3.5/5, AUTHOR, B, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2013, READING CHALLENGES 2013, Review Book, Virtual Author Book Tours

2013.37 REVIEW – Arctic Fire by Paul Byers

Arctic Fire
by Paul Byers

Copyright: 2011
Pages: 377
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: Aug.18-29, 2013
Challenge: What’s in a Name Challenge
Yearly count: 37
Format: Print
Source: Author for blog tour

Arctic FireBlurb: Wealthy entrepreneur Nigel Cain has devised an efficient new way to bring the earth’s most precious resource to the masses – clean water – by transporting massive man-made icebergs from the frigid arctic and delivering them literally to the doorsteps of millions.

Gabriel Pike works at a small engineering firm that has been awarded the task of giving the final safety approval to pilot the first gigantic block of ice into New York harbor.

A consummate showman, Cain has built a fabulous 5-Star hotel and casino high atop the iceberg so his celebrity guests and media elite can cover this spectacle from beginning to end. Pike is whisked away from his work-a-day world and dropped into the lap of luxury where he’s expected to simply rubber-stamp his inspection.

A brutal winter storms ravages the iceberg and exposes structural inconsistencies and hidden agendas that fill Pike with serious doubts about the true intentions of the project.  But a grisly double homicide on the ice puts the inspections on the back burner and sends Pike’s life spiraling out of control when he’s accused of being the jealous murderer in a lover’s triangle.

But Pike soon discovers that there is far more at stake than just his life. He uncovers a conspiracy more heinous than anything he could have imagined – a plot that will level a city, change the political face of America, and whose shockwaves will be felt around the world. Fate rests in his hands – if he can survive long enough to take action…

Review: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review as part of his blog tour.

I don’t even know really where to begin about this book. Overall, it’s a good read. Definitely thrill packed and a wild ride. However, that’s not to say it’s absolutely perfect.

I don’t even really know how to explain my big issue with this book. At 377 pages, it’s not a terribly long book. However, when at least 300 pages are spent with the lead-up to the double homicide and conspiracy mentioned in the blurb, it felt a little bogged down. I’m not saying that those 300 pages were unimportant or not enjoyable. However, it sometimes felt as if things were a little more drawn out than what was necessary for the book. I just felt as if too much time was spent on the lead-up to what was really at stake with the iceberg. There was a lot of technical information that I, personally, did not need to enjoy or understand this book.

Now that all of that is said … I really don’t think that it’s a bad book. The last 100 pages or so were a lot of fun trying to figure out how Pike was going to get out of the mess he found himself in. Would “The Blast from the Past” be able to manage one more rescue?

I thought Gabriel Pike’s character was really interesting. There was a lot more to him than met the eye. He was a nice guy, but he could get his hands dirty when necessary. It was also interesting to watch how a normal guy can be manipulated. It can happen so very fast and without his really knowing what is going on. It definitely doesn’t take much to inflate a guy’s ego 🙂 But I did have a problem with how cookie-cutter clean he appeared to be. I don’t know, it just felt forced to me that he was so nice. But it definitely worked in the situation that his character was in. But the one character that really surprised me the most was Mallory. What a character she was! Nice on the surface, but ruthless underneath. Whew. Definitely a surprise to me to some extent.

I would definitely recommend this book. I thought it was a lot of fun and I’m glad that I had the opportunity to give it a shot.

About the author: 

PaulByers_RSC0029 (2)Paul grew up in Oregon on the shores of the mighty and mysterious Columbia River, and spent endless hours daydreaming on the beach in front of his house, making up stories about the ships from exotic ports all over the world that steamed up the river – what secret cargo might they be carrying; did they harbor spies who were on dark and exciting missions?

Later in adult life, he moved to another mysterious and provocative city – Las Vegas, just outside the famous Nellis Air Force base. After work he would sit on his porch and watch the fighters take off and land, igniting his imagination with visions of secret missions and rich speculation about what could possibly be hidden at Area 51.

After moving back to his native Pacific Northwest, Paul worked for the Navy and took every opportunity he could to speak with veterans from WWII to the Gulf War, listening to them swap stories and relate the experiences of a lifetime.

So it is this combination of a passionate love of history, a vivid “what if” imagination, and a philosophy of life that boils down to the belief that – there are few things in life that a bigger hammer won’t fix – that led Paul to become a writer of exciting, fact-based action-thrillers. His greatest joy is leaving his readers wondering where the facts end and the fiction begins.

