Friday, August 23, 2013

Touching Evil

Title: Touching Evil
Age group: adult fiction
Release Date: November 5, 2012
Book Summary:
Leila Marx is trying to put her life back together after her fiance is murdered. Her book illustrating career has limited her social contact and nightmares have trapped her in the past. When a police acquaintance enlists her help with a difficult case, Leila is surprisingly thankful to have a purpose. Not only will this help to keep her mind focused, but she will be able to use her talents as a touch clairvoyant that are frequently dismissed by skeptics. Leila and Detective Garrick Pearson delve into the mystery behind a series of missing teenage girls and mummified corpses while fighting their own growing attraction to each other.

Conner Hoffman is an intriguing lawyer and striking half-demon who enters Leila’s life unexpectedly. Although her visions are terrifying, she is fascinated by his charm and his legacy. When it becomes evident that the murders are linked to a paranormal event, Conner introduces Leila to a world unbeknownst to ordinary society. She suddenly finds herself immersed in supernatural politics, sorcery, and danger as she becomes the killer’s next target. Staying alive will mean relying on friends, accepting the unbelievable, and trusting in her heart again.

Links to books:

Links to trailer:
Series site:

About the author (Amber Garr):
Amber Garr spends her days conducting scientific experiments and wondering if her next door neighbor is secretly a vampire. Born in Pennsylvania, she lives in Florida with her husband and their furry kids. Her childhood imaginary friend was a witch, Halloween is sacred, and she is certain that she has a supernatural sense of smell. Amber is a multiple Royal Palm Literary Award winner and the author of The Syrenka Series and The Leila Marx Novels. When not obsessing over the unknown, she can be found dancing, reading, or enjoying a good movie.

Links to author:


This is the first book tour I have been a part of and I have to say, I thought that it was a good experience. Because it was pitched a little like a paranormal romance, I almost passed it up since I am not big into the passionate thrillers out there. However, I was extremely pleased with the novel.

There were a few small things that I had a few issues with, but nothing too big. Just my quirky side revealing itself once again. Within the novel, there were several grammatically incorrect areas where things like "than" was used instead of "then", etc. My biggest complaint about the main character was that I never got a very clear image of what she looked like. Her thoughts and motives seemed to be clear, but I just kind of imagined what I thought her physical attributes were. The beginning of the book moved very quickly and I had a hard time following it. Since it was a dream sequence, that made a little more sense after I figured that out. Also, normally the novel would not start with a dialogue sequence because it throws the reader directly into the story without a clear sense of setting, personality of the main character, etc. Sometimes that can be rather disorienting and could turn off the reader. However, here, I did not feel that was too much of a hindrance.

What I really liked about this novel was the ease at which it read. It had a great flow and I didn't want to put it down. I was fully engrossed in the plot and wanted to know what was going to happen next. For me, I'm a big fan of old monster movies, so the beloved characters of werewolves, vampires, and witches brought a sort of nostalgic familiarity that I loved. However, I would have loved for that part of the storyline to have been fleshed out a bit more. Perhaps it was a set up for the next book in the series.

The struggle that Leila had between the two men was interesting as well. Two very different types of men and I actually thought that the romantic part of the novel would keep me from enjoying it. However, it didn't and I found myself wondering why she would choose the one man over the other.

Overall, I thought that this book was a very well written and captivating story. If you enjoy light supernatural thrillers with a dash of romance, then this book is for you. If you need a little more detail and a little bit more supernatural darkness, then this book may not be for you. Either way, I think that it is worth reading at some point.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

I was given a copy of the novel for the book tour; I was not paid to give this review.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Death of an Intern

Thriller Debut Book in Laura Wolfe Series Presents Suspenseful Murder Mystery Situated in the Nation’s Capital. Plot Twists Keep Readers Guessing “Who Done It” Right Down to the Final Pages.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Stories about crime in Washington, DC, are nothing new, even when politicians are involved. But when protagonist Laura Wolfe, a reporter for the Washington Daily Star, follows her instincts covering a multiple-murder case, dubbed a serial killing, and is led to the doors of the Vice President of the United States . . . well this reporter seeks more. Death of an Intern by Keith M. Donaldson takes readers on unexpected twists, stops, and starts that keep them in suspense throughout. (Synopsis provided via Bostick Communications e-mail).
Review: I thought that Keith Donaldson did a very good job at developing his leading character to be a strong female lead. However, outside of that, I didn't think that the other main characters were fleshed out as well and I had trouble trying to visualize them over the course of the novel. Sometimes, the supporting characters were not given enough background development and I had a hard time understanding their motives or actions.
Donaldson states at the end of the novel that he first wrote this as a screen play and that helps me to understand some of the issues that I had with this. First off, the lead character is always written in first person point of view. That is okay, but sometimes the author forgets that you only see or feel things through that character and would state what the other character in the scene was thinking. In first person, you can't do that. All the other scenes in the novel are written in third person point of view, which is fine. I wish that Donaldson would have just stuck with third person for the whole novel, since it would have made it a much easier read.
The other main issue that I had with this novel was that it had over 100 chapters in it. Some of the chapters were less than a page long. This is just a pet-peeve of mine, but by doing that, it makes it a much faster read and choppy at times. Nothing seemed to get developed and I was using too much of my own imagination filling the spaces in between the main storyline.
However, even though the plot was not entirely original, sex scandal in the White House, it did have a few twists and turns here and there that made it enjoyable. Again, I liked the strong female lead and how the characters themselves seemed realistic and not entirely fictional. I enjoyed this novel and felt that it was an entertaining read.
If you are someone who likes a good, old-fashioned political scandal murder mystery, then this book is for you. If you are into a more modern or fresh approach to a political murder mystery, then this book isn't for you.
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
I was given a copy of this book by the author via Bostick Communications; I was not paid to review this book.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Red Velvet Cupcake Murder

