Roses & Thorns

Roses & Thorns

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Lies and Paine by Cyrus Keith



Blurb:

Jenna Paine doesn’t know how “special” she really is. Raised by her scientist mother and a Japanese tutor named Mama-San, her special abilities go unnoticed in the hustle and bustle of her schoolwork and training. However, other eyes are watching as well, from behind a veil of secrets. And they have plans for someone with precisely Jenna’s talents.

In college, she meets a group of people who introduce her to a new vision for world peace, and a way to realize it.

But when the cost for peace is measured in blood, can Jenna get out before it’s too late?

Review by Rochelle Weber:

Okay, I admit it. I’m a fan of Cyrus Keith. When I first saw the cover of The NADIA Project (which was brilliantly done by Delilah Stephens who did the covers for my own Moon Rock series, Rock Bound and Rock Crazy), I knew I had to read that book. The NADIA Project did, indeed, live up to Delilah’s wonderful cover, as did the sequels Unalive and Critical Mass. Somehow I missed it when the prequel, Lies and Paine, came out. But I’ve now read it, and it only disappointed me in one aspect. It ends with the first line of The NADIA Project, making it a cliffhanger ending—one of my pet peeves.

Otherwise, Mr. Keith continues to amaze me with his ability to write from a woman’s and now a little girl’s point of view. The book opens with the funeral of Jenna’s beloved Daddy. On the way home from the funeral, her mommy informs her that things will change. Jenna should now call her mommy Mother. When Jenna falls into a deep depression, missing the affection her parents used to show her, a lady named Mama-San comes to live with them, and teaches her fun things like tae kwon do and other martial arts. The book follows Jenna’s growth and the reports on her development—because she’s not a normal child. She’s enhanced. She’s a project. And if she doesn’t fulfill the purpose for which she was created, she will be terminated.

There’s one more problem with Lies and Paine. At 126 pages, it’s way too short. It left me wanting more. Goodness I wish I had time to read the rest of the series again! Start with Lies and Paine. You’ll be hooked.

And if you’re going to be anywhere near Louisville the weekend of September 11-13, stop into the Imaginarium at the Crowne Plaza Hotel near the airport. You can meet both Mr. Keith and me at the MuseItUp Publishing, Inc. booth.

Length:  126 Pages
Digital Price:  $4.50

You’ll notice we always include the publisher’s buy link. That’s because authors usually receive 40% of the book price from the publisher. Editors and cover artists usually receive about 5%. When you buy a book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or another third-party vendor, they take a hefty cut and the author, editors and cover artists receive their cuts from what is left. So, if a book costs $5.99 at E-Book Publisher.com and you buy from there, the author will receive about $2.40. If you buy the book at Amazon, the author will receive about $0.83.

Downloading the file from your computer to your Kindle is as easy as transferring any file from your computer to a USB flash drive. Plug the larger USB end of your chord into a USB port on your computer and simply move the file from your “Downloads” box to your Kindle/Documents/Books directory. You can download your books onto your computer using “Save As” to a “Books” file you create and sort them into sub-folders by genre, author, or however you wish before transferring them to your Kindle. That way, if there’s a glitch with your Kindle, the books are on your computer. Your author will be happy you did when he/she sees his/her royalty statement.

Thanks for visiting. Rose, Julie, Donna, & Rochelle

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Trail of Kisses (Hot on the Trail Book 1) by Merry Farmer


Blurb:

Someone is trying to kill Lynne Tremaine. After her father sentences two members of The Briscoe Boys gang to death, Judge Tremaine feels he has no choice but to send Lynne to Denver City along the Oregon Trail to live with her Uncle George…against her will. For Lynne, the only thing worse than being sent away to the wild west is making the journey with the handsome, arrogant, wicked man her uncle has hired to escort her. Especially when the anger she feels toward him begins to turn to something hotter. 

Cade Lawson is determined to prove himself to his employer, George Tremaine, after letting him down months earlier. But what he thought would be his second chance may, in fact, be a harsh punishment for his past mistakes. Lynne is headstrong, fiery, and determined to show him she is fearless. She is also beautiful and tempting, and when Cade sees just how afraid she really is underneath her brave act, he may be in danger of losing his heart to her forever. When her would-be killer attacks, it’s all he can do to keep Lynne safe. 
He swore to protect her, but who will protect him from her?


Donna's Review:

Farmer's writing is above average. Nothing fancy here, just clear sentences and plotting that moves from one event to the next. Characters have clearly defined internal and external goals, and thus, they pop from the page. (Not necessarily in a good way. More on that in a minute.) Farmer leaves no stone unturned as far as milking the plotting, the character’s flaws and their external and internal goals and weaving them towards a conclusion. The historical details (minus one issue further down) enhance the story and add to its depth. Farmer is a good story teller, even if the plotting is predictable, and you’ll turn from one page to the next. A good light read.

