Saturday, April 19, 2014

Walk on the Striped Side by Jessie Lane

Series:  Book Two of the Big Bad Bite Series
Published February 25, 2014 by Jessie Lane
From Goodreads:  

Elena Demos’s life has been turned upside down. Her mother has passed away, leaving Elena and her two half-sisters to deal with their mother’s will and the crazy stipulations it contains. For the three sisters to inherit the substantial amount of money left behind, they have to go to work with two aunts they’ve never met, in the family business they’ve known nothing about, Amazons Inc. If that isn’t bad enough, she runs into the man who once broke her heart, and it’s only their first day on the job.

Gage Ivanov is a stupid beast. He let the woman who should be his mate go because she couldn't be told of his Other identity. Now, Elena’s back, but she refuses to give in to his demands for her to be his mate. The timing for all of this couldn’t be worse, either, because Gage and his circle of friends are trying to subdue a rogue pack of wolf shifters in Germany who threaten to out the Others to the world of humans. Will he be able to juggle the oncoming conflict and win back his mate?

My Review:

I cannot even tell you how long I have waited for this book to be released.  Jessie Lane did not disappoint.   From the very first page I was hooked.  I stayed up late, I read all day, I could not put this amazing book down.   The immediate attraction between Gage and Elena was apparent.  When they were separated, towards the beginning of their story, I was so upset.  The fact that they were mates, meant to be together for the rest of their lives meant that they should be back together, and soon!  

The details shared in this book were perfect.   There was enough back history that if a reader just picked up this book, without reading the first one, they would be able to enjoy and follow along easily.  But on that comment, I have to say you should read Big Bad Bite first.  The fact that it ended without finishing the story, leaves me anxious for book three. 

Elena is awesome.  She had the balls to stand up to the Alpha Gage, but was understanding and open enough to love him and realize that he was the one meant for her.    She was quirky, especially about that dang spider (which I loved, but totally understand her fear).   She was smart.  Not only military smart, but she understood the lifestyle that he was forced to be and the world he had to live in.  


There was hot and steamy, smooth and sexy, and tough and rumble.  Every page of this book was absolutely perfect.   Once again Jessie Lane did not disappoint.    They gave me everything I was hoping for and more, now to get them moving on the next book in this series.  I need more!  

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Friday, April 18, 2014

What Inspired Me To Write Steal the North by Heather Brittain Bergstrom


I wrote short stories for years before trying my hand at a novel. In my short stories, the main characters
are usually trying to leave eastern Washington, just as I did only days after I graduated from high school. My stories are far more autobiographical. It wasn’t until I’d been away from my homeland for over a decade or more that I slowly began to miss it. I thought why not write a character, for the first time, who misses eastern Washington instead of another one who is desperately trying to flee it. What if a California girl, who attends an art high school in Sacramento and lives in a midtown apartment surrounded by theatres and ethnic restaurants is suddenly sent north for the summer to eastern Washington to live with her fundamentalist aunt and uncle in a trailer park surrounded by sagebrush and potato fields? And what if, instead of hating it, the girl falls madly in love with the landscape, her aunt and uncle, and the Native American neighbor boy? I wanted to write a novel about a woman who had turned her back completely on her past, including her family, her faith, and the landscape that had shaped her. In doing what Lot’s wife had been unable to do, however, this woman left her daughter without any connections and no sense of herself. Steal the North is a novel of reclamation: a daughter’s journey to steal back her birthright. The idea of birthright—I believe that was the spark.

When I first started writing Steal the North, I planned to narrate the entire book in the voice of Emmy, my sixteen-year-old protagonist. That didn’t last long. Reuben, for instance, the Native American neighbor boy, jumped off the back steps of his sister’s trailer and insisted I let him tell his own story. His chapters were the easiest to write because I just let him speak. I think he brings much to the novel, and I am so glad he insisted. If Emmy and Reuben’s love story—the beating pulse of the novel—had been narrated solely by Emmy, the tale would have been too one-sided, as would have been my representation of eastern Washington. Reuben brings a whole culture to his chapters and a richer, more complex look at the eastern half of my home state. Their love kept me inspired and moving forward.


