Archive | June 2013

Book Review: Riverbend by Tess Thompson

In this follow up to River Song, Miss Thompson transports us back to the sleepy Oregon town now revitalized and the colorful characters who live and work there. This time we follow the story of Annie, talented chef of River Song whose sordid past involved an abusive ex-boyfriend, alcoholic and junkie with two strikes. When she discovers she’s pregnant and is given assistance by Planned Parenthood she makes a desperate attempt to escape and send the man to jail.

Ten years later the success of the River Song brings her past to her door as the father of her child is out on parole and hell bent on revenge. She finds solace from a wealthy recluse who’s new in town and in need of a personal chef. While both parties are wrapped up in their own problems they find themselves drawn to each other and Drake ends up acting as her protector.

This story had a kind of Beauty and the Beast feel to me which I loved. I also loved getting to know the people of River Valley better in a Return to Mayberry kind of way and I understand book 3 is now out.

Buy Riverbend on Amazon

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Book Review: Riversong by Tess Thompson

Today it’s all about Ms. Tess Thompson! In this post I’ll be reviewing the first of Ms. Thompson’s books, Riversong as part of her virtual tour. Later, as a two for one special I’ll also review the sequel, Riverbend. So let’s begin shall we?

Lee Tucker lives a miserable existence. The death of the grandparents she never knew leaves her with a depressed alcoholic mother who she needs to cut away from in order to survive. With the urging of a teacher and family friend, Lee heads for Seattle where she dreams of becoming an artist. Of course life seems to like kicking Miss Tucker around and we find the young woman has abandoned her study of art for a degree in business and now has her hands full dealing with an aggressive loan shark who wants his $1 million now thanks to her husband who just committed suicide without telling her anything. Oh yeah and did I mention she’s pregnant?

Dun dun duuuuuuun!

After selling everything she has and only coming up with half the money owed, Lee flees back to her hometown in Oregon where she hopes to sell the house and property her mother left to her when she died the year before. Just like her life, Lee finds the little podunk town crumbling, dilapidated and struggling to stay alive. In search of work she finds herself face to face with the richest man in town, who desperately wants to save it, and is hired to turn his restaurant around and restore the town. As she struggles with her own personal fears and desperation to raise the rest of the money before the loan shark can find her and start over in a new town she finds herself becoming more and more endeared to the place she once grew up in and making friends. One especially hot and scrumptious friend, Tony Gonzalas, is compelled to come to her rescue and protect her and while Lee is still mourning the loss of her husband, blaming herself at times for not seeing the warning signs of his depression and suicidal tendencies, she’s also dealing with guilt for being attracted to Tony.

This is a very good book with compelling characters and a story that just draws you in. You can’t help but want to hug Lee, Linus and Annie and yes even Zac at times. The inner strength that many of these characters show as they pull together and battle their demons separately and together makes you root for them even harder as the story goes on and the romance is very sweet. My only complaint is that Tony seems to also smell and taste like chocolate. I don’t know if the author is equating chocolate with his being Latin or because she likes chocolate that much but as a Hispanic reader it’s a bit disconcerting  and took me out of the story every time I read that.

Other than that I really liked the story and dove straight into Riverbend. That review will come this afternoon:)

*As part of the virtual book tour, I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review*

Book Review: The Disappearing Girl by Heather Topham Wood

New Adult Contemporary
Date Published: 5/7/2013
 

Kayla Marlowe is slowly vanishing…

Last year, Kayla’s world imploded. Her beloved father died, leaving her alone with a narcissistic mother who

is quick to criticize her daughter’s appearance. During her winter break from college, Kayla’s dangerous

obsession with losing weight begins.

Kayla feels like her world changes for the better overnight. Being skinny seems to be the key to the happiness

she has desperately been seeking. Her mother and friends shower her with compliments, telling her how

fantastic she looks. Kayla is starving, but no one knows it.

Cameron Bennett explodes into Kayla’s life. He’s sexy and kind—he has every quality she has been looking

for in a guy. As Cameron grows closer to Kayla and learns of how far she’s willing to go to stay thin, he

becomes desperate to save her.

Kayla’s struggles with anorexia and bulimia reach a breaking point and she is forced to confront her body

image issues in order to survive. She wonders if Cameron could be the one to help heal her from the pain of

her past.

