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review 2017-05-12 08:05
Review Blitz - Cursed




A countess flees home—and the family curse requiring her to marry a prince—to hide out in the South Carolina low country. There, she meets a man who’s not quite a prince…but who steals her heart all the same.


Find out what happens in the fifth installment in Jennifer Chance’s Crowns and Gowns series, CURSED!




When the prince she was supposed to marry falls for someone else, Edeena Saleri is done with Garronia's courts, crowns, and family curses. She grabs her sisters and escapes to the nobility-free coast of South Carolina, USA.

Refuge isn't anything like it's supposed to be, however. The family's island vacation home now borders a singles' retreat, which Edeena's sisters embrace all too eagerly. Worse, the private protection firm Edeena hires is run by the most infuriating man she's ever met--a rough-hewn, dark-eyed, charismatic charmer named, of course, Prince. He's not a royal and he's nowhere near noble, so there's no way he can break the family curse. And yet...

Vincent "Prince" Rallis has spent his whole life justifying his name. The son of hardworking immigrant parents, he's hustled for every dime, finally building a personal security firm with the muscle and grit to live up to its promises. He's used to keeping his cool, but when the high-strung, high-class Edeena shuts him down despite her obvious interest, pride demands he fight for her--even if he has to track her back to her glittering court to prove his point. Only once Prince arrives in the seaside kingdom of Garronia, he finds his troubles are just beginning.

Sometimes love in Garronia can be magic. And sometimes you're just



Available at: Amazon ~ Amazon UK ~ Amazon AU ~ Amazon CA

**also on #KindleUnlimited**


Add Cursed to your GOODREADS TBR stack!





Cursed (Gowns & Crowns, #5)Cursed by Jennifer Chance
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is book #5 in the Gowns & Crowns series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. I recommend for complete understanding of the series, and to avoid spoilers, I think this incredible series should be read in order.

Vincent AKA “Prince" has been hired to watch over the semi-royal family of sisters who have arrived here in South Carolina. He cannot help being attracted to the oldest of the siblings, Edeena. She is the one who hired his company. Now he must find out what this is all about.

Edeena must make a path for her sisters to build upon. She has to fulfill a family dream in order to break a long ago curse. What she wants really will not matter. If she let's time run out, there are more consequences to come. And.... time is running out.

This series just has so many surprises! These characters are just amazing. The banter is funny. The sexy times are hot. This is just such a fun read. This author never lets me down.

***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

View all my reviews






About Jennifer Chance:


Jennifer Chance is the award-winning author of the new adult Rule Breakers series as well as the contemporary romance modern royals Gowns & Crowns series. A lover of books, romance, and happily-ever-afters, she lives and writes in Ohio. In addition to her work in romance, she is also Jenn Stark, urban fantasy author of the Immortal Vegas series, and Jennifer McGowan, YA author of the Elizabethan spy series The Maids of Honor. She is truly NOT trying to become 27 Jennifers, but it's getting a little dicey. 

Connect with Jennifer: Website | BookBub | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon





Rafflecopter Giveaway:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct link:  http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b050ef29361/?



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review 2017-05-12 07:24
Too much
Cursed: Gowns & Crowns, Book 5 - Jennifer Chance

This is book #5 in the Gowns & Crowns series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel.  I recommend for complete understanding of the series, and to avoid spoilers, I think this incredible series should be read in order.


Vincent AKA “Prince" has been hired to watch over the semi-royal family of sisters who have arrived here in South Carolina.  He cannot help being attracted to the oldest of the siblings, Edeena.  She is the one who hired his company.  Now he must find out what this is all about.


Edeena must make a path for her sisters to build upon.  She has to fulfill a family dream in order to break a long ago curse.  What she wants really will not matter.  If she let's time run out, there are more consequences to come.  And.... time is running out.


This series just has so many surprises!  These characters are just amazing.  The banter is funny.  The sexy times are hot.  This is just such a fun read.  This author never lets me down.  I give this book a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!



***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

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review 2016-10-11 19:10
A LowCountry Christmas
A Lowcountry Christmas (Lowcountry Summer) - Mary Alice Monroe

By: Mary Alice Monroe 

A Lowcountry Novel #5


Publisher:  Gallery

Publication Date: 10/25/2016

Format: Other 

My Rating: 5 Stars

A wounded warrior and his younger brother discover the true meaning of Christmas in this timeless story of family bonds.A poignant continuation of the Lowcountry Summer series.


