Tag: Dutton

Guest Review: For the Roses by Julie Garwood

Posted July 6, 2015 by Ames in Reviews | 1 Comment

fortheroses
Ames’ review of For the Roses by Julie Garwood.

The Clayborne brothers were a rough gang of street urchins – until they found an abandoned baby girl in a New York City alley, named her Mary Rose, and headed to Blue Belle, Montana, to raise her to be a lady. They became a family – held together by loyalty and love if not blood – when suddenly a stranger threatened to tear them apart…Lord Harrison Stanford MacDonald brandished a six-shooter and a swagger, but he soon proved to be a gentleman to the core. The brothers taught him frontier survival, while Mary Rose touched his heart with a deep and desperate passion. But soon, a shattering secret would challenge everything Mary Rose believed about herself, her life, and her newfound love.
For the Roses was the very first romance I read. Ever. I had the urge to re-read it recently, something I haven’t done in forever, and I was pleased that I still enjoyed it. I re-read Garwood’s medieval romances quite often so I know her early books usually hold up even though they were published in the 1990s.

So our story begins in New York City in 1860. Four young street urchins discover a baby girl thrown away in the garbage. Through various experiences of their own, they don’t trust leaving the baby with an orphanage and decide to head West to raise her themselves. They have no experience but they’re quite the resourceful bunch. So Adam, Cole, Travis and Douglas wind up in Blue Belle, Montana and raise Mary Rose. Nineteen years go by and Mary Rose has returned to Blue Belle after being sent to boarding school in St. Louis for a couple of years. Not too long after her return, a stranger comes to Blue Belle. Harrison MacDonald. He’s on a mission and he sets it up so that he meets Mary Rose in town. Although he can take care of himself, he’s heard that Mary Rose has a soft spot for those who can’t fend for themselves so he swallows his pride and pretends to not know as much as he does. He’s invited back to the Claybourne ranch where Mary Rose’s four older brothers will teach him how to survive in the west and become a rancher. It isn’t long before Harrison and Mary Rose begin to fall for each other but when Mary Rose discovers the truth of why Harrison has come to Blue Belle, it could destroy her and her family.

I pretty much remembered the whole plot from all those many years ago but a few things surprised me. But one thing that always stuck out was the humor. Harrison comes from England and there’s a particular way things are done there. The Claybournes turn everything he thinks he knows on its head. They speak French at the dinner table on alternating days, they claim to be siblings but there’s no resemblance between any of them, they try on different religions for three months at a time. Those are just a few examples of things that want to make Harrison bang his head on a hard surface. LOL I especially enjoyed his friendship with Cole. Those two were very similar.

I felt that of the brothers, Adam and Cole were the most developed. Travis and Douglas were a bit more in the background. Which was fine. I also liked the townsfolk. Especially at the end when one of the brothers’ pasts catches up with him.

And Mary Rose was a quirky heroine. She grew up quite capable under the watchful eyes of her brothers so she can take care of herself. Something that surprises Harrison. He’s used to English women. And Mary Rose is like a breath of fresh air to him. She’s honest and wears her emotions on her sleeve. I like how when Harrison acts of character (but not really) Mary Rose refers to it as a “spell.” And when Harrison does what he does…well it still broke my heart. And I didn’t think he groveled enough. I got freaking annoyed when Mary Rose apologizes! But I was happy with how everything turned out. And Harrison was such a yummy hero. I forgot how much I enjoyed him.

For a book that I read over 15 years ago, I thought it held up very well. 4 out of 5. I recommend this one if you’re in the mood for a historical western.

This book is available from Dutton. You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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Guest Review: Cold Cold Heart by Tami Hoag

Posted March 30, 2015 by Tina R in Reviews | 0 Comments

Cold Cold Heart by Tami HoagTina’s review of Cold Cold Heart by Tami Hoag

Dana Nolan was a promising young TV reporter until a notorious serial killer tried to add her to his list of victims.  Nearly a year has passed since surviving her ordeal, but the physical, emotional, and psychological scars run deep.  Struggling with the torment of post-traumatic stress syndrome, plagued by flashbacks and nightmares as dark as the heart of a killer, Dana returns to her hometown in an attempt to begin to put her life back together.  But home doesn’t provide the comfort she expects.

Dana’s harrowing story and her return to small town life have rekindled police and media interest in the unsolved case of her childhood best friend, Casey Grant, who disappeared without a trace the summer after their graduation from high school.  Terrified of truths long-buried, Dana reluctantly begins to look back at her past.  Viewed through the dark filter of PTSD, old friends and loved ones become suspects and enemies.  Questioning everything she knows, refusing to be defined by the traumas of her past and struggling against excruciating odds, Dana seeks out a truth that may prove too terrible to be believed…

Cold Cold Heart by Tami Hoag tells us the story of a young journalist by the name of Dana Nolan who is abducted one day by a sadistic serial killer known as Doc Holiday. She is also his only know survivor, having killed him to make her escape. It is the story of how Dana struggles to piece together her shattered life while dealing with a traumatic brain injury and PTSD, after being both physically and mentally scarred from her ordeal.

I have to say that I did struggle through the first half of the book. There seemed to be a lot of time spent on explaining Dana’s scrambled memories and her battle with the PTSD and the TBI. Although I totally understand the need to understand what the character was going through, at times I found it all a little overwhelming. I found the book to be more of a dramatic mystery more than the psychological thriller I was expecting. This isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy the book because I did, I just find that I tend to go for those “edge-of- your-seat” type thrillers where the twists and turns have your brain working overtime. And although I thought this was a decent story, it just wasn’t one of my favorites.

