Chasing Paris By Jen Carter

51lfwFg-MEL__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_To my granddaughters–

My greatest sadness is in not knowing you. This I cannot change, but I do hope that you can forgive my absence. I have loved you from afar, and I have cherished the pictures and stories about you that Eva has shared with me. Please accept the gifts coming to you as a piece of my heart.

What would you do if you found out that someone you had no idea existed, was really your grandparent? Would you try to find out all you could about them, or push them under the rug and hope the thought of them will just disappear?

If you found a textbook with writing’s in the margins throughout the whole book, would you try to find the owner of that book, knowing that it might possibly have been lost by the old owner? What lengths would you be willing to go?

Amy Winthrow wasn’t going to let the new knowledge that the woman that she had grownup calling Nana, wasn’t really her grandmother. She finds some old letters that were written by Lizzie, her maternal grandmother. She finds out that Lizzie was a free spirit, willing to go to great lengths to show off her free spirit. She meets Billy Strath, an artist, in Paris as he paints.

Will was helping his friend write his English paper for school using an Renaissance Poetry textbook that he had bought at the school bookstore. But what he finds intrigue him…there are writing’s in the margins–lots of writings. Some of the writings pertain to the poems and others have more to do with the life of the person who wrote in the margins. He decides that he has to find the owner, because clearly the person who wrote in the margins would never have willingly given up this textbook. It was obviously a mistake.

What happens next brings Amy and Will together to help find out more about her long-lost grandmother, and brings Amy closer to her right path in life; the path she must take in order to be happy.

This coming of age book shows what happens when one doesn’t follow their dreams. 5 stars!

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Titanic With Zombies By Richard Brown

51tvSTPBSsL__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-61,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_“The boilers are holding up. The engines are working well. You said it yourself, Cunard is on their heels.” Ismay spoke slow and assuredly. “You may be retiring after this but the future of the White Star Line goes on. Let’s show the papers that the Titanic is more than just luxury. Let’s give them a headline they won’t soon forget.”

There is no Jack or Rose on this ship this time, no love story between a poor boy and a rich girl or even a big-assed jewel of the ocean that an elderly Rose throws overboard. No, this story has everything the original Titanic had and more. The poor down below decks where they couldn’t be seen, a rogue iceberg in the middle of the night and not enough life jackets and life boats for everyone on board.

Oh, and zombies?

Elise Brennan is awaiting to board the White Star Line tender Ireland, which would take passengers to the RMS Titanic. But while waiting in line, she is stuck by someone with a needle in the back of her neck. She thinks she’s been bitten by a bug, but then she sees the broken syringe and knows the truth. Of course, she worries about her health, but also that she might not be able to get on board if she flunks the physical examination by the doctor.

She tells the doctor that she is ok, that she just has a bug bite. The doctor lets her on board. However, things aren’t well with Elise. She begins to get a fever, and within a short time, she is very ill. Before getting too bad, she writes down what she experienced and how she was feeling at the time and the events which led to this infection.

Elise stumbles out onto the deck and is found by Margaret (The Unsinkable Molly) Brown. With the aid of Thomas Andrews (managing director and lead designer at Harland and Wolff, the shipyard that had built the Titanic), Molly and Andrews carried the woman to the hospital ward.

Within hours of her being infected, two more are infected. When one of the doctor’s decides to try to help them by giving them bread and water, he soon realizes that they don’t want bread and water…they want flesh! They manage to get free, and in the process, get the flesh they so desire. They try to contain the infected, but when they are able to break down the door, it’s every man for himself.

When the ship hits the iceberg and starts taking on water, well…we know what happens next. Or do we?

Well, one thing is for sure, being that so many are infected, there probably is enough lifejackets and life boats for everyone now.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book, but I actually liked it. No, there wasn’t any Jack/Rose love story, but instead, a more real account of what actually happened.

As I’m reading the book, I could envision Kathy Bates as Molly Brown, because everything that Brown said, I heard Bates’ voice. As with the movie, the orchestra played to help calm the fleeing guests, while also using their instruments to defend themselves against those that were infected. And then there was the shiphand that Molly shoots down with her words, telling him that they have to go looking for survivors.

The only thing I didn’t get about the book was why someone would knowingly infect someone and where did this virus come from? Was someone trying to sabotage the maiden voyage of the Titanic? Possibly.

I enjoyed reading this book. 5 stars!

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Penniless Hearts By Eve Gaal

51ohNS1M+5L__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_“Penny,” he repeated, ignoring her comment about being dependable. “I’ll level with you. I’m just flying through and I don’t know anyone.” The rain started to subside. “I’m lonely for company and I’m going back to Pittsburgh in a week. After I fly to Honolulu, they told me I could fly to any other island and stay on the company dime at any property of my choice.” Slowly his facial features morphed into those of a droopy, sad-eyed dog at the pound, before continuing with, “and a whole week alone in Hawaii sounds like hell.”

