Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Morning After

The Morning After by Sally Clements



One photo changes everything…

A mortifying incident in her youth has shaken sense into Cara Byrne. No more bad-boys. No more getting arrested. Instead, hard work and good behaviour has earned her a job teaching at the local Boys Secondary School, and a proposal from a worthy man. So what if he doesn’t exactly light her fire – surely passion is overrated?

When her friend since childhood, Ethan Quinn, storms back into the small Irish village he left to pursue a career as a Hollywood action hero, she’s stunned to discover she’s as susceptible to his lethal charm as every woman in the world. And when a compromising photograph floods the media of them in a clinch, her almost fiancé reveals his true colours, CarEthan starts trending on twitter, and she loses her job, could anyone blame her if she accepts his invitation to hide out at his Malibu beach house?

Ethan loves women, but never lets his girlfriends into his heart. He’s failed at being there in the past, and won’t put his heart on the line for anyone, ever again. But Cara’s a different matter – and when passionate attraction is added to his friendship with the one person he’s always confided in, he’s thrown for a loop. Cara’s lost everything, and like it or not, he’s responsible. There’s no fighting the attraction that blazes between them – but when the month long affair is over, will he ever be able to let her go?



The Morning After is definitely suitable for a Lifetime movie. It has that will they, won’t they drama that’s patented on Lifetime. This is one of the few romance novels that take its cue firmly in the present day.

This novella definitely takes place in the present day. I recently joined twitter. Ethan and Cara trending and having their own hashtag added to the appeal of this novel. But in ten years will that aspect make this novel dated.

This isn’t one of those all-consuming romantic love stories. It’s a love story, about two lifelong friends developing into something more. Where people are consumed with that epic Romeo and Juliet it’s nice to read about the simple love story Sally Clements has crafted in this novella.

I’ve read more romance novel this year. The things they all have had in common are their descriptions. They made me want to read them. ‘One photo changes everything…’ it drew me in from the start.

It’s a short read that can be finished in one sitting. It surprised me at how quickly I finished. Actually I would consider it a novella more than a novel.

I give The Morning After 3 out 5.

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Filed under 2012, 3, Book Review, Romnce

Double Trouble (The Coxwells 2)

Double Trouble (The Coxwells) by Claire Cross

Two sisters. One disaster.

First things first: I’m the bad twin. While my sister, Marcia, has the perfect family in the perfect suburb, I’ve been making my living as an Internet advice columnist and designing Web sites in my downtown loft. I always thought I had the right answer – and hair color – for any occasion. That is, until Marcia ran up loads of debt and ran out on her husband and kids, and I was left helping to pick up the pieces. Her husband, James, is a lawyer who I hate on principle alone.

But for a guy who’s just lost his job, his marriage, and his expensive toys, he’s keeping it together – and making me rethink my feelings toward him. It’s not that he’s traded in his conservative suits for sexy jeans. It’s that he’s not giving up what’s important to him, and oh baby, I’m a sucker for a guy who hangs tough.

That doesn’t mean I’m ready to step into Marcia’s designer shoes now that she’s gone AWOL.

And it doesn’t mean I’m going to fall for James’s easy charm…not again, anyhow. Besides, I’ve had a lifelong policy of not being mistaken for my twin and I’m not backing down on that one now – no matter how convenient it might be for a certain sexy (and persuasive) man…

Double Trouble (The Coxwells 2) is number two in The Coxwells Series, which I didn’t know when I read it. I don’t if it hurt or help me when I was reading. The reason I noticed it was the title, then the blurb. One of my friends is a twin and I always find twin stories fascinating.

Marica and Mary Elizabeth, better known as Maryals, are the O’Reilly twins. For the majority of the read you are made to believe that Maryals is the bad twin. Maybe because my dad did the same thing as Marcia, Maryals was always the more sympathetic character. When Marcia’s family started to rely on Maryals I felt it was a natural transition.

Then the revelations come out. I was totally justified. Honestly it wasn’t a surprise that Marcia was the bad twin in my opinion. It was the magnitude of the betrayal, how far she took it, and for how long. These are the things that surprised me.

