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Page Turners

A lifetime of loving to read leads me to wanting to share my thoughts on what I'm reading now.

The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Miller

The Summer I Became a Nerd - Leah Rae Miller
The Summer I Became a Nerd
Leah Rae Miller
Entangled Publishing
May 7, 2013
4 stars
 
Ever since a degrading incident middle school incident, Madelyne Summers has hidden her true self away and pretended to be something she wasn’t. Now on the verge of becoming a senior in high school, her world is about to come crashing apart. One of the things she has kept hidden is her love of comic books, downloading them on to her computer rather than buying the print copy. But the final issue of her favorite series isn’t going to be in electronic format and the copy she ordered didn’t show up on release day. Unwilling to wait another two months and have to avoid her favorite sites so she wouldn’t find spoilers, Maddie disguises herself and heads for the local comic book shop.
When she arrives there, the young man behind the counter, a classmate, is reading the very last copy. After much teasing, he allows her to borrow his copy of the comic book shop. Maddie discovers she likes this boy, one with whom she can be her true self. She starts lying to everyone to cover her tracks, which only leads to one huge disaster after another, including hurting Logan Scott repeatedly, something she never wanted to do.
The Summer I Became A Nerd is an adorable cautionary tale on the perils of not being true to yourself and living a life of lies. Maddie walks a tightrope between her two halves until she finally realizes she can’t continue down that path, and she also discovers  that despite her worries that people would think less of her, those who matter didn’t care that she loved comic books, and that ultimately, what others thought really didn’t matter.

Deep Trouble by Mary Connealy

Deep Trouble - Mary Connealy

DEEP TROUBLE
MARY CONNEALY
BARBOUR PUBLISHING
INSPIRATIONAL ROMANCE
MAY 1, 2011
4.5 STARS

Shannon Dysart has set out from St. Louis to the West to restore her late father's reputation. He was an academic, proclaiming he had found at least one of the legendary 7 Cities of Gold. Unable to provide proof, he died a laughing stock of the academic circles. But when Shannon's first stop proves to be a pile of rubble, the crew she hired steal what they believe to be all of her maps and leave her for dead.

Gabriel Lasley is riding through the area, enroute to visit his brother, when he hears gunfire and a woman's screams. What he doesn't expect to find is a woman trapped on an unreachable ledge in a cave with no way to get her down. Once he manages to rescue her, he is determined to get her to the nearest city and on the next train back to St. Louis, she is equally determined to continue West and redeem her father. Somehow, he finds himself drawn in and together they set out on a treasure hunt.

While you, as a reader, will need to suspend belief in certain parts, DEEP TROUBLE is an exciting book which will have you on the edge of your seat and laughing out loud. Shannon and Gabe are an unlikely pair, but they are absolutely perfect together. The evil of the villains is bone-chilling and you will be holding your breath in spots. But you can never go wrong with a Mary Connealy book.

Hush by Cherry Adair

Hush - Cherry Adair

HUSH
CHERRY ADAIR
APRIL 26, 2011
ROMANTIC SUSPENSE
LODESTONE 01
4 STARS

When Acadia Gray agrees to take a trip to Venezuela for her one big adventure before starting school at 20 years old, she has no idea just how big of an adventure it will be. Going against who she is, deep down inside, she picks up a man at a bar for a one night stand. It would have worked out fine had they not been awakened the next morning by armed guerillas in her room.

A man who loves living on the edge, Zakary Stark knows he is no hero. To his disgust, he finds himself in just that role as he tries to protect Acadia when they are kidnapped, along with his brother, Gideon, in to the jungle of Venezuela.

Thanks to the many objects in the hidden pockets of Acadia's vest (and the improbable fact that the guerilla's didn't search her), they manage to escape and avoid many pitfalls of being lost in the jungle. The brothers decided to split up to lead the guerillas down two different paths, Zakary is injured and it becomes a race against time.

Hush is non-stop action from page one, although at times it feels as if there is a few too many obstacles and dangers thrown at them. You will need to suspend belief for some plot points. GPS as a psychic ability? Seriously?  There are lots of twists and turns in the plot as you try to figure out who is behind the kidnapping.