A special thank you to Gallery Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Southern master storyteller Mary Alice Monroe returns following A LowCountry Wedding with A LOWCOUNTRY CHRISTMAS featuring Taylor McClellan, a character from previous books. A wounded warrior revisits the past, a broken man, and his journey to the present and future.

A heartwarming holiday tale of family and the true meaning of Christmas-scattered with some humor and quotes from Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol. Past, Present, Future.

"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!"-Scrooge, A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens.

A life-changing story of love and hope featuring a beloved family from the LowCountry. Memories from the past. Overcoming obstacles to look deeper than the glitter of the season to discover the true meaning of Christmas. A time for families together to share stories, gifts, laughter, and love.

Whether you’re meeting the Muir family for the first time, or finding them all over again. A LowCountry Christmas will stay in your heart throughout the holiday season- bringing together a family in the aftermath of a loss, and in the midst of an unfolding story of hope, with the help of one very special dog.

If you have read Mary Alice Monroe, you are aware, even though her Coastal South Carolina stories may be fiction; their impact is real. She writes richly textured books and stories that delve into the complexities of interpersonal relationships and the parallels between the land and life. Her life-changing work and environmental fiction are an inspiration to readers, worldwide.

Readers met Taylor in the LowCountry Trilogy, a wounded warrior, suffering from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). With a little help from his service dog, providing support and increased means of coping with such symptoms as hypervigilance, fear, nightmares, flight-or-fight response, and impaired memory.

Set in 2015, it is Christmas Eve, Taylor is returning home to Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina. As a Marine, he has seen his share of battles. He recalls his previous feelings at the approaching Christmas holidays. In the first five years since he had returned from Afghanistan, he barely acknowledged the holidays. There are two reasons presently,for joy in his heart – his wife and daughter. Harper and Marietta. Only three months old.

“The treasured memories captured moments from times long gone—envelope us in that matchless spirit of Christmas one season after the other, year after year, until we ourselves fade and become part of the memories.”

Thor is Taylor’s service dog, attuned to his every mood. Even when he is resting, he is monitoring his breathing and his body language. He senses his anxiety, the PTSD, and knows all the danger signals and how to deflect before his slips into the abyss. Thor is not a dog to be ignored. Part-great Dane and part-Labrador, he’s a whopping 120 pounds of devotion.

As always, Mary Alice Monroe links a connection with animals, as in all her books, with extraordinary powers. An inspiration for the book, a bond, a story of one serviceman’s return from war with PTSD, and his inspiring journey back to his home and himself through the help of his steadfast service dog.

Looking back, it was a Christmas tree that changed everything.One pivotal Christmas five years earlier. One pivotal Christmas five years earlier.

Washington, DC 2010. Taylor was going home for Christmas, the son of a shrimper. A graduate of Citadel in Charleston, the first man to graduate from college in his family. The bombs had shattered his bones and burned his body and soul. He brain was not right. The scars in his mind were the wounds that cut the deepest. He did not want to leave the hospital. It is where he felt safe. Surrounded by other servicemen.

Where do you go but home when there is no place else to go? He felt as if he were heading for a fall. Home for Christmas.

In the small fishing town of McClellanville, outside of Charleston—2010. Ten-year-old Miller McDaniel McClellan is not excited about Christmas. His dad is captain of a shrimp boat and times are tough.

The son of a long line of fisherman. His dad is a hard worker, smart and good with his hands. His mom cleans houses. They have little money. He only wants a dog – one particular puppy. Is there hope? He had singled out a golden puppy. His name was Sandy Claws. He likes to dig. They cost $300 each. He only has seventy-five dollars saved. He loves this puppy. Since his dad put the boat to dock, money was tight. Of course, his dad thinks a dog cost too much to upkeep. No dog for Christmas.

Instead, his mom is excited about his older brother coming home for Christmas. This was his Christmas present? No Xbox, no Playstation, and worst of all, no Sandy. Bah, humbug!

We hear from Jenny, Taylor, and Miller. Jenny, the mom who wants to create a home, rich with traditions, values, and morals that would instill confidence in her children. A happy time meant for laughter, sentimental gifts, and love. After all, Taylor was coming home. They had so much to be thankful for. She wanted to make both her son's dreams come true. Miller’s heart was broken.

Her older son was home safe in her arms. God had answered prayers. But something was different about him. Withdrawal. He had not really completely come home.

Taylor knew he was not the same man. He had a hard time touching people, hugging – damaged goods. He had to find the strength and courage to find his way back through the black mist. Thor gave him hope.

Miller is upset his brother has a dog (service dog), and he doesn’t. Taylor is the big war hero.

