Monday, July 29, 2013

Claus: Legend of the Fat Man by Tony Bertauski

Claus: Legend of the Fat ManClaus: Legend of the Fat Man by Tony Bertauski

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Christmas story you never heard.

In the early 1800s, Nicholas, Jessica and Jon Santa attempt the first human trek to the North Pole and stumble upon an ancient race of people left over from the Ice Age. They are short, fat and hairy. They slide across the ice on scaly soles and carve their homes in the ice that floats on the Arctic Ocean. The elven are adapted to life in the extreme cold. They are as wise as they are ancient.

Their scientific advancements have yielded great inventions -- time-stopping devices and gravitational spheres that build living snowmen and genetically-modified reindeer that leap great distances. They’ve even unlocked the secrets to aging. For 40,000 years, they have lived in peace.

Until now.

An elven known as The Cold One has divided his people. He’s tired of their seclusion and wants to conquer the world. Only one elven stands between The Cold
One and total chaos. He’s white-bearded and red-coated. The Santa family will help him stop The Cold One. They will come to the aid of a legendary elven
known as...Claus.


Absolutely loved this story of the origins of Santa Claus. What a unique story that was fun to read. Loved all of the little details that eventually lead to explaining all of the 'magic' of Santa Claus. Really looking forward to the author's next foray to the North Pole.

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***Kindle edition

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Santa Exclusive by Brent Boswell

The Santa ExclusiveThe Santa Exclusive by Brent Boswell

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Ran Anderson is a self-destructive, thirty-something journalist who believes gift giving at Christmas is a massive waste of resources. He loathes Santa for spearheading such widespread fiscal irresponsibility, especially considering the dismal state of the world’s economy. So when invited to conduct an exclusive, face-to-face interview with Claus just before the Holidays, Ran is eager to stump Santa by asking some very hard-hitting and even unpopular questions—but it turns out—Santa is eager to respond.

The description of the book is very misleading. I was looking for a Scrooge type book about a Christmas miracle, but ending up getting a Public Service Announcement with a lot of preaching.

The book starts out introducing us to a Scrooge like character -- an alcoholic reporter. After a visit from a mysterious janitor the reporter dies, begs God for another chance and ends up at the North Pole talking to Santa Clause. He then proceeds to 'interview' Santa which ends up being a combination of a PSA and a lot of preaching about what God wants us to be.

While I did find a few points made by the author to be relevant to society's current state -- a call for people to respect the President regardless of rather they voted for him or not and a call for reform to begin at home with better parenting, overall I found the tone of the book to be too preachy for my interest.

I found the whole mix of God and Santa to be odd and felt that the purpose of the book was to allow the author to preach and try to convert his readers to his way of thinking about religion. Not what I am looking for in a Christmas story.

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**Kindle Edition

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Quiet Little Woman: Tilly's Christmas, Rosa's Tale : Three Enchanting Christmas Stories by Louisa May Alcott, C. Michael Dudash (Illustrator), Stephen W. Hines (Introduction)

The Quiet Little Woman: Tilly's Christmas, Rosa's Tale : Three Enchanting Christmas StoriesThe Quiet Little Woman: Tilly's Christmas, Rosa's Tale : Three Enchanting Christmas Stories by Louisa May Alcott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Introducing a newly discovered original Christmas story from Louisa May Alcott -- the beloved author who has entertained generations of readers with Little Women, Little Men, and other enchanting tales.The Quiet Little Woman is about a lonely orphan girl named Patty, whose only desire is for a family to love her. Her tender story will warm the hearts of readers young and old alike. Two bonus stories -- Tilly's Christmas and Rosa's Tale -- are included in this exquisite edition. The message of hope and love makes this book an ideal Christmas gift, sure to become a family tradition and treasured keepsake.


This is a lovely short book with 3 stories written by Louisa May Alcott. The first 2 stories were very touching stories about the lives and hardships of 2 different girls and how their own Christmas miracles affected their lives. Both quite enjoyable stories which will bring a tear to your eyes.