However, there were times I was scratching my head, especially in regards to the hero and heroine. Lynne Tremaine is a stubborn, progressive woman, but twice she does things that I do not think, historically, would have been done no matter how stubborn she was. I really cannot treat those here because I will spoil the plot story, but she comes across as a bit of a spoiled brat that simply wants her way and she is not concerned about either her reputation (which was important to women in those days and of her social standing) or the others on the wagon train. She is contrite enough later, but at her age, early 20s, she should have known better to begin with. The events and her choices do cause the plot to move forward, but they appear a bit contrived in my opinion.

To make matters worse, the hero, Cade Lawson, lets her do these things, when he should definitely have known better. Not typical hero behavior, when the premise of the book is that he is supposed to be taking care of her. 

My biggest issue, however, had to do with the sexual relationship. After they sleep together (a scene in which the hero purposely entices her to sleep beside him on the pretext he is 1) taking care of her and 2) dares her), there is no thought given to a possible pregnancy on either of their part, which is a bit odd contextually. This, of course, is one of my pet peeves with historical fiction – the ability of authors to completely forget that before the birth control pill became widely available in 1972, women worried about getting pregnant and thus were concerned for their reputation, as were the men. Fallling into a compromising situation due to the circumstances, and letting ones guard down sexually, is a whole different matter than the hero contriving to sleep with her on a wagon train in close quarters when he knows doing so puts her reputation at risk. It matters not how he feels about her at that point. Farmer, of course, is not the only author to forget this important historical detail for the sake of the story, but the contrived nature makes this a bit of a turn off for me. I realize I am in the minority here, however.

In regards to the sex scenes – men’s body parts are named, so this is not sweet nor tame. Steer clear if you do not like borderline graphic sex.

The other two things that bothered me - I got tired of reading that Lynne was “her Papa’s brave girl,” and I figured out who the villain was from the beginning.

Farmer is a good writer, and this is the only book I have read. If it was not for the sex, I would gladly pick up another to try, so despite the flaws in this book, she is an author worth pursuing. I understand some of her book are very good.

3 roses for this one because of the plotting issues above, but still worth a read if you like western historicals.

Length: 226 pages
Price:
     Paperback: $9.74
     Digital: $0.00
Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Trail-Kisses-Hot-Book-ebook/dp/B00NK0ZMH8/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top?ie=UTF8

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Clock Strikes Midnight by Joan Curtis




Blurb:

Janie Knox wants nothing more than to live her life quietly in Savannah, Georgia and never return to her hometown of Atlanta. At age seventeen, a week after a jury convicted her stepfather of killing her mother, she packed all her worldly possessions in a single duffle bag, hopped on a bus, and vowed never to return. But, when she learns that she’s got three months to live, she journeys back home to finish what she couldn’t do when she left--kill her stepfather.

As the clock ticks away, Janie’s uses the last days of her life to right the wrongs that have haunted her for twenty years. She faces more than she bargained for when she discovers her sister’s life in shambles. Meanwhile her stepfather, recently released from prison, blackmails the sisters and plots to extract millions from the state in retribution.

The Clock Strikes Midnight is a race against time in a quest for revenge and atonement. This is a story about unleashing the hidden truths that haunt a quiet Southern family.

Review by Rochelle:

When Janie left Atlanta, she didn’t say goodbye and everyone there thought she never looked back. That wasn’t true. While she led a quiet, successful life in Savannah, Janie never forgot the events leading up to the day her and her sister’s lives were shattered by their mother’s death—or the man responsible. When she finds she has only three months to live, she knows she has to exact her revenge, and repair the shattered relationships she left behind.

The Clock Strikes Midnight is the story of two generations of Atlanta women and the demons that drive them. It’s the tragedy of basing one’s self-esteem on being the prettiest girl in school, and what happens when your life peaks at sixteen—and crashes at seventeen. It’s the tragedy of losing a loving father at a young age, and of living with an abusive stepfather. And it’s a tale of revenge and of amends. Most importantly, it’s skillfully woven with deeply-drawn characters. Some will tug at your heart-strings, and others will make you want to wash your hands a couple of times when you put down the book. Hurry to the MuseItUp Publishing, Inc. bookstore and buy The Clock Strikes Midnight.

Length:  328 Pages
Digital Price:  $5.95

You’ll notice we always include the publisher’s buy link. That’s because authors usually receive 40% of the book price from the publisher. Editors and cover artists usually receive about 5%. When you buy a book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or another third-party vendor, they take a hefty cut and the author, editors and cover artists receive their royalties from what is left. So, if a book costs $5.99 at E-BookPublisher.com and you buy from there, the author will receive about $2.40. If you buy the book at Amazon, the author will receive about $0.83.

Downloading the file from your computer to your e-reader is as easy as transferring any file from your computer to a USB flash drive. You can download your books onto your computer using “Save As” to a “Books” folder you create and sort them into sub-folders by genre, author, or however you wish before transferring them to your e-reader. That way, if there’s a glitch with your e-reader, the books are on your computer. Once you’ve saved the book to your computer plug the larger USB end of your chord into a USB port on your computer and simply move the file from the folder you created to your E-Reader/Documents/Books directory. Your author will be happy you did when he/she sees his/her royalty statement.

