Sunday, January 20, 2019

Book Review: Picture Not Perfect by D.E. Haggerty


Picture Not Perfect
(The Not So Reluctant Detectives #2)
by D.E. Haggerty



Amazon US / UK / AU / CA 


A picture tells a story. But is it the truth?

When the police find pictures of Melanie hanging up at her murdered colleague’s house, they’re convinced he was stalking her. Maybe she even killed him. Melanie was not being stalked! And she certainly didn’t kill her supposed stalker – as if. But Mel – always up for a bit of drama – jumps at the chance to go search for the real killer. When Mel’s ex-boyfriend, Owen, discovers her plans, he pulls out all the stops to ensure she’s safe and to win her back. No matter what happens with the murder investigation, he’s not letting her go. With the police setting their sights on Mel, he may need to jeopardize his own career on the police force to protect her.

Will Mel find the real killer before the detectives arrest her for murder?


My Rating:


Favorite Quotes:

Please, you could find danger at a knitting club full of old ladies.

Wow. You don’t jump to conclusions. You take a flying leap to them.


My Review:


I take considerable pleasure in humor, which is a talent that D.E. Haggerty puts to good use by so deftly tucking it into her cozy mysteries.  I am enjoying the levity and intriguing storylines of her new series, as well as the humorous chapter titles that read like headlines.  But I had a hard time enjoying her main character of Mel.  Mel’s personality would be rather vexing to anyone unaccustomed to dealing with someone with an Attention Deficit or Hyperactivity issue.  And Mel had a whopping dose of ADHD with many annoying and exasperating personality traits.  She was fidgety, easily frustrated, emotionally immature, impulsive, stubborn, reckless, craved drama, and was loud and thoughtless of others.  How she could be a successful high school guidance counselor had me scratching my head as she didn’t listen to others, lied easily, and obsessive in her thinking while prone to jump from one ridiculous far-fetched conclusion to another in attempting to prove her point.  Being her friend would be an extremely difficult endeavor and only for those with endless patience and tremendous fortitude.  Lucky for her, the delicious Owen had the patience of a saint, a few sexy saint.  And lucky for me, I don’t have to have that anymore because retirement is swweeeet!  


Empress DJ



About the Author

   
Goodreads

I grew up reading everything I could get my grubby hands on from my mom's Harlequin romances to Nancy Drew to Little Women. When I wasn't flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although on the odd occasion I did manage to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. But being a lawyer really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out being a B&B owner wasn’t my thing either. I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before following the husband to Istanbul where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go. But ten years was too many to stay away from adopted home. I packed up again and moved to The Hague where I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book. 



Saturday, January 19, 2019

Book Review: Finders, Not Keepers (The Not So Reluctant Detectives #1) by D.E. Haggerty


Finders, Not Keepers
(The Not So Reluctant Detectives #1)
by D.E. Haggerty 





Amazon US / UK / AU / CA 
 B&N  

What do you do with a diamond no one wants? You can’t keep it. Or can you?

While cleaning her ex-husband’s effects out of the attic, Terri finds an exquisite diamond pendant necklace. She’s determined to return the necklace to its proper owner, but the owner was brutally killed, a murder which remains unsolved, and her heirs want nothing to do with the diamond. Terri embarks upon a journey researching charities to which she can donate the diamond. When her research becomes dangerous, Terri contemplates solving the murder herself. Her best friend, Melanie, jumps feet first into investigating the murder, but her neighbor, Ryder, doesn’t want Terri exposed to any danger. Ryder, to Terri’s surprise, also wants to be more than neighbors with Terri. Luckily, he’s prepared to take any measure necessary to keep her safe because someone is determined to stop her inquiries.

Join Terri on her quest to find a home for the diamond, which may result in the unveiling of a murderer – if she survives long enough.

