Monday, March 31, 2014

Colorado Dawn by Kaki Warner

ISBN-10: 0425254046
ISBN-13: 978-0425254042

Colorado Dawn (A Runaway Brides Novel)
Author Kaki Warner
  • Series: A Runaway Brides Novel (Book 2)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (December 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425254046
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425254042
Book Summary:  Colorado Dawn
After only three letters and one visit during her six-year marriage to a Scottish cavalry officer, Maddie Wallace decides to build a new life for herself by accepting an assignment from a London periodical to photograph the American West. Then Angus Wallace returns home unexpectedly after a military injury to find his wife gone, and to discover he’s in line to an earldom. His mission to find Maddie takes him to Heartbreak Creek, Colorado where his biggest challenge awaits: convincing his headstrong wife to return home as his viscountess.

Now Maddie must decide between the glorious Colorado mountains or the glittering ballrooms of London, and between the man she has loved and the dreams she wants so desperately to fulfill. 

What's on my mind about this book:  Colorado Dawn

I rather enjoyed this book by Kaki Warner.  I usually read historical fiction from earlier time periods in England, Scotland or other European countries.  Kaki Warner did a great job of identifying the different characters in the book that would appear in the other books of the series.  I was able to follow the different plot lines.  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

W is for Wasted (Kinsey Millhone Mystery) by Sue Grafton

  • Series: Kinsey Millhone Mystery (Book 23)
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: A Marian Wood Book/Putnam; First Edition edition (September 10, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399158987
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399158988
  • Audio: Judy Kaye, narrator.

Summary:  "From Book List-Wasted lives, wasted time, and wasted opportunities are at the heart of this twenty-third entry in the long-running Kinsey Millhone series, which reveals how the deaths of two very different men impact Kinsey’s life. The first man, Pete Wolinsky, found murdered in a local park, is a shady PI for whom Kinsey has little respect; the second, R. T. Dace, is an alcoholic vagrant who not only turns out to be Kinsey’s relative but also leaves her a half-million bucks. Armed with news of R. T.’s death, Kinsey sets out to learn more about him and why he disinherited his immediate family. The clever twists of V Is for Vengeance are mostly absent here, and readers will need to wade through a lot of story before Wolinsky’s connection to Dace comes clear. But Grafton hasn’t lost her touch for characterization. Nobody in the cast is a stereotype, and it’s the clash of personalities and interpersonal dynamics that provide the appeal here. Nearing the conclusion of this celebrated series, Grafton continues to shape Millhone’s character, toughened by circumstance but still both understanding and forgiving.  --Stephanie Zvirin "

My Thoughts:  I enjoy the Kinsey Millhone stories.  The time period is always the same, basically the 1980's. I did keep wondering in the beginning how the two story tied in together.  It wasn't until very near the end of the book that the two stories came together. The Pete Wolinksy murder was secondary to the story, and I often wonder if Ms Gafton added that to make the story more of a mystery.  With only two letters left in the alphabet, will Kinsey move on to numbers and the 1990s?

"Raw" By: Belle Aurora Review

By: Belle Aurora

Growing up the way I did, you’d think I’d be more screwed up than what I actually am.
Soon as I turned sixteen, I left that bump in the road I called home and took my chances on the street.

Best decision I ever made.
Now, at the age of twenty six, I’m educated, employed and damn good at my job.
My friends have become my family. Like me, they know what it’s like to grow up unloved.
But the saying is true.
The world makes way for those who know where they are going.
That’s me.
I know where I’m going and I’ll get there eventually. On my own terms and at my own pace.
But then there’s him.
I feel his eyes on me. I see him hiding in plain sight. He watches me.
He makes me feel.
It’s unconventional.
But it’s real.
I’m sure you’re wondering how a person falls in love with their stalker.
So am I.
This isn’t a story.
This is my life.
My Thoughts
    Lexi, living in Australia, works as a social worker dealing specifically with children and teens. Having lived through a tough childhood and even spending time on the streets, Lexi now does what she can to ensure no other teen has to go through what she went through. Slowly, she has been noticing a man watching her from the shadows. Never really too concerned, until she is attacked outside of her apartment, Lexi’s stalker becomes her savior.
    Twitch has been watching Lexi for a long time. Attracted to her and thinking she’s in need of someone to save  her from herself, Twitch watches her from the shadows. Disreputable an less than law abiding, Twitch is intense and strong in his beliefs. When he finally makes his move to bring himself closer to Lexi, he can no longer keep himself away, even if it might be better for everyone involved.

