Thursday, December 25, 2014

Thursday, November 27, 2014

See you in January.  I'm going on a little hiatus for the holidays!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Instant Karma by Donna Marie Oldfield


Sienna Robinson is in real estate.  She is ambitious and hard-hearted. She sells homes she knows she shouldn’t and does have a twinge of guilt but that she can ignore.  She wants money and happiness and success and she doesn’t care how she gets it. 
Her bosses are sleazy real estate tycoons who are forging a deal that will benefit them and Sienna greatly but it will ruin a beautiful old neighborhood where Sienna is renovating a home for herself.  She is totally aware of the goings on and does nothing to stop it.
She meets her former boyfriend once again and finds out he is leading the fight to stop the changes in the neighborhood.  She and Aiden rekindle their romance but is it enough to stop Sienna from her plan?


I had a hard time liking Sienna.  She was self absorbed and could brush aside her doubts just like that when something went wrong.  When she starts to get what she asks for, there are some dire consequences that she just ignores or justifies.  She loved Aiden but had a very difficult time showing him that love or giving him the trust he deserved.  There was an explanation of why she was like that but I found it a little weak.
Aiden was a good guy on a mission.  He helped people and had a good heart.  He still loved Sienna in spite of her flaws and he tried to see the good in her even when she couldn’t herself.
Her two bosses made good villians.  They had their own agendas and took advantage of Sienna.  They pretended to be many things but in the end they were just two horrible people.

This was a typical romance with a twist I didn’t see coming so I don’t want to spoil it for you.  In the end, Sienna may have redeemed herself and the bad guys get theirs so it was a happy ending.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Throwback Thursday II

I was a teacher for many years.  I loved my students with my whole heart and I loved sharing books with them.  I read to my kindergarteners of course and I read to my third graders with just as much enthusiasm.  Hopefully some of them remember those stories.
I polled a few of them and they sent me their favorites.

Sheri was one of my kindergarten students.  She was the youngest of a family whose kids were all in my class at one time or another.  She had the cutest smile in the world and she has grown into a lovely young woman and mother.  She told me her favorite book was The Giving Tree.  Here she is:

Her sister, Stacey was in my third grade class.  She was an incredible little girl.  I just loved her so much.   Little did I know she was just the first treasure her family gave me!  Her favorite was The Tale of Peter Rabbit.  She is all grown up now with kids of her own but here she is as a little one.
And yes, it's Stacey not Sheri!!

Rhonda was always one of my favorites.  She was in my first grade class and my third grade class.  She was smart and intensely sincere.  I can still see her at the front of the class seriously belting out a song to her classmates.  She was indeed a cutie.  She told me her favorite was Are You There God?  It's Me, Margaret. Here she is with a bunch of our old friends  First row, third from the right. See, I told you she was a cutie!

Jenny was another student who I will always remember and love.  She was just a darling girl and recently told me they thought I was cool back in the day!  I guess I just had them fooled that well!  Jennifer raises goats now and must have been inspired by her favorite, Little House on the Prairie.. Here she is:

Books have influenced by students as you can see.  I hope I had a small part in teaching them the joy of reading.  Until next week, keep on reading!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Merry Christmas, Henry by Aubrey Wynne


Henry is a quiet guard who works the night shift at an art museum.  He is fascinated by a particular painting because of the woman in it.  At  home he is a brilliant artist but is content to just enjoy his work in private and only sells when he needs the money.
As the holiday approaches, Henry gets more and more interested in the painting which seems to be changing so he gets a brilliant idea.
The outcome of his idea may not be what the reader would expect but it was an interesting twist which I will not reveal in this review.

I don’t usually review a novella or short story but I made an exception for this one since it had a holiday theme and it caught my interest.
Henry was a loveable character and I liked his friend who cared about him enough to have him for the holidays.
His dual life as a quiet guard and a great artist made me think about how some quiet people may be more than we think.

So if you are looking for a good little story to read for the holidays, I suggest you try Merry Christmas, Henry.
You can find it here: Amazon

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Throwback Thursday

I told you how much I loved Out of the Mouths of Babes that I decided to do some more of them.  This is actually one of them even though it has a different title.  I called it Throwback Thursday because today is Thursday and these "babes" are all grown up now.  They still know what they liked as kids though.