My Rating:


Favorite Quotes:

She didn’t deem to use Terri’s ex-husband’s name. Terri had barely managed to get her to stop calling him a rat bastard…

 “Your hot neighbor? The man who causes the entire female population of your neighborhood to have hot flashes when he goes for a run without his shirt on?” Melanie fanned herself as her voice got progressively louder and louder. “That neighbor?”

“They say it was a random act of violence.” Mrs. Collins snorted in a very unladylike manner at that idea. “As if violence is something random.”

What would Nancy Drew do?

I’d totally make sure no one was around before I started talking about someone I’d killed. That’s like murdering 101 or something.

My Review:

This series appears to be a hybrid genre that is part Romantic Comedy and part Cozy Mystery, and when the parts were put together the story was fun, light, and breezy entertainment.  The characters were uniquely drawn in a broad and somewhat madcap comedic type manner. Terri was recovering from a disappointing marriage and seemed rather prickly and edgy, as well as prone to impulsive and impatient behaviors and was full of sass and easily riled.  Her best friend Melanie was even more impulsive, always up for an adventure, and a regular drama-llama.  And of course, I adored the “hot neighbor dude,” the sexy PI who attempted to keep their nosy sleuthing in check and grounded, but is that a possibility when your mentor was Nancy Drew?  I look forward to more outrageous hijinx from this pair.  
Empress DJ


About the Author

   
Goodreads

I grew up reading everything I could get my grubby hands on from my mom's Harlequin romances to Nancy Drew to Little Women. When I wasn't flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although on the odd occasion I did manage to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. But being a lawyer really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out being a B&B owner wasn’t my thing either. I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before following the husband to Istanbul where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go. But ten years was too many to stay away from adopted home. I packed up again and moved to The Hague where I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.

 

Friday, January 18, 2019

Book Review, Giveaway: Second Chance At The Ranch by Maxine Morrey


Second Chance At The Ranch
by Maxine Morrey

Amazon US / UK / CA / AU / B&N

It’s never too late for a second chance at love in this uplifting and warm-hearted romance.

It’s never too late to find love…
When Juliet Scott falls for ruggedly handsome Pete while away traveling, she never imagines how different her life will be to that of her sister, successful and beautiful model Hero. Based on a cattle station in the vast Australian Outback, Juliet’s life is now simple, down-to-earth and honest, and the perfect antidote to the chaotic celebrity lifestyle that Hero leads in the UK.
With her striking brunette hair, perfect posture, and mesmerizing green eyes, it is no wonder Hero has come so far in such a superficial industry. But when tragedy strikes, Hero finds herself in the arms of her sister, recuperating from a terrible accident on the other side of the world.
With her modeling career in tatters, and her scars more than just skin deep, Juliet worries that Hero will hide behind the mask she wears forever. But does Australia have something, or someone, to offer that London never could?

My Rating:


Favorite Quotes:

She practically took out my eye with that cleavage. She’s most definitely more woman than I’ll ever be.

Shame you didn’t back over the pneumatic bimbo whilst you were at it.


My Review:

Angst is not my friend, I crave balance in my world – crazy I know – it is just my personal preference.  While well written with an interesting premise, this book was so angsty it was painful.  Yet I was hooked and just couldn’t seem to let it go despite my pique, I was intrigued by the story and had to know what happened, regardless of having to wade through a tale that was 90% conflict and tension to get to that coveted HEA.  Ms. Morrey certainly made me work for it, but it was worth it.  The quick glimpses of humor and romance were brief respites, refreshing and well appreciated. 

The characters were an interesting and endearing mix of Brits and Aussies.  I frequently lost patience with the main character of Hero, who was the vortex of all the angst.  Hero was an international supermodel who had a kind heart, yet she was an ice queen, deeply damaged, self-involved, terminally stubborn, and extremely anxious and uptight with a penchant for running away and shutting down when uncomfortable issues arose; a childish and tedious trait.   Hero’s sister married an Aussie with a sheep ranch in the Outback, hence the dual-continent tale.  Of course, I enjoyed the Aussie side of the story considerably more, due to the handsome men residing there as well as the sizzle and dust they kicked up. 


