Friday, December 27, 2013

A May Bride

I received a copy of A May Bride by Meg Moseley from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
She thinks she has prepared for her wedding all her life . . . but it seems she may have forgotten the most important part.
Ellie Martin, a country girl in Atlanta, has dreamed of a traditional wedding all her life-a wedding just like the one her younger sister is planning back home. Their single mom will pay for Alexa's wedding, but Ellie started her own wedding fund years ago. She only needs to find a groom.
At a wedding at her church, Ellie bumps into a man who's one of the guests. She's noticed him around the neighborhood, but today he introduces himself as Gray Whitby. They embark on a whirlwind romance, but her mother doesn't trust freewheeling men like Gray.
When Ellie risks her own future for her sister's sake, Gray feels betrayed. Will he always play second fiddle to Ellie's family?
Will Ellie and Gray reconcile their differences so her dream wedding can come true, or will the romance they've begun come crashing down?

This was a good book and very easy read.  Once I started reading it I didn't want to put it down. Ellie is very independent and does everything she can to make it on her own.  When she's caught gardening in a garden that isn't hers she meets the man of her dreams.  The only problem is he sees how her mother controls her even if Ellie's done everything to keep her out of her life.  When she's given the choice to stay on her mother's short string or marry Gray she has a harder time making the decision than she realized she would.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A December Bride

I received a copy of A December Bride by Denise Hunter from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Happily ever after begins today. The honor of your presence is requested at a December wedding.

What started as a whim turned into an accidental - and very public - engagement. Can Layla and Seth keep up the facade in Chapel Springs this holiday season - for the sake of her career . . . and his heart?

Under normal circumstances, Seth Murphy, the best friend of Layla O'Reilly's ex-fiance would be the last person she'd marry. But the news of their upcoming (and phony) nuptials convinces a big client that Layla may be high-society enough to work for his agency, a coup that would put her fledgling home-staging business on the map. Seth has secretly loved Layla for years, even when she was dating his best friend. Maybe she'll never forgive him for the way he hurt her back then, but he has to try. And Layla is willing to keep up their engagement farce until she's landed her client. For Layla, it's the chance to save her career. But for Seth, it's his last chance to win her heart. A year's worth of novellas from twelve inspirational romance authors. Happily ever after guaranteed.

This was a really good book and a quick read.  Layla has grown up being told she wasn't good enough.  After being with Seth for a couple weeks she begins to learn and believe she's worth more than she ever thought before.  Seth opens his big mouth and says he and Layla are engaged and will get married in less than 4 weeks.  What starts out as the worst thing he could have said ends up to be the best thing that ever happened to Layla.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Business with a Heart

I received a copy of Business with a Heart by Crystal Thomas from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Winner of a 2011 eLit Award, "Business with a Heart" is the story of a young woman who, rising in the corporate ranks, treads a winding path of business, personal life, and spirituality, learning that these segments of our lives are never far apart. Her search for a more fulfilled corporate existence is nearly stymied in the cross hairs of a demanding boss, resistant subordinates, and her own unfortunate oversights. While written in novel format, this book is filled with guidance, choices, and ideas to help you create your own style of "business with a heart." Author Crystal Thomas is a renowned speaker, coach, and author in the private club industry. She excelled at a young age as a general manager in the same industry. The following three decades of GM experience educated her on the need for a coaching organization that could support businesses in incorporating into the "heart" aspect - one that mutually benefited upper management, team members, and members/customers alike, while still advancing the bottom line. Hence, she founded Crystal Clear Concepts in 2005. In this book, you will see experiences similar to your own and Crystal's where the challenge of balancing head and heart is not an easy task, yet the results merit it an action worthy of full pursuit.  
I really enjoyed this book.  I like books that are written to teach you but do it through a story.  Crystal does a great job of giving you the basic lesson and then giving examples to drive home the point.  Every business owner and executive should read this book.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Killing Cupid

I received a copy of Killing Cupid by Laura Levine from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Love is in the air as freelance writer Jaine Austen begins a new job at the Dates of Joy matchmaking service--but between juggling her boss's demands, deflecting the advances of an eccentric suitor, and tracking down a calculating killer, she hardly has time to think about romance. . .

When Jaine lands a job writing web copy and brochures for matchmaker Joy Amoroso, she's excited for a chance to help the lovelorn just in time for Valentine's Day--until she realizes what "Dates of Joy" is really all about. Joy is a ruthless taskmaster who screams at her employees for the smallest infractions, pads her website with pictures of professional models posing as clients, and offers up convincing but empty promises of love in exchange for inordinate sums of money. And woe betide anyone who lays a finger on her heavily guarded stash of chocolates.

So it's no surprise when the chiseling cupid turns up dead at a Valentine's Day mixer. Aghast to find herself on the cops' suspect list, Jaine sets out to track down the killer. Who could it be? Joy's harried assistants, whose lives she made a living hell? Her younger lover? The handsome hunk of a client with a secret in his past? Or the furious Beverly Hills widow who forked over the last of her savings for a Prince Charming who never materialized?