Author Website

Paul on Facebook

Paul on Goodreads 

Buy Arctic Fire:

Barnes and Noble

Check out the rest of the tour:

So Many Precious Books Sept 2 Review & Giveaway
Book Lover’s Library Sept 3 Review
Book Lover’s Library Sept 4 Interview & Giveaway
She Treads Softly Sept 4 Review
Books, Books, & More Books Sept 5 Review
Books, Books, & More Books Sept 6 Interview & Giveaway
Cheryl’s Book Nook Sept 9 Review
Butterfly-o-Meter Books Sept 10 Review
Butterfly-o-Meter Books Sept 11 Guest Post
 My Shelf Confessions Sept 12 Review
 My Shelf Confessions Sept 13 Interview & Giveaway
Room Without Books is Empty Sept 16 Review
A Book & a Lattee Sept 17 Review
Green Mountain People Sept 18 Review
Thoughts in Progress Sept 18 Guest Post & Giveaway
Romance & Inspiration Sept 19 Review
Bloggin Bout Books Sept 20 Review
The News In Books Sept 23 Review
The News In Books Sept 24 Guest Post
Sweeps4Bloggers Sept 24 Review & Giveaway
Tales of a Book Addict Sept 25 Review
Joy Story Sept 26 Review
fundinmental  Sept 27 Review & Giveaway
Recent Reads Sept 30 Review & Giveaway
DWED Oct 1 Review


3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, G, Jane Rizzoli, RATING, Read in 2013, READING CHALLENGES 2013, SERIES

2013.39 REVIEW – Last to Die by Tess Gerritsen

Last to Die
by Tess Gerritsen

Copyright: 2012
Pages: 423
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: Sept. 12-19, 2013
Challenge: RIP VIII; 2013 Sequel Challenge
Yearly count: 39
Format: Print
Source: Personal copy

Last to DieBlurb: For the second time in his short life, fourteen-year-old Teddy Clock has survived a massacre. Orphaned once more when his foster family is murdered, the traumatized teenager has nowhere to turn – until the Boston PD puts Detective Jane Rizzoli on the case. Jane spirits Teddy to the exclusive Evensong boarding school, a sanctuary where young victims of violent crime learn vital skills of survival. But even behind locked gates, Jane fears that Evensong’s benefactors aren’t the only ones watching. And when she learns of two other students whose pasts bear a shocking resemblance to Teddy’s, it becomes chillingly clear that a circling predator has more than one victim in mind. Joining forces with medical examiner Maura Isles, Jane races to stop an obsessed killer’s twisted quest – before an unspeakable secret dooms the children’s fate.

Review: This is the 10th book in the Rizzoli and Isles series. And I couldn’t help myself from comparing it to the TNT television series. The books and TV show are nothing alike. And having just watched all of the summer season, it was still fresh in my mind and that’s why I couldn’t help but compare them. I’m not saying that if you like one you won’t like the other, but just know that they are very different and you can’t really compare them.

Overall I thought this was a pretty decent installment in the series. But I couldn’t help but wonder how much longer Ms. Gerritsen will continue with this series. You finish this book with a big question mark, one of the characters appears to want a change in scenery … what will that do to the series?

Most of this book is set at Evensong, a private boarding school. I thought that it was a neat setting. Julian is back in this book and is very prominent in the plot line. That was fun seeing Maura and Julian back together. The Mephisto Club was also mentioned again.

There was a slight twist at the end that I wasn’t entirely anticipating. Part of it I was, the other part not so much. I can’t say much more than that without getting into spoiler territory.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. However, this is one of those that I think you really need to have read the previous books to fully understand all the dynamics (At the very least, The Mephisto Club installment.)

Miscellaneous Ramblings

Random Friday Ramblings

Whew. Friday at last. It hasn’t been necessarily a bad week, just a busy one.

We bought a new kitchen sink and faucet and it was installed today. Stressful. Two guys show up this morning right on time (that never happens!) so I was excited. They come in and get to work. I’m upstairs with Garrett and the dog hanging out. I see them take the old sink out and get the new one out of the box and get it all ready. Then they all of a sudden start measuring. And measuring. And measuring. I was terrified of what that meant. The guy that came out originally to measure assured me that I had a standard size sink existing and that the one I picked out would be fine. They came back in and I heard a hacksaw (they had to trim just a bit off my countertops … do you know how nerve-wracking that made me?). Then they go back outside. And I hear one of them say to the other, “this is going to take three hours. Ridiculous.” And he leaves in a huff. No joke. Leaves his partner here (they had driven separately at least). The other guy comes right back in. And gets back to work. He gets everything pretty well done but the last bit of hooking all the plumbing back up. I hear him go outside and start his truck. He’s leaving! With my sink still in pieces and no warning as to where he’s going. Then I hear the crash. Yeah, he gets into an accident leaving my driveway … there’s a house being built two doors down and one of their workers was leaving and they hit each other. Oh. My. Gosh. This is how my morning went, lol. I’m talking to my husband on the phone when the crash happened and I actually said to him, “I couldn’t make any of this up if I tried.” I thought it was never going to get done. But it did. And it looks gorgeous. And I’m happy!