The love scenes are hot (but again, a bit improbable. If my brother was lost in the jungle, chased by guerillas, I'm not sure sex would be on my mind, but hey, that's just me). All in all, hush is a satisfying summer read if you like action with some huh?  moments.

Phoenix Rising by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris

Phoenix Rising - Philippa Ballantine, Tee Morris

PHOENIX RISING
PIP BALLANTINE & TEE MORRIS
APRIL 26, 2011
STEAMPUNK
MASS MARKET PAPERBACK, EBOOK
MINISTRY OF PECULIAR OCCURRENCES BOOK 1
5 STARS

In Victorian England, the Queen has developed a secret society, The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, to deal with the unexplained and the eerie. But the Ministry doesn't reside in the Victorian England you will remember from history. Steam powered devices give this Victorian England a futuristic edge.

Archivist for the Ministry, Wellington Books has been kidnapped and hidden away by those who want to discover the secrets of the Ministry. Enter Agent Eliza Braun as his rescuer. Eliza is not the typical lady of the Victorian Era, not even for spies. She has a penchant for guns and more importantly, bombs. Her orders were to kill Wellington Books in fears he had been compromised, but Eliza doesn't always follow orders either. When she blows up the compound where Books had been held and did not follow through on her assignment to kill him, she is sent to the Archives to work with him.

What she expected to be a dull assignment turned most exciting indeed when she discovers the cold case her former partner had been working on prior to going mad. In his attempts to keep Eliza out of trouble, Books ends up investigating with her and they nearly end up in over their heads.

PHOENIX RISING was a delight from the first page. Well described explosive action, three dimensional characters and crackling dialogue will keep you turning the page. If you like non-stop excitement, witty repartee and alternative history, you will love this book. I anxiously await book number two from Ms. Ballantine & Mr. Morris.

Finally a Bride by Vickie McDonough

Finally a Bride - Vickie McDonough

FINALLY A BRIDE
VICKIE MCDONOUGH
BARBOUR PUBLISHING
APRIL 1, 2011
BOARDINGHOUSE BRIDES BOOK 3
4 STARS


Set ten years after SECOND CHANCE BRIDES, we once again visit Lookout Texas and old friends. Jacqueline "Jack" Davis is still a tomboy at heart, taking chances to get the story of a lifetime as a reporter for the local paper. Her dream is to write the big story and earn herself a place on the Dallas newspaper, so she can leave Lookout. After what she went through with her first father, she does not trust many men and fully believes she will never marry. Her biggest problem is Billy Morgan, who she does not care for even as  a friend, proclaims she will marry him.

Pastor Noah Jeffers has been offered the chance to fill in for the Pastor of Lookout Texas. He is not certain he wants to do so for several reasons, including the fact that he had no desire to return to Lookout Texas. He grew up there until his violent father moved them away after Noah had caused one too many problems. Of course, back then everyone knew him as Butch Laird. He took his mentor's last name since he had been more of a father to Noah than his own father had. When he arrives, he is stunned that the feelings he had had for Jack ten years prior have not lessened at all.

Meanwhile, Carly Payton, who had gone to jail in book one THE ANONYMOUS BRIDE has been working for a preacher elsewhere, but after the death of his wife, he was forced to let her go. At Rachel Davis' behest, Carly reluctantly returns to Lookout.

Ms. McDonough's books have been a treat, as we get to revisit with old friends and make new ones as the series progresses. It is a rare author who lets us peek into the ongoing lives of previous characters. This history that builds between the characters shines through and makes for enjoyable reads.

Laughter, tears and love abounds and I look forward to reading her next endeavour.

Charming by Elliot James

Charming - Elliott James
Charming
Elliott James
Orbit
September 24, 2013
3.5 stars
 
John Charming is an outcast. He was raised as a knight Templar but he found himself hunted by them when it was discovered that he was part werewolf. After the knights killed Allison, his fiancée, he became a lower, always fighting the wolf inside. He never expected that his life would be turned upside down when Sig, a Valkyrie vampire hunter, walked into the bar he managed.
Sig is in a bad relationship but doesn’t have the heart to leave him as he is part of her team that hunts monsters. When she returns to the bar and finds John under attack from vampires, she steps in to save him and he ends up working with her team.
I really liked John and Sig. Their conflicts were realistic and worked within the perimeters of the story. Charming is the first in what I hope is a long series, and I do hope Sig returns to work with John. They really make a great team. There is no romanticizing the vampire element in this book, and the villains are written chillingly.