Joy left behind a slew of enemies struck by her deviant arrows, so finding the culprit may prove harder than spotting that elusive caramel praline in a box of chocolates--and Jaine will have to flirt with danger to get to the truth...

This was a different book.  Janie has the 'luck' of being hired by Joy to create a brochure for her matchmaking company - Dates of Joy.  Joy ends up being a big fake who takes people's money after promising to set them up with the date of their life.  After a few days of putting up with Joy Janie is set up with Skip, who turns out to be old enough to be her grandfather.  At a Valentine's Day party Joy throws for all her clients Joy is poisoned by her favorite chocolates (that she doesn't share with anyone).  When Janie turns out to be the prime suspect in the murder she decides to find the real killer.  Everyone she talks to has a reason to kill Joy.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Murder on the First Day of Christmas

I received a copy of Murder on the First Day of Christmas by Billie Thomas from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Finding a severed hand at a client’s house might throw lesser decorators off their games. But Chloe Carstairs and her mother, Amanda, won’t let a little thing like murder keep them from decking the halls. With a body under the partridge’s pear tree and a dead Santa in a sleigh, they have to crack the case before the killer strikes again - this time much too close to home.

Filled with laugh-out-loud humor, romance and a delightfully difficult mother-daughter relationship, this new series from Billie Thomas offers a fast-paced caper as these two southern ladies try to keep their very merry Christmas from turning into the Noel from hell.

This was a book that took me a while to get into.  There are a lot of characters and I had a hard time keeping up with who was who.  Amanda and Chloe are interior decorators that are very busy decorating large, over the top houses for Christmas.  The start with Saul's house and continue on to his neighbor Nancy's house.  There has been a long standing fight between the two to have the first Christmas party of the neighborhood.  They both wanted themes that take Amanda and Chloe weeks to finish.  During each of the Christmas parties someone is murdered.  Of course the police start the suspect list with anyone who was invited to both parties.  Since Amanda and Chloe decorated both houses they're top on the list.  They resolve to find out who the real killer is and in the process get themselves into a lot of trouble.  I have to give it to them they connected dots I didn't see coming.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Rosemary and Crime

I received a copy of Rosemary and Crime by Gail Oust from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Piper Prescott, a transplanted Yankee living in the South, has got her sass back.  She might be down, but don’t count her out.  “Change of life?” she asks.  Bring it on.  Recently divorced, Piper decides to pursue a dream she’s secretly harbored: owning her own business, Spice it Up!, a spice shop in her adopted hometown, Brandywine Creek, Georgia.  But Piper’s grand opening goes awry when the local chef who’s agreed to do a cooking demo is found stabbed.  Not only did Piper find the body, she handled the murder weapon and doesn’t have a witness to her alibi, making the case look like a slam dunk to brand new police Chief Wyatt McBride.  Desperate to uncover the truth—and prove her innocence—Piper enlists the help of her outspoken BFF Reba Mae Johnson to help track down the real culprit.  The pair compile a lengthy list of suspects and work to eliminate them using their own creative brand of sleuthing techniques including stakeouts, breaking and entering, and one very unorthodox chocolate pie. When Piper narrowly avoids being a victim of a hit-and-run, she knows she’s getting closer to the truth, but can she catch the killer and clear her name before she becomes the next victim?
This was a very easy read that made it hard for me to put down.  The farther I got into the story the more I was afraid that Dr. Doug the vet was going to be the one who killed Mario.  Piper and her BFF Reba Mae are great at getting themselves into situations that only small town folks could come up with.  Thankfully Piper goes from the most avoided person in town to the most liked.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Murder and Moonshine

I received a copy of Murder and Moonshine by Carol Miller from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
All small towns have secrets—and plenty of them—as every small town waitress knows. Daisy is no different. A young, recently-separated waitress at H&P's Diner in sleepy southwestern Virginia, she hears more than her fair share of neighborhood gossip while serving plates of hash and peach cobbler. But when a reclusive old man, Dickerson, shows up at the diner one day, only to drop dead a few minutes later, Daisy quickly learns that some secrets are more dangerous to keep than others—especially when there’s money and moonshine involved.

Daisy finds herself caught between whiskey and guns; a handsome ATF agent and a moonshine-brewing sweet talker; and a painful past and a dangerous present. Not sure any longer who she can trust, Daisy must turn sleuth while also protecting her sick mother and keeping a handle on Aunt Emily, her goading, trigger-happy landlord. There's trouble brewing in her small town, and before it passes, many secrets will come to light.
This is a good book that kept me guessing from the beginning.  Daisy is a small town girl that can hold her own in any situation.  Her family was done wrong by the ATF 5 years ago but she hasn't forgotten any of it and Ethan Kinney finds this out the hard way.  They work together to get to the bottom of Fred's murder, but not before other friends and family get hurt.