Saturday, February 11, 2012

5 FEATURED AUTHORS


BLUESDAY
by Adrienne Thompson

REVIEWED BY: Ellen Fritz

OVERVIEW

Bobbie Brooks is living the life she's always dreamed of. A life full of music, success, and love—or so it seems. Suddenly, her perfect world shatters, leaving her alone, broken, and penniless. In order to heal, Bobbie must confront the demons of both her past and present. Will she be strong enough to move into her future and make a new start with an old flame?

REVIEW

I cannot remember when last had I enjoyed a good romance as much as I did this one.
“Bluesday” is a truly beautiful and inspiring love story - the kind of book you can read through in one relaxing evening and enjoy every moment thereof.

Set in the African-American community, this book is delightfully unique and highly informative about their culture. I really liked the characters and found it refreshing that the two main characters are not the usual stereotypical blue-eyed blonde girl and tall, dark and handsome boy.

From Mamma, the strict family matriarch to the more modern Bobby and the two amusing granddaughters; I was quite sad to say good bye to them at the end of the story.

“Bluesday” is not only a love story, but also a tale of healing and overcoming tribulations
such as alcoholism, bitterness, guilt and dealing with the harsh realities thereof.  The romantic relationship between the main characters is truly beautiful and tastefully described, but of course, not without a few complications.  It was refreshing to read a love story where the emphasis is on the love between the characters rather than the possible conflict they might experience.

Of course there are also moments of suspense - not the blazing guns type, but the type where you wonder whether the love between the main characters will survive the odds. The dialogue is engaging and extremely well written with subtle humor in all the right places.

I would highly recommend this attractively written romance to anybody who loves a good, gentle love story and I happily give “Bluesday” a 5 star rating, hoping that we will see more books similar to this one from Adrienne Thompson in the near future.




READ more REVIEWS

“Bluesday” by Adrienne Thompson has 5 reviews on GoodReads. Read it here – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12631823-bluesday

PURCHASE LINKS



THREE STEPS TO HEAVEN
by Pam Howes

REVIEWED BY: Books4Tomorrow

OVERVIEW

It's the 1960's and Eddie Mellor is unhappy in his shotgun marriage; hates his boring factory job and is not unduly bothered when he is sacked. His young son Jonny, and his dreams of becoming a famous rock drummer with The Raiders, a career he was forced to shelve when he married Angie, are the two things that keep him going. But Eddie's luck is about to change for the better... Three Steps to Heaven is the first novel in a trilogy spanning forty years and the lives and loves of the Mellor and Cantello families.

REVIEW

WARNING: you’ll have difficulty putting this book down!

Everything about this book screams 5 star read. The characters are realistic and their everyday lives are what we can relate to – until they become famous, that is. I for one can’t relate to being a rock star, but it doesn’t mean I can’t go along for the ride! The plot flows well and keeps you hooked and the author’s writing is simple and straightforward. She calls a spade, a spade and doesn’t shy away from controversy. You’ll find yourself nodding your head in agreement from time to time, or smiling because you can relate to a certain event or just wipe a tear at times because you can feel what the characters feel, especially when they are faced with every parent’s worst nightmare.

“Three Steps to Heaven” has a distinct British flavour to it which I enjoyed for a change. It also has its own soundtrack and if you grew up in the sixties, this will certainly take you down memory lane. If, like me, the nineties is more your thing, you’ll have the second book in this trilogy to look forward to. No matter what your age though, you’ll love this story and feel you’ve made new friends, once you finish the book.

I officially deem myself Pam Howes’ number one fan and can’t wait to get my hands on every book she’s ever written!




READ more REVIEWS

“Three Steps To Heaven” by Pam Howes has 4 reviews on GoodReads. Read it here – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8503345-three-steps-to-heaven

PURCHASE LINKS



THE UNWILLING BRIDE
by Candy Ann Little

REVIEWED BY: Ellen Fritz

OVERVIEW

Beautiful and high-spirited Caitlin Gallagher has no desire to be married, especially to someone born in England. Her family was forced to flee Ireland and move to America because of the war with England. This arranged marriage is stripping her freedom away. 

Gentle Dillon Cade has lived a quiet life for thirteen years in Norfolk, Virginia. When he agrees to marry a young maiden so she can stay in America while her parents are deported back to Ireland, he gets more than he bargains for. He must now deal with an unwilling bride, who disturbs his peaceful life. 

Can Caitlin work through her anger, finding faith in God and love in Dillon’s arms? Can Dillon tolerate her behavior long enough to win her trust?