The third story I did not really enjoy. It is about a chance encounter between a girl, and a horse who is endowed with the power of speech for one hour at midnight on Christmas Eve. We hear the story of the horses life.

I enjoyed reading the editor's notes and about the author sections in the back of the book almost as much as the stories.

Overall a wonderful, sweet read well worth the couple of hours it took to read.

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A Midnight Clear by Katherine Paterson

A Midnight ClearA Midnight Clear by Katherine Paterson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Each Christmas, Katherine Paterson wrote a story for her pastor husband's congregation to illuminate the true meaning of the holiday season. The twelve included here present a vision of hope and peace harking back to that first Christmas over two thousand years ago. A Midnight Clear is the perfect holiday gift for friends, families, and church congregations to read aloud and share through the Christmas season and beyond.


Some sweet Christmas stories. My favorite was probably Exultate Jubilate, a story about a Scroogie father who encounters a poor soul on Christmas Eve.

Quick read with nothing too memorable but an okay read.

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Naughty or Nice? by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Carly Phillips, Kathryn Smith, Patricia Ryan

Naughty or Nice?Naughty or Nice? by Sherrilyn Kenyon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sometimes being naughty is far more satisfying than being nice--and the best lovers know that desire is a gift to enjoy together. Four of today's hottest romance authors are gathered here with stories designed to arouse your imagination, titillate your senses--and leave you breathless . . .

Naughty or Nice?

Sherrilyn Kenyon heats up an office where two coworkers decide to spend the holidays together--only to find themselves surrendering completely to forbidden passion . . .

Carly Phillips explores a "mistletoe moment" when a no-nonsense lawyer intent on seducing her boss meets his twin instead--and gives him a scintillating kiss that leaves him begging for more . . .

Patricia Ryan surprises a cynical P.I., who meets the kind of woman he never wanted--until she takes him on a journey of rapturous pleasure . . .

Kathryn Smith teases a pair of Regency lovers who once shared a night of white-hot passion with the temptation to forgo propriety for something scandalous and irresistible . . .


Read for the BookObsessed Christmas in July Readathon.

I always forget how much I love romances as I don't read pure romance very often. I enjoy all 4 stories in this anthology.

My favorite was Love Bytes by Sherrilyn Kenyon --- It was a really cute romance about two people who work together and have a crush on each other without the other knowing it.

My last favorite was Santa, Baby by Patricia Ryan simply because it was unlikely. The author does a good job describing Kat's past and personality both of which would make it very improbable that she would declare her love for Jack the day after meeting him. Other than that it was a fun romance.

Overall a fun day of Christmas romance in July!!

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Supernatural Born Killers (Pepper Martin #9) by Casey Daniels

Supernatural Born Killers (Pepper Martin #9)Supernatural Born Killers by Casey Daniels

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Former cemetery tour guide and reluctant medium Pepper Martin is thrilled when she gets her job back—with a promotion. But her new position is turning out to be more than she can handle, especially with the dead clamoring for her attention…

As Garden View Cemetery’s new community relations manager, Pepper is feeling overwhelmed with planning the annual party to attract new sponsors. Luckily, some of the cemetery’s permanent residents have volunteered to give Pepper a ghostly hand, and she’s not about to turn away the help. But when a murdered ghost starts leaving puddles everywhere, Pepper quickly finds her newly acquired free time occupied.

The dead man is her ex-boyfriend Quinn’s former partner Jack Haggarty—and he isn’t going away until Pepper figures out the real reason behind his murder. And while Quinn recently had a brush with the afterlife, he still isn’t ready to accept Pepper’s abilities—or offer his skills as a detective. Now, Pepper has to convince Quinn she’s the real deal and investigate Jack’s death—before someone else meets their end in a watery grave...


So now that Pepper had grown on me and I can honestly say that I am loving this series I come to an end.