 Review

College junior Kayla Marlowe has her share of personal demons. Since her father’s sudden death two years earlier she’s been fighting guilt over leaving her sister with her crazed mother, a former pageant princess obsessed with appearance, while she goes off to college. Everything comes to a head when criticism of her weight over Christmas vacation sets Kayla on a downward spiral with anorexia and bulimia. Even when she meets the delicious Cameron who falls head over heels for her, she can’t get it into her head that she’s too fat and worthless to be loved by anyone.

The Disappearing Girl is a damn good book! Not only does it cover how a young woman could seem completely normal while battling with psychological and emotional problems but also how eating disorders affect friends and family as well. You’ll absolutely fall in love with Cameron, the sweet, sexy and intelligent man who stands by Kayla through thick and thin from telling an old girlfriend to piss off after her pathetic attempt to make Kayla believe the two had just slept together to telling off her the evil Mrs. Marlowe for warping her daughters’ minds and nuking their self esteem. Whether you’ve suffered or are suffering from an eating disorder or know someone who is or you just want to read a really good, well written story, The Disappearing Girl is a must read. Just make sure to have lots of tissues ready!

Excerpt

I was gasping for air when I moved my mouth away from his. Kissing his neck, I said in a teasing voice, “You do realize I never got to see that tattoo you told me about.”

His laughter was choked with desire. His eyes were feverish as he stared down at my body, watching how I straddled his waist. My hands inched under the edge of his t-shirt and he helped me remove it. This was the first time I had seen Cameron shirtless, and I was desperately trying not to drool.

Every part of him was cut and lean. My eyes were immediately drawn to the hard muscles of his abs. His arms and chest were toned as well, and I imagined how it would feel to have my lips on his exposed skin.

The tattoo was on his left side, placed inches above his hipbone. The tattoo was of a tombstone, and it held the epitaph, “Everything Was Beautiful, And Nothing Hurt.” The words resonated with me and it brought upon feelings I’d tried to bury. I swallowed audibly as I searched my memory for the source of the quote.

“I didn’t realize you were a Kurt Vonnegut fan. It doesn’t fit with your cheerful persona,” I said.

“It’s my mom’s favorite quote. I’ll warn you again about how it’s never a good idea to get a tattoo after you’ve been drinking.”

I leaned down closer to get a better look, but snapped back up when I realized the suggestive position I’d put myself in. Cameron lightly gripped my hair behind my head and gazed at me intently. “You have no idea how badly I want you right now, but please tell me if we’re moving too fast. I’m trying to show restraint and not rip off your clothes and haul you off to bed.”

I was instantly aroused by the growl in his voice. I couldn’t resist anymore and ran my hands slowly over every hard plane of his sculpted upper body. Stopping at his tattoo, I mindlessly began to trace the outline with my fingertips.

“I want to be with you,” I said, but I couldn’t meet his eyes. “But I’m a reserved person and I’m nervous about getting undressed in front of you.”

His hand rested against my cheek. “You have nothing to be nervous about. I think you’re absolutely beautiful, but I get the sense …” he hesitated. Then he said, “That you don’t realize how gorgeous you are.”

I ducked my head shyly. “You don’t have to say those things; you’ve already won me over.”

Cameron didn’t let me finish. “Kayla, stop. I’m serious. I’ve noticed how little you eat and how much weight you’ve lost since we first met. I have a younger sister, and I understand how extreme some girls can get about their weight. She’s always trying some sort of crazy diet.”

He was scratching at the truth, getting too close to the heart of the matter. I was suddenly ashamed, understanding I hadn’t been able to hide my weaknesses from him after all. Cameron wanted to know all of me and he wasn’t going to permit me shutting him completely out.

Standing up, I felt myself at a crossroads. I could leave, run away from the only happiness I’d known since my father died. Or I could try to work through my issues and trust Cameron not to break my heart.

“You never showed me the rest of your place,” I whispered.

He rose from the sofa and held me tightly. I rested my head against his chest and listened to the frantic racing of his heart. I smiled to myself and found myself falling more and more for him.

 

New Adult Contemporary-Ages 17+ due to language and sexual situations.

