Hello Lovelies! Please excuse our dust while we do a bit of construction on the blog. We will still be posting exciting reviews, brilliant guest posts, and exciting giveaways but we are in the process of transforming the blog and adding new content and features for you to enjoy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Harbor Island by Carla Neggers {Blog Tour Review}

When an FBI agent’s clandestine meeting with an anonymous informant turns into a cold-blooded murder scene, the only clue seems to involve the most legendary and elusive art thief in the world. From the New York Times bestselling author of more than sixty books, Carla Neggers, comes HARBOR ISLAND her latest novel featuring former nun and art crime expert turned FBI agent, Emma Sharpe.  

Emma Sharpe is still getting used to life with her new fiancĂ© and fellow FBI agent, Colin Donovan, when she receives an anonymous phone call asking her to come to a remote island off the Boston Harbor. 

Emma arrives, to find a dead woman lying in a pool of blood. Gripped in the victim’s cold palm is a stone bearing the signature Celtic inscription of an international thief whom Emma’s family of art detectives has been chasing for the past decade.  

Emma discovers that the victim, Rachel Bristol, was a filmmaker working on a movie based on the exploits of the legendary art thief, but her research may have led her too close to the truth and gotten her killed. Or perhaps she is the victim of her former husband and stepdaughter, Travis and Maisie Bristol, two of Hollywood’s most powerful movie producers. The Bristols are working on their own film version of the art thefts and clearly didn’t appreciate the competition.  

And what of Oliver Fairbairn, a Hollywood consultant on matters of Celtic mythology exactly like the type inscribed on the stone in the dead woman’s hand? Suspicion even falls on Emma’s friend Finian Bracken, a tortured Irish priest now living in Maine. Ten years ago, however, Father Bracken was Mr. Bracken, a happily married businessman who now has ties to the same Irish village where the now infamous art thief struck for the very first time.

Harbor Island is the fourth book in the Sharpe and Donovan series and it happens to be the first in the S&D series that I read. While I wouldn’t say that I felt lost in the plot having not read the previous book, I think the book would have flowed better (as the novel—I believe—picks up directly from the last book) if I would have read the others.  

I had a little trouble getting into the book. It wasn’t so much that it was slow but rather it referenced events that had happened before and I felt a tad bit out of the loop with the characters as well as the mystery going on. I couldn’t seem to connect with the characters or truly become invested in them.  

The mystery of the art thefts as well as the murder is what kept me reading the book. I also enjoyed the very detailed backdrops of Boston and Ireland. 

Overall, I liked the mystery aspect and I think I may have enjoyed the characters a bit more if I would have read the previous books in the S&D series.

Book Details
Title: Harbor Island 
Miniseries: Sharpe & Donovan
Author: Carla Neggers
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
ISBN: 978-0-7783-1653-4
Release Date: September 2013
Format: Hardcover
$24.95 U.S./$27.95 CAN.
How I Read It: Trade Paperback ARC from Meryl Moss Media Relations
Rating: 3.5 Crowns

About The Author

New York Times bestselling author Carla Neggers is always plotting her next adventure—whether in life or for one of her novels. She wrote her first stories when she climbed her favorite sugar maple with pad and pen at age eleven. Now she is the author of more than sixty novels of romantic suspense and contemporary romance, including her acclaimed Sharpe & Donovan and Swift River Valley series. Her books have sold in over thirty countries, with translations in two-dozen languages, and have earned awards, rave reviews and the loyalty of readers.  

Growing up in rural western Massachusetts with three brothers and three sisters, Carla developed an eye for detail and an enduring love for a good story. “My parents moved to New England just before I was born,” says the author. “My father was a Dutch sailor and my mother is from the South. We kids learned about Holland and the Florida Panhandle—faraway places to us—through stories our parents told on walks in the woods or sitting by the fire.” 

Carla’s curiosity and vivid imagination are key to creating the complex relationships and deep sense of place in her books. At the core of every novel she writes is what Publishers Weekly has called her “flair for creating likable, believable characters and her keen recognition of the obstacles that can muddle relationships.” 

Carla sold her first book not long after graduating magna cum laude from Boston University with a degree in journalism. An accomplished musician, she studied with members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and freelanced as an arts-and-entertainment reporter—always with a novel in the works. After the birth of her first child, Carla finally worked up the courage to submit a manuscript to an agent. “I would type with my daughter on the blotter next to me,” says Carla. “Then she learned to roll over, and I put her on a blanket on the floor!”

