clausewitz’s On War: A Modern-Day Interpretation of a Strategy Classic (Infinite Success Series) by Andrew Holmes

26. Power-up Pilates: Power and Poise For Daily Life (52 Brilliant Ideas) by Steve Shipside

27. The Wedding Gift by Kathleen McKenna Read|Reviewed

28. Winners Never Cheat: Even in Difficult Times, New and Expanded Edition: Even in Hard Times by Jon M. Huntsman

29. Five Minutes on Mondays: Finding Unexpected Purpose, Peace, and Fulfillment at Work by Alan Lurie

30. The Year She Fell by Alicia Rasley Read|Reviewed

31. 25 Days to Better Thinking and Better Living: A Guide for Improving Every Aspect of Your Life by Richard W. Paul & Linda Elder

32. The Art of Asking: Ask Better Questions, Get Better Answers by Terry J. Fadem

33. The Clinch Knot: Fly Fishing Mystery Series, Book 3 by John Galligan Read

34. Smart Women Know When to Say No by Dr. Kevin Leman

35. The Last Drop de Camp by L. Sprague & L. Ron Hubbard

36. Samuel Smiles’ Self-Help: A 52 Brilliant Ideas Interpretation by Steve Shipside

37. Master Dating: Get the Life and Love You Want (52 Brilliant Ideas) by Lisa Helmanis

38. Horror at Halloween: Part One by John Gordon

39. World’s best romance tips by Peter Cross & Dr Sabina Dosani

40. The Twilight of the Gods, and Other Tales by Richard Garnett

41. Improve Your Business Communication (Collection) by Jerry Weissman, Terry J. Fadem, Natalie Canavor & Claire Meirowitz,

42. Future Agenda: The World in 2020 by Tim Jones

43. Boost Your Child’s Confidence: 52 Brilliant Drama Techniques to Help Your Child Shine (52 Brilliant Ideas) by Lucy Morgans and Steve Hemsley

44. Haunted Love (Free short story) by Cynthia Leitich Smith

45. A Hearth in Candlewood (The Candlewood Trilogy, Book 1) by Delia Parr

46. Analysis Without Paralysis: 10 Tools to Make Better Strategic Decisions by Craig S. Fleisher and Babette E. Bensoussan

47. Healthy Children’s Lunches: 52 Brilliant Little Ideas For Junk-Free Meals Kids Will Love (52 Brilliant Ideas) by Mandy Francis

48. World’s best stress-busting tips by Elisabeth Wilson

49. Even You Can Learn Statistics: A Guide for Everyone Who Has Ever Been Afraid of Statistics (2nd Edition) by David M. Levine and David F. Stephan

50. Money, Possessions, and Eternity by Randy Alcorn

51. God’s Eye by A.J. Scudiere

52. Tinseltown by Victoria Fox Read|Reviewed

53. Bridgehead by Stephen Huff

54. The Wrong Side Of Backwards by Stephen Huff

55. Darker Matter: Stories of Strange Futures by Aaron Polson

56. The Awakened: Book One by Jason Tesar

57. Human Resources by Stephen Huff

58. That Last Door Standing Wide Open by Stephen Huff

59. A Dixie Christmas by Sandra Hill

60. Guardian Cats and the Lost Books of Alexandria by Rahma Krambo

61. Guardian of the Dawn (Short Story) (Kormak) by William King

62. Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose by Jagdish N. Sheth, Rajendra S. Sisodia & David B. Wolfe

63. A Victorian Christmas (Anthology) by Catherine Palmer Read

64. Child of the Mist (These Highland Hills, Book 1): These Highland Hills Series, Book 1 by Kathleen Morgan

65. The Culture Cycle: How to Shape the Unseen Force that Transforms Performance by James Heskett

66. Cultivate a Cool Career: 52 Brilliant Ideas for Reaching the Top by Ken Langdon

67. Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince: A 52 Brilliant Ideas Interpretation (Infinite Success Series) by Tim Phillips

68. Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich: A 52 Brilliant Ideas Interpretation (Infinite Success) by Karen

69. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Self-Reliance: A Modern-day Interpretation of a Self-help Classic (Infinite Success Series) by Andrew Holmes

70. Frank Bettger’s How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success (Infinite Success Series) by Karen Mccreadie

71. C. Northcote Parkinson’s Parkinson’s Law (Infinite Success Series) by Leo Gough

72. The Disciplined Life (Ebook Short) by Calvin Miller

73. Kiss of The Christmas Wind by Janelle Taylor

74. Practically Fictive by Brian Kahin Read

75. Helpful herbs for health and beauty by Barbara Griggs

76. What’s Stopping You?: Shatter the 9 Most Common Myths Keeping You from Starting Your Own Business by R. Duane Ireland & Bruce Barringer

77. Networking: Work Your Contacts to Supercharge Your Career by Nicholas King

78. Insights from Remarkable Businesspeople (Collection) by D. Michael Abrashoff

79. Stress-proof Your Business and Your Life by Elisabeth Wilson & Steve Pipe

80. Transform Your Life by Penny Ferguson

81. Lose weight and stay slim: Secrets of Fad-free Dieting (52 Brilliant Ideas) by Eve Cameron

82. Drop a Dress Size: 52 Brilliant Little Ideas to Lose Weight and Stay Slim by Kate Cook & Eve Cameron

83. Have it Your Way by Nicholas Bate

84. The Golden Acorn: The Adventures of Jack Brenin by Catherine Cooper

85. Design on a Crime (Deadly Décor Mysteries, Book 1) by Ginny Aiken Read

86. Be your own best life coach: Take Charge and Live the Life You Always Wanted (52 Brilliant Ideas) by Jackee Holder

87. The brilliant book of calm: Down to Earth Ideas For Finding Inner Peace in a Chaotic World (52 Brilliant Ideas) by Tania Ahsan

88. Boundless Energy by Elisabeth Wilson

89. Children of Another God (The Broken World) by T C Southwell

This post has taken hours of work to format over the last month. I think it’s been worth it as I can see a number of books – particularly the business and self-help books that I’ve filed in suitably named folders on my Kindle – that I’d forgotten I’d downloaded. I really have to be more selective in my downloading!

Misfortune Cookie by Michele Gorman: review

Misfortune CookieMisfortune Cookie by Michele Gorman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Following your heart will pay off in the near future”

The fortune cookie had spoken, affirming Hannah’s decision to move to Hong Kong to be with her boyfriend. She’s no stranger to rash decisions – after all she moved from the US to London on a dare, and that worked out, didn’t it? Ever the optimist, she’s determined to make a success of her move, no matter what anybody says.

Unfortunately, anybody seems to be everybody and her life isn’t going exactly to plan.

Sure, she’s found a career in fashion that she loves, her best friend Stacy moved to be with her, and they’re exploring the weird and wonderful in Hong Kong. It’s her love life that’s not quite living up to expectations. It isn’t easy having a relationship with a boyfriend who’s been posted to a job in another country. Particularly one who seems a bit too cosy with his new boss.

When things also start going wrong at work, Hannah begins to think her friends and family were right. Has she made the worst mistake of her life?

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I received this ebook from Michele Gorman to read and review. I read it quite quickly after receiving it, but real life has got in the way of me writing a full review any sooner, for which I apologise.

Misfortune Cookie is a fun read, falling clearly into the chicklit genre. It is a testament to Michele’s writing ability that at the same time time that she makes her main character, Hannah, a rather selfish and quite self-centred person, you still want to find out what happens to her and, despite her ways, you want things to turn out right for her.

I think this dichotomy may be because although Hannah displays lots of selfish behaviour, she can also be very kind, and rarely sets out to hurt or harm anyone. She is loyal to those she regards as friends.

During her stay in Hong Kong, we see Hannah grow as a person. She starts to realise there are wide swaths of human experience of which she has not been aware. Her ability to infer fashion trends from people’s behaviour and link this to economic trends is both break-taking and heart-warming and shows that everyone had a talent, however specialised it might be!.