Virtual Book Tour – May 27 – June 21
 
May 27 – Reading Addiction Blog Tours – Meet and Greet
May 28 – The Book Divas – Guest Post/PROMO
May 29 – Kindle Obsessed – Review
May 30 – Mama Knows Books – Review
May 30 – Pink Fluffy Hearts – PROMO
May 31 – Hooked in a Book – Review/interview
June 1 – Simply Me – Review/Interview
June 2 – The Selkie Reads – Review/Guest Post
June 3 – Book Referees – Review/Interview
June 4 – My Cozie Corner–  Review
June 4 – Paulette’s Papers – Guest Post/PROMO
June 5 – Faerie Tale Books – Review/Guest Post
June 6 – A Bibliophile’s Thoughts – Review
June 7 – Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews – Interview/PROMO
June 8 – Busy Mom Book Reviews–  Review
June 8 – Must Read Faster – PROMO
June 9 – Uttleys Take – Guest Post/PROMO
June 10 – Bean Counting Mommy – Review
June 11 – Bunny’s Reviews – PROMO
June 12 – Romance Book Addict – Review/interview
June 13 – My Devotional Thoughts– PROMO
June 14 – Debbie Jean – Review/Interview
June 15 – Bookishly Devoted – Review
June 16 – The Muse Unleashed – Review
June 17 – Book Bunny’s Burrow – Guest Post/PROMO
June 18 – Bianca2B – Review/Guest Post
June 19 – Noemi Betancourt – Review
June 21 –RABT Reviews – Review
Heather Wood

Author Bio

Heather Topham Wood’s obsession with novels began in childhood while growing up in a shore town in New Jersey. Writing since her teens, she recently returned to penning novels after a successful career as a freelance writer. She’s the author of the Second Sight series and the standalone The Disappearing Girl.

Heather graduated from the College of New Jersey in 2005 and holds a bachelor’s degree in English. Her freelance work has appeared in publications such as USA Today, Livestrong.com, Outlook by the Bay and Step in Style magazine. She resides in Trenton, New Jersey with her husband and two sons. Besides writing, Heather is a pop culture fanatic and has an obsession with supernatural novels and TV shows.

Book Review: The Reluctant Goddess by A.F. Firebird

Metaphysical Fiction
Date Published: March 2012
 

Ellena Ripley is a bookshop owner from a rural town in the south of England – or so she thinks. But lately, she has a growing sense that life is not as it seems. At night, she dreams of a serene man who appears to be trying to tell her something; In the day, she can’t shake a feeling of expectation. But of what?

Meanwhile Hector, servant of LIFE and the man from Ellena’s dreams, has a dilemma. How do you tell someone they are a goddess? His previous attempts have met with disaster so he must be cautious, particularly when his new trainee, Boudica, formerly Queen of the Iceni tries to help. The question is can they succeed before it is too late?  

Excerpt

Look, said the large blue book on practical magic. We’re not going to get anywhere like this. We all need to work together. Let’s focus on one book and see if we can get her to pick it up.

But which one of us… she needs to learn so much said a pale yellow book called “Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui”. His general demeanour suggested he was pretty sure that it wasn’t going to be him.

“It’s me”, said the copy of “Spiritual Growth for Beginners”.

“I have a chapter on change that’s absolutely perfect for this occasion”. There was a general murmur of agreement as Spiritual Growth for Beginners continued, “Okay, so if you can all point to me than maybe our combined intention can catch her attention”.

The books gasped and grunted as they focused all their will on the little blue and gold book.

***

Ellena felt a peculiar sensation, like the ocean with no breeze. She shook it off and scanned the books. A small gold and blue book caught her eye. She picked it out. Spiritual Growth for Beginners. The book attempted to nuzzle her, which isn’t easy with a hardback cover, and purred. Ellena did not notice. The rest of the section cheered but Ellena did not hear them.

She opened the book at random, whereupon page two hundred and twenty two leapt at the chance, revealing to Ellena the seventh chapter: Change – Mission Impossible or Trial by Chocolate Cake?

Promising title, thought Ellena as she read on.

