Showing posts from January, 2013

The Gates of Paradise

I have to admit that I am not a faithful fan of this series. However I have read several of the books in this series. For this reason, I never felt a strong connection to the characters but I was still curious to see how this series would end. For me, I found Mimi, Kingsley, Bliss and Lawson’s stories the most intriguing. The rest of the characters were alright. Schuyler who I thought to be a main character was disappointing to me. She was uninteresting. She did not do much during most of the book until the last third of the book when she was helping with the battle and faced with a decision.

Which the last third of this book seemed to go by really quickly. Not to say that the rest of the book was not a quick read as it was but it was more of a steady pace. The last third of the book being done so quickly had pros and cons. The pro is that it was quick and there was action. The con is that it was quick. The build up to the end of this book and knowing this book was the end of the se…

The Adventures of Mrs. Browning by Marcia Carrington is a fun, quick, delightful read.

Mrs. Browning lives in the suburbs of Grayridge. She is a widow. Everyone who knows Mrs. Browning loves her but feels sorry for her as she lives alone. Mrs. Browning has her daily routine. She does live a boring life. That is except for Fridays. This is when Mrs. Browning trades in her stuffy digs for a posh place and a white mink coat. Mrs. Browning then starts her evening off right by going to Le Nouveau Riche so come gambling and finishes the night with dancing and romancing.

The Adventures of Mrs. Browning by Marcia Carrington is a fun, quick, delightful read. At only eleven pages, I felt like I was reading a full story and not a short one. Marcia did a good job capturing everything she needed to in this book within a little space. I love Mrs. Browning and her double life. I thought she had a great other life. It was fun and had me a little jealous of all the things she did. I almost did not want her to go back to her day job of being a widow. I thought it was too boring and sad.…

The Bracelet

Abby Monroe needs to get away for a while. Especially after her boyfriend, Eric moved away and left her. Abby signs up to assist the UN. Abby is going for a morning run while on her last day in Geneva before she heads to Pakistan. While on her run, Abby hears a woman and a man arguing. The next thing Abby spies is the woman tumbling over the balcony to her death. All Abby can remember is the bracelet the woman was wearing on her arm. It was encrusted with lots of shiny jewels.

Abby travels to Pakistan. Abby can not get the woman or the bracelet out of her head. Abby meets Noah, a journalist. Abby’s boss, Najeela is hiding something.

This book held promise and had my attention. There were both pros and cons to this book. Of course, the negatives were really very minor. For example, I felt that Abby was a bit stiff in the way she presented herself, mean towards Noah, and naïve to the true horrors of the country she was residing in. Ok, so the last item about Abby I can forgive. I mean…

The Can Do Duck and Doctor Duck

In honor of National Children’s Book Day on April 2nd, we interviewed “Ducktor Morty”, author of “The Can Do Duck” book series. These motivational books focus on building self-esteem, confidence and positive attitude.

Morty, a child psychiatrist, and his wife, a child psychologist, began writing these books 10 years ago with the help of their 2 children, who assisted with some of the book illustrations. They self-published the books by making copies at Kinkos during the first years of publication. Today, they have sold over 10,000 copies of “The Can Do Duck”. These books have been used in schools and reading programs all over the US.

Morty’s real claim to fame (just kidding) is his ability to read “The Can Do Duck” while uni-cycling through his neighborhood! Thanks to his “Can Do” attitude, Morty successfully unicycles to the top of the steepest hill in his hometown.

At HooplaHa - Life with a Smile, we create original videos and articles to inspire and spread positivity.

Then Like the Blind Man

Review by Nancy

In a fascinating story of growing up in a totally alien environment, Freddie Owens gives us the story of Orbie, oldest child of Ruby missing his dead father and left with his Kentucky grandparents while Momma, the new husband and his little sister go to Florida to start anew. Orbie hates Victor for several reasons and, during his stay in the hills; learns a few more.

