Book review – To Helvetica and Back by Paige Shelton

 

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Rating: 4/5 stars

Goodreads Book Description:

Star City is known for its slopes and its powder. But nestled in the valley of this ski resort town is a side street full of shops that specialize in the simple charms of earlier eras. One of those shops is the Rescued Word, where Chester Henry and his adult granddaughter Clare lovingly repair old typewriters and restore old books. Who ever thought their quaint store would hold the key to some modern-day trouble?

When a stranger to town demands they turn over an antique Underwood typewriter they’re repairing for a customer, Clare fears she may need to be rescued. A call to the police scares the man off, but later Clare finds his dead body in the back alley. What about a dusty old typewriter could possibly be worth killing for?

My honest review:

To Helvetica and Back (Book #1 of A Dangerous Type Mystery series) by Paige Shelton is the perfect example of a great cozy mystery. I loved the rich setting of Star City, Utah. The attention to detail throughout the book makes you feel like you’ve seen this quaint town firsthand. There were no small town cliches, and each location or building visited felt genuine. Having a strong setting is important to me in a cozy mystery.

To be classified a cozy mystery a book shouldn’t have gore or detailed brutal violence, explicit sexual scenes, or be too shocking in general. With these stipulations many books fall flat at engaging the reader. This is not the case with this book. Each character is unique with a clear voice and personality. I especially loved Clare. Her spunky attitude and urge to know more about everything was felt through the entire novel. Her slowly budding relationship with Seth was the perfect mix of flirty and sweet with a side of speculation. I can’t wait to see how their relationship evolves in future books in the series.

Another element that helped make this book stand out as a great cozy mystery is involving different jobs and hobbies in the novel. Clare works at The Rescued Word repairing old typewriters with her grandfather. Her best friend is a local police officer. Seth, the town newbie, is a geologist studying the old mines in the area. There is a motorcycle gang in town relocating goats. Paige Shelton did a great job of weaving the different lifestyles and backgrounds of each character into the story without making it seem forced or awkward. I think it takes great skill to make rocks interesting!

Overall, I think this book is a great start to a new mystery series. I am very critical of cozies since so much can fall flat without the shock and awe value. The book is fast paced and keeps you guessing until the end. The ending was perfectly timed with no messy bits left unfinished.

Purchase Links:

Amazon US

Barnes & Noble

Books-a-Million

Keep up with Paige Shelton:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads Author Page

 

Book review – Thicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer

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It’s release day for Thicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer. *throws confetti* I was lucky to receive an early copy from Kensington Books. Read my honest review below the synopsis.

Rating: 3.8/5 stars

Synopsis:

On his own

Thomas Bellweather hasn’t been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdad’s cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect.

Not that there’s any evidence. But before Thomas got to Frederick there had only been one other murder in twenty years.

The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, little sister to three cops and, with her soft hands and sweet curves, straight-up dangerous to Thomas. Her friend was the other murder vic. And she’d like a couple answers….Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden.

The more they dig, the more it seems the only way they’ll hear the real story is from the source–the killer.

Not the kind of future plan a college recruiter likes to hear. But then, the better it works, the less likely either of them is going to have a future. . .

Review:

I’ll start off by saying that I have gone back and forth with my rating for this book since I read the last page. I still don’t know exactly what I want to rate it so I picked 3.8 out of 5 stars. This book is considered a paranormal romance. The romance aspect is quite clear from the beginning of the book. The paranormal side is sneaky. I didn’t really notice the paranormal side until 3/4 through the book. When it did show it’s face….. boy was it a shocker! My main reason for not rating the book 4/5 stars is because it took me far too long to be ok with the paranormal twist. The last quarter of the book flies past in a blur of investigation and confrontation. I will say that the ending is much neater and cleaner than I expected it to be. I was actually very happy with how the book ended (no spoilers here!). My absolute favorite character in the whole book is Nicole, Charlotte’s best friend. Nicole brings much needed humor to many scenes in the book. She also seems to one of the realest characters as well. Her spunky personality and witty comebacks will leave you wishing that she had a more major role throughout the book.

In general, I really did enjoy reading this book. I would consider this more of a YA book but readers both young and old will enjoy it in my opinion. I loved Brigid Kemmerer’s writing style. Her language flowed naturally and her story line urges the reader to keep turning pages. I can’t wait to see what Kemmerer writes in the future.