Mission impossible, or trial by chocolate cake? It’s your choice, so choose wisely. The fact is, change is going to happen if you like it or not, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking that change is causing you pain. It is not. Your resistance is what causes discomfort. The more you resist, the more difficult your life will become and the more painful your daily experiences will be. The only reason you change is because part of you wants to progress, so to resist is simply fighting with yourself….

Ellena could hear a customer entering the shop. She hurriedly replaced the book. She walked to the front of the shop, oblivious to the celebration going on in the New Age section.

 Review

While the stories were fairly riveting, figuring out how they connected was a bit confusing at first. I don’t know whether or not the pacing was intentional, but once you realize where the story is going The Reluctant Goddess really takes off. This is definitely an interesting read with a nice use of mythological and religious figures and concepts. The characters are endearing and the little plot twists Firebird sprinkles throughout the book keeps the reader guessing. Fans of Fantasy and mythology should find this a very enjoyable read:)

Virtual Book Tour June 10 – June 28
June 10- Reading Addiction Blog Tours – Meet and Greet
June 11- Gothic Angel Book Reviews – Review
June 11 – Whatever You Can Still Betray– PROMO
June 12- Jody’s Book Reviews – PROMO
June 12 – Books, Authors, Blogs – Interview/PROMO
June 13- Reviewing Shelf – Review
June 13 – Must Read Faster – PROMO
June 14- Busy Mom Book Reviews – Review
June 15- In This World of Books – Review
June 15 – Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews – Interview/PROMO
June 16- Andi’s Book Reviews – Interview/PROMO
June 17- Playing Jokers – Review
June 18- Word to Dreams -PROMO
June 19- Noemi Betancourt – Review
June 19 – Read-A-Holicz – PROMO
June 21- My Cozie Corner – Review
June 21 – Snifferwalk Books – Interview/PROMO
June 22- The Luv’n – Interview/PROMO
June 23-Bunny’s Reviews – Interview/PROMO
June 24- Queen of All She Reads – Review
June 25-Bibliophilia, Please – Interview/PROMO
June 26- The Book Maven – Review
June 27-Wintry Words – Interview/PROMO
June 28- RABT Reviews – Review
A. F. Firebird

A.F. Firebird is the alter ego of a sociologist/psychologist turned web developer from the UK. While A.F. Firebird has worked in several fields her primary focus is the exploration of six virtues: appreciation, forgiveness, compassion, humility, understanding and valour. Her first novel, The Reluctant Goddess, numerous short stories and children’s books, all investigate aspects of these virtues.

Website

Buy Links

paperback or kindle at Publisher Site: http://www.posegroup.org/books/trg/buy/index.html#buy

paperback or kindle at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com

http://www.amazon.co.uk

An Update on Father’s Day

Greetings and Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there!

Apologies for the lag in posts but I’ve been plugging away at a couple of new stories which I’ll be revealing shortly. I’ve also been working on getting my cafe off the ground but it’s going to be an extremely long process. In the meantime I’ve resurrected an old blog that focuses on food and the hospitality industry so that this blog can focus more on writing, romance, fantasy and women’s issues. So hang tight folks. There’ll be new content posted here this week including two new book reviews but in the meantime why not head over to my other blog A Heaping Helping of Hospitality.

A breakthrough for women’s health in third world countries

While it’s no secret that mortality rates for women in third world countries are far worst than in developed countries, scientists and researchers are making strides to change this. For the past 12 years women living in the slums of India have had access to a simple vinegar test that successfully detected cervical cancer in lieu of expensive Pap Smears and HPV tests resulting in cutting the number of cancer deaths in women by 1/3!

The doctors who presented their findings at the latest cancer conference in Chicago believe tens of thousands of lives could be saved in developing countries with this cheap test which would allow for early cancer detection and treatment. Reportedly the test can be conducted by locals with only two weeks of training, swabs and diluted vinegar which causes abnormal cells to change color for a short period of time. It’s estimated death by cervical cancer could be slashed by 31% preventing 22,000 deaths in India and about 73,000 deaths annually worldwide.

Indian officials are now making plans to expand the new vinegar test to more people and two companies who produce the HPV vaccine has announced they would be dramatically lowering the prices of their vaccines in Asian and African countries with the intent to vaccinate over 30 million girls in more than 40 countries within the next 7 years.