One thing that ‘made’ this book for me was Michele’s description of Hong Kong. I have never (yet!) visited Hong Kong, so Misfortune Cookie gave me a flavour of the city, its heat and humidity. Hong Kong was as much of a character in this book as any of the people.

The supporting cast were well chosen and we had pretty much the full set of personality types! They were for the most part well drawn from a character point of view, but I didn’t have clear physical images of many of them. I’ve only realised this whilst writing the review; it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book at all.

Michele’s writing style is engaging and thus easy to read. There was little repetition and the descriptions of places clear, crisp and atmospheric. Without being heavy-handed, there was never any doubt that we were anywhere but Hong Kong.

All in all, I thoroughly recommend this book – it is an excellent summer read. Ladies: download it to read in the sun!

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View all my Goodreads reviews

I’m claiming this book as No. tbc/150 in the Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge; and No. 1 in the Second in Series Reading challenge..
[All links in right hand sidebar]

Bookish Funny Friday (3)

How to Frighten Young Books

Here is my third entry for Tina’s BFF picture parade. I love the idea of telling horror stories to little books!

Have a great weekend everyone.

{Ooops! Got my scheduling dates muddled which is why this is posted a day early…I really don’t like calendars which think Sunday is the first day of the week :-)}

There’s more information on BFF under my heading Fun Things which has a link to Martina’s blogpost and the meme picture in my RH sidebar also links to Tina’s post.  Come and join and have some fun!

Shattered by Donna Ball: review

ShatteredShattered by Donna Ball

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A missing teenage girl… a desperate mother… a frantic call in the night… is this a cruel hoax, or the work of a maniacal serial killer?

The peaceful resort town of St. Teresa-by-the-Sea on Florida’s Forgotten Coast is known for its low crime rate, pristine beaches, and great fishing. But tragedy can come even to Paradise, as Carol Dennison found out two and a half years ago when her fourteen-year-old daughter, Kelly, disappeared on her way to a Tallahassee concert. Now, just as Carol as beginning to rebuild the pieces of her shattered life, she receives a midnight call from someone who calls her “mama” and begs for help. Is this a cruel prank designed to terrorize and punish Kelly’s father for the role he played in bringing a recently paroled criminal to justice? Or is it possible that Kelly is still alive?

A grim investigation uncovers a connection between Kelly and other girls who have gone missing along the Gulf Coast in the past few years. When the body of one of those missing girls washes up on the shores of St. Teresa-by-the-Sea, the police are forced to admit they may have a serial killer in their midst. And with over three thousand college students poised to descend on the tiny community for spring break, their only hope for stopping him before he strikes again is the frightened voice of a teenage girl on the telephone… and the desperate determination of the parents who love her.

Shattered is Donna Ball at her best: spine-tingling terror, chilling realism and unforgettable characters. No parent will ever watch her child leave the house in the same way again.

View all my Goodreads reviews

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I received a kindle copy of Shattered after responding to an announcement on goodreads by Donna Ball that she was looking for reviewers for her latest book. Having read (and reviewed) several of Donna’s other books, I was delighted when Donna accepted my offer.

Shattered lived up to my expectations and is a tense “who-done-it” with lots of twists and turns. I felt the psychological effects on the victims were extremely well portrayed.

If I have any niggles about Shattered, they are minor. I felt that, in the first part of the book, we were told too many times, in almost the same words, how animosity-filled had been Carol and Guy’s divorce: I got it the first time; I was fed of hearing about it by the third time. I didn’t feel retelling it added to the story but rather slowed down the pace of the beginning of the book.

For a while, I had two main suspects in mind, and then we learnt more about them and this for me narrowed it down to my “favourite” suspect. This doesn’t mean the culprit was signposted and flagged, far from it: Donna’s clues were very subtly laid. I love crime and mystery stories however, and enjoy trying to beat the characters to working out the solution. This does mean I was mentally yelling “No, don’t do it!” to various characters. One thing I didn’t work out was the culprit’s lair – the clues are in the text, but I didn’t pick them up.

