How I Wonder 2Title:  How I Wonder What You Are
Author:  Jane Lovering
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Published:  December 2014
Publisher:  Choc Lit
My Rating:  4stars
Source:  NetGalley

It’s been over eighteen months since Molly Gilchrist has had a man (as her best friend, Caro, is so fond of reminding her) so when she as good as stumbles upon one on the moors one bitterly cold morning, it seems like the Universe is having a laugh at her expense.

But Phinn Baxter (that’s Doctor Phinneas Baxter) is no common drunkard, as Molly is soon to discover; with a PhD in astrophysics and a tortured past that is a match for Molly’s own disastrous love life.

Finding mysterious men on the moors isn’t the weirdest thing Molly has to contend with, however. There’s also those strange lights she keeps seeing in the sky. The ones she’s only started seeing since meeting Phinn.

Read on for my thoughts on How I Wonder What You Are.  No true spoilers, promise.

A Twist of DateTitle:  A Twist of Date
Series:  Better Date Than Never
Author:  Susan Hatler
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Published:  September 2014
Publisher:  Hatco
My Rating:  4 stars
Source:  NetGalley

Melanie Porter has been dumped—again. When others accuse her of “being in love with being in love,” she agrees to let her best friend, Patti, step in and direct her dating life.

The Boyfriend Bylaws

Rule #1: No giving out your phone number until approved to do so.
Rule #2: Must obtain permission to accept any date invitation.
Rule #3: No bringing up marriage, kids or the future.
Rule #4: No going to first base without authorization.
Amended Rule #4: No going to first base, or any other base, without authorization.
Rule #5: No scribbling your first name with some guy’s last name. Ever.
Rule #6: New rules may be added as Patti Hartley deems necessary.
Memorize it, live by it, and happy dating!

Read on for my thoughts on A Twist of Date.  No true spoilers, promise.

The Power of ListeningSelf-Help

What makes a good listener?

In this book are a variety of tried and true exercises to benchmark where you are as a listener. Discover the power of being a good listener in the six benefits of being a good listener. Take part in the eighteen concrete activities to become a better listener, plus learn fourteen things to avoid when listening to someone. Of extreme relevance is Chapter 7: Listening Challenges in the Digital Age and how to Overcome Them. One of the first casualties of the digital juggernaut is the art of effective listening and writing. Instead of communicating with people face-to-face, we are reading texts, e-mails, and social media updates. This is a book that can be referenced again and again as you continue your journey of becoming a better listener.

I don’t normally review Self-help books here.  Yet the family and I had been having discussions lately about the lack of listening, really listening to what each of us is saying.  When I saw this available on NetGalley I thought, perfect timing – let’s see what I can learn about listening.

I enjoyed reading this book.  I came away with some insights into focusing better on actually listening instead of simply hearing someone talking at me.  One major plus was that this book didn’t “talk down to me” as so often happens in Self-Help books, at least I’ve found that often.  While I found it interesting, I think the first line of the synopsis is very telling:  In this book are a variety of tried and true exercises…

Honestly, I came away with the knowledge that I already “know” how to listen for the most part, the fact that I allow distractions to interfere with what I’m thinking someone is saying to me is what I need to hone in on.  Reading The Power of Listening will definitely help you pinpoint those areas where you  need some work.  Yet, it’s more of a reinforcement of what we already know.  To really listen to someone you need to focus on them and only them.

*I received an e-ARC of The Power of Listening from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. That does not change what I think of this novel.

book dream handIn recent months, I have been honored and blessed by so many people within the book review blogging community.

To the visitors to my blog that return or take the time from their busy lives to leave a comment.  You matter to me.  I simply want you to know that.

To the authors of the many genre of novels that I review – thank you for letting me into your creation just a bit before the rest of the world gets entrance.  When I receive permission to read a book through an e-ARC, it is a gift that I try not to take advantage of.  I try my best to honor that privilege and respect your work.  I don’t absolutely love beyond reason every single novel I review, but if I reviewed it then I at least found something within its pages that captured me.