Similar books:

Dead Ringer by Jessie Rosen

Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom

After The Woods by Kim Savage

Author website:

Brigid Kemmerer

Purchase link:
Thicker Than Water

Home Alone, the classic illustrated storybook

It’s almost Christmas, and I’ve been watching lots of holiday movies to get into the spirit of the season. One of my favorite movies to watch is Home Alone. When I was young I thought Kevin McCallister was just the coolest kid ever! In honor of the 25th anniversary of the movie’s release, Quirk Books and with artist Kim Smith have designed a gorgeous, illustrated storybook of Home Alone.

 

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This book is a perfect introduction to the Home Alone movie for younger children or as a movie companion to anyone who enjoys the original story. Every page is bursting with color, and many familiar scenes are depicted throughout the storybook.

 

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Home Alone, the classic illustrated storybook, is destined to become a classic just like the movie. I can’t wait to include this book in our family Christmas traditions every year.

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What are some of your favorite holiday books or movies? Do you have any fun Christmas traditions?

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Home Alone: The Classic Illustrated Storybook

Quirk Books

Book review: Warren the 13th

Happy release day to Warren the 13th! I had the pleasure of reading this middle grade book over the weekend. It is a unique book perfect for ages 8-12 to adult. The graphics are gorgeous throughout the entire novel. Scroll past the blurb to see my review and a few pictures of the awesome artwork contained inside.

 

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Blurb: Meet Warren the 13th, a cursed 12-year-old Victorian bellhop who’s terribly unlucky . . . yet perpetually optimistic, hard-working, and curious. Orphan Warren’s pride and joy is his family’s hotel, but he’s been miserable ever since his evil Aunt Anaconda took over the management.

Anaconda believes a mysterious treasure known as the All-Seeing Eye is hidden somewhere on the grounds, and she’ll do anything to find it. If Warren wants to preserve his family’s legacy, he’ll need to find the treasure first—if the hotel’s many strange and wacky guests don’t beat him to it! This middle-grade adventure features gorgeous two-color illustrations on every page and a lavish two-column Victorian design that will pull young readers into a spooky and delightful mystery.

TANIA DEL RIO is a professional comic book writer and artist who has spent the past 10 years writing and illustrating, primarily for a young audience. Her clients include Archie Comics, Dark Horse, and Marvel; she is best known for her work writing and drawing the 42-issue run of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. She lives in Los Angeles.

WILL STAEHLE is the designer behind Stars and Swipes and Hugs and Misses (both, Quirk, 2014). He lives in Seattle.

 

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Rating: 5 stars ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

I loved this book. Although it is a middle grade book the story line kept me entertained and guessing throughout the whole novel. Warren is very relatable even though his environment might not be all the time.

 

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There are monsters in the boiler room and bats in the chimney. Warren lives in the attic, but he is a jack of all trades for the hotel. His main job is to keep Aunt Annaconda from destroying the hotel while looking for the all-seeing-eye.

 

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This book has the perfect amount of scary situations, problem solving, determination, and mysterious clues to make this book a solid middle grade book. I can’t wait to see where the next book in the series takes Warren.

 

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Recommendation:  This is the perfect book for fans of Coraline or A Series of Unfortunate Events.

 

Purchase from Amazon below:

Warren the 13th and The All-Seeing Eye: A Novel

November 9 cometh!

I can’t wait for the newest book by Colleen Hoover to come out!

Colleen Hoover

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I know I’ve been posting about this one a lot, but I’m SO excited about it. I usually dread release days, but I’ve been wanting to write this book for two years now. The timing just wasn’t right until now for whatever reasons.

I also think this is my favorite book cover so far of all my books and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. I have a feeling I’ll break records with how many of these babies I’ll be giving away.

In case you don’t know about preorders, they help bookstores determine which books readers want, which authors readers love and which books they will feature on their shelves. Preorders can make or break a release for authors. And the best part is, preorders don’t get charged to your account until the day the book releases. So if you know you’re going to buy November 9 and…

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Book Review – The Moment of Letting Go by J.A. Redmerski

It feels like I haven’t posted a book review all summer. It’s really only been about a month, but this summer has been so busy that time is flying by. Can you believe that September is only a few short weeks away!? I’m particularly excited for Autumn to arrive. It’s by far my favorite season, and I usually have a lot more time to read once summer ends. But let’s get back to why we’re here… my newest book review!

