Thursday, July 24, 2014

Second Skin by Thea Landen Review

Anna’s career as a high-level CIA operative is put on involuntary hiatus. When a trusted colleague passes along the information for the 1Night Stand service, Anna decides to take the plunge against her better judgment and seek some intimate company. But her CIA instincts can’t be ignored, and when she contacts Madame Eve, she uses an alias. Brendan owns a lucrative manufacturing company, but he’s yet to achieve the goal of finding a woman with whom he can share his successes and joys. But beneath his polished, capable exterior hides the painfully shy teenager he’s never been able to escape. When his own efforts in the dating scene fall short, he turns to 1Night Stand. It would be so easy to fall in love with Brendan, and Anna’s protective mask slides away, piece-by-piece, revealing more of herself than she should dare. Before she can slip away with the sunrise, Brendan shows their encounter in a new light. Will Anna take a chance on their future, or will she choose to return to her undercover, but lonely life?
My Review:
I love this series, and Madame Eve is a match maker that is never wrong. However this book is different because Anna is using an alias and there is no way to track her. Especially since she works for the CIA and knows not to give away any information that will give away her true identity. Until she lets her guard down and starts to fall in love. Is she willing to give up her career? Is Brendan able to show his aggressive side and make sure he gets what he wants? I am giving this book a 4/5. I was given a copy to review from Night Owl Reviews, however all opinions are my own.

I Remember You by Yrsa Sigurdardóttir Review

I Remember You won the Icelandic Crime Fiction Award and also was nominated for The Glass Key Award. In this terrifying tale, three friends set to work renovating a rundown house in a remote, totally isolated location. But they soon realize they are not as alone as they thought. Something wants them to leave. Meanwhile, in a nearby town, a young doctor investigating the suicide of an elderly woman discovers that she was obsessed with his vanished son. When the two stories collide, the shocking truth becomes horribly clear. In the vein of Stephen King and John Ajvide Lindqvist partly based on a true story, is the scariest novel yet from Yrsa Sigurdardóttir, who has captivated the attention of readers around the world with her mystery series featuring attorney Thora Gudmundsdottir. Now, Yrsa will stun readers once again with this out-of-this-world ghost story that will leave you shivering.
My Review:
I still have the chills from reading this book. Especially since it is based on a true story. I started hearing noises in my house, and I had to turn on all the lights. The idea not to tick off a ghost is an important one. Until you fix the past, they will haunt your present. Their boat was coming back in a week, and I would not wait. I would find a way to get out of there! I am giving this book a 4/5. I was given a copy to review from Night Owl Reviews, however all opinions are my own.

The Wrong Quarry by Max Allan Collins Review

A HIT. AND A MISS. Quarry doesn't kill just anybody these days. He restricts himself to targeting other hitmen, availing his marked-for-death clients of two services: eliminating the killers sent after them, and finding out who hired them…and then removing that problem as well. So far he's rid of the world of nobody who would be missed. But this time he finds himself zeroing in on the grieving family of a missing cheerleader. Does the hitman's hitman have the wrong quarry in his sights?
My Review:
The Hard Case Crimes are really fun and they remind me of crime stories like Dick Tracy. These are from the Pulp era that made crime novels what they are. The women are deadly, and the men mean business. I liked that this book was part of a series, but is also a stand only book. I love the action and the "surveillance" tactics. Quarry is a hitman and he takes out the bad guys. However he senses something is not right and has to decide who to kill, and who to let live. The ended was a good fit for the characters. I am giving this book a 4/5. I was given a copy to review from Night Owl Reviews, however all opinions are my own.

The Midnight Rose by Lucinda Riley Review

Spanning four generations, The Midnight Rose sweeps from the glittering palaces of the great maharajas of India to the majestic stately homes of England, following the extraordinary life of a remarkable girl, Anahita Chaval, from 1911 to the present day . . . In the heyday of the British Raj, eleven-year-old Anahita, from a noble but impov­erished family, forms a lifelong friendship with the headstrong Princess Indira, the privileged daughter of Indian royalty. As the princess’s official companion, Anahita accompanies her friend to England just before the outbreak of WorldWar I. There, she meets young Donald Astbury—reluctant heir to the magnifi­cent, remote Astbury Estate—and his scheming mother. Ninety years later, Rebecca Bradley, a young American film star, has the world at her feet. But when her turbulent relationship with her equally famous boyfriend takes an unexpected turn, she’s relieved that her latest role, playing a 1920s debutante, will take her away from the glare of publicity to a distant cor­ner of the English countryside. Shortly after filming begins at the now-crumbling Astbury Hall, Ari Malik, Anahita’s great-grandson, arrives unexpectedly, on a quest for his family’s past. What he and Rebecca discover begins to unravel the dark secrets that haunt the Astbury dynasty . . . A multilayered, heartbreaking tale filled with unforgettable characters caught in the sweep of history, The Midnight Rose is Lucinda Riley at her most captivating and unforgettable.
My Review:
This book is 488 pages. I literally read it in one day. I could not stop. I loved this book. From the idea of forbidden love to family being there for their loved ones. Anahita was the favorite character that I have read in a long time. She was the "spine" of the story and everything in the book related to her. The man she loved did something that altered her life forever. There were so many times where I could not believe what I was reading and I was shocked that I did not see it coming. The matriarch of the Astbury line was a conniving, miserable, and all around bad person. She thought that she was keeping her family name graceful, however her actions could have dire consequences for future generations. I actually got goosebumps twice at the end of the book, and I am so mad that this book is over. I want to spend more time with Donald and the love of his life. The author wrote the book in a way that there were two stories going on at once, and she did it seamlessly and beautifully. The characters from the 2000's get to read about their ancestors via a journal, and a memoir of sorts. I relished in the fact that both generations were staying at the Astbury Estate. There is so much more that I would like to share, but do not want to spoil it. I recommend reading this book, and I hope that the ending gives you goosebumps and has you smiling like I was. I am giving this book a 5/5. I was given a copy to review from Night Owl Reviews, however all opinions are my own.

