Book Review – Haunted

HauntedHaunted
Written by: Barbara Haworth-Attard
Published by: Harper Trophy Canada
(HarperCollins Canada)
Date: August 18th, 2009
Pages: 240
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0002008211

Top Pick

Product Description – From Amazon.ca
“Dee is feeding the chickens the morning that bones are discovered on the mountain. Something doesn’t feel right–and her feeling is confirmed when local police show her a ring that they found with the bones, a ring belonging to Mary Ann Simpson, who disappeared four years earlier. Other girls, Dee learns, have disappeared too, unusual for a small town nestled in the shadow of the Bruce Peninsula’s rugged escarpment, the “mountain” that Dee loves.
Like her Gran, Dee has “the Sight,” an ability not only to see spirits from the afterlife but also to experience their deaths–a quality that becomes more horrifying as the story takes darker turns. While trying to help with the investigation, Dee is drawn into a deepening mystery that soon strikes terrifyingly close to home.”

Haunted is one of my favourite books of 2009! Barbara Haworth-Attard  is the author of more than 13 children’s books and she is a Canadian author. While reading the story about 14-year-old Defiance or “Dee” as she is known to her friends, I was immediately taken in by the convincing, evocative tale. Set in the early 1900’s, Haunted takes the reader on a journey through history, into the realm of the supernatural. Dee’s “gift” allows her to see and feel good and evil in many forms. As a reader, I am very sceptical about “ghost stories”, but I have to admit that I was blown-away by the outstanding writing and skilful telling of Haunted; I cannot say enough great things about it! The story flows smoothly with mesmerizing tension that builds slowly with bursts of emotion and tension so thick that you could cut it with a knife; there is a suspenseful pull that keeps the reader tuned into the story and makes this book VERY difficult to put down. I really enjoyed the build up and the pace of the story; it changed momentum often and heightened moments to the point where I felt MY heart pounding with fear for the characters as they were endangered by the murderer. Each of the characters are unique and all too human…even those in a ghostly form. The forest/mountain setting was used very imaginatively by the author to enhance the atmosphere and the mood of the story. I must commend Barbara Haworth-Attard on her writing skills and her ability to bring the story of Haunted, to life. I know that I haven’t talked very much about the story itself, but I don’t want to say too much and ruin it for you; suffice it to say that I simply loved this book and enjoyed every single minute that I spent reading it! This is NOT a story for children, though it will be enjoyed  by YA readers and adult fiction readers.
I very highly recommend it!!!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (10 out of 10 Diamonds) – Absolutely LOVED it!!
 

Read more about Haunted.
Find out where to buy this book.

Author’s Website
Publisher’s Website

A special thanks to HarperCollins Canada for sending me a copy to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – Tall, Dark & Fangsome (ARC)

Tall, Dark & FangsomeTall, Dark & Fangsome
Immortality Bites, Book #5
Written by: Michelle Rowen
Published by: Forever
Date: September 2009
Pages: 352
Format: Mass Market Paperback
ISBN: 978-0446505857
(Available NOW!)

Top Pick

Product Description – From Amazon.com
“Sarah Dearly’s vampire life is not all B-positive cocktails. A curse made her a nightwalker, the most vicious vamp there is; the charm she wears to curb her deadly tendencies is losing its juice; and a hunter from hell is turning up the heat. Gideon Chase will kill the ones she loves most if she doesn’t obey his orders. That includes breaking up with master vampire Thierry and turning Gideon into an immortal vamp so he can escape a doom of eternal hellfire.
Making things worse are Sarah’s growing feelings for Gideon, a bad boy who keeps showing a vulnerable side . . . but is it for real? Will Sarah’s dark side take over? Or can she cure herself of the nightwalker curse in time to stop Gideon and finally live happily ever after with Thierry . . . forever?”

Tall, Dark & Fangsome is something else; in a good way of course! Set in Toronto, Ontario this story has the appearance of a contemporary romance novel…until you start reading. I haven’t read books 1-4, but this final volume in the Immortality Bites series is a winner in my books! There are so many colourful, well-developed characters in this story that it was hard to choose a favourite. With a fast-paced, action-filled plot the reader is going to have a really hard time putting the book down. There is a wealth of romance in this story even though there isn’t any graphic sexual content; there are some super-HOT, romantic moments that sizzle. Sarah Dearly was turned into a vampire by Thierry de Bennicoeur in one of the earlier books so one could say that she has “grown into her fangs” by book 5. Her life seems to be confrontation after confrontation but Sarah does her best to persevere through it all with scathing wit, sarcastic humour and a deadly sense of purpose. Thierry and Sarah have a strong connection to one another despite the fact that Sarah was forced to end their relationship in an attempt to protect everyone she loves. With a cast of humans, vampires, demons, vampire hunters and a nightwalker, the reader is guaranteed a good time. Hold on to your seats and prepare yourself for a paranormal romance that will take you for one WILD ride.
I very highly recommend this book!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (10 out of 10 Diamonds) – Absolutely LOVED it!!
 

