"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." Sir Richard Steele

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Review of The Second That Burns

In the Corner
In The Corner
Jim Bronyaur
eBook Edition

   In The Corner is made up of three separate stories. 'The Second that Burns' is the second story in the book and is the one that I am reviewing. In this particular story, a man named Trevor is in a horrible car accident in which he should have died. He survives and has a terrible time coping with that fact. He is seeing Dr. Phillips who is trying to help him work through his problems and to see that his death was not meant to be. This story is the culmination of what happens. 
   This story sets you a bit on the edge of your seat from the beginning. Most people have difficulty coping with the fact they may be dying; but Trevor can't grasp the fact that he didn't die. As you follow Trevor, you are placed on a roller coaster ride through this man's psyche. This is a wonderfully written story that keeps you guessing from the start as to where it will end. Tension mounts from the start and just kinda  blindsides you at the end. You definitely need to read it to see what I mean. It is well worth the read.
   I want to thank Jim for providing me with a copy of the story to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated in any way except for the privilege of reading and reviewing the story. 

I give 'The Second that Burns' 4 out of 5 stars

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Review of When Fate Dictates

When Fate Dictates
Elizabeth Marshall
Kindle Edition

   The year is 1692 and Corran is awakened from her sleep to find her family slaughtered and her beloved grandmother dead. Absorbed in her pain and loss, she knows she must leave quickly. She runs through a blizzard to the mountains to collapse in a heap on the frozen ground. She awakens some time later to a glorious highland stag with silver antlers looking down on her. She later realizes the highland stag has saved her life.
    She is eventually discovered by Simon Campbell, one of the men sent by the King of England to destroy her people. Has she been saved by the stag just to be murdered by the King's man? He has no desire to harm her and both go on the run. Constantly on the run, can these two unlikely people form any kind of alliance to remain alive and out of harms way?
   This is a story of love, hatred, slaughter and the lengths that people go to to survive during war. There are some twists and turns in this story and events that throw a bit of curve. I have to tell you, I did not see it coming. Most time travel stories have the characters going to the past. These travel to the future and this is where the story gets interesting. There is also some amusing parts as they try to fit in a modern day world.
   Simon fits my image of the 17th century Highlander. He is in charge and wants to be obeyed. Corran does get a bit annoying when she just won't let things slide. She constantly wants answers even when time is of the essence. This is a wonderful story in so many ways and I highly encourage you to read it. If you like highlanders, romance and time travel, you can't go wrong. I know I can't wait for the next installment to see where their journey takes them.
   This book was originally released under another title and will be released in the near future under the name When Fate Dictates. Keep your eyes out for the new release.

I give When Fate Dictates 4 out of 5 stars

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Review of Love Drunk Cowboy

Love Drunk Cowboy
Carolyn Brown
Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN 9781402253584

   Austin Lanier is a high powered executive who is suddenly strapped with her grandmother's watermelon farm. Her intent is to clean out her grandmother's house and prepare to sell the farm. She suddenly becomes responsible for the livelihood of some Mexican workers and their families. This puts a kink in her plans to sell right away. Not only that but a sexy cowboy is just across the street.
   Rancher Rye O'Donnell is determined to buy the ranch across the way and thinks he will get a good deal in the process. He doesn't expect his neighbor to be a savvy business woman, as well as, sexy as the dickens. Suddenly he becomes more concerned with getting her to turn in her stilettos for a pair of cowboy boots. Will these two be able to work out some kind of a deal that will benefit them both?
   This is an amusing romance that will give you more then one chuckle. For a time, you have to wonder if these two will ever get together. If you are superstitious enough, you may even wonder if the dead grandma is trying to keep them apart. One has to wonder if this couple is even meant to be.
   The storyline moves along with Austin's and Rye's family getting in the way. Austin changes along the way and makes you wonder where the high powered woman went. Her snob nose mother gets a rude awakening when Austin shows she has a mind of her own. Rye is a protective brother; but his sister is just as determined to protect him. Will he be able to stand up and be his own man?
   This was a great little romance; but sometimes the conversations were a bit ridiculous. I just find it a little hard to believe people would talk like this to each other. If you like cowboys and romance, you should enjoy this book. All in all it is a very good read and it definitely had me laughing.
   I wish to thank Sourcebooks for providing me with an ARC to review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated in any way except for being provided the book the read and review.

