Friday, August 31, 2012

The Angry Woman Suite by Lee Fullbright

The Angry Woman Suite
by Lee Fullbright
Publisher: Telemachus Press
Publication date: March 10, 2012
Genre: Adult Fiction
Purchase: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository

When overbearing former big band star Francis Grayson mentions the “murdering bitches” who supposedly ruined his life, his resentful stepdaughter Elyse—always on the lookout for simple dirt on Francis—takes note. Intertwining narrative with Francis, Elyse stumbles across glimmers of big murder instead of simple dirt, while Francis moves perspective of his “bitches” back to the 1930s, to his childhood in Pennsylvania. His coming-of-age story centers on a mysterious painting and search for the artist who he believes can fix his feuding family. Aiding him in his quest is his mother’s lover, Aidan Madsen, who not only mentors Francis’ big band music career, but knows everything about two murders implicating the women in Francis’ family. The three narrators of The Angry Woman Suite—Elyse, Francis, and Aidan—weave together a picture of two disturbed families who meet their match in the young, determined to survive Elyse Grayson, and human to a fault hero, Aidan Madsen. (back cover)
I love novels that span generations and focus on one family. Lee Fullbright delivers a suspenseful tale through the voices of characters in The Angry Woman Suite. Spanning history between the early 1900’s and into the 1960’s we get an inside look at a dysfunctional family and its secrets.

The story is told through the voices of Elyse, Francis’s stepdaughter, Francis himself and a friend of the family Aidan Madsen. The tale weaves back and forth from past to present as we learn the chilling story of Francis Grayson, his family and a painting known as the Angry Woman Suite. As we travel through the generations, and hear their story we begin to put together the mysteries and unravel the Grayson family’s dark secrets. The tale that unfolds is enthralling, filled with twists, painful memories and shocking discoveries.

The characters in Fullbright’s novel come to life in all of their flawed glory. The three main narrators were beautifully fleshed out and my emotions for them changed as the tale unfolded. Each is twisted or warped by the life they have led, each seeks something and felt genuine and believable. Elyse was my favorite voice, I just loved the voice the author gave her. My feelings for Francis changed as the tale progressed. His childhood was chilling and he is a very talented musician. Aidan provides a somewhat unbiased view of the family and his story was fascinating. The Grayson family is a colorful, dysfunctional bunch and I became completely engrossed in their twisted lives. All of the characters we meet in the novel impact the tale and steer the reader towards solving the mystery and I found them to be interesting.

When the novel first starts, I felt confused, and it took me a little while to get acclimated to the author’s writing style and the timeline. Thankfully each chapter has one narrator, and offers a perceptive from their memories. Once I got into the tale, I was able to follow the flow and the time travel weaved together well. Fullbright beautifully paints the world and the people residing in it. I felt like I stepped back in time to the 1900’s. A lot of the secrets and Francis childhood reflect the society they lived in and she accurately portrays this. The tale takes some dark turns and some made me uncomfortable. Some parts of the story and characters felt a little out of place for me, and I wondered if they were really needed. The characters have depth and the author does a wonderful job of fleshing them out. Fullbright shows the consequences of both reacting and not reacting to events throughout the novel. These decisions affected not only one generation but the generation of those to come. I read this novel in the span of about a week. For me I would read a few chapters and then reflect on them before moving forward.

I recommend The Angry Woman Suite to fans of novels about families spanning generations. Those who like realistic, historical mysteries, dark secrets and character driven novels should enjoy this one. I enjoyed this novel and the characters within its pages. This novel was awarded the 2012 Discovery Award and received  first place for Literary Fiction. 

I want to thank the author for providing a finished copy in exchange for my unbiased review. Purchases made thorough buy links on this site earn a small commission and help support giveaways.

I gave this novel 3.5 coffee cups out of 5.
Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba The Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Giveaway~City of Demons by Kevin Harkness

Last week I shared my review of City of Demons and this week the publisher has provided one physical copy and two eBooks for me to giveaway on the blog. Just follow the rafflecopter instructions below and good luck! 

