Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Review | "Ark Storm" by Linda Davies

Ark Storm by Linda Davies
Crime Thriller published August 19, 2014
Forge Books
Author's website  |  Goodreads  |  Buy the Book on Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads

The Ark Storm is coming—a catastrophic weather event that will unleash massive floods and wreak more damage on California than the feared “Big One.” One man wants to profit from it. Another wants to harness it to wage jihad on American soil. One woman stands in their way: Dr. Gwen Boudain, a brave and brilliant meteorologist.  

When Boudain notices that her climate readings are off the charts, she turns to Gabriel Messenger for research funding. Messenger’s company is working on a program that ionizes water molecules to bring rain on command. Meanwhile, Wall Street suits notice that someone is placing six-month bets on the prospect of an utter apocalypse and begin to investigate. Standing in the shadows is journalist Dan Jacobsen, a former Navy SEAL. War hardened, cynical, and handsome, Jacobsen is a man with his own hidden agenda.

Linda Davies's Ark Storm brings together the worlds of finance, scientific innovation, and terrorism in a fast-paced thrill ride that will leave readers gasping.
My Thoughts...
This was a great page turner type book for me.  It's a fairly long book, but it's written in a lot of shorter chapters which is always a great way to move the reader through the story quickly.  The chapters, in most cases, are from different perspectives as well.  At first it was a little confusing because there are so many characters to keep track of, but once you figure out who is who you are completely hooked.

Dr. Gwen "Boudy" Boudain is a pro surfer turned meteorologist.  She lives right on the water and still surfs whenever she can, but her passion is Oracle.  She is working in California, but she has a counterpart in Peru whom she works closely with.  Gwen grew up in Peru with parents who were also in the weather business.  Gwen and Joaquin are noticing strange weather patterns and are trying to predict the next Nino weather event.  They need more funding so she goes to Gabriel Messenger who is more than happy to get involved.  He's already in the game, working on a program that uses drones to, in a nutshell, create rain from the ionized water molecules already in the air.  What they don't know is that someone is planning to hijack what Messenger's company has created to commit an act of terrorism.  They also have Gwen's fore knowledge of the impending ARk Storm to use as the catalyst.

Dan Jacobsen is a seemingly harmless journalist looking to find out what Gwen knows about ARk Storm.  There's more to Dan than what she sees though.  He's smart and cunning and as they grow closer she comes to depend on him more and more.  Will he be there for her when she really needs him though?

This story was very well crafted and I enjoyed every minute of it.  I got so wrapped up in it that I was able to read it really quickly.  There is a little romance, a lot of science, a lot of intrigue, murder, and venture capitalists trying to cash in on a disaster, throw in an act of terrorism and you have a well rounded story!  If you like a good thriller then this is definitely a book to check out.

XOXO, Shelly

*Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for my honest review.*

Monday, November 24, 2014

Review | "The Thursday Night Club" by Steven Manchester

The Thursday Night Club by Steven Manchester
Contemporary published November 18, 2014
The Story Plant
Author's website  |  Goodreads  |  Buy the Book on Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Five college friends, three men and two women, have been getting together every Thursday night to share humble meals and an abundance of laughter. But when tragedy takes one of them, leaving the others to question the fairness of life, the Thursday Night Club decides to embark on a contest in the memory of the generous spirit of their fallen brother. The objective of the contest is simple: whoever performs the kindest deed by Christmas night wins the pot – four quarters. And there are only two conditions: the benevolent deed must be anonymous, and it cannot cost a single penny to pull off.

As the four friends undertake the contest, the healing begins and they become inspired beyond their expectations. There might be a winner in this competition, but it is very clear there will be no losers.

A story of Christmas spirit that will strike a chord in your heart any time of year, The Thursday Night Club will make you look at the holiday season in new ways.
My Thoughts...
If you are looking for a good inspirational Holiday read, look no further.  This is a quick read, but there is no lacking for good content in this one.  The story does just what it sets out to do and it's an emotional journey.

I'm not going to do a summary of the book because the synopsis does a wonderful job of that and the story it too short to add much without spoiling anything.  This story is about what it truly means to have a generous heart and to do things with no expectation of anything in return.  It also shows that one person can truly make a big difference in the world.  These four friends make a huge difference in the lives of the people around them and make changes that will impact others for years to come and in doing so they are able to honor the friend that they lost.

This story is wonderful and while it's the perfect time of year for it, it should be something we all aspire to all year round.  I loved it, as I do all of Steven's work.  I love that it made me thing about what I could do to make a difference in someone else's life.  I encourage everyone to pick this up and read it, it will only take an hour to read and it will be well worth it!
XOXO, Shelly

*Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for my honest review.*

Monday, November 17, 2014

Blog Tour | "After the Rain" by Renee Carlino

After the Rain by Renee Carlino
Contemporary Romance published November 11, 2014
Author's website  |  Goodreads  |  Buy the Book on Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing and Nowhere But Here comes a deeply emotional contemporary romance about the second chances waiting beyond the shattered dreams of youth.

