Lilac Lane - Ann Swann

4 Stars!

Ella and her son survived her ex-husband's drunken wrath. They are starting a new life in a new town, Stutter Creek. She's even met a real man. A gentle wild life biologist named Chet Boone. But now, her ex has been released from prison early. Is that him driving past their new house late at night? Is he the one causing the strange sounds and flickering lights? Can they survive a second round with a madman? 
 Ann Swann was born in the small West Texas town of Lamesa. She grew up much like Stevie-girl in The Phantom Pilot, though she never got up the nerve to enter the haunted house. Ann has done everything from answering 911 Emergency calls to teaching elementary school. She still lives in West Texas with her husband, Dude, two rescue dogs, and one rescue cat who rules the roost.
Visit her at her website - HERE

I really liked this book. It was well written, very suspenseful, kept me guessing all the way through, and was a very enjoyable story. There were lots of little twists and happenings to keep your interest, including a little romance. This was not an overbearing romance, definitely more suspense with a touch of romance - it was done very well.

I thought the character development was great. The author did a great job on the whole cast. I felt like I got to know each one equally well. I really liked all the characters (except the ex of course). I loved Chet and was rooting for him all the way.

This is the second book in a series and did not realize that. I did not feel lost at all so I am not sure what the first book was about but this can definitely be read as a stand alone.

This was my first Ann Swann book and I will have to check out some of her others, especially  "Stutter Creek", the first book in the series.

Thank you Ann Swann and "Book Review Buzz" for sending me this e-book for my honest review.

Get your copy from Amazon - HERE


After The End - Amy Plum

3 Stars

Juneau grew up fearing the outside world. The elders told her that beyond the borders of their land in the Alaskan wilderness, nuclear war had destroyed everything. But when Juneau returns from a hunting trip one day and discovers her people have been abducted, she sets off to find them. And leaving the boundaries for the very first time, she learns the horrifying truth: World War III never happened. Nothing was destroyed. Everything she'd ever been taught was a lie.
As Juneau comes to terms with an unfathomable deception, she is forced to survive in a completely foreign world, using only the skills and abilities she developed in the wild. But while she's struggling to rescue her friends and family, someone else is after her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about her secret past.

Amy Plum is the author of the International Bestsellers DIE FOR ME (Indie Next List pick, Romance Times top pick, and recipient of a starred review from School Library Journal), UNTIL I DIE, and IF I SHOULD DIE. The books have been translated into eleven foreign languages. The trilogy is accompanied by an eNovella entitled DIE FOR HER.
The first book in Amy's new series, AFTER THE END, was released by HarperTeen in May 2014. (Starred review, Publishers Weekly.)
Amy grew up in Birmingham, Alabama before venturing further afield to Chicago, Paris, London and New York. An art historian by training, she can be found on most days either daydreaming or writing (or both) in a Parisian café.
Visit her website - HERE

While I did enjoy this book (I didn't dislike it) it was a bit of a disappointment.
First I was disappointed that it was not a true "end of the world" book, if I had read the full blurb I would have known that, so my bad.
Second - I did not know that this was only the first in the series. I do love series, but I just wasn't prepared for that.
Third - It was a bit slow for me and dragged a little in the middle.

Now, on the upside - I did like it. It was a fun quick read (even if there were no answers in the end... yet). I liked the characters, and extras. I especially liked after Miles and Juneau got together - I thought they were hilarious together and I loved their bickering and banter back and forth.
I loved the addition of "Poe" the bird. and loved Tallie - I hope she reappears in the next book.
I also loved the magical elements of the book. I think that's what really made the book for me. If that were taken out I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much.

Hmmm well there are certainly a lot of loose ends to tie up in the next book. I hope Amy gives us some well deserved answers!

I actually bought the Kindle version of this book for my Read-along.

Get your copy from Amazon - HERE

After The End - Final discussion

Oh my freakin gosh!!!! This is the first book in a series! I did not know that going into it. Sooooo no answers!

