To Find You Again by Maureen McKade

Posted October 12, 2007 by Casee in Reviews | 5 Comments

Book description:

It has been seven years since Emma Hartwell’s capture by a tribe of the Lakota Sioux. But her recent rescue by the US Cavalry feels like anything but salvation. She has been forced to leave behind her beloved child, and return to the family who can’t accept her, only to be shunned by the townspeople as an outcast. Emma is haunted by her life with the Elk tribe. She sets off on a dangerous journey, fueled by a fierce love of her son and fears for his safety, in an effort to find the tribe and reclaim him.

Only Ridge Madoc stands in her way. A former army scout with a keen tracking sense and a keener sense of justice, Ridge has been sent by Emma’s father to bring her back–a task that will give him the chance of reclaiming some of the land that was rightfully his. But, he never expected a woman as determined and courageous as Emma. Now, Emma must appeal to Ridge to help her with her desperate quest, and Ridge must struggle with his desire for a woman who no longer has a place in his world…

I really hate getting in reading ruts. It really effects me in unpleasant ways. When nothing sounds good, what do you do? I start going through my different piles of TBR books (they’re semi-organized). I look at different books and remember when and where I bought them, but for the life of me can’t remember why I bought them. Since I’m in a (sort of) rut, I decided to try to get back into historicals. I have so many good historicals, but I just haven’t been in the mood for them. I’m really glad I picked up this book by Maureen McKade b/c it was a very good read.

When Emma Hartwell was “rescued” from the Lakota tribe she had lived with for 7 years, she was gravely wounded and had a vague feeling that something was missing. It wasn’t until she was recovering from a life threatening saber wound that she realized what she was missing…her son, Chayton. Not daring to breathe a word of her son’s existence to anyone, Emma quietly went through her days trying to remain unobtrusive. That was hard b/c even though the town believed that Emma was in the Lakota camp against her will, they still referred to her as a “Squaw woman”. They looked at her as a fallen and soiled woman. They didn’t even know the full truth, that she had willingly married and had a child with one of the Lakota warriors.

Though her mother and father decide to send her to her Aunt Alice’s back east, Emma knows that they mean well. After vivid nightmares that make her believe that harm will come to her son, she also knows that she won’t leave without him. The day before she’s to leave, she sneaks out and begins the long process of following the tribe.

When John Hartwell comes to Ridge Madoc trying to hire him to find Emma, Ridge is dubious. This is the same man that basically stole land that had been in Ridge’s family for generations. It didn’t matter that he obtained it legally…buying it from his drunken stepfather was the same as taking it for free as far as Ridge was concerned. Hartwell also refused to hire him as a ranch hand when Ridge went looking for work. Nonetheless, Ridge can’t pass up the opportunity to make the kind of money that Hartwell is offering.

Ridge soon learns that there is more to Emma that anyone realizes. Finding first her trail, then Emma herself, Ridge is satisfied that he can have Emma back in 2-3 days. He didn’t plan on having his tea drugged and getting his horse stolen. Now it’s a matter of pride and Ridge doggedly follows Emma’s trail. When he once again finds her, they strike a deal. Ridge will accompany Emma to the Lakota camp in return for doubling the money her father is offering. Ridge accepts.

I really found this book fascinating. Emma was a woman caught in two separate worlds during a time that you had to be in one or the other. Though she lived with the Lakota’s for 7 years, she was no longer fully accepted in their midst. In the white world, she was looked upon as an Indian. The only person that didn’t look upon her with disdain was Ridge. Even then, she knew that they had no future. Not only did she think he couldn’t accept that she married a Lakota (incorrectly, I might add), but she also knew how hard it would be for him when she brought her son back.

As a mother, I could completely understand Emma’s dilemma. On one hand, she wanted her son. She wanted the baby she she carried all those months. But she also knew that he would be better being raised by people that accepted him. The scene where her and Ridge rode away from the Lakota camp, leaving Chayton behind was heart breaking.

It was a mother’s instinct that made her go back to the camp. It was there they saw the carnage brought upon the tribe by the Confederate Army. Though she feared she was too late, Emma found Chayton scared, but unharmed. It was then she vowed that she would not be separated with him again. Taking him back to her parents house laid the grown work for the next section and the ending of this book.

Though this is a time long past, I felt Emma’s heartbreak that people wouldn’t accept an innocent three year old boy without slurring him or his mother. When Emma’s mom and sister embraced Chayton as part of the family, I rejoiced with Emma. When Ridge offered to marry Emma and happiness was within her grasp, a bitter enemy from the tribe comes to take Chayton away from her forever.

