Review: The Mac Brothers Series (Anthology) – various authors

mac brothersBLURB: A perfect Summer beach read!
The Mac Brothers have everything. Confidence. Tattoos. Attitudes. Everything except love.
But for every bad boy, there’s a girl who ignores the rules.

From four of your favourite bestselling authors:
Aaron MacDonald – Seaside Seduction-Angela Ford
Donnan MacDonald – Seaside Playboy-Jennifer Conner
Layne MacDonald – Seaside Rendezvous-Natalie-Nicole Bates
Blake MacDonald – Seaside Passion – Tammy Tate

REVIEW: To be honest, I expected more from this book. A lot more. Most family anthologies show care and attention to an overall plot line but unfortunately this one didn’t. The over-all detail didn’t change in that from book one to four, the basics were consistent (like role, birth order, reason for leaving then returning) but it was very superficial, the characters were surface only and I found it hard to finish, and things jumped around and the books read at very different pacing. I wouldn’t be going out of my way to look for other titles by these authors. 1 star.

I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from the publisher and am voluntarily reviewing it. As per, I don’t seek to fund this blog, but the book is available NOW on Amazon & other e-book retailer sites.

Because, BEARS.

I’ll concede right now that I read a lot. And a lot of what I read isn’t worth reviewing, as I read to clear my head before sleep, or to drown out the chaos around me. This last two weeks with the cold virus has been awful and I haven’t retained a lot. Except, bears.

The latest Psy-Changeling book was released last week, and a couple of days later the e-book dropped into my Kindle. Oops. Oddly enough (given we live in a tech world and I’d also pre-ordered the audiobook for the same release date) Audible didn’t deliver that version until the evening. I will say it was harder than usual to work that day as all I wanted to do was hibernate. I should have taken a leave day and curled up – I would have had six un-interrupted hours in between the school run, so totally worth it. Next time!

BLURB: Control. Precision. Family. These are the principles that drive Silver Mercant. At a time when the fledgling Trinity Accord seeks to unite a divided world, with Silver playing a crucial role as director of a worldwide emergency response network, wildness and chaos are the last things she needs in her life. But that’s exactly what Valentin Nikolaev, alpha of the StoneWater bears, brings with him.
 
Valentin has never met a more fascinating woman. Though Silver is ruled by Silence—her mind clear of all emotion—Valentin senses a whisper of fire around her. That’s what keeps him climbing apartment buildings to be near her. But when a shadow assassin almost succeeds in poisoning Silver, the stakes become deadly serious…and Silver finds herself in the heart of a powerful bear clan.
 
Her would-be assassin has no idea what their poison has unleashed…

I really enjoyed this book. It’s the first in the Trinity story arc and so, so different a world from the first book, Slave to Sensation (2006!) yet still the same. Seeing a glimpse of some older characters settles my need to have linking books, and I can see a few of the issues that the three cultures need to resolve showing thru to what will form at least the next few books (note Nalini, you need to give us more than just the Trinity conclusion!!) but as ever, Nalini’s characters are not entirely predictable (bears!). The only thing that I found jarring was who the culprit was, and I can’t say more than that so early on in the publication life. Perhaps after I’ve re-read (or finished listening) that will settle on me. I can inadvertently not “grab” a meaning because I am devouring the book too fast & I suspect that’s the case here.

Because I don’t seek to fund this blog & I purchased these editions, I won’t give specific links but you can read an excerpt or look for local editions on Nalini’s site : http://nalinisingh.com/books/psychangeling-trinity-series/silver-silence/ 

Lastly – I much prefer the darker UK covers. Thankfully that’s what we get down here 🙂

Book Review – The Woman on the Orient Express by Lindsay Jayne Ashford

Format: Kindle (own purchase)

51lptbquyvl-_sx331_bo1204203200_Synopsis: Hoping to make a clean break from a fractured marriage, Agatha Christie boards the Orient Express in disguise. But unlike her famous detective Hercule Poirot, she can’t neatly unravel the mysteries she encounters on this fateful journey.

Agatha isn’t the only passenger on board with secrets. Her cabinmate Katharine Keeling’s first marriage ended in tragedy, propelling her toward a second relationship mired in deceit. Nancy Nelson—newly married but carrying another man’s child—is desperate to conceal the pregnancy and teeters on the brink of utter despair. Each woman hides her past from the others, ferociously guarding her secrets. But as the train bound for the Middle East speeds down the track, the parallel courses of their lives shift to intersect—with lasting repercussions.