To the publishing houses that trusted that I would deliver on my promise of an honest and prompt review of their authors’ works.  I appreciate your trust in me – and even when my schedule gets crazy and I end up a day or two beyond the release date of a novel,  I’m hoping that you understand that I am taking the time to read these works in order to hold up my end of the bargain.  That doesn’t happen often, but then.. life happens and schedules have to be adjusted.

I have discovered so many A-M-A-Z-I-N-G worlds through the novels I have reviewed.  I’ve branched out into areas that I might not have if I didn’t have this blog and the ability to learn about so many interesting novels available.  For that I have to thank the creators and hosts of the various weekly memes that give all of us a glimpse into other worlds.

To some people this post may seem silly, a fluff filler piece or totally unnecessary.  But it’s not.  The people, the very many varied people within the expanding walls of book review blogs matter to me on many levels and I believe in giving back to those that give to me.

When things get hectic or difficult I simply want you to know that you matter in this entire puzzle.  And I appreciate the part you have allowed me to play in your lives.

Choas and MoonlightTitle:  Chaos and Moonlight
Series:  Order of the Nines #1
Author:  A. D. Marrow
Genre:  Paranormal, Romance
Published:  May 6, 2015
Publisher:  Full Fathom Five
My Rating:  5 stars
Source:  NetGalley

The Nines, an elite group of vampires, was established to stand as protection for their race. Fractured by centuries of betrayal and loss, the group is now little more than myth, its remaining members scarred and shattered.

Taris, the oldest living vampire, is no stranger to loss and heartbreak. He is all that holds the Nines together as they struggle to save themselves from total extinction.

Enter the beautiful and brilliant Dr. Sarah Bridgeman, whose medical research has resulted in a breakthrough for both humans and vampires. Her work may be the salvation this weary band of guardians has been looking for.

Taris needs to reach Sarah and enlist her help—before those aligned against him can act. Can a vampire king convince a stunning young scientist to save a species that isn’t even supposed to exist?

For now, only one thing is certain: no science can explain the explosive chemistry between them.

Read on for my thoughts on Chaos and Moonlight.  No true spoilers, promise.

A Wedding to Die ForTitle:  A Wedding to Die For
Series:  Weddingville #1
Author:  Adrianne Lee
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Published:  May 5, 2015
Publisher:  Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
My Rating:  4 stars
Source:  NetGalley

A hundred years ago, a tiny town on the Puget Sound attracted a passel of bachelors desperate to marry. Thanks to the miracle of mail order, they did, and Weddingville was born. Hollywood costumer Daryl Anne Blessing knows that story all too well, and she hasn’t missed it, or much else about her hometown—except for hunky photographer Seth Quinlan. Now Daryl Anne returns to Weddingville to see her best friend say I do… and witnesses a whole lot of something hitting the fan—and it’s not rice.

As the maid of honor, Daryl Anne must keep the bride calm, no matter what. But last time she checked, “what” didn’t include the bride’s estranged mother turning up, scandalizing the locals—and getting herself murdered. Nor did it include digging for clues with Seth, while trying to remember exactly why she left him behind. It’s quite a juggling act, even for a seasoned multi-tasker like Daryl Anne. She soon attracts lusty glances from Seth—and the attention of a killer who’s determined to take this town out of business.

Read on for my thoughts on A Wedding to Die For.  No true spoilers, promise.

The Unlikely LadyTitle:  The Unlikely Lady
Series:  The Playful Brides
Author:  Valerie Bowman
Genre:  Regency Romance
Published:  May 5, 2015
Publisher:  St. Martin’s Press
My Rating:  5 stars
Source:  NetGalley

Miss Jane Lowndes is a confirmed bluestocking. She’s convinced that if she can wait out her parents’ demand that she marry, someday she can be a confirmed spinster and hold intellectual salons, her fondest dream. No man wants a bluestocking for a wife, after all. And that’s exactly the way Jane likes it. In fact, she’s invented a fictitious chaperone to help her achieve that purpose.