This is not a book that will give you the warm fuzzies. This is a book that will engage your emotions and maybe even make you a little teary.

4 out of 5.

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eBook Prices AKA Books on Board is the way to go

Posted October 12, 2007 by Holly in Miscellaneous | 4 Comments

I recently read Sea Swept by Nora Roberts. After seeing Ween’s Hero of the Month post, I was curious about this book, so I decided to buy it. I wanted it right away, so that meant buying in eBook format. When I first started purchasing eBooks, something like a year ago, the prices were quite a bit less than regular print price. For some reason, in recent months, that has changed. eBook prices are now sometimes twice what print prices are…and that kind of pisses me off. Although I truly enjoy eBooks and love the instant gratification I get when I buy one online and can immediately download it, I draw the line at paying $10.00 for a book I could buy at Borders for $7.99.

The first place I checked was Ebookwise, because I have their reader and it’s easiest to download directly from them. The price at Ebookwise? $7.49. Since the regular list price in print is $7.99, $7.49 isn’t so bad. But still, I’ve been used to paying sometimes $1.50 less for eBooks and I decided to shop around. Fictionwise, Ebookwise’s parent company was $7.99 the same as the print price. Since I wasn’t going to have the actual book to add to my library, I didn’t really want to pay that.

I decided to Google it and see what was available from where. eBookMall was the highest at $9.49. WTF? Almost $10? That’s $2.00 more than the print price. Soooo not paying that.

The price from Penguin direct was also $7.99. Resigned at this point, I decided to check one last place, Books on Board.

The BoB price? $6.27. That is a reasonable price, IMO. Yes, it’s only $1.72 less than the print price, but I think, as I’m not actually getting the book to add to my personal library, and since I can’t share it with my loved ones, it makes more sense to not pay as much as the print price. Right?

Since then I’ve done some research and BoB is considerably less all the way around. Daphne and I were talking about this last night. She was looking for BloodFever by Karen Marie Moning. Amazon has it listed, in HB, at $14.96. Diesel has it at $16.54 in eBook. Fictionwise and Ebookwise don’t even have it listed yet, something I noticed is pretty much the norm for them. They rarely have eBooks on or before the release date. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it often takes them a full week to two weeks after the release date to show them as available.

The Books on Board price? $13.31.

The moral of this story? Buy from BoB, and not Fictionwise, eReader or Ebookwise.


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The Latest And Greatest At Harper Collins.

Posted October 12, 2007 by Rowena in News | 3 Comments

So, in our Book Binge email account, we are usually kept up to speed with things over at Harper Collins and the latest and greatest thing they’ve got cookin’ over there is a brand spankin’ new website program for their authors. It’s in the beta testing stage right now and not all of the authors have added stuff to their sites but after browsing through the authors who HAVE tried it out, I’ve got to say that I’m pretty impressed with Avon for thinking to do something like this, having their authors easily accesible through their very own site.

It’s pretty genius and I, for one, am hooked.

Here’s a list of authors that I’ve seen author webpages for: (I totally stole this from Ellen Meister’s blog)

Victoria Alexander
Jo Barrett
Toni Blake
Elizabeth Boyle
Gayle Callen
Anna Campbell
Dixie Cash
Kathryn Caskie
Mary Castillo
Jacquie D’Alessandro’Alessandro
Delilah Devlin
Suzanne Enoch
Elaine Fox
Jeaniene Frost
Terri Garey
Laura Lee Guhrke
Kim Harrison
Lorraine Heath
Myla Jackson
Eloisa James
Beverly Jenkins
Sophie Jordan
Cindy Kirk
Lynn LaFleur
Stephanie Laurens
Julie Anne Long
Margo Maguire
Anne Mallory
Cathy Maxwell
Teresa Medeiros
Ellen Meister
Janet Mullany
Sophia Nash
Hailey North
Kayla Perrin
Jenna Petersen
Julia Quinn
Lynsay Sands
Kathryn Smith
Kerrelyn Sparks
Melody Thomas
Rachel Gibson

I spent a great deal of yesterday going through the different author sites and found it quite easy to manuever my way around and I was pleasantly surprised to see some of my favorites had sites up and pictures uploaded to those sites, I’m telling you guys, it’s pretty cool.

I’m not the only one that seemed to like this new idea, check out what some of our favorite authors had to say about it:

“Author Assistant is a fun, user-friendly technology that incorporates an author’s input into the promotion, publicity and production process. Time zone differences, physical distance and repetition are eradicated. At last, a truly useful Internet tool!”

– New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens


“Author Assistant gives me the power to provide information and keep my Author Page on fresh and relevant. It’s original and incredibly easy to use.”

