Thursday, October 31, 2013

REVIEW: TORMENTING LILA ~ SARAH ALDERSON


When Lila and Alex sneak off for a romantic weekend away, Lila’s hoping she’ll finally have a chance to work on Alex’s resolve.  But just as things start heating up, news reaches them of a serial killer at loose on the island and it isn’t long before their intimate weekend away is interrupted.


A mind reader, a projector, a protective older brother and a serial killer. One of them is going to find Lila first. She's hoping it's the serial killer.


Tormenting Lila by Sarah Alderson is a (very) short story featuring characters from Hunting Lila and Losing Lila, set eight weeks after the conclusion of Losing Lila.  It follows Lila and Alex on a romantic vacation, but Lila and Alex are only alone for the first few pages.  Jack, Amber, Suki and Nate show up to complicate Lila's romantic plans for Alex. 

A night on town leads to one of the girls having a narrow escape from a serial killer.  *Spoiler alert*  The short story abruptly ends with the team leaving Nantucket, reading a newspaper article about a girl being murdered, wondering if it was the same individual they had encountered.

Much as I love all the characters from the Lila books, I don't get the point of this short story other than it being an introduction of sorts to Alderson's new characters and new book, The Sound. Since Alderson currently has no official plans to write a third Lila book, all this short story did was make me want more with no more to be had.  The blurb also hinted at more of a plot than was actually delivered.  This one let me down.


Product information:
Name: Torming Lila
Author: Sarah Alderson
Pages: 36
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Year: 2013
ASIN: B00DL4HRR

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

REVIEW: DANGEROUS PASSAGE ~ LISA HARRIS

Revell Publishers has graciously supplied me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

When two Jane Does are killed on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia, detective and behavioral specialist Avery North discovers they share something in common - a tattoo of a magnolia on their shoulders. Suspecting a serial killer, Avery joins forces with medical examiner Jackson Bryant to solve the crimes and prevent another murder. But it doesn't take long for them to realize that there is much more to the case than meets the eye. As they venture deep into a sinister world of human trafficking, Avery and Jackson are taken to the very edge of their abilities - and their hearts.



Dangerous Passage by Lisa Harris is the first book in the Southern Crimes series and follows Detective Avery North as she tries to balance life as a single mother, a possible blooming romance, family commitments, responsibilities at church and a time-consuming job.  When a possible serial killer targets young Asian girls, Avery has to join forces with her romantic interest, medical examiner Jackson Bryant. Together Avery and Jackson need to find a tangible link between the murdered girls in order to make sense of a case that just can't seem to come together.  On the side Avery is also conducting her own investigation of her brother's death - also a police officer, Michael's reputation has been destroyed as he was labelled a mole after his death.  Refusing to believe the rumours surrounding her brother's loyalties, Avery won't let go of her suspicions that her brother's close friend, Mason, is the one responsible.  When Avery is ordered to work with Mason on a different case built on one of her prime suspects, Avery's ability to forgive and forget comes into question.  Is it time she let Mason off the hook and focus her investigation elsewhere?

I really, really wanted to like this book.  The synopsis had me hooked and I was in the mood for a good mystery.  While Harris delivered on the religious aspect of this novel, the mystery aspect fell a little short for me.  I found it hard to get into this book and found it all to be a little too slow for my liking. Even in the most suspenseful of scenes I was never wound up, and I never feared for the characters (though I was very shocked by an unexpected death).  The author didn't completely place me in the scenes; I wasn't quite immersed in the story.  The story did pick up speed around the halfway mark, and from there I got into it a bit more.  

I would have liked more focus on the intricacies of detective work, and I would have liked Avery to be just a bit more solid in her cop instincts.  For instance, knowing a possible serial killer is toying with her, Avery wakes one night from a noise.  She suspects someone is in her house.  What does she do?  She turns on her bedside light!  My father used to be a cop, and one of the first things he ever taught me is that if you suspect someone is in the house at night, you never turn on the light.  In your own home, darkness can be your greatest advantage. You know every nook and cranny in your home, and you can dictate the situation if you have that upper hand; whereas if you turn on the light, they can see you but you can't see them - this scene unfortunately made me question Avery's competence as a cop. Also, Avery dropped evidence.  While I understand that scene shows a certain level of vulnerability in her, I would have liked Avery's cop instincts to be more solid.  I do like the way Harris portrayed Avery's struggle to balance all of the aspects of her life, her concerns being a single mother and her hesitation to get romantically involved following her husband's death.  