The various threads of the characters’ – both major and minor – lives are beautifully interwoven, resulting in a tapestry of a story that needs to be read more than once to find all the clues as they first appear.

I particularly enjoyed that the story changes viewpoint regularly – that way the reader gets to see much more of the action. This technique adds to the tension for the reader as we can see the pitfalls and traps ahead of characters and thus can will them not to fall in, whilst suspecting that they will do so anyway.

I thought the end of the book particularly moving, although I was surprised that the women didn’t press their advantage with the chain when given the opportunity. When this made its appearance, it was my first thought for its use! Donna, however, gives her characters an alternative course of action and the epilogue gives closure on this point.

So in summary: buy Shattered! It is a little slow to start, with an element of repetition, but once the suspense starts to build and the status quo is challenged, it is a tense page-turner.

Thank you, Donna, for giving me the opportunity to review this book.  I hope that Shattered gains the critical and commercial success due to it.

Amazon Link

I’m claiming this book as No. tbc/150 in the Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge. [Link in right hand sidebar]

In My Letterbox (6): Sunday 20 May 2012

Welcome to
In My Letterbox!!

I’ve been a very lucky girl again this week with four First Reads books arriving In My Letterbox.  I’m enjoying very much being part of The Story Siren’s weekly meme (click on the picture above for more details).

Books I have won on Goodreads First Reads:

1. The Haunted Grove and other stories by Tim Jeffreys


The Haunted Grove & other storiesThe Haunted Grove & other stories by Tim Jeffreys

“The Haunted Grove by Tim Jeffreys – a collection of nine tales of terror – has something for everyone. There are short shorts and long shorts, with storylines from the straightforward to the surreal. Themes range from the near-SF tone of “Three Winters”, through the mental powers of “The Thought She Blurted Out” to the magic of the title story. As a showcase of the author’s versatility, this collection serves its purpose well.” Review from The Horrorzine

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Perhaps summer (?!) is the best time to read these horror stories – when it’s NOT dark and the wind isn’t howling around the doors….

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2. Bone Machine by C. N. James

Bone MachineBone Machine by C.N. James

The Libra Robotics and Cybernetics Corporation robots have done the impossible. War, poverty, and slavery are nearly extinct. Worldwide employment is at an all time high. And the new workers’ paradigm: a four to six hour work day. The robots take care of the rest, acting as a personal substitute—like a clone, with all of your skills and abilities. Nearly everyone can spend time with family, pursue artistic and athletic ventures, become entrepreneurs—or anything else they’d like to do. Everyone except those working for Libra Corp.

Grayson Cornel doesn’t sleep much anymore. His life is in shambles. His father is teetering on death. He was recently promoted by Libra Corp, but his predecessor, Zoe Asher is wanted for murder and is now targeting him. On top of that, his first assignment in his new position has ended in disaster.

The last of the world’s sweatshops in Haiti had finally placed an order for Libra Corp robots, and it was Grayson’s job to make sure that the order was filled. But when the robots arrived, something went horribly wrong. They disappeared, leaving only dead bodies in their wake. No Libra Corp robot had ever killed anyone before, so Grayson is sent to Haiti to figure out what went wrong.

What he discovers begins to unravel a dark secret Libra Corp has been keeping from the public. Something so shocking that Grayson risks ending utopia to put a stop to it.

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I am so pleased I won this book 😀 It’s going to be quite high on my “read and review now” list…when I get that written!

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3. Alice Parker’s Metamorphosis by Nicola Palmer

Alice Parker's Metamorphosis (Book 1 of the New Adventure Series for Children)Alice Parker’s Metamorphosis by Nicola Palmer

Feisty thirteen-year-old Alice Parker knows something isn’t right. Aches and pains have started, she hardly sleeps and her craving for fruit is out of control. Suddenly she is top of the class in every subject. Feeling at odds with the world and being bullied by the ‘coven’ at school, Alice can’t take much more. Only when she collapses and experiences a life-changing transformation does she learn why she is different. But with this new identity comes responsibility and Alice isn’t convinced she can rise to the challenge. She just wants to be normal! The fact is she’s anything but.

