Book Review: Mai Tai for Two

maitaiMai Tai For Two is a Harlequin Red Hot Read from Cosmo – which if you’ve been around the blog for a while, you know are my favorites to read.  These books are short so they get to the point quickly and are always a good read. In Mai Tai For Two – Julie and her “work husband” have won an all expenses paid trip to Hawaii.  How convenient.  Julie and Alan both have feelings for each other, but haven’t really acted on it (although they did kiss at a Christmas party.)  The two end up hooking up and trying to keep things a secret – but considering Julie’s bestie is also on the trip, she has an idea that something is going on between them.  The hook up seems really awkward especially considering these two are supposedly pretty good friends.

While I typically love these books, this one was a bit of a miss.  I just couldn’t get in to the characters. Not as big of a flop as some of the other romance novels I had read, but not my favorite of the red hot reads by any means. But if you are looking for something quick to read and don’t care about relationship details being hashed out in the story – then you’ll probably have no problem with this book.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.


About the Book

Julie’s Hawaiian Vacay Itinerary!

You and your “work husband” have just won an all-expenses-paid vacation in Oahu. Now the fun begins…

1. Get lei’d. (With flowers, obvi.)
2. Settle into your gorgeous ocean-side cabin. Contemplate living in Hawaii forever.
3. Become overwhelmed with hideous unexplained jealousy when your bestie decides to make sexy moves on your work husband, Alan.
4. Dismiss jealousy. After all, you’re not interested in Alan “that” way…are you?
5. Avoid joyous dancing when bestie’s ex arrives and sweeps her off her feet—leaving Alan completely and totally available.
6. Now you’re alone with Alan. Alone. In paradise. Take a deep breath, have a mai tai—or two—and (gulp!) make your move. Be classy.
7. “Accidentally” let Alan peek under your grass skirt.
8. Take off grass skirt.
9. Do Incredibly Naughty and Sexy Things everywhere.
10. And do not think about what happens when you and your work husband go back to reality….

Book Review: Nashville Sweetheart


Nashville Sweetheart was a really cute book and I enjoyed reading it.  In fact, just when I thought things were getting “good”, my Nook decided it was time to die and I was devastated that I had to take a break from reading to charge it up again!

Nashville Sweetheart is about Country Diva Aubrey James.  She is 30 years old and has been touring for the last 11 years.  The book begins with her performing what was going to be her last show of the tour before a break – a break she desperately needed as she has been working herself to the point of exhaustion.  Her socialite boyfriend ends up surprising her on stage and proposing to her.

When one of her ex-band members decides to start running her mouth about Aubrey – even though the stories she tells are true – Aubrey decides it might just be time to start doing interviews again, even though for a long time she has kept very private and tried to stay out of the media.

She ends up telling a local show, Inside NashVegas, that she will give them the exclusive.  But when the interviewer she thinks she is going to be working with is pregnant and on bed rest, she ends up having to work with the Sports reporter instead – who had previously asked her to a party and then ditched her.

He asks her questions that ends up with her questioning herself.  Is she bring true to herself? Should she focus more on the faith she used to have but has seemed to have lost?

While a bit predictable at time, it was a cute story and I really enjoyed it. I couldn’t finish it fast enough!

Book Description

What do you do when the past you’ve been dodging shows up at your door with cameras rolling?

Aubrey James ruled the charts as the queen of country for over a decade. She’d rocketed to fame in the shadow of her parents’ death—both of them pioneers in gospel music. But while her public life—high-profile romances and fights with Music Row execs—made for juicy tabloid headlines, the real and private Aubrey has remained a media mystery.

When a former band member betrays Aubrey’s trust and sells an “exclusive” to a tabloid, the star knows she must go public with her story. But Aubrey’s private world is rocked when the Inside NashVegas interviewer is someone from her past—someone she’d hoped to forget.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review: The Wicked Girls

wickedgirlsThe Wicked Girls is a bit of 2 stories in one. And try as I might, I just could not get into the present day story. In fact, after getting about 1/4 through the book and deciding I just couldn’t focus on the modern day aspect of the story, I skipped the rest of it and instead went just to the parts from 1986 that were written in the book. Usually I try to tough it out and finish all the books I review, but with this one I just couldn’t. If it was one book just about what happened in 1986 – I would have loved it!

Back in 1986 2 girls – Jade and Bel – first meet. By the end of the day, a 4 year old that was left in their care is dead. The two older girls were charged with murder. Both girls are now out of juvenile detention centers and have resumed normal lives and new names. Even their significant others do not know about their past.

In the present day – Amber works at an amusement park where a woman turns up dead. Kirsty shows up to cover the investigation as she now works as a journalist. The two recognize each other as Bel and Jade. They had agreed to never see each other again – but here they are together once again. (And I’m not even really sure what ends up happening because I didn’t care to read enough to find out)

If you have more patience than me – you might enjoy both sides of this story.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Eleven year-old Jade and Bel met for the first time one summer day, a day that began innocently enough, but that ended in calamity: six-year old Chloe is found dead and Jade and Bel are charged with her murder. THE WICKED GIRLS, (A Penguin Original; $16.00; ISBN 978-0-14-312386-6; On sale: July 30, 2013; also available as an e-book) by Alex Marwood, follows the lives of these two girls, who will never be able to fully erase the events of that day and whose destinies are forever intertwined because of it.

Both women have tried to forget the horrific circumstances of their childhoods—Chloe’s death and the juvenile detention, isolation, and series of hard-knocks that followed it. Twenty-five years later, Jade and Bel have become Kirsty Lindsay and Amber Gordon, their true identities kept secret from their friends, families, and loved ones. Kirsty works as a journalist with two children and a loving husband. Bel, recently promoted at the amusement park in the seaside town of Whitmouth where she works, owns a house and lives with her long-term boyfriend. Neither has set eyes on the other since that fateful summer day.