This time my new vocabulary lesson includes a mix of Brit and Aussie words, with Brumby – the wild horses of Australia; Pommie – a derogatory term for a Brit in Aussie speak; and Antipodean accent – what Brits call Aussie and New Zealand accents. 

Empress DJ 

Author Bio

Maxine has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember and wrote her first (very short) book for school when she was ten.

As time went by, she continued to write, but 'normal' work often got in the way. She has written articles on a variety of subjects, as well as a local history book on Brighton. However, novels are her first love.


In August 2015, she won Harper Collins/Carina UK's 'Write Christmas' competition with her first romantic comedy, 'Winter's Fairytale'.

Maxine lives on the south coast of England, and when not wrangling with words loves to read, sew and listen to podcasts. Being a fan of tea and cake, she can (should!) also be found doing something vaguely physical at the gym.


Follow Maxine Morrey
Website           www.scribblermaxi.co.uk
Instagram @scribbler_maxi
Pinterest ScribblerMaxi




Giveaway 

 Win Second Chance at the Ranch and other Goodies (Open Internationally)


Prize includes:

1 x paperback copy of Second Chance at the Ranch

1 x notebook

1 x mini handbag keyring

1 x V&A museum lipstick shaped pen


*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organizer and used only for the fulfillment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.



Thursday, January 17, 2019

Book Review: Perfect Match by Zoe May




Perfect Match

by Zoe May


Amazon US / UK / AU / CA   B&N

Can you ever find true love online?

Sophia Jones is an expert in all things online dating: the best sites, how to write a decent bio, which questions to ask and the right type of photos to use. The only thing she’s not so great at? Picking the guys…

After sitting through yet another dreadful date with a man who isn’t quite what she expected, Sophia is just about ready to give up on the whole dating scene. But her flatmate, Kate, persuades her to give it one more chance, only this time she must create a profile describing her ‘perfect’ man.

Yes, he must look like Robert Pattinson and needs to own a multi-million-pound business, but there are a couple of other deal breakers, too! So, when a guy comes along who ticks every box, surely there’s got to be a catch?

A laugh-out-loud romantic comedy, perfect for fans of Catherine Bennetto and Rosie Blake!




My Rating:


Favorite Quotes:

Paulo was so ditzy that my friends dubbed him ‘the himbo’

Ferret Man is a local Lewisham legend. He’s a fairly weird -looking older man who hurtles through Lewisham in a rickety old wheelchair pulled along by two whippets. But the trick Ferret Man has employed to keep the whippets running ahead is to keep a ferret on a long leash. The whippets chase the ferret, and Ferret Man gets from A to B without having to touch the wheels of his chair once. It’s actually pretty ingenious when you think about it.

I turn around and look up at him, taking in his perfectly chiselled face, the symmetry that never ceases to amaze me. When God made Daniel, he really took his time. He got out his rulers, his protractor, his compass. Regular people look slapdash in comparison, as if God made them after one too many sherries.

De Santford doesn’t look like a millionaire or a billionaire for that matter; he just looks like any other overweight bald guy in a suit. Although I’m not sure what I’m expecting to see, he’s hardly going to be dripping in solid gold chains.

My Review:

Reading Perfect Match was a perfect introduction to the clever wordsmith Zoe May; she is found treasure.  I smirked and giggle-snorted my way through this wittily written tale of a dating disaster.  Sophia had tried all the apps promising a love connection yet was tipping the scales at over 70 bad dates – she knows this for a fact as she has them plotted on a spreadsheet.  Sophia was the last singleton in her circle of friends; even her odd wand-wielding hippy friend had found someone.  It couldn’t possibly be a reflection on her though, could it? 

The writing was refreshingly crisp and rippled with levity, humorous descriptions, and clever wit.  While Sophia was no dummy, she had become rather shallow, arrogantly judgmental, and impatient.  She didn’t realize this until the tables were turned in a highly humiliating and amusing manner.  She learned the hard way that the grass is not always greener, bigger is not always better, and that money and privilege doesn’t mean constant comfort and ease.  The storylines were cunningly insightful yet cleverly comedic.  I adored the originality and creativity of the quirky cast of characters, each with their own unique traits. 


