Thursday, August 22, 2013

Book Review: A Seaside Escape by Lisa J. Hobman

Title: A Seaside Escape
Series: Bridge Over the Atlantic #1
Author: Lisa Hobman
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Published: 04/02/2013
Publisher: 5 Prince Publishing
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance


Mallory Westerman is a full-figured, successful, young businesswoman living in Yorkshire, England. Though very career minded, she is extremely self-conscious about her ample curves and so her love life tends to pay the price.

Concentrating solely on her business, she has almost given up on finding someone to love. That is until she literally trips into the arms of a stranger who becomes her Knight in shining armour.

The immediate sexual and romantic spark that blossoms into love and the events that follow, irrevocably change Mallory’s life-path and self-image forever, but only go to prove that the road to true love is never smooth and that things don’t always turn out how you expect…


A Seaside Escape was a delectable novel—proportionately interspersed with moments from everyday life, romance, humor, emotions born of profound loss—and second chances. The setting was made delightfully apparent by tidbits of charming British and Scottish slang and vivid descriptions. The heroine, Mallory Westerman, was a character I found easy to relate to—a woman who struggled with self-esteem issues, life decisions, and whom to allow into her heart. She had her little house, her shop, adorable canine companion, and a couple of close friends. Then she literally fell into the arms of Sam Buchanan. Sam, who was a hundred kinds of wonderful: thoughtful, playful, funny, sexy, and adoring of Mallory.

Whilst (<---a gesture to the lovely language of the book) Sam and Mally were dreamily making plans, there was this instant. An insinuation was made, but I shook my head and dismissed the worrisome feelings, thinking I was reading too much into it.

Some dreams were realized, while others were destroyed. As a reader who develops real feelings for fictional characters, I had the breath knocked out of me, but perseverance was called for—there was so much more to the story. There were souls in need of restoration, serious decisions to be made, new friendships to be considered, and a new man, Greg—a somewhat grumpy and reluctant hero whose actions, rather than his words, spoke for his true and musical nature.

This was a second-chance story of two grieving people determined to make their life together, their first priority.

A Seaside Escape was quite the lovely read!

Music played a large part in this "lyrical" novel. Here are some of the songs mentioned, many of them performed by the hero, Greg McBradden. Most of which I already have! :)

A Seaside Escape Playlist

Snow Patrol - Chasing Cars
Bon Jovi - Livin' on a Prayer
Trouble - Ray LaMontagne
Foo Fighters - Learn to Fly
Pearl Jam - Rear View Mirror
Nirvana - About a Girl
Oasis - Wonderwall
Soul Asylum - Runaway Train
The Commodores - Easy
Dougie McLean - Caledonia
Neil Diamond - I Am, I Said
Fleetwood Mac - Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow
Newton Faulkner - Dream Catch me
3 Libras - A Perfect Circle
Adele - Someone Like You
The Fray - How to Save a Life
Nickelback - Far Away
Hoobastank - The Reason
Chicago - Hard to Say I'm Sorry
Fleetwood Mac - You Can Go Your Own Way
John Waite - Missing You
Alanis Morissette - You Oughta Know
Avril Lavigne - My Happy Ending
Incubus - Dig
Coldplay - Yellow
Buzzcocks - Ever Fallen in Love?
The Calling - Wherever You Will Go
The Proclaimers - I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)


"She [Mallory] was consumed with to-ing and fro-ing over the minutiae of the possible move in her mind."


"They stood on the mid-point of the stone bridge and looked out over the Atlantic Ocean."


“Right, this is stupid. Can we please just f*ckin’ start over, eh?” He [Greg] clamped his hand over his mouth. “F*ck, I’m sorry I keep swearing,” he apologised. Mallory smirked, “It’s f*cking fine! Just don’t f*cking do it again, okay? It’s f*cking rude!” she shouted. They stared at each other and then burst out laughing.


“Mallory, do I have to spell it out for you? I’ve wanted you since the first time I laid eyes on you in the pub. That’s why I was so angry and unpleasant. I was still grieving. I shouldn’t have felt that way, but I couldn’t help it.” ~ Greg


*book and series titles updated 09/23/2023

Friday, August 16, 2013

Book Review: Death Angel by Linda Fairstein

Title: Death Angel
Series: Alexandra Cooper Mystery #15
Author: Linda Fairstein
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Published: 07/30/2013
Publisher: Dutton Adult
Genre(s): Contemporary Mystery


When the body of a young woman is discovered in Central Park, the clock begins ticking for Assistant DA Alex Cooper and Detectives Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace to find the killer who has breached this haven in the middle of New York City. Is the body found in the lake, under the unseeing gaze of the Bethesda angel, the first victim of a deranged psychopath, or is the case connected to other missing girls and women in years past whose remains have never been found? Just as the trio gets their first lead, the investigation is almost derailed when Mike and Alex become embroiled in a scandal.

