Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Review: MADAM TULIP by David Ahern

“Ask anyone about Madam Tulip’s legendary talent with tarot and crystal ball or her astonishing knack for detecting crimes, and you’ll be told her father is the seventh son of a seventh son. Everybody knows that in Ireland seventh sons of seventh sons have extraordinary powers and can do all kinds of mystical things.” (9)

Madam Tulip’s story begins with Derry O’Donnell, who was as broke as you can get. And just a little bit psychic.

Yes, there is some prestige to being an actress, but, of course, there’s a correlation between “artistic success” and “financial failure.”

With the help of her friend and at the insistence of her overbearing mother, Derry takes on a job as a fortune teller named Madam Tulip. Actually she was advertising herself as a “celebrity psychic.” I guess that’s where the real money would be.

Characters were Irish so they had a flare of that theatrical wit and blasphemy. Of course, some of the banter struck me as vapid and overrated, and certain expressions may not be easily understood (I know I didn’t get all of it.) Still, readers will be enchanted by Derry’s good-hearted nature and folksy charm.

I honestly just love stories about psychics and this one certainly seemed interesting; however, it lagged a little too much. Yes, Derry did have visions during the card readings, but they were far more downplayed and I thought they could’ve been a lot more interesting than they were.

The writing was okay, but, again, story dragged too much.

Overall, I’d rate this okay but not great.


My rating: 3 stars

Review: BECOMING PHOEBE by J. Michael Neal

This is the story of Phoebe, an orphan girl with aspirations of becoming a hockey player. Her earliest memory is about her wandering the streets at four years old with skates around her neck and a man took her to the police station. That’s where it all begins.

Sixteen years later, Phoebe is living her life in college, where she tries out for the hockey team.

Written in the POV of Phoebe, story is an earnest and succinct account of a poor, lonely girl and a dream. We’re basically reading the girl’s diary by the way it’s written, and all she talks about is hockey. Every brief snippet seems to center on hockey. Of course, I believe that girls can play hockey, if that’s what they want, and Phoebe was literally born for it. She’s smart, savvy, and tough.

Being that I’m not into sports so much, the hockey stuff wasn’t that interesting to me. But I admire stories with strong, independent women who go for the gold.

If you say, “Girls can’t play hockey,” Phoebe says, “Watch me.” You have to admire her gumption.

Still, I couldn’t help but feel that the story centered more on hockey than anything else. Of course, hockey is the central theme, but it becomes weary after a while. I personally would’ve liked to learn more about Phoebe—her past, her friends, her life sans hockey. C’mon, the girl should be able to think outside of hockey. Even in A League of their own, the girls had other things going for them besides baseball.

All in all, this was an okay story, but I anticipated it to be more than just hockey. Phoebe’s a great character and readers will enjoy watching her try and fumble. It’s hockey’s version of G.I. Jane.


My rating: 2.5 stars

Review: BEVERLY by Fiona Pearse

This story follows the life of Beverly, a bright, young girl with a stutter, as she reflects on the times she spent with Roland both pre and post-break up. Little did she realize that her roommate, Ella, would accept a date with him.  But how could that be? Ella and Roland have nothing in common.

Although Beverly considers Ella a friend, at times, she can’t help but feel overshadowed and dominated by her. I mean, if she didn’t want to get her boobs fitted into the “right” bra, then she shouldn’t have to.

Writing had a simple and easy flow, although, at times, the story lagged a bit with excessive, monotonous detail. But, nonetheless, readers will relate to the unspoken hopes, fears, and insecurities as shyly expressed by someone who doesn’t really know how to express them. You will root for the girl with the speech impediment as she navigates through work, relationships, and life.

Story was a little slow for my taste, but, overall, I deem it an okay read.


My rating: 3 stars

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Review: WANTING TO REMEMBER, TRYING TO FORGET by Jacqueline Francis

This is the love story of Danny and Max.

In the beginning, the two started off as friends, then roommates, until….it suddenly became something more. The book mainly illustrates the love’s journey.

Throughout the novel, the reader gets acquainted with the characters both as individuals and as a couple. Max has always pined for Danny, adoring her beneath the thin veil of friendship, but she is too preoccupied with some long-distance relationship to even notice.

Max was such a lovable dork who loved sci-fi movies and playing video games. He was smart, funny, sensitive, and hot. And who could resist his fumbling charm? Yep, the bumbling was definitely cute.

The best part about Danny and Max was their deep friendship. They’ve seen each other through the good, the bad, and the ugly; they’ve been friends first and foremost, and they know every little thing about each other. When two people start off as friends, those are really the best kinds of relationships.

Written in a sequence of 12-month period, story had a rich blend of drama and heart. It was like When Harry Met Sally mixed with a soap opera. I mean, there was amnesia involved, and amnesia was the symbol of the title—one is wanting to remember and the other is trying to forget. Yep, the two definitely have a long, bumpy road with a forgotten memory and a fabricated lie; yet, it will be clear to everyone that Danny and Max belong together.

