Friday, July 31, 2015

Kregel: Direct Hit by Mike Hollow

Song Stuck on the Brain: Angel Baby by Dean Martin   - my sister Angel calls this her song, she says Dino is singing it to her. :)



I always enjoy a good mystery. A good historical, too, when done well. The second world war is a favored time period for me, so when Direct Hit became available, I was intrigued with the premise of solving a murder in the midst of WWII England after a bomb obliterates the evidence. How do you solve a murder with everything destroyed?

Detective Inspector Jago  does it. He's old school and brilliant. Despite being his own man, I could sense a touch of Sherlock mixed with a hint of Poirot flowing beneath the surface. Mike Hollow did a great job. Direct Hit has an authentic feel, with just the right amount of grittiness and charm.

Unfortunately, for me the story seemed to unfold a little slow for my taste. The opening scene is grabbing, but it takes about eight chapters before it makes any sense to the story. I'd nearly forgotten about it when the incident came up again. That was me, and I admit, I wasn't able to devote as much time to read this one in a straight shot as I normally do, so this could be completely my on perception. The story does pick up and the mystery is very intriguing.

I would consider Direct Hit a strong genre read. If you enjoy this era and style of novel, then this is most definitely for you. Looking to branch out and try something new? Give it a try and make sure to give yourself time to adjust to a style and pace that's unique to this genre.


First in a crime series set in London during the Blitz in 1940-41

The jagged blast of high explosives rips through the evening air. In the sky over East London the searchlights criss-cross in search of the enemy.

On the first night of the Blitz, a corpse is discovered in a van in the back streets of West Ham. Detective Inspector John Jago recognizes the dead man as local Justice of the Peace Charles Villers. But then a German bomb obliterates all evidence.

Villers, not a popular man, was both powerful and feared. As the sirens wail, the detective must start matching motive to opportunity--and it doesn’t help when his boss foists an intrusive American journalist on him.

Jago soon discovers the dead man held many secrets, some reaching back to World War I. A lot of people wished Villers dead--and an air raid is a good time to conceal a murder. - See more HERE.


Mike Hollow studied languages at Cambridge, then worked for the BBC, and then Tearfund. Now a freelance writer and editor, he lives in Basingstoke with his wife Margaret. A popular poet, his work has been widely performed and has appeared in many collections.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Rosara and the Jungle King by Dorian Tsukioka

Song Stuck on the Brain: Smelly Cat by Phoebe Buffay (Friends)
I've been rewatching the series and I can't help it, it's been running through my mind regularly. :)

Story #4 in Five Enchanted Roses


I love fairy tales. I've lived and breathed them since I was a toddler. The originals are always good, but their strength is often shown in the many re-tellings. Like Shakespeare, fairy tales never age. Their theme's still speak to the heart of human nature today. I think that's why re-tellings are so popular. It allows us to connect to our childhood dreams and fantasies as well as find new ways to dream about and imagine our lives today. It's escape and therapy all rolled up in one.

Rosara and the Jungle King is one of the coolest re-imaginings I've read in a long time. A South American tribal spin on Beauty and the Beast is quite a step away from the original Grimm tale, yet the essential pieces that make it recognizable are all there. I loved that the beast was reflected in such a unique way. The Jungle King that saves Rosara isn't the only beast. (although he's probably the first beast I might just swoon a little over no matter which form he's in.) The allegorical reflections on what makes a beast truly a beast is clear and inspiring without being obvious. Instead, the action and emotions are strong and the story is fast paced. I loved it. In fact I'd even say brilliant and inspired.

After reading such a fantastic retelling, I had to read the rest of the novellas included in the Five Enchanted Roses. To my great happiness, every one of them was fun, unique and pretty much amazing in their creativity. If you only read one - don't miss Dorian Tsukioka's Rosara and the Jungle King. But trust me it's worth reading all five.


