The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

Book Review


The Readers of Broken Wheel RecommendBook Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance

Book Series: N/A

Released: 1/19/16 by Sourcebooks Landmark

Pages:394  Price:$16.99 by Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Buy the Book: Amazon The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

Source: I received a copy from the publisher for an honest review.



Book Synopsis:

Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen…

Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy’s funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist—even if they don’t understand her peculiar need for books. Marooned in a farm town that’s almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend’s memory.

All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town. Reminiscent of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this is a warm, witty book about friendship, stories, and love.

My Review:

This was such a charming little read.  I wish life had not gotten in the way and I could have read it without interruption.  I picked this book up at BEA last May although it was already on my radar.  We had it at the library where I work and I was already planning on reading it.  When I had the opportunity to meet the author and get a personalized copy I simply could not pass it up.  I’m so glad I did because this book has earned a permanent spot on my shelves.

This book is set in Iowa, and if a blog post I read about it is correct the town that the town it is based upon is two towns over from where I live!  I have to say for someone who had never been to Iowa before writing this book she captured small town Iowa pretty damn accurately.  I could totally picture this story playing out upon the streets of that small town.  Ms. Bivald also did an excellent job of recreating characters you might find in a small Iowa town.  Oh sure, there were some missing, but overall well done.

Much of this story is a fun fluffy tale about a woman from afar coming to a strange town and falling in love.  Another side, however, is a peek into the reality of a small dying Iowa town.  I am sorry to say that she also portrayed this side of Iowa pretty accurately as well.  The author also delved into topics like homosexuality and racism which should challenge some readers like it challenged the citizens of Broken Wheel, and I for one think that’s a good thing.

Then there are the books.  It was such a delight to see the literary world become almost a supporting character in this story.  And to be portrayed so accurately.  After all is not the truest purpose of a book none other than to bring people together like it did for the people of Broken Wheel?

Great read that I look forward to recommending to many of my patrons.

My Rating:5 Stars


Losing It by Cora Carmack

Book Review


losing itBook Genre:Romance, Contemporary, New Adult

Book Series: Losing It #1

Released: Oct 15, 2012 by HarperCollins Publisher

Pages: 189 Price:  $2.99 Ebook

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audio book from my library.


Book Synopsis:

Sick of being the only virgin among her friends, Bliss Edwards decides the best way to deal with the problem is to lose it as quickly and simply as possible – a one-night stand. But her plan turns out to be anything but simple when she freaks out and leaves a gorgeous guy alone and naked in her bed with an excuse that no one with half-a-brain would ever believe. And as if that weren’t embarrassing enough, when she arrives for her first class of her last college semester, she recognizes her new theatre professor. She’d left him naked in her bed about 8 hours earlier.

My Review:

This is the kind of book that feminist hate. One where it seems like the girl’s whole existence centers around and hangs upon that one guy being in her life.  A heroine whose most crucial obstacle in her life is losing her virginity.  The same people who declare that 50 shade is going to be the undoing of woman’s rights in the modern era are not going to enjoy this book. I on the other hand thought it was sweet, while still having some issues with the book…

Okay this book is about a stage of life that with every single birthday have a more and more difficult time relating with.  Kind of like my not being able to identify with YA level fiction, stories set in college are also something I should think about giving up.  At the current stage of life I am at reading about these college age relationship issues just grates on my nerves a bit.  I want to take the characters by the shoulders, shake them and say  ‘who cares if you end up together think about the college debt you are going to be saddled with for the rest of your life and the fact that you will be working at McDonald’s for the next 10 years because the job market sucks in this county’.

Then there is the love triangle that up until this book was never much of a pet peeve for me up until this book.  Okay, I get why they suck now.  Then there is the aspect of the hero being the heroine’s teacher.  This does not lead to a healthy relationship and was something that bothered me about the story. There are other issues I had but will refrain from going into because in the end I really didn’t hate this book.  Oh sure, through most of it I thought to myself ‘what are you listening to’ but it was a good story.  I guess I have an easier time overlooking some things when it is in a paranormal setting vs a contemporary one.  In a paranormal the rules are different from our world and I can let stuff go easier.  In a contemporary, this is our world they live in the rules of our society and some things, like dating your teacher, are not as easy to brush off for story’s sake.

