Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Book Review: It Had to Be You by Melissa Kate

It Had to Be You by Melissa Kate is a cute romance and a quick read. Emma has a confectionary shop in town and Oliver is the Chief (I wasn't clear on this - he's a small-town Intelligence chief on the police department who gets called into the big city for special cases. It didn't make sense to me, and unfortunately, his job is a big part of the story). Emma and Oliver were best friends until high school when Oliver suddenly pulls away and becomes a lothario and confirmed bachelor. They are brought back together after an auction when Emma "bids" on Oliver and wins him to make renovations at her shop.
I like second-chance romances, but this was all over the map with extra storylines and padding that seemed to be thrown in. For example, there's a domestic disturbance call that results in a father being called in for a drunk-and-disorderly after embarrassing his young son. This was supposed to be funny (it wasn't), and I kept waiting for the son to show up again in the story. Maybe Oliver would befriend him? But nope, didn't happen. The same went for the prankster storyline (if Oliver is such a highly trained officer that he gets called in for kidnapping and serial murder cases, why is he also chasing pranksters or teaching a senior defense class?) It was too much of a mess for me to enjoy this the way I wanted to. I would have preferred that the romance be developed more. It's not a horrible book, but I wish more of the potential had been developed. Thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to read the ARC.

Trad Tuesday: The Water is Wide sung by the Indigo Girls, Jewel, and Sarah McLachlan



The Water is Wide is of Scottish origin and dates back to the 1600s. It is a very popular folk song and has been sung by many performers. The version here is sung by the Indigo Girls, Jewel, and Sarah McLachlan at one of their Lilith Fair appearances.

Lyrics:
The water is wide, I cannot get over
Neither have I wings to fly
Give me a boat that can carry two
And both shall row, my love and I
A ship there is and she sails the sea
She's loaded deep as deep can be
But not so deep as the love I'm in
I know not if I sink or swim
I leaned my back against an oak
Thinking it was a trusty tree
But first it bent and then it broke
So did my love prove false to me
I reached my finger into some soft bush
Thinking the fairest flower to find
I pricked my finger to the bone
And left the fairest flower behind
Oh love be handsome and love be kind
Gay as a jewel when first it is new
But love grows old and waxes cold
And fades away like the morning dew
Must I go bound while you go free
Must I love a man who doesn't love me
Must I be born with so little art
As to love a man who'll break my heart
When cockle shells turn silver bells
Then will my love come back to me
When roses bloom in winter's gloom
Then will my love return to me

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Book Review: The Council by Kayla Krantz

When I started this book, I thought it might turn into Divergent with witches, but boy was I wrong. It's so much more than that.
Lilith comes from parents with no powers, but she lives in Ignis, one of the sections of the Land of Five, that deals with fire power and hopes to develop those powers. Instead, she has telekinesis, a power which generally resides in inhabitants of Mentis. She also has had a painful leg since childhood, the result of a magical accident with fire. However, the more she probes, the more she finds that the 'accident' wasn't what she's always been told. Her powers are a mystery too.
Lilith is feisty and brusque, but extremely interesting as a protagonist. She's very strong-willed, but not always morally right in her stands. When she is dragged into the Council, the ruling body of the Land of Five, she must develop her powers amid conflicting loyalties to her old friends and new associates.
I'm anxious to find out what happens in the next book. I'd recommend this book to lovers of paranormal, witches, fairies, and magic.

Link to Amazon

Saturday, April 22, 2017

New Release and Review: There are no Such Thing as People by Michelle Williams-King

This is a wonderful book for children, charmingly illustrated and rhymed. Little Monster is afraid of the boy in his closet. This a sweet book for bedtime reading, especially for a child that might have trouble settling down at night or naptime. It comes as an ebook or in paper book and is a great addition to any child's library.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Book Release: Helping Helper by Tara C. Allred

Romance, Women’s Fiction
Date Published: 3/23/2017

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"He’s not a friend, he’s my husband. And he’s gone.” 
En route to Salt Lake City, intending to start over, their car breaks down near the struggling mining town of Helper, Utah—and then Tony leaves Kora behind.
Alone, broken and angry, especially that her family was right in their judgment against Tony, Kora decides to stay in Helper and aid in it’s art-centered transformation.
But in working to save her new home, Kora learns first love only happens once.
For a second chance at love, a much greater risk is required.