Filled with evocative imagery, suspense, and emotional complexity, The Woman on the Orient Express explores the bonds of sisterhood forged by shared pain and the power of secrets.

 

I picked this one up in the new year sales on a whim, & started reading this weekend in my wait for the TV programme Maigret (yes, I know he’s not written by Christie, but it was the era that triggered my whim). And this has the hallmarks I love about historical fiction – the basis of the story is true, the side characters existed (in fact, it’s hard to pick which one of the main characters is fiction if you don’t know much about Christie, like me) & the period is beautifully written. I won’t really expand on the jacket synopsis, as I don’t think that I need to, but I will say this – READ THIS BOOK. Or listen. It’s that good. I’m going to be looking for more from Ashford very soon.

 

Review: Connilyn Cossette’s Counted With The Stars

out-fo-egyptSynopsis: Sold into slavery by her father and forsaken by the man she was supposed to marry, young Egyptian Kiya must serve a mistress who takes pleasure in her humiliation.

When terrifying plagues strike Egypt, Kiya is in the middle of it all. To save her older brother and escape the bonds of slavery, Kiya flees with the Hebrews during the Great Exodus.

She finds herself utterly dependent on a fearsome God she’s only just beginning to learn about, and in love with a man who despises her people. With everything she’s ever known swept away, will Kiya turn back toward Egypt or surrender her life and her future to Yahweh?

He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars–if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

Genesis 15:5

I picked this one up thru Book Bub as I have liked Biblical historical fiction previously – and I was wowed. Not only was it cheap (but hurry, that offer closes shortly!!) the writing of this one is superb. There is attention to detail, a real urgency, adherence to the story of Exodus and the fleshing out of the characters is top-notch. I didn’t even stitch last night, as I wanted to keep reading – and I raved about this one to whomever would listen. God’s grace is for everyone, even a sinner like me.

I’ve already brought book two! Definitely 5 stars from me.

Complimentary bible studies for the first two books are available on the You Bible study website and app; see https://www.bible.com/search/plans?q=Connilyn%20Cossette&version_id=1209

Book Review: Just One Thing by Holly Jacobs

jot“Sometimes, you find yourself inadvertently in the dark. But I’d discovered that if you stopped fighting against it and just stood still, sometimes something marvellous comes along.”

Artist Lexie McCain spends her days literally weaving the story of her life into a gorgeous tapestry. But on Monday nights, she walks to the Corner Bar, drinks a Killian’s, and answers the same question every week from Sam the bartender: “One thing?” She starts with her name, then her cottage, slowly moving on to the devastating tragedies that tore her life apart.

Sam Corner’s smile doesn’t seem to hide any pain. One night, Lexie turns the tables on him, asking Sam, “One thing?” To her surprise, Sam reveals his own tragic history. Together, Lexie and Sam learn that, with good beer and a trusted friend, sharing just “one thing” might lead to the one thing they both thought was lost forever: love.

From award-winning author Holly Jacobs comes the story of heartache, hope, and the power of sharing just one thing.

 

This one popped up thru my Kindle for Samsung app as a freebie. It’s not free anymore, but still cheap – and I totally recommend it. This author’s been around for a while (mainstream and HMB) & I’ll be picking up some more. First I think will be “I Waxed My Legs for This?” 🙂

I read this on-and-off as my “appointment” book, so it’s been about two months total since I started it. The short chapters and flowing dialogue make it easy to read, & I didn’t manage to confuse it with the others I read during this time. The themes of getting knocked down then needing to find strength to go on are universal. The characters (like the ones I recently reviewed by Susan Mallery) are carefully crafted and realistic, and most importantly (if you’re going to get a message from this book) – likeable. The romance is secondary to character growth, there’s little PDA (so if you have littlies and listen to audio books, this is safe). Just get it.

For an excerpt, or book club questions, click here http://www.hollyjacobs.com/JustOneThing.html

Book Review: Mischief Bay & a bit of waffle

Sorry for not keeping up – life is kind-of hectic, altho I look back and think that really, I’m just dog-paddling like a mad thing, trying to stay in the one spot. I feel sorry for Mase, as he is not playing a team sport this winter, solely so that I can support Bran & his refereeing. Si is running around with Zac in tow – who STARTED in the run-on 15 this weekend. Woot! Mase is lovely and while a little upset, is just getting on with everything else. I brought him a Lovett’s kids puzzle book as it was persisting down on Saturday (no park playground time) & he ripped thru it. His spelling list is year 5/6 – he’s technically a year 2. Words like acclimate, estimate, zootopia – and he’s expected to know the meanings too. Have you ever tried to explain Zootopia to a 6 year old? I think it could have been easier to explain the U2 album of the same name…

Anyway, I have made time for reading. Right now, I’m in Firefly Lane by Kristen Hannah, but I’m kind-of hungover from back-to-back Susan Mallery. I came across her Mischief Bay series and wow.