Megan is my daughter.  She has been a voracious reader since Kindergarten.  I remember the first time she discovered she could read.  It was at the school library and she brought home the book and read it to me. How proud she was.....and so was I!  Her favorite book was Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry G. Allard.  She doesn't remember but she loved Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt.
Here she is when she was little:

Brian is my son.  His absolute favorite of all time was The Monster at the End of This Book.  I am here to tell you I read it to him a million times.  I can't wait to buy it for his kids some day. I'll probably get multiple copies since ours got ripped to shreds!  For a long time, he wasn't too interested in reading for pleasure but then along came the Star Wars series of books that continued the story of his favorite movies and BAM! he was hooked again!
Here he is as a little guy:

Brittany is my future daughter in law.  She is a life long reader.  She told me that her favortie book was The Berenstein Bears' No Girls Allowed.  She probably heard that a lot from her big brother who she admitted she followed around shamelessly!  Here she is when she was just a little girl:

Matthew is my nephew.  I always bought him a book for Christmas and nothing else...haha just kidding!  I did always buy him books and I have wonderful memories of reading  The Jolly Postman's Christmas together on Christmas Eve after all the other gifts were open.  His favorite book was (you won't believe this but it is true) was The Monster at the End of This Book!  No kidding, just like his cuz.  I guess I better buy a few more copies for his future kids too.  Here he is when he was little:
A good book never leaves your memory so until next week, keep on reading!

Monday, November 10, 2014

December Road by Brenda Ashworth Barry


Beth Ann and Kaylob’s story continues in December Road.  Kaylob is in the hospital due to the injuries he endured in the Vietnamese prison camp.  He is suffering from physical and emotional scars that will take a long time to heal.  He has nightmares that become violent and he thrashes out at whoever is near, including his beloved Beth Ann.
Beth Ann never gives up on Kaylob though.  She is determined to stay and love him through thick and thin even though she is still officially engaged to Blake.  She wants to break it off with him but there never seems to be an opportunity as he dodges her calls and refuses to hear what she says when she gets the chance. 
Finally, as Kaylob heals, they begin to plan for their long awaited wedding with the blessings of both their families and their friends.  As their plans progress, a trip to visit Beth Ann’s grandmother reveals a long held secret that the couple decides to reveal and a nagging suspicion on Beth Ann’s part that someone may be following her.
The day finally arrives for the wedding and Beth Ann and Kaylob can now live happily ever after, right?


Beth Ann and Kaylob are a perfect match and the relationship was much more realistic in this story.  Not everything went  perfectly for them.  They have loved each other since childhood so I really wanted them to work things out through the whole story.  Each one of them had some issues that they had to work through to get to their wedding day and they solved them in a believable manner.  I had to keep reminding myself that this story was not based in the present as some of Kaylob’s attitudes are really from the sixties and seventies and some of the time I felt he really expected Beth Ann to do his bidding in spite of what she may have felt.
Beth Ann was a lot more womanly in this story than the first one and she sure had her ups and downs but I liked that she was feisty and a little pushy.  It made me like her so much more.  I loved the relationship she had with her Grandma especially.  Her idea to play matchmaker was really cute and fun.
Blake is becoming obsessive about Beth Ann and that made for some tension that I appreciated.  It’s always good to have some conflict in a story and Barry handled it  well.  I was impressed by her grasp of his pain and how believable he was in his obsession.
Even though this is part two of a series, you could read this as a stand alone.  It was an enjoyable story with a cliffhanger ending.  Can’t wait for the next book!!
You can find December Road here:Amazon

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Out of the Mouths of Babes II

I loved the kids’ recommendations last week so much I decided to do another one and possibly even more.  This week I’ve been talking to some little girls and here’s what they said.

Marissa is my daughter’s good friend’s little girl.  Her mom was the first of the group of highschool friend’s to have a daughter.  She is funny and cute and has a lot of favorites. She is a Magic Treehouse fan and just finished How to Train Your Dragon.  She is really into series like Judy Moody and Amber Brown.  This kid is a born reader and also cute as a button as you can see here.

