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review 2017-03-26 18:17
The Secret Life of Anna Blanc by Jennifer Kincheloe
The Secret Life of Anna Blanc - Jennifer Kincheloe

Set in 1907 Los Angeles, Anna Blanc is at the top of the social ladder. She has pretty French clothes, a handsome fiance, in vogue friends, and fancy makeup. Yet she longs for more. She secretly reads detective novels and desperately wants to have at least one murder mystery adventure before her life is sealed with a wedding. She comes up with a scheme to become an assistant police matron at the Los Angeles police department, assuming an alias (Anna Holmes) and a rough spun ugly uniform that doesn’t quite hide her lovely form. Pretty soon, Anna learns that this is more than just a fancy whim of hers; real people need her help and are affected by what she does or doesn’t do. However, if she’s discovered by either her father or her fiance, she stands to lose quite a bit. She has to choose between being an obedient daughter and fiance or catching a killer who is murdering prostitutes.

This was such a delightful book! I really enjoyed it. I thought it would be a bit intense, it being a murder mystery and historical fiction. The book does have those qualities, but the author took things a step further and threw in plenty of well-timed humor. First, Anna’s character is a strange yet compelling mix of innocence, curiosity, determination, and sleuthing ability. She’s had a mostly sheltered life so the salty atmosphere of the mostly male police force and the even saltier streets continuously fascinate her. She’s quick to learn, except when it comes to deciphering the reasons for the scowls she gets from certain coworkers.

There’s plenty of sexual innuendos throughout the story. Anna, being nearly completely innocent, misses the full meaning of most of them. Occasionally, another character will take a bit of pity on her and explain things. I also loved the hit and miss budding romance between her and fellow police officer Joe Singer. She first meets him when he’s dressed as a woman and very obviously drunk. Meanwhile, she has to be all proper when passing time with her fiance, Edgar. She wants him to be a little naughty and steal a kiss or two, but he’s all about being proper even when no one’s looking. I especially loved the arrow collar man advertisements and the interesting bit about how hysterical women are clinically treated. Funny and also a little window into the past.

As for the murder mystery, that had me guessing right up to the end. I felt like I had good company though as Anna was guessing up to the end as well. There was also a side mystery concerning a serial rapist that Anna helps close. These mysteries provide a backdrop to show how men and women were treated quite differently in the early 1900s, no matter their social status or skills. For instance, I didn’t realize that women could be arrested for smoking in public at that time. The humor keeps this from being a brow beating on social justice for women.

I’m definitely looking forward to Book 2. By the end of this book, Anna’s life has quite changed from where she started out. She’s a determined young lady but also still a bit prim, a bit focused on expensive girly things, and a bit innocent on how the majority of people live. I’m sure finding out how she handles a bit more first-hand knowledge will make a good story.

I received a free copy of this book via The Audiobookworm.

The Narration: Moira Quirk did an excellent job with this book. She was perfect for Anna. I loved how she handled the humor and the innuendos. I would love to hear her blooper reel on this one! I also thought she did a great job with the regional accents, giving a stiff upper lip to the socialites and a more salty accent to masses.

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review 2017-02-17 07:05
Virtual Tour w/Review - Sauvignon Blanc To Sigh For

 

 
They’re best friends until a wine and food pairing competition 
throws them together in an intimate, tension-filled setting. 
 
 
 
SAUVIGNON BLANC TO SIGH FOR
Love in Wine Country #4
Pamela Gibson
Releasing Feb 13th, 2017
 

 

Sarah James has always wanted to be part of a family. Her divorced parents are estranged and she has no siblings. But she does have friends, especially Sam, who’s always underfoot…eating her food, fixing stuff in her house, and seeking advice about his love life.
 
Aspiring winemaker Sam Reynoso has taken care of Sarah since the sixth grade. She’s smart, comfortable, and indulgent. They’re best friends until a wine and food pairing competition throws them together in an intimate, tension-filled setting.

