Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Breach of Promise by Victoria Vane

A Breach of PromiseThis is an erotic historical romance. I was told it was slightly "Heyer-esque." I'm not sure what that means, but I thought "Georgette Heyer," the famous author of books in the Georgian era. I hate Heyer, so it was with much trepidation that I picked this up. 

It's cute, witty, and the sex is very erotic. I also learned a lot of new words, thus it was somewhat like Heyer. However, the real and very dead Heyer used as many complicated and head scratching words as possible in one sentence. Vane just throws in one per page. I also learned new things to call the female anatomy. LOL

Not bad at all. For historical erotic romance, it was good. I recommend it. Check it out. It's a one day read, not a door stopper. It's not overly descriptive, nor does it pontificate endlessly. 

Favorite quote: "To my understanding a man can perform the animal act of coition in virtually any circumstance without emotional engagement of any kind." *snort* LOL

Four stars and I bought this on Amazon Kindle.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Mask of the Gladiator by Georgie Lee

Mask of the GladiatorA short read, but entertaining, Mask takes place in the time of Caligula. He was famous for his cruelty and sexual perversions. When this vile emperor of Rome sets his sights on Livia, a young widow, he uncle announces he is marrying her off to Senator Titus whether she likes it or not. 

She doesn't like it... why? Cause she has her desires reawakened by a Gladiator in the arena. One meeting and they are "getting it on." A bit quick, that.. But what she doesn't know if that her gladiator is Titus. He's got a scheme to take down Caligula and she can either cooperate or get in the way.

The secret comes out, but then their plan backfires. Did Titus run away with his tail between his legs like her first husband did or is he going to save her from Caligula's clutches cause Caligula does get his nasty hands on her...

Good, entertaining, but thought the characters sure acted on their urges mighty quick. They didn't know each other's names... Hum.

Four stars. I got this from netgalley. 

A Christmas Sleeping Beauty by Lindsay Townsend

A Christmas Sleeping BeautyAt first, one may look at this and think, "Bah, an overdone fairy tale.. Sleeping Beauty just wakes up on Christmas." Not so. Ms. Townsend has taken a classic fairy tale and added more than just a Holiday twist.

The prince, Orlando, can't just kiss her and wake her up and then live happily ever after with all her money. In this case, the prince must WORK for the princess, Rosie, to wake up. His kiss is not enough.

In this short story, the arrogant prince who is in it all for the glory and fame and wealth has no choice but to come to care for the princess, really care for her, or she will not wake up. He learns that she loves Christmas and burns yule logs and nuts. He builds her a sled to show her a good time.. and still she doesn't wake.

It's not till he comes to truly CARE about her and her family, that the princess will wake. However, he only has three days to accomplish this.

A very touching short story that can be read year round. It's not one of those "only at Christmas time reads." The holiday theme was no so dominant, that you would feel funny reading it in July.

Four stars. I received this from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

PDF Giveaway of Dog Tails for Christmas

Dog Tails: Three Humorous Short Stories for Dog LoversIn honor of the upcoming holiday, I'm giving a .pdf file of Dog Tails to one lucky reader. For a chance to win, please leave a comment on this post and December 25th, at Jazzy's convenience, she will choose a winner from her doggie bowl. 

Feel free to spread the word! I have not done much promotion for fear of being labeled a "spammer" so any and all help is appreciated. Much thanks from Lola, Pudgy, and Jazzy. :)

And a sidenote: If you have a friend who owns both a kindle and a dog, may I suggest gifting them a "copy?" It's a perfect last minute gift and doesn't require you to fight the shopping madness. :) The Amazon link is here: Dog Tails for Kindle

Amazon Heat by Melinda Leigh and Rayna Vause

Amazon HeatThis is an exciting short story. A woman doctor goes into the Amazon to search for a plant that she believes can cure cancer, breaking her lover's heart as she does so as he wants her to stay behind in the States and marry him. She is saved from a group of drug smugglers intent on rape by a group of Amazon warriors. However, the Amazons keep her captive for 2 years, wanting her medical expertise for their own gain.

During that time, he man is searching for her. The Amazons find him too and intend to keep him as a stud. After all, as the Amazon queen says, "He is male, is he not? Males rut." LOL

But this male, Logan, only has eyes for the doctor, Elizabeth and after they rekindle their love, they aim to escape, even if it means trusting another Amazon to help them.

Exciting and fun and a great plot. I loved the whole Amazon warrior tribe, but it was too short for this type of tale. I wanted to know more.. I think a lot more could have been added, such as scenes with Mari. I wanted to know more about this Amazon that was somewhat exiled from her own people. I'd love to know her background. Also, Logan with his new powers, did he impregnate Elizabeth? He almost had lightning bolts shoot from his you-know-what and they weren't using protection... I sense there may be a sequel here, some super powered baby, but I think it should have been one novel. 