Read more about Tall, Dark & Fangsome.
Find out where to buy this book.

Author’s Website
Publisher’s Website

A special thanks to Hachette Book Group for sending me a copy to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – Lucan: The Pendragon Legacy (ARC)

LucanLucan The Pendragon Legacy
The Pendragon Legacy, Book #1
Written by: Susan Kearney
Published by: Forever
Date: September 2009
Pages: 368
Format: Mass Market Paperback
ISBN: 978-0446543316
(Available NOW!)

Product Description – From Amazon.com
“THEIR LOVE IS FORBIDDEN
Healer and high priestess of her people, Lady Cael is fated to life without a mate. But a mysterious explorer named Lucan Rourke doesn’t know her secrets, and his touch makes her crave a future that her extraordinary birthright has forbidden her. . .
BUT DANGER IS NO MATCH FOR DESIRE
Lucan has just one mission on Pendragon: to find the mythical Holy Grail, Earth’s only hope for survival. His powerful attraction to Cael is a distraction he can’t afford, unless he convinces her to join forces with him. Yet working so closely together only heightens their passion . . . even when the terrifying truth of Cael’s heritage threatens to shatter Lucan’s every belief-and the galaxy itself.”

Lucan: The Pendragon Legacy is an extraordinary book! This paranormal romance novel is one of my new favourites because it’s jam-packed with action, adventure and erotic romance. Lady Cael, high priestess to her people, is isolated by a wall of fear and reverence. Her rank and position among her people offers untold riches and magnificence but she can never share her life with anyone. When Lucan Rourke begins working alongside Lady Cael on an archaeological dig, she senses that there is something different about him and his confidence and ease of manner surprises and pleases her; the attraction between them is forbidden but that doesn’t keep either of them from wanting more. Lucan is fiercely protective of beautiful Lady Cael and it warms the heart. There are some amazing things that happen in this story, but I can’t share them with you because I would ruin it for you; suffice it to say that this paranormal romance isn’t afraid to take the reader outside their realm of reality and create worlds that are so realistic that you get pulled into the story right away. This fast-paced plot will take you on a wild ride that soars with emotion, drama and romance.
I highly recommend this book!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (9 out of 10 Diamonds) – Loved it!
 

Read more about Lucan: The Pendragon Legacy, Book #1.
Find out where to buy this book.

Author’s Website
Publisher’s Website

A special thanks to Hachette Book Group for sending me a copy to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – Seduced at Midnight

Seduced at MidnightSeduced at Midnight
Mayhem in Mayfair, Book #3
Written by: Jacquie D’Alessandro
Published by: Berkley Sensation
Date: January 2009
Pages: 345
Format: Mass Market Paperback
ISBN: 978-0425225493

Product Description – From Amazon.com
“The Ladies Literary Society of London gathers again for a ghost story…
Lady Julianne Bradley has always longed for wild adventure. Unfortunately, the man with whom she wishes to share her fervor can never be hers. Tormented by her desire, she’s preparing for a suitable marriage when ghostly occurrences straight out of her latest read start happening—and to protect Julianne, her father hires the very man her heart cries out for.”

Seduced at Midnight is the 3rd book in the Ladies Literary Society series that centers around a small group of friends who participate in a seemingly innocuous book club; unbeknownst to their family and friends, the book club includes some racy titles that really fire the blood and in Lady Julianne Bradley’s case, they cause her imagination to run wild. The source of her passionate desires is the Bow Street Runner, Mr. Gideon Mayne; his a-typical, mouth-watering, muscular physique and his very presence makes Julianne’s heart pound wildly with need. There is sizzling chemistry between Gideon and Julianne; their love scenes are very descriptive with luscious sensuality that heats up the room! The dialogue between the characters is witty, humorous and you can feel the chemistry sparking between them. One small downside to the dialogue was a repetitive phrase that was cute the first few times, but it was used too often and too close together, in my opinion. It was nice to read a book that had strong characters, both male and female and I always enjoy it when they are beautiful people!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (7 out of 10 Diamonds) – I really enjoyed it
 

Read more about Seduced at Mighnight.
Find out where to buy this book.

