Category: Book Reviews
Book Review: Easton Hearts: The Complete Series, Western historical romantic suspense by Anna Murray 0 comments

Easton Hearts: The Complete Series by Anna Murray is the bundle of her three historical suspenseful romances – Unbroken Hearts, Untamed Hearts and Undaunted Hearts. The author identifies the series as telling the unique tale of how Cal and Roy Easton built a family amidst the hardships of post-Civil War Montana.
Unbroken Hearts introduces the Easton brothers, two men ranching in the lawless west. Roy rescues orphaned Sarah and her younger sister Emily from an unsavory situation and takes the two home. While caring for the disabled mother of the Easton brothers, a romance blooms between Sarah and Cal, all the while they fight off violent men intending to take the ranch from the Eastons. I was a bit put-off by the violence at the beginning of the book, but the story soon finds its footing and continues through to the happily-ever-after.
Untamed Hearts is Roy’s story, now an outcast and rootless in the Montana Territory. He meets Margaret, an Eastern woman who needs his help finding her brother. She’s not entirely honest with Roy and he must save the day more than once. The mystery is a unique twist that I was not expecting in a Western romance. The tension between Roy and Margaret is the best developed of the series.
Undaunted Hearts is a shorter novel of a grown-up Emily and Luke, a man searching for his brother in the wild west. The story seemed a bit rushed, but still included suspenseful action. Two distant (and a bit odd) relatives are introduced late in the book. Perhaps they will have their own stories in upcoming releases.
The action keeps you reading, the formatting is excellent, and the plots are more than the usual Western romance fare. As for romance, these would be considered spicy. I purchased the books individually as they were released. You can purchase all three books in one e-book file today for only $5.95 – that’s like getting one free over the individual price.
Click here to purchase Easton Hearts: The Complete Series

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Book Review: Stone in a Sling; Reviewed by Mark 1 comment

Mark sent a note recommending Stone in a Sling by Scott A. Meehan. I asked for hs impression of the book and he provided this review.
Mark is a doctoral student at Capella University and a big reader of both technical and fiction–keen on using this website every day looking for good deals.
I found the book to be a coming-of-age book outlining a unique story of one young man’s journey well into adulthood. The author develops the story with a series of vignettes that span his life as a youngster in Baltimore, a “missionary kid” in Columbia to the present where he was a retired veteran returning to worn-torn Iraq.
The story is filled with emotional and spiritual revelation, as Scott becomes a man in his own way from marriage, college, and through an interesting military career outlining the sacrifices made and the places visited. As a military member from the 80s, I could relate to his journey and the difficulties transient military life brings. Scott focuses in the aspect of particular deeds from a serviceman’s standpoint in Iraq that are important for the story.
Overall, the book is worth the $2.99. It is a “male” read especially with the title and by-line being miltary-based.
Click here to purchase Stone in a Sling

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Top Four Summer Reads – Tim Roux 0 comments

Tim Roux is the author of ten novels, including the crime / gangster novel The Dance of the Pheasodile (99 cents) that introduced the word ‘Pheasodile’ to the English language, and the fantasy thriller Missio (99 cents). He is also the Managing Editor of Night Publishing and a regular subscriber to the online international writers’ magazine, SpeakWithoutInterruption.
Ragnar the Murderer: (99 cents) Lily Byrne is the name the wonderfully smart writer Catherine Chisnall uses for her fun Romances, and I think she got it absolutely spot on with ‘Ragnar’ – the first of a series. It is beautifully written, wry, exciting and a little bit spicy. Can’t wait for the next one!
Book description: It is a time of uneasy truce, of two races living side-by-side, inter-marrying even, but forever on the look out for treachery among their neighbors. They meet, they bathe together and they consort. Life is short, fun is likely to be brief, and opportunity has to be seized wherever it can be found without unleashing long-held rivalries and carnage. Then the youthful Dane, Ragnar, falls in love with Aelfwyn the Angle who is already promised by duty to one of her own village. Ragnar and Aelfwyn’s passionate love affair is a secret which will never be hidden for long, but theirs is not the only secret around.

The Bringer: (99 cents) Despite all appearances, this is really high voltage Romance with tons of love and other emotions poured in, and some very surprising (but credible) twists. If you want to wallow in something warm and satisfying, this is for you. Written by Samantha Towle.
BiteMarks: (99 cents) This is a cop murder mystery thriller with lots of bite in all senses. Really electric stuff. It actually has nothing to do with the supernatural and everything to do with a roller-coaster ride of a great read, with a sequel to come. Written by Drew Cross.
New Beginnings: (99 cents) Another classic Romance of the girl who falls madly in love with a man who is firstly unobtainable because he is very happily married, and then unobtainable because he is grieving. How do you chat up a man under such sensitive circumstances without appearing exploitative and predatory? Johanna Nield handles this tale with great sensitivity herself and a speedy, charming style.