 

As feelings neither of them expected start to emerge, each will have to decide if their relationship will evolve, or if their newfound love will be nipped in the bud by a crushing secret.
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Sarah moved around behind him. Her subtle perfume blended with the smells in the kitchen. “Do you think my label is okay?”

 

They’re not judging your label. They’re judging how well the food and wines complement each other.”

 

You’re right.” He set the bottle down and turned to greet his friend, but she wasn’t there. In her place stood a siren—that’s the first word that came to mind—in tight leggings that hugged her hips and bared her midriff, and a fitted shirt that tied under plump breasts, showing a hint of cleavage.

 

What the hell?

 

But it was the hair that got his attention.

 

What have you done to your hair?”

 

She twirled in front of him, letting her hair swing from side to side provocatively. It looked lighter, and it looked like she had way more hair. “Where are your glasses?”

 

I’m wearing contacts. Do you like this look?” She batted her eyelashes at him and moved closer.

 

He stepped back, aware of an unaccustomed heat he’d never felt in Sarah’s house before. She was his friend. She shouldn’t look like this.

 

She seemed to be waiting for his answer, but he didn’t know what to say.

 

It’s…different.”

 

She laughed and put her hand on his chest. It left a warm spot there. He couldn’t back up any more, because the edge of the counter was biting into his backside.

 

Do you think people will believe we’re a couple now, Mr. Hot Guy?” Her voice was low and sexy, her soft mouth curved into a secret smile.

 

Geez, Sarah. You didn’t have to change your appearance.”

 

Sure I did. We’re supposed to be a couple in a committed relationship. I have to look like the girls you date. I have to be warm and affectionate, and look at you like you’re my dessert course.” She paused and ran her tongue over her bottom lip. “Let’s see. What would you be? A chocolate soufflé, puffed and pretty on the outside and dark and intense on the inside, with flavors that slide over the tongue and linger there to be savored later, making you crave more.”

 

The room was suddenly hot. How would he concentrate on wines when she looked—and talked—like that? And how would he keep guys at the resort away from her?

 

His eyes fixed on her cleavage. “Could you go put on a sweatshirt or something? We need to get down to business.”

 

Sarah laughed, showing dimples in her cheeks. She had dimples? Why hadn’t he noticed before?

 

I’m sorry Sam. The deer-in-the-headlights look on your face is priceless. But you’re going to have to get used to the new Sarah…at least for a week. We need to be convincing. Isn’t that what you said last time you were here?

 

He shoved his fingers through his hair. “Did I?”

 

No more playacting right now. Pour the wines, and let’s start tasting with food.”

 

 

 
 
Sauvignon Blanc to Sigh For (Love in Wine Country, #4)Sauvignon Blanc to Sigh For by Pamela Gibson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the 4th book in the Love In Wine Country series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader enjoyment and understanding, I recommend reading series in order.

Sarah & Sam have been best friends for so long, they do not have room to think of more. Now, with this sudden surprise he has thrown her, she is re-thinking everything. She hates that he is trying to control her life and she is so done.

Sam does not know where these feelings are coming from. He only knows he has never thought of Sarah this way before. The future looks bleak without her in it.

Interesting story. I felt drawn to both characters early on. I was rooting for them almost right away. This series is just so sweet and the pace moves right along.


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

View all my reviews
 
 

 
 
Pamela Gibson grew up loving books, history, and small towns. Her first career was a newspaper reporter, but when she returned to college to get a master’s degree, it was in public administration which eventually led to jobs running cities…not as an elected official, but as a city manager, the chief appointed one.
 
Writing was still her passion and in her spare time—between meetings and raising two active kids—she was contracted to write several books on local history. Taking an early retirement at the urging of her very supportive husband, she turned to fiction and began writing the happy ending novels she loves to read.
 
She now spends half her time on land and the other half cruising coastal or inland waters in her 32-foot boat. She speed-eats chocolates when she’s nervous, squeals when she sees a spider, and loves to relax with a good read with a mellow glass of wine. 