City of Demons
by Kevin Harkness
Publisher: Tyche Books Ltd.
Publication date: July 25, 2012
Genre: YA Fantasy
Purchase: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository

Demons are invading the Midlands for the first time in centuries.
The farmers have no defenses against the murderous creatures. Swords in the hands of ordinary soldiers have no effect against demons, for the ability to resist a demon’s power – a projection of paralyzing fear – cannot be taught.
Garet’s life is forever changed the night his midlands family is attacked. Demonstrating a rare talent for resisting demon fear, Garet is taken to the city of Shirath to become a Demonbane: one who can withstand the demons’ psychic assault, trained in combat, and learned in demon lore.
But the ancient city isn’t a safe haven, it’s a death trap. While opposing political forces vie for the throne, a new demon terrorizes the citizens. To save Shirath, Garet must find friends and allies quickly, because the biggest threat to the city isn’t the demons, but the people living within the city’s walls.
Read my review: here

Enter to win with the rafflecopter below. Good Luck! 
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Read-A-Thon Weekend Goals and Updates

The Ready Set Read-A-Thon is hosted by
Dani @ Booktacular World and Fay @ A Dreamer's Thoughts 


Letters Inside Out button
Labor Day Read-A-Thon is being hosted by
 Amanda @ Letters Inside Out 

I love read-a-thons and find they give me extra motivation to increase my reading and attack both my TBR pile and my ARC pile. Both read-a-thons run through the holiday weekend, click on the image and join in the fun! 

Here are the Books I plan to read:
Racing with the Wind by Regina Walker
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan 
Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Yesterday by C.K. Kelly Martin
Last to Die: A Rizzoli and Isles Novel by Tess Gerristen (finished on Thursday)

I will post updates here each evening:

Friday: I worked all day, so not a lot of progress. 
Books started: Unspoken
Books finished: 0
pages read: 250

Saturday: I finished 1 book and started my 2nd
Books started: Racing with the Wind
Books Finished: Unspoken
pages read: 234

Sunday: I finished my 2nd book and started my 3rd
Books started: Yesterday
Books Finished: Racing with the Wind
pages read: 266
       Monday: I didn't finish a book today, but enjoyed time with my family.
      Books started: Yesterday
      Books Finished:0
      pages read: 150

Finished: 2 books
Pages read: 900

Thanks to the hosts for sponsoring these read-a-thons! 

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #23

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly meme
 hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine
where we spotlight books we are eagerly anticipating.

by Carla Buckley
Publisher: Random House
Publication date: December 11, 2012
Genre: Adult Fiction
Purchase*: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/ Book Depository

Dana and Julie were bonded by sisterhood and separated by a devastating secret. When Dana returns to Black Bear, Minnesota, a town she left seventeen years earlier, some people remember her as a troublemaker, others remember her as the one who got away. Dana comes back for her sister's funeral, but stays to help Peyton, her teenaged niece. Julie's death is only one of an affliction that is putting Black Bear at grave risk. What she finds in her old hometown will blow open a Pandora's box of tightly-held secrets, and put everyone she loves in jeopardy.

OK, I admit it I am beyond nosy..dangle a mystery in front of me or tell me there is a secret and I have to know..LOL  Despite that, I am an excellent secret keeper *just saying if ya ever want to share*  This novel oozes secrets and the synopsis lured me in. I love novels set in small towns and look forward to traveling to Black Bear, Minnesota.  

by Gina Damico
Series:Croak #2
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: September 25, 2012
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Purchase*:Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository

Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby is a teenage grim reaper with the bizarre ability to damn souls. That makes her pretty scary, even to fellow Grims. But after inadvertently transferring her ability to Zara, a murderous outlaw, Lex is a pariah in Croak, the little town she calls home.
To escape the townspeople’s wrath, she and her friends embark on a wild road trip to DeMyse. Though this sparkling desert oasis is full of luxuries and amusements, it feels like a prison to Lex. Her best chance at escape would be to stop Zara once and for all—but how can she do that from DeMyse, where the Grims seem mysteriously oblivious to Zara’s killing spree?
I love Reapers, from Darydra Jone's Charley Davidson series to the creepy reapers in Harry Potter. I read Croak the delightfully humorous first book in this series and look forward to reading book two. Is this series new to you? Read my review of Croak here

What book(s) are you waiting for? 