Four stars and I got this from netgalley.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Golden Hour by Margaret Wurtele

The Golden HourWow. This is one of those books with one of those endings that just left me with my mouth hanging open. 

It takes place in Italy during WWII. Italy has been taken over by Nazis. The heroine, Giovanna, is spending her teen years under German rule and has even had to give up most of her home to German soldiers. Her brother has failed to report for duty with Italian/German army and has run off to be a resistance fighter/partisan. Her father is angry as he is a devoted Fascist. (Actually, he's on the winning side whoever they may be.)

In the beginning, Gia (I'm shortening it as that's quite a bit to type over and over) is a normal teenage girl with feelings of desire. She's left with nothing but Nazis to focus her new found feelings on and she develops a crush on Hans. He's married, but that doesn't stop her...but before it goes too far, Gia realizes she's in the wrong. This botched affair leads to so many things...Gia begins to change for one thing.

She begins aiding the resistance, providing supplies, medical care, starts to ask questions. She goes from being a naive school girl ogling older, married men to a young woman with a mind of her own that believes in doing all she can to help her country and the Jews within it.

There were times I thought Gia was disappointing and stupid, but her narrative, all first person POV, was so brutally honest.. it was as though she was admitting to her own flaws. I felt as though she was speaking to me, saying, "Look what I did. Yes, I did that. Can you believe how stupid I was?" Somehow, it worked, it drew me in, and it made the heroine "real."

The ending. Wow. I didn't see that coming... to live with that knowledge the rest of one's life. Yikes. Something else in the book that had a huge impact on me was when the Allies came to town and ran out the Germans. The military higher ups sit there and talk smack about their very own Buffalo soldiers and Gia thinks...

"The irony of all this was eating away at me: the American military, so much the "white horse" for all of us in this war, felt to me like a weak echo of the Nazis' own prejudices and hostilities."

Really, too many good points for me to bring up. Loved this one. Love the narrative, the realness, the history, the drama, and except for her father who I  never came to like, the characters.

Five stars and I got this ARC from Amazon Vine.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Pope Joan was made into a movie and it's HERE!!!!!!!!

Pope Joan

Ok..deep breath. Years ago, I read a book called Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross. It's a fictional account of a female who after a very rough life, passed herself off as a man and became the POPE. No joke. And I believe it. I do. 

I loved the first half of this book, grew bored in the second half, but this book left an impact on me. It did. And it was made into a movie that until now was only in Germany. It's finally come our way. December 18th, it airs on Reelz channel. Believe me, I'm recording. 

What I thought of the book: 
Pope Joan

"Let her copy the behavior of a dog who always has his heart and his eye upon his master: even if his master whip him and throw stones at him." 

That is an excerpt from the book. It was in a wedding ceremony, spoken to the bride of course. What a lovely time that must have been to be a woman! I liked this book very much due mostly to the fact it is about an amazingly strong, courageous, and gutsy woman. She struggled like no other heroine I have yet read about. The first half of the book has more personality and really focuses on her, her thoughts, her feelings, and her trials. The last half of the book bored me to tears in some places, as it tends to go on and on about the papacy and a lot of war. That was the times and what was occuring during that part of her life, but I wish it had a more personal feel like the first half of the book. 

NOTE: be aware this is very controversial and when you are overheard discussing it with your close buddy, some very opinated, know it all male is going to butt in and give his two cents and deny her existence. To each their own I say. I BELIEVE.

Find more info on the movie here: Pope Joan on Reelz

Friday, December 16, 2011

Spitfire Girl by Lily Baxter

Spitfire GirlTake a look at this cover!!! World War 2!! Spitfires! A woman in uniform! Right?


Here's the real lowdown and why I'm giving this one a low rating:

Quibble 1: The heroine is so nice, it made me sick. And of course, until page 180, she's the ONLY nice woman in the book. ALL the other women around her are beeyotches. All four of them..

Quibble 2: As if that isn't bad enough, all the fellows either want to rape her or marry her.

Quibble 3: Heroine again. She falls in love immediately. She meets Tony on the street, one time, and she's in LUV. Colin takes her dancing and you guessed it: she's in LUV.

Quibble 4: Until around page 300, the heroine never steps foot in a plane. This is a 443 page book so imagine my disappointment.. especially after I spent big bucks on this one thinking it would make a great addition to my women in aviation collection... I feel cheated. It's 300 pages of soap opera and only 143 pages of anything really aviation related. For most of the book, the heroine is a servant to someone in some way or another.