– New York Times bestselling author Teresa Medeiros


“HarperCollins has successfully created a tool for authors that’s exceptionally valuable and accessible. I’m a technophobe and I still understood all of it!”

– New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander


“This new tool allows authors to stay current with existing fans, while simultaneously benefiting from the traffic to the HarperCollins site. It’s a huge draw for authors; HarperCollins has done a beautiful job with the tool.”

– New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James

For more information on this neat new idea from Harper Collins, click here to read the entire press release from Harper Collins.

Be sure to go on over to the Harper Collin’s website to check out these cool new author webpages, they’re cute, totally user friendly and a great way to see what the author has going on. You’ll also be able to see photos from your favorite authors, so what are you waiting for? GO FORTH AND SEE FOR YOURSELF!!

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Big Girls Don’t Cry by Cathie Linz

Posted October 12, 2007 by Casee in Reviews | 6 Comments

Book description:

Leena Riley has returned to her hometown of Rock Creek with her tail between her legs. Her fabulous plus-size modeling career in Chicago never took off, and now the only job she can land is as a receptionist in a veterinarian’s office. She has to be desperate to work for Cole Flannigan…

Being two years older than Cole never spared her from his taunts in school. Now all grown up, Cole is still the golden boy, a sexy charmer with commitment issues and a short attention span—until Leena and her curves strut into his life. And though she turns his office upside-down, he can’t resist the animal attraction that makes him look at Leena in a whole new light…

This is my first book by this author and I loved it!! I was in the mood for something exactly like this. While reading at work, I found myself laughing out loud more than once.

Leena Riley never intended to return Rock Creek. Having left years earlier, Leena enjoyed her success as a plus-size model and secretly stuck it to every kid that made fun of her weight while she was in school. One of those kids that made fun of her was Cole Flannigan, who is now the town vet. Though he only made fun of her once, Leena made it a time he wouldn’t forget when she socked him in the face. She never thought she would actually be working for Cole, much less be attracted to him.

Cole had no idea that letting Leena talk him into hiring her would be one of the smartest things he’d ever done. In no time at all, she brings order to his office and his life. Organizing his files and even his patients, Cole wonders what he ever did without her. He also can’t help but be attracted to her. Cole has always been a man that appreciates a curvy woman and Leena is nothing if not curvy.

What I liked about this book is that it was a straight romance. Sure, there was conflict. Leena had major self-esteem issues, even being a plus-size model. She also thought that every compliment Cole gave her was a joke on his part. She ate full bags of Cool Ranch Doritos. Honestly, when she did that, I got full with her. She had a major problem with stress eating. She really did have issues, but they didn’t take away from the romance.

The secondary characters were great. Sue Ellen at first seemed a little ditzy. We soon find out that while she is a little looney, it’s in a way that is totally loveable. She will do anything to protect her sister and make her happy. She also had her own little secondary romance going on on the side. Wanting to finally be respectable, she had high hopes for her relationship with the high school football coach, Coach Russ. She didn’t want it to matter that she had dancing Elvis’s on her walls, that she loved pink, or that she used her oven as storage for her scrapbook.

The sense of family and friendships in Rock Creek made the book what it was. I loved reading about Cole’s best friend, Nathan, giving him a hard time about falling for Leena. I loved reading about Cole’s aunt, who happens to be a nun, counseling Leena without her even realizing it. I loved reading about Leena finally being comfortable in her body and helping a teenager realize that she’s fine the way she is.

It was also scenes like this that made me really enjoy this book.

Leena was helping Sue Ellen, her sister, out for an ad for the Mobile Home Park she manages:
Leena yanked open the bathroom door. “What do you think?”
“Wow.” Sue Ellen was clearly impressed. “Did you get new boobs?”
“No, I just can’t get them to stay in this dress” Leena tugged the bodice up.
“You look great. Sex sells,” Sue Ellen said. “Come on. The photographer is legally blind in one eye so he won’t notice if one of your boobs slips out. Just pull the dress up again. I’ll let you know if too much is showing.”

Or this (while conversing with Cole):

Suddenly Leena couldn’t breathe. She felt as if she’d swallowed an Altoid!

Wait–she had just swallowed an Altoid!

She didn’t dare cough, for fear he’d pound her on the back and her breasts would launch themselves at hom, fleeing the confines of her Jane Austen Does Dallas dress.

I really could go on and on. I just really enoyed the book and am looking forward to picking up more of Cathie Linz’s work.

4 out of 5.

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Email Mystery: Suzanne by Michael Betcherman

Posted October 11, 2007 by Holly in News | 0 Comments

Suzanne Braun had it all – the big house, the luxury car, the expensive vacations. Then her husband died, but not before making a series of reckless investments that depleted his fortune.

