Category: Urban

Cape May by Holly Caster

Posted September 10, 2016 by karenbaron in Adult Fiction, Chick Lit, Drama, Fiction, Review, Romance, Rural, Urban, Womens Fiction / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Cape May by Holly CasterCape May by Holly Caster
Published by TDC Publishing on September 3rd 2015
Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
Pages: 310
Format: ebook
four-stars

New Yorker Joanna Matthews is rapidly approaching 60 and desperate for a change. The last remotely daring thing she did—jumping into an unconventional marriage with her best friend Brian—happened 20 years ago. Now, their life’s comfortable, if routine. Joanna craves more and begins pursuing her long-deferred dream: owning and running a bed & breakfast. She’s captivated by Cape May, New Jersey, America's Oldest Seaside Resort. On the bus south, she meets a novelist, and is thunderstruck when she falls passionately in love for the first time. How will her late awakening affect the future and her three-decade relationship with Brian?

My take on this book:              Cape May by Holly Caster was totally different than what I thought it would be like. Holly Caster is a wonderful author. Her writing is truly amazing and I actually felt like I was there in New York or Cape May with these characters. The ending was wonderful, though. I am giving this book a four stars rating. It took me a while to get into the book as the beginning was kind of slow especially when we would go back in time to certain parts of Joanna’s or Michael’s lives. Other than that little problem I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Cape May is a really great book. It’s all third person point-of-view and is either with Joanna or Michael. I recommend this book to all adult book fans. It reminds me a little of Murder, She Wrote but not completely. I mean not the murder or mystery part, but Joanna reminds me a little of the way Jessica’s life changed after she retired. How she embraced her life and became what she wanted. I think that is what Joanna finally does. She made a decision and she stuck with it. Joanna became a better version of herself. I liked the emotional growth the character made through the story.

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four-stars

About Holly Caster

Holly Caster writes an entertainment column for The Nyack Villager, has written dozens of articles for employee assistance websites, and is the Editor of two journals devoted to pain management education. She is hard at work on her next novel Anne/Island/Whales. She lives in the lower Hudson Valley Region with her playwright husband Tom Dudzick and their two cats Alfie and Bill.

Holly knew in 9th grade she wanted to be a writer after receiving an A+ on a paper about 1930’s actress Irene Dunne. That early triumphant high hooked her, and she’s been writing ever since. She grew up in an apartment full of books, with a mother who read more than cooked, a father who wrote for a living, and a sister who grew up to write for a living. She married a successful playwright, and gave birth to two children who grew up and are writers. Her earliest memories involve Dick & Jane, red and blue fish, magical wardrobes, and Captain Nemo’s submarine. She watched stories in her head and eventually wrote them down. Holly spends too much time watching films, from the 1930s through the present, would rather be in an art museum than almost anywhere, and would consider her perfect day spent in a European café with coffee and a book, resting her feet after being dazzled by Kandinski. She writes in her almost nonexistent free time, and considers herself blessed to work with words, whether her own or someone else’s.


The Death of Anyone by DJ Swykert

Posted September 8, 2016 by karenbaron in Adult Fiction, Crime, Death, Fiction, Murder, Mystery, Review, Urban / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Death of Anyone by DJ SwykertThe Death of Anyone by D.J. Swykert
on February 25th 2013
Genres: Crime, Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 221
Format: Kindle
four-stars

Detroit homicide Detective Bonnie Benham has been transferred from narcotics for using more than arresting and is working the case of the killer of adolescent girls. CSI collects DNA evidence from the scene of the latest victim, which has not been detected on the other victims. But no suspect turns up in the FBI database. Due to the notoriety of the crimes a task force is put together with Bonnie as the lead detective, and she implores the D.A. to authorize an as yet unapproved type of a DNA Search in an effort to identify the killer. Homicide Detective Neil Jensen, with his own history of drug and alcohol problems, understands Bonnie’s frailty and the two detectives become inseparable as they track this killer of children.

My take on the book:               Great. The Death of Anyone by DJ Swykert was different than with what I imagined it to be. I was reading it pretty faster than I did with most books. Mostly because I wanted to know who had killed the person at the beginning of the story.

The book was a good read but totally not what I imagined. By that I mean by the cussing and the whole thing that the characters’ kind of repeat themselves. They don’t do it often but when they do repeat themselves it makes me feel sad as it takes me out of the book. I had an idea about who the killer was and I was actually surprised that I was right about him.