That was the excitement for today.

Earlier the week was not as amusing though. We’ve come to another crossroads in the daycare argument. I don’t know if I ever blogged about this in much detail. Back in April I was on jury duty and was extremely frustrated and we made the choice to put Garrett on daycare lists. In July a spot opened up. We made an appointment to go visit the center and determine if it was the right fit for us. They called me on Friday, our appointment was on Tuesday. I thought everything was going great, until my in-laws got hold of my husband and swayed his decision and then he decided it wasn’t time. Um, hello? So we turned the spot down and said we would re-apply when we were ready. No big deal. Right now I work anywhere from 2-4 days a week. Of those days, my in-laws watch him one and my 72-year-old grandmother watch him the other days. Back in July my in-laws assured me that they would step up and take on more days in order to keep him out of daycare. My grandmother told me the same thing because she didn’t want him put in just yet either. Want to guess what happens? My grandmother steps up to the plate … my in-laws don’t. Surprise, surprise. My in-laws cancelled twice on me in August. And already once this month. I. Am. Furious. And I’m really irritated because do you know what happens when I don’t have a babysitter? You guessed it, I can’t work! I’m lucky that I work for my dad and that I can pretty well pick and choose which days I work in order to fit my babysitters’ schedules. Except for Thursday, I have to work every Thursday because that’s payroll day. Want to guess what day my in-laws always have? Thursday! I told my husband that they are not being reliable enough for me, I can’t have them cancel on me all the time when it’s the one day every week that I have to work. We are still on the list for two other centers in town, I told my husband that whichever one calls first we will go and visit and if it’s the right fit we will place him. No questions asked. I can’t deal with this anymore.

And really, it’s a bad situation. I have to rely on people for childcare. Whether it’s family or a daycare center, I will always have to rely on someone. But daycares are more reliable. And I feel like it’s just asking way too much of my grandmother and in-laws to watch him. My mother-in-law still works; Wednesday, Thursday and every other Friday are her only days off. I feel bad having to ask them to stay at home each and every Thursday. I know it’s asking a lot of them when they are so limited as to when they can do things. And that’s why I feel bad about it and don’t feel like it’s a good fit for us anymore. When he was so little I didn’t want him in daycare. But now he’s almost 16 months. He’s walking. He wants interaction with other children. I don’t feel so apprehensive about placing him anymore. I know he will be fine and that he’s old enough that he will show signs to me if he doesn’t like where he goes.

But I guess what I’m really pissed off about is the fact that I let other people sway my decision regarding my child. That can’t happen. I don’t necessarily mind family advice. But I feel like my in-laws overstepped a big line and meddled. And I’m pissed off at myself for letting it happen. Right now my husband is on my side, but I made it very clear to him that this will never happen again. Garrett is our child. And we will make the decisions from now on … with no family intervention whatsoever.


Well, I have a lot more I could say, but nap-time is over. Look for a review in the next couple days as well as a Mailbox Monday next week 🙂

Have a great weekend!!


RECIPE: Cuban Sandwiches

Cuban Sandwiches 

  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 8 ounces French bread, split open
  • 1/4lb deli swiss cheese
  • 1/4lb deli turkey
  • 1/4lb deli ham
  • 12 slices dill pickles


  1. Spread the mustard over the inside of the bread. Layer the bottom half with the cheese, turkey and ham. Arrange the pickles on top. Cover with the top and cut in half into 2 sandwiches.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and spray with Pam. Add the sandwiches and place a heavy skillet on top, pressing down to flatten them. Cook 3 minutes, remove the top skillet, and turn the sandwiches over. Press down again with the skillet. Cook until the cheese melts and the sandwiches are heated through, 4-5 minutes. Cut each sandwich in half crosswise before serving.