I grew up in a fundamentalist Baptist church. A few of my short stories deal with this large aspect of my childhood. But they didn’t quite get it out of my system. I needed the length and depth of a novel to further explore this. Spirituality is a strong theme in Steal the North. Oddly, I kept coming across parallels while writing this novel between the Christian church and Native American spirituality and culture. The healing ceremony that brings Emmy to eastern Washington for the summer doesn’t seem as bizarre after Reuben explains that his people still have healing ceremonies at the end of the twentieth century. Reuben admits he is a “sweat lodge junkie.” His confession makes Emmy’s conflictions with purity seem not as ridiculous.  I did not set out to equate these two very different religions and cultures, but I kept finding parallels. If nothing else the Native American spirituality in Steal the North tempers the harsher Christianity. In reality, many tribes have melded their native religion and Christianity. This melding drove the early missionaries nuts. I find it beautiful.

Steal the North by Heather Brittain Bergstrom

A novel of love in all its forms: for the land, for family, and the once-in-a-lifetime kind that catches two people when they least expect it

Emmy is a shy, sheltered sixteen-year-old when her mom, Kate, sends her to eastern Washington to an aunt and uncle she never knew she had. Fifteen years earlier, Kate had
abandoned her sister, Beth, when she fled her painful past and their fundamentalist church. And now, Beth believes Emmy’s participation in a faith healing is her last hope for having a child.

Emmy goes reluctantly, but before long she knows she has come home. She feels tied to the rugged landscape of coulees and scablands. And she meets Reuben, the Native American boy next door.

In a part of the country where the age-old tensions of cowboys versus Indians still play out, theirs is the kind of magical, fraught love that can only survive with the passion and resilience of youth. Their story is mirrored by the generation before them, who fears that their mistakes are doomed to repeat themselves in Emmy and Reuben. With Louise Erdrich’s sense of place and a love story in the tradition of Water for Elephants, this is an atmospheric family drama in which the question of home is a spiritual one, in which getting over the past is the only hope for the future.

Buy your copy of Steal the North by Heather Brittain Bergstrom

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Shelf Life by Christina George

The Publicist Book #2
Published August 22, 2013 by CreateSpace

From Goodreads

It’s an industry of out-of-control egos, unrealistic expectations, and unfulfilled promises.

This is publishing and it’s Kate’s world, but maybe not for long.

When one of Kate Mitchell’s star authors is carted away in handcuffs, it’s only the beginning of her troubles. As her world crumbles around her, Kate desperately looks for anyone to hold onto but finds that happy endings are truly works of fiction. With the shelf life of her career and her love affair quickly expiring, Kate sets off on a new adventure…

Starting over in California is easy but Kate soon learns that leaving her old life behind isn’t. Nick Lavigne is eager to help her forget but two things still own her heart, the dream of discovering the next great American novel, and MacDermott Ellis.

As Kate tries to rebuild her life she finds a surprising gift that reboots her career in a new and unexpected direction. Suddenly her name becomes synonymous with one of the biggest bestsellers publishing has seen in ages and she's welcomed back with open arms.

But at the height of her success the ghosts of her past come back to remind her of the world she'd been trying to forget and the man who never let go of her heart.

Behind the book, there’s always more to the story. Welcome to Publishing, the ego has landed.

My Review:

This is the second book in The Publicist series with at least one more book to come.  Shelf Life really needs to be read after you have read the first book, so much of the story hinges on things that happen before.   I found both books to be fast reads that pulled me in from the very beginning and leaving me wanting and needing so much more. 