REVIEW

This historical romance had me riveted to my chair for hours at a time and I read through it in just two days. Set during a time of war and political upheaval, this book tells the story of some of those not directly involved but still deeply touched by it. Caitlin, the main character and the very unwilling bride of Dillon Cade, at first struck me as a spoiled little girl who was used to getting her way by stamping her foot, pouting or sulking. However, as the story progresses, her character develops into that of a responsible but still spirited young woman.

The author accurately writes about the way of life in late eighteenth century America.  Even the dialogue between the characters is accurate to that time. The descriptions of homes and country scenes combined with the historical facts of the time, made me feel as though I was there living the story with Caitlin and Dillon. 

I was touched by the gentleness with which Dillon treats his unwilling bride and often felt like all Caitlin needed was a good lesson - one which she gets when a jealous woman and her mother-in-law make a combined effort to wreck her marriage, as well as her life.  Believe me, Dillon's stepmother is the personification of evil stepmother and horrible mother-in-law rolled in one.

The romantic relationship between the main characters develops slowly, but when adversity strikes and they need to support one another, they become the embodiment of marital unity. This story is not without its moments of suspense which, several times, made me wonder whether the story can end in anything other than disaster. Of course, that is what the reader has to find out.

For all of us who love a really good and tasteful romance with a strong element of intrigue and excitement, “The Unwilling Bride” is an absolute must read and well deserving of its 5 stars.




READ more REVIEWS

“The Unwilling Bride” by Candy Ann Little has 8 reviews on GoodReads. Read it here – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10588106-the-unwilling-bride

PURCHASE LINK




SPELL CHECKED
by C.G. Powell

REVIEWED BY: Books4Tomorrow

OVERVIEW

Broken relationships were a constant in Mae’s life, causing her to swear off men forever. Unwittingly lured to Ireland, Mae finds herself knee-deep in a hidden world she never knew existed and head over heels for the very man that tricked her to coming there. His deception is complicated by his own feelings for the one person that holds the key to merging the ancient races that once ruled the ancient word. 
Mae finds herself in an underground world of witches, and vampires, which are half-breeds of aliens long gone. She learns about her own unique parentage and powers, which she must study in order to control, before they consume her. 
Beck and Helen’s love for one another spans across a millennium, her human soul reincarnated to match Beck’s own immortality. This time however the body she occupies is of a being that cannot be eclipsed by her return. After waiting two hundred years, Beck finds himself tormented by Helen’s inability to return and his growing love for her new host. 
Some of the underworld creatures welcome her with open arms as a savior, while others seek to destroy the abomination they believe her to be. Will the knowledge of her existence cause a race war when the true power of her blood is discovered? Or will love become her ultimate downfall?

REVIEW

Spell checked? I think not.

I have no idea where to start with this review. I somewhat enjoyed the book, but there were so many things “wrong” with it, it’s actually quite sad. The one thing I can say with certainty, is that a good editor would’ve made a world of difference. But instead of droning on and on about the things which brings down the value of this book, I’ll give you a quick run-through of the points that bugged me. Just humor me and let me have my little rant here, about a book that has so much potential to be a bestseller if the author is willing to make a few changes to it.

Let’s start with the first major point which I found quite annoying: the author’s fear of using the apostrophe in all the right places. Do not; has not; was not and are not, contributed to throwing the rhythm of the book off balance. Once I started reading it as don’t, hasn’t, wasn’t and aren’t, the story read smoother and suited its characters and setting much better.

The second issue I had was the grammar errors. It wasn’t overwhelming, but it was noticeable.

The whole book is written in such a way as to make it an easy read suitable for young adults, but time and again the intimate scenes between the characters ended up being pure erotica with unexpected crude language at inappropriate intervals - thus making it unsuitable for younger readers. It also succeeded in creating the impression that the author wasn’t sure whether it should be a young adult novel, or a read suitable for more mature readers.

Magic was used as a scapegoat to fix every situation to which the author couldn’t figure out a solution. Abracadabra and the characters got out of sticky situations in a jiffy.
There was no point to the plot and not an ounce of suspense. No, really! The blurb hinted at some action and danger for the main character, but nothing happened. Mae - the main character - was trained throughout the book to use her magical gifts to protect herself and others from harm; creating the impression that she is preparing for a big battle scene or something similar. All she ended up using her magical gifts for were to heal one or two characters and to knock her lover off his feet while they were chasing after each other naked down the passages in their mansion. It was such a disappointment!