I can’t say that it made me interested in reading the novel before, Third Time Lucky (The Coxwells) or the novel after, One More Time (Cowells Family). I can say that Claire Cross created an okay standalone novel. The subplot of the story with Marcia’s family works to counter point Maryals own life. At thirty-eight she’s more together than she gives herself. It was nice for her to final see that in herself.

I give Double Trouble (The Coxwells) 3 out 5.

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Past Forward – A Serial Novel: Episode 4

Past Forward — A Serial Novel: Episode 4 by Chautona Havig



Past Forward is a serial novel released weekly on Kindle.

Alone without friends or family to comfort her after the death of her mother, Willow Finley’s idyllic life is over—and just beginning.

When Willow Finley awakes on a hot summer morning, she is unprepared for the grief that awaits her. Jerked from a life of isolation with her mother, Willow learns what alone really means when she finds her mother still in her bed, never to awaken again in this life.

From the moment Willow arrives in the police station with her startling announcement, Chad Tesdall fights the friendship he knows he can’t avoid.

Follow as Willow’s story unfolds past forward.



Past Forward — A Serial Novel: Episode 4 this is just as amusing as any television show. I’ve trying to figure out what’s going to happen next. Just enjoy the revelation of the story.

Episode 4 is a welcomed returned to form. I was apathetic to last week’s episode. This week’s had parts that made me laugh, not so much as they were funny but I made erroneous assumptions. This is what makes it such a joy to read. It makes you see the world differently.

Willow is the driving force behind the novel. But our journey is really with Chad. The episode more than any of the previous ones you see the noticeable changes happening to the character.

Even after four episodes, it still amazes me Chautona Havig shows us how much we take for grant. The one also highlights the differences between country and city life. It’s a question posed to Chad and something he’s going to have to deal with in the future.



I give Past Forward — A Serial Novel: Episode 4 4 out 5.

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Ladle Rat Rotten Hut

Ladle Rat Rotten Hut (Grimm Diaries Prequel 4) by Cameron Jace

What if all you knew about fairytales was wrong?

Book Description:

Little Red Riding Hood’s untold and true story. Why she was wearing a Red hood. Who her Grandma really was. What the wolf actually wanted. Where she fits in the Dreamworld. And what Ladle Rat Rotten Hut means.

List of the available Grimm Diaries Prequels:

1 Snow White Blood Red
narrated by The Snow White Queen

2 Ashes to Ashes and Cinder to Cinder
narrated by Alice Grimm

3 Beauty Never Dies
narrated by Peter Pan

4 Ladle Rotten Rat Hut
narrated by Little Red Riding Hood
available on 07/25/2012

5 Blood Apples
narrated by Prince Charming

Ladle Rat Rotten Hut continues Cameron Jace’s tradition of twisting the Grimm tales on themselves. If you have read his previous prequel then you are familiar if not fully understand of the world you’re about to inhabit. This diary entry is told from the point of view of Little Red Riding Hood.

There are several things that I liked about this novella. First was the unexpected treat of the Anguish Language. Second is this one relies on the stories told in the previous entries. Ladle Rat Rotten Hut like an inside joke to the Grimm Diaries’ devoted readers.

If you haven’t read the previous novellas a lot of the seemingly insignificant but actual significant moments will be lost on you. The mystery of Little Red Riding Hood’s true identity is perfectly played. Yet it still doesn’t top Sleeping Beauty’s identity.

Knowledge of the original Grimm Tales isn’t necessary but it’s a definite plus. It’s easier to understand when Cameron Jace throws the tale on its head. It’s those twists and reshaped reality that makes these prequels and, I’m hoping, the actual series a funny read.

I give Ladle Rat Rotten Hut 5 out 5.

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Filed under 2012, 5, Fantasy, Jace, Cameron, Novel

Past Forward – A Serial Novel: Episode 3

Past Forward – A Serial Novel: Episode 3 by Chautona Havig



Past Forward is a serial novel released weekly on Kindle.

Alone without friends or family to comfort her after the death of her mother, Willow Finley’s idyllic life is over—and just beginning.