Kate is the main character.  I love her.   She is strong, independent, and has a huge heart.   When she falls in love she falls fully.   The problem?  She has fallen in love with a married man and the man that loves her is a man she loves but is not in love with.   She struggles with this.  I did not always agree with her decisions, but she owned them and made them either work for her or she changed her mind, making the right decision after the fact. 

There is really two stories in this book.   The romance of Kate, Nick, and Mac and the inside world of publishing.  As a book reviewer, I have a small part in the publishing/promoting world.  I learned so much more from both The Publicist and Shelf Life.    I enjoyed both parts of this book.   Although the romance kept me entertained, the publishing world part kept me thinking and paying close attention. 

I highly recommend this entire series and am anxiously awaiting the next part to this story.

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The Publicist by Christina George

The Publicist Book 1
Published November 2012

~This is the first review in a two part review.   The second book in this series will be reviewed and shared this afternoon, please check back~

From Goodreads:

Can one woman change an age-old institution like publishing? Probably not, but Kate Mitchell sure wants to try. As a publicist with a large, respected New York publishing house, Kate finds herself at the mercy of a broken publishing system, books that don’t sell, and author egos that are often, well, as big as the island of Manhattan.

Enter the star Editor, MacDermott Ellis: Tall, handsome, charismatic, married, and ready to save the day. Then there’s Allan Lavigne, once a revered author--now as forgotten as last year's bestsellers and his nephew Nick: Tall, gorgeous, sweet, single and ready to sweep Kate off her feet. Kate wants to do the right thing but her hormones seem to be driving her decisions.

As Kate tries to navigate the landmine of publicity, over-the-top author expectations, and the careful dance of “I’m sorry, your book isn’t on the bestseller list this week,” she also finds authors who are painfully overlooked by a publisher wanting more sex, more celebrities, and more scandal.

The story only an insider could tell.

My Review:

Oh, I wanted to dislike Mac.   Sometimes I did, but gosh he is a good guy.  Trying to do right by his wife and kids, yet wanting a life of his own.  He tries to be the good guy, really tries, but darn I just couldn’t get past the point that he is married.   I did like that he kept an eye out for Kate, helping her succeed in her publicist career, saving her from crazy authors, and loving her enough to make her happy.

Then there is Kate.    She is a strong career woman living out her dream in New York City.  I struggled with her choice to get with Mac, but I also understand that a woman has to follow her heart.  She made me laugh with her descriptions of the crazy authors she had to deal with.   Kate had my heart when learning of her care of Allen and his hot and sexy nephew, Nick.    I loved her patience and understanding and am ready to dive right back into her story in the next book in this series, Shelf Life. 

The Publicist is a great read.   The struggles of personal life and professional life are so relatable that any woman will find something familiar in this story.    I will recommend this book to my fellow chic-lit readers.   

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Collector of Dying Breaths: A Novel of Suspense (Reincarnationist ) by M.J. Rose

A lush and imaginative novel that crisscrosses time as a perfumer and a mythologist search for the fine line between potion and poison, poison and passion…and past and present.

Florence, Italy—1533: An orphan named René le Florentin is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. Traveling with the young duchessina from Italy to France, René brings with him a cache of secret documents from the monastery where he was trained: recipes for exotic fragrances and potent medicines—and a formula for an alchemic process said to have the potential to reanimate the dead. In France, René becomes not only the greatest perfumer in the country but the most dangerous, creating deadly poisons for his Queen to use against her rivals. But while mixing herbs and essences under the light of flickering candles, Rene doesn’t begin to imagine the tragic and personal consequences for which his lethal potions will be responsible.