 

ARC provided by Netgalley for review.
A Bandit's Broken Heart - Michelle McLean A Bandit’s Broken Heart
Entangled Publishing
July 8, 2013
3 ½ stars

After losing her husband of only a month, Brynne Forrester and her three year old daughter move from California to Boston to be with Brynne’s in-laws. Brynne is content without a man in her life, and self-sufficient thanks to her life as a bandit in California. After moving in to her own home, Brynne decides she needs to fill her idle days and convinces the doctor at the clinic to let her assist him, even though she has no formal medical training. She never expected the feelings the doctor stirred deep within her.
Richard Oliver is a dedicated doctor running the clinic for those who may not be able to pay. His staff is efficient and his housekeeper doubles as his secretary. He allows Mrs. Forrester to volunteer, convinced she will be gone within a day, unable to handle the duties. He is pleasantly surprised when he is wrong. He isn’t so pleasantly surprised with her actions when his supplies are stolen. Brynne’s actions set off a chain of events that nearly costs them everything.
A Bandit’s Broken Heart is a sweet romance, focusing more on the building of the relationship between Brynne and Richard, which I find refreshing in this day and age. A strong woman, Brynne is very likable, especially with her devotion to her daughter and her ability to have fun with her. Richard takes a little warming up to but he is definitely a hero to dream about. A Bandit’s Broken Heart is a delightful read with action, romance and characters you will want to revist again.
ARC provided by Netgalley for review.
Mr. Monk Helps Himself - Hy Conrad Mr. Monk Helps Himself
Hy Conrad
June 4, 2013
4 Stars
Thank goodness for the Monk books. I happen to adore Tony Shalhoub who played Monk but I simply couldn’t get in to the series. After delving into the books, I realized his multitude of phobias played out better in the written word for me. I was a bit worried when I discovered there was a new author for the books, but I can put that worry to rest. Mr. Conrad is every bit as enjoyable to read as the previous author and in fact, added a touch of humor that made me laugh out loud.
There is a lot going on in Mr. Monk Helps Himself. Natalie is going for her P. I. license so she and Monk can start their own agency, Monk mysteriously “has his ways” for getting around when Natalie is not available, Natalie is investigating her own case while Monk has his hands both in her case and one that is setting his phobias into overdrive.
Twists and turns in both cases keep the reader guessing on not only whodunit but why and there is plenty of character growth for both Monk and Natalie, which is always a treat. Characters should always be allowed to grow. Suspenseful, high-risk danger is the icing on the delectable Monk cake. Fiji water anyone?
I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for review.
Her Ladyship's Curse - Lynn Viehl Disenchanted & Co. 001
Lynn Viehl
August 12, 2013
4 ½ stars

Set in steampunk America, known as Toriana due to losing the Revolution, Her Ladyship’s Curse is the first installment in a series filled with magic, mystery and danger. Charmian “Kitt” Kittredge is a woman on her own with a business of her own. A non-believer in magic, Kitt investigates the unexplainable and finds the true explanations. But her life is put in danger when Lady Diana Walsh hires her to find out who is tormenting her during the night. What Kitt finds puts Lady Diana in peril and herself in a line with a man up to no good.
Lord Dredmore is a deathmage who is fascinated by Kitt. He declares himself her protector which is no easy feat and barely manages to spirit her away to his estate when danger looms too close. He is dark and brooding and not at all the type of man one would believe to harbor tender feelings for a woman.
I was immersed in Her Ladyship’s Curse from the first page. Ms. Viehl’s world-building is exceptional and the reader is transported to Toriana. The descriptions are vivid and vibrant, every character is well-rounded and has personality. And with the cliffhanger ending, I am on pins and needles for the second installment, due in October, His Lordship Possessed.
Book provided by Netgalley in exchange for review.
A Rose in the Storm - Brenda Joyce A Rose In the Storm
Brenda Joyce
June 25, 2013
3 ½ stars