Author’s Website
Publisher’s Website

A special thanks to Jacquie D’Alessandro for sending me a copy to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – Love in Bloom

Love in BloomLove in Bloom
Written by: Sheila Roberts
Published by: St. Martin’s Griffin
Date: 2009
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0312384814

Love in Bloom is a wonderful story that deals with several important issues within a close-knit community; I would love to live in Heart Lake!”

Product Description – From Amazon.com
“Hope Walker survived early breast cancer at just thirty-years-old, but a mastectomy left her with a lot of scarring—and some serious fears about dating. Hope owns Changing Seasons, Heart Lake’s most popular flower shop. When it comes to love and relationships, she’s able to work magic through her expert flower arranging…for everyone but herself. Then one day a handsome contractor starts coming into her shop, but Hope knows he’d rather have a whole woman than someone like her.
When Hope stakes a plot of ground at Heart Lake’s community garden, she finds that a woman can grow all sorts of things there: flowers, herbs, vegetables and even friendship. As she gets to know the two women who share neighboring plots, they discover that they can learn a lot from each other—not just about gardening, but about life. And Hope realizes that in order to live life to the fullest, sometimes you have to take a chance on love.”

Love in Bloom is a really inspirational story that combines gardening and a group of well-intentioned people. When I accepted a review copy of this book I didn’t know how the author planned to deal with some of these heavy issues in an engaging way. Hope Walker owns and operates her own flower shop in Heart Lake. She has a big heart and wants to make her community more beautiful and happier by arranging and selling her flowers. As a cancer survivor, Hope realized that she needed to make everyday count and did her best to encourage a positive spirit in everyone she met. When Hope meets Jason Wells one day, her heart starts racing and she can’t help how much he affects her. Unfortunately, Jason seems to have eyes for Bobbi, Hope’s younger sister. The story progresses nicely and I enjoyed the inspired way that the author had the characters interact with one another. I was pleasantly surprised when the storyline didn’t get bogged-down by some of the seriousness and I enjoyed the depth of character and winding plot; it made for a more compelling read. Love in Bloom is a really brilliant story that runs the gauntlet of emotions. There were lovely romantic moments that charmed me and then there were heart-wrenchingly sad moments that tore at my heart. This story vividly illustrates that love can bloom in the shadows of loss, in the glow of success and that it can happen at any age. All of the characters are really well developed and unique; I felt for each of them in their own circumstances. An added bonus: there are a few helpful gardening tips scattered throughout the book.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (8 out of 10 Diamonds) – Thoroughly enjoyed it
 

Read more about Love in Bloom.
Find out where to buy this book.

Link to the Author’s Website:
http://www.sheilasplace.com/

Link to the Publisher’s Website:
http://us.macmillan.com/default.aspx

A special thanks to Sheila Roberts for sending me a copy to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – Fear the Worst

Fear the Worst
Written by: Linwood Barclay
Published by: Doubleday CanadaFear the Worst
Date: August 11th, 2009
Pages: 416
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 978-0385668026

Top Pick

Fear the Worst is a heart-pounding thriller that keeps you guessing to the very end; this book is a sure-fire hit!”

Product Description – From Amazon.ca
“Seventeen-year-old Sydney Blake’s summer is shaping up to be typical for a teenager: she’s spending it with her father, and she has landed a part-time job at a local hotel. One night, Syd fails to come home from her shift, and her father Tim is a bit alarmed. However, that alarm turns to full-on panic after he visits the Just Inn Time hotel and the manager claims that Syd has never worked there. Grilling his daughter’s friends for clues leads Tim nowhere — except to threats against his life — and as he frantically chases every lead, he can’t help but wonder if Syd is even still alive. Despite a growing list of unanswered questions, all Tim knows for certain is that he must continue searching for his daughter — no matter how high the stakes become.”