Confession: After page 180, I couldn't bear it anymore and had to skim. I had a bad feeling I wasn't getting the aviation story I had been expecting..

It's probably a good book if that's what you are looking for. Didn't work for me. Two stars.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Crooked Hearts by Patricia Gaffney

Crooked HeartsI had some doubts when I first found this one netgalley and requested it. See, it's an older romance being reprinted and kindelized, and I thought it may be a bodice ripper due to some of the cover/blurb/flap jackets that were on the older editions. However, I not only read it, but thoroughly enjoyed it and had many a laugh. It is not really a bodice ripper. The sex when it finally occurs over halfway into the book, isn't horrible or cheesy. Though there is some Spanish Fly involved...

Crooked HeartsThe first quarter is absolutely hilarious! The heroine is pretending to be a nun and coercing sympathetic men out of their money as they donate to what they think is Sisters of Hope and staring orphans. The hero is pretending to be blind and does he get an eyeful as the "nun" makes adjustments to her clothing, thinking she is safe in the presence of a blind man.

She needs money to save her farm and he needs money to pay off debts though it takes a while to get both of their "real" stories as they continue to lie to each other throughout the book, neither of them trusting the other despite their new partnership.

What starts as a scam during a simple game of 7 card stud evolves into an attempt at swindling a Chinese drug lord...and it all goes very badly. Seems the Chinese drug lord is way smarter than they are and he wants Grace/Sister Augustine/the heroine for his bride. Yikes!

Borrowed from Karla on goodreads. 
Grace and Reuben begin to desire each other, save each other numerous times, and enter one shady deal after another in their rush to make money. Their banter and jokes made the book worthwhile even when it began to drag. The last half wasn't as funny and I started to find the whole thing with Mark Wing, the drug lord and his overall character a bit preposterous. But the ending had a surprise twist and the book redeemed itself.

Favorite laugh out moment: (This is when Reuben was still somewhat reeling at the discovery that Sister Augustine wasn't really a nun. He has a funny dream that he's standing at a pulpit with an audience of nuns.)

"Seated in orderly rows, they all suddenly crossed their legs and hiked up their skirts, like a chorus of cancan dancers. Some had pistols tucked into their garters, and some had little floral bouquets. Smiling, swinging their crossed legs back and forth in a leisurely rhythm, they hung on Reuben's every word, and nodded in unison when he suggested that many of them might benefit from some private spiritual instruction."

Four stars. A funny historical romance revived. And an extra thumbs up for the heroine not being a simpering virgin, but a woman who knows what she wants and gets it.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ride for Rights: Inez Milholland

In Ride for Rights, coming February 10th, 2012 from MuseItUp Publishing , Angeline and Adelaide Hanson meet a variety of fascinating women on their ride across the United States. Many of these women are loosely based on fascinating women in history during that time. The real sisters, the Van Burens, mostly likely did not meet these women, but when penning historical fiction, one is allowed to take liberties provided they explain them in Author's Notes. 

In Ride, the sisters find themselves in a jail cell in Dodge City, Kansas...only one woman can save them. Inez. 

Inez smiled Joe’s way. “First, let’s get these young ladies out of here. Mr. Cooper, I’m Mrs. Mulholland, and I am here to represent these very lovely and very wronged young women.” She gestured to the two women standing and looking smugly from behind the bars.
“A woman lawyer?” The sheriff practically spat the words. “Women are to be discreet, chaste keepers at home, good and obedient to their husbands, not running around the world bein’ lawyers and ridin’ motorbikes!”
Inez laughed, and this only seemed to anger the sheriff further. Alan was wondering if the man was about to have a heart malfunction and prepared to run for help if the need arose. Joe was rather hoping the man would have a heart malfunction. Inez just looked calmly at the sheriff and said, “Let’s talk about that, shall we?”

Who was the real Inez? If you've seen the movie Iron Jawed Angels, she was played by the lovely Julia Ormond. She really was involved in the suffrage movement and rode the white horse in the parade. 
She was born in 1866 and grew up in Brooklyn. She became a lawyer, proposed to her husband rather than waiting, and never had children. A woman way ahead of her time. 

In 1916 while the Van Burens were doing their real life ride, Inez was touring the west speaking for women's rights. It's quite possible she was in the vicinity. Sadly, she had poor health, pernicious anemia, and she died that very year. Her last public words were, "Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?" 

A mountain was even named after this amazing woman. Mount Discovery in the Adirondacks was renamed Mount Inez.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Nobody Girl by Leslie DuBois

I'm a big fan of Leslie Dubois now, I think. This is the second book I have read by her and though I don't love it as much as I did the first one I read, I really enjoyed it. Dubois tackles sensitive subjects and touchy story lines with an artistic skill and an engaging voice.

