Christmas Awards 2011

Monday, 5 September 2016

Mad for the Plaid

Mad for the Plaid by Karen Hawkins

Publisher: Pocket Books

August 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4767-8601-8

Pages: 368

Historical Romance

Scottish Highlands

Prince Nikolai Romanovin is furious when his beloved grandmother is abducted on her visit to an old friend in the Scottish Highlands. Nik plans to quietly rescue his grandmother so that he can avoid an international incident. His plan to do that is to slip into enemy territory disguised as a groom. When he falls under the cool gray gaze of the laird’s daughter his plans go awry. She instantly realizes he is not who he is pretending to be.

Lady Ailsa Mackenzie has more than her share of wits even if she may be plain of looks. She demands to assist in the rescue for the honor of her clan. Together Nik and Ailsa must free his grandmother from danger. At the same time they must face the growing demands of their own unruly hearts.

This is another great book in a series that has proven to be fun and interesting and that is full of some great characters. The book takes the reader on a wonderful adventure that they will be sorry to reach the end of. This is just another book from an author that proves to be able to write engrossing and fun books that never let the reader down. It will also have readers looking forward to the next series from this author. It also proves to be a very fast read as the reader keeps turning pages to see what will happen to Nik and Ailsa next.

I give this one 5 red roses


Playing Fast

Playing Fast by Melanie Scott

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

September 2016

ISBN: 978-1-250-07721-9

Pages: 320

Contemporary Romance

Sarasota Springs

Finn Castro is a baseball bad-boy that ends up raising one eyebrow too many and the Saints send him down to the minors. If he wants his major-league dreams he is going to have to earn them with the Sarasota Springs Preachers. Cleaning up his act isn’t going to be easy especially as he has never claimed to be a man of the cloth. It is going to be harder still with the stunning Eva Harlowe at the heart of the team’s administration.

Eva knows having a crush on Finn Castro is the same as wishing for an eighth day of the week and just as sensible. Seeing Finn is person with all his muscles and just as gorgeous up close and personal melts her resolve. She is planning on leaving baseball at the end of the season and a hot fling would be a fantasy home run. When the no-strings sex starts feeling more like a perfect partnership, Finn and Eva are going to have to figure out if they are going to choose the love of the game or a real life together.

This is part of a series but can easily be read as a standalone. The book is interesting and the plot and characters pull the reader in and will have them turning the pages just to see how things turn out for Finn and Eva. It will also have readers wanting to check out the other books in the series so that they can learn more about the world that they are set in and to learn more about all the different characters that make up that world. This is a fun book to read and readers will enjoy the characters.

I give this one 4-1/2 red roses


Dragon Marked

Dragon Marked by Jaymin Eve

Publisher: Skyscape

November 2015

ISBN: 978-1503949782

Pages: 256

Contemporary Paranormal Suspense, Romantic elements

Stratford, Connecticut

Jessa Lebron is a wolf shifter with razor-sharp senses. She can perceive the slightest change in the air. Her lupine instincts go into overdrive right before her mother returns. A mother that abandoned her years ago. A mother that returns to the pack bearing secrets that change everything.

The biggest secret being that Jessa is dragon marked and it is a designation that places her in grave danger. Dragon marked are destined to resurrect the dragon king, a fearsome ancient warmonger. Dragon marked must be eliminated.

Soon Jessa finds herself locked up in Vanguard. Vanguard is the notorious paranormal prison that houses criminal feys, magic users and vampires. Luckily she is not alone there. Her best friend and a dragon shifter, Braxton Compass has her back. Braxton and Jess must find a way to free themselves and also the rest of the dragon marked. Can her pack mates help her stop the dragon king before his deadly return?

This is start of a trilogy that takes off from the very beginning and doesn’t stop until the end of the book and will have readers wanting to read the rest of the trilogy to find out just how everything turns out. With humor and action this book doesn’t stop at all. Readers will find that this ends up being a very fast read as they won’t want to put it down for any reason. The characters pull the reader in so completely they will wish they could find the town and meet all the different character that reside there. It will also have readers wanting to read the series that is tied to this trilogy.

I give this one 5 red roses


The Testing

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

June 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-95910-8

Pages: 325

Dystopian futuristic Young Adult

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. That is what they say isn’t it? But when they may be one and the same how close is too close?

Much of the planet was left a charred wasteland with the Seven Stages War. The future is supposed to belong to the next generation’s chosen few. The ones who will rebuild it. First though the candidates must pass The Testing if they want to enter this elite group. It is their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career.

Cia Vale is chosen as a Testing candidate and is honored to be one. She is also eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and a future leader of the United Commonwealth. Her father’s advice on the eve of her departure hints at a darker side of her upcoming studies. Trust no one.

She can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance though, surely. Tomas seems to care more about her with each and every grueling and deadly day of The Testing. Cia must choose love without truth or life without trust if she is to survive.

