Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Karen Duvall


This is an attractive looking cover. A romance, obviously, and set in or around the desert. It looks modern and a bit gothish (notice the piercings the man has in his ears). The title, again, speaks romance and from that I'm thinking it's about an alpha male looking after a, maybe ditzy, woman. Maybe she's in the wrong place at the wrong time...

The blurb opens with the protagonist who receives a suicide letter from her brother, Jake, so I'm a little surprised that the book begins with the other leading character, Sam, but what a hook it was: What a perfect night for a kidnapping.

In the beginning, Desert Guardian was a little Mills and Boony with it's endless sickly sweet description of 'peach shaped bottom' etc, which I found annoying but I'm glad I stuck with it because, after the slow start, it zipped nicely along and I was able to dismiss the flowery descriptions.

The book has a mixed POV mainly between the leading characters Kelly and Sam but also with the secondary and the 'baddies' of the book. Sam and Kelly both had a past, which was gradually fed into the story, making them real fleshed out characters.

At the opening Kelly had already arrived at the cult. She's there to bring Jake, her young brother, home after he ran away due to an argument with their father but she has no idea of the danger they are in, neither has she realised the cult has begun its brainwashing on her already.

Sam 'The Arrow' has been sent by her father to get her out. He does, but she still wants to find her brother and so hires Sam knowing she hasn't any money to pay him. He is smitten with her and decides to help her (he was once a member of the cult and so has 'unfinished' business with them). They are both attracted to one another but have no 'I hate you/let's have sex' going on which, considering it's opening, I was very certain was about to happen.

Sam and Kelly work together to rescue Jake, and Sam's newly discovered little girl (I did say he had unfinished business in the cult, didn't I?). It isn't a quick rescue and Sam isn't a superhero. He doesn't fling Kelly over his shoulder and shoot guns with his free hands. He's very human and has limits, and when things so wrong with the rescue, things go wrong big time! And I must admit I was turning the pages quickly to find out how it would be resolved.

Of course it ended happily, it was a romance, after all. But the ending wasn't one I saw coming. I hadn't a clue how Sam and Kelly were going to rescue Jake and Sam's daughter, and then Jake went missing... But all ends were tied with a nice satisfactory conclusion.

A nice little gem of a story, and worth a read. 

No editing issues that I noticed.

When Kelly Bancroft receives a suicide letter from her brother, she knows the star-worshipping cult he belongs to is to blame. She travels to the California desert to try talking him into leaving the deadly Star Mother cult, but he's nowhere to be found.

Cult intervention specialist—and ex-cultist—Sam Reed, aka The Arrow, has his work cut out for him when he teams up with Kelly to rescue her brother. Sam has good reason to avoid the cult that killed his mother, but he's made it his mission to save those who have fallen under Star Mother's spell.

Deluded by their fantasy beliefs, the cult's followers await a starship that will deliver them to utopia on another planet. The caveat? All passengers must leave their bodies behind.

Will Sam’s and Kelly’s romantic relationship help or hinder them in their struggle to stop a mass suicide? Or will they themselves fall victim to the cult’s fatal madness?

Monday, 9 September 2013

Marie Flanigan

One Big Beautiful Thing


They say never judge a book by its cover, well people do, and with this book I'd walk on by. It's dull with a capital D. A pot of paintbrushes on a dirty blue background. Very unappealing.

It doesn't really say anything about the book, either. Maybe the main character is an artist? Even so, I wouldn't care. As for the genre, I couldn't say. It could be a thriller, crime, romance... anything but a horror or an erotic read. Two things I got from it (other than boring) was gentle or religious.

The title and the author's name are far to too small. Insignificant was the word that came to mind. The title didn't excite me and the author's name was almost an apology (after reading the book I get that the author was trying to make the cover look like a hanging painting. But it still needs more work). It's a book that wouldn't get noticed in the sea of other books on Amazon, and you what, now I've read it, that's a huge shame.

