Category Archives: Second in Series

In My Mailbox (9): Sunday 10 June 2012

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Welcome to
In My Mailbox!!

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren and Letterbox Love is a British take on the idea. If you want to know more, there is information under the Fun Things heading above, or you can click on the pictures at the top of this post to take you to the hosts’ blogs.

These posts are to tell you about the books I have acquired recently. I know most bloggers call such posts “In My Mailbox”, however, as I’m English, my physical post comes through my letterbox and my electronic mail arrives in my mailbox (or my inbox…). So I have decided to use the following terms:

In My Letterbox (IML) for the physical books I aquire;
In My Mailbox (IMM) for the NetGalley books or ebooks sent to me for review by authors;
In My Inbox (IMI) for the free Kindle ebooks I compulsively download!

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Hello there! Welcome back to my blog and to an IMM that contains two author gift eBooks and a virtual pile of Kindle books that I’ve bought from Amazon.  If you’ve read, or are planning to read, any of these books, I’d love to hear your thoughts on them.

Enjoy the browse – I hope you find something to pique your interest.

eBOOKS won on AUTHOR’S Private competitions for REVIEW:

1. Cameron Nation by David Carraturo

Cameron Nation: Going All-In to Save His CountryCameron Nation: Going All-In to Save His Country by David Carraturo

Frustrated with the current political climate self-made billionaire, Chris Cameron retires from a successful hedge fund to focus on philanthropic endeavors. With the notoriety received after he competes in the World Series of Poker to raise money for his newest charities, the Tea Party member is introduced to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. A driven, charismatic, and brilliant leader by nature, Cameron soon finds himself invited into the elite world of professional politics.

When Chris is asked to be the running mate on the GOP ticket, he leaps at the opportunity. The duo is elected and with the assistance of a super-majority Republican-controlled Congress they quickly implement a far-reaching agenda to restore the United States to its rightful place atop the geopolitical stage.

Cameron Nation tells the story of how a street smart kid from the suburbs of New York City leverages a deep understanding of economic theory, the business world and the capital markets combined with the savvy of an experienced poker player to provide overwhelming strategic support and gain the trust of the new president and the growing conservative movement.

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I’ve entered a few competitions to win this one, so I was really pleased when I won David’s Goodreads competition for one of twenty e-copies of the book.  Looking forward to reading this one – and aiming to get the review out before the end of the month!!

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2. Colombus Avenue Boys by David Carraturo

Columbus Avenue BoysColumbus Avenue Boys by David Carraturo

Salvatore Esposito, Anthony Albanese, and Christopher Cameron—the Columbus Avenue Boys—are somewhat related, as they share lineage back to before the turn of century. Having grown up together in a small community north of New York City, each became successful in his own right. Chris moved to Dallas to be a portfolio manager with a financial firm while Sal and Tony earn their living the hard way—by being enforcers and major earners for the mob.

Tony’s grandfather, Pops Scala, tells them a horrific secret from the Scalamarri Family past: twelve members of their family were massacred at the hands of Bugsy Siegel and his ruthless gang from Murder Inc. in 1935. Pops was the sole witness and lone survivor, and he was more than happy to pull the trigger and end Bugsy’s murderous life.

Now fifty years later, Pops convinces the Columbus Avenue Boys they must leave the underworld life for good. Since one cannot just give two weeks’ notice to the Gambino crime family, the three blood brothers devise a plan to infiltrate the inner workings of the Mafia in the 1990s to avenge the massacre in their family tree.

Columbus Avenue Boys chronicles the Scalamarri family tree throughout the twentieth century and presents a historical perspective of the life and struggles of an Italian immigrant family as well as that of America’s organized crime.

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As with Cameron Nation, I’ve entered several competitions to win this book – and was one of the first five to respond to David’s Goodreads competition!  Now all I need to do is win a copy of Cameron’s Court and I’ll be able to review the set 🙂  Again, I’m aiming to have the review posted before the end of the month. 

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eBooks (kindle) bought from amazon

1. The Flute Keeper’s Voyage (The Flute Keeper Saga #2) by Ashley Setzer

The Flute Keeper's Voyage (The Flute Keeper Saga, #2)The Flute Keeper’s Voyage by Ashley Setzer

Just as she’s settling into her new life in Faylinn, Emma Wren stands accused of causing a horrible curse that drains Ivywild castle and all the Fay living in it of their magic and vitality. Faced with banishment back to the human world, Emma becomes a fugitive and convinces the ever contrary Lev Hartwig to help her clear her name by curing the curse. The journey for the cure takes them to the high seas, where they must match wits with a wily Hobgoblin captain and her crew of pipe-smoking Gremlins, one very hairy cook, and a doctor with a split personality.
With the Fay army on her trail and a traitor racing her to reach the cure first, Emma is pushed to the limits of her burgeoning power. Though she treks across oceans, forests, deserts, and into the heart of a ghost city, she never walks the path alone. Friends old and new are on hand to help with bar brawls, flying serpents, and other travel hazards. When an evil greater than the curse is uncovered, Emma’s journey becomes a battle to save not just her home, but her friends as well.