What this contains: A woman living with the knowledge she was found in a dumpster and adopted, the possibility she's a pedophile as she discovers a summer fling is actually a high school student, divorce, and lack of self esteem. Also: Adultery, prostitution, interracial dating, undercover cops, drug rings, computer hacking... Really.. awesome stuff. There's no end to the excitement and I was on the edge of my seat. I devoured this in one day, no skimming. 

My only quibbles: It was too predictable. This didn't detract from my enjoyment of the story, but when I compare it to the shocker Ain't No Sunshine, I was expecting more by way of surprises. There were some typos too.

4 stars and I won this on LibraryThing Member Giveaways.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

In Her Sights by Robin Perini

In Her Sights
Action packed from the get go. 

The low down: Jazz Parker is a take no dirt from anyone female sniper on SWAT. She's the only woman and she's got a lot to prove. She's somewhat ostracized from the team because of her sex and the brick wall she has built around herself. That wall is there for a reason though. She's got a secret past and identity she ran away from, or thought she did.

Luke almost knocked down her defenses once so she left him. Luke is former military and gets to the bottom of things. He ends right smack in the middle of a revenge plot that's main focus is Jazz. 

So what we end up with: Dirty cops, snipers, slashed up trucks, kidnapped girls, a family and group of brothers placed in danger, a sordid past coming up again and again, and lots of butter rum lifesavers as the heroine sucks on them or reaches for them constantly. (A minor irritation.)

I thought I had it all figured out but apparently not. I figured it out for real in the last quarter.. A good yarn. The sex was good, but considering the hero had a box of condoms next to the butter rum lifesavers, why weren't they  using them? She's a SWAT sniper. Getting pregnant probably isn't a good idea.

Also found myself rolling my eyes at the super sweet little girl. Gimme a break. The whole world doting on her, all her preciousness. Thought the ending was over sappy, but overall it's a good, action packed read with a tough as nails heroine.

Four stars and I got this from Amazon Vine.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

There Is No Dog by Meg Rosoff

There Is No DogAt first, I found this book hilarious and was spending more time laughing than reading. Let's pretend that God is really a teenage boy who's really horny and every time he falls in love with a chick, a mortal chick, the earth is destroyed by crazy weather. Every time he forgets to turn off the water in his bathtub, the earth is flooded. And this is a very lazy, self-centered, God named Bob whose mother won the planet earth in a galaxy poker game. The author gets a star for uniqueness alone. LOL

Bob is yet in love with another mortal girl, Lucy. But it can't work because Lucy is going to age, wither, and rot and Bob is going to stay Bob. There's also Mr. B who does all the work and wishes to resign, Estelle (I have nothing much to say about her. Her character didn't have a lot of impact, really.) Bob's mom... and this was just too weird. I'll get to that.

The book reminds me of an Adam Sandler movie. It's stupid. It's so stupid, it's funny. 

--Bob screws up his face and farts. (Remember, Bob is God.)

--And Bob said, "Let the earth bring forth grass and the fruit tree," and it did, and Mr. B had to admit that many of the fruits were inventive and delicious, with one or two exceptions-pomegranates, which seemed to be all form and no function, and lemons, which caused his mouth to purse up like a duck's anus...

There's more. There are some absolutely hilarious moments, but they were mostly in the beginning. As the book continued, I discovered I was no longer laughing. The jokes stopped. Bob just became stupid and petulant. The plot.. wasn't going anywhere, really. By the end, had it not been for the laughs, I realized there was no point to reading this book. And Bob's mom.. a prime example of weirdness that was too much.. she runs around wearing nothing but a few postage stamps? Are these little people?

I appreciate the good idea, however, and also like the entire joke of God being a teenage boy and yet the entire world is brainwashed into think he's something wonderful simply because he created man in his own image and instilled in them the desire to worship him. Ha ha ha.

Three stars and this is an ARC I got through Shelf Awareness. Thus, the quotes may not be exact. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Alias Dragonfly by Jane Singer

Alias Dragonfly
Female Spy, Civil War.. and for once, on the Union side... I saw this and declared I must read it.

The synopsis: Maddie is fifteen, her mother is dead, her father is off to fight in the Civil War, and she's been dumped at her Confederate loving aunt's boarding house. She finds herself in the middle of intrigue and ends up recruited by Pinkerton agents as a spy. Turns out Maddie has a really good eye..