So did I like anything about this book?  Yep.  I did enjoy this look into what it is like to be an actor.  Getting into a role, what its like to get on stage, trying to obtain that coveted part.  All of this I really enjoyed.  It was so interesting and made me admire my friends who are stage actors. The language of this story was also quite lovely and the author had a way with metaphors that I quite liked.  I also thought it was cute how these two go together, their cute-meet was sweet.  I loved the hero’s British accent (another great reason to listen to this on audio) and it was quite funny at times.  I am also intrigued enough to stick this one out for another book.  I did become vested in the character, probably why I disapproved so much of some of their actions, and want to see how the scorned love interests finds his H.E.A.

It is an okay book and one I would recommend to those who can overlook a bit and just want something fun.  To the prudes this is a good one as well as for a title about losing one’s virginity there is remarkably little sex in this story.  Lots of teasing but really only one good hook-up scene.

My Rating: 3 Stars

Something About You by Julie James

Book Review


Something About You (FBI/US Attorney, #1)Book Genre:
Romance, Suspense, Thriller, Audio

Book Series: FBI/US Attorney #1

Released: 3/10/2010 by Berkley Sensation

Pages:  307 Price: $29.99 Audio

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audio book from my library.



Book Synopsis:

Fate has thrown two sworn enemies…

Of all the hotel rooms rented by all the adulterous politicians in Chicago, female Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde had to choose the one next to 1308, where some hot-and-heavy lovemaking ends with a death. And of all the FBI agents in Illinois, it had to be Special Agent Jack Pallas who gets assigned to this high-profile homicide. The same Jack Pallas who still blames Cameron for a botched crackdown three years ago—and for nearly ruining his career.

Into each other’s arms…

Work with Cameron Lynde? Are they kidding? Maybe, Jack thinks, this is some kind of welcome-back prank after his stint away from Chicago. But it’s no joke; the pair is going to have to put their rocky past behind them and focus on the case at hand. That is, if they can cut back on the razor-sharp jibes—and smother the flame of their sizzling-hot sexual tension.

My Review:

In my quest to seek out more audio books to make my chore time more productive I stumbled across this title and saw it had some good reviews and decided to give it a shot. I’m glad I did as this was a fun listen.  The story started out rather scandalously and had me blushing on the lawn mower but quickly moved into a crazy situation that had me laughing over the banter between Jack and Cameron.  I also enjoyed the setting as I have spent many a long weekend in Chicago it was easy to visualize this story which only added to my enjoyment.  I have already added the rest of the series to my to-read list as I plan to explore more work by this author.

This story was the perfect blend of tension, humor and chemistry between the two love interests.   The author did an excellent job of weaving a background between these two to keep them at odds with each other for a good portion of the book yet making us want to root for their coming together.  The addition of fun friends and nosy police force assigned to guard Cameron and give Jack a hard time helped to keep this book from being too dark.  Like I said this had good balance because there were moments that kept me on the edge of my seat as the drama and danger unfolded.  Then there was that chemistry between Jack and Cameron.  Cameron was no push-over but Jack was definitely all alpha male.  I thought I would only enjoy a good alpha in paranormal romance but this author made it work for this contemporary read too.  He was simply all kinds of yummy.

The pacing was good and the romance while hot was held off until the end of the book for the most part.  If you are looking for a romance where they don’t spend all their time vertical or up against a wall this one is a good pick for you.  Personally I think it was nice to be teased for most of the book as these two drove each other crazy.

The audio was well done I enjoyed the person who narrated the piece.  She was easy to understand and I felt her voice matched the personality of the main character nicely.  Bottom line this was a fun listen and a good plot with a great ending.  I recommend it and look forward to the next book in the series.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Under the Surface by Anne Calhoun

Book Review

Under the SurfaceBook Genre:
Romance, Contemporary, Urban, Suspense.