Maor has determined to take her as his third wife, by force if necessary. But Rosara would rather risk her life alone in the jungle than submit to any man’s brutality. When a beautiful jaguar tells her that it knows where to find one of the karawara, she resolves to seek out this jungle spirit and request its aid. The jaguar warns Rosara, however, that gifts from the karawara are never without a price

Read the whole collection:

Rediscover the Enchantment 
A ship bearing the souls of sinful sailors drifts upon a ghostly sea. An abbey looms as the final defense between mortals and ghouls of the underworld. In the stillness of a throne room, statues stand forever frozen in a moment of terror. Monsters and men stalk their prey deep in the jungle’s shadows. A rose blooms in the dead of winter, sheltered in the ruins of an ancient Scottish castle. And only true love can free the Beast from his prison.


Dorian Tsukioka writes fairy tale retellings, young adult fantasy, and science fiction with just a dash of romance thrown in to keep things spicy. When she's not writing, Dorian teaches 5th graders in Kansas City, MO, or she can be found chasing after her two, pixie-esque daughters. She has a love of learning and teaching, and loves to talk about books with anyone who will listen, especially if the conversation includes cinnamon-chip scones and caramel lattes.

To learn more about Dorian and her work, visit:

I received a free copy of the collection from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Sapphire Blue by Karen King

Song Stuck on the Brain: Endless Love by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross



Sapphire Blue is a highly imaginative and unique look at life after death. Will and Sapphire are both passionately in love and best friends. A combination anyone would agree is the best of both worlds. The teens are planning a lifetime together, they just don't expect that it will become an eternity together so soon. A tragic car accident separates them, but love can conquer anything if they don't give up hope.

Blue caught me by surprise. There are sky buses, rainbow bridges, and colored zones where souls are assigned for eternity. Soul Catchers and Angels battle for the freedom of lost souls, and families fight to be reunited. The author takes a long look at what that afterlife could be, where eternity still feels like the physical world, but that's only a challenge of the mind. Good or bad, needed or not, the mind controls the after world. It's a wild ride with heart, and it definitely had me thinking of how I picture eternity.

Sapphire Blue is Karen King's second YA novel and she's quickly making a mark with her unique voice and storytelling. Blue reads like a modern teen romance crafted with a touch of suspense, a twist of paranormal, then infused with a hint of Greek myth and tragedy. An unusual combination that works for King.


Do you believe in eternal love?

Can love survive death? Sapphire and Will have promised to love each other forever but then tragedy strikes. Sapphire doesn't seem to be in Heaven or Hell, and she can't find Will.

Then she hears he's in Red. 

"No one has ever walked out of Red. Once the Soul Catchers get you they don’t let you go.”

Denny’s words scare her but she has no choice. If Will is in Red, that’s where she has to go. She can’t face spending eternity without him.

Available as an ebook or paperback from: Amazon UK,,  Solstice Publishing


Karen King has had over one hundred children’s books published. She’s written for many children's magazines too including Sindy, Barbie, Winnie the Pooh and Thomas the Tank Engine. She writes for all ages and in all genres; story books, picture books, plays, joke books and non-fiction. Sapphire Blue is her second YA novel. She also writes romance novels under the name of Kay Harborne.

Author's Website

Author's Facebook page

Author on Goodreads

Twitter: @karen_king

Amazon Author page

Author on Pinterest

I received a copy of Sapphire Blue free from the author in exchange for my honest review. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Netgalley: Baby Twins to Bind Them by Carol Marinelli

Song Stuck on the Brain: I Wanna Fall in Love by Chris Isaak

Baby Twins to Bind Them


Carol Marinelli


I don't often read Harlequin Romances, they tend to be a little steamier than I like to read. Baby Twins caught my eye for a couple of reasons though, and I had to give it a shot. I love medical stories, I love babies (twins! even better!), and a doctor to romance her. It sounded like a good read. Big picture - I did enjoy the story. Dr. Steele is pretty great. He's romantic and very much the white knight. It gets very steamy between Guy and Candy, which makes sense for this line, but it also felt a little over done for my taste. Although they do develop feelings for one another, in the beginning it's all about the physical pleasure - friends with benefits on a deadline. For me the passion comes out of love and commitment, not love growing from pointless sex. I basically got what I expected. Moments that were funny (Candy's co-workers and patients are pretty funny. The sponge bath scene was the funniest thing in the whole book), enjoyable and a little romantic, but overall a feeling that I could take or leave the book. It's still on my Kindle, but I doubt I'll read it again.
I'd give this about a 3 star rating and know in part that's because I chose a book that really wasn't suited for me to begin with. If this is your style, you may read it with a different view entirely. Happy Reading!


