Book Review: The Reason for the Season by: Judy Nichols


Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, Inc

Publication Date: November 12, 2014

Origins:  From Author for Review

Synopsis: "Kate, I'll never understand how trouble just seems to find you," her husband tells her.

Seven years after Tree Huggers, Kate Dennison still has plenty of trouble.

There have been lots of changes in her life in the last few years. She’s no longer a single mom with a sweet seven year old daughter. Now she is dealing with a second marriage, a rambunctious four year old son and a surly teenager. Plus the demands of her job as the author of a popular parenting blog.

And If that wasn’t enough, at the age of 45, she’s pregnant. With twins.

Her only escape from all this domestic chaos is practicing for the joint choral Christmas concert presented by her church and the local gay/Lesbian church. After a rehearsal, Kate witnesses the brutal beating of two gay friends. One is killed, the other is severely injured.

Kate’s determined to do whatever to takes to find out who was responsible for this brutal hate crime. Even if it puts her own life in danger. 

Review: Kate Dennison from ‘Tree Huggers’ is back in THE REASON FOR THE SEASON. She’s now Kate Haas, a mommy blogger, with a teenage daughter, small son, and twins on the way. She’s able to get away from her hectic life for a few hours by singing in the rehearsals for the Christmas show at the local LGBT church. Kate finds the Christmas carols soothing to her soul and to the babies. After one of the rehearsals, Kate witnesses a horrific hate crime in which two of the choir members, both gay, are beaten to a pulp. One of them ends up passing away and the other, a good friend of Kate’s, is in the hospital clinging to life. Kate wonders if the attack was a random beating or if the two men were targeted by their assailants.

THE REASON FOR THE SEASON is a well-written mystery novel. I loved Kate; she was a fully realized character. She tries to find the balance between her mommy blog, her blended family, and still have a few minutes to take for herself. When Kate starts to look into who would perpetrate such a heinous crime, she finds clues which will lead her to the truth. Yet Kate has a habit of getting herself in trouble, even when she’s not looking for it. The author truly brought all of the characters to life and I was caught up in THE REASON FOR THE SEASON from the very beginning. It was easy to relate to Kate and her chaotic life as well as her drive to help others. Even though I didn’t read ‘Tree Huggers’, the first novel featuring Kate, I wasn’t lost at all and THE REASON FOR THE SEASON is definitely a stand-alone novel. THE REASON FOR THE SEASON has wonderfully realized characters and is great mystery story.

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Book Review: Never by: Shay Lynam


Publisher: Indie World Publishing and Author Services

Publication Date: November 4, 2014

Origins:  From Author for Review

Synopsis: Wynn Harper spends her days trying to blend into the background. This isn't very easy, especially being the great granddaughter of the late Wendy Darling. Wynn used to love Great Gran's stories about her adventures in Neverland with Peter Pan and his lost boys, but that's all they were. Just stories, right? That's what Wynn keeps telling herself. 

But then she meets Peter, the beautiful boy with a voice to match, and when he whisks her off to Neverland, Wynn knows this is no fairy tale. The lost boys are a group of rebellious ex-pirates, young Hook has a soft side, and Peter Pan isn't as innocent as you might think.

Review: Wyndy (Wynn) Harper grew up on her Great Gran’s stories of fairies and flying boys in Neverland. Great Gran was Wendy Darling and when she passes Wynn feels a big hole in her heart. When she was little Wynn believed all her Great Gran’s stories, but as she grew she realized they were only stories. Before she passed, Great Gran’s mind started to go and she was mentally transported back to Neverland, barely recognizing her own family. Now Wynn is trying to get back into her routines a month after her Great Gran’s passing and her best friend Marty wants her to go out dancing. At the club Wynn meets Peter, a boy whose songs touch her soul and whose beauty lifts her spirits. Wynn goes with Peter to Neverland and realizes her Great Gran’s stories were right all these years. NEVER has a good concept, however, the timeline seemed a little hurried especially as the time in Neverland flows differently than in ‘reality’. It also seems Wynn, who grew up on tales of Neverland, is too easily surprised by all of the people, places, and things in Neverland. Perhaps this is because she grew out of believing in the stories? While Peter was fun, he seemed one-dimensional and I think it was really James Hook who ended up stealing the spotlight. I’d have liked to have seen more of a focus on Hook to make NEVER stand out from J.M. Barrie’s ‘Peter Pan’. I do think NEVER will appeal to tweenagers and those who enjoy YA romance with fantasy elements, plus it does have an absolutely gorgeous cover.

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Book Review: Tequila and Tea Bags by: Laura Barnard


Publication Date: November 17, 2014

Origins:  From Author for Review

Synopsis: Sent to live with her cousin Elsie in the Yorkshire countryside, Rose has only one thing on her mind; joining her friends as a club rep in Mexico. 