“Ghost of the Future!” he exclaimed. “I fear you more than any spectre I have seen. But as I know your purpose is to do me good, and as I hope to live to be another man from what I was, I am prepared to bear you company and do it with a thankful heart.” --Scrooge, A Christmas Carol.

With some special Christmas quotes from Charles Dickens, we visit the past, present, and future—to keep Christmas alive in our hearts all year long.

Jenny was in the middle. All she wanted was a normal happy home, not Team Scrooge. Christmas was only a week away. Miller disappears with his brother’s service dog, Thor. Everyone is worried. It is Christmas Eve and he has taken his dad’s ax and the wagon. He sets out to get a Christmas tree, since they cannot afford to buy one, and gets lost in the forest.

They are frantic, and it is getting cold. They are receiving snow, the first time since 1989, after Hurricane Hugo. A heartfelt reunion.

"I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future!”—Scrooge, A Christmas Carol.

Flash forward, to the Epilogue, Christmas 2015, Sea Breeze, Sullivan’s Island, SC, where memories come together. We catch up with the historic Harper house, where they married and had their first child. Miller now fifteen, where the family gathers around the tree, the unspoken symbol of that important Christmas when they had dug deep and fought for one another—for their survival.

For their family, their happiness, while discovering the true meaning of Christmas. They each had the chance to redeem themselves, no matter how much of a Scrooge they may have been- they are not alone.

Fans will love catching up with Mamaw, Girard, and the rest of the Muir family—Blake and Carson, Dora and Devlin, Nate, Atticus and Vivian and some special holiday recipes from the queen of Southern cooking, Nathalie Dupree, bestselling author with more than three hundred TV appearances for the Food Network, PBS, and the Learning Channel. Also included in Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking.

If you are looking for a special Christmas story to warm your heart and soul, surrounding by the beauty of the LowCountry; Mary Alice Monroe, with her own signature style, delivers a Hallmark Christmas filled with humor, joy, and love, rediscovering the true bonds of family and the special meaning of Christmas.

Especially, during this time with the aftermath and destruction of the most recent Hurricane Matthew, and the shrimpers in the area.



2016 Top 10 Holiday Books to Read

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/05/05/A-LowCountry-Christmas
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review 2016-07-10 11:38
Fate, love, race, violence, war and how some themes remain always relevant
The Last Road Home - danny johnson

Thanks to Net Galley and to Kensington for offering me a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

When I read the description of the novel I was interested in discovering a new Southern writer and seeing how Danny Johnson fitted in with a literary tradition filled with pathos and a heavy historical burden. Unfortunately, the news filled up with incidents of racial violence in the USA as I was reading it and it made the content of the book topical and urgent, even if the story goes back to the times of the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War.

The story is told in the first person by Junebug, a young white boy that at the opening of the novel is only eight years old and has just lost his parents in a car accident (his father made moonshine liquor and they were driving with the car full of alcohol at the time of the incident). The boy goes to live at his grandparents’ tobacco farm and becomes friendly with twin African-American siblings, Fancy and Lightning. This is South Carolina and although the friendship flourishes whilst they are kids, it is clear that whites and African-Americans know their places and there might be heartache to come. From very early on fate seems to be against Junebug that after losing his parents, and in short succession loses his grandfather and later his grandmother, being left looking after the tobacco farm alone aged only fifteen. By that point Lightning has left seeking adventure, his relationship with Fancy has moved on and things get more and more complicated.

The novel deals with many of the typical themes to be expected from a Southern novel: race relations (and interracial relationships), the weight of family and small town morals, historical memory (there’s only a passing mention of the Civil War, but the Ku-Klux-Klan plays an important part in the plot and later we hear also about the Civil Rights Movement). The novel is also a coming of age story, as we follow the main characters from a very early age, and see them change, in body and character, and discover new urges and feelings as they grow. (A word of warning: there is some sexual content, although not the most explicit I’ve read or even close.) As they live in a farm, there is a fair amount of detail of traditional farming tasks, from growing up tobacco, to churning butter or killing a chicken or a pig, which I enjoyed and I didn’t find overly long or distracting from the main plot.

Junebug’s life is marked by violence, and it reflects the violence that is part of the history and the atmosphere of the land. He gets fixated on his dog’s death (his father shots the injured dog at the beginning of the story) and his fate, apart from losing loved ones, seems to put him on the way of circumstances that lead to his use of violence (but I don’t want to give too much of the story away). After a serious warning from the KKK, he ends up in Vietnam, as a way of finding refuge (for strange that it might seem) from his loneliness. There he discovers he has a natural talent as a sniper but finally things come to a head when he realises he’s not as hard and as strong as he had always thought and one can’t hide from the consequences of one’s own actions and violence forever.