The ultimate baby bombshell! For delicious Dr. Guy Steele, life is all about flirting and never about forever! It's the only way to avoid discussing the painful issue of his infertility. So a fling with Candy Anastasi, the sexiest nurse in the hospital, is the perfect solution…right? Candy's desperate to take her mind off her good-for-nothing ex—and six weeks of the best sex of her life is the ideal distraction! Until she realizes that she's fallen for Guy…and that she's pregnant–with twins! Could her double baby bombshell ultimately bind her to Guy forever?


Carol Marinelli recently filled in a form asking for her job title. Thrilled to be able to put down her answer, she put writer. Then it asked what Carol did for relaxation and she put down the truth - writing. The third question asked for her hobbies. Well, not wanting to look obsessed she crossed the fingers on her hand and answered swimming but, given that the chlorine in the pool does terrible things to her highlights - I'm sure you can guess the real answer.

Netgalley: Siren's Fury by Mary Weber

SONG STUCK ON THE BRAIN: Odd Couple Theme song. Da da da da daaa....

(The Storm Siren Trilogy)



After reading Storm Siren by Mary Weber, I was addicted. It was such an amazing book. It also left me hanging! So the release of Siren's Fury was a celebratory moment.

Fury picks up at the very moment that Siren ended. Be prepared for this intro to cut your heart and make you bleed. I very briefly considered screaming madly and throwing the book across the room. But seeing as it was only chapter one, I decided to give the author room to 'fix' things for me. lol. This book does build at a little slower pace - more intrigue, secrecy and magic - but was so worth the wait.

Siren's Fury also has a darker feel, but there was a purpose to the darker journey and it didn't feel gratuitous. This is a trilogy and Fury is the middle of the heroin's journey. Nym has learned a great deal about herself and the world around her. I'm very anxious to see where her journey takes her in book three. I highly recommend this series.


“I thrust my hand toward the sky as my voice begs the Elemental inside me to waken and rise. But it’s no use. The curse I’ve spent my entire life abhorring—the thing I trained so hard to control—no longer exists.”

Nym risked her life to save Faelen, her homeland, from a losing war, only to discover that the shapeshifter Draewulf has stolen everything she holds dear. But when the repulsive monster robs Nym of her storm-summoning abilities as well, the beautiful Elemental realizes her war is only just beginning.

Now powerless to control the elements that once emboldened her, Nym stows away on an airship traveling to the metallic kingdom of Bron. She must stop Draewulf. But the horrors he’s brought to life and the secrets of Bron are more than Nym bargained for. Then the disturbing Lord Myles tempts her with new powers that could destroy the monster, and Nym must decide whether she can compromise in the name of good even if it costs her very soul.

As she navigates the stark industrial cityscape of Bron, Nym is faced with an impossible choice: change the future with one slice of a blade . . . or sacrifice the entire kingdom for the one thing her heart just can’t let go.

{photo courtesy of Sarah Kathleen Photography}

Mary Weber is a ridiculously uncoordinated girl plotting to take over make-believe worlds through books, handstands, and imaginary throwing knives. In her spare time, she feeds unicorns, sings 80’s hairband songs to her three muggle children, and ogles her husband who looks strikingly like Wolverine. They live in California, which is perfect for stalking L.A. bands, Joss Whedon, and the ocean. {Facebook: marychristineweber, Twitter @mchristineweber, Blog:}

This series has GORGEOUS art work!
Check out Storm Siren HERE.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Netgalley: The Delphi Trilogy by Chris Everheart

Song Stuck on the Brain: Hooked on a Feeling by Blue Swede

Just finished watching Guardians of the Galaxy. Hmm, what to say? Great soundtrack, cool casting, and a really cool baby Groot. But starts slow and not sure I'd want to watch again. I think it could be an acquired taste, which is sad since I've loved the Avenger/Iron Man/Thor movies. X-Men are pretty awesome too. Just not sure about the Guardians.


The Delphi Trilogy was my latest foray into the YA market. It's categorized as Mystery/Thriller but I'd add a touch of modern Fantasy as well. 