When a promising relationship with a well-heeled and aging suitor ends badly, the beautiful widow finds herself a social pariah, universally regarded as an unscrupulous golddigger. Her prospects look bleak when her late husband’s brother, Douglas, invites her to spend the summer at the family cottage on Lake Joseph, a playground for Toronto’s rich – and very rich.

Suzanne heads north with one goal in mind: to return home with a wealthy fiancé in tow.

Douglas’ wife Catherine dreads her arrival. The two women have loathed each other for years and Catherine fears that Suzanne will set her sights on her brother Mark, a wealthy businessman who is returning to Canada after 14 years in Japan. She will do anything to keep her arch-enemy from entering the family circle.

An irresistible force is about to meet an immovable object.

Ag recently reviewed this and I was intrigued by the concept. Basically this story is told in the form of emails. But unlike some other books that have recently been published with a similar theme, the reader in this case actually receives the story in the form of 3-5 emails per day. At first I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about that, but surprisingly, I enjoyed the story…I think even more than I would have had I’d bought it in print.

Suzanne Braun is down on her luck. Her recently deceased husband left her completely destitute and an ill-advised romance turned sour with an extremely wealthy – but also extremely old – businessman has left her reputation shattered.

Determined to find a rich fiance quick, she ships her out of control 16-year-old daughter off to summer camp and accepts an invitation from her brother-in-law, Douglas, to spend the summer with he and his wife, Catherine, at their country cottage in an extremely upper crust area of Canada. Catherine is horrified when she learns her husband has invited Suzanne. For years, she’s resented Suzanne for stealing the better brother away from her and now she’s determined to do everything possible to keep Suzanne away from her brother, Mark, who just returned from Japan where he spent the last 12 years.

Mark is on the market for a woman who can give him children, since the woman he was with before claimed to not want any, though he suspicions she only used that as an excuse to not marry him and go against her family’s wishes. He’s just dissolved his business in Japan and finds himself extremely wealthy, but also out of work and in need of a family to complete him.

What ensues when you put this delightfully dysfunctional group together is something worthy of a daytime drama. Suzanne sets her sights on a wealthy corporate lawyer who just happens to be more boring than watching grass grow, and just happens to be vertically challenged (read: short. Mark refers to him as a gnome). Mark and Suzanne engage in some mild flirting that causes Catherine to resort to blackmail and the hiring of private investigators to keep them apart. Mark meets a lovely woman named Laura who’s still in love with her ex-husband and overly indulges her young daughter, who does her best to cause friction between Mark and Laura. Catherine, her mother and a friend of theirs scheme and snipe and cause more trouble than their worth.

But through it all, the witty banter and mild sarcasm save the story from being bogged down. We watch Suzanne’s relationship with the lawyer sour, her attempts to win Mark to her side and her feelings of failure as a mother when things with her overly rebellious teenage daughter come to a head.

I was convinced I would hate Suzanne after her first few emails, especially when it becomes clear she’s a complete and utter gold digger. But as I read on, I found myself rooting for her. The twists and turns of the plot were fun and faced paced, and kept me reading for over an hour straight when I should have been working.

The cast of characters was hilarious. I think Patrick, Mark’s best friend, was my favorite. Although all the dialogue was witty and sarcastic, Patrick took it to a new level. And he was so the perfectly quintessential male! For example, Mark emails Patrick about his break-up with his long time girlfriend in Japan.

To: “Mark Rogers”
From: “Patrick Stoughton”


Damien Rice said it best, dude, in the last line of The Blower’s Daughter.

“I can’t take my mind off of you
I can’t take my mind off you
I can’t take my mind off you
‘Til I find somebody new”

Although unconventional, having the story emailed was similar to accidentally being BCC’d on private emails, which was fascinating. I think my biggest gripe with the story is that it lacks the emotional depth of a regular novel, since there are no internal monologues. What I mean is, we don’t get a good feel for exactly what the characters are feeling. Especially Mark. It’s hard to know exactly what his motives and true feelings where Suzanne are concerned, as we only see snippets from him. The bulk of the emails are ones exchanged between Suzanne and her sister Lisa, who lives in Argentina, and Catherine and her mother, who are scheming to ruin Suzanne and keep her and Mark apart.

Despite that, however, I truly enjoyed this story and would highly recommend it to others. I breezed right through it and found myself anxious for more. I’ve often said men can’t write romance as well as women, but Michael Betcherman certainly did a fantastic job of changing my mind.

4.5 out of 5

You can preview it here and buy it here.

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