The Girls of Mischief Bay.jpgBook ONE: The Girls of Mischief Bay:

Nicole Lord wants to be a good wife, but there’s a difference between being supportive and supporting her husband, who quit his job to write a screenplay she’s never seen. He won’t even help take care of their son, leaving Nicole to run the house and work full-time at her Mischief Bay Pilates studio. Can she say enough is enough without losing the man she loves?

Sacrificing a personal life for her career is how Shannon Rigg rose to become vice president in her firm, but she wonders now whether she made the right choice. An exciting new relationship with a great guy convinces her that it might not be too late—until he drops a bombshell that has her questioning whether she can have it all. And if she can, does she want it?

Although Pam Eiland has a beautiful house and a husband she adores, she feels… restless. She wonders who a stay-at-home mom becomes after the kids are grown. Finding sexy new ways to surprise her husband brings the heat and the humor back to their marriage, but when unexpected change turns her life upside down, she’ll have to redefine herself. Again.

The Friends We Keep.jpgBook TWO: The Friends We Keep

After five years as a stay-at-home mom, Gabby Schaefer can’t wait to return to work. Oh, to use the bathroom in peace! No twins clamoring at the door, no husband barging in, no stepdaughter throwing a tantrum. But when her plans are derailed by some shocking news and her husband’s crushing expectations, Gabby must fight for the right to have a life of her own.

Getting pregnant is easy for Hayley Batchelor. Staying pregnant is the hard part. Her husband is worried about the expensive fertility treatments and frantic about the threat to her health. But to Hayley, a woman who was born to be a mom should risk everything to fulfill her destiny—no matter how high the cost.

Nicole Lord is still shell-shocked by a divorce that wasn’t as painful as it should’ve been. Other than the son they share, her ex-husband left barely a ripple in her life. A great new guy tempts her to believe maybe the second time’s the charm…but how can she trust herself to recognize true love?

At times these characters are someone you’d like to know IRL, then at other times I wanted to smack them. I guess that’s the sign of a good book – you get engrossed and you have real feelings. The growth and changes are realistic, the sub-characters are well crafted, the location (the other side of the earth from me) sounds real; I’ve already added book 3 to my diary so that I definitely don’t miss it next February.

Sadly, not the same with the latest Nora Roberts trilogy. Blah blah boring.

And lastly – go ICELAND! Love a good under-dog story.

Kit Review – Cross Stitcher Bunny

20160609_084343

  • Source: Cross Stitcher Magazine, April 2016
  • Designer: Maria Diaz
  • Supplied: wooden shape, threads, needle, button, length of ribbon
  • Overall: yeah, OK

I must admit that I brought this one just because it was there. I was looking for the Summer issue as stitchtherapyblog is featured, but we’re so far behind it wasn’t on the shelf – this is issue 303 and she’s in 306! However there’s a couple of charts in this issue I will use, so it’s not a wasted trip.

I am avoiding the autumn side of my biscornu so I decided to stitch Bunny in my downtime yesterday. He’s cute, isn’t he?

But I do have a couple of issues with the packet & instructions.

 

  • If it’s a brooch, as the suggested finish, why wasn’t there felt or even interfacing to cover & protect the back during use?
  • The suggestion is to use the loop knot to start. Now, I consider myself an intermediate and experienced stitcher, but I’ve yet to work out how to loop start with an uneven number of threads! I did need to use the suggested 3 strands to get the full coverage – 4 was too much, 2 left gaps.
  • The thread lengths are far too small to loop start anyway. You’d only get 8-10 stitches completed at a time.
  • Beginner stitchers would benefit by having the number of thread lengths mentioned, as well as colour. There isn’t a huge difference between lt brown (422) & chestnut (3828) but it would make the finished piece look odd if you stitched them the wrong way around.
  • My wooden piece is cute and very evenly punched – but oddly smells liked smoked fish!

I’m not going to finish as a brooch. I’m planing on backing with felt and adding a large magnet so I can use as a needle minder or on the fridge.