Zach is a really intriguing character. Born in to an ancient secret society, hidden away in a foreign country under a false identity by a mother showing signs of mental illness, orphaned and out for revenge - Zach has a true hero's journey. It's a complex story with a lot of intrigue, action and surprises. The elements of mythology brought to life is unique and the romance is sweet and well integrated. I appreciated that the romance felt legit and believable. 

Chris is a great writer with a a good eye for detail. *small spoiler alert* The cavern system is amazing. Having worked in a cave system for years and living in the cave state, where the underground cave status equals that of Jerusalem, I appreciated the detail. It added a great element of suspense, too. 

I was very glad I had the whole series ready at hand because each book left me with enough of a cliff hanger that I was anxious to grab the next book and keep reading no matter how late it was. I definitely recommend this series to all ages that enjoy mystery, adventure, love and mythology. 


(There is a prequel that of course I discovered after I'd finished the series, but I'm giving you the heads up since it's worth reading them in order.)

The Shadow of Delphi: A Short Delphi Trilogy Prequel

Was the dead boy in the boarding school chapel really who he claimed to be? Are the headmaster’s ominous words meant to reassure the rest of the boys—or warn them? Why is Mom making one of her secret visits now? Answers are scarce for Zach, a boy who was taken away from home nine years ago and hidden away, forbidden to ever return home or reveal his true identity. But the questions are driving him to make a fateful decision that will change his life for the darker.

The League of Delphi  by Chris Everheart

A lone teen, a suspicious death, an ancient conspiracy. The first book of the gripping new Delphi series, The League of Delphi draws you in, takes you on a tense and thrilling ride, and leaves you wanting more. Ten years after his father's mysterious death, 17-year-old Zach secretly returns to his wealthy hometown in search of answers. Why did his mother move him away then go into hiding to die alone? Why did she change his name, forbidding him to ever reveal his true identity? Why was he never allowed to return home? Left with nothing and no one, Zach is desperate to reconnect with this seemingly "perfect" town. But something isn't right. When a local teen commits suicide and no one seems to care, Zach's hopes collapse into disenchantment and suspicion. Ashley, a local teenager on the fringe, piques his interest with whispers of a secret committee controlling the lives of everyone around them. Could it be true? Together, Zach and Ashley delve into the hidden life of the town and discover a dark connection to Ancient Greece and the Oracle at Delphi. Their suspicions are confirmed - but the conspiracy is more terrifying and dangerous than they ever imagined...

The Delphi Deception: Book II of the Delphi Trilogy by Chris Everheart

The gripping Delphi Trilogy continues with Book II, The Delphi Deception, plunging readers deeper into a dark world of conspiracy and danger. A desperate teen, a dangerous alliance, an ancient foe. After ten years in hiding 17-year-old Zach made the mistake of returning to his wealthy hometown. He slammed head-on into the conspiracy that killed his parents, drove a childhood friend to suicide, and exploits teens to fulfill an ancient agenda of greed. Zach should have run. But he stayed, and now the consequences are burying him. His blind pursuit of the town’s deepest secrets has left him injured and terrified. The answers he’s gotten about his true identity are more disturbing than he could have imagined. And his first love, Ashley, is in more danger than ever. Zach’s desperate plan to save his crumbling world is derailed by the mysterious man he thought was his ally. Forced to team with Ashley’s ambitious sister who’ll help—for a price—he enters an alliance fraught with deception and betrayal. As the League of Delphi’s vicious new security chief closes in on him, Zach is propelled back into the jaws of danger by a cryptic command from beyond this world. Will his misguided mission save Ashley? Or will it get them both killed?

The Delphi Revelation: Book III of the Delphi Trilogy by Chris Everheart

A defiant teen. A deadly confrontation. A stunning revelation. The spellbinding Delphi Trilogy hurtles to a gripping conclusion with The Delphi Revelation, a thriller that keeps you enthralled to the end. 17-year-old Zach secretly returned to his wealthy hometown after ten years in hiding only to plunge into a grim reality and discover the true reasons his mother took him away and changed his identity: a secret Committee that controls the lives of everyone in town and the global League of Delphi with an ancient agenda of greed and teen exploitation. In search of his family's true past, Zach makes unexpected connections with other desperate souls. Ashley, his first love, is ensnared in the League's deadly conspiracy. Larry, the town's vengeful outcast, has turned out to be closer to Zach than he could have imagined. But trust comes with a price. Zach finds himself trapped and tortured by the League's vicious security chief. He can stop the pain by accepting their twisted way of life. But the wrong decision will endanger thousands of lives-and drive those closest to him to disaster and death.