The Devil Made Me Do It by Colette Harrell Excerpt & Review

Title: The Devil Made Me Do It
Author: Colette Harrell
Publisher: Urban Books/Kensington
Pages: 288
Genre: Inspirational fiction
Format: Paperback
Purchase at AMAZON
The voluptuous Esther Wiley has always known that she is special. She’s a tiara-wearing, wand-carrying kind of Cinderella princess in disguise. The problem that her very own Fairy Godmother, the Prophetess Mother Reed, struggles with is getting her to live like it.

Briggs Stokes is the reluctant heir to his father’s worldwide, multimillion-dollar televangelist ministry, yet he yearns to be his own man. His past mistakes have caused him a private life of hurt and loneliness.

Esther and Briggs meet and develop a deep soul connection, until tragedy strikes and the two are thrust apart. Their separation leads each down a different path scattered with emotional minefields. While each step they take brings them closer to who they were always meant to be, the devil is on assignment. He sends in reinforcements to usher in confusion and create chaos, and soon no one is safe. The members of Love Zion church reel from the rumors, innuendo, and downright sabotage that is going on around them. 

When others devise evil schemes to seek the destruction of Esther and Briggs through jealousy, greed, and murder, only divine intervention can save them. As an all-out battle for dominion breaks out in the heavens, will Esther and Briggs become a casualty of war?

Book Excerpt:

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep (Genesis 1:2).
Two ominous figures sat in quiet contemplation, the larger one’s head was gargantuan in nature, and foul droplets of acidic mucus fell from his protruding fangs.
The smaller one stood sixteen feet tall and his rapier tail was wrapped protectively around his middle. He sat as still as cold hard stone. His sinister eyes were yellow rimmed and telegraphed evil cunning. He was known as The Leader.
Their silhouettes cast eerie shadows against the backdrop of the smoke-filled flames that spewed from the lake of fire.
“Ummm, this is my favorite place. Listen to the melodic sound of souls screaming in agony—it is music to my ears.  If you concentrate, you can hear the desperate pleas for release. Yessss . . .It allows me to know that all is right in our world,” The High Master said.
The Leader shuddered as the menacing timbre of The High Master’s voice snaked fear around his chest. For him, it was equal to the singe of demon skin from a thousand innocent prayers; he loathed it. His tail subconsciously tightened as he awaited his newest orders. 
The High Master continued, “These human souls are pathetic with their self-serving natures. They frighten at the sound of our bumps in the dark, but create havoc in their own lives. What idiots they are and not fit for company until they have totally crossed to our side. And even then they tire me soooo . . .”
The Leader didn’t stir; his thoughts were of survival. He refused to speak. He knew a wrong word could cause such suffering and pain. The High Master’s punishments are prompt and fierce. One seeks death, but yet, death will not come.
The High Master continued his tirade, his grimace displaying double rows of slime-covered fangs. His was a chilling profile. “Your charges are young. Both are being raised in good homes, and, as a result, they are overconfident creatures. Leader, do not underestimate their youth; innocence is a powerful weapon. In their kingdom, the weak become strong. But we must prey on that weakness and use it to our advantage. You must destroy them before they complete their purpose. I am giving you this head start; you must not fail.”
After speaking, he stood his full twenty feet in height, his shoulders reared back as his frame vibrated with his frustrated bellowing. “In the beginning, we owned their world. After the fall, we adjusted; the land we were given was dark and empty, but we were content with our lot. Then He whose name is not spoken, created man, and we were once again demoted. All we seek is our rightful power, our rightful place. Make haste, bold one, and steal, kill, and destroy all that stands in your way.”
The Leader bowed his head in submission.
“And, Leader—this was a most productive conversation. You are learning.”

The Leader’s tail unwrapped from his torso as he swiftly rose and slithered toward his point of ascent into the Earth realm. He was determined not to fail.

About the Author

Colette (Ford) Harrell the author of the debut novel The Devil Made Me Do It is passionate about the written word. Holding a master’s degree, she is a director of human services. Her creation and implementation of a health and energy medical program stands as a best practices model. Her philosophy of service is compassionate care through a spirit of excellence. A motivational speaker, she specializes in customer and human service workshops on state and national levels.  She is cofounder of COJACK Productions, a Christian entertainment company. As an active member of her church, Kingdom Christian Center, she serves in several ministries.

Colette is a wife, mother, author, poet, songwriter, and playwright. Her novel is a delectable read, where romance, suspense, humor, and the supernatural all come together to entertain, educate, and inspire. 

A Detroit native, she currently resides in Ohio, writing with humor and compassion to engage and minister to the human heart. Her motto is: whatever you do, do it “for love alone.”

Her latest book is the inspirational fiction, The Devil Made Me Do It.

For More Information
My Review:
I enjoyed this book and it was interesting because it reminded me of The Garden of Eden. As does the cover. We are all tempted to do bad things and I really liked the way the author made the characters normal. They went through normal issues and dealt with them in a way that was delicate. There were a lot of emotional sins in the book as well, and it was nice to have more than physical sins to think about. I am giving this book a 4/5. I was given a copy to review, however all opinions are my own.