From the synopsis I have to say that I expected a decent amount of romance (suspense and romance, just how I like it!), but Jackson and Avery don't spend an awful lot of time together, and the chemistry between them just didn't work for me.  On the upside, the supporting characters are really interesting.  I like Avery's father, daughter and partner, and her mother's decline following her brother's death is a brilliantly handled sub-plot, which I assume will be dealt with more in the next book in the series.  While Avery's serial killer case is wrapped up, she got no closer to finding the truth about her brother's death, which I also assume will be explored further in the next book.   

What Harris did manage to capture very vividly is the harsh realities of human trafficking. Personally, while I knew human trafficking still occurred, I had no idea that it is the second largest illegal and profitable enterprise in the world! Approximately 27 million people are enslaved around the world, and there are more slaves today than ever before in history! You can learn more about human trafficking here, on Lisa Harris' website.

While this isn't one of my absolute favourite books in this genre, I would consider reading the next book in the series to discover more about Michael's death and Mason's involvement, and to see how Avery and Jackson's relationship progresses now that they are more serious about each other and not just casually dating.



Product information:
Title: Dangerous Passage
Author: Lisa Harris
Pages: 321
Publisher: Revell
Year: 2013
ASIN: B00CIUJWLI
ISBN-10: 080072190X
ISBN-13: 978-0800721909

EMMA APPROVED

The creators of the fabulous Lizzie Bennet Dairies are doing it again - they are adapting Jane Austen's Emma into a web series!  

Episode 1 of Emma Approved has finally been uploaded:  


Be sure to check out the website and subscribe, you do not want to miss this!  What makes these series' unique is that it is very interactive. You can follow the characters (and subplots) on Twitter.  Currently the only main characters we have been introduced to are Emma and Knightley.

While episode 1 does not have me completely hooked as The Lizzie Bennet Diaries did, I will definitely be watching every single episode.  I think Emma and Knightley are perfectly cast and true to character, and I think as a whole the series is going to be fabulous. Making Emma a professional matchmaker? Brilliant!  

From the comments on Youtube and Facebook, people who haven't read the book are complaining a lot about Emma's character.  That's the point, people! This is a coming of age story as much as a romance - it's about Emma growing up. Austen herself said in Emma she created a heroine nobody but herself would like very much. Emma might be hard to like now, but give her a fair chance.  She gets better.  Eventually ;) 

One thing though, I don't understand the necessity of changing his name from George to Alex?  I'm sure, however, that there is a reason, and we'll get to it in time.  My guess is because in the book Knightley is almost 20 years Emma's senior - maybe George will be Alex' father?  I know he doesn't have one in the book, but maybe they will create one to explain Knightley's significant change in age?  

Anyhow, I'm sure Emma Approved will turn out to be every bit as popular as LBD.  

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

FREE ON AMAZON: WORDS SPOKEN TRUE ~ ANN H. GABHART

For a limited time the Kindle edition of Words Spoken True by Ann H. Gabhart is free on Amazon!  I absolutely love this book. You can read my review here, and download the book here.


Adriane Darcy was practically raised in her father’s newspaper offices. She can’t imagine life without the clatter of the press and the push to be first to write the news that matters. Their Tribune is the leading paper in Louisville in 1855. Then Blake Garrett, a brash young editor from the North with a controversial new style of reporting, takes over failing competitor the Herald, and the battle for readers gets fierce.

When Adriane and Blake meet at a benefit tea, their surprising mutual attraction is hard to ignore. Still, Blake is the enemy, and Adriane is engaged to the son of a powerful businessman who holds the keys to the Tribune‘s future. Blake will stop at almost nothing to get the story–and the girl. Can he do both before it’s too late?

Set against the volatile backdrop of political and civil unrest in 1850s Louisville, this exciting story of love and loyalty will hold readers in its grip until the very last page. Bestselling author Ann H. Gabhart once again delivers an enthralling and enduring tale for her loyal and ever-expanding fan base.

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