When she hears about a council incentive offering the promise of free flights to the person who clocks the most volunteering hours at the local care home, she’s got her plan set. 

But she doesn’t plan on bonding with the old ladies, going after the village bad boy and trying to persuade Elsie not to become a Nun. 

Soon she’s questioning who her real friends are and whether her old life is one she wants to return to. 

Can the village win her over and will she win the chance to leave it behind? Will she even want to?

Review: TEQUILA AND TEA BAGS is a hilarious and heartbreaking tale of one woman’s journey to maturity. Rose’s behavior has led her to be sent to live with her cousin Elsie in the country. However, Rose has a plan…get the heck out of Yorkshire and met up with her best friend in Mexico to be a club rep. Rose learns of an incentive for volunteers at the nursing home, she’s the first in line to sign up. Yet things don’t always turn out the way Rose plans. TEQUILA AND TEA BAGS is filled with quirky and unique characters who wormed their way into my heart. Each character really stood out and I was definitely emotionally invested. Rose’s choices kept making me shake my head at her lack of restraint and her unintentional thoughtlessness, but I had to crack up at some of her exploits. TEQUILA AND TEA BAGS made me both laugh and cry with the wit and wisdom of the author’s words. I loved the fact there is a happy ending which doesn’t feel forced and is totally believable. Kudos!

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Book Review: Inviting Fire by: Emily Kimelman


Publication Date: November 28, 2014

Origins:  From Author for Review

Synopsis: Recovering from a near fatal attack that has left her with residual trauma, including haunting dreams and flashbacks, Sydney Rye is regaining her strength at the jungle training camp of Joyful Justice, the vigilante network inspired by her now legendary acts of vengeance. However, when a routine reconnaissance mission goes horribly wrong Sydney Rye looses the trust of the leadership of Joyful Justice. 

Her good friend and trainer, Merl, warns that if she wants to be in the action she’ll have to follow orders like everyone else. Never good with authority, Sydney struggles to suppress her independent streak for the greater good. 

When she runs up against an old adversary he blows apart everything she has gained. With her and Blue’s lives at stake, as well as the future of Joyful Justice, Sydney must push aside her fears and take a leadership role before it's to late. 

Series: Sydney Rye Series

Review: INVITING FIRE is the sixth book in the explosive Sydney Rye series. Sydney’s been recovering from a almost-fatal traumatic experience, complete with nightmares, waking flashbacks, and paranoia. She’s also dealing with the strange pleasure she is experiencing while facing her nightmares. In order to heal, she’s at the training camp of Joyful Justice, the network which was born from those who wish to expand on her vengeance. Yet recuperating is not as easy for Sydney as she’d like when an old enemy comes knocking. INVITING FIRE starts off with a bang and the reader is swept along with Sydney as she tries to keep her head above water. She’s more vulnerable, which is how we’re able to gain some interesting insights into Sydney’s character. I found it very easy to relate to Sydney in INVITING FIRE, which is a huge credit to the author. I was very pleased with the balance between action and introspection in this book. Definitely start with book one, UNLEASHED, if you haven’t yet read this series. It’s well worth your time!

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Book Review: The Unearthed by: Evan Ronan


Publication Date: September 18, 2014

Origins:  From Author for Review

Synopsis: Three years ago, a father, mother, and son murdered each other at home—a bloody tragedy that would later be known as the Moriarty Massacre. Only the youngest son, Eamon, survived that horrific night. 

Now the Rossellis, the family currently living in the home, are experiencing strange phenomena. The phone rings randomly, a bloodlike stain continually reappears in the dining room, and their son, Billy, is talking to someone. Someone nobody can see and only Billy can hear. 

The Rossellis hire Tim and Eddie McCloskey, local ghost hunters, to investigate. As the case quickly develops, their investigation takes dark turns as they race against time to find a missing boy. And as Tim and Eddie discover some terrifying similarities between the Moriartys and the Rossellis, they realize another massacre might be around the corner, and only they can stop it. 

Review: THE UNEARTHED is reminiscent of ‘The Amityville Horror’ as the Moriarty family is horribly murdered in their home with a lone survivor, one of the sons, Eamon. Now a new family is living in the Moriarty house and is experiencing strange and scary phenomena. There are pools of blood, strange phone calls, and a young boy who is talking to someone who isn’t seen by anyone else. The Rossellis hire the ghost-hunting McCloskey brothers to investigate the house. During their investigation, the McCloskey’s determine there are some eerie similarities between the Moriarty and Rosselli families and realize they may have another massacre on their hands. THE UNEARTHED is a classic horror story with a nice twist. I didn’t care for many of the characters, but I did like Eddie McCloskey the best. I wasn’t a fan of Eddie’s brother, Tim, who could have helped his brother instead of letting his negativity knock Eddie down. THE UNEARTHED is a chilling tale of murder, mayhem, and mystery.

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