I should've loved it, but I didn't. Nothing wrong with the writing style, let's get that out there. What did work for me is:

1. She doesn't become a spy until halfway through. The going is slow till then. The seventy percent point, she's still practicing maneuvers. 

2. Some things were just too preposterous. We're supposed to believe that Aunt Salome, the old stick in the mud, the same lady who gripes at Maddie for not dressing properly, is going to allow one of her boarders to just drag Maddie off to his sister's house for two days without a chaperone? I don't think so.

3. It took so long for Maddie and her reporter friend to follow her dad and his troops to the battle that they had to camp and all, but when the battle's over, Maddie simply hops on a wagon and voila! She's back at the boarding house.. ?

4. The reports, newspaper editorials.. What was the point? 

5. Master of Disguise? Not till the very end almost.

By the time the action occurred, I wasn't motivated to go any further. I give this a two. Again, like the style, but way too drawn out. Needs more action in the beginning. 

This was a netgalley book.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sultana's Legacy by Lisa Yarde

Sultana's LegacySultana's Legacy is a sad and violent story about the downfall of a family. If you read the first book, you would remember Fatima and Faraj and their incredible love for each other and you probably thought, "This is going to be a HEA.." Eh, not really.

There is too much drama to summarize it in a nice and neat little review package. It spans the entire last half of Fatima's and Faraj's lives. We get to know their children and meet their grandchildren and see how the Sultanate has cursed their lives, how greed ruins a family. In book one, Fatima watched her father ascend the throne. In this book, Fatima watches her father battle an addiction and a slight form of madness. He loses the throne to his son, Fatima's brother: the cruel one who tried to kill her in book one. When Muhammad ascends the throne, heads go flying. This leads to marital discord between Fatima and Faraj as she tries to usurp one brother in order to place another brother on the throne...

By this point, I began to see some madness in Fatima and started to wonder if she was just as nutty as her brother. Or is she just a woman determined to do the right thing at any cost? With all that happens, however, it's a wonder she doesn't lose all of her marbles. One brother replaces another, her husband imprisons her, her son betrays her and Faraj, nephews kill uncles.. all in the name of the Sultanship.. or for the lust of a woman.

Obviously, the drama, the violence, the betrayals were non stop. This is not a boring book. I really enjoyed it, the story, the surprising twists, and the author's perfect balance of descriptive details: not too much, not too little.

I was often confused by the characters' sudden personality changes though. I found it odd... that a man who was willing to defy a Sultan for collaborating with a man who killed a child would later support a Sultan who was lopping off random heads...and Fatima supported one man stealing the throne, so when her son did the same thing, why was she so outraged? In the beginning, Faraj was defying the Sultan and she was telling him how wrong he was, that he must be loyal to the Sultan no matter what. And later, there was a total role reversal as Fatima defied the Sultan and Faraj was all for brown nosing. Throughout the novel, I kept pondering this. But I guess their unpredictability is what made them human. And well, I confess I also thought Fatima may be going through menopause a few times. :p

An exciting read. I should mention there is a lot of violence. It's not for the faint of heart or the squeamish as the author brings to life a violent time. The things men do for power...
Favorite quote: "No, for you could not know the measure of my feelings for her in such a simple answer. The love I bear her is as unfathomable as the depths of the White Sea, even to me."

Four stars and I received this from the author.

And if you missed the first one and want to know more, see my review here: Sultana

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Hear Through My Ears Cover Art

I have been chattering about this book for ages.. a year now? But there was one setback after another.. and eleven months into the year, I finally have something to show for it. Here is the cover to Hear Through My Ears, my memoir coming out any day now on kindle. As soon as I have a publication date, I will shout it from the rooftops.

Special thanks to Staci Perkins at Author Creations for putting this together for me. You can find her at: Author Creations FB Page.

The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar

The World We Found: A Novel

What I really liked about this novel is the way one thing led to another.. One woman, imprisoned by her health, by her declining body leads to the release of a woman imprisoned by her marriage.. 

This novel follows six people, four women, two men. The four women were once the best of friends, but time and distance has split them up. However, they still think of each other and more so when it's discovered that one of them, Armaiti, the one in America, is dying of a brain tumor. 

This story was another great part of the novel. Food for thought: You have a tumor/cancer and only 6 months or so to live.. Do you die on your terms? Or do you go through countless surgeries/chemo and die on other's terms? Really loved this aspect. 

Laleh blames herself for Armaiti's tumor, thinking it is the result of a blow to the head long ago in their girls' rioting days.. Her husband tries to make her see reason. Kavita is a lesbian who even in middle age, feels she must hide the fact from her family because it's not just done openly in India. And then there's Nishta... 