This is a book that takes a genre and twists it into its very one genre. The characters are interesting and make for a story that will keep the reader guessing just who is who and who can Cia trust. The twists and turns the story takes will keep readers on their toes as they try to figure out what will happen next and just how it will turn out. It will also have readers eagerly reaching for the other two books in the trilogy so they can find out just where the books will ultimately end up and how they will get there. While this trilogy might sound like some other books this one truly does stand on its own and makes for an engrossing read.

I give this one 5 red roses


How to Hang a Witch

How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf

July 2016

ISBN: 978-0-553-53947-9

Pages: 355

Contemporary Young Adult

Salem, Massachusetts

Sixteen-year-old Samantha Mather is new to Salem, Massachusetts which also happens to be the site of the infamous Witch Trials. Being recently transplanted from New York City, Sam isn’t exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is a descendant of Cotton Mather who was one of the men responsible for the Trials. And almost immediately Sam becomes the enemy of a group of girls that call themselves The Descendants. No need to guess who their ancestors were.

Sam also finds herself face to face with a real, live (though technically dead) ghost as if dealing with everything else wasn’t enough. The ghost is handsome and also angry that Sam keeps touching his stuff.

Sam soon finds out she is at the center of a centuries-old curse that is affecting everyone with ties to the Trials. Sam needs to work with The Descendants and come to terms with the ghost if she is going to have a chance at stopping the deadly cycle that has been going on since the first alleged witch that was hanged. Salem should have learned its lesson if any town should have learned from the past. Though it seems history may be about to repeat itself.

This is a book that takes several different topics and ties them all together to make for a story that proves to be an amazing read. The reader will find themselves turning the pages just to see what will happen next and just where this one will end up at. The way history is brought to life through the incidents that are happening in contemporary Salem prove to be fascinating and makes for a story that is very hard to put down. It will also have readers hoping to read more from this author as she writes a book that is unforgettable.

I give this one 5 red roses


I am Number Four

I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Publisher: HarperCollins

Reissue: August 2011

ISBN: 978-0-06-202624-8

Pages: 440

Contemporary Sci-fi, Young Adult

John Smith and his guardian Henri seem to be living a normal life in Paradise, Ohio and John seems to be an ordinary teenager. John is most definitely not an ordinary teenager and keeping a low profile is essential for him. He is on the run and is an alien from the planet Lorien. Aliens that are evil and from the planet Mogadore, destroyed his world and are now hunting anyone that escaped.

There were nine Loric children that come to Earth to hide until they grew up and developed their Legacies. The powers that would help them fight back, survive and save Earth. Three are now dead. John is Number Four and knows he is next.

This is a story that is full of action and adventure and makes for a very fast read. It will also have readers checking out the other books in the series to learn more about this world and those that live in it. Reading how John fights to stay alive makes for an amazing read and will have readers hoping for more about him in the other books. It will also have readers hoping for a good ending at the end of the series. The book is full twists and turns and definitely takes readers on a roller coast ride that is unforgettable.

I give this one 5 red roses


Disappearance at Devil's Rock

Disappearance at Devil’s Rock by Paul Tremblay

Publisher: William Morrow

June 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-236326-8

Pages: 327

Contemporary Suspense

Elizabeth Sanderson receives the devastating news that every parent fears late one summer night: Tommy, her thirteen-year-old son vanished without a trace in the woods of the state park that is nearby.

Elizabeth and her eleven-year-old daughter, Kate struggle to understand and comprehend Tommy’s disappearance as the search isn’t yielding any answers for them. Their sorrow is compounded by both anger and frustration and making them feel both alone and helpless. The local police nor the state police have been able to uncover any leads. Josh and Luis, are friends of Tommy and also the last to see him before he vanished. They may also not be telling the whole truth about the night they were in Borderland State Park where they said they were hanging out at a landmark they renamed Devil’s Rock.

Elizabeth is completely unprepared when a series of strange events follow as she is living in all-too-real nightmare. Kate and other local residents claim to see a shadowy figure that seems to be peering through their windows in the dead of night and if that wasn’t bad enough Elizabeth is convinced the wraithlike apparition she saw is of Tommy that materialized in her bedroom. Suddenly random pages torn from Tommy’s journals start to mysteriously appear. The entries also reveal a teenager that is introverted and obsessed with the phantasmagoric. One that is also obsessed with the father he lost, a father that was killed in a drunk-driving accident a decade earlier. Tommy is also completely fascinated with the folktale that involves the devil and the woods of Borderland and the coming zombie “pocketclips” and a horrific incident that Tommy is convinced connects them all.

As the search continues and grows more desperate the implications of what happened become more ominous and sinister and no one is prepared for the shocking truth of what exactly happened that night at Devil’s Rock.

This is a story that stays with the reader long after they are finished. As each chapter unfolds new details in the lives of the characters it brings to vivid life the nightmare of what a parent and family faces when a child disappears. The book also takes the reader on a roller coaster of a ride that is full of twists and turns and will have readers scrambling to figure out just what really happened the night Tommy vanished. The twist ending is one that readers will never see coming.

I give this one 4-1/2 red roses