Synopsis: This summer has been warmer than usual in Lake Eden, Minnesota, and Hannah Swensen is trying to beat the heat both in and out of her bakery kitchen. But she's about to find out the hard way that nothing cools off a hot summer day like cold-blooded murder. . .
It's a hot, muggy evening, and the last thing Hannah wants to do is squeeze into a pair of pantyhose for the Grand Opening of the refurbished Albion Hotel. But with Hannah's famous Red Velvet cupcakes being served in the hotel's new Red Velvet lounge, she can't bring herself to back out.

The party starts off with a bang with the unexpected arrival of Doctor Bev, a Lake Eden legend who left town in shame after she two-timed her fiancé one too many times. Bev's splashy appearance on the arm of a wealthy investor is the talk of the night. But the gossip comes to a screeching halt when a partygoer takes a mysterious dive off the hotel's rooftop garden.

The victim is the sheriff's secretary, Barbara Donnelly, and she is barely clinging to life. The question is, did she fall--or was she pushed? As the police investigate, the only one who isn't preoccupied with the case is Doctor Bev. She's too busy trying to stir things up with her old flame Norman, who's reunited with Hannah.

Just as Hannah's patience with Bev runs dangerously thin, her rival is found dead at the bottom of Miller's Pond. The only clue the police have is the Red Velvet cupcake Bev ate right before she died--and the tranquilizers someone seems to have baked into it. To everyone's shock, Hannah is now the unlikely target of a murder investigation--and she's feeling the heat in a way she never has before. . .(Taken from

Review: I had to read several of her books in a row! Call this a guilty pleasure or a new obsession. At some point I see myself owning all of the books in this series.

The only think that I was a little disappointed about with this novel, was that I was able to figure out who the murderer was rather quickly and why that particular individual was the killer. Again though, this book was just delightful and I enjoyed reading every page. I also thought that the fact Hannah was stringing along two men would bother me, but that strange triangle romance did not get too much in the way of the mystery at hand, which was a good thing. I think that Joanne Fluke is a very skilled writer and it has been a long time that I have enjoyed reading a series this much!

On a bakers note: I tried out the Tickled Pink Lemonade Cookie recipe in this book and it was quite delicious. I did make a slight change to it, but that is just what I do with most recipes; tweak them to my liking : )

Again, I would recommend that people who love murder mysteries and to bake read this book.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5.

I bought this book at a local store; I was not asked to do a review of this book.

Cinnamon Roll Murder

Synopsis: When Hannah learns that the Cinnamon Roll Six jazz band will be playing in Lake Eden, Minnesota, she bakes up a supply of their namesake confections to welcome them. But tragedy strikes when their tour bus overturns on its way into town. But minor injuries for the keyboard player turn deadly when someone plunges surgical scissors into his chest. (Taken from
Review: I think that I might have found another favorite author to read. Joanne Fluke has combined two things that I love: murder mysteries and baking! In fact, the way things are going, I may need to read the whole series star to finish!

Review: This book was well written and the characters are extremely developed. So much to the point, that I did not feel hindered by starting toward the end of the series instead of with the first book. The lead character Hannah is part private investigator and local cookie baker. What was really great about her, is that she isn't the typical beauty that most people would make their leading ladies out to be. She is a little awkward and has flaming, unruly red hair! Her family is also very close and the way they interact with one another is very believable. It brought back many memories of my own family gatherings and I love it when I am able to connect to book like that.

The other thing that I truly LOVE about this book is the fact that it includes many delicious recipes. There are two recipes that I can't wait to try: for cinnamon rolls and raspberry sandwich cookies. If you are an avid home baker such as myself, you will find these recipes easy to follow.

Overall, I thought that this was delightful. The killer is not quickly exposed and you are working toward finding out who it is along with Hannah. So, if you enjoy easy reading that invokes the urge to make homemade bake goods, then this book is for you. If finding recipes at the end of many of the chapters would seem like a distraction, then don't read the book. However, I think that you would be missing out on an extremely fun read.

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

I bought this book at a local bookstore; I was not asked to do a review of this book.