Nishta married a Muslim man.. and when the riots occurred, he was changed forever. He says at one point in the book that she's the only beautiful thing left in his life.. and he keeps her close in check, using religion to do so. He imprisons her. The other women only become aware of this when Armaiti calls from America asking them all to come visit her and see her one last time before she dies.. and this how one woman's misfortune becomes one woman's blessing. 

Quibbles: Seemed over wordy and too long for what it actually contained. The girls' past rebellion was brought up a lot, but except for that one riot that was mentioned, I wasn't sure what all they had fighting for or how.. That wasn't too clear to me. The ending.. left me wanting. It felt incomplete. I needed that happy reunion.. not the promise of it.

I got this on Amazon Vine and I give it a three. good, but could be better. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ride for Rights: Amelia Makes a Guest Appearance

Yes, I'm talking about the famous aviatrix, Amelia Earhart. Did you honestly think for a moment that I could pen a historical novel without inserting my favorite woman in history? She's in not one, but TWO of my books. Besides a spot in Ride for Rights, she's got more than one scene in Derby Dames, the sequel releasing June of 2013.

Excerpt from Ride for Rights
--There was a droning sound, much like a very loud bee above them, and Angeline looked up at the sky in curiosity. She squinted into the noonday sun and placed her hand on her forehead over her eyes in an attempt to see more clearly. The source of the noise was a yellow plane with two sets of wings, a propeller the only thing appearing to keep it in the air. As Angeline watched, the plane swooped down and caused the children to squeal and scatter in mock fright. The plane ascended once again and made a loop before waggling its wings, first the right, then the left, and turning back toward the direction it had come from.
Angeline was awed and said as much to Susan.
Ride for Rights“That’s Amelia,” Susan sighed. “She gives her mother heart failure every time she goes up in that newly acquired contraption. She’s about your age, and she lives in Atchison. She does a flyby every now and then to please the children. I still speak to her mother. Can you imagine flying that?” Susan shook her head at the young pilot’s antics.
“Yes, I can,” Angeline said thoughtfully as she watched the little yellow plane disappear into the Kansas sky. “Yes, I can.”--

How did I come up with this? Angeline and Adelaide end up in Kansas City and Atchison is not far away. For those that may not know, Atchison was Amelia's home town. I had the pleasure of visiting the home of her birth on a recent trip. I will post pictures here in a second.. but let me explain, how I even came up with this connection...
The real life Angeline, Augusta Van Buren, went on to become an aviatrix herself and she was a part of Amelia's famous Ninety-Nines. Amelia started this group of woman pilots in November of 1929, shortly after competing in the Woman's Air Derby that same year. Matter of fact, that's where the idea was born. So, the real life Augusta Van Vuren, no doubt, did at some point, hob not with the famous aviatrix. However, in 1916, Amelia WAS NOT flying around in her yellow plane over Atchison yet. She was actually in Illinois finishing school.  This  information will be found in my Author's Notes. 
And here is Amelia's birthplace, now the Amelia Earhart Birthplace museum:

The outside
A parlor?
She was just as short as me!

The dining room

Outfit worn by Hilary Swank in the movie, Amelia

Worn by Hilary Swank

Worn by Hilary Swank

Another Swanky costume

The bedroom where she was born

Wish I had this painting.
Want to read the entire novel? Ride for Rights is available here: Amazon

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Hollow House by Janis Patterson

The Hollow HouseThis is a historical mystery. Funny thing... except for when the heroine goes to the bookstore, the story never leaves the house, but somehow, the lack of settings do not hurt this book one bit. It's like a historical clue... There one house, there'a murder, and a household full of people and you, along with the heroine, must figure out whodunit. Cause if the head of the household (Well, second in command, actually) were to have her way, the heroine of the story, Rosalind, would be blamed for the murder. Cause she has killed before. Apparently, starting a new life in a new state with a new name isn't going to escape her past...

Rosalind has just begun working as an old lady's companion when a maid is murdered. Was it the butler, the daughter, the husband, the cook, the old lady, or the new hired hand? Rosalind best find out soon or she will be blamed.. cause nothing makes such a good scapegoat as a person who has just escaped a murder rap for killing her husband.

This being a mystery, I'm hesitant to say much more. It was well written, engaging, and I love the heroine and her sarcasm and descriptions. "If Eusacia Congreave was unattractive, her mother was ugly. Unquestionably, magnificently ugly, with a face that resembled nothing more than an ancient, bad-tempered bulldog of uncertain antecedents."

I also liked the fact that the heroine is not cowed.. even when threatened with kidnapping, poisoning, and a mental institution, she defends herself. 