And score!  I found two new additions for my Brit Vocabulary list with poncey which means pretentious and chavvy which seems to be a lower class sense of taste.  I would never outright admit to being either poncey or chavvy, although I do have some lovely designer knock-offs…  ;) 

Empress DJ

Author Bio 

Zoe May lives in south-east London and writes romantic comedies. Zoe has dreamt of being a novelist since she was a teenager. She moved to London in her early twenties and worked in journalism and copywriting before writing her debut novel, Perfect Match. Having experienced the London dating scene first hand, Zoe could not resist writing a novel about dating, since it seems to supply endless amounts of weird and wonderful material!

As well as writing, Zoe enjoys going to the theatre, walking her dog, painting and, of course, reading.

Zoe loves to hear from readers, you can contact her on Twitter and Instagram at: @zoe_writes

Social Media Links –

Twitter: https://twitter.com/zoe_writes

https://instagram.com/zoe_writes


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Book Review: The Widows by Jess Montgomery


The Widows
by Jess Montgomery


Amazon | B-A-M | B & N



Hardcover: 336 Pages

Publisher: Minotaur Books (January 8, 2019)

“The Widows kept me on the edge of my seat. Montgomery is a masterful storyteller.” –Lee Martin, author of Pulitzer Prize-finalist The Bright Forever

Kinship, Ohio, 1924: When Lily Ross learns that her husband, Daniel Ross, the town’s widely respected sheriff, is killed while transporting a prisoner, she is devastated and vows to avenge his death.

Hours after his funeral, a stranger appears at her door. Marvena Whitcomb, a coal miner’s widow, is unaware that Daniel has died, and begs to speak with him about her missing daughter.

From miles away but worlds apart, Lily and Marvena’s lives collide as they realize that Daniel was not the man that either of them believed him to be–and that his murder is far more complex than either of them could have imagined.

Inspired by the true story of Ohio’s first female sheriff, this is a powerful debut about two women’s search for justice as they take on the corruption at the heart of their community.

“In the hard-luck, homespun Appalachian town of Kinship, Ohio, in 1924, two strong women become unlikely comrades to solve a murder in this flinty, heartfelt mystery that sings of hawks and history, of coal mines and the urgent fight for social justice.”–Julia Keller, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Bone on Bone

“Two women, a murdered husband, and the secret life he lived. Set in Appalachian Ohio coal country in 1924, The Widows kept me on the edge of my seat. Jess Montgomery is a masterful storyteller. This is a novel about courage and the good hearts of women, and it builds, almost unbearably, to its stunning end.”–Lee Martin, author of the Pulitzer Prize Finalist The Bright Forever




My Rating:


Favorite Quote:

Mama’s round face is so puckered with outrage that her mouth looks like the top of a drawstring purse.

My Review:

I am in awe of this author, this is her first novel and it was simply stellar!  The storytelling was commanding, cunningly crafted, enthralling, emotive, highly descriptive, and smartly nuanced.  I was instantly sucked into her vortex and heard a multitude of sounds, accents, and dialects in my head.  I was right there with them, riding in their cars, feeling the dynamite blasts as well as their deep sorrows, and smelling their sweat and fear.  The mystery was hopelessly intriguing and appeared an impossibly tangled knot that I feared was without hope for a solution.  I was so deeply engrossed in their tale I experienced the conflict of simultaneous relief and grief upon completion.  Jess Montgomery’s word voodoo packs a powerful punch and is dangerously hypnotic.

Empress DJ




About Jess Montgomery


JESS MONTGOMERY is the Literary Life columnist for the Dayton Daily News and Executive Director of the renowned Antioch Writers’ Workshop in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Based on early chapters of The Widows, Jess was awarded an Ohio Arts Council individual artist’s grant for literary arts and the John E. Nance Writer-in-Residence at Thurber House in Columbus. She lives in her native state of Ohio.