Olivia is my future daughter in law’s niece.  She is a little sweetheart and is in kindergarten.  She is also going to be one of the flower girls in my son’s wedding next year.  She loves Fancy Nancy but her absolute favorite is Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet.  She would be the cutest ballerina ever as you can see here:

Addie is Olivia’s sister and also a future flower girl.  Her favorite is Baby’s Birthday Cake.  No wonder I love this kid, I love birthday cake too!  You can see she is quite a cutie right here:
These little beauties know what they like and I'm happy to know so many children love books and love reading!  Until next week, keep on reading!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Hope From the Ocean by P.S. Bartlett

Rated 5 STARS

Patrick and Dillon are two orphaned boys who are saved from a life of poverty by their Uncle Dan, the patriarch of a large, loving family.  The boys are accepted as part of the family and Dillon thrives as he learns about horses and studies lessons and  becomes an integral part of the family.
Patrick does not make the adjustment well.  Since he is older his memories of his own mother and the memories of the terrible life they were forced to live made it difficult to adjust to this new family.  He was cooperative but didn’t feel part of things.  He did his chores and came to the table but bonded with no one except  the youngest, who reminded him of a younger Dillon who had depended on him so much and shown his love for Patrick so blatantly.
Patrick finally has to leave the family and runs off to Dublin to catch a ship and go on an adventure.
We then meet Owen Whelan who has come from Ireland with his mother.  They love and adore one another and they go to live with Rachel’s sister, Kathryn.  Owen meets and falls in love for the first time and goes to school to study with a vengeance and gets a place at University at only 16.
As time passes, Owen becomes a doctor, his mother passes away and his Aunt Kathryn invites and old friend and her family to come and visit them and Owen’ life is changed forever.

I usually don’t like to read a prequel after I’ve read the actual original book.  This however was an exception to the rule.  Once again, I was intrigued by the story of Owen and his life before I met him in Fireflies.  He is a good and kind gentleman, a doctor that everyone dreams of having.  He is dedicated to his work and his family in equal measures.
His mother is so supportive and kind.  She is intriguing too because she is keeping a secret with Owen and one that is hers exclusively.
Aunt Kathryn started out as kind of a harridan but as her family stays with her she mellows in spite of her drunken husband who was a bit of a villain.  Dell tried to throw his weight around but once Owen and his mother arrived, they were able to thwart him.
Owen’s first love, Raina, was a German immigrant who was their housekeeper but she was more than she appeared and the author made her innocent and naïve yet not ridiculous.  She was just a young girl who had a sad story.
Owen meets his match when he meets Sarah, the daughter of the family who Kathryn invites to visit from Ireland.  I don’t want to tell to much about her as it was so much fun to read about their courtship.

Once again, Bartlett caught my fancy with an enthralling family story and a whimsy that she seems to be particularly adept at writing.  I highly recommend this book to one and all.

Friday, October 31, 2014

                         Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Out of the Mouths of Babes

I'm always telling you about the books I like so this week I decided to talk to a few friends and find out their favorites to share with you.  These experts know what they're talking about because they're kids!!

Corrine is a Fancy Nancy fan.  If you aren't familiar with Fancy Nancy you should look her up.  She is adorable and funny and loves all things fancy and French.  Corrine is pretty fancy herself as you can see here:

Harrison is a big brother now and has had loads of experience with books since his mom is a librarian.  He is loving How Do Dinosaurs Say I'm Mad? by Jane Yolen right now.  He's a little cutie as you can see here:

Brennan is my son's God child and he is into any book based on the movie "Cars" these days.  What can we say, he loves vehicles!  His former favorites are Little Bee by Edward Gibbs and a baby version of All the Places You'll go by Dr. Seuss.  He's a little darling as you can see here:

Dakin is my little cousin.  He is actually my cousin, John's, grandson. So we are probably second cousins twice removed or third cousins or one of those cousin things I can never figure out!
He is loving Mo Willems' Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus these days.  Actually, any of the pigeon books by Willems are on his list. He's pretty long in the cute department too!  Here he is:

So, trust me, you can't go wrong with any of these books because the experts have spoken!  So, until next week, Keep on reading!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Belialish Incident by D.B.Crawford



Vince Bocca is a full time restaurateur and a part time detective.  One day, the owner of a bank comes to him and asks him to find out what he can about Mark Overdale and what happened to the money he embezzled from the bank and supposedly gambled away due to an addiction.
Vince agrees to take the case and goes about finding clues using modern technology, his own contacts, his good deductive reasoning and help from a surprising source, Nancy Overdale, Mark’s emotionally unstable wife.
Through many twists and turns, Vince carries on until he gets the answers that are available, even if they aren’t the ones the bank owner, Thomas Walker, hoped to get.