 
 
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review 2017-02-15 04:10
Stay
Sauvignon Blanc to Sigh For (Love in Wine Country, #4) - Pamela Gibson

This is the 4th book in the Love In Wine Country series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel.  For reader enjoyment and understanding, I recommend reading series in order.

 

Sarah & Sam have been best friends for so long, they do not have room to think of more.  Now, with this sudden surprise he has thrown her, she is re-thinking everything.  She hates that he is trying to control her life and she is so done.

 

Sam does not know where these feelings are coming from.  He only knows he has never thought of Sarah this way before.  The future looks bleak without her in it.

 

Interesting story.  I felt drawn to both characters early on.  I was rooting for them almost right away.  This series is just so sweet and the pace moves right along.  I give this book a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

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

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review 2017-02-10 00:00
Sauvignon Blanc to Sigh For (Love in Wine Country, #4)
Sauvignon Blanc to Sigh For (Love in Wine Country, #4) - Pamela Gibson

ARC Review: Sauvignon Blanc to Sigh For (Love in Wine Country) by Pamela Gibson

The most precious moments in life, are the ones we never knew we were looking for. With Sam and Sarah, Ms. Gibson entangled readers in the perfect example of that adage. Sauvignon Blanc to Sigh For is a nostalgic ode to friendship blended into a flavorful story of love that lingers on long after the last tentative sip of romance. Less is more and simple and sweet is what Sarah and Sam's long over do foray into love delivers.

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review 2017-01-29 04:41
King's Lament - Lilia Blanc King's Lament - Lilia Blanc

King Inea gets thrown in the castle dungeon by his own councilmen. They’ve told him he’s going to save the country by sacrificing himself to the queen as personal payment: I still couldn’t comprehend it. No. That wasn’t right. I could comprehend. I just didn’t want to. It was too shocking. Yes, we were at war with our neighboring country. We always were. What I couldn’t grasp was the idea that selling out our country to the queen was in our best interests. Not even that! Selling me! 

 

Yeah, councilmen are so full of it but my boy Inea was pretty soft and believed them, didn’t even fight them. I think about being 17 and having to run a country. Not so easy, I guess, so I cut him some slack. Anyways, there’s a guy in the dungeon with keys and access to the whole place but all Inea manages is to get pouty and whiny.

Me to Inea: C’mon, suck it up. Take the keys and suck it up!  

Me to dungeon dude: Leave Inea he’s not sucking it up. But the guy knew Inea’s daddy, the dead king, and respected him for reasons we have to wait for and helps Inea out of a jam.

 

They part and Inea is left to fend for himself and during the 5 months he finds another brave soul willing to take a bullet for him, really it’s take a knife or sword in this story but same diff. Caday and Inea become friends and Caday pledges himself to protect Inea, which is a bitch of a job because the people think King Inea has deserted them. Ansyn, dungeon dude, is a musician, a musician with ninja skills. He travels all the towns singing political songs about King Inea not leaving his people and dissing the queen at the same time. The queen’s pissed,  sends out assassins to kill both Inea and Ansyn, then they both meet up again. Ansyn also pledges himself to Inea and a woman healer, Amalee, a friend of Ansyn, fixes Inea up because he gets stabbed. A lot. He really does in the whole book. Hard times. Everyone in the land’s out to get him because a bounty’s placed on his head by the bitchy queen so they’re a stabby bunch. Inea has to get people rallying around him and Ansyn, Amalee and Caday are the start. One other villager suddenly shows up and also pledges allegiance to Inea, shady bitch: Dae gave me a chilling smile. “You truly are gullible. Just as they said you would be.”

“But that poison is going to be fire in your body until you die screaming and begging for it to be over. Isn’t that nice?”

When Ansyn dispatched Dae with his nasty ninja musician skills I was like~

gif-yas-bitch

 

There’s a bit of wandering and hiding and rallying people to support King Inea in getting his rightful throne. Ansyn also leaves and comes back and leaves and comes back again. Ansyn can’t really leave Inea for long because of his connection with Inea’s dead father.