My only quibble: At times, characters were repeating themselves.. If the detective was in the room when so and so revealed this and that, why are you repeating it all to him a few pages later? 

Coming soon from Carina. I received this on netgalley. Four stars. I recommend it. I also wonder if there may be a sequel. I'd love to read it.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott

The Dressmaker: A NovelThis novel left me reeling. I loved it. Why? I'm a bit of a Titanic buff. For some reason, the sinking of the magnificent ship has always fascinated me, from the cheap rivets, to the greed behind White Star to the finger pointing and cowardly, selfish people.. This novel has it all plus four very strong women.

Strong woman # 1: Tess boards the Titanic as a helper to the famous fashion designer Lady Duff Gordon. Tess is a strong woman despite her moments of irritating servitude and passiveness in her haste to pacify her employer and maintain her position. In the beginning, Tess up and quits her job, demanding pay for her services, and just waltzes out the door and down to the dock... That takes balls. Throughout the novel, Tess is faced with one dilemma after another. How can she keep Lucile (Lady Duff Gordon) happy without compromising herself or her independent thinking? Has she just exchanged one life of servitude for another? Is Lucile her friend? Get in the boat or sink? When the Titanic trials begin, Tess must choose between a man she holds dear and her employer who can pave her way to the fashion world in America. And when faced with two beaus, Tess must decide if she's going to choose a man who will help her along the way (must like Lucile did) or a man who has nothing to his name, but a lot of gumption and courage.

Strong woman # 2 is Lucile, Lady Duff Gordon. She's strong, but not very likable. She only cares for herself.. She survives on Life Boat 1... Did she and her husband bribe the sailors to abandon survivors in the ocean? Did someone in her boat beat off people in the water? Why was her boat so empty? As the trial unfolds, we find out some shocking answers. She also plays a hand in a suicide of a fellow survivor...  Meanwhile, she embroils Tess further into her web and into her upcoming fashion show..

Strong woman # 3: Molly Brown. You've heard of her.. famous for her money, her house in Colorado, her involvement in women's rights. She has a few guest appearances and almost steals the show. When she jumps into a life boat and discovers that not a single sailor in it knows how to row, she rows the boat herself. "Oh, for God's sake." Scrambling forward, Mrs. Brown grabbed an oar and pointed Tess to the one on the other side. "Let's show these cowards what it means to do your job!"

Strong woman # 4: Pinky Wade, girl reporter for the Times. She's got an ailing father at home, is sick and tired of not making equal pay to the male reporters, befriends Tess and gets to the bottom of a lot of BS going on in the Titanic case on the sides.. Namely, she's out to get Lucile. Did I mention she's also involved in the Suffragist movement? Favorite quote from Pinky: "Women gathering, marching, doing anything together makes a lot of men go crazy. They yell and scream and taunt and shake their fists. You know why? They're scared. They're scared we'll actually gain power and force them to change."

A great novel. I have not a single quibble. It was well told, entertaining, had just the right amount of history mixed in with made up drama and above all, it was full of tough women. And it made me think.. what would I do in this situation? Sink or swim? Save myself only or save others too? Do any of us really know how we will act until we face a situation like this? How many men would throw a tablecloth over their heads to pass as a woman in order to get into a life boat?

A thought to munch on: "My mother's advice was always to hold my head up. First time you let it hang, somebody hammers it down further."

Five stars. This one really made an impact on me. I received this in egalley format from netgalley.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Dark Vow by Shona Husk

Dark VowWow!!! I don't normally read anything that falls into scifi or fantasy genres, but the premise of this grabbed my attention.. A woman in a somewhat western/fantasy world works as a gunsmithy and when a bullet made by her is used to kill her husband, she vows revenge.

The world is somewhat hard to explain in a review.. It's a rugged world full of horseless buggies and guns and farming. Thus, the western feel. But there's also ten different gods over different trades (for men only.. hrmph.) such as mining, farming, and there's a bad god, the god of everything unexplained and magic, the Arcane.

The Arcane sends a bounty hunter to kill her husband. Why? She only did some engraving and made some bullets... Regardless, she's got a dead husband and as a woman, she can't get licensed to be a gunsmith herself so she's got two choices: become a whore/kept woman or move on and do her thing. She chooses the latter and along the way, meets Obsidian, an Arcane with a stone hand. See, he disobeyed the rules and healed people for free.. and now every time he heals someone, a little more of him turns to stone. But he's got skills that Jaines needs to find the bounty hunter. Can she get past her dislike for everything Arcane enough to get along with Obsidian, accept and use his help, and track down the hunter?