The book is written in third-person point of view and it follows Bonnie. It also follows a few other people but mostly it’s Bonnie Benham. Mr. Swykert does follow the police procedure for the book and the lawyer stuff. Or at least I think so from what I’ve seen on TV shows. I know TV shows aren’t that reliable but that is what I only have for connections with the book.

Overall The Death of Anyone by DJ Swykert is a good book. Good enough to keep me guessing and thinking about the book. I am giving this book a four stars review.

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About D.J. Swykert

DJ Swykert is a former 911 operator, and wolf expert, living in Northern Kentucky, USA. His short fiction and poetry has been published in: The Tampa Review, Monarch Review, Sand Canyon Review, Zodiac Review, Scissors and Spackle, spittoon, Barbaric Yawp and BULL.


Midnight Burning by Karissa Laurel

Posted March 23, 2016 by karenbaron in Adventure, Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery, Mythology, Norse Mythology, Paranormal, Review, Romance, Series, Urban / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Midnight Burning by Karissa LaurelMidnight Burning by Karissa Laurel
Series: The Norse Chronicles #1
Series Rating: five-stars
on July 7th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 280
Format: Kindle
five-stars

Solina Mundy lives a quiet life, running the family bakery in her small North Carolina hometown. But one night, she suffers a vivid nightmare in which a wolfish beast is devouring her twin brother, who lives in Alaska. The next morning, police notify her that Mani is dead. Driven to learn the truth, Solina heads for the Land of the Midnight Sun. Once there, she begins to suspect Mani’s friends know more about his death than they’ve let on. Skyla, an ex-Marine, is the only one willing to help her.
As Solina and Skyla delve into the mystery surrounding Mani’s death, Solina is stunned to learn that her own life is tied to Mani’s friends, his death, and the fate of the entire world. If she can’t learn to control her newfound gifts and keep her friends safe, a long-lost dominion over mortals will rise again, and everything she knows will fall into darkness.

My take on this book: Wow. Midnight Burning was just wow. It was so wonderfully written and each time I had to leave that world to do my chores, tend to my cat, or even just to do normal things I was wishing I was back in the book learning more about what is happening to poor Solina.

The whole book is written in Solina’s point-of-view which is really cool as it gives us insight into her character and allows us to see the world through a baker’s eyes as she is thrust into doing things that she normally never does and leaves that to her twin brother who unfortunately has died about four months prior to the book starting. There was so much stuff going on in this book that I felt bad for poor Solina as she was basically pushed into this world because of her brother’s death and the whole thing that she was the one that lead him to Alaska from a dream that she had of him using powers that Mani probably thought he could learn about there in Alaska. The whole reason with why Solina wanted to go to Alaska, or at least the reason she told her parents, was so that she could pack up his things and send them home, closure. She never really told them that she wanted to do something about her brother’s murder.

We met a whole lot of different characters and sees each of them showing more of their personality throughout the whole book and when they interact with Solina. The one that we truly see a transformation in for personality is Solina. She goes from this timid goodie goodie girl to one that will keep the ones that she loves at arm’s length to not let them get hurt after she figures out who she is and what that means for her to do. I was happy and glad to see her transformation throughout the book as it made her a better person for this whole new world that she was just dumped into unwillingly.

Another person that took a 360 to me was Val Wotan. He was first shown as both Mani’s best friend and co-worker who cared for Solina and Mani. After that though he started to show that he was jealous of the time she spent with Thorin but that he was possessive of her as well. My first impression of this guy was wow this guy is hot and I don’t blame Solina for liking him and then we started to see more of his personality that seemed to lean toward this jealousy and possessiveness of him that no one would ever think was in him. I liked him but then I wasn’t sure what to think of Val. I was thinking that maybe Val did love Solina and doesn’t want to lose her like he did Mani but why would he be jealous of Thorin then? I just don’t know what to think of Val and I hope in the next book that Val isn’t so possessive of Solina but then who knows especially with what happened at the end of this book.