*purchase made through site links result in a small commission for this blog and support our giveaways.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Uninvited by Heather Graham -Release Day Review

The Uninvited
by Heather Graham
Series: Krewe of Hunters #8
Publisher: Mira/Harlequin
Publication date: August 28, 2012
Genre: Paranormal Romantic Suspense
Purchase: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository 

1777: In the throes of the Revolutionary War, Landon Mansion is commandeered by British Lord "Butcher" Bedford. He stabs Lucy Tarleton—who spurned his king and his love—leaving her to die in her father's arms.
NOW: After the day's final tour, docent Allison Leigh makes her rounds while locking up and finds a colleague slumped over Bedford's desk, impaled on his own replica bayonet. Resident ghosts may be the stock-in-trade of stately Philadelphia homes, but Allison—a noted historian—is indignant at the prospect of "ghost hunters" investigating this apparent murder. Agent Tyler Montague knows his hauntings and his history. But while Allison is skeptical of the newcomer, a second mysterious murder occurs. Has "Butcher" Bedford resurfaced? Or is there another malevolent force at work in Landon Mansion? Wary, yet deeply attracted, Allison has to trust in Tyler and work with him to discover just what uninvited guest—dead or alive—has taken over the house.
Or their lives could become history!
If you follow my reviews you are probably aware that I love romantic suspense wrapped in a little paranormal woo-woo. Heather Graham is one of my favorite authors for when the mood strikes. Each of the novels can be read as standalone, as each book deals with one member of the special FBI unit and their romance. I love that each case brings us a mystery to solve and a swoon worthy guy. The Uninvited tells Agent Tyler Montague’s story as he works to solve a murder investigation.

The case is set in Philadelphia and involves the historic Tarleton House. Allison Leigh is a history professor and spends her summers working as a guide at the Tarleton House. Dressed in colonial attire, she is locking up after a busy day of tours when she discovers the body of a co-worker impaled by his own replica bayonet. While resident ghosts are good for drawing in visitors, the board is concerned because this isn’t the first bizarre accident to occur. They call Adam the head of the special FBI unit and Taylor Montague is dispatched from Virginia to investigate. Allison isn’t happy about this crew of “ghost hunters” invading  the historic home, but when she begins seeing and hearing the voice of her dead colleague ..she might just change her mind. The tale that unfolds is suspenseful as they race to stop a killer.

We previously meet Agent Taylor and I was delighted to finally get his story. He is ex-military and was a Texas Ranger who helped find a missing girl with the help of a ghost. Taylor is tall and lean and looks like a linebacker.  I really liked this soft spoken man. He feels like people are intimidated by his size and are quick to make judgment about him. He finds himself attracted to the sexy, refined, intelligent dark haired raven, Allison. Allison isn’t ready to deal with the murder, let alone all this ghost woo-woo, but Taylor is so patient with her. *sighs* These two were obviously attracted to each other, but the discovery and dance was paced throughout the book allowing the romance to slowly unfold. The rest of the Krewe of Hunters arrived, but as is Graham’s style they worked the case mostly in the background. Hints were dropped about whose story we will get next and I hope I am right. The list of suspects was colorful and the secondary characters including the ghosts added to the suspense and mystery.

The world building in Graham’s novels are always fun. I love the investigation aspect and piecing together the clues. Having ghosts provide clues and unlock lost mysteries is always intriguing. In this type of tale the story lines follow a predictable recipe;  murder, boy meets girl, search for clues, fall in love, solve the case. Graham takes this recipe and mixing up a delightful new batch each time and I always find myself completely immersed in the tale. I love that the romance is just a side dish to the mystery. She knows how to serve it and this one was spicy. I enjoyed watching it develop, the awkwardness, tension, that first kiss..eep! While there is sexual content it is all implied and should not offend. I loved the dead colleague and fans of the Ghost Bartholomew should be delighted by him. While I had my suspicions about whom the murderer was, Graham surprised me with a twist at the end.

I recommend The Uninvited to fans who like paranormal suspense, crime, mystery and a side of romance.  There is no news on the next book in this series, but I will be sure and update you. Below you will find links to reviews of previous Krewe of Hunter novels.

I want to thank Mira/Harlequin and netGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review. Purchases made thorough buy links on this site earn a small commission and help support giveaways. 

I gave this novel 3.5 coffee cups out of 5. 
Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba The Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

My reviews of Graham's earlier novels from this blog:

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Every Day by David Levithan

Every Day
by David Levithan
Publisher: Knopf
Publication date: August 28, 2012
Genre: YA Fiction
Purchase: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl. 