There's one dilemma after another as she falls in love with Obsidian and he with her, another group wants the hunter's gun to do kill more lives, and Obsidian may be faced with saving the woman he loves AND turning to stone in the process. This story was action packed, suspenseful, well told, and had a ball busting heroine. I LOVED every minute of it.

LOL quote: "If an Arcane farted near Tallow (a deputy), he'd have bottled the stench and worn it as perfume."

Favorite quotes:

This one is about Jaines's grief and it just really struck me: "Working gave me a reason to get up. Working made me hungry, so I ate. Working made me dirty, so I bathed. Without work, I would've crumpled into the empty bed, closed my eyes and never woken up."

I was surprised at the "closed door" sex, but sex wasn't necessary in this story to make things sexy as seen in this quote here: "Even with my back to him, our eyes would meet in the mirror. The heat in his gaze was brighter and hotter than any flame. I wanted him to always look at me like that, to make me feel like I could melt from just one touch."

I suspect and I hope there is a sequel to this.. I devoured every word. 

I got this from netgalley.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Icebound by Julie Rowe

This is like a psychiatry lesson and contemporary romance in one. It addresses handling grief in the face of losing a loved one, feelings of guilt, sharing the 'blame,' and surviving a traumatic childhood. In the background is the trials and tribulations of surviving a winter in Antarctica.

Emilie is the one dealing with grief. She has lost her husband and is struggling to get past his death a year later. She's a doctor with "everything needed to treat every malady except her own. Loneliness wasn't listed in the medical textbooks." She goes to Antarctica to finish her late husband's research and falls for Tom. Tom is the one trying to overcome a traumatic childhood. He knew nothing but abuse growing up and feels that he will be an abuser too. He must learn that you are not always what you are raised to be, that one can overcome a childhood full of hate. There's immediate chemistry between these two.. (too immediate, actually.. ) and their relationship goes back and forth. Tom claims he is a one night stand man (he's climbed Everestt, crossed the Gobi Desert, and looked down the barrel of a gun, but the thought of a wife and kids scares the crap out of him) and they can only be friends, yet he gives the impression they have a relationship. This was odd and disconcerting at times. Emilie is all about marriage and kids. (I would so not mention that to a man one month after meeting him! LOL)

So how is this going to work out between Tom and Emilie? One of them is going to have to change their long term plans in order to accept the other's...

I mentioned guilt and sharing of blame being another issue. Remember this takes place in Antarctica, a very rough terrain. An accident results in death and a man must deal with the fact that he possibly killed his best friend, but there may be more to the accident than they initially realize.

The medical stuff: FABULOUS. I had no idea what all hypothermia was really about or how to treat it till now. And even though this is just a contemporary romance.. not a murder mystery or anything like that, I really got a good idea of what life on Antarctica is like. There was plenty of excitement as well... downed power lines, fires, accidents... The author did a fabulous job.

Still felt the romance between Emilie and Tom sort of came up too fast and out of nowhere. I would have appreciated a bit more build up there.. so four stars.

Favorite quote: "There are all kinds of ways to die...It's living that takes guts."

I received an egalley of this through netgalley.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sail My Oceans by D.F. Krieger

Sail My OceansI won this on a blog today and as it's a novelette, decided to read it right away. I just needed entertainment and this book promised to have a strong heroine, a futuristic pirate. And I was not disappointed.. This is an awesome heroine!

Lucy is a space pirate who unloads other space ships of their cargo and crew and sells them for profit. She picks up some prisoners, Julius and Devon only to discover that they aren't really prisoners.. but the victims of some really underhanded dealings. The men convince her to help them and later, aid their crew.. but what is Lucy getting out of all this? Not just money.. No. Some hot sex.. :)

First of all, this is a sci fi but it doesn't have ugly alien beings or anything too strange to comprehend. There's ships and planets and normal technology. It seems to be a combination of the past and the future as there are horses and hovercraft.

Second of all, this is an erotic romance but the sex doesn't take up the entire book. It's tastefully done and at intervals. There really is a story. I really enjoyed it. Loved Lucy! Want more of her.

Third, hooray for condom usage!!!

I have no complaints about this story. I loved it. Here are some "hot damn" moments:

"She imagined his body stretched out on her bed as she rode that stoic stare right off his face."

"He imaged striding across the room, kneeling her across that desk, and giving that firm ass a hard smack."

No worries, potential readers, the characters don't stop at just imagining things... he he he. And here, I laughed:

(Julius) "Thanks for not calling me a pussy."
Devon shrugged. "I figure some things are so obvious, they don't need to be said."

And later, Julius gets Devon back after he leave Devon in Lucy's care:
"Perhaps tomorrow you'll need my assistance in forgetting this brute."

Five stars. Entertaining, sexy, and funny.