I didn’t tell too much about the plot because I don’t want to spoil a minute of this thriller.  There were so many unexpected plot twists and turns, that to tell some of them would spoil some of your fun in reading this story.
I can say I loved Vince.  He had a great restaurant with some yummy sounding dishes which I enjoyed reading about.  His detective skills were  a bit old fashioned but I loved that about him.  He was in a committed relationship with Hannah, a local nurse.  When Nancy Overdale showed up I thought poor Hannah would be dumped but Vince was loyal as he was kind and he stayed true to his love.  His relationship with Police Lieutenant Dahl was strained but ultimately cordial and they worked together well.

I loved watching Nancy Overdale grow through the course of the investigation.  She became an integral part of the team and even though she developed a bit of a crush on Vince, she didn’t act on it and spent her time digging up facts and  building her emotional and physical strength back up.  I loved seeing so many sides to her.

I never got a hint of what was going on in all of the mystery until it was revealed to me.  I love that in a book.  I’m never quite as happy when I have it all figured out before the end.  Kudos to Crawford for a well-written, suspenseful book.

You can buy this book here :Melange Books

Thursday, October 23, 2014

John Chapman and Other Legends


I love old American legends.  Every year in elementary school, I couldn't wait until the teacher showed us the little movie of Johnny Appleseed that was released by Disney.  It was my favorite and I showed it to my students every year until I retired!  He's joined here by some other favorite American legends.

Johnny Appleseed by Steven Kellog

I love Kellog's illustrations!

Paul Bunyan Swings His Axe by Dell J. McCormick
My favorite lumberjack and his huge appetite( in more ways than one)

Pecos Bill by James C. Bowman and Laura Bannon
Raised by coyotes!  What's not to love??

John Henry: An American Legend by Ezra Jack Keats
A story of strength and determination.

A Picture Book of Davy Crockett
Born on a mountain top in Tennessee.......

Betsy Ross by Becky White
Can't forget that a woman can be a legend too.

Disney's American Legends
This is a video featuring Johnny Appleseed, John Henry and others.  I don't usually do this but I recommend this one for sure.  A great Christmas gift for any kid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have fun with these legends and until next week, keep on reading!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


With the popularity of the movie, Melange publishers is bringing an anthology of short stories from sweet to sensual romances for the winter.  Women's fiction is popular and here's a sneak peek at the cover. There are some of my favorite authors in here doing their take on winter romance. Don't let it go!

Check it out here:Melange Books

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Sword of Lumina: Mira's View by Erin Elliot


In anger, the god Haulua creates a monster, Rau, who is now the ruler of the Land of Tormiro.   He has blocked the elves’ ability to do magic except for one lone girl.  Galen has noticed that when she tries a little magic, she doesn’t experience brutal pain as others do so she tries a little and keeps it on the lowdown. Only her dear father knows she can use her power.
Her friend, Elenio, who is her confidant and the man she loves, finally confesses his love for her and they plan to have a commitment ceremony soon.
However, before they can reveal their plans for the future, Rau sends in his minions, the Torloqs, to find Galen whose magic he senses.  The Torloqs massacre the elves and kill Galen’s father among them.
Galen is determined to leave the village to protect it and along with Elenio and her brother, Tark, sets off on a journey to find the sword of Lumina which was created by the goddess, Mira.  It is said that the sword has the power to return Tormiro to the land it used to be and to vanquish Rau and his evil minions if the right elf finds it.