Paris, France—The Present: A renowned mythologist, Jac L’Etoile, is trying to recover from personal heartache by throwing herself into her work, learns of the 16th century perfumer who may have been working on an elixir that would unlock the secret to immortality. She becomes obsessed with René le Florentin’s work—particularly when she discovers the dying breathes he had collected during his lifetime. Jac’s efforts put her in the path of her estranged lover, Griffin North, a linguist who has already begun translating René le Florentin’s mysterious formula. Together they confront an eccentric heiress in possession of a world-class art collection. A woman who has her own dark purpose for the elixir… a purpose for which she believes the ends will justify her deadly means. This mesmerizing gothic tale of passion and obsession crisscrosses time, zigzagging from the violent days of Catherine de Medici’s court to twenty-first century France. Fiery and lush, set against deep, wild forests and dimly lit chateaus, The Collector of Dying Breaths illuminates the true path to immortality: the legacies we leave behind.

My Thoughts: Even though THE COLLECTOR OF DYING BREATHS is part of a series, you can read this novel without having read the previous works. I've only read two of the books from this series and I have found M.J. Rose to be an amazing writer. The novel is just one part historic, part suspense, part mystery, part gothic, with a bit of a love story and all together fantastic. While reading, THE COLLECTOR OF DYING BREATHS, I found myself engrossed in the story--losing time.

During most of the novel, I had a distaste for René le Florentin. No real reason why, yet the further I read the more compelling he became. Really, as the story grew my interest in all the characters, their secrets, everything grew! A Novel that begs you to consume it! I absolutely loved THE COLLECTOR OF DYING BREATHS and I am highly recommending it. I honestly feel like the novel is an actual piece of art--it is breathtaking!




The Collector of Dying Breaths: A Novel of Suspense (Reincarnationist ) by M.J. Rose


M.J. Rose is the international best selling author of fourteen novels and two non-fiction books on marketing. Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in many magazines and reviews including Oprah Magazine. She has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio. Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the ’80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors – Authorbuzz.com. The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose’s novels in the Renincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and runs the blog- Buzz, Balls & Hype. She is also the co-founder of Peroozal.com and BookTrib.com.

Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.

For more information on M.J. Rose and her novels, please visit her website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Jersey Affair by Georgina Troy

Reviewed by Charlotte Lynn
Jersey Romance Series #2
Publish date April 2, 2014 by Green Shutter Books

Paige Bingham is jilted just days before her wedding.  She decides to go on her honeymoon to Sorrento all alone.  While in Sorrento she meets Sebastian Fielding.   Sebastian is mysterious and sexy.   When Paige returns to Jersey, she finds out Sebastian’s company is taking over the store where her shoe business is located.  Feeling lied to she refuses to acknowledge her growing feelings for Sebastian.   She must make decisions for her professional life and her personal life, can she overcome the feeling of being lied to?  

My Review:

I have not read the first book in this series and cannot say that I missed anything by not reading the first book.   When I started Jersey Affair I could not put it down.

 I loved almost all the characters in this story.   I did not love Paige’s sister, Clem.  I thought she was shallow and selfish.   First when she broke up with her boyfriend, Ollie, and refused to give him any explanation, even moving in next door to him and refusing to see him.  Second when she seemed to always be throwing Sebastian’s life in Paige’s face.  I felt like she added to the issues between Paige and Sebastian and was not the supportive sister that Paige deserved.  There were many times I wanted to tell her to move out of the cottage and get out of Paige and Sebastian’s way. 

The relationship between Paige and Sebastian was so complex.  There was the different lifestyles, difference in their incomes, and still there was a deep love.  Paige needed to trust Sebastian and that was the struggle in their relationship.   Watching her come to terms that Sebastian was not like her ex, that she could trust him, love him, and build a future with him was absolutely wonderful.  It was refreshing to see a man give the woman he loves the space to figure out what she wants and still fight for what he wants.   He was a little underhanded in the way he didn’t tell her who he was from the beginning, but I did understand why he had to keep that secret.   If he had told her from the beginning I believe she would have walked away before the feelings were strong enough to withstand the truth. 

Jersey Affair is absolutely a book that I will recommend to my friends.  It was a light and easy read.   I truly enjoyed the entire story from the beginning to the end.

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