When Willow Finley awakes on a hot summer morning, she is unprepared for the grief that awaits her. Jerked from a life of isolation with her mother, Willow learns what alone really means when she finds her mother still in her bed, never to awaken again in this life.

From the moment Willow arrives in the police station with her startling announcement, Chad Tesdall fights the friendship he knows he can’t avoid.

Follow as Willow’s story unfolds past forward.


Past Forward – A Serial Novel: Episode 3 is the first one in the series that I felt ambivalent about. I realize why because I’m scared for Willow. Her mother was raped and she has three me showering her with attention that she may not understand.

Although she’s an adult she lacks that social interaction between the sexes. I don’t think she recognizes that Bill and Chuck are infatuated with her. Not to mention Chad who does realize it himself. It leaves me scared for her.

I don’t know what to expect from Chautona Havig in this story. I don’t think she would harm Willow but you can never know. It would be the sort of thing that could be used to galvanize other characters. It’s because she is such an innocent character.

Okay. So I’m going to stop trying to anticipate this story. Just let it unfold. May the chips fall as they will. From the very first paragraph Past Forward drew me in, even with my ambivalent to this episode; I can’t wait to read the next one. .


I give Past Forward – A Serial Novel: Episode 3 3 out 5.

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Filed under 2012, 3, Book Review, Havig, Chautona, Novel, Serial

Heroes ‘Til Curfew (Talent Chronicles 2)

Heroes ‘Til Curfew (Talent Chronicles 2) by Susan Bischoff


In the world of the Talent Chronicles, kids with supernatural abilities, Talents, are taken away to government-run research facilities from which they do not return. In this sequel to HUSH MONEY, all Joss wants is to be left alone—with Dylan. But as more Talents are imprisoned by the government, everyone’s looking for a leader. Some look to Joss, some to her worst enemy, Marco, whose new criminal plan threatens Joss’s family and friends. Joss wants to stand up to Marco, but Dylan’s protective instincts are putting him in harm’s way. As the stakes get higher, can Joss find a way to embrace both the boy and her hero within?

Heroes ‘Til Curfew contains strong language, violence, and some sensuality. It is definitely recommended for mature teen readers and up.


Heroes ‘Til Curfew (Talent Chronicles 2) is just as good as its predecessor. I don’t remember and strong language. If the child has watched an action film in the last decade then they can handle the violence in this novel. The perfect example is that it’s no more violent than Hunger Games and everyone has either read or watched that movie.

This time the stakes are raised. Marco is continuing his path to darkness and villainy. New players enter the field of play called The Syndicate. NIAC steps up their investigation of Fairview. The constant shifting of perspective helps this novel. You’re never with one character for too long.

Marco is the catalyst of the drama and madness that breaks out in this novel. Most of the drama surrounds him like a tornado. His vengeance and quest for power is constantly at odds and hindered by our heroes. I think the best part of this entire novel is that there is a NIAC mole. I’m not sure if Susan Bischoff meant to leave the mole identity as ambiguous as she did.

For the most part, these are typical teenagers facing extraordinarily adult problems with teenage naiveté. Which is enjoy and frustrating at the same time; you want them to grow up. I want to shake some sense into them. “With great power comes great responsibility.” these characters will be ready, to face NIAC and the government, when they figure that out.


I give Heroes ‘Til Curfew (Talent Chronicles 2) 3 out 5.

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Hush Money (Talent Chronicles 1)

Hush Money (Talent Chronicles) by Susan Bischoff


They call their abilities Talents, and that’s what they call themselves as well. Talents are people born with supernatural powers, feared by the population at large. Possession of an “unregistered ability” has become illegal, and those who are discovered are forcibly removed to government-run research facilities. They do not return.

And so the Talents try, as best they can, to keep their abilities secret–some more successfully than others. For some, keeping that secret begins to define who they are. That’s where Hush Money begins…

Be normal, invisible. Don’t get close to anyone. Those are the rules to live by for seventeen-year-old Joss. She spent years as an outsider, hoping to hide what she is, until the new girl, Kat, decides she’s friend material. Kat doesn’t realize her mistake when she stands up for Joss against Marco, a guy who’s been giving Joss a hard time since freshman year. Joss is horrified when these heroics lead to the reveal of Kat’s Talent. Now she has an unasked-for best friend, who is the victim of an extortion plot by the school bully, who used to like Joss. And if all that weren’t complicated enough, Dylan, Joss’s long-time crush, is finally starting to talk to her. But as Marco’s best friend, can Dylan be trusted at all? Can Joss keep her secret and still save her friend? And what’s more important, staying safe or doing what’s right?