Excerpt


Chapter One
    

A cloud of smoke billowed over the hood of the old 1984 Buick causing Kora, after three hours of silence, to finally speak. “Tony! What’s going on?”

“Oh no!” With his long fingers, Tony gripped the steering wheel and leaned forward. The engine went quiet. Suddenly, the car was coasting. Tony steered it to a halt along the dirt shoulder. Smoke poured out above them.

“What is it, Tony?” Past the windshield, Kora stared at the stream of white caught between them and the green mile marker ahead. “Is the car on fire?”

“No,” he said. But there was fear in his tone.  Quickly, he masked it with a calmer assurance. “It’s just overheated.”

The fear transferred to Kora’s voice. “You said you got that fixed!”

With two hours before they reached Salt Lake, and six hours of tension behind them, Tony finally faced her. “I did,” he said calmly. “I replaced the radiator hoses and cap, and it’s fixed.”

She kept her eyes on him, glaring as she pulled her dark blonde hair into a hasty bun. “Then what is it?”

He shrugged, but Kora caught the alarm surfacing in his eyes before he turned to the door.

As soon as he lifted the hood, the full force of steam released itself, tumbling out toward the blue sky.

She opened the passenger door. The hot desert air greeted her. She slipped on her old heavy sandals and approached the hood to find Tony clutching his forehead, his lips moving, hot words streaming out. But when she got close, his speech ceased.

“So what are we going to do?” she asked.

Like a poorly-choreographed dance, he slipped past her, making his way nearly the entire circumference of the car before sliding back into the driver’s seat.

Kora stepped toward the engine, steam hitting her face. She shifted away. Warmth from the sun hit her back. Another step and she watched Tony turning the key in the ignition.

Nothing happened.

Another attempt.

Tony banged his fist against the steering wheel. “No!”

She approached the driver’s side to catch Tony’s cheek spasm. “I’ll walk to the nearest town,” he said. “I think the last sign we passed said it’s five miles ahead.”

“Okay.”

He shifted from the driver’s seat, causing Kora to step back.

“I just got to see how far a garage is.” He marched over to the hood. “Get some help towing this in.”  He released the hood prop, then slammed it shut.

“Does the car need to cool off more?” she asked.

“Doesn’t matter,” he said gruffly.

“Should I come with?” she tried to sound sweet, but an edge from hours before lingered there.

“Just wait in the car.”

“Its a hundred degrees out here,” the tension was back. “What if I fry?”

A sad smile twisted across Tony’s face. “What do you want me to say? If this town doesn’t have what we need, we might be walking for miles.”

“Then let’s walk.” Kora grabbed her purse and looked back to see Tony studying her thick wooden sandals.

When he looked up at her, his face remained tight. “You sure?”

“Yes!”

He shrugged then turned back to the driver’s door, retrieved the keys, locked the Buick doors, and began their march toward help.

Gravel crunched under Kora’s sandals. With each step, she listened to the shifting of rocks under her small frame. Where most couples gain weight after marriage, often both she and Tony had lost pounds during their six years.

With the back of her hand, she swiped away sweat drops running down her face, only to feel more accumulating at her hairline. The sun’s rays seemed to beat in anger, lashing vengeance on Kora for her unkind words to Tony.

At the start of their journey, she hadn’t meant to be so harsh. But the words had just come, one after the other. Spite building on each beating word. 

Now she watched him walk, his hot boots tromping down on the gravel in front of her. His crunch louder than hers.

“How much further?” she called out to him.

At first there was no response. Then he shrugged.

She shrugged back, sharing hers with no one except the wrath of the sun.