I did enjoy the style of the novel, its many memorable lines, the many themes that give one pause (that also include PTSD after Junebug’s war experience although possibly even before that) and the details of everyday life offered by the narration. I spent over half the novel trying to accurately place it in time (we are given clues, like the price of things and the fact that Junebug’s mother’s grandfather fought in the Civil War) but Junebug mentions it is 1963 quite late in the story (although admittedly it would have seemed irrelevant to a child in his position). His style of language changes suddenly when he gets to Vietnam, as once more he has to adapt to new extreme conditions, and he seems to get into the role of the marine easily and with gusto.

I found the plot and the experiences of the main characters interesting, although perhaps too much is fitted into a single book and it does not allow for a deep exploration of the many different strands. Junebug is not very articulate when it comes to his feelings, although some of his reflections can be quite sharp. He not only tries to hide his feelings from others but also from himself (it’s not easy to trust somebody when all your loved ones die and you wonder if there’ something wrong with you), and even an experienced therapist has difficulties getting to the root of things, but that fits in with his experiences and his personality. Junebug has flashes of insight, like when he wonders how Fancy must feel, knowing that she’s considered a second-hand citizen only because of the colour of her skin. He does not notice a big social difference between him and Fancy and her folks, but he is young, naïve, inexperienced, and it takes him a while to realise that due to the fact that he is white and has a farm he belongs in a completely different universe in the eyes of his neighbours and a big part of the society. Personally, I would have liked to follow Fancy’s story in more detail, but that is not the focus of the book. Thankfully, the ending is not typical, although it might leave some wondering (considering the character’s age one can’t help but wonder if that’s the end).

In summary, a well-written novel that fits in within the Southern writing tradition, although not ground-breaking. I’ll follow the author’s career with interest.

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review 2016-01-13 10:47
Ich bin verliebt
Beautiful Creatures - Margaret Stohl,Kami Garcia

Um „Beautiful Creatures“ bin ich ewig herumgeschlichen, bevor ich es endlich gekauft habe. YA Urban Fantasy bedeutet für mich immer ein recht hohes Risiko, wegen des Schnulzen-Faktors. Die Entscheidung für „Beautiful Creatures“ fiel dank Yvo – sie hat es gelesen und geliebt. Da sie einen recht anspruchsvollen Geschmack hat, war ich gewillt, ihr zu vertrauen und habe mich direkt für das hübsche Box-Set mit allen Bänden der „Caster Chronicles“ entschieden. Nichtsdestoweniger hielt ich meine Erwartungen im Zaum, denn ich wollte nicht enttäuscht werden.


Ethan Wate kann es kaum erwarten, seine Heimat, die Südstaaten-Kleinstadt Gatlin in South Carolina, zu verlassen. Er möchte die Welt sehen, will raus aus dem kleinen Kaff, in dem sich niemals etwas ändert. Drei Jahre und sein Schulabschluss trennen ihn noch von der Freiheit. Als Ethan am ersten Tag des neuen Schuljahres erfährt, dass die Stonewall Jackson High eine neue Schülerin hat, kommt er fast um vor Neugierde. Schließlich handelt es sich um die Nichte von Old Man Ravenwood, dem stadtbekannten Einsiedler und Sonderling. Auf den Anblick von Lena Duchannes war er jedoch nicht vorbereitet. Seit Wochen träumt Ethan Nacht für Nacht von einem fremden Mädchen – ein Blick in Lenas Gesicht genügt und ihm ist klar, dass sie das mysteriöse Mädchen seiner sehr realen Träume ist. Er fühlt sich unwiderstehlich von ihr angezogen. Fest entschlossen, herauszufinden, was sie verbindet, stürzt Ethan in eine Welt voller Geheimnisse, Magie, Licht und Dunkelheit und muss lernen, dass sich hinter der Südstaatenidylle Gatlins weit mehr verbirgt, als er je für möglich gehalten hätte…