Coming from Detroit to the hills is a drastic change for anyone but, if you are only nine it’s worse than most. No friends, odd cultures, black folk who come and go without being seen and then there is Church. The Kingdom Church is mainly black but Orbie’s grandparents are members so his attendance is expected.

There is one character names Moses who captures the attention of the reader more than most. Tall, black, odd speaking and odder acting Moses serves as the significance of Good\Evil. He can do magic, gets Orbie to handle a snake at Church, keeps care of Willis, a crippled boy with the artistic talen…

The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War

I do enjoy reading about historical events. Although, I would not call myself a history buff. I do have a love/hate relationship with history. This is because, while I do enjoy reading about history, I am particular to certain time periods and also, because it is history, I do grow easily bored of reading about the past after a while. This did happen with this book as well. I really appreciated Mr. Stashower’s explicit knowledge to details even to the little minor ones but after a while, I did grow tried and had to skim and flash forward sections of this book.

I expected this book to me more focused on the plot to murder Lincoln. Don’t get me wrong as Mr. Stashower did explain about the attempts on Lincoln prior to him becoming President but this book seemed like it was spent in detail talking about the Pinkertons. I did not mind reading about Allan Pinkerton as I did find him an entertaining character. I did like that he and his wife were part of the “underground railroad” movement…

The Winter Witch is a magical journey that you will not want to end!

Morgana’s mother marries her to Cai Jenkins. She does it out of love. She worries about Morgana and who will take care of her. Morgana is a nice girl but she has a slight flaw. She does not talk. Morgana has not spoken a word in years. In the beginning Morgana did not care for Cai. Over time, she came to love Cai and their home together. Morgana meets a woman who helps her unlock the magic within Morgana. Later strange things start happening in town. People grow anxious and blame Morgana for the cause.

I read The Witch’s Daughter but I remember thinking this book was good but I did struggle some with it. I did not have this problem at all with The Winter Witch. In fact, I had devoured the first half of the book before I made myself put it down. There was something spellbinding about Morgana and Cai. The way that Morgana and Cai interacted with each other, I thought brought them closer as Morgana did not talk.

Cai is a very caring and patient husband. The way that he cared for Morga…

Stolen Nights will have you stealing a few more hours in your night to finish this book!

Lenah Beudonte preformed a ritual for her friend, Vicken. The ritual is to turn Vicken back into a human. Lenah awakes in the hospital with her other friend, Justin by her side. Lenah survived the ritual and Vicken is human again. Unfortunately, what Lenah did not know is that performing the ritual brought the elementals forward. The elementals are not the only ones that are interested in Lenah. A vampire named Odette wants the secret to the ritual. As if this was not enough for Lenah, she learns that her true love, Rhode has survived the ritual as well.

Stolen Nights is the second book in the Vampire Queen series. Rebecca has just about done with her revisions for the third and final book in the series. So, now is a good time to check out this series if you have not yet. Fans of this series will enjoy this book. I have to comment on the book cover as it is like a watercolor portrait. The design team did a great job on the cover. Also, to be honest, I have not read the first book, I…

Haunted Moon will not let fans down!

Strange things are happening all over in the grave yards. More unusual then normal. Camille, Menolly, and Delilah are on the case. Someone powerful is behind the strange happenings as the sisters barely survived with their lives. They learn exactly who they are dealing with. It is Gulakah, Lord of Ghosts. As if the Lord of Ghosts is not enough, they also come face to face with Bran, son of the Raven Mother and Black Unicorn. In order to stop the Lord of Ghosts, Camille and her youkai-kitsune husband, Morio participate in a dangerous ritual that will bring them close as well as thrust them into the world of the dead.