Every morning, A wakes in a different person’s body, a different person’s life. There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.
It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

With his new novel, David Levithan has pushed himself to new creative heights. He has written a captivating story that will fascinate readers as they begin to comprehend the complexities of life and love in A’s world, as A and Rhiannon seek to discover if you can truly love someone who is destined to change every day.
When I read the synopsis for Every Day I knew that I had to read it. I found the idea of waking each morning in strangers body thought provoking. Could I love someone who appeared differently each morning? What about all the senses surrounding that the way they smell, the feel of their hand, the way their eyes sparkle when they laugh. David Levithan not only addressed these questions, he made me think about so much more. I feel in love with the characters, the journey and didn’t want this bittersweet novel to end.

The tale begins when we meet "A". Every morning "A" wakes up in a different body, sometimes male, sometimes female but always "A"’s age. "A" takes a moment and accesses the bodies memories and proceeds to live in them for a day. Every night at midnight "A" falls asleep  and every morning the cycle repeats.  "A" follows simple rules, avoids harming the body and goes about life. "A" has accepted the way things are, until the day "A" wakes in Justin’s body and meets his girlfriend Rhiannon. This is the day "A" begins to break the rules. Why?  Because "A" needs to see her again. The tale that unfolds is absolutely beautiful, heartwarming, thought provoking and original.  

"A" is such an unusual soul.  "A" is neither male nor female. He is a soul, a mind , an essence. For as long as he has lived this is the only true version of life he has ever known. Despite this crazy life he lives, he cares for his hosts..even does their homework for them.  He is careful not to permanently affect their lives until he meets Rhiannon. Rhiannon is sweet, sad and maybe a little shy. "A" loves when she opens up and her face glows. She holds back a lot and "A" blames Justin. Justin is a typical, self-centered high school dude and I didn’t care for him. The relationship between "A" and Rhiannon was complicated and sweet. At times "A" seemed a little obsessed but I kept asking myself how I would feel. While their relationship, screamed insta-love, it was the catalyst necessary for "A" to break character. The characters that "A" spends a day in came from every background  and I became wrapped up in each of their stories. They had as much substances as the main characters .

The world building is absolutely spectacular. From the first few pages I knew I was embarking on a journey that would forever change me. Levithan provides a beautiful tale of love, wonder and loss. He offered me a thought provoking read that I won’t soon forget. This was a fascinating look into life’s complexities. Levithan provided me with a window to countless souls; their joys and tribulations.  The author wove moral messages and questions about whom and what we really are. My emotions were all over the place on this journey. I laughed, I cried, I experienced shock and anger, hope and fear. It was mesmerizing. There wasn’t a single character that did not affect me or leave their mark. The flow was perfect and I loved the author’s writing style. His words rang true and made the tale feel genuine and the characters real. I quickly consumed this as the outside world melted away. The ending was beautiful, bittersweet and touched me in so many ways.

Every Day is an absolute must read; a book you will want to think about, talk about and share long after you finish it. This is a timeless tale and will appeal to all ages. I think it's the perfect read for a book club, group or high school English class. I have added David Levithan to my list and look forward to reading more of his work. I am also hoping he continues A's story.*hint-hint*

I want to thank Knopf Publishing and netGalley for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review. Purchases made through buy links on this site earn a small commission which helps support giveaways. 

I gave this novel 5 coffee cups out of 5.
Kimba the Caffeinated Book ReviewerKimba the Caffeinated Book ReviewerKimba The Caffeinated Book ReviewerKimba the Caffeinated Book ReviewerKimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Sunday Post ~sharing blog news and book haul

The Sunday Post ~ 18th Edition
The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer ~ It's a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. 
Hello my caffeinated peeps! The coffee is on and I baked a fresh coffee cake, can you smell the cinnamon? I hope you all had a great week. Make some time today to pamper yourself, read a book or watch a movie and be sure and visit as many Sunday Posts as you can! 

