Tuesday, July 24, 2012

'Jackrabbit Junction Jitters' by Ann Charles

Reviewer: Lindsey
5 stars (as usual)

Illustration by C.S. Kunkle

Claire is back, raining trouble throughout Jackrabbit Junction in another fast-paced, fun, sexy suspense.

A burglar is on the loose! Claire wastes no time forming suspicions, but she's sidetracked by a treasure hunt.
Even with help from her boyfriend, Claire is swirling in a whirlpool of chaos. Throw her crazy sister into the torrent, along with an angst-ridden teen, a jittery bride, and some randy old men, and Claire struggles just to keep a toehold in the current.

Then her mother arrives ...(Amazon description)

Ann Charles has come out with another winner. This time it is #2 in the Jackrabbit Junction series. Folks, it put the first one to shame.

This story brings back Claire and her grandpa. Grandpa is getting married and his daughter (Claire's mom) has come along to put a end to it. With her mother comes her sister, whose driving skills equal a dear friend of mine...who happens to be a DOT engineer.

There are new characters introduced, but I found them easy to follow. Claire's family was insane but hysterical.

For you smutty lovers there was enough to keep you interested.

For you prudes it did not overpower the book.

There is a mystery, of course, with a who-done-it that I did not see coming. Everything flows well.  Once again I pulled a all nighter and read it until 3:00 am. I would love to tell who did what, but then you wouldn't read it. It's only $3.99 on Amazon.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Author Spotlight: Joanne Sydney Lessner

This week, we have a guest post by Joanne Sydney Lessner, author of The Temporary Detective. You can learn more about Joanne by clicking the Author Spotlight link above.

“I Happen to Like New York”
By Joanne Sydney Lessner

I grew up in Newburgh, New York, a Hudson River town 60 miles north of the city, as folks in the tristate area refer to Manhattan. It was close enough for occasional visits to my grandparents, but tantalizingly out of reach for the acting classes and auditions I was dying to go to. After college and graduate school, I finally succeeded in staking out my territory in the city and plunged into the full range of theater-related activities I had only dreamed of.

One thing I never anticipated was how my early years in New York pounding the pavement as an actress would influence my writing. Isobel Spice, the heroine of The Temporary Detective, arrives in the city eager to take Broadway by storm and winds up temping, just as I did. Like Isobel, I was fresh out of school with no office experience, and it took several tries before I convinced a kind-hearted temp agent to take pity on me and give me a chance. Unlike Isobel, however, I never stumbled across a dead body on the job—although I have to confess, there were a few employers I’d have liked to bump off! The Temporary Detective is the first of a series that will follow Isobel as she goes from temp job to temp job (and the occasional theater job) solving mysteries. As fun as it is to devise whodunits, my favorite thing about the series is that I can incorporate my and my friends’ most hilarious and mortifying audition, performance and temping experiences. And, believe me, that well isn’t going to run dry anytime soon!

I’ve lived in the city for over twenty years now and am raising my kids here. They love being born and bred New Yorkers, although ironically, neither of them is inclining towards the theatrical. That’s fine with me—it’s a difficult life. But I can’t help thinking that their experiences living in this propulsive, compulsive, never-sleeping city will inform whatever they do, just as it has for me.

The Temporary Detective Purchase Links:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/I26Blz
BN.com: http://bit.ly/NKZVvF

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

'Three Days in Seattle" by Debra Burroughs

Reviewer: Jesi
Rating: 3 Stars

Revenge. Romance. Murder.
A gorgeous Blonde, a kidnapped Sister, a handsome Stranger, and a vengeful Killer.
The desperate race is on to find the sister before both women wind up dead.
(GoodReads description)

I have to admit, I had a hard time finishing this one.  The basic plot was interesting.  It opens with Katie McAllister getting a call from her sister’s roommate in Seattle, telling her that her sister is missing.  She immediately hops a plane to go find her.  Serendipity steps in when she ends up seated next to a handsome stranger on the plane who decides to cancel all his appointments at work and spend the next few days being Katie’s support.

I liked the idea of this story, but I just don’t think it was my style.  The reader knows right away who is behind the kidnapping, where the sister is being kept and even why they did it.  I think I would have preferred a little more mystery.  I felt very little suspense in this romantic suspense novel.  Don’t get me wrong, I think some readers like this dual plot kind of thing...I’m just not one of them. 

Speaking of romance, in lieu of actual suspense, I could have been more engaged in the book if I bought into the romance.  Ryan was too good to be true.  A hot stranger with a good job who drops everything to be your emotional support in a time of crisis?  I don’t know.  It just didn’t feel right.  Maybe it was the Insta-Love that I had trouble with.  I mean, they only had three days.  And it happened while Katie was preoccupied and distraught over her sister.  If it was more about sexual chemistry than emotional love, I would have been more on board with the relationship. 

Lastly, the dialogue was stiff and unnatural.  People just don’t talk that way.  Again, I admit, I tend to be picky on dialogue with most books.  It’s sort of my thing. But there were a lot of instances where the author chose to “tell” rather than “show”, and that telling usually involved the character’s mouths.

I’m giving this book three stars because I think it has potential.  It’s just not quite there yet.

Overall, I give Three Days in Seattle...