When she isn’t writing, Carla loves to read, travel, hike, garden and spend time with her large family. Get-togethers at her family’s tree farm on the western edge of the Quabbin Reservoir are a favorite. She and her husband, Joe, a native of middle Tennessee, have two grown children and two adorable grandchildren. They are frequent travelers to Ireland and divide their time between Boston and their hilltop home in Vermont, not far from picturesque Quechee Gorge.   

For more information, please visit her at CarlaNeggers.com.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Night Diver by Elizabeth Lowell

Title: Night Diver
Publisher: Wm Morrow
ISBN-13: 978-0062132826
Pub Date: April 2014
Format I read: Hardcover $26.99
How I Read It: Purchased
Rating: 4.5 Crowns
New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Lowell plunges into the adventurous and deadly world of underwater treasure hunters in a heart-stopping tale that superbly combines atmosphere, action, romance, and suspense.
After a family tragedy, Kate Donnelly left the Caribbean behind forever. But a series of bad management decisions has left her family’s diving and marine recovery business drowning in red ink. Now her brother pleads with her to come back to the island nation of St Vincent. Without Kate’s financial expertise, the iconic treasure-hunting enterprise started by her grandfather will go under. Unable to say no to the little family she has left, Kate heads back to the beautiful and terrifying ocean that still haunts her nightmares.
Holden Cameron was addicted to the adrenaline rush of active duty—including narrowly surviving an underwater explosives accident. The last thing the former British military diver wants is to babysit a family of thieves on a tropical island—even if they are the world-famous Diving Donnellys. But in his new civilian job, Holden must investigate the suspicious activity surrounding a Donnelly dive to recover treasure from the ancient wreck of a pirate ship.
When equipment, treasure, and even divers begin to disappear, Kate and Holden form an uneasy alliance to uncover the truth. But the deeper they plummet into the mystery, the closer they come to each other. Soon they are sharing their deepest fears and darkest secrets—and a combustible chemistry too hot to ignore.
Read an Excerpt
“Let the lover be disgraceful, crazy, absentminded. Someone sober will worry about things going badly. Let the lover be. ” -Rumi
Kate is trying to save her family’s maritime salvage company while coping with the fact she witnessed mother being lost at sea and her father dying at her feet. The author conveyed Kate’s struggle brilliantly. I could feel her trepidation at having to return to her grandfather’s dive ship, yet her character wasn’t a simpering woman and I liked that.
Holden was sent there with two purposes: Catch the thief and shut down the dive. He was suspicious of everyone, Kate included, which was interesting considering he was attracted to Kate from the start. Although Holden was a very insightful, almost philosophical, character I didn’t feel as though I got to know him as well as I did Kate.
While the sexual chemistry practically exploded from the pages since the first meeting of Holden and Kate, they didn’t automatically jump into bed with each other, which I liked. Seeing as they didn’t trust each other at the beginning of the novel, their relationship built up as they gained each other’s trust.
The mystery aspect of the novel was there fairly early on. It was obvious that Holden was there with the purpose of seeking out the person who was nicking artifacts from the dive and even though the mystery kept my attention, the actual suspense part of the novel only came in during the last 50 or so pages.
I enjoyed how well researched the author was when it came to the actual process of the dive and recovery process. Having seen this process before, I paid close attention to the way the author handled it and it was one of the things that drew me in even more.
Although I was over the moon and was up until the wee hours of morning reading the novel, there were still a few things that I wasn’t so thrilled about. While the fact this novel relied only on the POV’s of Holden and Kate worked wonders with the romance aspect, it was a little lacking when it came to the suspense/mystery parts. I would have liked to have seen things from the full range of characters POV’s but the novel still worked as it was, it just came off more of a full on romance rather than a suspense/mystery.
Holden’s character could have been fleshed-out a little more. I felt as though I only received a sampling of who he was. There could have been more suspense mixed through the plot. I would have also liked to have seen some sort of conflict between Kate and Holden. While I enjoyed the HEA, it almost felt too perfect.
Overall, I enjoyed this novel. Sunken treasure, romance, murder, and mystery what’s not to love? I am very pleased that I purchased this book. I cannot wait to read more from this author.
Why did I purchase this book? The title, Night Diver, called me over, the blurb made me buy it.
What movie would I compare this book to?  Fool’s Gold
What I drank while reading Night Diver? Jamaican Rum tea