Blinking away his puppy-like stare, she had to get a hold of herself–maybe he thought she was born yesterday.

“I doubt you’ll be alone for long,” she said with a trace of sarcasm. Holding the two plastic bags with his purchases in one hand, he put his other hand over his heart, and looking quite dismayed, said, “Ouch, that hurt, but you’re probably right.” Then he pursed his lips and made a funny frown that made her struggling butterfly leap into orbit. “I’m not very good at being alone and from what I can tell,” He looked her in the eyes, “I’m not very good at repairing windshield wipers either.” At which, they both burst into laughter–it all sounded so…so honest. Standing up, he brushed the dust and water off his right sleeve before leaning across the open driver’s side door.

Hastily, she got in and looked up at Captain Dan Losegg before saying, “It was nice meeting you but I really have to go now.”

Hating rejection, he grabbed her door,

“Wait, Penny, will you at least have dinner with me?” Smiling and waving goodbye, she gently backed out of the parking space, while Dan kept staring and his eyes kept pleading. “How can I reach you?” Desperation made him sound pathetic. Like someone about to be fired, someone left in the desert without water or a helpless lost soul. She waved again and rolled down her window.

“I work at the Daily Globe, bye.” She accelerated and zoomed out of the parking lot into the street, splashing water onto her windshield and wondering why she told him where she worked.

Penny is at a crossroads. She loves her boyfriend, John, but does she really? Penny is in a rut of sorts, wanting more than just to settle down. He wants a quiet, predictable lifestyle. She wants adventure. Even though she just met this guy, she decides to meet up with Dan, the pilot.

Except, Dan isn’t all that he says he is. He might be lonely, but he’s got a wife. Being the wife of a pilot isn’t easy since he’s gone so much of the year, so she decides to meet up with him in Hawaii.

John loves Penny more than anything and with Penny’s father in tow, he decides to go to Hawaii to look for her, to bring her back to reality. Then there’s Tina who works with Penny at the Globe. She ends up in Hawaii, too.

Through many adventures, from finding out that the man she came to Hawaii to be with was actually married, to being stranded on another island with no money and no one to help her, Penny goes through some harrowing mishaps, like a botched drug deal with hostages. She also meets some wonderful people along the way, ones that help her when no one else will, and in turn, she ends up helping too.

Will John, her father and Tina find her after all the problems Penny encounters? Will Penny want John after all this? I mean, she did run away so she could have adventures.

Penniless Hearts is a heart-warming story of friendship and love. Maybe it took a few near-death experiences to make Penny see what she needed to see.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. 5 stars!

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Secondhand Shoes By Shelly Arkon

41VlEl-wJWL__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_I looked at the living. I knew my maternal grandparents, MiMi and Pap-pap, a handful of Max’s friends, and his parents. The rest were Mom’s friends.

Tears blurred my vision, and time slowed. I was halfway to the altar and felt as if I was watching myself walk to Max.

High-pitched hiccups came one after the other. Pain stabbed at the backs of my heels. I tried walking on my toes, but that pinched my piggies. Acid indigestion, hot as molten lava, rumbled my stomach. I needed to burp. I tucked in my chin and held my breath to help it happen. It was going to be volcanic. It would burn everyone in burp radius. They should run. I should run.

This book brings so many elements to the table: Humour, thrills, action and a lot of paranormal.

The book opens with Lila in a wedding gown and shoes that her mother, Babs, wanted her to wear. Everything about this wedding was for Babs’ benefit…even the choice in the Groom for which it seemed that Lila had no choice in either. The wedding dress is itchy and chaffing, the shoes are secondhand and too small for her feet, and to top it all off, her stomach is about to explode–all signs that Lila should turn around and head back for home. But Babs would never allow that to happen.

Lila is about to marry Max Butz, a man that she barely knows and doesn’t love, mainly to shut up Babs…sorry, I can’t say anything nice about her. She certainly wouldn’t win any Best Mother Ever awards.

But there is someone trying to help Lila and that’s her dead grandmother. Her grandmother keeps telling her to run away before this fiasco can even start. But wait…her grandmother is dead. How can that be? You see, Lila is a medium, which is someone who can see and talk to dead people. This is an advantage to Lila later on in the story.

Of course, does she listen? No. Then there wouldn’t be a story.

Lila’s grandmother’s ghost helps her to get out of many sticky, and often difficult situations. Taking the form of birds and other wildlife, as well as speaking inside of her head, Lila’s grandmother steers Lila in the right direction.