Every quest story needs a hero that you can believe in and Galen is that kind of heroine.  She is strong and brave yet soft and vulnerable in her love for Elenio.  She is willing to use her magic even at the risk of her own peril.  She befriends Morgo, the cave elf who helps them on their journey underground and learns more magic from him.  Galen makes quick decisions and most of them are for the best.
Elenio is the perfect man to love.  He is supportive and loving and can fight his way through battles where the odds are against him.  His love for Galen is true and based on a life long friendship.
Tark is everyone’s older brother.  He doesn’t want Galen to go off by herself even if it means leaving his young family behind.  He teases her and worries about her in equal measure.
Morgo seemed blah at first but his personality finally shone through as he spent time with our heroes and became a beloved friend and an interesting character.
Rau was completely evil and single minded in his desire to cause the death of Galen.  He killed randomly and had no regrets.  He does have an Achilles’ heel however.  He has to grovel at the feet of the god, Haulau and be concerned for his own life.  I liked that Rau was afraid of the god.  It made him more interesting.
There are a lot of familiar elements of all quest stories but I liked the way Elliot put this team together.  The ending of the book was a cliff hanger so I am looking forward to finding out what happens to Galen and her friends. 

You can buy Mira's View here:Fire and

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The E's Have It


I own a Kindle and I love it almost as much as I love a good book in my hands.  Lots of kids who are a little older don't really show an interest in books so I love the idea of those kids having Ebooks.  This week I'm concentrating on books for kids who are a little older and have a Kindle or an iPad or a Nook.
Here they are, in no particular order.

My Monster Farts by Kate Clary

Now come on, what kid could resist a story about a boy with an invisible monster who farts and always gets the boy in trouble??  Not me, I must confess.

Get Lost, Odysseus by Kate McMullen

I've always been a sucker for the Greek myths and this sounds like a hoot.  Haydes, the god of the darkness, tells the story of Odysseus on his way back from the Trojan War with a few twists.

The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis

This is the first installment of the Narnia Chronicles.  If you want to find out how the two worlds were able to connect in The Lion,the Witch and the Wardrobe then this is the book for you.

The Ruins Of Gorlan, Book 1 of the Rangers' Apprentice Series by John A. Flanagan

I also have a weak spot for fantasy books.  Give me some elves, a few trolls, and some brave hero or heroine and I'm yours.  Hope your kids feel the same.

So, fire up the Kindle or the iPad or the Nook and until next week, keep on reading.
Don't forget that today is the day to comment to qualify for the drawing to win the book Everything I Need to Know I learned from A Little Golden Book.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Roche Hotel, Season1 by Mysti Parker

  Rated 3.5 STARS

This is the first installment of The Roche Hotel where we meet Jane Seymour, a newly divorced and disgruntled ex-wife who has been dumped by her husband for a younger, sexier model.
Jane is starting a new job as the night desk clerk at the hotel and she meets her colleagues, a handsome donut delivery man and an assortment of  customers from her first night on.
The hotel is having difficulties, which start to dissipate when a death occurs!  A councilman who was escorted by two women ends up dead in the early morning.
Soon the hotel is booked by people who want to see the ghost who seems to be appearing now.
Jane tentatively starts a relationship with the donut guy, tries to care for her mother who lives in a nursing home and tries to adjust to living the night life.

Jane was a likeable character but I wasn’t sure why Donut Guy fell for her so fast and hard.  He seems like a good catch and a nice guy but Jane has been tricked before so I understand her reluctance to start a new relationship.
I liked her relationship with her mom.  She genuinely cared for her and tried to provide the best environment that she could for her mom who seems to have dementia.
The supporting cast was quirky enough to be interesting and to continue on in the stories to come.

I’ll look forward to the next installment to see if Jane and the gang can really hook me but they’ve made a pretty good start.
You can order the first installment here:

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


On Thursday, October 16 you'll have a chance to win the book Everything I Ned to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book by Diane Muldrow.  It is the book I mentioned last week in KidzKorner.  All you have to do to enter is make a comment on this Thursday's KidzKorner.  I'll put all the names in a hat and pull the winner on Monday, October 20th and will announce the winner on Thursday, October 23rd.
This book is a little gem and would make a great book for a sister or friend or a teen.  There can be only one winner but don't hesitate.  It may be you!