Ich bin verliebt. „Beautiful Creatures“ hat mir unheimlich viel Spaß bereitet. Ich hätte nie gedacht, dass mich dieser Reihenauftakt so überzeugt. Das Buch ist charmant wie die Südstaaten selbst, mit einer reichen Geschichte und einem ganz besonderen Flair. Meiner Meinung nach kann man es ohne Weiteres zur Southern Gothic zählen, wodurch es für mich leuchtend aus dem Genre der Young Adult Urban Fantasy heraussticht. Kami Garcia und Margaret Stohl bieten ihren Leser_innen eine unwiderstehliche Mischung aus Vertrautem und Neuem, aus Spannung, Magie, Romantik und Witz. Um den Schnulzen-Faktor hätte ich mir nie Sorgen machen müssen, denn ich empfand die Liebesgeschichte zwischen Ethan und Lena als sehr süß, herzergreifend und unaufdringlich. Ich denke, das hat viel damit zu tun, dass es dieses Mal nicht die Perspektive des Mädchens ist, die die Leser_innen einnehmen. Ethan ist Protagonist und Ich-Erzähler seiner eigenen Geschichte, womit die beiden Autorinnen meinem Empfinden nach genau richtiglagen. Die männliche Sichtweise gibt den Ereignissen eine andere, erfrischende Dimension. Ethan hat eine angenehme, erstaunlich gefasste Art und Weise, zu erzählen. Da gibt es kein Gejammer, kein Geheule und keine ewig langen Monologe darüber, dass seine Angebetete perfekt und er selbst ihrer Liebe unwürdig ist. Das bedeutet natürlich nicht, dass er distanziert oder nicht in der Lage wäre, Emotionalität auszudrücken. Er steht zu seinen Gefühlen, schämt sich ihrer nicht, ist aber trotzdem ein pragmatischer junger Mann, der die Dinge anpackt, die getan werden müssen. Mir hat das sehr imponiert. Außerdem fand ich seine Südstaaten-Manieren einfach köstlich und entzückend. Das Leben im Süden der USA folgt speziellen Regeln und Verhaltensnormen; diese Atmosphäre haben Garcia und Stohl hervorragend eingefangen. In Gatlin ist Geschichte heute noch so lebendig wie vor 150 Jahren, obwohl die braven Bürger_innen selbstverständlich nicht ahnen, wie viele Geheimnisse sich in den Stammbäumen ihrer Vorfahren verstecken. Ich kann mir keinen besseren Ort für eine magiegestützte Handlung vorstellen als diese fiktionale Kleinstadt.
Die Darstellung der Magie in „Beautiful Creatures“ ist prinzipiell nicht neu, doch die Autorinnen haben eine Möglichkeit gefunden, Altbekanntem einen frischen Anstrich zu verleihen. Die Welt der Caster bietet äußerst viel Potential; ich habe das Gefühl, dass noch zahlreiche Mysterien aufzudecken sind, die Ethan und Lena herausfordern werden. Ich glaube jedoch fest daran, dass sie gemeinsam alle Hindernisse überwinden werden, denn ihre Beziehung ist außergewöhnlich. Ich habe die beiden so gern begleitet, es war so schön, ihre zarten, jungen Gefühle für einander zu erleben. Ihre Liebe verschiebt Wolken und lässt Sonnenschein dort entstehen, wo er eigentlich nicht hingelangen kann. Ethan und Lena verkörpern einen Wunsch, den wir insgeheim wohl alle hegen: die Sehnsucht nach echter, wahrer Liebe. So dramatisch der Weg, der vor ihnen liegt, auch zu sein scheint und bereits im erste Band war, es hat mich wirklich glücklich gemacht, Zeugin so tiefer Empfindungen zu werden.


„Beautiful Creatures“ hat mir viel mehr geboten, als ich erwartet hatte. Ich bin in Ethans und Lenas Geschichte versunken und wollte gar nicht mehr auftauchen, weil mich einfach alles daran verzaubert hat. Liebe und Magie – was braucht es mehr, um einen tollen Young Adult Urban Fantasy – Roman zu schreiben? Kami Garcia und Margaret Stohl haben bewiesen, dass sie definitiv nur diese beiden Zutaten mit viel Herzblut und Kreativität vermischen mussten. Der Auftakt der Reihe „Caster Chronicles“ wirkte nicht ein einziges Mal angestrengt, übertrieben oder kitschig, sondern war meinem Empfinden nach voll und ganz stimmig. Mein Lesevergnügen war enorm und ich kann es kaum abwarten, den nächsten Band zu lesen.
Ich bin fest überzeugt, dass „Beautiful Creatures“ die richtige Lektüre für alle Fans der Young Adult Urban Fantasy ist und glaube darüber hinaus, dass es sogar denjenigen den Glauben an das Genre zurückgibt, die zu viele schlechte Erfahrungen damit machen mussten. Folgt Ethan und Lena nach Gatlin und seht, wie viel Magie diese Südstaaten-Kleinstadt zu bieten hat!

Source: wortmagieblog.wordpress.com/2016/01/13/kami-garcia-margaret-stohl-beautiful-creatures
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