I just love this series. The D’Artigo sisters are some of my favorite characters. Each one separately are good but together they are great. In the Haunted Moon, Camille is the main focus once again. In this book, readers get to see more of Camille and her transformation as a priestess. The sex scenes involving Camille and her husbands are really steamy. I have come to lo…

Saturday Introverts Giveaway

SATURDAY NIGHT WIDOWS is the transcendent and infectiously wise memoir of six marriages, six heartbreaks, and one shared beginning. In her forties – a widow, too young, too modern to accept the role – Becky Aikman struggled to make sense of her place in an altered world. Following her own remarriage, she forms a group with five other young widows and together, these friends summon the humor, resilience, and striving spirit essential for anyone overcoming adversity. The women meet once a month, and over the course of a year, they strike out on ever more far-flung adventures, learning to live past the worst thing they thought could happen. They share emotional peaks and valleys – dating, parenting, moving, finding meaningful work, and reinventing themselves – while turning traditional thinking about loss and recovery upside down. Through it all runs the story of Aikman's own journey through grief and her love affair with a man who tempts her to marry again. In a transporting story …

Live Chat wih author, Pam Jenoff

Fans of Kate Morton and Alyson Richman should reach for popular Jenoff’s latest historical romance.

Join us for a BookTrib Live Chat with Pam Jenoff, bestselling author of THE AMBASSADOR’S DAUGHTER February 5 at 3:30pm (ET).

The Reckoning

Lanore McIlvrae is the kind of woman who will do anything for love. Including imprisoning the man who loves her behind a wall of brick and stone.

She had no choice but to entomb Adair, her nemesis, to save Jonathan, the boy she grew up with in a remote Maine town in the early 1800s and the man she thought she would be with forever. But Adair had other plans for her. He used his mysterious, otherworldly powers to give her eternal life, but Lanore learned too late that there was a price for this gift: to spend eternity with him. And though he is handsome and charming, behind Adair’s seductive façade is the stuff of nightmares. He is a monster in the flesh, and he wants Lanore to love him for all of time.

Now, two hundred years after imprisoning Adair, Lanore is trying to atone for her sins. She has given away the treasures she’s collected over her many lifetimes in order to purge her past and clear the way for a future with her new lover, Luke Findley. But, while viewing these items a…

Witch in the Wind

Review by Nancy

Bandit Creek, Montana, wasn’t much of anything. Until you looked a bit deeper, then you saw them: witches, warlocks, daemons and other thingies. Avy’s parents were killed so she is called home to wrap up the loose ends. Funerals, house, bills, that kind of stuff. She is a bit taken back to find their house trashed and an odd-looking dog hiding under the porch. She immediately takes to the dog which is good because he doesn’t act like he’s leaving anytime soon. Christened Busby the dog won’t leave her side, especially when she hauls him to the vet for a check-up. The vet isn’t too fond of Busby as he recognizes a familiar when he sees one. After all, Avy is the reason he’s currently in Bandit Creek! Marcus works for the Council – those who hold all the power in a system tightly controlled.

Two Council members cannot have a child together. It is impossible. But there Avy is standing in his exam room with a mongrel. Someone is NOT happy. They want Avy “put down” as a m…

The Wrath of Angels is a one seat read!

Harlan Vetters is on his death bed. Before he goes he has a tale to tell. A while back, Harlan and his friend, Paul were out hunting. They came upon an airplane. The airplane is abandoned however it looks like the forest has claimed the airplane and is trying to hide it away. Harlan and Paul investigate the airplane. They find tons of money and a list with names on it. This list is very valuable. The list is so valuable that it will wage a war between evil and good.

I have seen Mr. Connolly’s books around but I have never read one. That is until now. I had not problems jumping right into this book. The Wrath of Angels is a one seat read! There was so much action and the intensity was high all the way from beginning to end. I was hooked. You better grab a copy of this book before it flies off the bookshelves.

Charlie Parker is a dimensional character. He is definitely a good guy. He is the right person to fight the fight against evil and demons. His friends are great too. The Collec…

The Girl Next Door

Reading his own newspaper’s obituaries, veteran reporter Carter Ross comes across that of a woman named Nancy Marino, who was the victim of a hit-and-run while she was on the job delivering copies of that very paper, the Eagle-Examiner. Struck by the opportunity to write a heroic piece about an everyday woman killed too young, he heads to her wake to gather tributes and anecdotes.