 

Inea is a Negative Nigel for the a little while, I wanted to shake him and tell him to grow a pair. You do get his vulnerability when you hear about the slack councilmen and about his father’s death but when Ansyn told Inea: “And… you’re welcome. Now stop freaking thanking me or I’ll stuff something in your mouth to get you to shut up.” I agreed with him, Inea would carry on about how undeserving he was that Ansyn came back, which is okay the first 12 times and then it’s, okay! we get it! Ansyn and Inea butt heads. Ansyn butts heads with Caday. Inea and Kadeon butt heads. There’s a bit of hostility in the book from one to another, dark times and all, who can you trust? It’s tense and people are trying to kill them, but they form a tight bond and that moved them toward cohesion and love.

On one of Ansyn’s expeditions he runs into Kaedon and Kaedon is good with his mouth~huh? huh? By now there’s freaking assassins ninjaeverywhere. Ansyn’s one and so’s Kaedon, the difference being Ansyn has always been on the king’s side and Kaedon was working for the queen. It seems to be all cool though, Kaedon says he shares the queen hate as much as the others because it’s really Inea’s kingdom and she taxes the people harshly and treats them like her personal ant colony. There’s some division first off in the loose camp they form~ Caday is loyal to Inea and I was a big fan of Caday from the start and thought he would be with Inea but it’s probably better he isn’t. Ansyn and  Kaedon form a closeness first but things change in the progression of the story and the 3 of them come together in a menage. Oh and I almost forgot Amalee, she is one sassy healer wench who’ll throw a pot at people *cough cough Ansyn* because she’s loyal to Inea first and because she likes to tell it like it is. She’d slap them around if they got all dramatic too.

King’s Lament got better as parts of the story drew together and they built an army of believers and supporters. While it’s true Inea could be grinding in the beginning because he’s 17 and has a lot of growing up to do, which he does, he became stronger and a true believer in himself, and honey, that’s the best kind of believer there is!

 

King’s Lament got better as parts of the story drew together and they built an army of believers and supporters. While it’s true Inea could be grinding in the beginning because he’s 17 and has a lot of growing up to do, which he does, he became stronger and a true believer in himself, and honey, that’s the best kind of believer there is!


The following snap is because I’m truly devoted to Ben Barnes. You’re welcome. 

princes-with-swords

“She won’t live long. And she won’t conquer anyone else. This is my kingdom. My lands! My throne! I will take it back.” I clapped so hard when Inea said that, but I gotta tell you that the queen is the Terminator in battle and all with skillz that killz.gif-the-terminator-hand

The language King’s Lament is written in is more of a modern one with 2 POV throughout~ Inea and Ansyn. It’s simple to read and I see it as a young adult 16+ to adult fantasy. The sex isn’t uber graphic, IMHO, mebe I’m desensitized but most teenagers know about or see sex somewhere else. Sorry parentals, your kids are already up to speed. There’s romancing between the 3 main characters, when they stop butting heads, so people have to be AOK with threeway lovin.  Yes, honies, there’s a coming together of heads in more ways than one: Hadn’t Inea said something a lot like that? That he didn’t want to have to choose just one? Did that mean… all of us? It wasn’t something I’d really heard of before.
It does mean all of them, why choose one when you don’t have to?: Curled protectively between them, I sighed heavily before I leaned and kissed Ansyn’s cheek first then Kaedon’s. “I love you. Both of you,” I said. Comfortable, I closed my eyes and let myself drift off.

 

This book is an uncomplicated and fun but longish book. It doesn’t take itself mega seriously with laughs and bitchy moments, hello, suggesting a proposal to snap the other one in the menage and redecorating the king’s rooms. There’s fantasy and a dark ages feel to it, only with assassins, with some battles and fighting and town travelling. Ansyn can sure wield a knife, and Kaedon too, and the supporters get a workout at the end. Roles between characters shift, new characters become important, and a lot of emotion spills over on the page~these guys get more than misty eyes, and they can bicker, but they love hard, too. 

 

I’d recommend King’s Lament for gay fantasy romance readers from mid teens on who want something sweeping but uncomplicated and fun.

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