Chris Everheart is an award-winning author of more than twenty books and short stories for middle-graders, young adults, and adults and an award-winning filmmaker. A lifelong reluctant reader, TV junkie, and movie lover, Chris infuses the pacing and thrills of visual storytelling into all his stories. When not writing he can be found hiking in the mountains near home, watching television, or learning about history, science, and archeology. He's a Minnesota native living in East Tennessee with his family.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Netgalley: Taken by Dee Henderson

Song Stuck on the Brain: I'm Like a Bird by Nelly Furtado

I was doing the girl-friend chat with my niece and when she was ready to leave, she said, "Well, I've got to fly." Instantly this song popped into my head and I sang, "I'm like a bird, I wanna fly away..." She laughed and said, "I knew that was coming, I heard it too. I even paused for you." LOL. My random bursts of song are so predictable now can still be called random? :)

Did you know today is Embrace Your Geekness Day? It is. And OH there are sooo many things I could embrace and geek out about, but I chose my favorite thing - books. More specifically a favorite author's new book.



If you're new to my blog than let me just tell you, Dee Henderson is one of my writing Heroes. She's amazing. I geek out about her every time I read one of her new releases because I'm sure it's my new favorite. Of course, once I take a broader look at her catalog I realize that choosing just one of them as a favorite is impossible. However, Since Taken is her latest I'm pretty hyped on this one right now. 

Shannon Bliss is an amazing character. We enter her story on her first real day of freedom as she convinces Matthew Dane to help with her reintroduction to the public. Her case is huge. A major crime family, murder, trafficking, robbery and more. She should be a quivering mess. Instead she shows an astounding amount of inner strength and faith as she not only finds a way to face a new life, but also to destroy the entire crime ring that held her captive. 

One of the things I love the most is how the story kept me on edge, anxiously turning pages until all hours of the morning from suspense. The other is how seamlessly Dee weaves in the deeper spiritual and emotional layers with such insight. I felt like a light bulb was turned on as I considered those deeper aspects. Such phenomenal writing takes talent and inspiration, and takes the category of Inspirational Suspense to a whole new level. 

Taken, although not marketed as part of a series is the next in a line of novels that center around the same characters (I would call this a series, but...) The first is Full Disclosure about Paul Falcon and Ann Silver (10/2012), second is Unspoken about Charlotte Graham and Bryce Bishop (10/2013), third is Undetected about Mark Bishop and Gina Gray (04/2014). Taken continues with a gripping new story that includes characters  Ann and Paul from Full Disclosure, Charlotte and Bryce from Unspoken, and even Rachel and Cole from the O'Malley series.

IF you haven't read the others listed above, don't let that stop you. Please don't miss out on Taken


An investigator who knows tragic loss firsthand, and his new client, missing far too long... 

Abducted at the age of sixteen and coerced into assisting the Jacoby crime family, Shannon Bliss has finally found a way out. She desperately wants to resume some semblance of normal life, but she also knows she has some unfinished business to attend to. She might have enough evidence to put her captors behind bars for a very long time.

When Shannon contacts private investigator Matthew Dane, a former cop, to help her navigate her reentry into society, he quickly discovers that gaining her freedom doesn't mean her troubles are over. If the Jacoby family learns she is still alive, they'll stop at nothing to silence her.

If justice is to be done, and if Shannon's life is ever to get on track again, Matthew will need to discover exactly what happened to her--even if it means stirring up a hornet's nest of secrets.

Read Chapter One HERE.


Dee Henderson is the author of numerous novels, including Unspoken, Jennifer: An O’Malley Love Story, Full Disclosure, and the acclaimed O’Malley series. Her books have won or been nominated for several prestigious industry awards, such as the RITA Award, the Christy Award, and the ECPA Gold Medallion. Visit her at