Under the bright arena lights of a rodeo show, young Avelina Belo falls for a handsome cowboy with a larger-than-life personality. After a whirlwind courtship, she happily moves away from her family in northern California and settles into married life with her cowboy on a seven-thousand-acre cattle ranch in Montana. One freak accident later, Avelina’s hopes for the future come to an end.

Nate Myers graduated from UCLA medical school at the top of his class, ready to follow in the footsteps of his father, a superstar cardiothoracic surgeon. Six years later, Nate’s career is being ruined by a malpractice suit. Questioning himself for the first time, he retreats to a Montana cattle ranch to visit his uncle and gain perspective. There, he meets a beautiful young woman named Avelina who teaches him more than he ever knew about matters of the heart.
My Thoughts...
Oh my goodness, I loved this book so much!  I think it was my favorite Renee Carlino book and Nate was definitely my favorite of all her characters. There were times that I was upset and wanted to put it down, there were times that I teared up, but I ended up reading most of it in one sitting.  That is one thing about these books that Renee Carlino writes, once I start reading I generally don't stop until I get to the end of the book.

This is a story about loss and learning to let go and love again.  Avelina is only 17 year old when she meets Jake, she marries him after 3 months, and a year and a half later she is a widow.  Nate is a young heart surgeon who loses a young patient and is facing a lawsuit.  He takes some time off and heads to where is uncle lives on a ranch in Montana.  He meets Avelina and his life will never be the same.  She's been withdrawn and blaming herself for the last 5 years.  She lives and works on the ranch still, but her life is empty and has no meaning anymore.  They slowly start to get to know each other and he is able to bring Ava out of the dark place she's been hiding for the last 5 years.  Things aren't easy for them, but Nate is determined to make it work.  He sees what they could have and he's not going to let her get away easily once he's had a taste.

I loved the character development in this story, there is a fair amount of the book that passes before we get to the place where they meet finally.  This is necessary, though and it didn't bother me.  They each have something dark they are dealing with and we have to know this in order to understand them fully.  There were times that I was frustrated with Ava, but I think that Nate was very mature in the way he handled her and the situation she was in.  I liked that he was always honest with her even when he knew that being honest may lead to her leaving.

I didn't care so much for one section toward the end of the book, I realize why it needed to be done, in theory. It made me ache for Nate, but I loved seeing how he dealt with it and that made me love him even more.  I also didn't care much for the epilogue chapter, it was a little out of the blue, unlike the one in Sweet Thing.  I would much rather have seen that play out just like the rest of the story instead of getting that outside view.  

Overall, I loved it.  It was heart breaking and hopeful all at the same times.  A little like getting your heart ripped out and put back together all in the space of a few hours.  It is a romance so there are some steamy love scenes, but they are all tastefully done and not at all crass or vulgar.  I highly recommend it to all you romance lovers out there.

XOXO, Shelly

*Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for my honest review.*

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Review | "Cypher" by Cathy Perkins

Cypher by Cathy Perkins
Romantic Suspense published August 10, 2014
Red Mountain Publishing
Author's website  |  Goodreads  |  Buy the Book on Amazon


Cara Wainwright thinks life can't get tougher when her mother's cancer becomes terminal--until she returns home from the hospital and finds her house guests dead. 

Greenville, SC Detective David Morris, is unsure if Cara is the suspect or the intended murder victim. As he searches for insight into her family, their mounting secrets, and the conflicting evidence from multiple crimes, his attraction to Cara complicates his investigation. Is the lure need, manipulation--or real? 

While David pursues forensic evidence, Cara pushes for answers about her father's possible involvement, for at the center of the mystery stands Cypher--the company her father built and will take any measures to defend.
My Thoughts...
I am going to keep this review pretty short.  The reason being that it's been a couple weeks since I finished the book.  I have been so busy that I'm just now getting a chance to write the review and I don't know that I can do the book proper justice this far removed.

I loved this book, I can tell you that with no hesitation!  In fact I read it relatively quickly.  What I don't love is the cover art.  I received an ARC copy with just a plain red cover and I liked it better that the actual cover.  Pay no heed to the cover, though, the story is excellent.  It's well plotted and the character development is fantastic.

This is a murder/mystery/thriller with romance thrown in, which is always a plus for me.  Cara finds herself the lead suspect when two of her friends are found dead in her apartment.  We know they were killed by a hit man, but who hired the hit man is unknown.  The lead detective is convinced that it was Cara, but his partner David questions what her motive would have been.  He is drawn to her and is convinced of her innocence and plans to prove it while trying to fight his mounting feelings for her.

This story is full of twists and turns that will have you on the edge of your seat as you try to figure out who the real killer is.  There were moments when I was sure I knew who it was only to be proven wrong in the end.  All in all, I loved the story and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes a good romantic thriller!

XOXO, Shelly

*Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for my honest review.*