1. I'll start right in here with - did you know that this was only the first book? How do you feel about that? Do you think you will read the next one?
Well I was not happy to find out that this a series. Normally I love series, but I wanted answers, now.
I am not sure if I will read the next one, I guess I have to if I want to find out what happens.

2. Nothing like a bullet to make you decide who's side you're on. What do you think about Miles and his faithfulness or lack of to Juneau throughout the book? Do you think he's dead, or will he come back to life? If he lives do you think he will stay true from now on?
Well I do hope that Miles ends up being OK and for this reason I might actually read the next book, because whats happens to him will throw this story into a tailspin. 
I was frustrated with his unfaithfulness. I mean - teenage boy meats decent looking girl... come on Miles get your act together. Your father will always bve your father but one wrong move and this girl is history!
After all this I do think he is in it for the duration now. 

3. What do you think of Tallie? Do you think we've seen the last of her?
I loved Tallie! I do hope she reappears in the next book. I mean she has powers, so she has to have something mor to do in the story, right?

4. "The children were all named after Alaskan towns." If you had children and had to name them all after something, what would it be?
I would name then after country singers LOL
Jackson, Martina, Miranda, Trace, Blake, Carrie 

5. What would you do if you were in Juneau's place, If you suddenly found out you had been living a lie your whole life? Who would you even be pissed at? What if they were doing it for your own good, to protect you, would that make a difference?
I actually know someone who lived a lie her whole life! She did not find out until she was way into adulthood that her father was not her father.
But... yeah I'd be pissed, but I am known for being a very easygoing person and very forgiving. So I would be mad at the person for a while then I would prob get over it and get on with life. Living with anger, to me, is worse than living a lie. 

6. What did you think of the alternating chapters between Miles and Juneau's perspectives? Have you read books like this before? Do you like it?
I have read several books like this and I actually like it! It really lets you to get to know both characters equally. I just finished a book a while back that alternated between 4-5 characters, and I still loved it!

7. What will happen next? Do you think Juneau will find her tribe? Exactly who is Whit anyway? And who's side is he really on?
So now that the book hasn't ended I have even more questions! I think that Whit now regrets what he has done and may end up flipping sides. The poo will hit the fan and Tallie will come to the rescue (since she can "see"). I think at the very end Juneau will find her tribe. And Miles and Juneau end up "together".
Please remember to post a review on your blog with a link back to my blog to get full credit for the Gift card giveaway!
I will be posting my review later today.


"A Pinch of Ooh La La" by Renee Swindle - Spotlight post

book Synopsis 
    Abbey Ross, who runs her own bakery in Oakland, California, is known for her visually stunning wedding cakes, but lately, Abbey’s own love life has become rather stale. According to her best friend, Bendrix,Abbey’s not the spontaneous young woman she was when they were teenagers listening to the Cure and creating attention-grabbing graffiti. Of course, her very public and humiliating failed relationship with a womanizing art forger might have something to do with that. Nevertheless, it’s time for Abbey to step out of the kitchen—and her comfort zone—and Bendrix has even handpicked a man for her to date.
    Samuel Howard is everything Abbey’s dreamed of: handsome, successful, and—most important of all—looking to raise a family. But a creamy icing might be needed to hide a problem or two. When Samuel complains about disrespect for the institution of marriage, Abbey’s reminded of her nontraditional family, with thirteen children from various mothers. And when Samuel rails about kids having kids, Abbey can’t help but think of her twenty-year-old sister who’s recently revealed her pregnancy.
    Soon Abbey is facing one disaster after another and struggling to make sense of it all. Her search for love has led her down a bitter path, but with the help of her unique family and unwavering friends, she just might find the ooh la la that makes life sweet.
    A story about how amazing a "nontraditional" family can be, along with jazz and the ever-embarrassing quest to find true and perfect love in our thirties; A PINCH OF OOH LA LA will have readers salivating over peach and goat cheese tarts while tapping their feet to the thoughts of jazz classics.

About the Author
Renee Swindle is a California native. She grew up in Vallejo and Lynwood and then went on to earn her BA in English from University of California, Irvine and her MFA in Creative Writing from San Diego State University.

