Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Trust Me, ends 1/3/14

Trust Me, by Rebecca Graf.

They watched the show in silence. At the first commercial, he reached for the popcorn bowl and set it between them with a slight smile. Ranalla tried to smile back. Everything was so odd. Here she was sharing a bowl of popcorn with her abductor. Yep, she needed psychological help.

Trust Me is a novella (about 134 pages long, on Kindle) that is an easy read. Although some of the situations are a little unbelievable, the novella will hold your attention throughout as you try to figure out the reasons for the kidnapping that occurs during it.

Official synopsis:
Rebecca GrafRanalla thinks she is finally starting to make it on her own out from under the thumb of her wealthy and controlling father. That is until she finds herself snatched from her bed in the middle of the night. Her kidnapper swears he saved her life. She is not so sure. It doesn't help that he doesn't act like how a kidnapper should, and she is falling for him fast. They find themselves running for their lives, and Ranalla can't decide if she can trust this man or not. Does she have a choice?

Ranalla's father, from whom she is estranged, is an evil man, and also quite wealthy; Ranalla thinks this is maybe why she has been kidnapped, but she's not entirely sure. Her kidnapper, Vince, is quite accommodating, although he doesn't let her leave the house, and also handsome - once she sees that he's being nice to her, she starts liking him more and more (kind of like Stockholm Syndrome).

I didn't know this was a novella (a shortened novel) until I started reading it, and I read it in mostly one sitting. The writing is fast-paced, with interesting characters that all have complex back-stories. One thing I did not like is that Ranalla seems to fall for Vince a little too fast, especially since he's supposed to be "the bad guy," at least at first, but it's not something that's an extreme annoyance.

I'd recommend this novella if you're in the mood for a mystery or action story but don't have time to get through an entire novel, or if you're looking for something that can be read in a shorter amount of time.

3.5 stars out of 5.

*Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this novella from the author for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.


Enter to win an e-book version of Trust Me via the Rafflecopter form below. Contest will end on Friday, January 3rd, and winner will be notified on January 4th via email. Open to all countries since it's an e-book.

Good luck!

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Perfect Lie, ends 12/29

Perfect Lie by Teresa Mummert

Perfect Lie, by Teresa Mummert.

My tongue ran over my lower lip and I could taste the sin. It was thick and heavy in the air, and it made my head swim as I gazed into Abel's ocean-colored eyes. I wondered whether he tasted it too, whether his heart was pounding in his chest. I wondered most of all if it was artificial - a haze of adoration brought on by the pills. It had been so long since I'd wanted that; I didn't trust my own thoughts, but if felt too good to care.

I recently read White Trash Beautiful and White Trash Damaged by Teresa Mummert, and was fortunate enough to get in on a blog tour for this novel, Perfect Lie. As you may see on its Goodreads page, it has a crazy ending that will make you want to reread the book immediately; I won't spoil that ending here, but it's left me thinking about it for days afterwards.
Perfect Lie book review
author Teresa Mummert

Official synopsis:
Sometimes love burns so hot in your veins that it consumes all rational thought.

That's why Brock and I never had a chance. I had to start my life over. College was my chance to become someone new. I changed everything about myself to fit in, but one person saw through my facade.

The attraction between Abel and I was undeniable, but I still hadn't healed from the painful secret I carried around with me. Abel struggled to get me to face my past in order to move forward. In doing so, he revealed a secret of his own; one that changed everything I thought I knew.

A secret that would bring Brock back into my life and force me to face the truth of what really happened the day I lost him.


Delilah, who goes by "Lie," met Brock, her first love, at a shelter of sorts for kids. He had violent tendencies but was always sweet and kind with her. The story is told alternating between the past - her experiences with Brock and the shelter - and the present, where she has moved from Mississippi to Florida for college. Her roommate, Trish, is kind of a jerk, but through her she meets Abel, who seems to "get" her - he has demons in his past as well.

The characters in this novel are well-developed, except I would have liked to have known more about Brock, as he played an important part in Delilah's past as well as in the ending of the novel. Perfect Lie also reminded me a lot of a movie - I can't say the title here without giving away Lie's ending, though - that, upon its finish, completely changed the whole of the plot, so I needed to watch (in this case, read) it again.