It’s the last place Ross expects to find controversy—which is exactly what happens when one of Nancy’s sisters convinces him that the accident might not have been accidental at all. It turns out that the kind and generous Nancy may have made a few enemies, starting with her boss at the diner where she was a part-time waitress, and even including the publisher of the Eagle-Examiner. Carter’s investigation of this seemingly simple story soon has him in big trouble with his full-time editor and sometime girlfriend, Tina Thompson, not to mention the rest of his bosses at the paper, but he can’t let it go—the s…

A Bard’s Bed & Breakfast Mystery

Reviews by Nancy

What a joy it was to get to review these two novels! My only hope is that this isn’t the end of Bea and Ben, the proprietors of the said B &B. Although the Bard’s isn’t your usual B&B – nope, it’s main purpose is to create R&R for the CIA friends of Ben who are in dire needs of it usually. When things get boring (and they rarely do!) Uncle Edward and Lorna can getting a card game going or find a body someplace.

In Let Slip the Dogs of War, Bea, former bookshop proprietess and newly rescued bride, finds out that there are things to be found under the bed besides dust. A naked body, in fact. No one they know, fortunately; but Ben has his suspicions. Bea finds out things about Ben’s Uncle Edward she hadn’t known and Lorna isn’t the librarian Bea thought she was. Well, she was but she wasn’t. A young girl is affected by the war in Syria and Ben travels to the rescue. She is frightened and alone until she meets Bea and crew and immediately becomes the special …

City of Screams

Review by Nancy If you’re a James Rollins fan like I am, I jumped at the change to review an exclusive short story called City of Screams. Things are happening right and left in the 60 pages that comprise this introduction to the full-length novel, Blood Gospel which you’ve got to find! Jordan Stone hears the screams coming from a small town in Afghanistan. He sees the girl lying terrified on the bed in the hut. He also sees her taken away by creatures that speak a language so old that virtually no one can translate it. What happens to Jordan and his crew and to the people in the succeeding chapters is what makes Rollins one of my favorite authors – you just never know what will happen. Just when you’ve got it all figured out nice and cozy he throws in something that really rocks you. Do yourself a huge favor – go get Blood Gospel, keep the lights on and cuddle up with an afghan to protect you and read this one!


Skye Kingston tends to stay in the background with her camera. She is a photographer. If Skye wants to grab the attention of her crush, Craig, then she will have to shift from the background to the forefront. Skye will also have to get past Craig’s girlfriend, Beth. While I like the idea of the books in the Twisted Lit series, the books just are not connecting with me. No matter how much I want them to. Exposure is the second book I have read in this series. However, I do have to say that I did get into this story line better then the first one. Not because I am a history buff fan of literature but because there was a murder of I should say there was a dead body. I enjoy a good story with mystery. While the story was fine it was the characters that got to me. They were catty and weak. I could not see what Skye saw in Craig. I found him to be insensitive and he did watched out for his own back. I appreciate the authors trying to get me to like Beth but it would take more than fi…

The Namesake is a powerful novel. One worth your time.

Evan has a great talent as an artist. His teachers are encouraging him to pursue his talent. Evan has to write an essay. So he decides to write it based on his father. Evan’s father took his own life when he and his mother were attending Mass on Easter. Evan does not really know his father, so he decides that the essay will be a good way to get to find out who he really was. As Evan digs into his father’s past, he learns some dark secrets. Ones that the town would like to keep hidden. To be honest I had no clue where this story was leading when I first picked this book up. I did know there would be some dark secret with Evan’s father but the truth was pretty scary and chilling and maybe a little disturbing. I guess it is true how the saying goes “The truth shall set you free”. The past story involving Evan’s father and his story told through his journal entries was more intriguing then the present. Most of the other characters I did find to be less appealing. They just did not …