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Book Review: The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer – $1.99 0 comments

A charming Georgian romance, The Convenient Marriage is the story of a less-than-perfect, very young heroine who marries the older Earl of Rule to free her sister to marry the man the sister loves.
Horatia, who stutters and stammers, naïvely falls in love with card games and gambling. Longing for a victory over a man known for his gaming skill, she finds herself in a spot of trouble with the very man her husband has instructed her to avoid.
She seeks the help of her brother and his friend to rescue her from her foolishness. The end result could be described as the Georgian equivalent of fraternity brothers with good intentions, but not much forethought. They try their best, but fail miserably in one humorous escapade after another.
The Earl has always been a step ahead of his young, naïve, but utterly charming wife. He is the picture of the strong, silent type, who won his bride’s heart by being her quiet hero. A delightful story with well-drawn characters and attention to detail, the romance is still available for only $1.99.
More than 20 of Ms. Heyer’s romances, mysteries and historical fiction novels are still selling for $1.99 or less still today. All of Ms. Heyer’s books at all prices are included in this link.

Click here to purchase The Convenient Marriage

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Book Review: Watch Your Back – Short Story Anthology by James Scott Bell 0 comments

If you are going to participate in crime or infidelity, you need to watch your back. Revenge is a very powerful force. That’s the common theme in this anthology by James Scott Bell.
Mr. Bell is known for his Christian fiction legal thrillers, such as Sins of the Fathers ($9.99) and Presumed Guilty ($9.99). After reading and enjoying Deadlock ($9.99), I was glad to see this novella and three short story collection by Mr. Bell selling for only $2.99.
The title novella is the story of a young man who had an opportunity for redemption and avoiding crime, but his lustful desires took him down the wrong road.
And those promises of fulling his desires? Not only were they hollow, but everything and everyone seemed to be working against him at the same time. The action was suspenseful and I wondered if anyone in the story told the truth.
Fore Play is the story of a very accomplished golfer who was unfaithful to his wife. The ending was different (so far) than any news articles you may have read concerning a real life well-accomplished golfer. Rage Road caused me to stop and think about what could happen on the highway when an angry person has a gun.
My favorite of the collection was Heed the Wife. A marvelous, ingenious twist that I didn’t see coming. If you are a word geek like me, you will enjoy the story.
With a bit of something for everyone in this book without being preachy, there were a few references to Christian values and scripture. Watch Your Back is a great read for $2.99 and won’t scare you at all. Unless you participate in crime or infidelity. Then you need to watch your back. Revenge is a very powerful force.

Click here to purchase Watch Your Back

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The Book of Biff – comic books with a new perspective on life – 99 cents – including a review 0 comments

The Book of Biff is a single panel comic about spaghetti, time travel and toast. The strip centers around a child-like mad scientist named Biff who may be part cockroach or possibly an alien. He lives a solitary life in a world that he appears to have all to himself. Not a single word is spoken and no other soul is seen.
I purchased Split Personality (The Book of Biff #5) and read the cartoons on my Kindle and my Samsung Tab to see the color version. The images are sharp on the Kindle and will display only one panel per page with the caption on the same panel if the font size is set on one of the four smaller options and the Kindle is set to portrait orientation. With the black and white shades on the Kindle, it was comparable to the daily newspaper comics.
Viewing the comics on the Tab with the color was enjoyable, but certainly isn’t required to enjoy the book.
The content is quirky and fun. Chris Hallback takes ordinary life events and adds a touch of humor. One of my favorites is the cartoon of Biff on the scales with a caption about weighing himself in the morning after eating a bowl of helium grapes. My first thought was, “Could I do that?” On the subject of weight, the cartoon about some foods requiring a wardrobe modification was very amusing. As was where NOT to put the phone when you have volume set to vibrate. Great quirky humor.
If you need a quick smile, love humor that is just a little outside of mainstream, but not overboard, and delight in creativity, I recommend you buy at least one of the five Books of Biff. Two are featured here, but there are five total available – all priced at 99 cents each.

The Book of Biff #1 Target Practice: This collection explores alternate uses for hand puppets, the proper use of an electric tennis ball and the importance of keeping your immovable object dry. 105 pages. Full color (on color devices.)
The Book of Biff #5 Split Personality: This collection explores the dangers of peanut brittle, unpredictable results of the caffeinated office worker and traveling through time while your clothing did not. 142 pages. Full color (on color devices.)