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I decided the the 77p Amazon were asking for this book was worth it (LOL) since Book 1 was free and the reviews make me think I’ll want to read the set.

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2. The Flute Keeper’s Training (The Flute Keeper Saga #3) by Ashley Setzer

The Flute Keeper's Training (The Flute Keeper Saga, #3) The Flute Keeper’s Training (The Flute Keeper Saga, #3) by Ashley Setzer

Princess Chloe’s sixteenth birthday is looming near, but an attack by a strange, half-mechanical monster leaves Emma little time to bother with the upcoming birthday ball—that is, until a certain handsome, blonde guest shows up early and sweeps both girls off their feet. The rivalry tests Emma’s loyalty to her best friend, as well as her devotion to her new job as a priestess trainee. To make matters worse, Lev Hartwig appears to be shunning her in favor of late night meetings with another girl. Ivywild castle is bursting with secrets and it is up to Emma to decide who she can trust and who the real monsters are before it’s too late.

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As with Book 2, this was on offer at 77p, so I’m set for plenty of time with the Flute Keeper.  I’m not sure when I’ll get to read these…there are so many other books in my TBR list, some with deadlines!

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3. Never Forgotten (DCI Victor Moyes) by Peter Kirby

Set in the 1960’s this is the sixth in the series of stories covering DCI Victor Moyes’s attempts to contain the criminals operating in and around the fictional town of Abberford. Victor was what you would call a plodder refusing to give up on the cases he was involved in and relying to a certain extent on his second in command DS Victoria Morgan to come up with the ideas that would eventually bring the criminals to book.

As well as being involved in the work place they were also involved in their private lives their interest in dancing being the common denominator. They also used each other emotionally to satisfy their needs by spending passionate nights of love making although love was not involved…only their animal instincts.

This story covers the abduction of a girl held captive for seven years and repeated sexually and physically abused by her captor over this period of time and how she is eventually discovered

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I like detective stories, and at £1.02, I decided that I would buy this one too!

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4. Winter’s Destiny by Nancy Allan

Winter's DestinyWinter’s Destiny by Nancy Allan

She’s an architect, a wife, and a mother, but the quiet life ends suddenly for Amy Johnson. Alone, with a fall gale howling around the rafters, she turns to see a woman’s rain-streaked face staring at her through the dark window.

The face is identical to her own!

Instantly, Amy’s life crumbles. Her husband leaves, her only child disappears, and something sinister surrounds her and those she loves. Amy is catapulted into a world she knows nothing about–a place where a killer rules, where answers stay buried, where time ticks dangerously by, where her life is in constant peril, and worse, where her son, Jamie is hidden.

To find her child, she must find her look-alike, and that dislodges a killer who hunts her relentlessly. Sheriff Dallas Wayburne’s investigation parallels Amy’s, and their combined efforts draw them together when time is critical and when their relationship adds yet another dimension to Amy’s stressful life.

They finally track down the powerful, destructive man behind the scenes, learn the identity of Amy’s look-alike, and unravel a puzzle decades in the making. As time runs out, Amy struggles to save her son while fighting both a dangerous man and the perils of the treacherous Oregon coast.

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I didn’t win this on the Goodreads Giveaways, so when I spotted it at £1.92, I decided to go for it!

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5. Paradox – The Angels Are Here by Patti Roberts

Paradox: The Angels Are Here (Paradox, #1)Paradox: The Angels Are Here by Patti Roberts

Paradox Series: Spanning over centuries to the present day, this is a story about love, loss, and betrayal.

My name is Juliette. Nine hundred years ago, I died. Today, I am alive…

The Ancient World – This is not a story about Vampires. However, we are talking about a predatory being that existed long before the word Vampire was ever whispered… the real monsters behind the legendary Vampire myths that reigned in Ancient times. They were a race of Fallen Angels called Grigorians.

The New World – Grace is a little girl struggling to understand the catastrophic events that are forcing their way into her otherwise seemingly normal, if not sometimes, strange world. Haunting visions and untimely deaths of others are a constant reminder that life and death are only a heartbeat away.

Grace finds herself trapped in a nightmare, consumed by paralyzing loss and overwhelming grief as she painfully witnesses her mother slowly being torn away from her.

A journey crossing Two Worlds. One Ancient – One New. How do the heartbreaking visions experienced by a little girl fit into this Ancient World of Angels, Myth & Legend?