If you haven't read The Pleasure of Your Kiss yet, you can steal a sneak peek at my bad boy hero Maximillian Burke right now since Pleasure is only $3.79 on the Kindle and $3.99 for the Nook and other e-readers. As a special bonus, Pocket is also offering The Devil Wears Plaid at that same great price. And you can plump up your e-library with all of my Avon titles for only $1.99! That includes One Night of Scandal, Yours Until Dawn, After Midnight, The Vampire Who Loved Me, Some Like It Wicked and Some Like It Wild. Purchase the Pleasure of Your Kiss for Kindle Or Nook The Devil Wears Plaid on Kindle or Nook

Five Days of Fear

Review by Nancy For a first novel, Mr. Kovach has rung all the bells: mystery, romance, terrorism – you name it it’s in there! In a fast moving tale of kidnapping with many off shoots we worry over Angie Britton, well-meaning, loving grandmother, mother and wife who overhears something she shouldn’t and gets tossed into a van headed out of town. Her youngest daughter, Jessica, is determined to help the FBI solve the puzzle whether they want her to or not. Dan Hamilton, FBI Agent doesn’t mind jessica’s help. In fact, he’s kind of liking it since she is the most beautiful person he’s seen in a long time. Jess has some good ideas and Dan is running with some of them but his co-agents are trying to keep him out of trouble of the romantic kind while the search is going on. Meanwhile, Angie is traveling East with a co-terrorist who only considers her a complication. One he can well do without if necessary. She has managed to leave a clue here and there if someone is lucky enough t…

The Things They Didn’t Bury

Review by Nancy Argentina wasn’t really the musical world shown in “Evita.” It was harder, crueler and, after Evita’s death when the men from the trucks entered villages and people: men, women and children – disappeared. Liliana’s mother was among them. Her father took his daughters to the US for safety but returns ten years later (Liliana is now 18) when his wife’s mother dies. There is a house and vineyard to care for and he goes home with the girls. Diego, grape and guitar picker saw the violence first-hand. Saw what was done to folks who only played music in alleys. He never saw them again, but found his life in his guitar. It is what keeps him breathing. He does not need involvement is useless adventures, no matter how pretty the girl is. But Liliana is determined to find out what really happened to her mother and Diego can’t stand for her to go into dangerous places in Buenos Aires alone. What a fascinating story! Diego and Liliana were perfectly done and the histor…

The Summer of Angel is a book of courage, love, miracles, and a happy ending.

I wanted to read this book because my sister has three boys and two of them were born premature. The oldest, Alexander “Alex” was born three months early. My sister like author Sola had preeclampsia as well as due to this experiencing kidney failure. Alex was delivered via c-section. Luckily for Alex other then having to stay in the hospital for about another three to four months and having heart surgery, Alex did not experience all of the other things that Angel went through. My sister’s second son, Gabriel “Gabe” was born three weeks early. Lastly my sister’s third son, Matthew was born full term. I can remember seeing pictures of my dad holding Alex in the palm of his hand. He looked so small. His diaper was like the size of a tissue. I did not know that they made diapers that small. Now my sister’s boys are growing and you can not tell that they were born premature. Alex is 9, Gabe is 8, and Matthew is 3. So reading that Sola went through with Angel, I could relate with my …

The Thief of Auschwitz

Review by Nancy A family of four, Jacob, the father a barber; Eidel, the mother a very talented artist; Max, the 14-yr old son, big for his age and Lydia, a little slower and asthmatic but a beautiful child. They are taking a train ride like no other – to Auschwitz. Yes, they are Jews. Their trials, brief moment of happiness bring together an epic tale of love and sacrifice. Bittersweet reunions of a sort and the ultimate escape by one of them. This story was so moving to me that I actually cried through quite a bit of (hindsight, you know). Jacob and Eidel’s strength doing what they must in order to keep hopes alive in all of the ones who are left. The research that went into this was amazing and it was so well written that I could smell the ovens and even feel the chill of the hurt prisoners who went to hospital which had no heat, no good water and no hope of coming out any better than you went in unless. Unless you had an “in” with someone. Jacob did, in fact as one…

Escucha Means Listen and Giveaway

Escucha Means Listen

From the mowing of the lawn to the splish-splashing of rain puddles, Talia Aikens-Nuñez’s bilingual picture book Escucha Means Listen introduces toddlers and babies to the sweet sounds around them.