As Alex attempts to fight the accusations leveled against her and Mike, she follows clues that range from the park’s most buried — literally — secrets all the way to the majestic Dakota, which has experienced its own share of tragedies. When another young woman is attacked in the park, a new question arises: is this enormous urban park a sanctuary—as it seems to the thousands of New Yorkers and tourists who fill it every day—or is it a hunting ground for a killer with a twisted mind?

Once again, Linda Fairstein will thrill both longtime fans and new readers with an explosive page-turner filled with a shocking realism that only she can deliver.


As much as I love reading romance I still need my occasional mystery fix. I make a point to keep up with several mystery series, and the Alexandra Cooper Series is one of them. I've read books four through fifteen, and always find the history at the crux of each mystery compelling. I have never been nor have I ever planned to visit New York City, but I still find the city's history in each volume to be a strong attraction. Thinking back on each of the books I believe this one rates up there with the one I've considered my favorite to date, Entombed, the seventh in the series.

Not only did I find the supplied history of Central Park to be fascinating, but I really appreciated the detailed personal histories Linda Fairstein penned for her fictional characters.

I'm still bothered by Mike Chapman's continuing antagonistic treatment of Alex and I'm not sure the slight change in their relationship that occurred during this installment is good for the series' future. However, I won't let that stop me from eagerly awaiting volume sixteen, which will hopefully arrive next year.

Death Angel was a satisfying and entertaining read!

"My relationship with Mike was a source of great amusement to many of our colleagues, who couldn’t figure how I tolerated his constant needling yet knew he’d covered my back in more situations than I could count." ~ Alexandra


"Harmless and homeless, or toothless and ruthless. Takes all kinds to survive on the streets of this city.” ~ Lt. Ray Peterson


“Homicide rule number three,” Mike said. “Never kill anybody in a landmark location. It always ups the ante.” ~ Det. Mike Chapman


“I can’t do Alexandra or Alex. Those names are for everyone else to use. ‘Coop’ is my own. I’m not the least bit confused about your gender identity.” ~ Mike Chapman


"I watched in horror as his foot caught between two of the rollers and he fell to his knees. “Stop it!” I screamed. “Stop the damn thing.” ~ Alex Cooper

How 'This Man' Trampled His Way Into My Life

It was November 16, 2012, and whilst browsing Amazon I saw a book in my recommendation stream. The cover was very lovely, no 'ish' about it. The synopsis looked quite enticing. I bought that book immediately and began reading it. That was the day I was introduced to Jesse Ward, The Lord of the Manor, and his lady love, Ava O'Shea, in the novel, This Man by Jodi Ellen Malpas.

"Young interior designer Ava O’Shea has an appointment for a first consultation at The Manor with the owner, Mr. Jesse Ward. She is expecting nothing more than an overweight, cravat-wearing, well-to-do countryman, and on arrival, nothing would suggest otherwise. How wrong could she be? This Man is devastatingly handsome, charming and confident. He is also a conceited, hedonistic playboy, who knows no boundaries. Ava desperately does not want to be attracted to him, but she can’t control the overwhelming effect he has on her. Every instinct is telling her to run, so she does, but Jesse Ward is not so willing to let her go. He wants her and is determined to have her. She knows she is heading for heartbreak, but how can she run when he won’t let her?"

Five Fictionally Life-Altering Stars! *****

Two months later on January 15 the second book in the trilogy, Beneath This Man, was released. I devoured it within a day and this is what came to mind after finishing it:
"Beneath This Man is indescribably and tortuously delicious! Ava and Jesse's obviously detrimental need to be together may be what fuels the flames in this erotic novel, but, in Ava, the author created a heroine able to retain some sense of self and logical thought despite the hero's hot-blooded and controlling ways. So, even though Ava and Jesse appear to be impassioned beyond all reason neither character came across as beyond all hope. I consider This Man to be the most erotic book I read last year, and Beneath This Man to be not only steamy but intensely emotional, as well. I can't even imagine what Jodi Ellen Malpas has in store for us this coming spring with This Man Confessed (hopefully those "confessions" will explain Jesse's behavior satisfactorily), but I bet we'll all be sad to conclude the trilogy even with a happily-ever-after ending."

Five Oh-My-Lord Stars! *****

"She knew she was heading towards disaster. Every instinct told her to run, but Jesse Ward was a hard man to escape.

It has been five days’ since Ava O’Shea left Jesse drunk and raging at Lusso – left behind a man who drowned her in his intensity and blindsided her with his touch. Getting over this man was never going to be easy. And now he’s back in her life.