I was ecstatic to see a new medieval period romance coming out. There are two few of them being released, so I pounced on the chance to review this. I started off sort of ambivalent as I felt, in my opinion, that the writing was a bit passive- heavier on the telling than showing side of things. Luckily the characters and story itself was intriguing enough to maintain my interest.
Margaret Comyn is enroute to her legacy, the dowry provided by her mother, in the form of Castle Fyne. It is a strategically placed keep and she is heading there to prepare the castle for her marriage to Sir Guy, who is English. Both Margaret and her brother are uncertain in regards to a highland lass marrying an English knight, but her uncle feels it is a good match. Upon arrival, Castle Fyne is under siege from the Wolf of Lochabar, Alexander MacDonald. Having too few knights and warriors, the castle put up a fight, under Margaret’s untried guidance, but ultimately fell. Margaret fights her attraction to Alexander, as he is a MacDonald, a blood enemy of the Comyns and he also fights for Robert Bruce in his attempt to take the crown.
Alexander finds himself attracted to Lady Margaret and treats her with respect and kindness regardless of what plots she stirs against him. He spends his time trying to woo her to his side and loyalty, knowing that Sir Guy would not treat her well. Alexander knows she is desirous of him but in denial.
Once I reached the climax of the story, with the battles between King Edward’s armies and Robert Bruce’s, as well as the ultimate showdown between Alexander and Guy, I couldn’t put the book down and stayed up late into the night, engrossed in the world Ms. Joyce had created.
I received this ARC from Netgalley for review.
The Better To See You - Kate SeRine The Better To See You
Kate SeRine
Kensington Publishing
February 7, 2013
5 Stars

The Better To See You is the second story in the Transplanted Tale series, and it does not fail to keep up the romance, the action and the fun from the first book Red.
Many of the Tales from Make Believe were transported to the Here and Now during a battle during a fairy godmother and a genie, and the fairy godmother’s magic went awry. The Better To See You is the story of Lavender Seelie, the fairy godmother in question. Cut off from her family and her powers limited, Lavender settled in to continuing on as Cinderella’s fairy godmother in the here and now. Lavender has had it and during a fight with James AKA Prince Charming, not only did she shrink his manhood, but lost control of her magic again and burned down their castle. In order to keep Lavender safe, her friend Red sent her across the country to the Refuge where other tales were making a life of their own.
Seth Wolf, also known as the Big Bad Wolf, has been living on the outskirts of the Refuge and trying his best to fit in. The last thing he needs is a fairy godmother with magic gone awry, but when he saves her from a hellhound not far from his cabin, their lives become entwined and then their hearts. But the hellhound was just the tip of the iceberg. Something is very wrong in the Refuge.
Transplanted Tales is becoming one of my favorite series ever. With a touch of the show Once Upon a Time and the darkness from Grimm and a lot of originality, this series is a win. The main characters are likable and work through their conflicts in a believable way, there is a good mix of grey area characters who are bit good and a bit bad and her villains are just as dark as can be.
This series isn’t to be missed. I only wish I could give the book more than 5 stars.
This book was purchased by me.

Driven - Eve Silver, Eve Kenin Driven
Eve Silver
Eve Silver
May 28, 2012
4 stars
In a bleak, dystopian world Raina Bowen is a loner and survivor. At twelve, she survived a brutal attack by Duncan Bane, the man who is running the world and the constant abuse inflicted on her by her father Sam. Now an ice trucker Raina has one goal on her mind…to win the delivery to Gladow contest so she can leave the frozen wasteland and make a home at the equator for her previously unknown sister and herself. All she needs is a pass…
Wizard, the man who was to meet Raina and deliver the much needed pass to her is not only late for their meeting, he has run afoul of Bane’s men and the pass he has is stolen, rendering it useless. He insinuates himself into Raina’s life as a traveling companion and as they face the hazards of the road , they grow closer. But once she finds out about his betrayal, Raina has to determine if she can overcome it and build a future with Wizard. Oh and did I mention that Wizard reminds me of Mr. Spock?
Driven was so much fun to read. Ms. Silver’s skill has the story play out in your mind like a big screen summer blockbuster. It has everything, exciting action, romance, over the top villainy. If you like futuristic tales that would make great movies, you have to pick this book up!
Driven was purchased by me.
Texas Hold 'Em - Kay David Texas Hold ‘Em
Kay David
Entangled Publishing
April 28, 2013
4 stars