Grace’s story will indeed break your heart and leave you asking… Who, When, Where? WHAT!

Book 2 in the Paradox Series – Progeny Of Innocence. Will evil strike again? You can bet your soul on it!

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Book 2 was on the free offer, and at 99p, I thought I’d risk getting Book 1! 😉 This looks like a promising series.

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6. Firecracker by Charles R. Verhey

Firecracker Firecracker by Charles R. Verhey

Firecracker is a fun contemporary fantasy thriller about a young woman named Aideen Cassidy, who has to be careful with her emotions because when she explodes, things literally explode! Being a pyrokinetic – able to start fires with her mind – isn’t an easy thing to live with, especially when trying to find work in the modern world. Luck or fate lands her a job with a group of eccentric psychics who use their gifts to help local authorities with difficult cases. They can see the future, sense feelings, read minds – useful traits. All Aideen can do is blow things up. But there’ something special about her that has caught the attention of the most powerful psychic in the world, and there are secrets about the organization even the psychics don’t know. Plans have been put into motion, secrets are unraveling, lives are in danger, and the group soon find themselves caught in a conspiracy of shadowy monsters, government spies, and ancient legends that date back 600 years.

All Aideen wanted was to fit in. Now the lives of all her new friends must rely on her talents for fiery destruction.

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I thought this was on the free list, so when I checked my order I was a bit surprised to find this cost me £3.23.  This wasn’t the only one in this order where this happens…guess I’ll have to be a bit more careful and double check before I hit the “Buy” button… 😀

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7. Chocolate Aftertaste by Liz Grace Davis

Chocolate AftertasteChocolate Aftertaste by Liz Grace Davis

At her pre-wedding dinner, Nora Darkin, the daughter of a wealthy entrepreneur, discovers her fiancé is not the man she thought he was. As her father hoists his glass to toast them, she makes an announcement: there will be no wedding to her father’s right-hand man.

Due to the fresh rift driven between her and her father, Nora escapes to the quaint town of Dreara. Determined to live her life her own way, she makes new friends and pursues her lifelong desire of becoming a chef. Ethan Danes, a neighbour with his own broken heart, helps soothe hers.

Just as Nora discovers what it means to be happy, and she begins to fall in love with Ethan, a woman from his past re-enters his life…

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At £1.95, I’m not so upset at not noticing this wasn’t on the freebie list.

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8. Immortal Coil (A Dragon Spirit Novel, Book 1) by C.I. Black

Immortal CoilImmortal Coil by C.I. Black

Two souls. One Body. Sharing is not an option…

Terrible news has turned Anaea Salis’s life upside down. There’s nothing she can do to make it right and the stranger who stops to talk to her can’t help. But when that stranger, Hunter, an ancient dragon spirit, is viciously attacked and forced to transfer his spirit into her body, Anaea’s life takes a new terrifying twist.

Hunter should have known by now not to get involved with human affairs, but there was something about the woman that drew him to her and he just couldn’t help himself. Trapped in her body all he wants is to get out, except whoever is trying to kill him is now after her.

Their only hope of survival… plunge into the deadly world of dragons.

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This is another one where I didn’t spot that it wasn’t a freebie.  Even when I thought it was a freebie, I was in two minds about downloading it, so finding I’d paid £4.47 for it was a bit of a downer!  Let’s hope that when I read it, I decide it was worth it!

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9. Wicked Game by Matt Johnson

Wicked GameWicked Game by Matt Johnson

A policeman is killed in a bomb blast, a second is gunned down in his own driveway. The Wicked Game has started.

Former SAS and now Royalty protection officer Robert Finlay has had enough of the job’s not-so-glamorous demands and opts to transfer to a local police station. But Fate has plans for Finlay – both of the murdered policemen are former Army colleagues.

Finlay doesn’t see himself as the hero type – just a survivor. A ‘Wicked Game’, where he is the target, is about to test his skills to the limit.

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This was £1.99.  I can’t remember if I knew that before I bought it, but I suspect not.  Still, it sounds like something I’ll enjoy, so I’m not too annoyed with myself.

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So there we go: two more books won and intended for review; five books bought intentionally and four books I thought were free but weren’t.  A lesson learned.  Quite a fun-filled week on the book acquisition front!!

Next week’s IMM will be a look at some of the NetGalley books for which I’ve been approved, so the following week’s IML will look at new arrivals over the two weeks between now and then – I know it will be an IML as I bought four books at a charity stall yesterday and I’ve been told a book is in the post and winging its way to my sticky paws from Canada 🙂 Come back in two weeks to find out what all these are!

Leave a link to your IMM post, or blog in general, and I’ll pop over and say hello.  I hope there is something here that is new to you and that it has inspired you to go on a book hunt.  Whatever you’re reading in the coming week – enjoy and share the love 😀

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..
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