I give Love Drunk Cowboy 4 out of 5 stars

Review of Tamed by a Highlander

Tamed by a Highlander
Paula Quinn
Forever Hachette Book Group
ISBN 9780446552363

   Connor Grant left his first love in the Highlands when he left to serve in the King's army. After seven long years, he is still fighting for the king; but he never forgot his first and only love. He has become a legend on the battlefield, as well as, the bedroom. Connor never expects to see her amidst the splendor of the British royal court; but she is as tempting now as she was seven years ago.
   When Connor left Mairi MacGregor, she banished him from her heart forever. She swore allegiance to Scotland and as part of a secret alliance, she journeys to London to find information. She never expects to see Connor again; but runs into him on her quest in London. She still craves his touch; but is unable to forgive his betrayal. With a traitor in their midst, can Mairi take a chance and join forces with Connor? Will she lose her heart again in the process?
   I have to tell you I am partial to Highland romances and fell in love with them years ago. This one is no exception. This is a wonderful story of love, betrayal, revenge and murder. It moves from the beginning and does not stop until the end. There is just enough sex to keep you on the edge of your seat and asking for more.
   All of the characters are well developed. Some are more likable then others. Connor, of course is your typical protective male. He thinks a woman should not be placed in danger and needs to be protected at all costs. Mairi, however, has different ideas about what a woman should be. Will the two be able to reach some kind of compromise in able to find the traitor?
   If you are in the market for a good romance, I highly recommend this book. If you like highland romances as much as I do, I know you will like it. Why is it when you are reading these stories, you can forget the fact those folks did not actually bath or wash their hair for weeks and months on end? No oral hygiene to speak of and many had rotting teeth. I don't know about you; but I prefer to think of them as sexy, gorgeous hunks.
   I wish to thank Paula Quinn for providing me with an ARC to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated in any way except for the privilege of reading and reviewing the book.

I give Tamed by a Highlander 4.5 out of 5 stars. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Interview with Jim Bronyaur

 It is with a great deal of pleasure for me to introduce my guest, Jim Bronyaur, to my blog today. He has graciously agreed to answer some questions for us and has provided us with some of his music. Just click on the link at the end to hear the music. 

1- Tell us a little about your book, In the Corner, and how it came to be.
   In the Corner is three stories in the horror/psychological horror genre. The first story, When the Star Fade, follows a man named Jimmy, who is on the wrong side of a beating when something comes from the woods...something big and dark...the question is, is it here to end his suffering or help him? The second story, The Second That Burns, follows a man named Trevor who is the survivor of a horrific car accident-one that should have killed him. He's living with the guilt of living and with the help of Dr. Philips, he hopes to conquer his quilt before it gets the best of him. And in the final story, The Wrong Side of the Tracks follows a couple as they attempt to take a road trip but then something happens...the road changes...and keeps changing...
   The book title is the story of these three stories. They were stories I started but never finished. I very rarely start something and don't finish it, so these three stories burned in my mind for a while until I decided to finish them, edit them, and put them together. And the stories themselves all work and just fit together.

2- How did you come to write the songs for the band Butler in your story, 'The Wrong Side of the Tracks?'
   I've always wanted to incorporate music and writing together...and while I'm not sure I've come close to perfected it, I found a cool way to do it. The lead character in The Wrong Side of the Tracks, Evan, is the lead singer of the fictional band, Butler. So I decided to write a demo for Butler and tie it all in with the book. And two of those demo songs are going to be used quite often on this tour...
   What I did was just channel the story, and parts of it that I wrote based on my life and came up with some music. It went a lot smoother than I thought it would-the hard part is recording everything since I'm a one man band here so I have to take one track at a time, one instrument at a time

3- Did you ever play in a band? If so, when and where?
   Oh yeah, I was in a band. In high school, I was the guitarist in Falling Down the Stair. FDTS! We recorded a demo, played a lot of shows, and were on the radio once. That was such a cool feeling turning on the radio and hearing our song. We played everywhere we could, mostly holding concerts in our drummers basement and packing it with as many people as we could and just playing.

4- Do you tend towards the horror/thriller suspense genre? Do you see yourself writing in other genres?
   I've written in other genres before, yes, and I enjoyed them. BUT my genre is horror/thriller. Even my writing that could be considered literary fiction still had slight horror elements to it. Now, does that mean I won't ever write in other genres? No. But if I do, it'll be under a pen name. *hint hint*

5- Have you always wanted to be a writer? If not, what did you do previously?
   Writing has been in my life as long as I could remember. It started when I read Pet Sematary by Stephen King when I was 8 or 9. When the other kids were reading Beverly Cleary and Stuart Little, I was buried in horror novels. Then I started playing guitar when I was around that age too and they just seemed to sync together and that's all that ever mattered to me...writing and music.

6- Do you have any WIP? If so, can you tell us about them?
   Yes, yes, yes! I have two really cool projects coming up. My serialized story Pulsate is going into ebook and paperback! I just wrapped up the first season of Pulsate on Flashes in the Dark and I decided to try something new...take the season and put it into book form. I figured if people will buy the season of a TV show on DVD why not a serialized web story? And plus, I know that some people don't like to read online and may not have the time to commit to reading every episode so this is my way of ensuring everyone has a chance at reading Pulsate...plus, I packed the book with 5 bonus episodes AND a novelette. It's due out June 2011.