It’s delightfully witty and emotional; a fun, light read that audiences will enjoy. Another well-written work of Ms. Jacqueline!


My rating: 5 stars

Review: HIS KATE by Sue Krawitz


This is a story of a love triangle. Greg is involved with Heather, who is pushing him to marry her. Although Greg loves Heather, he can’t seem to commit to her. “He loved her, but after three years, something was missing. He no longer felt the urge to be with her twenty-four hours a day.” (13) Then in comes Kate, who fascinates Greg in unimaginable ways. In just a few short days, Greg and Kate discovered that they could talk about anything and everything that it seems as if they’ve known each other for years.

Is there such a thing as “the one?” Can one person truly be meant for one other person in the world? Can one person truly make you happy for the rest of your life? That’s what this book explores in the lives of these three characters.

I felt a real connection between Greg and Kate, which is such a rare commodity.

Simple yet captivating, this story is heartwarming and endearing.  Occasionally the story lagged every now and then, but recovers quickly with a compelling plot twist. Of course, someone would have to get pregnant, complicating everyone’s predicament and shattering foreseeable plans.  What will happen to Greg and Kate now? Will they survive the unexpected situation? Will they thrive together or will they break apart?

But now with a child on the way, “he considered three scenarios: no relationship, a relationship with Kate, or a relationship with Heather.” (96) Questions of varying degrees are flung every which way, provoking deep thought and weighing heavily on the soul. Probable scenarios filter through, filling the mind with dread and confusion. The whole thing is a mad situation of what-ifs.

Again, the pace slowed down dramatically once the babies came into play, making Greg and Heather’s life to be all about the babies. But, of course, this was real life and these characters were as real as they come. But even though Greg was apart from Kate, it was endearing to know that she would always be His Kate.

“When there is love, there is always hope.” (168)

And the ultimate question begged by the reader was: What will become of this emotionally wrought love triangle and how will it end?

A well-written and emotionally charged novel!


My rating: 4 stars

Review: TRUST ME by Margaret Watson

Connor Donovan is a no-nonsense cop who is intrigued by the alluring prowler with the impressive kick.

Story has a good pace that picks up rather quickly.

Raine sounded like a cool chick. I mean, she teaches tae-kwan-do! Her mission is to teach her girls to live life with “invincible spirit.” Awesome!

Of course, Raine has a dark quest that is admirable and courageous. She aims to bring her sister’s killer to justice, and she knows, without a shadow of a doubt, that the husband is in every way involved. That’s why she was lurking around his place, where she was chased by the hunky Detective Donovan.

Of course, Connor had a point: If Raine wanted to lure her sister’s killer into attacking her so she can claim self-defense, he wasn’t going to play by the rules of the dojo tournament. This guy would fight dirty and she would most likely lose, especially if she can’t take down a 6-foot Connor Donovan. Face it: Raine was just full of anger. Still it wouldn’t stop her from avenging her sister. It’s a good thing she has Connor by her side, even if he doesn’t want to be.

How can two people infuriate each other and still want each other at the same time?

The object standing between Connor and Raine was not just the irresistible and tangible attraction but an issue of trust. She didn’t trust cops and he didn’t trust people who might have a hidden agenda, which he believed was everyone. Both are smart, snappy characters that are quick on their feet, so naturally they make a dynamic duo in this murder investigation.

On top of that, the guy on the cover looks like Stefan Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries.  A hottie!

Well-written and enticing, Trust Me is a kick-ass romantic thriller!



My rating: 4 stars

Review: ONCE UPON A ONE NIGHT STAND by D.N. Hoxa

“One day you’ll see wrinkles when you look in the mirror and that day will mean that it’s too late.” Words that haunt London, reminding her of her sorry dating life and the fact that she hasn’t had sex in 3 years.

London is filled with different “me’s”—calm me, angry me, happy me, smart me, and horny me. Like all of us, she has different sides to her, different personalities, different views—and they all battle with each other over her life choices. Strange how she argues with herself—not out loud, of course (I hope.)

On her 27th birthday, her four friends take her out clubbing. And, like she said, “there is nothing worse than a woman with no self-confidence.” (17) When she meets a hottie at the club, London decides to embrace this whole one-night stand idea. And, boy, do her “me’s” get really into it, overanalyzing every little aspect.

I enjoyed the character’s self-deprecating and wry humor, but the story took a little too long to get to the nitty gritty. In fact, the whole one-night stand was overly played with trivial accessories and lengthy chit-chat. Don’t get me wrong, it was quirky and sizzling, but definitely overplayed. Of course, her one-night stand would happen to be one of her company’s biggest clients. Yikes! For someone who is always in control, someone who separates the professional from the personal and always wears her heart on her sleeve, this sure turns into a whirlwind of crazy.

From then on, London will delight readers with her obsessive and neurotic ways.  Once Upon a One-Night Stand is a story of an over-cautious, over-thinking woman dealing with the comical repercussions and tangled emotions of her one-time fling. And London’s zany friends and considerate mother only push her to the furthest brink. A joy of a novel!


My rating: 4 stars