Is there light at the end of the tunnel for Lila? Something else that keeps happening to Lila is that she keeps dreaming/seeing/feeling her ex-boyfriend, Julio’s (the one she should have been with all along) presence…but wait…he’s in a coma. How can this be?

With the help of her best friend Cynthia, a loveable trucker named BJ and her dead grandmother, Lila gets further away from Max and closer to Julio.

Max’s mother is something else, and I don’t know why Lila would ever agree to marry into the Butz family. If for name only, I know I couldn’t do it.

Set in the 80’s, the author shows off her unique style of writing. 5 stars!

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In Flames (Destined Series) By Elissa Daye

51NoBC7jX9L__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-64,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Lysandra’s thoughts were interrupted when she heard a lone howl in the woods. She turned around to see a dog covered in silver fur, or perhaps it had been a wolf? It was hard to tell with the darkness of the night around them. She could see the light of a full moon shining down around them, but it was not enough as the darkness swallowed it easily.

“Did you see that?” Lysandra’s voice was full of dreaded anticipation.

“What?”

“That wolf. Right there behind those trees.”

Bradford turned to where she indicated, but shook his head. “I think the night is playing tricks on you, my dear. There is nothing there but the shadows of the night.”

The book starts out in the Outlands 1342. A man with desires stops by this town and finds a pretty young thing waiting. He beds her, never seemingly to get enough of her…yet, he holds a secret; He is married. When she begins to fall in love with him and wants to make wedding plans, he bursts her bubble by telling her that he can’t marry her because he’s already married. He figures he could have his cake and eat it too. The woman didn’t think so, and puts a curse on him. “I curse thee! From this day forward, you will forever be followed by the beast that lies within your heart! The power of Lena take thee!”

Hundreds of years later, a young girl, Lysandra loses her parents to an overbearing uncle and aunt, ones who don’t care for the girl. They enslave her, beating her and making her feel and be weak, breaking her. Then a young man by the name of Bradford comes to them and frees her, saying that the man for whom he works for wishes to buy her. The aunt and uncle sell her to the man. While on route to where they are going, she notices the wolf in the forest.

She is taken to a place where she is basically sold into prostitution for this man. She’s a virgin, bought because of her innocence, so she is given a sort of training course in how to act around the men. She knows she’s not going to like it here, but anything seemed better than being where she had been…with her mean aunt and uncle.

Turns out this isn’t any better. The woman who is “training” her, getting her ready to become like the other women there, becomes jealous of the attention that Lysandra has been receiving fromt he patrons. The woman decides that this girl has to go, and “tells” the man who bought her that she should be sold because a virgin would get more money for them.

A bidding war begins for the girl, and just when she thinks she’s sold, another outbids him. A man by the name of Aiden Quinn (not to be confused with the actor, Aidan Quinn) pays double what the other was offering. Turns out, there is some bad blood between the two bidders.

But Aiden isn’t all that he appears to be. He is more. And, so is Lysandra. What are their secrets? If one of them finds out something about the other, will it affect their growing relationship? Will the townspeople accept the secrets? You’ll have to get this one to find out.

I felt badly for Lysandra and what she had to go through. The author wrote the pain and suffering so well, it was like I was there watching it happen to the girl. There were a few times I wished I could tell her captor’s to leave her alone. I wondered how much a young girl could take before she just gave up.

I’m usually not a fan of the fantasy type of books, but I did like this one. It has magic, action, and love in it, as well as a little sexual tension in it. You won’t be disappointed by this one.

5 stars!

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Single And Searching By Rita Herron

5101-CzBLFL__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-52,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Antiques, bluebells, cinnamon, daffodils, ebony, fireplaces, grapes, hugs, ice cream, jogging, kaleidoscope, laughter, movies, neverending, olives, pasta, quilts, rabbits, silk, teddies, unusual, violet, writing, x’s, x’s, x’s, x’s, yellow, zinnia’s.

Casey McIntyre is a young mother of a two year old, Henry S., who is fighting for her right to custody of the child from the kid’s father, Travis Satterfield. Casey is also a bestselling author of some children’s books.

Gabe Thornton is a reporter who has been chasing this story, The Alphabet Thief, who enters people’s homes, steals their electronic wares and leaves behind one of those plastic magnetic alphabet letters that every home with a child has for the fridge, as a calling card, so to speak. As part of his job, he was running through the “Single and Searching” ads for another article, when he comes across the ad using every letter of the alphabet. He wondered if there was a correlation between the alphabet ad and the alphabet thief.