Unfortunately or fortunately for you, dear readers, I am bound to secrecy on what this twist is, so you'll have to read Perfect Lie for yourself - and then come back and leave me a comment on what you thought of it. You can find a copy of the novel on Amazon, and it's only $3.99 too, which is a deal.

4.5 stars out of 5.


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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Book Review: City of Mirrors

City of Mirrors (Diana Poole #1), by Melodie Johnson Howe.

I wonder whether Zaitlin really thought I was good, or whether he was just saying that to get me to help Jenny. Compliments in Hollywood are handed out by the bagful, like Halloween candy. It's never been easy for me to completely accept them, because I'm always searching for the one that has the poison in it.

I had never heard of Melodie Johnson Howe before reading this book, which is surprising, because I also run a film blog and she's a former actress, working with the likes of Clint Eastwood and James Caan in her heyday. Now, Howe is an author, and City of Mirrors brings us the first in the Diana Poole thriller series, of which I am anticipating reading the second book, as this installment was very good. 

Official synopsis:
Melodie Johnson HoweRunning out of money, Diana Poole is forced to go back to the only work she knows: acting. Her much-loved husband and movie-star mother have died, and now Diana is over thirty-five. In Hollywood that means she might as well be dead. Still, a few key people remember her talent, and she lands a role in a new movie. But an actress should never get her hopes up, especially when she discovers the female lead's murdered body. Raised in her mother's shadow, Diana knows people in "the business"will go to dangerous lengths to protect their images. When her own life and career are threatened, Diana decides to fight back and find the killer. But unmasking the surprising murderer isn't that easy, especially when she uncovers what's real--and unreal--in her own life.

Diana is an interesting heroine. She's a mix of Kinsey Millhone (the Sue Grafton alphabet series) and many other female protagonists I have read. Diana is an actress but isn't flighty, and her mother was even more famous than she currently is, although Diana has been working on a movie where she has a major supporting role (if that's not an oxymoron).

I liked this novel a lot, as the scenes were all very believable, even if the characters themselves (mostly Diana) didn't always believe they were occurring. During a few points in the novel, she finds herself in peril, and can't believe this is happening "in real life" since these sorts of things usually only happen in the movies she films; I thought this was a nice touch to add to the book.

There's also double-crossings, a love interest, and the scenic L.A. area to round out the novel, and I can't wait to see what trouble Diana gets herself into in the next Diana Poole book in the series.

4 stars out of 5.

*Disclosure: I received a copy of this novel for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

GIVEAWAY: Indie Author Holiday Gift Guide Kindle Paperwhite Package Giveaway Event

The Best in Indie Book Gifts

Enter to win a Kindle Paperwhite!

Horns of the Devil by Marc Rainer

The second book in the Jeff Trask crime/legal thriller series, a series hailed for its realism by those in the law enforcement career field, Horns of the Devil is the story of the havoc wreaked upon the nation's capital city by a drug gang turf war. As one career prosecutor wrote, "As a long-time prosecutor, I continue to be astounded by Rainer's perfect pitch for police/prosecutor dialogue. Outstanding Read! Rainer is way ahead of his contemporaries in this genre."

Price: $2.99 (Kindle) $9.45 (Paperback) via Amazon

For: Thriller Fans

Palmetto Review Take:  Nonstop legal and procedural crime novel that’s rich with detail and suspense.

Blogger Take: I love cop dramas on TV, as well as legal thrillers by John Grisham, and this sounds similar.

Too Quiet In Brooklyn: A Fina Fitzgibbons Mystery by Susan Russo Anderson

Twenty-two-year-old Fina Fitzgibbons stumbles upon a throttled woman in the heart of Brooklyn Heights and discovers that the dead woman’s four-year-old grandson is also missing. She begins a wild hunt for the strangler-kidnapper, Ralph. During the chase, she resists falling in love with her boyfriend, Denny, an NYPD patrol officer, steps on the toes of Detective First Grade Jane Templeton, and uncovers secrets about her own past. In the end, Ralph has a deadly surprise for Fina.

Price: $.99 (Pre-order) $3.99 (After 12/20/2013) via Smashwords

For: New Adult

Palmetto Review Take: Crime, passion, and New York City - count us in!

Blogger Take: See above! Cops + drama = I'm in.  

More: Follow @susanrussoander Fan Susan Visit her via her Website and on Amazon

Tug of War by Ross Collier

An action packed, tension filled espionage thriller set in Melbourne, Australia during WW2, based on actual events between the US forces and the Australians.