She has questions she needs answering, but her determination to get these answers will give the pleasure-seeking playboy the power to destroy her again. She needs to keep her eyes wide open and caution at the forefront of her mind, an ambitious intention when Jesse Ward is within touching distance. And he plans to be.

He’s dark, he’s broken – Ava knows this, but the only way to find out how dark and how broken is to get beneath the steely exterior of this man."

The adorable British author had some BIG news before the third installment was released—This Man Confessed was to be published by Forever (Hachette Book Group) and the first two books were to be re-published! On July 2, 2013, it was time to get answers to all those burning questions I had, to "hear" Jesse's confessions, read about their lovely wedding, and find out about Jesse and Ava's happily-ever-after! I was certainly beaming over the paradisiacal epilogue!

Five Beyond Amazing and Totally Swoony Stars! *****


The Manor, the very place where their passionate love affair began, fills with guests on what should be the happiest day of Ava and Jesse's lives. She has accepted that she'll never tame the fierceness in Jesse and she doesn't want to. Their love is profound, their connection powerful, but just when she thinks that she's finally gotten beneath his guarded exterior, more questions arise, leading Ava to believe that Jesse Ward may not be the man she thinks he is. He knows too well how to take her to a place beyond ecstasy . . . but will he also drive her to the brink of despair? It's time for this man to confess."

The trilogy may be complete but Jesse is too much...of everything to simply fade away. Besides, Jodi Ellen Malpas continues to be charming and interactive with her devoted readers. She offered a contest on her beautiful website—ten lucky people would be chosen to receive a copy of the limited edition, numbered, and autographed This Man Trilogy Keepsake Book. Let me just say this up front—I never win bloody anything! Okay, but now I have to take that back because I was one of the ten winners!  When I saw my name along with the other 9 ladies on August 4, I was astonished, giddy, and so freaking happy! Then, before I knew it the beautiful little treasure had made its way across The Pond to me!  Since it arrived yesterday, I've gawked over it, photographed it, and even shot some video. After looking at it some more I'll be archiving it to keep it safe, but know in this instance that out of sight will definitely not mean out of mind...because, really, who could ever forget Jesse Ward, right ladies?

SQUEE! There's More to See Here!

So, that's it...3...2...1...Zero, baby! :)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Book Review: No More Wasted Time by Beverly Preston

Title: No More Wasted Time
Series: The Mathews Family #1
Author: Beverly Preston
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Published: 01/13/2012
Publisher: Self-published
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance


After losing her husband to a sudden heart attack, Tess Mathews escapes to Bora Bora to lay her husband and sorrow to rest. What she doesn’t expect is a new beginning.

Tom Clemmins is an A-list actor whose life revolves around work and an onslaught of women. He travels to Bora Bora for a much-needed break. Tom has a few ideas of how he’ll enjoy his vacation, but love isn’t one of them. Until he sees Tess.

Reserving a private shark-feeding excursion to scatter her husband’s ashes into the lagoon, Tess is furious when Mr. Hollywood bribes his way onto the boat, leaving her no other choice but to share the boat ride.

Tess is torn between tremendous guilt and zealous lust when their boat ride turns into a week full of romance and desire neither thought imaginable. Utterly smitten with a woman for the first time in his life, Tom casts his commitment phobia aside and whisks Tess off to Malibu where he introduces her as his “girlfriend” on the red carpet.

As the paparazzi besiege, can Tess survive the media blitz that ensues in order to find her second chance at love?

It's fate I tell you. This beautiful story and I were meant to be, kinda like Tess and Tom were. (Slightly dramatized for effect.) I had this novel in my sights months ago but lost track of it. Then two days ago, there it was again. This time I wasn't going to let it pass me by.

The thing that really struck me with this book was how exceptionally romantic it was. Romantic in language—in gesture—in chemistry—in the locations. Ahh, beautiful! I found it to be very sexy too but not crude or nasty. Tom and Tess are hot for each other, but from the beginning, their mutual attraction was beyond just physical attraction.

This story is like a multifaceted gem. It evoked a wide range of emotions in me. There was so much to appreciate about almost every aspect of it. The character of Tom Clemmins was a famous and wealthy celebrity and that was made part of the book. However, it was balanced nicely with the "normal" that was Tess. Her grief over the loss of her husband, her becoming the Tess she was with Tom, the development of their relationship, and the way in which her (and later Tom's) relationship with her grown children were depicted...I appreciated it all. Immensely.

This story made me realize that books that are categorically considered "romantic" aren't always very romantic. After a while reading books with hints of romance become the norm. No More Wasted Time was a lavishly romantic and touching story this mature reader found extraordinary!

The second book in the series, Shayla's Story, was published on June 23 and is already waiting for me on my reading device.  :)