Lord Garrett Upton is a devil-may-care confirmed bachelor. He’s lived through the war, and now that he’s back in London, he intends to enjoy life to the fullest. Marriage is certainly not a part of that plan. He’s known Miss Lowndes for years, and the two of them have long engaged in a war of words. Jane’s latest scheme to pretend she has a fake chaperone is none of his business . . . until her desire to involve herself in a scandal becomes all too personal.

When Garrett and Jane mistakenly kiss at a wedding party masquerade, their well-documented dislike for each other is turned on its ear. And when a devious widow, who will stop at nothing to have Garrett, plots to keep them apart, will their desire for each other overcome their dreams of remaining unattached?

Read on for my thoughts on The Unlikely Lady.  No true spoilers, promise.

50 Ways to ruin a rakeTitle:  50 Ways To Ruin A Rake
Series:  Rakes and Rogues #1
Author:  Jade Lee
Genre:  Regency Romance, Historical Romance
Published:  May 5, 2015
Publisher:  SOURCEBOOKS Casablanca
My Rating:  4 stars
Source:  NetGalley

Mellie has a plan…
Mellie Smithson is trapped in the country with no suitors and no prospects on the horizon except, perhaps, the exasperating—although admittedly handsome—guest of her father. She’s looking for any excuse to go to London to meet more eligible men.

Trevor has a problem…
Trevor Anaedsley’s grandfather has cut off his funds until such time as he gets engaged. Trevor escapes to the country—ostensibly to visit his old tutor, Mr. Smithson, but actually to duck his creditors—where he meets Smithson’s lovely daughter, Mellie. The obvious solution is suddenly before him—but the lady has ideas of her own, and Trevor’s going to have to measure up.

Read on for my thoughts on 50 Ways to Ruin a Rake.  No true spoilers, promise.

There Goes The BrideTitle:  There Goes The Bride
Series:  Runaway Brides #3
Author:  Catherine Mann & Joanne Rock
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Published:  May 5, 2015
Publisher:  Tule Publishing
My Rating:  4 stars
Source:  NetGalley

Hair stylist Lindsey Ballard hates answering questions about her family’s country music roots in Nashville. She’s been avoiding music producer, Myles Emery, at all costs, who’s trying to write a book on her famous relative. But he can’t get to her today. It’s her wedding day. Or so she thought…

When Lindsey suddenly needs to call off the ceremony to Atlanta’s popular mayoral candidate, she makes her getaway with the persuasive producer, all the while trying to ignore the chemistry between them that had never existed with her ex.

Myles Emery has his own reasons for needing the truth about a country music legend–secrets the Ballard family keeps closely guarded. But when he happens to catch Lindsey running out on her wedding, he knows his luck is about to change. Too bad Myles wants Lindsey on first sight and the attraction is making it complicated to stay on task. “Uncovering her secrets” begins to take on a whole new, delectable meaning.

Read on for my thoughts on There Goes the Bride.  No true spoilers, promise.

Defending the DeadTitle:  Defending the Dead
Series:  Relatively Dead Mysteries #3
Author:  Sheila Connolly
Genre:  Paranormal, Mystery, Romance
Published:  April 28, 2015
Publisher:  Beyond the Page Publishing
My Rating:  3 stars
Source:  NetGalley

Abby Kimball has slowly accepted her recently discovered ability to see the dead, but none of the harmless sightings she’s experienced could have prepared her for the startling apparition of a centuries-old courtroom scene—where she locks eyes with a wicked and gleeful accuser. Thrown back more than three hundred years, Abby realizes she’s been plunged into a mystery that has fascinated people throughout American history: the Salem witch trials.

With her boyfriend Ned at her side, Abby digs into the history of the events, researching the people and possible causes of that terrible time and her own connection to them—all the while going more deeply into her connection to Ned, both extraordinary and romantic.

As Abby witnesses more fragments from the events in Salem and struggles with the question of how such a nightmare could have come about, she’s suddenly confronted with a pressing personal question: Were one or more of her ancestors among the accused? Unraveling the puzzling clues behind that question just might give Abby and Ned the answer to a very modern mystery of their own.

Read on for my thoughts on Defending the Dead.  No true spoilers, promise.