Fear the Worst is one heck of a ride and it comes from the Canadian, #1 Internationally Bestselling Author of Too Close To Home; I’ve never read it and if Fear the worst is any indication, it is probably phenomenal! I cannot say enough positive things about this book; it’s high-adrenaline, fast-paced and has a lot of fantastic plots twists that surprised the heck out of me…in the very best of ways. This story is painstakingly-weaved to keep the reader guessing and I, as a sceptic, still didn’t see any of the major plot twists coming which increased my interest in the story and clearly demonstrated the Author’s skill for writing awesome thrillers! I seriously couldn’t put this book down and I really didn’t want it to end; it’s a page turner so if at all possible, you’ll want to set a few hours aside for uninterrupted reading. All of the characters are well developed and felt all too human. Tim Blake’s love for his daughter Sydney, is a big part the story’s focus and also on the attempted search and rescue of his child from terrible cruelties and who knows what else if he can’t find her quickly enough. In the race against time, criminals (who are also searching for Syd) and the authorities, Tim pulls out all the stops and reveals the genuine depths of a father’s love. This story is very realistic, gritty and aggressive; there is some swearing and graphic violence that may offend some readers but these essential elements enhance the story immensely.
I very highly recommend this book to all thriller fans and to anyone who wants to try something exciting and new!

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (10 out of 10 Diamonds) – Absolutely LOVED it!!
 

Read more about Fear the Worst.
Find out where to buy this book.

Link to the Author’s Website:
http://www.linwoodbarclay.com/news.html

Link to the Publisher’s Website:
http://www.doubledaycanada.ca/

A special thanks to Random House Canada for sending me a copy to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

Book Review – East of the Sun: A Novel

East of the Sun: A Novel
Written by: Julia east-of-the-sunGregson
Published by: Simon & Schuster,
A Touchstone Book
Date: June 2009 – Reprint
(Originally published in 2008)
Pages: 604
Format: Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1439101124

Top Pick

East of the Sun is a breathtaking, literary masterpiece!”

Product Description – From Amazon.com
“As the Kaisar-i-Hind weighs anchor for Bombay in the autumn of 1928, its passengers ponder their fate in a distant land. They are part of the “Fishing Fleet” — the name given to the legions of Englishwomen who sail to India each year in search of husbands, heedless of the life that awaits them. The inexperienced chaperone Viva Holloway has been entrusted to watch over three unsettling charges. There’s Rose, as beautiful as she is naïve, who plans to marry a cavalry officer she has met a mere handful of times. Her bridesmaid, Victoria, is hell-bent on losing her virginity en route before finding a husband of her own. And shadowing them all is the malevolent presence of a disturbed schoolboy named Guy Glover.
From the parties of the wealthy Bombay socialites to the poverty of Tamarind Street, from the sooty streets of London to the genteel conversation of the Bombay Yacht Club, East of the Sun is graced with lavish detail and a penetrating sensitivity — historical fiction at its greatest.”

East of the Sun begins in London, England in September of 1928. Viva Holloway poses as an experienced chaperone and she takes on three charges for the voyage; two young women, Rose & Victoria, and a rather odd young man named Guy. They all make their way to Bombay, India on the luxurious ship, Kaisar-i-Hind. Viva is on her way back to Bombay to deal with unfinished business related to the death of her family and she chaperones the three young people as a way to pay for her passage to India. This story is beautifully described with picturesque images of India that capture the essence and the different customs found on the far away continent; the tastes, sights, aromas and sounds are so vivid, so tangible, that the reader experiences everything along with the characters and with the same impact. Many colourful, carefully-crafted characters dot the storyline, each of them unique and utterly captivating. I felt as if I had been transported to India where I became immersed in its unfamiliar culture and its earthy vitality.

Viva ran down the beach with them. There’d been days since she’d been back in Bombay when she’d positively hated it-too hot, too crowded, too smelly, too hard-but today, how could you not love it? This beautiful beach; the sun pouring out of the sky; the madcap bravery of these children forgetting so easily that they were orphaned and poor in one of the harshest cities on earth.

The narrative is vastly entertaining; at times it is humorous and witty, yet it has poignant moments that leaves the reader humbled with emotion and a deep sense of loss and sorrow. This story flows effortlessly, pulls at your emotions, and asks questions about your own humanity as it sweeps you up in its magnificence of scope and imagination.
This book is a long read, but it is worth every moment of your time!
I very highly recommend it to all historical fiction lovers and anyone with an interest in Bombay India or the “Fishing Fleet”.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦ (10 out of 10 Diamonds) – Absolutely LOVED it!!
 

Read more about East of the Sun.
Find out where to buy this book.

Link to the Author’s Website:
http://juliagregson.net/

Link to the Publisher’s Website:
http://www.simonandschuster.com/

A special thanks to Simon & Schuster for sending me a copy to review.

Copyright ©  Book Reviews By Bobbie — Bobbie Crawford-McCoy