But when a series of deadly attacks on women shakes the town of Whitmouth, Kirsty is sent there on assignment to cover the investigation. Amber and Kirsty, both entrenched in the growing turmoil, are forced to confront each other once again and to face the past that they have struggled so hard to hide.

As the Whitmouth murders escalate, Amber and Kirsty’s lives are threatened in ways neither could have foreseen, endangering the sense of normalcy that they have desperately struggled to maintain since changing their identities. As circumstances draw Amber and Kirsty closer and closer together, the two women are forced to make an incomprehensible decision that will cement their fates together forever.

Fans of the Academy Award-nominated film Heavenly Creatures and the novels of Rosamund Lupton and Chevy Stevens will appreciate the suspense of Marwood’s novel. Dark, fast-paced, and gripping, THE WICKED GIRLS will challenge your notions of right and wrong and leave you holding your breathe until the very end.

Alex Marwood is a pseudonym of a journalist who has worked extensively across the British Press. Marwood lives in South London and is working on her next novel.

Book Review: The Hard Way

hard_way_300 The Hard Way is actually the 3rd book in a series which features PI Helen McCorkendale and magazine editor Laurel Imperiole. I had not read the first 2 books in the series before reading The Hard Way and I don’t think that you have to either  – though I am considering going back and reading the other 2 now because I enjoyed this one so much!

The book starts with Helen and her boyfriend Mike visiting a new casino in Las Vegas called January that is run by one of Helen’s friends, Jimmy.  When she gets home, Helen tells Laurel about the casino and suggests that she do a getaway contest in her magazine, Women Now.

Things start to get suspicious when the woman who won, Dawn Chapman, claims that she did not enter the contest and doesn’t want the prize trip! The magazine’s lawyers say that the winner must go an alternate cannot be chosen, so Laurel somehow convinces Dawn to take the trip.

Shortly after arriving, Dawn goes white as a sheet and passes out.  Did she see something or someone she didn’t want to see? She wants to g home immediately – but Jimmy is doing this trip for publicity in the magazine and needs to try and get at least a few photo-ops with the winner! He convinces her to stick around a bit longer – but ends up finding her dead by the pool!

And then the fun starts. It turns out that Dawn is not Dawn after all and Helen, Laurel and Jimmy are determined to get to the bottom of what may be going on!

Laurel and her ex, Aaron, work on the case from New York City while Helen heads to Las Vegas to see what she can find and make sure that Jimmy is proven innocent.  Dawn was poisoned with Cyanide and diamond dust…

There’s a lot of drama that unfolds once we get into the investigation of what is going on. I don’t want to say too much because this was a fun read and I want you to check it out as well! There is a lot going on but I didn’t find it difficult to keep track – even with it bouncing back from different sides of the country.  There also isn’t a drawn line of who is “good” and who is “bad”  – some seem to switch sides and some may be both – so how can Helen figure out who to trust and who not to trust while she tries to get to the bottom of this? Her life could be at stake!

A quick and easy read – and a must read for anyone who loves a good murder mystery! A lot of twists and turns that kept me on my toes!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review and participate in the book tour. I was not otherwise compensated.


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The Hard Way Summary:

Private Investigator Helen McCorkendale’s childhood friend, Jimmy Scanlan, has just opened January, the most lavish casino and hotel resort on the Las Vegas Strip. After attending the grand opening, Helen returns to New York and encourages her friend, Laurel Imperiole, Senior Editor at Women Now magazine, to create a get-away contest for readers offering a weekend at the hotel as the grand prize. The winner, Dawn Chapman, a jewelry store employee from Cincinnati, denies entering the contest and initially refuses the trip. Finally persuaded by Laurel to accept, she arrives at the hotel and nearly faints when she passes the hotel’s elite meeting rooms where the International Diamond Dealers Consortium is holding its annual meeting. She insists on returning home immediately.

Suspicious of her behavior, Jimmy visits her suite to encourage her to attend the Saturday afternoon pool party, saying she can leave on his private jet the next day. Later in the afternoon, he finds Chapman’s dead body by the pool. She’s been murdered—an unusual double poisoning by cyanide and diamond dust.

Dawn Chapman was not who she appeared to be, and therein lies a mystery. But to Helen and Laurel, the main task is to take Jimmy Scanlon off the suspect list and clear his name. Will their luck hold? Or will it be a crap shoot, as they roll the dice and do it ‘the hard way,’ going for doubles when the odds are against them. Losing may mean losing their lives.

Cathi Stoler’s Bio: 

Cathi Stoler’s mysteries feature PI Helen McCorkendale and magazine editor, Laurel Imperiole. The Hard Way is the third book in the series. The first, Telling Lies, took on the subject of stolen Nazi art. Book 2, Keeping Secrets, delved into the subject of hidden identity. Stoler’s short stories include: “Magda,” in the Criminal Element Anthology Malfeasance Occasional: Girl Trouble, “Out of Luck,” in the Anthology, Murder New York Style: Fresh Slices, “Fatal Flaw,” a finalist for the Derringer for Best Short Story and “Money Never Sleeps” both published at Beat to A Pulp. Cathi is working on a novella, Nick of Time, which features International gambler, Nick Donahue. She is also starting a new series, Bar None, A Murder On The Rocks Mystery, with female bar owner, Jude Dillane. Cathi is a member of the New York/Tri State chapter of Sisters In Crime. She is also a member of Mystery Writers of America.
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