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Top Four Summer Reads by Maureen Miller 1 comment

Maureen A. Miller is an author of romantic suspense and a big fan as well. Check out her latest book Jungle Of Deceit available for $2.99.
GONE is the perfect title for this riveting romantic suspense novel. Gone is FBI Special Agent Clare Marshall’s youth when her crazed mother rips Clare and her siblings apart with an act of unimaginable violence. Gone is Clare’s baby sister who is whisked away that very day. Many years later, as Clare’s mother is about to be executed by lethal injection, Clare finds a lead on the location of her sister. Clare travels to South Carolina to meet the young woman she has not seen in nearly twenty years, but when Clare gets there she finds out that her sister is gone. Although the reason for Beth’s disappearance seems explicable at first, the suspense starts Clare on a wild ride.
Along with her on that ride is FBI Special Agent, Jake Sutton, a flame from the past. He provides the proper dose of romance that I look for in a romantic suspense. And as Clare closes in on her sister, she too will be gone at the same hands of evil that have claimed Beth. You can purchase GONE for $2.99 today.

Tempo Rubato: (99 cents) Written by Brendan Carroll, some might categorize this novel’s genre as time-travel, or quite simply, fantasy. Tempo Rubato was written with such conviction that I cannot classify it as either. This novel reads as a tale of suspense that is contemporary and could absolutely be feasible.
Elisse Manheim, armed with her gifted aptitude and an extensive knowledge of Wolgang Amadeus Mozart embarks on a thrilling adventure as she leads her own investigation into the murder of one of her ex-students. With an intellect and education on Mozart to equal her own, Elisse has met her match in William Masters, a composer sequestered away in the cryptic Left Field facility that is now her new employer. William Masters knowledge on the legendary composer far surpasses that of Elisse to the point that she suspects he could actually be Mozart.
Nothing is what it appears to be at Left Field, and Elisse is wise to trust no one. Yet the temptation of William Masters is far too great to resist. As was this book!
Sleight Malice: (99 cents) Vicki Tyley is a dominant author in the mystery genre. I hate to resort to the cliché, “I couldn’t put it down”, but honestly the term applied when it came to this book. Desley James, the protagonist, was very real to me. When we first meet her, she is not a woman with superhuman emotional strength, which is what helped me to relate to her. But she was stubborn, and persistent in her quest to determine the fate of her best friend when the police are too slow with their investigation.
Vicki Tyley introduces us to a host of suspects and takes us across Australia on several leads that Desley deftly digs up. And as Desley gets closer to determining the fate of her friend, the danger escalates.
The Australian setting was something I enjoyed tremendously. We read for escape, and yet inevitably, no matter what the book, we walk away having learned something. I was delighted to learn that what I call a windbreaker here in America is referred to as a windcheater in Australia. That made me smile. Ms. Tyley makes me smile with her mysteries as well.
The First Victim: ($3.99) This book made me nervous, literally. That is a good thing considering it was designed to. Emily Wright is forced to face her traumatic past when she returns to her home town of Lakeside Acres. Fifteen years ago she escaped from the hands of a sadistic killer. In Lakeside Acres, the Baby Doll Strangler is still waiting for the one that got away.
When I say this book made me nervous, I felt that I was literally in the van with Emily when she is captured. Her fear became my fear. The last quarter of this novel was written with such eloquent suspense that I had to have the light on and the blanket clutched in my hand.
One would not expect an element of romance in a novel such as this, and yet, Bailey, the Lakeside Acres deputy provided the right touch to let us know that Emily’s life was not so grim. There was a future for her as long as she could survive the ride in the van. The First Victim was written by JB Lynn.

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Book Review by April, an avid reader 1 comment

April is an avid reader. In an alternate reality she is a young dragon just learning to fly. You can find her on Goodreads here.
Masqueraders: ($1.99) Maybe a year ago, I read False Colours by Georgette Heyer where one twin plays the part of his brother in an emergency and of course funny romantic highjinks ensue. That was my first exposure to Heyer, and I loved her style in dialogue, wit and the characters she created. These were people I could enjoy hanging around if I somehow found myself back in time, rich and beautiful living in her perfect world. So I of course decided I needed to read more of her work.
If you know anything about me (and you probably don’t so I’ll enlighten you) I have a ‘to-read’ list that rivals a New York City phone book. So I had not gotten around to reading any Heyer books until recently when they all went on sale for $1.99. I felt it was a fabulous price and had to get one at the very least, but my budget being what it is I limited myself to the one. I bought Masqueraders, which as it happens has sort of a similar theme, a family who often go in disguise for various reasons, not all of them legal. After an initial bit of confusion at the very beginning, I enjoyed this second Heyer just as much as I had the first. The characters are fun, interesting and the plot is a bit twisty. The ending is sufficiently HEA for my enjoyment. It will probably come as no surprise to you that when I found out the sale was still going on I bought another one too.
Click here to purchase Masqueraders