7- I am interested in your work 'The Killer and She.' Can you give us a little background and how it came to be?
   Oh, I love The Killer & She...it's part of a new series I'm calling the Poetry Story Telling Series. I'm calling it a mix between Dr. Seuss and Stephen King. These are epic horror poems that tell full stories. I've always wanted to do something with poetry so I started dabbling and one night I read some parts to my wife who told me it sounded amazing and to keep going. So I did. The Killer & She is about a woman having nightmares about a man coming to kill her...while dreaming, a man does come, breaks into her house, and tries to kill her. They fight, but who wins? Well, you'll have to read to find out!
   The next book in the PST Series is due sometime this summer and it's called The House & He.

8- What do you do for relaxation?
   Write. No, seriously. Write. Play guitar. And since we moved into a house with a fireplace and I have my own writing space...I like to build fires, watch scary movies, and think about what I'll be writing next. Writing is my life, inside and out, from daybreak to day end. And I wouldn't change it for the world.

My site: http://www.jimbronyaur.com/
Follow me: www.twitter.com/jimbronyaur
Buy my book: In the Corner- http://jimbronyaur.info/?page  id=1100

Link for music: http://jimbronyaur.info/?p=1606 

I wish to thank Jim for stopping by and answering our questions. Feel free to leave a comment and ask Jim any questions you may have. Be sure to stop back for his answer.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Review of Promises to Keep

Promises to Keep
Ann Tatlock
Bethany House
ISBN 9780764208096

   Roz Anthony and her family move to Mills River, Illinois to escape an abusive situation with the father. Not long after moving there, the former owner, Tillie Monroe, ends up on their porch having escaped from an old folks home. Tillie is convinced that the home still belongs to her and returns repeatedly even after her son demands she stays away. Janis Monroe feels sorry for Tillie and asks her to move in. It turns out, Tillie is an angel in disguise for the Monroe family.
   Mara Nightingale, a young Negro, becomes friends with Roz. This story is based in the early 60's during the time of Vietnam so befriending a Negro was out of the ordinary. Both young girls are drawn to each other. Both have secrets that they are keeping between the two of them and thus, 'promises to keep.'
   By the end of the story, evil is stalking the Monroes and Tillie shows her total love and devotion to the  family.
   This was a wonderful story from a bygone era. A story of friendship, love, devotion, and lies. The storyline flowed nicely from the beginning to the end and is told through the eyes of young Roz. All of the characters are brought to life through the eyes of Roz. Janis was a strong woman in her own right considering the time this book is set in. Not many women would have ventured out on their own and faced such an uncertain future with no means of financial support. Her son, Wally, from her first marriage was an angry and bitter young man because of his step father. Roz was a fairly intelligent young girl except when it came to her father. She was a bit naive and I became frustrated with her on numerous occasions. All in all this was a great story and I highly recommend it.
   I want to thank Bethany House for providing me with a copy of the book to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated in any way except for receiving a copy of the book.

I give Promises to Keep 4.5 out of 5 stars

Monday, May 2, 2011

Review of Paradise Valley

Paradise Valley
Dale Cramer
Bethany House 2011
ISBN 9780764208386

   In 1921 several Amish fathers were arrested for violating the newly enacted Bing Act in Holmes County, Ohio. The government was forcing the Amish community to attend school with the rest of the community and to attend five days per week. The children were taken from them and placed in a children's home and had their hair cut and Amish clothing confiscated. After the Amish men agreed to allow their children to attend the school, they were released and the children were returned.
   Caleb Bender discovers an offer of land in Mexico for sale and decides to move his family there. His daughter, Rachel, is forced to move away from the young man she has her heart set on. The whole family finds themselves in an unfamiliar land where no one speaks their language and are unfamiliar with their ways. Their faith will be tested in more ways then one. Bandits force themselves on them and steal from them and the government will do nothing to intervene. Two daughters give birth in a place where no doctor is available. Will the rest of the Amish community move to Mexico? Will Rachel's Jake convince his father to move there after hearing about the bandit problem?
   This is a wonderful story of the the Amish told from a completely different perspective then most. I for one have never read anything about them going to Mexico. It put a completely different twist to the usual trials they face. Their faith is tested to the limits. The storyline flowed very nicely from the beginning. My only complaint was with the ending. It left you hanging, with no idea if there will be a sequel. It most definitely allowed for the possibility. All of the characters were quite interesting.  Rachel was a strong young woman, even though she was only sixteen. By the middle of the story, she discovers a powerful gift that she possesses. There was also a daughter who is mentally deficient. The mother suffers from breathing issues; but the dry Mexican air allows her condition to improve. There are many and varied circumstances surrounding the characters. You will just have to read the book to find out all the details.  I will definitely be keeping my eye out for a follow-up to this book.
   I want to thank Bethany House for providing me with a copy to read and review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated in any way except for receiving the book to review.

I give Paradise Valley 4 out of 5 stars