Hush Money is totally different than the prequel that I read. But the characters in Impulse Control (Talent Chronicles .0.5) have greater significance. The contrast in setting made me realize the differences and similarities each group of characters are facing.

It reminds me of a teen drama with superpowers. Joss is another good example of the post Buffy feminist renaissance. She’s strong, capable, and in short badass. Yet she still shows her vulnerability. She’s not a born leader but leadership has been thrust upon her.

The constant shifting of perspective is the one thing I didn’t like about the novel. I had to put it down several times, even though I didn’t want to. When I came back the first person voice became confusing, if I didn’t go back for the reminders of the POV.


I give Hush Money (Talent Chronicles 1) 3 out 5.

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Impulse Control (Talented Chronicles 0.5)

Impulse Control (Talent Chronicles 0.5) by Susan Bischoff

In the world of the Talent Chronicles, kids born with supernatural powers are taken from their families and forced into government research facilities called State Schools. At one such school, a dangerous experiment has killed two young inmates and threatens others. Ethan, a shape-shifter, is reluctantly recruited by his best friend Karen, a telepath, and Elle, the unique Talent he has a crush on, to thwart the faculty’s plans. If they’re caught they face Detention, and Detention at a State School has a whole different meaning.

“Impulse Control” is a SHORT STORY of approximately 12,000 words and contains some strong language.

Impulse Control (Talent Chronicles 0.5) this is an interesting starting to a series that has really piqued my interest. I’m definitely looking forward to reading the future adventures of Karen, Elle, Ethan and the other inmates of the State Schools.

Novels about superheroes are a new market to me. I haven’t found many books on the subject that aren’t graphic novels. Everything about this novel has the perfect ingredients to be an amazing novel.

Ethan’s power is the most interesting. It’s affected by his emotion something I never thought of when thinking about shape shifters. The darker component to his shifting ability makes him the most interesting.

The government policing people with abilities reminds me of the Ultimate Comics X-Men. Don’t start. I know the Ultimate Comics is a reinterpretation of an older storyline from the main Marvel universe. The Ultimate Universe has been accessible to me without all the previous history that comes with reading the main universe.

Even in this prequel I can’t wait for what Susan Bischoff has in store. Because for all the good the government says they are doing it’s always about control, power, and fear.

I give Impulse Control (Talent Chronicles 0.5) 4 out 5.

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Alternate Ending: A Novel

Alternate Ending: A Novel by Aaron Niz

Seventeen-year-old Josh Miller lives in a world of almosts. He’s just friends with Hannah Taylor, the girl he’s secretly in love with. He sits at the cool table but mostly gets made fun of, and he’s number fifteen on a list of fourteen guys who are going to make varsity tennis.

He’s pretty much about to throw in the towel on his pathetic life.

That is, until the day a tree-hugging physics professor tells Josh’s class about string theory – the belief that with every decision we make, another version of us breaks free and starts its own reality.

Everyone else thinks the teacher’s just a nut, but Josh treats the professor’s half-baked ideas as gospel. He acquires a special tool needed to bounce from one world into the next.

Suddenly, Josh is thrust into an alternate universe in which he’s the best junior tennis player in the United States and poised on the brink of superstardom. Hannah Taylor finally starts to notice him and he wins the adoration of the same kids in school who used to ridicule him. Josh’s world of almosts turns into a world of everything and anything he’s dreamed of.

It all seems perfect until Josh’s old problems start to creep in and infect his new universe. Blowing tennis matches, losing friends, a little brother getting into trouble with drugs. Pretty soon his dreamworld has started to look more like a nightmare and even things with Hannah are falling apart along with his budding tennis career.

Will Josh end up trapped in a world that’s even worse than the one he just escaped from, or can he finally write the alternate ending that fixes things before it’s too late?