This past week on the blog I shared:
Next week on the blog look for: 
  • Every Day by David Levithan  (review)
  • The Uninvited by Heather Graham (review)
  • Waiting on Wednesday 
  • City of Demons by Kevin Harkness (Giveaway)
  • Angry Woman Suite by Fullbright (review)
  • Undead by Kirsty MaKay ( release day review)
  • Ready Set Read-a-thon (goals and updates) 
Upcoming Events:
  • Fraterfest Read-a-thon October 5th thru 8th challenges, prizes, twitter party. Be sure to link up and join the fun:)

My Book Haul:

For Review:

River Road by Suzanne Johnson
courtesy of Tor Publishing 

Courtesy of Random House Children's
I received the following books:

Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle
Intentions by Deborah Heiligman
Touched by Cyn Balog
Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron edited by Jonathan Strahan
Suck It Up and Die by Brian Meehl
Stone Girl by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
The Blood Keeper by Tessa Gratton
Scarlett Dedd by Cathy Brett 

Won or Was Gifted:
I won this amazing gift package from Amanda @ She Who Blogs Behind the Rows isn't it awesome! The box contained a beautiful thirty-one black bag with grey and white dots, a hot purple t-shirt from the Bridal Favor Series by Jade Lee featuring a very smexy man, key chains, pens, buttons, back stage passes, tons of autographed swag, a finished copy of Article 5 and an ARC of Pushing the Limits. *squee* Thank you Amanda :)

Purchased or Downloaded for Free:

I bought a lot of pre-orders this week, but will share them as they arrive, so it looks like I was really good this!

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay

Juliet Immortal
by Stacey Jay
Series: Juliet Immortal #1
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Publication date: August 9, 2011
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Purchase*: Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Book Depository

Fans of Maggie Stiefvater's "Shiver" and Becca Fitzpatrick's "Hush" will relish this intense paranormal love story featuring Romeo and Juliet, literary history's most tragic couple, who meet again, not as true lovers, but truly as enemies.
The most tragic love story in history . . 
Juliet Capulet didn't take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But what Romeo didn't anticipate was that Juliet would be granted eternity, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she's fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Until the day she meets someone she's forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love.
"These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume."
"--Romeo and Juliet" by William Shakespeare
Within the pages of Juliet Immortal, you will find a dark paranormal tale about what really happened to Shakespeare's fated lovers, Romeo and Juliet. I immediately fell in love with Jay’s writing style and found myself completely immersed in this breathtaking tale.

The tale begins when we learn what really happen to poor Juliet. Flash forward to present day and Juliet Capulet Montague finds herself in the body of high school senior, Ariel Dragland. Ariel has just been in a car accident with a boy named Dylan. As Juliet comes to, in Ariel’s body; Ariel’s memories come flooding in. Only seconds before, Ariel tried to kill Dylan and herself . She had just learned he went on a date with her because he bet his friends he could sleep with “the freak.” As Juliet learns about Ariel’s life, she vows to make things better for her while she completes her mission. As she struggles to get out of the car, Dylan wakes up…only it’s not Dylan its Romeo and he’s come to kill her! She manages to escape but Romeo is fast on her heels. She gets to the road and jumps in a car belonging to Ben. As Ben takes her home Juliet feels safe and at ease with this young man. They share an intense moment. The tale that unfolds held me spell bound as Juliet works to complete her assignment, stop Romeo and keep her own feelings in check. 

Juliet is an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. Since her death she has been fighting against Romeo and the Mercenaries. She fights to help soul mates and preserve true love. This trip to earth is different for Juliet because she starts to fall for Ben. I really liked Juliet and connected with her as she tried to set thing right. Romeo realizes what he did to Juliet was a mistake and tries to fix things before it’s too late. Unfortunately his ideas of fixing things only complicate things. To make matters worse his leaders are unhappy with him and intend to stop him. My feelings were all over the place with regard to Romeo. I assumed one thing only to have it revealed that I was wrong, wrong, wrong! I loved the ride the author took me on concerning him. Ben was sweet and complicated. I will admit I was a little smitten with him. Gemma was Ariel’s only friend and I wanted to smack her upside the head one minute and hug her the next.

The tale takes place over a span of three days. While this kept the pace moving, it also led to confusion at times. I love world building and a lack of details, can keep me from getting lost within the pages. It’s an element I love and at times throughout the book I screamed for more detail and depth. When I finished  reading and sat back to digest  the story that had just unfolded, I found myself pleased that the author kept me in the dark. All the highs I felt as the story unfolded were because of this shroud of mystery. Jay’s writing style was delightful and she provided the pieces as we needed them despite my eagerness. The tale she spun was believable and flowed beautifully from pen to paper. I am not a fan of insta-love but I do believe in soul mates and it was necessary for this tale. Now the ending has two climatic scenes. One was downright cheesy.  I do not require an ending where things are tied up in a neat little bow. I am perfectly comfortable imagining my own.  I can spend hours creating one in my mind. I know a lot of you do not like open endings and will be delighted this one comes wrapped up for you. For me it felt wrong and forced almost like it wasn't the authors original ending. Now the second ending was fantastic. It has a cliff-hanger albeit a small one. It’s just enough to have me excited about Romeo Redeemed.