Connect with Jess



Book Review, Giveaway: Irresistibly Yours by Lilly Avalon



Title: Irresistibly Yours

Author: Lilly Avalon

Release Date: January 16th, 2019


Preorder links:





Irresistibly Yours is a compilation of six short stories, all contemporary romance with sexytimes.

Included in this compilation:

• Here All Along

• More Than Words

• Taking the Risk

• Breaking the Rules

• Hook Me Up

• Just One Favor

My Rating:


Favorite Quote: 

Everything I’m feeling unravels like a ribbon from a spool when I realize he left without saying goodbye.

My Review:


I continue to have a love/hate issue with short stories, they can be just the thing or leave me annoyed and unfulfilled. This grouping had a bit of both as some were significantly better than others, although all in all, it was a quick and saucy little diversion. A few smirks and tasty treats to amuse your naughty side.


Empress DJ


About the Author

Lilly Avalon is the thirty-something author of the RESIST series and other romance books. She started to pen her first erotica at twelve years old, but her mom found the "dirty story" and threw it away, which was just as well because it wasn't that good. At all. Luckily, she continued to write stories for years until she rediscovered her love of sexy tales in her late twenties.

Lilly currently resides in Ohio with her husband and pet rodents. Lilly Avalon is a pen name.


   



Giveaway:
$5 Amazon Gift Card & Swag




Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Book Review: Betting On Us (Wilde Love #3) by Kelly Collins



Betting On Us 
(Wilde Love Book 3)
by Kelly Collins



Amazon US / UK / AU / CA 

She’s the daughter of an Irish mob boss. He’s the archenemy’s youngest son. Will they choose love or loyalty?


When Kirsten O’Leary became a veterinarian, the last thing she thought she’d end up doing is patching up gangsters in her backroom. In spite of her best efforts, she can’t seem to leave her father’s world behind. When she’s framed in an elaborate drug deal, she turns to the last person she should for help.

Rafe Wilde, Nevada’s sexiest new lawyer thought he could leave the past in the past, but when the girl he could never forget needs him, he gets sucked back into a world of danger and lies. Possibly most risky of all is the undeniable longing he has for Kirsten.

Will these two find a way out together or will their family loyalty crush their dreams of happily ever after?

My Rating:


Favorite Quotes:


Ugh, don’t remind me that I’m nearly thirty! That was such a low blow. Age to women is like Kryptonite to Superman.


Never in my life would I have imagined a wedding like this. It was like housing cats and dogs in the same cage. It was doable but dangerous.


I was only going to say one day big butts will be in style and you can tell everyone you’ve had yours forever.


“He’s a good man, and he knows I’ll kill him if he ever makes you cry.” I kissed my father on the cheek as we all lined up and waited for the music to play. “You won’t have to kill him, Da. I can neuter him while he sleeps.”


The priest performed the ceremony and ended it with an Irish blessing. May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, And rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand. Father O’Connor looked out at the attendees before he leaned forward and whispered, “And may you leave quickly before all hell breaks loose.”


My Review:

The mystery and intrigue were strong throughout the storylines of this romantic suspense mob series set in modern day Las Vegas. This installment tied in the characters from the previous books in a pleasing and entertaining manner yet this volume could easily standalone with a strong story of its own. The featured coupled were likable and endearing, and had been childhood friends from rival mob families and despite obvious attraction and deep feelings, had not been allowed to take their relationship further. The mystery was well-crafted, menacing, and unpredictable.


Empress DJ


Kelly Collins writes with the intention of keeping the love alive.


Always a romantic, she is inspired by real-time events mixed with a dose of fiction. She encourages her readers to reach the happily ever after but bask in the afterglow of the perfectly imperfect love.


Kelly lives in Colorado with her husband of twenty-five years. She loves hockey, shiny objects and has a new-found appreciation for green smoothies.