When he gets to her house for the date, he’s an hour early due to the time change (he was on a business trip), she thinks by the way he’s dressed that he must be the plumber that has come to fix her toilet (Henry S. flushed neon green condoms (balloons) down it), she has orange and purple koolaid in her hair (courtesy of Henry S.), and her house is in disarray with toys and art supplies everywhere. Gabe thinks a bomb must have gone off in her house because there is hardly a place to walk. This is hardly the kind of woman that he would seek out. While she is getting ready, he fixes her toilet, but slips away, standing her up.

The next morning she reads the article that he has written, slandering her good name because of his first impressions of her. She, and her house, were a mess, so therefore, she must be brainless and certainly not good dating material. When she realizes that the plumber had actually been her date that stood her up, she decides to get revenge. She decides to show him exactly what he would have missed if he had showed up for the date.

And, the plan works…well, maybe it works just a little too well…because there is sexual tension firing in all directions for both of them.

But what secrets is Casey holding back from Gabe? Does she have something to do with the alphabet thefts? Casey has quite the past, and she isn’t sure if Gabe would be able to handle her few minor shortcomings from long ago. And, what of Henry S.’ father? How does he figure into all of this? You’ll have to get this one to find out.

I loved this book! The sexual tension was at its highest, and I couldn’t help but root for Casey and for Gabe. Gabe is the hunky guy who doesn’t just think of himself, but thinks of others…well, he does when he meets Casey. He’s the kind of guy that any girl would be lucky to go out with. He understands Casey, even if she doesn’t fit the profile of what he thought he considered the “perfect woman.” Casey soon realizes that even though he may have gotten a wrong first impression of her, he appreciates those shortcomings and tries to make up for all the hurts that have happened to her in the past.

If you love romance, this is the book for you…with a sprinkling of humour mixed in, you can’t go wrong.

5 stars!

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Romeo And Juliet: A Vampire And Werewolf Love Story By HT Night

51tt9537tlL__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-57,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Her eyes sparkled with enthusiasm. “We can escape this city where we are forbidden to couple by what our society dictates. We can start over in California, with no fear, no retaliation, no oversight. Unbound from Verona, we can be free to love one another. Openly.”

My heart was beating so fast that it hammered against my ribs. “Yes! Yes!” I said hoarsely. It was all I could do, not to shout down the house with my joyful agreement.

“I am yours,” she said softly. Juliet looked at me, walked over and knelt down, looking up at me, her face full of hope and longing, the willing submission of her virtue as clear as this starry night. She wrapped her arms around my neck to pull her body close to mine. I leaned back onto her king-size bed and she collapsed on top of my body. Oh, wondrous joy! Her white nightgown began to slip and her body was exposed to me for the first time. I looked down and kissed her lips and her face, but letting my greedy eyes reap the sight of what she offered.

Well, since many authors are re-telling fairy tales, why not the classics, too? I must admit, I’m not a huge Shakespeare fan, simply because of the language. Maybe if I were to pick it up now and try to read it, it would be different, better. Somehow I doubt it though. If the Romeo and Juliet book that I had to read in Grade 9 had been an actual book (and not a play) and was written in a more modern type English, maybe I would have enjoyed Shakespeare more. I must also admit that instead of reading Shakespeare, I bought the Coles notes and read them instead…But, I digress.

This is the love story of Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet, living in a future time in Verona, which is actually New York City. Romeo and Juliet are both immortals, Romeo being a werewolf and Juliet being a vampire. However, both of them love so completely from the moment that they lay eyes on each other, that neither one can do anything but love the other.

Of course, as with the Shakespeare version, there is the family feuds. Neither immortal clan can live near the other, and they make no bones about how much they hate each other. Even though Romeo wants his family to stop the hating/fighting, his family and friends don’t see it that way. And, the fighting continues.

Romeo risks everything to be with Juliet, sneaking up to her balcony just to get a look at her. It was actually kind of funny when Romeo (who climbs better as a werewolf but can’t talk when he has turned) first climbs up to her balcony. She wonders who’s there, so he has to risk losing his grip on the balcony so that he can talk to her. When he finally makes it to her balcony, she is waiting for him, with open arms and an open, loving heart.

When Romeo and Juliet try to declare their love for one another openly in a public forum, hoping that their families would see their love and that the fighting would cease, Romeo is suddenly regretting his decision. He soon realizes that their families aren’t going to stop fighting, no matter how much they love one another.

As with the Shakespeare version, tragedy hits the love-struck lovers. How this happens is something you’ll have to find out for yourself.

I enjoyed this book. It was fun. It was written in Romeo’s POV, which I liked. Yes, maybe it’s not the classic, and yes, maybe the author made it weird by making it all about werewolves and vampires, but at least it was understandable. No notes version needed for this one.

It could have used a little editing, but all in all, it was a fun read. 5 stars!

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