Forgotten tales of a magical society are catapulted into the daily life of strong, memorable female characters who readers will grow to love. An intriguing blend of realism, suspense and fantasy, a must-read for girls of 7+.

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This sounds so intriguing! I may have to get a copy for my niece 😉

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4. Catastrophically Consequential by Stephen C. Bird

Catastrophically ConsequentialCatastrophically Consequential by Stephen C. Bird

This prequel-sequel to “Hideous Exuberance” incorporates non-linear plots; comical rants and disturbing inner monologues; stream of consciousness dream sequences; psychedelic, surrealistic scenarios and time-traveling characters. Revel in the chaotic confusion of sociopathic celebrities, suburban swingers, suicidal trust fund girls, decadent jet setters, D-list standup comics, medieval princesses, sinister passive-aggressive jokers, “Evilangelists”, and a host of other lost souls and disreputable, vindictive losers, as they search in vain for metaphysical clarity.

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I’ve read the first story and my thought was “Bizarre…in a good way”.  I’ve read a few other reviews and they reinforce the idea that I should leave the concept of normality behind when I read this.

……………..

My TBR list is getting longer! I have made a May Resolution to finish off all my lists:

  1. Free Kindle Books
  2. Owned Unread physical books (that haven’t been in an IML)
  3. Books Read But Not Yet Reviewed
  4. NetGalley ebooks received
  5. Short Term Reading List

and then to get reviewing my backlog of read books!  Watch out for the lists in future IMM slots, while I try to refrain from buying new books and downloading free ebooks!!!

Happy reading to all – may the books you crave find their way to your letter box!  Be sure to leave a link in your comment – I will visit and, software permitting <sigh>, leave a comment.

Dancing with the Boss by Clare Gutierrez: review

Dancing with the BossDancing with the Boss by Clare Gutierrez

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
In the American Southwest, criminal organizations from all over the world conspire to control everything from human trafficking to drug running and gun smuggling. Caught in the midst of all of this is the smart and sassy Annie, the owner of a rare-art dealership in Arizona. In a chance encounter, Annie meets Tony, a veritable gangster and mafioso who finds himself at odds with the brutal nature of his work and his growing feelings for Annie.

When Annie learns that her brother Allen, a former special ops agent for the FBI, has gotten himself into some deep trouble, she finds an unexpected ally in Tony. The two of them—along with Annie’s other two siblings—set out to help Allen, maneuvering through mysterious data files and dead bodies as they travel from coast to coast—and abroad—in their search. As the tension builds, so does the number of casualties.

Explored through rich descriptions and populated with complex, likable characters, Dancing with the Boss—part thriller, part romance, part action novel—will keep even the most jaded readers hooked.

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Spoiler alert: there are a few plot reveals in this review; I have tried to keep them to a minimum and they are only there to explain my points.

This was an excellent story with lots of tension and plot twists. The story moves along at a good pace; sometime a small pause in the headlong rush to make an important aspect clearer to the reader would be useful, I think. A little polishing to the writing style would turn Dancing with the Boss from a good book into a great book.

There were a couple of problems with the kindle formatting, but I put these down to this being a NetGalley ARC – time to iron out such issues before publication. For the record, I found that the chapters ran into one another and that the word was printed “chaPTer” each time. The first letter of the first paragraph of each chapter was lower case and printed on its own line.

Whilst talking about style and formatting, there were a couple of other points I wanted to mention: I found the direct speech internal monologue inserts clumsy and distracting; finding another way to include these elements would improve the book for me. There was a classic spelling mistake: at one point Mr Hernandez became Mr Fernandez, but quickly reverted. Was this a typo or a previous incarnation, I wondered!

For me the book was somewhat spoiled by a couple of, to me, daft plot happenings. These made the main character, Annie, appear, in my eyes at least, rather stupid, something which most of the rest of the book made clear she wasn’t.