While her feet carried on their rhythmic crunch, Kora looked up in defiance at the sky. Then for a moment, she closed her eyes and let the flaming air greet her face. She sensed the sun challenging her, pushing her until she begged for relief, but she would carry on. Her father had blamed her for such intense commitment, such loyalty inside her. He had seen it as her weakness. She saw it as her strength.

And with that strength, she’d get through this, she’d find a breeze of hope, a sweetness in this life Tony had promised her. A fulfilment that was long overdue.

By the year 2000, which was only four months away, Kora would have the future she wanted, the earnest desires of her heart. 

She opened her eyes to see a pillow of cloud, a bright, white cloud, shifting toward the sun, the promise of temporary relief. Once the sun was covered, she saw the radiant blueness, set against the red desert hills that surrounded them. She also saw the road, the long highway that stretched out into the hills in front of them.

Then she spotted it, a structure, a building of sorts, followed by another. She extended her stride, just as Tony did. The town was coming.

   Soon the green highway sign welcomed them to Helper. And they followed the descending road until Kora spotted Speedy Lou’s, a fast food joint, which although run down, seemed able to offer some form of refreshment.

Tony arrived before her, pausing in front of the entrance, as if Kora’s slow steps had spoken to him. “Do you want to stop here?” he called out.

She hated to admit it, but tears were burning in her eyes. The promise of water, a spot to sit down, a break from a growing blister and the blazing sun, she bit her lip and nodded.  Then she tried to walk the final steps calmly, keeping her face stoic. As soon as she was inside, she collapsed into a nearby booth. With a bit of effort, she dug into a pocket of her jean cutoffs while scanning the menu. “Do you want something?”

He stood near her. “No.”

She dropped a nickel followed by a dollar bill onto the table. It wouldn’t go far, but it was something. “You sure?” she said, looking at her offering with a slight laugh. Then she glanced up, catching his look, a softness in his eyes that hadn’t been there in weeks. He added a dollar to the humble pile.

“Yeah. I’ll keep going, see what kind of help’s here.” Then he slipped out the door. But before Kora could manage the strength to stand, the door’s entrance bell rang, and there he was again standing above her.

“Here.” He set down a small stack of folded bills.

“Tony!” Kora found herself laughing at the ten-dollar bill that looked up at her. “I don’t need that much.”

His hand slid over hers, and the touch surprised her, as did the tenderness in his voice. “No. It’s for you. Just don’t go overboard on your hamburger fixings.” Then he kissed her forehead, a gesture he hadn’t made in days, before slipping back out the door.

Kora unfolded the bills to find along with the ten, two fives, and a twenty-dollar bill. She stood up and looked out the window, but he was gone.


About the Author

TARA C. ALLRED is an award-winning author, instructional designer, and educator. She has been recognized as a California Scholar of the Arts for Creative Writing and is a recipient of the Howey awards for Best Adult Book and Best Adult Author. She lives in Utah with her husband.
Her other published works include Sanders' Starfish, Unauthored Letters, and The Other Side of Quiet, a 2015 Kindle Book Award Finalist and Whitney Award Winner.
To learn more about the author, visit www.taracallred.net.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Trad Tuesday: Òran Do Phrionnsa Teàrlach performed by Gillebride MacMillan



Òran Do Phrionnsa Teàrlach is a song about the Jacobite Rebellion and specifically Bonnie Prince Charlie. The Battle of Culloden took place April 16, 1746 and the aftermath caused the disruption of Highland culture for many years, almost wiping it out.
Gillebride MacMillan is "the Bard" on the STARZ series of Outlander so this video features many scenes from the series. He sings it in the tradition Scottish Gaelic.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Book Review: Eden's Demise by Angelique S Anderson

Eden's Serum is the second book in the Eden Series and continues the thrill ride from the first book.
Lars Morello, the evil mastermind of Eden's serum, has now adapted it so once injected, the subject must obey his commands. He uses it to take care of some of his enemies and now Adam and Evelyn are being targeted.
The writing here is excellent and the book is a quick read as the reader wants to know what happens next.The story moves right along, the villains are evil, and generally, this is a good read. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Link to Amazon