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Haunting of Secrets by Shelley R. Pickens



Aimee is a solitary girl.  She wants it that way.  She avoids contact of any kind with the kids at her school.  Amy is not antisocial or a threat.  It’s just that if she touches someone all their memories flood into her head and she is living with the bad memories of too many people.
When there is a bomb explosion in the cafeteria of her school, Aimee narrowly escapes. In the mad scramble to get out of there, a boy accidentally touches her and his memories flow into her.  Now Aimee knows there is a killer at her school.
Enlisting her one and only friend, Dejana, she sets her mind to finding and revealing the killer,whose face she never saw.
Adding to her confusion are her feelings for Logan, the boy who seems to understand and respect her but who doesn’t know her secret.  Her attraction to him seems to be futile because she thinks she can never have any kind of relationship with him.
How Aimee deals with all these things are the crux of this chilling story.

This was the most chilling and frightening thing I’ve read in a really long time and I loved it.  The author had me captivated from the beginning by Aimee’s gift and the horror that was the killer’s memories.  How Aimee dealt with this creepy affliction was understandable.  To watch her grow through the story,  made me admire her all the more.
She was comfortable with Dejana but she also opened herself up to Leah, a computer whiz they recruit to help find this killer.  She went from enjoying Logan from afar to trying to build a real relationship with him.  Aimee was an amazing young woman.
I didn’t know what to make of Logan.  Was he really in love with Aimee or was he just setting her up for a fall?  I wanted him to want her as she was and I wasn’t sure until the very end if he was true or false.
Dejana was a great friend who knew of Aimee’s affliction but accepted her the way she was.  She was brought into the intrigue and she joined willingly since she trusted her friend.  She had worked hard to earn Aimee’s trust and I found that an admirable quality that made me like her all the more.
Leah got dragged into the whole mess because of her skills but she stayed to the bitter end to help find this monster.
This story is violent and graphic so be warned if you are easily affected by that, this may not be the book for you.
If you can swallow your fears and pick up this book, you won’t be sorry. It is a great read.
You can buy The Haunting of Secrets here:Fire and Ice

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Golden Little Books

I love Little Golden Books.  My favorite (for obvious reasons) is I'm Suzy. It is sweet and all about me!!  Little Golden books run the gamut from old classics like I'm Suzy to Frozen, probably the most popular story of the present.  You can find something for anyone, even yourself!  Here are some suggestions.
The Happy Man and His Dump Truck
The Pokey Little Puppy
The Monster at the End of this Book
The Three Bears (several versions of this one)
Scruff the Tugboat
Baby Listens
The Jolly Barnyard
A Day at the Seashore
Elves and Fairies
How do Penguins Play?
Nurse Nancy

I saved the best for last though.  There is a little golden book for us too.  It's called Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book by Diane E. Muldrew.  It is just darling and just for us ladies!
So, take a look at some classics with your little one and until next week, keep on reading!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Guest Post by Charmaine Pauls

I would like to welcome Charmaine Pauls to my blog today.  She tells us a little about her inspiration to write Second Best, the book I reviewed yesterday.

Charmaine Pauls’ latest novel, Second Best, is a dramatic romance about the scars of the soul and the road that leads to healing. When a juvenile delinquent and a war journalist meet, they fight not to become victims of their past.

The first time Molly sees Malcolm is in Oudtshoorn, South Africa in 1978, when he jumps from the back of an army truck to challenge her through the school yard fence. Little did she know then, when she boldly gave him the middle finger, how their lives would become intertwined.

Surviving the secret horrors of an industrial school, juvenile delinquent Molly van Aswegen grows into a tough and troubled woman who has sworn never to love anyone enough to be vulnerable. When Malcolm McLeod, rebel journalist and soldier, comes home from the Angolan border war to save Molly from her institution, he starts fighting a different war altogether – the battle for both of their souls.

Molly’s fight for survival and Malcolm’s moral struggle will expose them as anti-conformists, at risk of being branded and outcast from society during a politically turbulent time when South Africa is in the midst of a twenty-three year long war.

“The story was inspired by my childhood experiences, growing up on juvenile delinquent school grounds where my father was a teacher, and my brother’s two-year compulsory military training at the dog explosives unit in Bourke’s Luck, South Africa,” says Pauls. The author resided in Oudtshoorn, and decided to use this Karoo town as the setting where the novel kicks off. Pauls says, “Not only did Oudtshoorn provide the perfect backdrop for Molly’s school, but it also happened to be the town where the famous South African reconnaissance military unit was formed, providing the connecting factor when Molly and Malcolm meet.”