The Moment of Letting Go by J.A. Redmerski

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Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ stars

Review: This book had all the perfect elements for a heart-grabbing romance that you won’t want to put down. Sienna is a workaholic event planner from San Diego. She arrives in Hawaii to plan an event for a wealthy and difficult client. With work taking up 100% of her time during this trip Sienna doesn’t think she’ll get the chance to enjoy her true passion and hobby, photography. On her worst possible day on the island Sienna meets Luke, a laid-back surfer in Hawaii who enjoys a thrill seeking lifestyle. There’s an immediate connection between Sienna and Luke. A spark so strong that neither can deny it. On a whim, Sienna decides to stay in Hawaii for an extended vacation spending time with Luke, his friends, and her camera. Their attraction to each other is strong and unlike anything either has ever experienced. They explore each other’s minds and souls. They discuss life and their dreams. They spend countless days surfing, hiking, and enjoying everything that Hawaii has to offer. But Luke has a dark shadow in his past that threatens to swallow him whole. Until Luke can find some sort of peace in his heart there is no hope for a future with Sienna. Can Luke get past the horrific circumstances in his past to be with Sienna heart, body, and soul? Will Sienna change her workaholic ways and realize there’s more to life than money and how you earn it? I can not say enough great things about this book. I felt like I was sitting on white sand beaches watching Luke and Sienna enjoy the beauty of a new relationship. Another big plus of this book is that their relationship is not about sex. Luke is ever the gentleman. He is more concerned with exploring Sienna’s mind than exploring her body (not that he doesn’t want to). When things do turn physical between them is complimentary to the book and their story.

Recommendation: The Moment of Letting Go is a standalone romance with no cliffhanger that will give you all the feels. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll never want this book to end. Grab yourself a copy and enjoy… trust me 🙂 This is the perfect book for fans of Surviving Ice by K.A. Tucker, Sweet Nothing by Jamie McGuire, and Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino

Buy it here:

Amazon

Powell’s

Barnes & Noble

***GIVEAWAY*** – THE MOMENT OF LETTING GO BY J.A. REDMERSKI

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One of my favorite authors, J.A. Redmerski, released another fabulous book this week. I am halfway through it, and it’s fantastic! If I didn’t have so many responsibilities (dang adulting) I easily could have read this book in one day. Set in Hawaii, this book makes you wish you were lying on a white sand beach with a tropical drink and a cute surfer by your side. Luke and Sienna have fantastic chemistry that makes you laugh out loud while also making your heart race. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the Rafflecopter paperback giveaway and two excerpts from the book. Good luck and enjoy!!

THE MOMENT OF LETTING GO by J.A. Redmerski (August 11, 2015; Forever Trade Paperback)
You can follow the rules or you can follow your heart…

Sienna Murphy never does anything without a plan. And so far her plans have been working. Right after college, she got a prestigious job and gained the stability she’d always craved-until work takes her to the sun-drenched shores of Oahu and places her in the path of sexy surfer Luke Everett. For the first time, she lets her heart take control. Drawn to his carefree charm, she makes a spontaneous and very un-Sienna-like decision to drop everything and stay in Hawaii for two more weeks.

Luke lives fast and wild. When he meets Sienna, he’s convinced that some no-strings-attached fun is just what she needs. As their nights quickly turn from playful to passionate, Luke can’t deny the deep connection he feels. But there’s a reason Luke doesn’t do long-term. He can’t promise Sienna forever, when the enormity of his past has shown him just how fragile the future can be . . .

Buy the book!

Amazon

B & N

BAM

About the author:
J. A. Redmerski, New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, lives in North Little Rock, Arkansas with her three children, two cats and a Maltese. She is a lover of television and books that push boundaries.

Connect with the author!

Facebook

Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Excerpt #1:

“Damn, my back is killing me,” I say, grimacing and reaching behind me for my muscles again. “Sleeping on this sofa is brutal.” Sienna’s face falls under a little veil of guilt and pity. “Oh, I’m sorry,” she says. “Is it bad?” No. “Yeah, it’s pretty bad.” I groan deeply for added affect. “I should’ve crashed in Seth’s room—would have if I’d known he wasn’t coming home last night.” Truthfully, I’m not sure of that; Seth might be in his room and I just slept so well through the night that I didn’t hear him when he came in, like I usually do. “Now I feel bad,” she says and stands up from the coffee table, her long, lightly tanned legs stretching for miles underneath the thin fabric of her cotton shorts— damn, she is sexy; the things I want to do to her right now. “I’m not really hungry anyway, so don’t worry about breakfast. I was just messing with you.” “Nah, don’t feel bad.” I wave it away like it’s nothing, while at the same time still kneading my back with the other hand. “I’m going to make you something . . . but you could help me out by walking on my back.” “Huh?” Her face scrunches into a cute, confused expression. “You want me to walk on your back?” “Well, yeah,” I say with a nod, suddenly realizing myself how just the thought of her touching me—with her feet, her hands, her lips; I don’t even care which—makes my heart ache and my palms sweaty. “It’ll work out the kinks.” She smiles ridiculously and shakes her head—I fight the urge to reach out and pull her down on my lap; the image of her bare thighs around my waist, my hands hugging the curvature of her ass…breathe Luke…just breathe. “I’m not walking on your back,” she sort of laughs the words out. “Why not?” I tilt my head to one side. “Well I think I’m a little too heavy to be walking on your back,” she says as if I should already know this. “And because it’s weird?” It was more a statement than a question, but something else she thinks I should already know, apparently. God, she’s so fucking cute. I roll my eyes. “Don’t tell me you’re one of those girls who wears a size zero and thinks she’s fat.” “No! I’m not one of those,” she defends. “I just don’t want to hurt you!” I laugh without restraint. “OK, well you’re not going to hurt me, I can promise you that.” I get up from the couch—with pretend difficulty—and step around Sienna and the coffee table and then lay on my bare chest on the floor. “Come on. It’ll really help me out a lot.” One side of my face is pressed against the rug as I look up at her at an angle. She stands over me with her flimsy arms crossed—I grow even harder beneath my shorts. “No, Luke,” she laughs, “I’m not going to do it.” “Yeah you are,” I say casually and wave my hand at her as if there’s nothing to it. “The only way you can hurt me is if you jump up and down really, really hard. Now get on.” “No.” “Please?” She shakes her head repeatedly, her smile growing. I break out the big guns. “It’s the least you can do for me letting you stay here for free and have my bed.” I grin subtly, which I imagine looks strange with my cheek smashed against the floor. “No!” She laughs out loud. “I’ll sleep on the couch from now on if that’s the case.” With me? I want to say—and almost do—but restrain myself. “No you won’t,” I tell her sharply. “What kind of guy would I be if I made you sleep on the couch while I was all sprawled out on the comfy bed? Now step on and start walkin’.” “You’re crazy.” Absolutely, one hundred percent, no-going-back crazy for you—I admit it.

Excerpt #2:

Then he gets up and grabs my hands from the tops of my bare knees, pulling me to my feet. “We’re going swimming,” he says. “And we’ll talk more about this later…like on the day your vacation is over and you’re standing at the gate in the airport about to kiss me goodbye.” “Wow, you really think highly of yourself, don’t you?” I can’t keep the laughter from my voice. “Damn straight!” he says and pulls me along beside him. “Before these two weeks are over, I can guarantee you three things.” He holds up three fingers as we continue onward toward the water. “One”—he holds up one finger—“you’ll never want to go back to San Diego once Hawaii is done with you.” He holds up two fingers. “Two—that photography love of yours will start to take the place of everything else in your life. And three”—he wiggles three fingers and we stop on the beach where the water can pool around our feet—“you’ll kiss me at least once before you go home.” I blush hard and it feels like my eyes are bugging out of my head. “I might peck you on the cheek or something, but—” “No,” he says, smiling and quite serious, “it’ll be a full-on, tongue-dancing kind of kiss.” I smack him playfully on the arm—something is fluttering around inside my belly. “Geez!” Luke grabs my hand and pulls me out to the water with him, where we swim and hang out on the cliffs until late in the afternoon. People come and go throughout the hours, sometimes leaving us with Alicia, Braedon, and a few of their close friends to have the area to ourselves for a while before more people show up in intervals. “Backflip!” someone says just before Luke jumps into the water for probably the twentieth time. And every time he does it, it ties my stomach up in knots. But there’s something about him that I can’t quite figure out when I watch him leap off the edge of that cliff; it’s not overconfidence or showing off or recklessness, but something deeper, more profound. Maybe it’s a sense of freedom, or a natural high that consumes him while he’s in the air, as if he had been born with a pair of wings that only he can see. But the more time I spend with him, the more intrigued I become. Sure, he’s gorgeous and funny and polite and all the kinds of things—so far—that would make my mom love him to death. But what intrigues and excites me more is how he kind of makes me want to jump off that stupid cliff regardless of how scared I am of it.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review – Charlie, Presumed Dead by Anne Heltzel