Price: $2.99 (Kindle) $16.95 (Paperback) via Amazon, B&N, and iTunes

For: Fans of Thrillers and Espionage

Palmetto Review Take: A fresh plot line to enjoy as you follow the political intrigue down under in this historical look at the relations between two seemingly cozy nations as friction emerges.

Blogger Take: Espionage thrillers can often make for an interesting read.  

More: Follow @CollierRoss Visit Collier’s Website

Night Chill by Jeff Gunhus

For fans of Stephen King and Dean Koontz -- Enjoy a creepy supernatural thriller with over 100 Five Star Amazon Reviews.

Price: $2.99 (Kindle) $12.78 (Paperback) via Amazon and Audible (12/20/2013)

For: Adult Supernatural Thriller and Horror Fans

Palmetto Review Take: One of the most highly rated books we’ve reviewed, read at your own risk of being frightened half to death.

Blogger Take: I'm not often a fan of scary novels, but I do like Stephen King's books, and this is similar.  

More: Follow @jtmonsterhunter Fan Jack Templar Visit The Author’s Website

The Jack Templar Monster Hunter Series - Books 1-3 by Jeff Gunhus

A new series for fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson

Price: $.99 (Kindle) $9.79 (Paperback) via Amazon, B&N, and Audible (12/20/2013)

For: Middle Grade and YA

Palmetto Review Take: Ignite your imagination with this trio of supernatural books focused on monsters, mystery, and mythical adventure.

Blogger Take: Harry Potter meets Percy Jackson? I'm interested! 

More: Follow @jtmonsterhunter Fan Jack Templar Visit The Author’s Website

Vengeance Out of the Shadows by David Peretz

In the third thriller to feature Ross Cortese, NYPD, the detective contends with both a killer targeting landlords and a Russian assassin out for retribution. Kirkus Review described it as "a seamless blending of stories and first-rate characterizations."

Price: $4.99 (Kindle) $11.25 (Paperback) via Amazon and B&N

For: Suspense, Romance, and Thriller Fans

Palmetto Review Take: Indie Must-Read Book of Summer Winner as voted on by everyday readers.  

Blogger Take: I love stories that have great characters, and this sounds like it could qualify.

More: Visit NYPD Crime Novels and Fan on Facebook

Lunch with Lucille by Annarose Ingarra-Milch

Readers can expect to be inspired and entertained as “Lunch with Lucille” whips up a delightful dish of hope and optimism, served by a fun-loving, sassy, female character who shares a message all women need to hear – you are your best asset, at any age. Voted overwhelming the Buzzworthy Book of Summer, “LwL” overflows with nourishing wisdom and humor as you are treated to simple, practical solutions to some prickly issues such as aging, confidence, self image, and achievement. This fast-paced novella is thought provoking and leaves you hungry for the next course.

Price: $4.99 (Kindle) $13.13 (Paperback) via Amazon and B&N

For: Women

Palmetto Review Take: A perfect gift for any woman in need of Inspiration.

Blogger Take: Sounds like a great "pick-me-up" type of book! 

Tall, Dark, and Handsome and Other Devotionals by Christopher Hall

A collection of Christian devotionals based on one man’s life experiences. “This book makes you think! It is funny, uplifting and a down to earth view of Christianity. We all have those bad days at work that make you wonder if it is it all worth it. Chris Hall takes a bad day and redirects it to a lesson in Christ... I highly recommend this book to all my friends.” Karen Brooks-Rochelle

Price: $5.99 (Kindle) $11.57 (Paperback) via Amazon

For: Anyone interested in uplifting stories related to Christian Living

Palmetto Review Take: Deepen your walk in faith, or take your first step to finding it with this inspirational book rooted in the real world, and written for you to discover the next.

Blogger Take: Christian living books don't interest me much, but I could see it being appealing to others - if I had friends or family interested, I would pass this book along to them. 

More: Fan the author on Facebook

At The Gates of Walhalla By Justen Forge

Suspense, intrigue, and action. A page turner that makes you feel like you're in the scenes. This novel sets itself apart with its vivid writing and top notch storytelling. Perfectly priced so you can give this to all the readers on your Christmas shopping list.

Price: $2.99 (Kindle) via Amazon, Sony, iTunes, B&N, and $21.99 (Paperback)  McNally Robinson

For: Thriller & Mystery Fans

Palmetto Review Take: After a horrific series of events a hero emerges to set wrongs right in spellbinding detail.