The characters were somewhat flawed, in an effort to make them believable, but it was still hard to identify with them when all the difficulties they faced were easily solved with truckloads of money and magic, thus making it hard to feel any sympathy for them whenever they went through rough patches.

As this is the first book in this series, I’ll rather believe that it served as a very (unnecessary) long introduction to the characters who will be the main role-players in the next books in the series. But other than that, there was really no point to this story other than character development.

So why am I recommending this book with 3 stars? Because despite everything I found “wrong” with this book, I couldn’t put it down. There’s definitely something in the author’s writing that is captivating enough to grab the reader’s attention and keep it until the end of the book. This alone is testimony that CG Powell is a talented author who knows how to engage her readers, but just has to find the right rhythm for her writing style and some good advice (or a better editor) on how to add that extra “oomph” to this book. She certainly impressed me with her knowledge on technology and she has an imagination that can charm readers out of their socks! Now if only she can find a way to apply it in a more-showing, less-telling manner...




READ more REVIEWS

“Spell Checked” by C.G. Powell has 18 reviews on GoodReads. Read it here – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11422831-spell-checked

PURCHASE LINKS




NOT TO US
by Katherine Owen

REVIEWED BY: Ellen Fritz

OVERVIEW

The roller coaster ride of Ellen Kay "Ellie" Bradford's story begins when Ellie-a successful editor, a doting mother, and a loving wife-discovers her perfect world has been rocked by her best friend Carrie who is having an affair with her husband Robert. It's been the two couples-Robert and Ellie; Michael and Carrie-since college. Ellie's world unravels further, when she learns she has breast cancer from Michael, the brilliant surgeon determined to save her. Both Ellie and Michael admit to their long-held feelings for one another; and, with an unexpected pregnancy further complicating Ellie's cancer treatment, the two marry. Intent on building a perfect life together with their blended families, Michael and Ellie's intense bond is soon tested like never before. Not To Us is an insightful look into one woman's personal journey in discovering the only way to keep her one and only wish is to trust the ones that count, beginning with herself.

REVIEW

Isn’t it true that when horrible things happen to others, we are quick to think that it won’t happen to us? That’s exactly what “Not To Us” is centered on.

Friends since college, Ellie, her husband and their mutual friends had it all. Each with successful careers, children and living comfortable lives, when out of the blue divorce, infidelity, breast cancer, death and betrayal swoops down on all of them, especially Ellie - cutting a swathe of destruction on many levels through her life.

At one point I was asking myself: what else can go wrong in these people's lives?  To add to all the upheaval in her life, Ellie meets a man who means well but causes the ultimate complication in an already out of control situation. It thoroughly baffled me that so much can go wrong between two couples - including a complete partner swop - while they still try and hang on to their friendship. 

The romantic relationships in “Not To Us” are masterfully described. In fact, the sweet parts as well as some of the almost poignantly sad moments often brought tears to my eyes. The romantic involvements of especially the main character is put under the microscope with the main relationship being put to the test multiple times until I thought that there was no way in which any relationship can withstand this much trial. You will have to wait right up to the end to see whether this happens or not. 

The story is written in the present tense and from the first person perspective of the main character, which deeply involves the reader in Ellie’s thoughts, emotions and moral struggles. This makes the whole story just that much more realistic and believable. The problems addressed are those that happen to people all the time: Ellie's best friend betraying her again and again, ensuing divorce; the onset of breast cancer; an unexpected pregnancy - and all of that within the group of friends who had been together for twenty years and more.

Reading this book was quite an emotional roller coaster ride for me, as things don’t end with these trials and tribulations but declines further into more betrayal and sorrow. This is not your average quick-read romance, but a book to be read at leisure so as to enjoy every moment thereof. It touches you on different emotional levels and forces the reader to face many truths; that we have no control over our lives, no matter how hard we try. What makes the difference though, is how we deal with it. 

Excerpt:
“It's true; my mind has already begun the slow descent into disbelief. It races with this one pervasive thought: this can't be happening, not to us.”




READ more REVIEWS

“Not To Us” by Katherine Owen has 12 reviews on GoodReads. Read it here – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11477116-not-to-us

PURCHASE LINKS

Barnes & Noble - http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/not-to-us-katherine-owen/1100170258?ean=9780983570707&itm=4&usri=not+to+us






2 comments:

Carole McKee said...

Great blogsite. Books look interesting, too.

Carole McKee, Author

Books 4 Tomorrow said...

Thank you for the compliment Carole! It's much appreciated and one that inspires me to keep doing what I'm doing! :D