In the first place, having done some quite clever sleuthing and discovered not one but two vital pieces of information into the crime, she heads off, for an indeterminate time, and leaves both pieces of evidence behind! I’m not sure how she planned to investigate (her intention) without at least copies.

Secondly, towards the end of the book, when Annie and her sister are ensconced as investigators, she suddenly produces a huge amount of information from her friend, Rhino, who died some months earlier. No previous mention of this data was made…and given the desperate nature of their need to solve the crime and find those responsible, why would Annie sit on this information?? Non sequiturs like these really annoy me in books.

Rhino’s demise I found unnecessary. The baddies hadn’t found his lair and had his precautions and preparations been as previously described, he could have used his house instead to defeat the intruders.

Throughout the book, the passage of time, particularly when there is significant time between the end of one chapter and the start of the next, is badly described or indicated.

I got a little tired of Tony’s overbearing, nineteenth century attitude, possibly because its description and manifestation varied so little.

Despite all these areas which I believe can be improved, I enjoyed reading Dancing with the Boss. I found the characters for the most part reasonably well drawn; the polishing I mentioned earlier would include refining their description and behaviours a little, removing a touch of the stereotype that tends to creep in. I mostly cared about what happens to the characters; in some cases, the minor characters were in better focus that the major ones!

I recommend this book to ladies who love thrillers and mysteries. I suspect most of the men who read this genre would not enjoy the romance aspect. Personally, I feel this adds to the book, but thought it could be a little less front and centre, but rather a little more subtle. In some ways, I thought Dancing with the Boss couldn’t make its mind up if it were a thriller or a romance: I guess I was looking for it to be a thriller first and foremost! Dancing with the Boss is an enjoyable, entertaining read and I would pick up other books by Clare Gutierrez without hesitation.

I thank Clare Gutierrez and her publishers for making this ebook available for me to review through NetGalley.  Parts of this review also appear there.

View all my Goodreads reviews
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I’m claiming this book as No. TBC/150 in the Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge. [Link in right hand sidebar]

Bookish Funny Friday (2)

Just what every bibliophile needs in her room!

Here is my second entry for Tina’s BFF picture parade. I love the strategically placed photo on the second “shelf”, but think that I’d need custom-made bookends!

Have a great weekend everyone.

There’s more information on BFF under my heading Fun Things which has a link to Martina’s blogpost and the meme picture in my RH sidebar also links to Tina’s post.  Come and join and have some fun!

In My Mailbox (5): Monday 14 May 2012

Hello and welcome to the latest installment on In My Mailbox, which is a weekly meme originated by The Story Siren.  It gives an opportunity to showcase the books we’ve acquired, by whatever means!

This week all mine are ebooks – including my first two ebook purchases!!

eBOOKS AUTHORS HAVE GIVEN ME TO REVIEW:

1. Shattered by Donna Ball

A missing teenage girl… a desperate mother… a frantic call in the night… is this a cruel hoax, or the work of a maniacal serial killer?

The peaceful resort town of St. Teresa-by-the-Sea on Florida’s Forgotten Coast is known for its low crime rate, pristine beaches, and great fishing. But tragedy can come even to Paradise, as Carol Dennison found out two and a half years ago when her fourteen-year-old daughter, Kelly, disappeared on her way to a Tallahassee concert. Now, just as Carol as beginning to rebuild the pieces of her shattered life, she receives a midnight call from someone who calls her “mama” and begs for help. Is this a cruel prank designed to terrorize and punish Kelly’s father for the role he played in bringing a recently paroled criminal to justice? Or is it possible that Kelly is still alive?

A grim investigation uncovers a connection between Kelly and other girls who have gone missing along the Gulf Coast in the past few years. When the body of one of those missing girls washes up on the shores of St. Teresa-by-the-Sea, the police are forced to admit they may have a serial killer in their midst. And with over three thousand college students poised to descend on the tiny community for spring break, their only hope for stopping him before he strikes again is the frightened voice of a teenage girl on the telephone… and the desperate determination of the parents who love her.