Plot - 3 1/2 bookmarks
Character development - 3 bookmarks
Suspense - 2 bookmarks
Love story - 2 1/2 bookmarks
Dream cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - Galen Gering (Ryan), Yvonne Strahovski (Katie), Diana Argon (the sister), Leighton Meester (Suki), Steven R. McQueen (Ethan)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Author Spotlight: Joanne Sydney Lessner

Hello all, Alicia Rasley here, and I wanted to take a moment to welcome our newest Author to the Spotlight: Joanne Sydney Lessner! Joanne has a varied and intriguing background that includes theater and music along with her novel writing.

We are very excited to have Joanne spending some time with us. Please make sure to stop by the Author Spotlight page (you can find it at the top of the page, or just click Joanne's picture to the right) to find information about her and her book. In the meantime, check out her book (cover above) and leave a comment saying hi and letting us know you stopped by.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Review: 'Jane' by April Lindner

Reviewer: Stephanie
YNTR Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Forced to drop out of an esteemed East Coast college after the sudden death of her parents, Jane Moore takes a nanny job at Thornfield Park, the estate of Nico Rathburn, a world-famous rock star on the brink of a huge comeback. Practical and independent, Jane reluctantly becomes entranced by her magnetic and brooding employer and finds herself in the midst of a forbidden romance.

But there’s a mystery at Thornfield, and Jane’s much-envied relationship with Nico is soon tested by an agonizing secret from his past. Torn between her feelings for Nico and his fateful secret, Jane must decide: Does being true to herself mean giving up on true love?
An irresistible romance interwoven with a darkly engrossing mystery, this contemporary retelling of the beloved classic Jane Eyre promises to enchant a new generation of readers.
(Summary from GoodReads)


First of all, you should know that Jane Eyre is my all time favorite book so I was pretty sure I was going to enjoy this modern retelling of the story. And it certainly is a retelling – there is no detail from the original left out of this book. If you’re not a huge fan of Jane Eyre, you may find this boring and redundant. As we all know though, that isn’t me. I loved every bit of it and was anxiously awaiting each trial to befall Jane Moore to see how she would react (and if it was similar to my beloved Jane) and of course I relished the happy ending that I knew would be coming!

I think the author did a good job of translating Jane Eyre to modern times. How brilliant to make Mr. Rochester an aging rock star! And Jane Moore as a college student turned nanny was wonderful. Her family was also spot on (she was orphaned but just recently, not as a child like the original). The big secret keeping her and her rock star apart was also on par with the original story but with a very believable modern explanation.

I’m so glad I bought the book for my birthday last year because I’m sure I will read want to read it again and again (just as I have with Charlotte Bronte’s original work!)

*** This will be Stephanie's last review with #YNTR. She is setting off on a new life adventure.  While this is happy news for her, she will be greatly missed here at the Indie Book Collective.  Please post a comment to wish her farewell.  ~Jesi

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

'Old Enough to Know Better' by Shanyn Hosier

Reviewed by Shari
4 stars

James Swain is young, rich, talented and handsome. A British actor in a wildly successful series of films, he’s well acquainted with the sort of lifestyle afforded by practically unlimited wealth. Life hasn’t always been this good for Jamie, but he senses something is still missing.

Enter Melanie Morganstern, a thirty-something American housewife with an ambition to become a published author. After penning a well-received fanfiction novel involving Jamie’s popular character, Mel inadvertently becomes drawn into his real-life orbit. What would seem like a dream come true soon becomes something like a nightmare: her favorite fictional character crosses the line separating fantasy from reality, resulting in nearly catastrophic consequences.

Deciding Mel is exactly what he wants, Jamie tries to steal her away from her husband. But, despite her attraction to him, Mel refuses to betray her marriage vows. It’s only after tragedy strikes that she finally opens herself to what Jamie has to offer, something she’s desperately needed all her life. And Jamie, leaping headfirst into the aftermath, learns lessons of self-sacrifice, patience, and responsibility. Their passionate romance blooms despite nearly universal disapproval. Together, they face the challenges of forging a new life and a family out of the wreckage.
 (Amazon Product Description)

Shanyn is a new, and very talented, self-published author with two more novels upcoming. I’m anxious to read them when they come out. Old Enough to Know Better is her first book.

The first two paragraphs hooked and kept me slogging through the boring backstory that filled the rest of that page and the next two pages of the novel—good thing, because what followed completely reeled me in. I couldn’t put the book down, even though it’s 478 pages long. Shanyn’s masterful characterizations and descriptive capabilities had me right there with Mel and her two small boys, cheering them on as they worked their way from grief to happiness. Jamie, a too-young, hotheaded, “bloody narcissist”, made me root for him to “capture the castle” despite everything against him, including his own screw-ups. And I had to cross my legs at the “X” scenes (blush).

While characterization is strong, I found the plot to be a bit disappointing. Mel’s former mother-in-law threatens to take the children away from Mel after she marries Jaime, and there’s no escalation of that conflict. The last chapter is a letdown. I expected Mel to deal with her phobia and support Jamie at the premiere of his new movie, but Jamie babies Mel through her fears in the hotel room and the premiere scene itself is never reached. Also, Jamie has hereditary tendencies that led him to have a vasectomy well before he ever met Mel. I kept expecting some sort of challenge involving Jamie’s health to hit them. I think some of the “X” scenes (while I loved them) could have been “x’d” to allow for greater plot development.

I give Old Enough to Know Better 2.5 stars for plot, 4.5 stars for character development, and 5 stars for the love story—the chemistry among them, including the children, was totally believable and completely “satisfying” (blush again)—for an average of 4 stars. It’s a jolly good read!