Recipe Source: Weight Waters Make It In Minutes Cookbook


Personal Review: A while ago I went to the library in search of cookbooks. I came home with 5, three of which were Weight Watchers books. I’ve been on a quest to make “healthier” options, but I don’t want to have to give up too much in this quest. In other words, I want to be 18 again and be able to eat what I want when I wanted to. Alas, I am no longer at that point in my life, and while I do go to the gym on a regular basis, I need to start watching what I eat a little closer. Thus the Weight Watchers cookbooks. I actually did weight watchers my sophomore year in college (yeah, the “Freshman 15” was closer to the “Freshman 30” for me) and had incredible results. So I figured if I went back to the recipes, I should be in a little better shape.

This recipe immediately caught my eye. We actually go to a restaurant in Florida, Columbia’s, that is known for their awesome salad. But they also have an amazing cuban sandwich. Knowing that my husband loves that sandwich, I figured it would be a good recipe to try.

First, I used a griddle just to make it easier to place a heavy skillet on top of the sandwiches to flatten. I also used dijon mustard (why? well because I had bought it for a different recipe and then used it in this recipe unintentionally, but it didn’t hurt anything). And I didn’t use “deli” cheese or meats … I bought thicker cut ham and turkey lunch meat. And since I am not very fond of pickles in general, I had Nathan add his to the sandwich at the table.

Overall, I really enjoyed this recipe. It’s simple and quick. I probably should have cooked them a little bit longer just because I didn’t get them completely heated through. But it’s definitely a keeper recipe that passed the test in our household.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, H, RATING, Read in 2013, READING CHALLENGES 2013, SERIES, Sookie Stackhouse

2013.38 REVIEW – Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Dead Until Dark 
by Charlaine Harris

Copyright: 2001
Pages: 292
Rating: 4/5
Read: Sept. 5-8, 2013
Challenge: Off the Shelf 2013; RIP VIII
Yearly count: 38
Format: Print
Source: Personal copy

Dead Until DarkBlurb: Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. She’s quiet, keeps to herself, and doesn’t get out much. Not because she’s not pretty. She is. It’s just that, well, Sookie has this sort of “disability.” She can read minds. And that doesn’t make her too dateable. And then along comes Bill. He’s tall, dark, handsome – and Sookie can’t hear a word he’s thinking. He’s exactly the type of guy she’s been waiting for all her life…

But Bill has a disability of his own: He’s a vampire with a bad reputation. He hangs with a seriously creepy crowd, all suspected of – big surprise – murder. And when one of Sookie’s coworkers is killed, she fears she’s next…

Review: I am probably the only person on the planet who has neither read the Sookie Stackhouse books nor seen the HBO series TrueBlood. Why? Well, first of all, vampire books are not my thing. It just isn’t. But having read Ms. Harris’s Harper Connelly series a few years back, I knew that Sookie had to be worth a shot.

And it was a lot of fun.

There were a lot of times when I wanted to shake some sense into Sookie. I mean, I get that she has her disability. But then she gets involved with a vampire? Okay. But it’s everything that comes along with being involved with a vampire that I didn’t get. And then you find out about her boss, Sam’s, own secret? Yeah, I had to roll my eyes just a little bit about that one (actually, I thought he was the murderer…).

Overall, I don’t know what I could possibly say about this book that hasn’t been talked about a million times before. It’s not as if it’s a new book that no one has read. So I guess I should just state that it’s a fun, humorous read and that I enjoyed it.

And hopefully I won’t wait so long to get to the second book 🙂

Book Blitz, Pump Up Your Book

Blog Tour: Continuance by Marta Tandori

Join Marta Tandori, author of the suspense family saga novel, Continuance, as she tours the blogosphere August 5 – September 27, 2013 on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!



When seven-year-old Ethan du Maurier, only son and heir of New York City real estate tycoon, Alexander du Maurier, disappears during school recess, the FBI quickly determines that his disappearance was an abduction. Within hours of a special news bulletin airing nationwide, the FBI’s hotline is inundated with anonymous tips relating to sightings of a little boy matching Ethan’s description outside a historic Savannah building, now a newly-renovated eatery. The FBI quickly assembles a task force and searches the premises but instead of finding little Ethan, they stumble upon the century-old remains of what appears to be a murdered man hidden in a pirate’s tunnel under the historic building.