Take a journey through the world—just listening. Escucha Means Listen helps children discover sounds around them in English and Spanish.


Buzz. Buzz. Qué oyes? (What do you hear?)

Las abejas (The bees) circling the flowers.

Woosh. Woosh. What do you hear?

El viento (The wind) is whistling by.

Shh. Shh. Qué oyes? (What do you hear?)

Las hojas (The leaves) are dancing on the trees.

Book Review

I liked this book overall. I liked that it had Spanish and English words too so you can actually learn. The only thing I would like more is if this book had rhymes. I would recommend my friends to read this book because it was interesting.

Mason, age 7

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Author Talia Aikens-Nuñez
Talia Aikens-Nuñez wanted to be a meteorologist, a politi…

Chanel Bonfire is a book that will have you glad you grew up with the family you have.

To be perfectly honest, I first had no clue who Wendy Lawless or her mother were and second I picked up this book to help me before I went to bed. I wanted a book to read that I did not have to put much thought or focus into before I went to bed. Well this was the wrong book for that. Instantly as soon as I stated reading this book, I was intrigued and fascinated by Wendy and her sister, Robin’s childhood and growing up with their mother. Wow, after reading this book I felt sad for Wendy and her sister, Robin with all that they had to endure with their mother. Of course I did not blame Wendy and Robin for rebelling out towards their mother. Or I should say Robin who was the real rebel. Wendy was just trying to be the best daughter she could. Which I think that she did a really good job. She is a fighter. I also was happy that Wendy was able to reconnect with her father. The little bit that I got to see and know of him as featured in this book; he seemed like a nice guy. What I a…

The Tragedy Paper is a definite must read.

Duncan is a student at Irving. Duncan is a senior this year. As part of Irving’s tradition, the graduating seniors leave a “treasure” for the next senior who will occupy their room. The treasure can be anything ranging from a bottle of bourbon, a snowman kit, or Cds. In Duncan’s case, it is a stack of Cds. Although these Cds are not just your normal music Cds but recordings of Tim’s story. Tim was the senior prior to Duncan. Tim is giving Duncan his subject for his tragedy story. All students are given an assignment to write a tragedy story. A story where the hero has a tragic event. Duncan starts listening to Tim’s story. The one where he meets Vanessa and his life is changed forever. O-M-G! My reading year for 2013 is starting off with a big bang in a good way. The Tragedy Paper is a definite must read. I was spell bound by this book. I picked this book up and by the time I put it down to take a breather and go to bed I was already half way done with it. I woke up and finished…

The One I Left Behind. This book is a must read!

The year is 1985. It is the year that Reggie will never forget. This is the time when Reggie should be enjoying being a teenager, hanging with her friends, and crushing on a boy. Instead, it is masked with a serial killer named Neptune. Neptune kidnaps women. He cuts off their hand and leaves it in a milk carton on the police steps. Five days later, he disposes of their body.

Reggie sees her mom get into a car and knows it will be the last time she will she her. Yep, Vera is Neptune’s last victim. Only this time is different. Her body is never found. That is until Reggie receives a telephone call. It has been two years but all of a sudden Reggie’s mother, Vera has reappeared in a homeless shelter. Reggie has a chance to finally close the books on what happened to her mother all these years ago.

Jennifer McMahon is a new to me author. After reading this book, I plan to check out some of her prior novels. Also, you can bet that she will now be added to my list of authors to keep an e…