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Top Four Summer Reads by Maria Schneider, author and reader 6 comments

Maria is the author of Under Witch Moon, an urban fantasy ($2.99). Strangely, she also writes cozy mysteries and is the author of the popular Sedona O’Hala series as well.
I prefer novels to short stories, but there are a few authors who manage to pack the equivalent of a full story into a novella. If they can create the emotional attachment and give me enough story that I feel like I got the benefit of whole book–I’ll take it.
Especially at 99 cents for Backlash by Nancy Fulda. On the first page, I wondered if I’d like any of the characters, but when it’s family and at least one member is invested in saving the others, the story has a lot of places to go, crossing genre and generations. Wonderful fantasy novella that is available for 99 cents on its own or as part of the Dead Men Don’t Cry collection for $2.99.

Frank Tuttle has a few novels out. Last year I read and loved Wistril Compleat ($1.50). Short stories, but all about the same characters/setting so these great wizard and his apprentice adventure stories read like a novel. This summer, I gave his Dead Man’s Rain novella a try. Wow. Pick this up for that rainy night, light a fire, and…you’ll probably want the lights on. Tuttle creates a great atmosphere in this ghost story, complete with spooky mansion…the grief of a widow, and a witch who might or might not be on the side of the good guys. Get it while it’s on sale ($2.80), save it for Halloween or dip right in!
I’ve been hoarding the fourth book in the Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels series for a year. This series is tied for my favorite. I set aside the entire day with dinner already made. No interruptions allowed. And Magic Bleeds delivered. From the first page, I was drawn right back into Kate’s trials and tribulations. This series is set apart from your average urban fantasy because Ilona Andrews grows the character through the series–Kate makes friends, and she learns it’s okay to let others care about her. The series is about as perfect as you can get, although some of the battles can go on the long side. If you haven’t discovered this series, the first is Magic Bites. These books are a standard $7.99 each, but if you like urban fantasy, mystery or fantasy they don’t get any better than this.
Well…unless you want to check out Patricia Briggs’ Cry Wolf, the first in the Alpha and Omega series. Cry Wolf takes place in the same world as the Mercy Thompson series (Moon Called is the first), also by Patricia Briggs. Between the two series, I’d give the edge to Cry Wolf, although the Mercy Thompson books had me pretty spellbound! There was just something about Anna in Cry Wolf that completely captivated me. The whole cast of characters is so well-developed I enjoyed reading about every single one of them. Briggs is so skilled that even when changing POV she never let me leave the story. Interrupt me when I’m reading a Briggs’ novel and there might be…injuries. Again, highest recommendation for those who love urban fantasy, paranormal, mystery or fantasy. If you’ve never tried fantasy or urban fantasy, Cry Wolf is a great book to try. If you don’t want to pay full price ($7.99 each), buy it used–you’ll want this one on your self to read again.

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Top Four Summer Reads by the Other Chick 3 comments

It’s been a good summer for reading. Here are my top picks for Christian fiction and non-fiction this summer.
Pagan Christianiy: This books explores how many church traditions which Christians consider sacred – paid clergy, church buildings, the order of service, even tithing – actually came about from influence of culture, not the Bible. It really made me reconsider some things I’d taken for granted. It’s a worthwhile read, but not an easy one. For Kindle readers, note that book begins with a very long introduction. I’d recommend skipping that and starting with Chapter 1. Offered during the Big Deal, it is now up to $9.99.

Rekindled: In Tamara Alexander’s first novel of this series, Kathryn Jennings believes her husband has abandoned her and their ranch. He was actually attacked in the mountains and burned so badly that when he returns after several months, his own wife doesn’t recognize him. He takes another name and sets about rekindling Kathryn’s love for him. It is Christian fiction unlike most others and a nice romance between a married couple. It is priced at $9.22.

Paper Roses: Something about summer makes me want to read historical fiction. Paper Roses starts with a familiar story – Sarah Dobbs is heading to Texas as a mail order bride. But when she arrives in town, she finds out her husband has been murdered. This romance mixes a good bit of mystery and suspense. I hope you got it when it was free, because it is now $9.68.

Stealing Jake: And one more. Stealing Jake is the touching story of Livy O’Brien, a street urchin from Chicago who is all grown up and running an orphanage in a small town. But her history as a thief makes it most unsuitable for her to be attracted to a Deputy Jake Russell. But I’ve got a feeling love is going to win the day! It is available for $8.60.

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