Pauls uses exotic contemporary settings inspired by her travels for her romance novels, such as Easter Island, Patagonia, Costa Rica, Colombia, Brazil, France, and Tahiti, while she likes to include elements of fantasy in her work. Second Best is her first book that plays off in her home country, and that does not contain a supernatural element.

Second Best is Pauls’ fourth novel and received a NABE Pinnacle Summer 2014 Award for the category, women’s fiction. Previous books include the romance drama, Between Yesterday & Tomorrow; futuristic romance, Between Fire & Ice; and paranormal romance, The Winemaker. Pauls’ next book, The Astronomer, a futuristic romance that plays off in Chile’s Atacama Desert, is due for release in November 2014 by Mélange Books.

The author was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa, and obtained a Masters Degree in Communication at the University of Potchefstroom. She worked in the fields of journalism, advertising, graphic design, photography, brand marketing and public relations before she turned to full-time writing. Pauls previously lived in France, and currently resides in Chile with her husband and children.

Buy the book on Amazon

Buy the book at Mélange

Connect with Charmaine

Follow me on Facebook

Follow me on Amazon

Follow me on Goodreads

Follow me on Twitter
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 6, 2014

Second Best by Charmaine Pauls

  Rated 4.5 STARS

Molly van Aswegen  is a troubled young woman who is not very social or communicative.  She has been released from a government industrial school for delinquent girls and is trying to find her way in the world.  She thinks she has it all figured out.  Trust no one and love nothing.
She lives in a hovel with no phone and no locks on the doors.  She is ready to fight at the drop of a hat.
Malcolm McLeod chanced upon Molly while she was still in school and felt an attraction which he managed to work into a correspondence while he was away at war in Angola.  Through their letters, the two became close and revealed more of themselves than was their habit.
Through Malcolm, Molly finds a job at the Opera Bakery whose owner Neill sees something in her and gives her a chance against his family’s strong objections.  Molly works hard and demonstrates her talent as a baker and works her way into a better job and a place in Neill’s heart.  Neill is the father that Molly never had and she begins to slowly but surely respond to him in kind.
At the bakery, Molly gets involved with a very picky customer.  Judge William Brooks likes that Molly doesn’t take any crap from him and he wants to start a relationship with her.  Even though she is reluctant the relationship begins and Malcolm does not approve.
It seems like Molly has only enemies and can’t escape from her past but is it true?  Can she have a loving relationship with Malcolm?  Molly’s challenge is to make it in the real world.

Molly is not a real nice girl.  She is angry and has a giant chip on her shoulder.  She is mean to those who reach out to her and she hates herself to the point of doing herself physical harm.  Somehow though, I fell in love with Molly.  As her story of her years at school were revealed throughout the story, I understood more and more what made her feel as she did.  I just wanted her to triumph.  I really rooted for her from almost the very beginning.
Malcolm was a very dark but interesting man.  He too had ghosts that haunted him from his past.  He worked hard to help Molly and to love her but he had a lot of  hurdles to jump to make that happen.
Neill, the bakery owner, was the nicest man ever.  He had all good intentions and he saw Molly for what she was, a girl who had been battered by life that deserved a chance.
The bakery was a great place for Molly’s growth to take place.
Things never went smoothly for the cast of characters for very long and it made for an interesting and unusual story.  I was hooked and couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next. The only thing I didn’t like was that I didn’t hear enough about Molly’s final transformation. 

This book would be rated PG-13 for sure for sexual content and violence.  It is really a book for adults.

You can find Charmaine's book here:Melange Books

Thursday, October 2, 2014

On the Road Again

Kids love to travel even though they always want to know if we're almost there or how much longer!  Here are a few books about different modes of transportation that are loads of fun.

Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw
5 sheep go on a merry adventure in this learn to read book.

Lars the Car by Irina Arnelle
This 7 year old author has written a book about a car that wants to be special.

Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle

Animal and truck sounds abound in this story.

All in A Jam by Rebecca Bielawski
If the traffic light stops working, what happens?  Find out in this book.

The Fire Engine by Tibor Gergely
A classic Golden Book that shows how the firefighters save the day.

The Good Night Train by June Sobel

We're off to dream land but don't close your eyes, you just might miss something.

So travel off with your favorite little one and until next week, keep on reading!