Pepper is back in Cleveland and has been hired back at Garden View. She renews her romance with Quinn (sigh) and her parents move to town. Needless to say Pepper's life is in an uproar (as usual). Add to all of this an infatuated millionaire, Superman, and several ghosts and you have the makings for an interesting read.

I saw that Casey Daniels is currently working on a novella starring Pepper and I look forward to reading it as soon as it is published to see where things go from here.

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Wild Wild Death (Pepper Martin #8) by Casey Daniels

Wild Wild Death (Pepper Martin #8)Wild Wild Death by Casey Daniels

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Her job has been cut, she's low on cash, and her detective sometime- boyfriend refuses to even talk about her ability to see the dead and solve their murders. So Pepper is most certainly down for a vacation to get her spirits up. But when her cute scientist friend Dan is kidnapped, Pepper soon stumbles upon another deadly mystery that brings her to New Mexico. And she's after a clever murderer-one whose idea of Boot Hill has nothing to do with Jimmy Choo.

So this is the first book in the series that I can actually say that I loved. Maybe because Pepper is in a new environment. Or because I actually like her new love interest (unlike Quinn who I can not stand). Or because Pepper is not quite so shallow in this book (or I was just able to overlook the shallowness). I was heartbroken when Pepper lost her ability to see the ghosts and I teared up with she, without hesitation, accepted her Gift back. My only unhappy moment in the book was when she left everything behind and returned to Cleveland. Not sure that I am happy about that. I was kind of looking for the fairy tale ending. Guess we will see what happens in the next installment.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Hard Day's Fright (Pepper Martin #7) by Casey Daniels

A Hard Day's Fright (Pepper Martin #7)A Hard Day's Fright by Casey Daniels

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What happened to a teenager named Lucy one night in 1966 after a Beatles concert? She rushed the stage, kissed Paul, started home with her friends, and was never seen again-until cemetery guide and unintentional PI to the dead Pepper Martin sees her as a ghost. Lucy's spirit can't rest in peace until her body is found and buried. But how will Pepper track down a missing corpse after forty-five years?


This was definitely my favorite of the series so far. Granted I figured out the mystery way early on in the book. But I loved Pepper's involvement with Ella and her family. Surprisingly enough I did not find Pepper any where near as annoying as usual. The last 3 chapters blew me away emotionally and the cliff hanger is great! Can not wait to read the next one............. You are growing on me Pepper!!

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tomb with a View (Pepper Martin #6) by Casey Daniels

Tomb with a View (Pepper Martin #6)Tomb with a View by Casey Daniels

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cemeteries come alive for amateur sleuth/reluctant medium Pepper Martin.

Cleveland's Garden View Cemetery is hosting a James A. Garfield commemoration. For tour guide and reluctant medium Pepper Martin this means that's he'll surely be hearing from the dead president himself. And when she's assigned to help plan the event with know-it-all volunteer and Garfield fanatic Marjorie Klinker, she'll wish Marjorie were dead...too bad someone beats Pepper to it.


I hate writing a review for this series. I am so wishy-washy about it. I really don't like Pepper at times. She is very shallow and annoying. Then she does something to redeem herself in my eyes, for a little while. I am enjoying the mysteries in this series more and more. The characters still need some work. I don't like most of the main characters, like Pepper and Quinn. lol But I will keep reading and ultimately that is what the author wants, I would guess.

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Friday, July 5, 2013

Dead Man Talking (Pepper Martin #5) by Casey Daniels

Dead Man Talking (Pepper Martin #5)Dead Man Talking by Casey Daniels

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Move over American Idol. Reality TV has come to Cleveland and Pepper Martin is a part of it!

When Pepper arrives at a down-on-its-luck cemetery to help with a restoration project she learns, to her dismay, that there’s going to be a contest to restore the cemetery grounds. Even worse—it’s going to be the basis of a local reality TV show, Cemetery Survivor. One team will be made up of genteel Historical Society ladies and the other—Pepper’s group—will be convicts on probation. Pepper Martin in day-glo? Now that’s a fashion don’t!.