Charlie, Presumed Dead by Anne Heltzel

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Rating: 4.5 stars
Charlie, Presumed Dead is an intriguing and suspenseful thriller with many psychological elements. On the day of Charlie Price’s memorial service his girlfriends Lena and Aubrey meet for the first time. It’s immediately apparent that Charlie had several lives, several personalities, and more than one girlfriend. While forging a tentative friendship, Lena and Aubrey search through Charlie’s life for clues to the truth. Is Charlie really dead? Or did he create a new life so he could escape the ones he had already ruined. The search for the truth takes the girls from Paris to London, Mumbai, and Bangkok. With Lena’s trust fund and Aubrey’s wits it should be an easy few days poking into Charlie’s past. But with each new country comes conflicting accounts of Charlie and who he really was. To make things more difficult Lena and Aubrey still don’t want to share all their secrets and knowledge about Charlie with each other. Without trust the truth will not be known. I can’t give even a hint about where the ending of this book is headed. It is a slap-you-in-the-face type ending that leaves you reeling and re-reading the last chapter to make sure you didn’t miss anything. I have no idea if there will be more books about Charlie Price but if there are you do not want to miss out.

When I first started reading Charlie, Presumed Dead I was annoyed by the characters’ personalities and their whiny attitudes. At 18 years old, Lena comes off as a spoiled, rich, brat who thinks she’s better than everyone. Aubrey is dark and sheltered to the point where you just want her to stay spineless and retreat back home to the States. As Lena and Aubrey travel the world, however, they grow and evolve into strong women who have each other’s backs and can stand up for themselves. It was a nice change to see them forge a friendship even when everything is trying to put a wedge between them.

Recommendation: This is a great NA book with deep emotions, heart pounding encounters, and a friendship that rises upon the norm. A great read for fans of Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams, We’ll Never Be Apart by Emiko Jean, and The Tenderness of Thieves by Donna Freitas.

Link to Amazon : http://amzn.to/1KGHtSE

7 Things Writers Should Stop Wasting Their Time On

Carly Watters, Literary Agent Blog

IS09AL15JWe all know what a demon procrastination is. But what about the other things that get in the way of actual writing? I have a list of things that (some, not all) writers have a tendency to waste their time with. Whether it’s old habits that need shaking, or creative crutches that lead to excuses, the only way you’re going to write your book is when you sit down and do the work.

My goal, with this post and all of my blogs, is to help writers recognize their personal limitations and push through them for higher productivity and success!

So see if these apply to you, and decide if it’s time to let it go…

  1. Writing with one eye over your shoulder – So many writers hold back, especially when they’re writing their first novel. Whether it’s because it’s painful to go too deep, or they’re afraid what others will…

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Sway by Melanie Stanford *cover reveal*

My author friend Melanie Stanford has a new book, Sway, coming out in Winter 2015. In anticipation of it’s release, today is the cover reveal! Isn’t it beautiful?!  I can’t wait for this book to be released.  Check out the book blurb and author bio below and make sure you keep an eye out for Sway by Melanie Stanford this winter.

Sway Cover Reveal

BLURB:
Ava Elliot never thought she’d become a couch surfer. But with a freshly minted—and worthless—degree from Julliard, and her dad squandering the family fortune, what choice does she have?
Living with her old high school friends, though, has its own drawbacks. Especially when her ex-fiancé Eric Wentworth drops back into her life. Eight years ago, she was too young, too scared of being poor, and too scared of her dad’s disapproval. Dumping him was a big mistake.
In the most ironic of role reversals, Eric is rolling in musical success, and Ava’s starting at the bottom to build her career. Worse, every song Eric sings is an arrow aimed straight for her regrets.
One encounter, one song too many, and Ava can’t go on like this. It’s time to tell Eric the truth, and make a choice. Finally let go of the past, or risk her heart for a second chance with her first love. If he can forgive her…and she can forgive herself.
BIO:
Melanie Stanford reads too much, plays music too loud, is sometimes dancing, and always daydreaming. She would also like her very own TARDIS, but only to travel to the past. She lives outside Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her husband, four kids, and ridiculous amounts of snow.
LINKS:
melaniestanfordbooks.com
@MelMStanford
http://www.facebook.com/MelanieStanfordauthor
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25701546-sway
samhainpublishing.com