Renee is the author of several novels including Please Please Please(Random House/The Dial Press, 1999) which was an Essence Magazine/Blackboard Bestseller; and also Shake Down The Stars (NAL-Penguin Random House/August 6, 2013).
Renee has been featured in Essence Magazine and has also been interviewed on KPFA, Blog Talk Radio and various local radio shows andlocal cable shows. Her writing group, The Finish Party, was featured in O Magazine. Renee’s work has also been published in Germany and Japan.
Renee currently works as a professor of English at Diablo Valley College at the San Ramon Campus and also at Solano Community College. For the last fourteen years she has lived in Oakland with her dogs and loves it.  
Find her on Twitter @renee_swindle
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/A-Pinch-Ooh-La/dp/0451416651/
I am planning on reading this book and posting a review on Oct. 6th. I am really looking forward to reading it, it sounds great - just the kind of book I love. And isn't that an adorable cover?
Please mark it on your calendar to come back to read my review!


Murder Strikes a Pose by Tracy Weber

4.5 Stars!

When George and Bella—a homeless alcoholic and his intimidating German shepherd—disturb the peace outside her studio, yoga instructor Kate Davidson’s Zen-like calm is stretched to the breaking point. Kate tries to get rid of them before Bella scares the yoga pants off her students. Instead, the three form an unlikely friendship.

One night Kate finds George’s body behind her studio. The police dismiss his murder as a drug-related street crime, but she knows George wasn’t a dealer. So Kate starts digging into George’s past while also looking for someone to adopt Bella before she’s sent to the big dog park in the sky. With the murderer nipping at her heels, Kate has to work fast or her next Corpse Pose may be for real.

My writing is an expression of the things I love best: yoga, dogs, and murder mysteries.

I'm a certified yoga teacher and the founder of Whole Life Yoga, an award-winning yoga studio in Seattle, WA. I enjoy sharing my passion for yoga and animals in any form possible.

My husband and I live with our challenging yet amazing German shepherd Tasha and our bonito flake-loving cat Maggie. When I'm not writing, I spend my time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sipping Blackthorn cider at my favorite local ale house.

I am a member of Sisters in Crime, The Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and the Dog Writers Association of America.

This was such a cute mystery! I am not a fan of dogs at all (I'm a cat person), and I am not into Yoga (I know its good for you though), but... this was one of the cutest mysteries I have ever read! It was fun and quirky all the way, just what I do love. I thought the whole storyline/mystery was very well planned out and well written.

The character development was great. I absolutely loved Kate. She was a slightly ditzy, hyper active, busy body, but sweet and funny yoga instructor sticking her nose where it shouldn't be, and I loved her for it.

This is not s serious mystery, so don't read it thinking it is. It is meant to be fun and light. It is kind of a chick-litty, romancey, quirky and fun kind of mystery - which is exactly my thing.
So I take it that this might be the first in a series "Downward Dog Mystery". If there is going to be more I am pretty sure I will want to read them. This was very enjoyable.

Here's a couple quotes I loved -
"I am not commitment phobic, I assure you. I simply have relationship ADD."

"He's busy right now, but maybe I can help. I'm Tiffany."
Seriously? Tiffany? Who in the world named their kid Tiffany? Parents who raised brain-dead sex kittens, that's who."

Thank you "Partners in Crime" for sending me this cute mystery for my honest review.

Get your copy from Amazon (for only 1.99!!!) - HERE


A July Bride - Beth Wiseman

4 Stars

When Brendan Meyers became a “runaway groom,” Alyssa Pennington’s heart broke. But she’s returned the unopened gifts, exchanged the dress, and is ready to get on with her life…and forget Brendan.   

The problem is, Brendan can’t forget. He can’t forget the love he and Alyssa shared and can’t forgive himself for what he put her through on their wedding day. He can never undo his actions, but at least he can try to win Alyssa’s forgiveness. And maybe, someday, another shot at her love.

Dalton Landreth was the only person not disappointed about that botched wedding. He had been eyeing Alyssa since high school—with his gorgeous, magnetic blue eyes—and when Brendan ran out the church doors, Dalton heard opportunity knocking.