Thanks for visiting. Julie, Donna, & Rochelle

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Cuba Undercover by Linda Bond



Blurb:

His revenge will change her life forever...

Cuban-American TV reporter Rebecca Menendez's success comes from playing by the rules. When she's kidnapped by a fierce and intensely handsome man who needs her help. However, all of those rules seem pointless. Nothing could have prepared her for being taken hostage...or the irresistible reward if she complies: information about her long-thought-dead father.

Antonio Vega has spent almost every day of his adult life dreaming of revenging his father's death. With his sister's life and freedom in jeopardy, Antonio isn't taking any chances. But once Rebecca and Antonio are in Cuba, they're immersed in a world of corruption, deceit, and betrayal. It's a deadly game...and there are no rules.

Review by Rochelle:

According to her biography, Linda Bond is an Emmy-winning journalist. She’s able to draw on her work experiences when she creates her characters, and has even reported from Cuba. That’s where she met her husband and adopted one of her sons. So when she describes the view of the Havana skyline from the wall of the Castillo De Los Tres Reyes Del Morro or Morrow Castle, or the feel of balancing on that wall, it’s from being there. She has seen the poverty of that island country firsthand, and felt the struggle of its people for a better life.


In addition to putting you there as though you’re seeing it through her cameraman’s lens, Ms. Bond takes you on a nail-biting ride across the Florida Straight, through the Cuban jungle, and into the heart of Havana. And along the way, you meet and fall in love with the people. You feel the hunger, the poverty, and the heartbreak of broken families. I once went an entire school year in which I only got to spend five minutes with my children. I spoke to them weekly on the phone, but it was one of the worst years of my life. I can’t imagine going ten years without seeing them. I think I’d die. Yet so many Cuban families are broken with no hope of ever again seeing their loved ones, because that trip can be fatal, and it’s one way only.


Oh, yeah—Cuba Undercover has a hot hero and plenty of sexual tension as well. You’ll devour it, and want more from this journalist-turned-novelist. I can’t wait to see what awards Ms. Bond wins in this phase of her career.


Length:  221 Pages
Digital Price:  $3.99

Thanks for visiting. Julie, Donna, & Rochelle

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Son of a Duke by Jessie Clever




Blurb:

Society’s most capable housekeeper, Eleanora Quinton, has a problem.  Not only does a dead body fall right into the middle of her mistress’s ball and her son get kidnapped, the only person who can help her also forces her to face her most crippling fears.  

But the last thing Eleanora expects when the dead body hits the floor is love with the son of a duke. 

A spy for the British War Office and illegitimate son of a duke, Nathan Black pulls the infallible housekeeper into a cyclone of espionage, intrigue and danger as he searches for the meaning behind her son’s kidnapping. Fighting to keep Eleanora safe, Nathan struggles with his growing attraction to the unflappable housekeeper, but as the treasonous plot twists around, too many clues point to Eleanora and a past of which she will not speak. 

Can their love withstand her dangerous secret? 



Donna's Review:

In Son of a Spy Jessie Clever takes us into the world of espionage during the Napoleonic era. Spies abound, treachery is everywhere, and spy Nathan Black and head housemaid Eleanor Quinton’s worlds collide.

While there was nothing particularly remarkable about his book (I didn’t learn anything new, I wasn’t taken into a world I didn’t know, I didn’t have any earth shifting eye opening experiences) it was a very enjoyable read. The plotting was quick and moved along, and I found myself irked I had to put the book down when I just had to go do something. (My family does have to eat now and then.) I certainly did not mind picking it back up again. In fact, I made time to do so. That says a lot.

Jessie Clever has a distinctive, fresh style that is easy to read. The only problem with this is that the “voice” of each character sounds very much the same, but this is a skill authors refine over time. It is also one of the hardest things for an author to do. It did not, however, detract from the story, and this is Ms. Clever’s first novel. There is also the matter of quite a few mistakes, but again, I am easier on first books than subsequent books. 

The relationship between Nathan and Eleanor was sweet and endearing. Their internal and external goals are clearly defined straight away, and these goals play well off each other as they work towards their happily-ever-after. Clever leaves no stone unturned in making the most of her plot twists.

One word of caution – this book does goes beyond “steamy” as far as the sexual content, so if you only read clean fiction with nothing more than kissing, then I recommend you pass this one up.  There is also an unresolved story line with two characters (not Nathan and Eleanora), so you will wish to pick up the next book in the series right away if you read this one.

4 roses for this one for a quick, entertaining read.

Length: 297 pages

Price:     
   Print:   $9.99
   Digital: $2.99
Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Son-Duke-The-Series-Book-ebook/dp/B00DQI48YW