Alternate Ending is a kindle paranormal in the tradition of Pittacus Lore, I Am Number Four and James Patterson, The Angel Experiment (Maximum Ride, Book 1).

Alternate Ending: A Novel is an amazing novel. Josh Miller is an archetype slacker that finds his confidence and hollow success in an alternate reality. Its science fiction concepts aren’t solid. It left me with questions that were left unanswered.

From the moment Josh “crosses” over you know how the story the lessons that he has to learn. But the writing made me want to take this journey. I didn’t want to put it down. The changes between the reality were interesting, especially the physics teacher.

The backdrop for this alternate world is tennis. Aaron Niz incorporates fictional versions of real tennis professionals, with me having various levels of recognition. I googled the ones I didn’t know making the novel all the more interesting.

Even with the weird science it’s still a pretty good science fiction fix. I finished it in one sitting. Anyone with a passing interest in science fiction and tennis will love this novel.

I give Alternate Ending: A Novel 4 out 5.

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Filed under 2012, 4, Alternative Dimensions, Fantasy, Novel, SciFi

Secret Lives

Secret Lives by Diane Chamberlain



Actress Eden Riley’s decision to make a film about her mother plunges her into a shattering confrontation with her own past, irrevocably altering her life and the lives of those she loves. Her mother, Katherine Swift, was a renowned children’s author who died when Eden was very young. Now Eden, recovering from a divorce and disillusioned with her glamorous life, returns to the childhood home of the mother she barely knew. She moves in with her uncle, archaeologist Kyle Swift and his wife, Louise.

Eden gets more than she bargained for when Kyle gives her the journal her mother had kept from the age of thirteen until her death. Eden is spellbound by the powerfully written, intimate diary that chronicles a life of hardship, madness and tragedy. But her fascination turns to horror when she discovers the shocking truth about her mother’s life.

Eden turns for comfort to Ben Alexander, Kyle’s colleague, not knowing that Ben has a secret of his own that could ruin Eden and her career. Now Eden must make a heartbreaking decision as she struggles to lay the ghosts of the past to rest and come to terms with her own future.

Shifting gracefully between Eden’s world and Katherine’s, Secret Lives seduces with the power of its images and the lyricism of its prose.


Secret Lives is a pleasant change from the previous cluster of books that I have read. I can’t remember where I found this book but it was its description that made me want to read it. As the story unfolds it’s apparent where the story is going to go but that doesn’t detract from it. This book is truly about the journey instead of the destination.

I really enjoyed this novel once I finally found the time to read it. I connected on a personal level to the character of Eden Riley. It made me re-evaluate the secrets of the people around me especially my mother and grandfather. I know my mother loves me but I can’t help the nagging thought that she’s keeping a secret just as paramount as the ones in this story.

I like the present story but I found myself relating with the Katherine story more. I do think this story is better crafted than the description gives it credit. I took this journey with Katherine, a woman struggling in her battle with agoraphobia, I absolutely loved this part. The journal entries are what give this novel its depth. I took my time with the journal entries, which far and few in between, slowed me down considerably. I was constantly getting lost in questions of my own life.

Diane Chamberlain has crafted a must read for familial secrets. I personally believe we are responsible for the information that we keep. I’m always reticent about what I let people tell me about family gossip. This book has me reconsidering that stance. Knowledge can lead to understanding and it’s put a new perspective on old family issues I stay out of.

Just like Eden I didn’t think there were major secrets that my mother kept until I queued into my mother’s affectionate title for me… “her first born.” It’s always been this title for as long as I can remember. I rarely remember her saying… “her first child.” I asked her about it years ago but she’s always evasive, so I let it go. It’s been years since it has even been a major thought in my head. But unlike Eden I hope my mother isn’t waiting until her death to drop her revelation or takes it with her to her grave.

I would be far more angered than Eden if it came out after her death. There are family secrets that my grandmother and grandfather have kept that are only coming out two years after his death. Some have already open cracks in the façade of this family. Even now I think if left to fester might rip this family apart, like Ben Alexander’s did.



I give Secret Lives 4 out 5.

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