“Monsters don't always lurk in the shadows. Sometimes they hide in plain sight.” Belle Aurora, Raw      

    Raw is what I felt when I finished Raw. The ending is emotionally draining and absolutely shocking. I read hundreds of books a year and for something to surprise me this much really tells how different it truly is.
    Lexi and Twitch are both such strong and independent characters. I loved how each complemented one another, even though the story itself was so intense. You have to suspend belief a bit (Twitch had apparently knew Alexa when she lived in the US) but I was happily along for the ride. Super sexy and frankly hot, Twitch has got the gift of speech. A bit creepy with the whole watching thing, I was able to put it behind me because of the pure emotional intensity of the characters.
     Leaving the ending wide open for a sequel, Belle Aurora delivers with Raw. I actually teared up at the ending that was just emotionally jarring and so unexpected. I can’t wait to see what comes next. Excellently written, sexy, and just plain good, Raw was fantastic.

“Kissing her once more, I tell her without hesitation, "if you promise to never leave me, I will love you. And be good to you. I'll treat you like a queen." My queen. I heard somewhere that a king only bows down to his queen. And I'm bowing down to Lexi.” Belle Aurora, Raw

Book Details
Publisher: Self Published by Author
ISBN: 2940148861119
Date of Publication: January 2, 2014
# of Pages: 333
Source: Personal Purchase

Originally published at the Brunette Librarian's Blog

Friday, March 21, 2014

"Find a Cow Now!" By: Janet Stevens Review

Find A Cow Now
By: Janet Stevens & 
Susan Stevens Crummel

Ruff! Ruff! Yip! Yip! Dog is rounding up whatever he can find in his urban apartment, even chairs. He is also driving his bird companion crazy with the commotion. Bird sends him to the countryside to find something more appropriate to herd, such as a cow. But since dog has never seen a cow, he finds all the wrong animals. After being pecked by a chicken, spattered with mud by a pig, and walloped by a donkey, Dog needs a friend. By chance a mysterious and kindly animal helps lead him back to the city, only to cause chaos there, before revealing her identity--as a cow!

My Thoughts
     Incredibly cute, funny with earthy illustrations that add relevance to the story, Find a Cow Now is great for early learners. Dog is tired of living in the city, so Bird suggests he go to the country to find himself a cow to herd. As he travels to the country, Dog encounters lots of strange animals he tries to herd but neither the pig nor the chicken want anything to do with him. When he loses his way, he is helped by a large animal who coincidentally, as he learns out later, is a cow.
     Cute story that will appeal to kids who love animals, Find a Cow Now uses simple words and sounds to tell its tale. Perfect for early readers, I personally enjoyed the different animal sounds that organically appeared throughout. The illustrations are very well done and in such a way to give credence to the story. All in all a darn cute story great for librarian’s needing a farm story in story time or that mom needing her next nighttime tale.

Book Details
Publisher: Holiday House
Date of Publication: September 1, 2012
# of Pages: 32
ISBN: 9780823422180
Source: Library Checkout

Originally Published at The Brunette Librarian's blog

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

"Rock It" By: Jennifer Chance Review

Rock It
By: Jennifer Chance

Lacey Dawes is a total pro at the talent agency where she works, and it doesn’t hurt that IMO Worldwide Media represents Dante Falcone. The rock god has starred in her fantasies since she was sixteen—and remains her secret crush to this day. So when Dante picks her to be the interim manager on his Dream It tour, Lacey can’t believe her luck. Handling Dante is sure to be the most exquisite, spine-tingling, nerve-wracking mix of business and pleasure ever. Although Dante is grateful for the adoring fans who scream for one more of his full-throttle, soul-searing songs, being surrounded by a cadre of corporate types backstage is wearing thin. Then Lacey shows up. Yeah, she’s organized, smart, quick to get him what he wants before he knows he wants it—but Dante senses there’s something else going on with sweet, sexy Lacey. One kiss tells him what that “something” might be . . . and makes him hungry for more.

My Thoughts
     Lacey Dawes has it all, or so she thinks. Her dream job, in her dream city, with everything going right, Lacey is on top of the world. Her talent agency has just signed with Dante Falcone, one of the hottest rock stars on the planet and coincidentally, her crush since she was a young teen.
    Dante has been a rock idol for so long, its almost as if he’s forgotten how to be a normal guy. When he meets Lacey, he suddenly sees himself wanting to change and be different for her. He wants to be a better person for her and uses her crush for him as a catalyst for a relationship.
      I found this book on Netgalley and was incredibly excited just by the cover alone. Isn’t it gorgeous? Loving rock star heroes, I was sure I would love this book...unfortunately, that’s pretty far from the truth. Pretty cover does not equal pretty book.
     I found both Dante and Lacey to be poor characters. Dante is this mythical thing in Lacey’s mind, she’s followed him for years. Suddenly when faced with touring with him, she jumps at the chance. That part didn’t bother me, but the immediate jumping into bed with him without a how do you do drove me insane.
    Dante felt empty. We are supposed to believe he’s been this star for these many years, but he just seemed juvenile and devoid of character. Again, he’s super attracted to Lacey immediately and doesn’t find the fact she was a rabid fan before creepy at all. Not even enough to be a little cautious, they are just friendly in the biblical sense in the beginning.
    The book had promise and even the story itself isn’t that bad. I enjoy the idea of fan and star falling in love, but with this one it is just poorly executed. Not realistic in the least and the characters fell flat. Poorly executed and flat, this may be one to skip.