The person that Mani and Val worked for is M. Aleksander Thorin who is the owner of Thorin’s Adventure Outfitter’s in Siniqui, Alaska. Of course Thorin kept Solina at arm’s length throughout the whole book but at certain times he would show his true self. That is a caring person that wanted to be with Solina but didn’t want his feelings get in the way and take a hold of him if something did happen to Solina. My first impression of Thorin was that he didn’t like Solina, as he tried many times to get her to go back to North Carolina before what happened to her brother happened to her, but with Solina being stubborn it never happened and Thorin just never really lets down his guard around her. Well that is until she learns the truth of him and Val then he kind of does but not really. Now I’m starting to think that maybe Solina might end up with Thorin one day once this threat over Solina’s life is done.

Another person that I loved from the first moment she was introduced would be Skyla Ramirez. Skyla has this tough girl exterior which is really true as she has tattoos and piercings. However, once she and Solina gets a friendship going Skyla is more than that. Sure she still acts all tough but she is also sarcastic and stubborn and would fight for someone that she loves which is always a good thing. Especially since it is the “fight for someone that she loves” which is what drove her and Solina, two unlikely friends, to become best friends while trying to figure out who murdered Mani since the police isn’t doing anything. Skyla is also the one that connected everything that is happening to Norse mythology as it so happens that a lot of those gods are kind of still around.

While Solina and Skyla where being detectives, like Holmes and Dr Watson or Nancy Drew and Stephanie Plum, they find out a lot of interesting things and the two of them have come up with two likely culprits for Solina’s brother’s murder. Harold Hati and Adam Skoll. Adam Skoll because of what Skyla saw Adam do in the parking lot at some bar. Harold Hati because no one liked him when he was working at Thorin’s business. Harold got what was coming for him when he and Adam tried to make their move on Solina, Skyla, and two Valkyries that were helping Solina out. Adam and Harold didn’t do this on their own and with the help of Thorin, and a little bit of Val, Solina finds out that it was by someone else.

Another character that I didn’t like would be Helen Locke. Just her name makes me dislike her. She is someone that knows Thorin because of some business interactions that they had with each other. Helen looks like a sexier Cruella de Vil according to Solina but unlike Cruella she has two different eye colors one blue and one brown. She is also someone that can act sweet for one person while acting like a bitch to another at the same time. Helen also doesn’t like Solina and I hope that in furture books that Solina is able to do something to Helen.

Everything about this book was so good and I am happy that I was asked to read it. I can’t wait to see what Solina does in the next books. I give this book five stars and totally would tell anyone that ask me which book I loved the most this year (so far anyway) would be this one and I would recommend it to them to read.

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About Karissa Laurel

Karissa Laurel has tried her hand at many things — cooking/catering, law, art — but writing makes her the happiest.

When she’s feeling brave, she’s on the slopes or riding off-road motorcycles with her guys. When she’s less adventuresome, she’s on the couch with her nose buried in a book.

She lives in North Carolina with her kid, husband, occasional in-law, and a hairy husky named Bonnie.


Vampire’s Fake Fiancée

Posted March 13, 2016 by karenbaron in Cats, Fairies, Gargoyles, Ghosts, Paranormal Mystery, Paranormal Romance, Review, Series, Shape Shifters, Supernatural, Urban, Valkyrie, Vampires, Werewolves, Witches / 0 Comments

Vampire’s Fake FiancéeThe Vampire’s Fake Fiancée by Kristen Painter
Series: Nocturne Falls #5
Series Rating: five-stars
Published by Sugar Skull Books on January 11th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Format: Kindle
five-stars

Welcome to Nocturne Falls, the town where Halloween is celebrated 365 days a year. The tourists think it's all a show: the vampires, the werewolves, the witches, the occasional gargoyle flying through the sky. But the supernaturals populating the town know better.
Living in Nocturne Falls means being yourself. Fangs, fur, and all.
Sebastian Ellingham isn’t known for being a happy vampire. And when his long estranged wife comes to town expecting to pick up where they left off, things take a sharp turn toward cranky. Sure he’s been protecting her for centuries, but her assumption that he’s still available (he is) rankles.
His answer is to hire a woman to play his fiancée. The lucky victim is Tessa Blythe, sister of one of the town’s deputies, librarian in need of a job and, oh yes, reluctant Valkyrie. Playing along with Sebastian is all about the end game for her, the position of Dean of Library Studies at the local private academy.
When unexpected sparks fly between them, they agree to mutually deny the attraction. Fate, however, has other plans…

My Thoughts:         Love heals all wounds, even century old ones!