I recommend Juliet Immortal to fans of paranormal romances and retellings. This was such a fresh and delightfully dark look at Romeo and Juliet.  Romeo Redeemed will be available October 9, 2012. Look for my review to post in September.

I gave this novel 4 cups of coffee out of 5. 
Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba The Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

*books purchased through buy links on this site result in a small commission and help support giveaways.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Too Many Cooks by Shirley Ann Wilder

Today I am delighted to be bringing you a review of Too Many Cooks as part of Innovative Online Book Tours. Be sure to enter the rafflecopter giveaway after reading my review.

Too Many Cooks
by Shirley Ann Wilder
Publisher: Boroughs
Publication date: July 17, 2012
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Purchase:Barnes and Noble/Amazon

Bitter news leads a San Diego widow and widower to true love—and to a scheme to marry off their adult children, a plan that goes deliciously awry.
Gaetano Lorenzo was the sweetest man that the widowed Estelle Bennett had ever met. That morning began terribly, with awful news, but now the owner and head chef of a local San Diego ristorante was offering up Italian delights: red wine, delicious food, walks on the beach, laughter when she’d never thought she’d laugh again…. Estelle felt twenty-five. She and Gaetano had found the recipe for love, and a simple variation might just get their adult children to settle down, too. A scoop of sugar, two ladlefuls of lust, a pinch of deception and a whole 24 oz.-can of danger— Suddenly, ingredients were coming from everywhere! But kitchens are crazy places, and variety is the spice of life. And for anything to get cooked, things have to get hot.
Too Many Cooks is a funny and sweet novel with an added touch of suspense. Set in San Diego, Wilder share with us the delightful story of a widowed woman and a widower who set into motion a scheme to marry off their adult children only to find something more. This was a delicious read that I consumed in a single evening.

The tale begins when we meet Estelle Bennett. She is a widower and mother to twenty-nine year old  Alex a successful photographer who travels all over the world but remains single and unsettled.  Estelle has just received the worse news and decides to stop for a drink in the middle of the afternoon. She stops at Gatetano’s restaurant for a glass of wine. Owner Gaetano Lorenzo loves preparing food and helping his customers. When he notices Estelle, he senses something is wrong and sets out to take care of her. He gets her the best wine, and hand selects her meal. Estelle is shocked when the handsome Gaetano sits and eats with her. The two quickly fall into conversation and share photos of their children. They talk about wanting their children to find someone and settle down. Gaetano has a lovely daughter named Gina, who spends all of her time winning cases as a lawyer and has no social life. After a few glasses of wine, and his kind words, Estelle shares her devastating news. The tale that unfolds is predictable but delightful as these two begin a friendship and set out to help their children.  

I connected with Estelle and found her to be a witty, sensible woman. While she loved her deceased husband the feelings awakening in her have her glowing like a teen. While she works to deal with her new reality, she finds herself enjoying life. Gaetano is so lovable and how I think of a typical Italian father. He adores his daughter, loves his restaurant and meddles in the lives of people he cares about. I loved the interactions between Estelle and Gaetano. His sweet talk was both romantic and hilarious. Alex is devastatingly handsome and loves his job. He has had a tough time keeping a relationship, since his it requires so much travel. Gina cannot cook, is a neat freak and has to win in the court room. She’d like a social life but pressures at her firm keep her from pursuing one. Alex and Gina were hilarious together and watching them come together despite numerous obstacles was fun.  

Wilder’s tale is character driven and the scenario used to take Estelle out of her comfort zone and smack dab into the joy of living was refreshing. While I will admit the plot was predictable, a twist in the tale added mystery and suspense. The story flowed well and the characters had depth and believability. I found myself rooting for them and became wrapped up in the outcome.

If you are looking for an enjoyable contemporary romance Too Many Cooks delivers a fun, sweet and fast paced tale. This is the perfect end of summer read and is sure to make you smile. I look forward to reading more of Shirley Ann Wilder’s work.

I want to thank the author and Innovative Online Book Tours for providing this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.

I gave this novel 3.5 coffee cups out of 5. 
Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba The Caffeinated Book Reviewer Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Shirley Ann Wilder

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