Texas Hold ‘Em is the first in an ongoing series called Smokin’ ACES. We begin with the team leader, Timothy Santos’s story. He has come back home in undercover operation to bring down a Mexican cartel drug lord as well as find out what happened to his informant who was on the inside. He stumbles on to is former lover, the sheriff of the town, Rose Renwick, pinned down by gunfire in a remote location. He tries to explain what is going on, but Rose isn’t believing him.
Rose Renwick feels her former lover only cares about one thing, catching the bad guy by any means possible. When she discovers he is using her black sheep mother, things go from the frying pan in to the fire. The trail leads over the border to Mexico where Rose discovers her mother and his informant are one and the same.
I have to say, I’m not sure I would have given Timothy nearly as much trust as Rose does, even hesitatingly. For a while his lies to her were compounding and I was doubting they would get together but the author managed to believably bring Timothy around to some self-discovery. Texas Hold ‘Em is heavier on the suspense side than the romance side, but that’s the way I like it. I enjoy a lot of action in my romantic suspenses. I eagerly look forward to the sequel, Follow the Cowboy coming in November.
ARC provided by publisher in exchange for honest review.
Gaming for Keeps - Seleste deLaney Gaming For Keeps
Seleste Delaney
Entangled Publishing
June 10, 2013
Only after inviting a girl that he met in an online MMORPG to meet him at a gaming convention does Cal Burrows learn there is danger afoot at the convention. As a spy, he has been enlisted to get hold of a code that a terrorist is sending through at the convention so they can find out what he’s up to. He can only hope that her hesitation in accepting his invitation will convince her to stay home.
Penelope Holloway is drawn to the online persona of the man who invited her to the game convention. Her first relationship begun online and ended badly, and while she is hesitant, Pen not only is curious about her online friend but she has enjoyed going to the convention in the past. After a case of mistaken identity, she decides her friend is a jerk as well before accidentally meeting up with him in the bar and finding out later who he is. Except she never suspected he was a spy or that her life was going to be in danger at the convention.
Gaming For Keeps was a pure delight to read. The characters were likable (I always find the geek characters are people I would enjoy hanging out with). The pace was face, the sex was hot and the action kept me on the edge of my seat. If you’re worried that the novella length won’t give you a full story, leave that worry at the door. This is the perfect length.
ARC provided by publisher for honest review.
Charming - Elliott James Charming
Elliott James
Orbit
September 24, 2013
3.5 stars

John Charming is an outcast. He was raised as a knight Templar but he found himself hunted by them when it was discovered that he was part werewolf. After the knights killed Allison, his fiancée, he became a lower, always fighting the wolf inside. He never expected that his life would be turned upside down when Sig, a Valkyrie vampire hunter, walked into the bar he managed.
Sig is in a bad relationship but doesn’t have the heart to leave him as he is part of her team that hunts monsters. When she returns to the bar and finds John under attack from vampires, she steps in to save him and he ends up working with her team.
I really liked John and Sig. Their conflicts were realistic and worked within the perimeters of the story. Charming is the first in what I hope is a long series, and I do hope Sig returns to work with John. They really make a great team. There is no romanticizing the vampire element in this book, and the villains are written chillingly.
ARC provided by Netgalley for review.
Gambling on Love - Nancy  Fraser, Patti Shenberger Jake McCade has been duped! Not only did the young man arranging transport north for a family of slaves trick him in to accepting half the money now and half upon arrival, when the young man is injured, it turns out he’s no man at all but a young woman.
Felicity Beaumont only wants to do what is right. Her father tricked the family into signing papers keeping them indentured even after slavery was abolished. Only her father caught up with her before they reached their destination and she and Jake must wed or he faces jail.
What a refreshing historical romance. Felicity is a smart woman who knows how to take care of herself, her man and others along with making her place in the town. Jake was not a jerk of a man, rather one that despite his reluctance to give his heart again, finds himself caring deeply for his woman and he supports her in all that she does.
The sex scenes are hot and believable because you can feel the growing affection between the couple. I’m looking forward to the next book by these two authors.
I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.