There’s also a ghost waiting for Pepper. He claims he was wrongly convicted of killing a young woman. But it seems there’s quite a bit he’s not revealing. Pepper agrees to try to clear his name, but digging for the truth could put her in grave danger....


I just can't decide if I like this series or not. I find Pepper annoying and irritating, but then, she has moments where I think that I might actually be starting to like her. Then something happens to make me change my mind. I enjoyed the mystery of the book. I enjoyed Pepper's interaction with her 'team'. I was even happy about her finally resolving some of the issues in her love life. But then it all blew apart at the end.
I will read the next book, because I just can't stop now. Definitely a love/hate feeling with this series though.

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Learning To Swim by Ann Turner

Learning To SwimLearning To Swim by Ann Turner

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A powerful true poetry memoir for anyone who has navigated the troubled waters of childhood and adolescence searching for a way to stay afloat, now in the new POINT.

Unfolding in a series of exquisite narrative poems, this is the haunting true story of a tragic summer in a young girl's life. Annie is supposed to be having a carefree summer -- but instead she must face the unwanted advances of an older boy in the neighborhood, who threatens her if she tells. It isn't until Annie's mother pries out the secret that Annie is released from her horror and isolation and can slowly begin to heal.


This is a very powerful book. It takes only a few minutes to read but it will stay with you for a long time.

The poems lead us through the struggle of a young girl who has been molested as she tries to deal with what is happening to her. Her struggle to let others know and eventually her attempt to heal. Beautifully written and a true testament to the authors bravery.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Night of the Loving Dead (Pepper Martin #4) by Casey Daniels

Night of the Loving Dead (Pepper Martin #4)Night of the Loving Dead by Casey Daniels

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pepper Martin, heiress-turned-cemetery-tour-guide, has her hands full with work, two hotties, and the ghosts who won't let her rest --- or work, or shop --- in peace ...

The last thing Pepper wants during her Chicago business trip is more ghosts seeking her help, as they've been doing ever since she hit her head on a tombstone. Then again, being bored stiff during a seminar might actually be worse than being with bored stiffs.

The specter of Madeline --- a young woman in a lab coat --- wants Pepper's help. Before she died, Madeline worked with Dan Callahan, the sexy, mysterious doctor who once saved Pepper's life. According to Madeline, Dan's in danger. But, little does Pepper know, there's more to the story, including a devious doctor --- and an obsessive, crazy love ...


I was just about ready to give up on this series. I really don't like Pepper and her relationships are ridiculous. Something about the books just seem so fake. But then, about one third of the way through the book, things started getting interesting.

I actually enjoyed this book. The mystery was interesting, maybe because it was about Pepper and her Gift. But I found myself actually finding excuses to keep reading. Hopefully the next book continues this trend and I can continue on with this series.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tombs of Endearment (Pepper Martin #3) by Casey Daniels

Tombs of Endearment (Pepper Martin #3)Tombs of Endearment by Casey Daniels

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cemetery tour guide Pepper Martin never imagined she'd get to meet rock legend Damon Curtis, the bad boy poet who made millions of teenage girls scream. After all, he kicked the bucket years before she was born. But thanks to her newfound ability to chat up the dead, Pepper's got a front row seat perfect for swooning over the still-sexy Damon's latest lyrics. He's convinced that his former bandmate Vinnie Pallucci murdered him back in ‘71, and he's promised Pepper she won't get any rest or peace until she helps him prove it.

But when Pepper goes behind the music, she finds Vinnie with a knife in his heart and the rest of the band members running for their lives. And if Pepper doesn't snare the killer soon, Damon's next hit from the great beyond might be her swan song.


Well Pepper is just as ditzy as I remember her from previous books and on top of that she now has an out of control libido. She seems to have the hots for every guy she meets, including the dead ones. Sigh.

Overall this was an okay mystery. I am not a fan of Pepper Martin, but I am going to continue with the series in the hopes that maybe she grows on me.

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