Book Series: Book One in Alpha Ops (Spin-Off ?) Series

Released: May 31,2016 by St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 350  Price:$7.99

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley for an honest review.



Book Synopsis:

Welcome to Eye Candy, the East Side’s hottest nightclub where the bartenders are hot, the cocktails are fancy, and danger lurks just under the surface…

Eve Webber, the gorgeous and savvy owner of Eye Candy, knows better than anyone that growing up on the wrong side of the tracks comes with certain complications. Determined to run a clean business and fix up the East Side, Eve’s plans get temporarily stalled when a potential new hire walks into her bar. The sexual chemistry crackling between them is a potent distraction…even if she refuses to mix business with the promise of pleasure.

Detective Matt Dorchester lives by strict rules that have kept him alive in impossible situations. When his latest undercover assignment has him playing a bartender, his desire for the passionate owner has him breaking every single one. Eve is in danger and her life depends on his secrecy. But once their attraction reaches a climactic conclusion, Matt must make a desperate choice: Tell her the truth about who he really is―or risk a once-in-a-lifetime love to save her life?

My Review:

As a connoisseur of books, dozens of them cross my path on a weekly basis, some of them even stumble into my life through an intriguing email to my gmail account.  This little gem caught my eye one day in May and I needed to learn more, so I downloaded a copy just to get a sample and proceeded to forget my current (yet unfinished…) read and devour this in a couple of days.  As most of you know that while I do love my romance I usually stick to the paranormal branch of the genre and only venture into the suspense/contemporary territory with authors I already have an established history with.  I was in the mood for something different though and being the first in a new series (I think) I decided to give this book a shot, and I am so glad I did!

There was  a bit of confusion when I started checking into this title.  Goodreads lists this as book four in the series, but the publisher and author’s site has it as a new series.  Even if this is a continuation of an already established series I was totally alright reading it on its own as I do not think there is any continuation from the previous books, or very little.  In other words don’t feel like you have to go back and read everything else before you start this read.  You will be fine, I was and you might even find yourself wanting to check into the other books by this author too.  I know I do!

Now for my thoughts on the story.  I liked it, quite a bit actually.  This book had it all and was a nice change of pace from my normal paranormal romance reads.  There was danger, a strong female lead, a yummy brooding alpha love interest, plenty of action and enough steam to fog your e-reader.  The story moved at a good pace for me, had a nice balance of wit, drama and sex to keep me turning the page and the chemistry between the love interests was definitely there and believable. I liked the aggressiveness of Eve and how she was the one pressuring Matt into a physical relationship.  She was strong and authentic and I liked her sense of character, in wanting to make her city a better place.  She wasn’t a wonder woman though and had realistic reactions to the danger that entered her life.  She kept it together though, was able to adapt and think quick on her feet.

Matt on the other hand had me wanting to do a facepalm on several occasions as I desperately needed him to get his head out of his ass and fight for the woman he wanted.  I guess one of the two characters needed to have flaws to overcome… I did like him though, like Eve he wasn’t perfect but still a man with integrity and honor even if he did let it get in the way of his happiness most of the time.  The supporting cast was fairly well-rounded too.  I would have liked to know more about several of them, the bad guy for example. Eve’s brother was another fun one I wish had more page time too.

This was a fun story that had me on the edge of my seat needing to know more and biting my nails as I watched the drama unfold for these characters.  The climax of the story was worthy of any action movie I’ve seen recently and the resolution of the relationship afterwards was authentic and sweet.  I really appreciated how the author left these two, those of you that don’t like the insta-love should have no problem with this one.  There may have been insta-sex, but the romance was in a believable spot when I finished up this book.  I plan on looking into not only the next book in this series but other titles by this author.  I’m also sold on suspense romance and will be working more of them into my reading mix!  I hope you give this one a shot and enjoy it as much as I did.