Sebastian Ellingham is the oldest of the three Ellingham Vampire Brothers. He is the recluse, stuffy, uptight and very lonely one. Some may even say he was untouchable, but then most don’t know him as he truly won’t allow anyone to get close to him.

Tessa Blythe older sister of the town’s deputy and Valkyrie. She has also lost her way in the world, set aside her heritage and found a different way to deal with the anger and the past. She is described as a mouse by many and allows it as a matter of fact.

Evangeline is a spoiled, self-serving, conniving, horrible Vampire. She wants what she wants and wants it now. She doesn’t care about the cost of the other person. She is as ugly on the inside as she is beautiful on the outside. Evangeline returns to Sebastian for reasons of her own, but it is clear they are for something and clearly not to reunite with Sebastian. She makes Sebastian lie and bring about the rouse of the engagement to save face in front of Evangeline.

Tessa isn’t keen on the act but understand and feels she should help protect Sebastian’s good name and wellbeing from being entangled with Evangeline again. Tessa and Sebastian are sweet together. They realize that they have much in common and start to enjoy each of others company. They are like kindred spirits. She helps him and he helps her. Evangeline never had a chance against love.

I truly love happy endings. I feel that a few things could have been wrapped up nicer, but I still adored the ending of the book. I like the combination of supernatural, lore, love, family, good vs evil that you find in Ms. Painter’s writings. She really has sucked me into this lovely world. If I could move to Nocturne Falls I would gladly drink the water and enjoy the wonder of living in a town that celebrates Halloween 365 days of the year.

My rating is 5 stars. I thoroughly enjoy reading these wonderful stories, filled with outstanding characters, funny, romantic and family-oriented plots. I love the series and highly recommend it, however not necessary, you’ll want to start with the first on The Vampire’s Mail Order Bride, if you haven’t already.

This is a Guest Review for Baroness’ Book Trove. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book for your site. ~Jen

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About Kristen Painter

About the Author:

Kristen Painter likes to balance her obsessions with shoes and cats by making the lives of her characters miserable and surprising her readers with interesting twists. She currently writes award-winning paranormal romance and urban fantasy. The former college English teacher can often be found on the social media links below where she loves to interact with readers.


Werewolf’s Christmas Wish

Posted March 12, 2016 by karenbaron in Fantasy, Magic, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance, Review, Rooks, Series, Short Stories, Supernatural, Urban, Valkyrie, Vampires, Werewolves, Witches / 0 Comments

Werewolf’s Christmas WishThe Werewolf's Christmas Wish by Kristen Painter
Series: Nocturne Falls #4.6
Series Rating: five-stars
Published by Sugar Skull Books on February 23, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Format: Kindle
five-stars

*A Nocturne Falls Short Story*

Welcome to Nocturne Falls, the town that celebrates Halloween 365 days a year. The tourists think it's all a show: the vampires, the werewolves, the witches, the occasional gargoyle flying through the sky. But the supernaturals populating the town know better.

Living in Nocturne Falls means being yourself. Fangs, fur, and all.

Bridget Merrow has almost everything a werewolf could wish for. And it's not that her awesome family and popular business aren't enough - she just wants someone to share it all with this Christmas. Too bad the someone she wants doesn't want her. Or does he?

My Thoughts:        Howling Hot Holiday!

I was so relieved. Bridget and Sam flirted with each other in the Werewolf Meets his Match, but circumstances caused them to drop the romance before it could begin. They clearly like each other. Bridget just couldn’t figure it out what Sam’s problem was.

Sam Kincaid, doesn’t have much and is starting over. He doesn’t feel that he can provide for Bridget in the way that he thinks (or her brothers have said) she should be. However, being locked in a walk-in refrigerator gave them plenty of time to talk it out. They seem to have worked out for the most part.

My rating is 5 stars. I find this short story exceptionally sweet. Christmas for the normal working werewolf may be not be normal for everyone, but Bridget and Sam know what they want. I highly recommend this series.

This is a Guest Review for Baroness’ Book Trove. Thank you for the opportunity to review this book for your site. ~Jen

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five-stars

About Kristen Painter

About the Author:

Kristen Painter likes to balance her obsessions with shoes and cats by making the lives of her characters miserable and surprising her readers with interesting twists. She currently writes award-winning paranormal romance and urban fantasy. The former college English teacher can often be found on the social media links below where she loves to interact with readers.