Within the first paragraph in the 'look inside' sample I'm reassured that it's not heavy on religion (the main character 'couldn't remember the last time she'd gone to church') and I'm relieved. The writing style is chatty and contemporary. It's also fast and in typical 'chick lit' style, and I find I have read the sample in no time at all. 

The protagonist is called Kate (Mary Katherine to her mum) and she has come home to grieve after the death of her boyfriend, Robert. And while her mother is away nursing her sick grandmother Kate has volunteered to step into her mum's shoes at the catholic school where she teaches art.

The relationship between Kate and her mother (Anne) is very volatile and at first I thought she gave her mother a hard time but as the story progressed I realised why they had this love/hate relationship. It was fed to me very expertly and gently until there was some genuine heart-felt moments between the two.

Kate meets Aiden and feels an instant connection. He's has a few problems of his own in the name of an ex with mental health issues, and feels he needs to 'protect Kate' from her wrath by keeping their relationship light and away from common knowledge. At first, Kate is happy with this because she's feeling guilty about moving on after Robert's death and wants to keep Aiden casual anyway.

Kate is an artist, a very good one, and Marie Flanigan was very confident in getting that across. She had either research it very well or is an artist herself.

I loved this book, and felt the story was well told. It had a few laugh-out loud moments, but over all the book was heart-rendering. I especially cried a few tears when Kate ran away to her boyfriend's grave and subsequently went to find his grieving mother, where, it was discovered, never approved of her relationship with her son. Very nicely done.

The book ended not with a complete happy-ever-after but with an ending where you suspect things would turn out well for all concerned and I liked that. Kate, her mother and Aiden all had issues and it would have been too unrealistic to have a warm, cheesy ending with all of them hugging and ending happily.

A great début novel, which I'd be happy to recommend. It had no real significant editing issues either. A double whammy!


In this touching début novel, artist Kate Abernethy is trying to put her life back together after the death of her boyfriend. At first, moving back in with her mother seems like a good way to sort out her finances and re-evaluate her life—instead it proves to be a minefield of doubt and recrimination. Floundering, she pushes herself to take new opportunities so she can rebuild her life and have a second chance at happiness.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Marylu Zuk

Whose A&& Is That?


The cover
 of a large-bottomed female, struggling with her shopping hooked me before I saw the title. It was bright, nicely illustrated and resonated with me straight away. 

The title is clever and eye catching. It made me stop and laugh but I thought that, and especially the author name, could be bigger. There's a lot of white space not being made use of.

The price of this short eBook did make me wince, and I think it'd put off  some potential readers. Also, because of it's lack of length there wasn't a 'look inside' to view and again, another fail. Who'd want to buy a 56 paged book costing $5.03/£3.27 without having a look inside? But saying that, these are the types of books you see in card shops, or on the counter of books stores to tempt you as gift ideas.

The book was a short story told in rhyme. It was delightful, funny and cute. The illustrations are excellent and fun, and helped tell the story of a woman shocked by the largeness of her derrière to eventually come to terms and learned to live with it. 

The rhymes roll off the tongue and are fun even though possibly true for some of us: It's obvious I seem obsessed with the bountiful gluteus maximus of which I have been generously blessed.

Basically, it is a fun look at how women perceive themselves, and through this book we are able to laugh at ourselves.

Whose A&& Is This? is described as a gift book and I can see this cute little book being bought as birthday present or as a Christmas stocking filler, but it's a book to buy in real form. It doesn't quite work as an eBook unless you have a state-of-the-ark eReader.

*AuthorMarylu will be interviewed on WWBB 10th September. If you have any questions for her use the contact button top left of the screen and I'll put them to her.

Filled with whimsical illustrations and witty rhyme, Whose A&& Is That? encourages women to laugh at our collective selves. Author Marylu Zuk reassures us that we are indeed perfect regardless of the size or shape of our buns. Whose A&& Is That? permits every woman to relax her abs, exhale, and laugh at what we rarely see - our own backsides! This quick read is a delightful gift for your female tribe - sisters, aunts, coworkers, and friends.