Shattered is Donna Ball at her best: spine-tingling terror, chilling realism and unforgettable characters. No parent will ever watch her child leave the house in the same way again.

Donna Ball was looking for people to review her latest book and kindly let me have a copy, which I have already read – review to follow.  My RA has been playing up, so life’s been a bit painful lately and I’ve not been abe to do as much as I’ve had planned.  Briefly: I recommend this book – click on the (lifted from Amazon!) image to take you to the Amazon page for the Kindle edition.

2. Unforgettable Embrace by Joanne Clancy

Unforgettable EmbraceUnforgettable Embrace by Joanne Clancy

Unforgettable Embrace, by Joanne Clancy, is a story of a woman’s journey in self-discovery with many unexpected and often hilarious encounters along the way.

Rachel’s life has become a boring and monotonous routine. Life is just not what she expected it to be, so she decides to make some drastic but exciting changes.

A significant event occurs during a friend’s hen weekend, the seriousness of which wouldn’t be unveiled until later.

Tense moments arise that are suddenly and brutally made to look miniscule compared to the serious events, that unknown to Rachel, have already taken place, in which she is unwittingly but dangerously involved

Joanne had a weekend giveaway for Unforgettable Embrace, and I jumped at the opportunity to read this book having just finished Unfaithfully Yours.

3. Growing Up Wired by David Wallace Fleming

Growing up WiredGrowing up Wired by David Wallace Fleming

How will romantic relationships withstand technology’s offer of instant gratification? While on his computer, Victor Hastings admires the provocative pictures of the girl he’s dating.  Meanwhile, she’s posting more and more on Facebook and all the social sites. Now everyone in his cramped fraternity is competing for her.  What kind of love is this?  The wired kind.

I follow David’s blog and have been looking at his books for a while. Recently David offered Growing Up Wired foc on Smashwords for a weekend…well…I’m sure you’ve noticed what a sucker I am for a free book! I’m looking forward to reading and reviewing this book.

ebooks i have bought

1. Twined by A. L. Collins

TwinedTwined by A.L. Collins

Avalin Marsh is used to disappointment. When her mother murdered a woman in the kitchen of her home on her eleventh birthday, Avalin decided that the people in your life were only there to let you down. She built up walls over the years making a mental fortress impervious to disappointment, heartache and sadness. However it also isolated her from others, making her bitter… and lonely.

When her mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia after the murder, Avalin began to see and experience things that she couldn’t explain. She thought she could handle these episodes by pushing them back into her mind. Until the day she sees one of her classmates morph into a monster right in front of her eyes. Pushed to the brink of paranoia, Avalin truly believes she’s insane. Then a mysterious man named Albert comes into her life. She’s wary of his motives yet for some reason finds herself drawn to him even though they’ve never met. What’s even more inexplicable is that Albert knows who Avalin is. She’s the daughter of the famous Abigail Marsh. Her mother.

Now the two of them will need to put their differences aside and trust one another. If Avalin can’t let her guard down long enough to let Albert in, then there might be dire and far reaching consequences in store for them.

It turns out Avalin Marsh isn’t as crazy as she thought.

I bought this, my first paid for ebook (!!) because I didn’t win it on First Reads and really wanted to read it. My good blogging friend, Daisy Chain did win a copy…I’m sure she’ll be reviewing it soon too! I have actually finished reading this, and the review joins my list of “Reviews to Written…Soon!”

2. Scarlett’s by A. L. Collins

Scarlett'sScarlett’s by A.L. Collins

Just when everything around Jaime Williams starts to cave in and, when it looks like the economy has claimed another victim. She takes a job as a last resort at the local diner. Scarlett’s will have you cheering for all that is good in this world. She builds some amazing relationships along the way and Jaime’s solace comes in the help and encouragement that she gives to those closest to her. When a friend stumbles upon some writings in an old binder under her bed while helping her move, the world that Jaime once knew is about to change… Karma is a wonderful thing!