With her restaurant on temporary lockdown pending the FBI’s forensic investigation, owner Annie Eastwood researches the history of the building she inherited, hoping it will shed some light on the identity of the murdered man, but what she uncovers are bits and pieces of a horrible scandal that nearly destroyed the du Maurier family over a century ago. With hopes for Ethan’s safe return dwindling by the hour, Annie finds an unlikely lead in an old classified ad from a Boston newspaper which connects the events of the past to the present-day abduction of Ethan du Maurier—and to the identity of his abductor. Determined to rescue little Ethan before time runs out, Annie quickly realizes that the boy’s abductor will stop at nothing—even murder—in order to exact his revenge.

Purchase at:



Add to Goodreads:




By the time Marta Tandori reached fifth grade, she was an avid reader and writer with a stack of short stories collecting dust in a box under her bed but it wasn’t until she began studying acting in her early twenties at the prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York that Marta realized acting wasn’t really her passion – writing fiction was. What followed was years of writing workshops as well as correspondence courses in writing for children through the Institute of Children’s Literature in Connecticut. She credits the award winning author, Troon Harrison, as the instructor who helped her find her literary voice. Marta’s first work of middle-grade fiction, BEING SAM, NO MATTER WHAT was published in 2005, followed by EVERY WHICH WAY BUT KUKU! in 2006. With her more recent endeavors, Marta has shifted her writing focus to “women’s suspense”, a genre she fondly describes as having “strong female protagonists with closets full of nasty skeletons and the odd murder or two to complicate their already complicated lives”. To learn more about Marta, visit her blog, The Marta/Kindle Project at http://www.martatandori.com.

Visit her website at http://www.martatandori.com


Continuance Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule


Monday, August 5 – Book review and 1st chapter reveal at Miki’s Hope

Wednesday, August 7 – Guest blogging at From the TBR Pile

Thursday, August 8 – Book reviewed at Kaisy Daisy’s Corner

Monday, August 12 – Guest blogging and 1st chapter reveal at Inside BJ’s Head

Tuesday, August 13 – Book review and Guest blogging at Queen of All She Reads

Thursday, August 15 – Interviewed at Review From Here

Monday, August 19 – Book reviewed at Love Books! Book Reviews

Monday, August 19 – Guest blogging and 1st chapter reveal at Cindy’s Love of Books

Tuesday, August 20 – Book featured at Beyond the Books

Wednesday, August 21 – Book featured at My Cozie Corner

Friday, August 23 – Interviewed at Book Marketing Buzz

Monday, August 26 – Book featured at My Devotional Thoughts

Tuesday, August 27 – Guest blogging at The Writer’s Life

Thursday, August 29 – 1st chapter reveal at Read 2 Review

Friday, August 30 – Interviewed at Broowaha

Wednesday, September 4 – 1st Chapter Reveal at As the Pages Turn

Friday, September 6 – Book featured at Tales of a Book Addict

Tuesday, September 10 – Guest blogging at Literarily Speaking

Thursday, September 12 – Interviewed at Literal Exposure

Friday, September 13 – Guest blogging at Between the Covers

Tuesday, September 17 – Book reviewed at Bless Their Heart Mom

Wednesday, September 18 – Book reviewed at Raven Reviews

Thursday, September 19 – Book reviewed at The Self Taught Cook

Friday, September 20 – Book reviewed and 1st chapter reveal at Authors and Readers Book Corner

Monday, September 23 – Book reviewed and 1st chapter reveal at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, September 24 – 1st chapter reveal at Books R Us

Wednesday, September 25 – Book reviewed and 1st chapter reveal at Literary Winner

Thursday, September 26 – Book reviewed at Create with Joy

Friday, September 27 – Book reviewed at Mary’s Cup of Tea

Friday, September 27 – Book featured at Emeraldfire’s Bookmark


Pump Up Your Book

DNF Books

2013 DNF #3: The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

The Body Finder
by Kimberly Derting

Copyright: 2010
Pages: 327
Format: Print

Blurb: When a murder is committed it leaves a unique echo … on both the victim and the killer. Most people are unaware of these echoes but Violet Ambrose has always been able to sense them.

Now that Violet’s town is in the thralls of a serial killer the echoes of the local girls he has murdered are haunting her.

The only shining light is Violet’s best friend Jay. She’s started falling for him and his fierce protectiveness gives her hope that he may feel the same…

This was at the top of my RIP VIII list. It was on my Paperbackswap wish list for quite some time. And then it sat on my shelf for a while too after I received it. So I was definitely excited to getting to this book. But, I just couldn’t get into it. I made it to page 62 and realized that not only had it taken me 3 days to get there, but that I really wasn’t all that interested in this book. It’s just not for me and I’m giving up on it.

And now I’m onto my next book … the first Sookie book 🙂