My Rating: 4 Stars

ARC The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion – 3 Stars

The Rosie Effect (Don Tillman #2)

Cover art thanks to Goodreads, click on it to visit book’s page there.

Book two in the Don Tillman series: American release date 12/30/14

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley for a honest review.

Book Synopsis:

GREETINGS. My name is Don Tillman. I am forty-one years old. I have been married to Rosie Jarman, world’s most perfect woman, for ten months and ten days.

Marriage added significant complexity to my life. When we relocated to New York City, Rosie brought three maximum-size suitcases. We abandoned the Standardised Meal System and agreed that sex should not be scheduled in advance.

Then Rosie told me we had ‘something to celebrate’, and I was faced with a challenge even greater than finding a partner.

I have attempted to follow traditional protocols and have sourced advice from all six of my friends, plus a therapist and the internet.

The result has been a web of deceit. I am now in danger of prosecution, deportation and professional disgrace.

And of losing Rosie forever.

My Review: Warning-minor spoiler.

I enjoyed this book, not as much as the first one, but still I’m glad I read it.  Part of the problem for me, I think, is my disinterest in children and therefore not able to connect with the story line.  Much of the book I found myself looking at the chaos the prospective change the baby was bringing to their lives as reason to validate my decision to abstain from reproducing.  This book was also less fun than previous one.  I spent much of the book worried over the state of Don and Rosie’s relationship and did not find much humor in what was going on.  Again it was a good story, but more of a serious sitting-on-edge-of-seat kind of read then a funny outrageous crazy drama filled ride.

The characters where much the same from the previous book, we have a few new faces, most of them I liked, a couple of them I wanted to smack.  The character of Lydia was a particularly unpleasant character that I took an instant dislike to and never found reason to change my opinion of throughout the entire book.  Rosie also got on my nerves a little bit in this book.  In my opinion the character is in need of some serious counselling and I place all of the drama squarely on her shoulders for introducing a child into their marriage without consulting all parties involved.  What she did was not fair to Don or the baby, and unfortunately she never really has to answer for her transgressions in the story.  Also for as much drama that she incited she was notably absent from much of the story.

I was sad to see the state of Gene and Claudia’s relationship in this book, but think the outcome was probably unavoidable.  It was also interesting to see Don interact with his father and I can kind of see where he gets his quirks from.  I think the character of Don is under appreciated by his friends, and it isn’t until after the fact that they see all the ways he has contributed to their lives.  The book was also a great example of the need to be honest and open with those we care about.  Much of these character’s problems would have been moot if they had just communicated honestly with each other and been upfront with their needs.  I think there is much we could learn from Don.

Like I said I enjoyed the book.  It was a fun read, but not quite what I was expecting.  The characters are growing, and I found myself worried for much of the book that things would not end well for this unconventional couple.  I hope the author continues the series.  I would like to see what happen’s next in Don’s world.

More Than Magic by Donna June Cooper – 4 Stars

More than magic

Click on cover to visit book’s Goodread page.

Book one in the Books of the Kindling series.

I received this title from the author for an honest review

Book synopsis and cover art from Goodreads:

“A malignant secret could turn her mountain sanctuary into their tomb.”

DEA agent Nick McKenzie is sure magic exists – a dangerous drug called Smoky Mountain Magic that’s wreaking havoc on the streets of Atlanta. He’s also sure that locating and eliminating the source could mean his death.

When he arrives undercover on Woodruff Mountain, the beautiful owner’s anxious attempts to scare him off tell him something’s afoot, and it s not her secret patch of a rare, ancient species of ginseng.

As her dream of seeking medicinal plants in the Amazon fades into the distance, Grace Woodruff struggles to come to terms with an inherited magical gift she didn’t want, and searches desperately for the meaning behind her late grandfather’s final, cryptic message.