I bought this because the reviews on Amazon were gushing. I’m about three-quarters of the way through and I’m not impressed.

………….

Five more books added to my TBR, of which I have already read two and a half! I think a “No Reading” rule will be in force for a couple of weeks while I catch up with my reviewing!
Have a great week’s reading – be sure to leave a link to your IMM in your comment 🙂

Bookish Funny Friday (1)

The Magic of Books

Here is my first entry for Tina’s BFF picture parade. For me this captures the magic of books – how amazing multicoloured worlds take flight from the simple act of reading black typeface on a white page!

Have a great weekend everyone.

There’s more information on BFF under my heading Fun Things which has a link to Martina’s blogpost and the meme picture in my RH sidebar also links to Tina’s post.  Come and join and have some fun!

Unfaithfully Yours: review

Unfaithfully YoursUnfaithfully Yours by Joanne Clancy

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Four scorned women, one adulterous man and the price he has to pay for their revenge. “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned/ Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.” By William Congreve in The Mourning Bride of 1697.

Shona Morgan is in love with a married man. She finally realises that her married lover, Mark McNamara, is never going to leave his wife for her. Heartbroken, she resolves to break up with him and try to move on with her life.

Jackie Fitzpatrick seems to have it all; a loving husband and two beautiful children. However, she can’t escape the sneaking feeling that there’s more to life and embarks on an illicit affair, but at what cost?.

Penelope Garrett has had enough of being treated badly by the men in her life and is determined to seek revenge when her latest boyfriend lets her down..

Rebecca McNamara thinks she has the perfect marriage but when she discovers her husband’s dark secrets her idyllic life comes crashing down around her..

Four scorned women, one adulterous man and the price he has to pay for their revenge. Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned..

View all my Goodreads reviews

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Unfaithfully Yours is a romance with a difference – or maybe that should be an anti-romance! There are definite shades of First Wives’ Club about this charmingly told tale of four women and their unlikely alliance to take their revenge on the man who has cheated them all.

The main aspect that would have improved the book for me was for the book to have a better sense of place. I know the book is set in Dublin, because we are told this; it is one of the things that attracted me to read Unfaithfully Yours. I have become fond of Dublin through Maeve Binchy’s descriptions and I was hoping to learn more about this vibrant city. I was disappointed because, to be honest, the book could have been set anywhere.

I didn’t feel Jackie’s apparently sudden urge to “join the fun” was adequately explained given her speech in the opening scene. Shona was a drama queen, but a well drawn drama queen! Had she been my little sister, I think I’d have shaken her rather earlier in the book! Penelope was a shallow character, who seemed to abandon Brianna, but showed some loyalty to Shona in the later part of the book. Brianna seemed to be the only reasonably balanced character in the book, but she was shunted off and not used to full effect. I thought that, during her conversations with Jackie, she might make the connection with “Penelope’s photographer”, but things didn’t develop that way.

The final section of the book seemed rush – in contrast to the first half where things didn’t feel as they were moving very much. I realise that the reader is deliberately not part of the planning in order to build suspense, but I felt that the ploy failed in its mission to build tension. Perhaps if the reader saw the unfolding of the revenge more from Mark’s point of view, with a few clues and pointers, this might be more effective in creating suspense and building tension.

The mistresses redeemed themselves somewhat by aiding Rebecca, the wronged, and by this point pregnant, wife in a public humiliation of Mark and subsequent locking him out of his house. I would have liked to know more about what happened to the women, especially Rebecca, and felt the book ended very abruptly.

These points for me turned what could have been a brilliant book into an average book. The bones of the plot are well thought out and the twists are elegantly placed. It is unfortunate that the execution doesn’t match up to the promise. Unfaithfully Yours is still a good read and has been, and I’m sure will be, enjoyed by many.

I thank Joanne Clancy for sending me this ebook to read

I’m claiming this book as No. 17/150 in the Goodreads 2012 Reading Challenge.
[All links in right hand sidebar]