Book Details
Publisher: Loveswept
Date of Publication: March 4, 2014
# of Pages: 240
ISBN: 978-0553390957
Source: Netgalley - For Review

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Wings of Invention by Sue Monk Kidd

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult; First Edition edition (January 7, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670024783
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670024780

*Starred Review* Inspired by the true story of early-nineteenth-century abolitionist and suffragist Sarah Grimk√©, Kidd paints a moving portrait of two women inextricably linked by the horrors of slavery. Sarah, daughter of a wealthy South Carolina plantation owner, exhibits an independent spirit and strong belief in the equality of all. Thwarted from her dreams of becoming a lawyer, she struggles throughout life to find an outlet for her convictions. Handful, a slave in the Grimk√© household, displays a sharp intellect and brave, rebellious disposition. She maintains a compliant exterior, while planning for a brighter future. Told in first person, the chapters alternate between the two main characters’ perspectives, as we follow their unlikely friendship (characterized by both respect and resentment) from childhood to middle age. While their pain and struggle cannot be equated, both women strive to be set free—Sarah from the bonds of patriarchy and Southern bigotry, and Handful from the inhuman bonds of slavery. Kidd is a master storyteller, and, with smooth and graceful prose, she immerses the reader in the lives of these fascinating women as they navigate religion, family drama, slave revolts, and the abolitionist movement. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Beginning with her phenomenally successful debut, The Secret Life of Bees (2002), Kidd’s novels have found an intense readership among library patrons, who will be eager to get their hands on her latest one. --Kerri Price - Booklist

My Thoughts:  I would recommend this story.  The alternating between stories of Sarah and Handful tell a compelling story of how the upper class of Charleston lived in the early 1800's compared to the life of a house slave.  Sarah born into aristocracy and Handful born a slave have the same desire to change their lives and this is the story of their lives from childhood to adulthood.  Many roadblocks are thrown in the way of Sarah and Handful's desire to make changes in their lives and in the lives of others but they do not give up and eventually their lives do change and they can become the women that they desire to be.  

The Lace Makers of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri

Pages:  304
Publisher: Harper Collins
Copyright:  2009

Barbieri sets The Lace Makers of Glenmara in, Glenmara, Ireland, where a heartbroken American tourist, Kate Robinson, finds her one-night stay extended with the help of Glenmara's lace makers. Kate's hostess, chronically grieving widow Bernie, draws the young Seattleite into the gossipy ring of lace makers. Kate, a former fashion designer, steps in with the locals to learn how to make lace.   The community is struggling and Kate's pivotal, inspirational idea—embellishing the ladies' undergarments with lace is the Lace Makers plan to revive Glenmara.  A look at the lives of the lace makers with their tragedies and joys.

My thoughts:  I enjoyed the book.  It was a light, positive and charming look at a quaint Irish village at a time of change from the old ways to today.  

Friday, March 14, 2014

"Who's Who" By: Ken Geist Review

Who’s Who
By: Ken Geist
Over in these pages where it's hard to tell who's who, live six pairs of twins who are the best at what they do. "Laugh!" say the twins. "We laugh!" So will you. And you'll giggle as you read while you try to tell who's who.

My Thoughts
     I’m not a children’s librarian, and although I do enjoy a good picture book, I sometimes don’t agree with what’s on the best of lists. I read them purely for enjoyment, and some more than others as with everything in life, are simply better. This is not one of those books. While the illustrations are incredibly cute and playful, the text and rhyming rhythm of the book seemed off to me.
     The story is comprised of small poems in the wildlife kingdom. From a farmyard to the jungle, the author describes two animals’ antics through rhyming. While it was a cute concept, it didn't work for me. The rhyming doesn’t seem well done in places and the story is disjointed.  In contrast, the illustrations are well done in pastel and earth tones. I enjoyed the subtle jokes within the illustrations, especially the twin bats with the “Batman” shirts. So I guess I would suggest this one for the pretty pictures, but definitely not a good one for read alouds or using to learn rhyming words.      

Book Details
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Date of Publication: August 7, 2012
# of Pages: 28
ISBN: 9780312644376
Source: Library Checkout

Originally Published at The Brunette Librarian's blog