Within months of being jilted at the altar, Alyssa finds herself being simultaneously wooed by the love of her life and the best-looking man she’s ever seen. Not bad for a small-town girl with a broken heart.

Award-winning, bestselling author Beth Wiseman is best known for her Amish novels, but her most recent novels, Need You Now and The House that Love Built, are contemporaries set in small Texas towns. Both have received glowing reviews. Beth's highly-anticipated novel, The Promise, is inspired by a true story.

I thought this was a good one. I liked the storyline - instead of runaway bride, it was the runaway groom! This was a nice sweet, easy going story that certainly kept my interest. The only thing that bothered me was the end, it had a very quick end that was unbelievable. I think if the book was about 10 more pages and took time with the end it would have been perfect for me.

The character development was pretty good. I liked Alyssa and her personality but never did really did warm up to either of the guys.

I loved this quote from the book -
"Its what we do with the hurts that defines who we are and our future," Sherry began, "And I chose to forgive."
"People hurt each other," Sherry's voice was gentle. "You can forgive, or you can let the hurt wrap around you until it sucks the life out of you."
All-in-all I did really enjoy this one and liked it better than a few of the other "A Year of Weddings" books. Definitely a worth while read.

Thank you "BookLook Bloggers" for sending me this e-book for my honest review.

To get your copy from Amazon go - HERE


After The End - Group Discussion #3

"He is quite likely the stupidest boy I have ever met." - so begins chapter 21.

Here are you questions through chapter 40 (please remember to keep your comments to those chapters so as not to give spoilers).

1. About Whit - "But all the clan elders had to have been in on the deception. He isn't any guiltier than the rest of them. They all lied, not just him."
What do you think about this? Do you think they were all in on it, or do you think they know as little as Juneau?
I am seriously wondering if maybe no one else knows and maybe they are just as clueless as Juneau, or at least maybe only a select few may know.

2. Juneau finds out Whit might be warning her with this note signing - "Your Friend Whit". Who do you think the soldier men are, and why do they want to find her?
I think the soldier men might are the government and they either want her because is just the last one left and they don't want to leave any links... or she is the "all powerful one" the most important and they need her for government use, or to study her?

3. If you needed to leave a note to warn someone in a not so obvious way - who would you write to and what would you say?
I would leave a note for my daughter and it would say -
"Don't worry about me. I am fine. I just went to McDonald's for a hamburger" 
She would know right away - I never go to McDonald's, and I never eat hamburgers!

4. "No one experiences aging. No one dies, unless its an accident." 
OK so whats up with this??? What is your theory so far on the Yara, and non aging etc.?
At first I thought the Yara was spiritual, but now I am thinking Science. Like The Yara is a name for a scientific experiment. Like genetic mutation of some kind??? LOL I may be way off!

5. Juneau says "Why did I feel safer in a postapocalyptic world than in this functioning, civilized world?"
In what world would you feel more comfortable?
I think I would prefer somewhere in the middle. I definitely like a more simple life with gardening, homesteading and living in a clan instead of a city. Kind of like a commune.
But I would like some of the conveniences of the modern world - iPhone, iPad, K-cup maker, and Kohls!

6. When eating Pop-tarts, Juneau says it her "desert food" -
If you were stuck on an island what foods in these categories would you choose?
(you do not have to choose wisely, just choose fun!)
* Drink
* Entree'
* Snack or dessert
* Extra
Mine would be -
drink - coffee (with cream and sugar)
entree' - pizza
snack or dessert - ice cream
extra - broccoli (I know thats a weird choice but I really love broccoli!)

7. Any other thoughts or comments on the book so far?
How are you liking it?
Are you liking the characters?
I am liking the book so far. I love the characters. I loved that they added Poe (the bird), that was a nice touch and I loved the fuss Miles had over it, LOL.
I am just wondering WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON???? I can't wait to get some real answers.

The next discussion will be next week, the 27th - which will be the wrap-up discussion. So read away - finish the book! Then you all will be asked to a review post on your blog between the 27th and 31st.