The last thing she needs underfoot is a handsome, enigmatic writer recovering from a recent illness. Until an accidental touch unleashes a stunning mystical force and Grace senses the wrath of a malicious blight at the heart of the mountain. Now she must choose between her need to hide her gift from the world and her desire to save Nick s life.

Warning: This book contains a fiery redhead whose magic cannot be contained and a handsome DEA agent whose final case might give him a second chance at life.

The author contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing this and her next book, Mostly Magic, that comes out on June 3, 2014.  I checked into it and decided to give it a go.  The book was billed to me as a paranormal, but I would rather call it a contemporary romance instead.  Sure there were some paranormal or supernatural elements to it, but there were very light compared to most of the books I read.  Those who read a lot of paranormal books might find this one a little tame.  Not saying it was bad,  I enjoyed the story quite a bit, but thought I would put that out there for those of you used to say Laura Wright who writes a very different type of paranormal book.

I thought this was a very nice story actually.  The writing was well done, very descriptive and it was easy to picture this beautiful setting which really was like another character in the story.   It took me a bit to get into, not the book’s fault  started it the same time my cat got sick so I was a little preoccupied and worried about that.  Like most new series and new to me authors it took some time to get the rhythm of the story and to bond with the characters.  The prologue does a great job of grabbing you with an interesting little story about the lead character Grace and how she awakens to her magical potential.  You are soon ripped away from that and introduced the the male lead Nick.  The story jumps back and forth between the heads of both characters until the love interests meet up themselves.  We are still in both their heads, but much of the back ground characters drop away and we focus on these two.  There is a little girl, Jamie, who plays an important part in the story along with a canine companion, Pooka.  I liked how the author limited much of the story to these four,  it was much easier to follow and get invested in the people most of the action centered around.

Like I mentioned this book felt more like a contemporary romance to me.  The first half of the book centers around the building up of chemistry between Grace and Nick.  It was what I like to call a slow burn,  the characters actually got to know each other and in return we got a chance to know them too.  They did not jump into the sack in the first 50 or even 100 pages the relationship progressed at a more natural realistic pace.  Okay sure they fall in love faster than people might in real life, but the world of a book this was a much more subdued pace compared to much of what is out there in the romance world.  Personally I thought it was a nice change of pace, and has the potential to appeal to a broader audience.  Not everybody is comfortable with a book that moves at the pace of the 50 Shades of Grey. This is a great romance for those readers who might want a more realistic relationship in their books and not have to advert their eyes every couple of chapters as the characters roll in the hay again.

Like I said the first half seemed to focus on the budding romance and the second half of the book we come to the action.  We are introduced to the bad guys and the very real danger they pose for Grace, Nick and the mountain.  The story changed a bit and either my cat was starting to feel better or I got more invested in the story at this point.  My reading pace picked up and I finished the second half much quicker than the first.  The author showed us that she could captivate us with more than just an awesome setting and  a sweet romance, she could get us on the edge of our seats as well.   I would say most of the action involving the mystery around the drug and why Nick came to the mountain plays out in this half of the book.  This is also where more of the paranormal elements come into play for the story.  Still on the light side, but they do add a nice element.  I would say this is a great book for readers who perhaps want to dip their toes in to the paranormal genre, but are not necessary ready for something that is way out there.

Some of the other aspects of the book I enjoyed are how the author weaves the mountain, herb and our environment into the story.  I also thought the message she was giving us about how not only are some drugs a danger and destroy people but they poison our planet as well.  I enjoyed her take on natural healing with herbs,  I know this an aspect of the story my husband would have enjoyed.  The author also did an excellent job with her characters,  they were believable, likable and well formed, even the background characters had depth to them.   I was also intrigued by the character Daniel,  Grace’s brother, whose story is up next in Mostly Magic.

This was a different type of book for me.  I’m glad I read it and am looking forward to the next one which I hope to get to next week.  This book was well written and I think could have broad appeal to lovers of contemporary, paranormal and supernatural romance.  There is plenty of action as well and even a little mystery in these pages.  I hope you check it out.