Blogger Take: This may be silly, but I have to say the title and cover are intriguing.

More: Visit the Author’s Website

Liberty's Torch (Dystopia Trilogy Book 3) by Janet McNulty

Expect excitement action, and to learn the meaning of true sacrifice. All it takes is one spark to ignite Liberty's Torch.

Price: $2.99 (Kindle) via Amazon

For: YA, Teens, Dystopian Genre Fans, Those Who Like Strong Female Characters

Palmetto Review Take: Like Hunger Games and Divergent, this dystopian drama is both entertaining and plausible.

Blogger Take: I love anything dystopian! 

More: Fan on Facebook, follow @JMRUL, visit the author’s Website

Ready For A Giveaway?
One Very Lucky Reader Will Win a Kindle Paperwhite prize package complete with:
  • Kindle Paperwhite
  • $50 Amazon Gift Card
  • One copy of each book included in the holiday gift guide
To enter, just complete the options included below on the GiveawayTools form. Be sure to come back each day for additional entries, such as daily tweets! This giveaway is open to US Readers, 18+ years of age, begins Monday, December 16th and will end on Tuesday, December 31st at 11:59pm. Good Luck!

Disclosure: Prizes will be provided by Children Teaching Mama and Reader Spoils.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Book Review: Forever, Interrupted

Forever, Interrupted, by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

"Let's just move on. I'll talk to Susan about the cremation later. What else do I need to go over today?" I say.

"Well, Elsie. Everything hinges on what is to be done with the body."

Don't call it the body, you asshole. That's my husband. That's the body that grabbed my left hand as it drove us to the movies. That's the body that made me feel alive, made me feel crazy, made me cry and shake with joy. It's lifeless now, but that doesn't mean I've given up on it.

This book is not your typical romance. We meet Elsie and Ben, who have been happily married for the past nine days. Ben dashes out to the grocery store to buy Elsie some Fruity Pebbles she was craving, but in the process gets run over by a truck driver; both him and the driver die on the scene, and Elsie is devastated. She now has to cooperate with Ben's mother, who doesn't even know she exists, for the funeral arrangements, all while re-learning to be by herself again, too.

Official synopsis:
Taylor Jenkins ReidElsie Porter is an average twentysomething and yet what happens to her is anything but ordinary. On a rainy New Year's Day, she heads out to pick up a pizza for one. She isn't expecting to see anyone else in the shop, much less the adorable and charming Ben Ross. Their chemistry is instant and electric. Ben cannot even wait twenty-four hours before asking to see her again. Within weeks, the two are head over heels in love. By May, they've eloped.

Only nine days later, Ben is out riding his bike when he is hit by a truck and killed on impact. Elsie hears the sirens outside her apartment, but by the time she gets downstairs, he has already been whisked off to the emergency room. At the hospital, she must face Susan, the mother-in-law she has never met and who doesn't even know Elsie exists.

Interweaving Elsie and Ben's charmed romance with Elsie and Susan's healing process, Forever, Interrupted will remind you that there's more than one way to find a happy ending.

I really liked how this novel switched between the past (early winter of that year) and the present, although at times it was jarring - Elsie would be talking about Ben, who is now dead, and then the next chapter would start off in the past with him very much alive.

The characters in this book jumped off the page, as well, as they were all so normal. Elsie, 26, works as a librarian, and the meet-cute occurs when she goes to get a takeout pizza; she actually wanted delivery but they were quoting her an hour or more wait time, so she goes down to the store to pick it up instead. She and Ben hit it off instantly and they make a "five week rule": they'll date exclusively for five weeks and then see what happens after that. By the end of the five weeks, though, Ben is already itching to move in with her, and Elsie can't think of anything that would make her happier.

Ben's mother, Susan, was also an interesting character - she was very angry at Elsie at first, and standoffish, until they both realize that Susan is only angry at her because Ben is no longer around and Elsie is "the only one left to be angry at."

This may be one of the best books I've read this year, as 2013 comes to a close - it was hard to get through because it was so sad, but I also enjoyed reading about Ben and Elsie's whirlwind romance through the flashbacks, too. The writing itself is also very good, and is in fact better than most of the "usual" romance novels I usually read.

5 stars out of 5.

*Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this novel from NetGalley for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

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