I received this book through NetGalley for my review.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

 

This title is available from Dutton. You can buy it here or here in e-format.  This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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Review: Isla & the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Posted September 18, 2014 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Rowena’s review of Isla & the Happily Ever After (Anna & the French Kiss #3) by Stephanie Perkins.

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of this book.  I am a huge fan of this series and I’m sad that this is the last book we’ll be getting from our friends at SOAP. Stephanie Perkins has done such a great job of writing this book that I went into this book with high expectations and I’m so happy to report that Perkins met every one of my expectations.

So in this book, it’s Josh’s turn to get his story told.  If you read the other books then you’ll remember Josh as being the younger best friend of Etiene St. Clair.

Isla has had a fierce crush on Josh since freshman year. She’s miserably watched him and his ex-girlfriend Rashmi make out in the hallways and around school.  She never thought that Josh would ever notice her but when she’s back home in New York over break, she’s delighted to run into him at a coffee shop she frequents.  At the time that she runs into him, she’s high as a kite from having her wisdom teeth pulled but that doesn’t keep her from talking to Josh.  She hangs out with him and then crashes right at the table while Josh is drawing her and Josh ends up paying her bill and walking her home.

Isla was equal parts embarrassed and over the moon over her night with Josh.  She was so excited that she went back to that coffee shop again the next night in hopes that Josh would be there but night after night, he doesn’t show up and Isla goes back to school, a little defeated.

But then the school year begins and Isla and Josh strike up a friendship. They’re in to the same things and a friendship is blossoming.  And the closer they get, the deeper they fall for each other.

I can’t even begin to tell you guys how cute this book is. From the time Josh is brought onto the scene, I adored him. I thought he was the cutest thing in the world and with each turning page, my love for him grew. I loved the way that he fell in complete love with Isla and I loved seeing them fumble around to find their way. There were times when Isla’s insecurities made me want to smack her around but never once did I not like her. I loved seeing Isla grow and learn from living her life, making choices and taking risks. And I loved that through everything that they went through, Josh’s feelings for her were constant and unchanging.

Gah, I grinned my way through this book like a sappy lovesick child but I don’t even care, cause I loved the hell out of this book. Stephanie Perkins wrote a fantastic story about two beautiful kids who found something remarkable and special and those feelings stayed with me long after I finished this book. As much as I loved Anna and the French Kiss, I think this one tops that book on my love meter.

This was the perfect ending to a fantastic series and I’m going to miss these characters (all of them from Anna and Etiene, Lola and Cricket and even Meredith and Kurt) but I know that Stephanie Perkins will introduce some new fabulous characters for me to love. I loved this book.

Grade: 5 out of 5

This book is available from Dutton. You can purchase it here or here in e-format.


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Guest Review: Six Years by Harlan Coben

Posted March 22, 2013 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Six Years by Harlan CobenReviewer: Tracy
Six Years by Harlan Coben
Published by Dutton
Publication Date: March 19, 2013
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Six years have passed since Jake Sanders watched Natalie, the love of his life, marry another man. Six years of hiding a broken heart by throwing himself into his career as a college professor. Six years of keeping his promise to leave Natalie alone, and six years of tortured dreams of her life with her new husband, Todd.

But six years haven’t come close to extinguishing his feelings, and when Jake comes across Todd’s obituary, he can’t keep himself away from the funeral. There he gets the glimpse of Todd’s wife he’s hoping for . . . but she is not Natalie. Whoever the mourning widow is, she’s been married to Todd for more than a decade, and with that fact everything Jake thought he knew about the best time of his life—a time he has never gotten over—is turned completely inside out.

As Jake searches for the truth, his picture-perfect memories of Natalie begin to unravel. Mutual friends of the couple either can’t be found or don’t remember Jake. No one has seen Natalie in years. Jake’s search for the woman who broke his heart—and who lied to him—soon puts his very life at risk as it dawns on him that the man he has become may be based on carefully constructed fiction.

Jake Fischer met Natalie Avery one summer and spent 3 wonderful months with her. They had a love that was close and amazing and something that would last a lifetime. Only it didn’t. Natalie up and breaks up with Jake and then not only marries another man but invites Jake to the wedding. Ouch. Jake is devastated but when Natalie asks him to leave them in peace and not try to contact her he agrees.

Six years later Jake sees an obituary for Todd Sanderson, that man that married Natalie. He knows that he promised Natalie but now that Todd is dead he holds onto hope that there is some chance for him. It kind of sounds desperate, and it is a little bit, but even after all those years have passed he still finds it hard to believe that Natalie didn’t feel the same way about him that he did about her. He heads to Todd’s funeral but doesn’t see Natalie. In fact the woman he sees who ends up being Todd’s wife was Delia and they have 2 kids…they were high school sweethearts.

This jolts Jake into searching for the woman he loves. He can’t figure out what’s going on but as the days go by he knows that there’s something much more going on than just a fake wedding. He’s kidnapped and almost killed. He heads back to where he and Natalie met and supposedly the “retreat center” never existed. He’s warned off time and again to just drop his search but Jake just can’t give up. What he finds is shocking to say the least but he won’t stop until he finds Natalie.

I have to say that I was a bit confused as I read further and further into the story. Coben wrote a twisted mystery that had me completely wrapped up in it. By Chapter 11 I was thinking this is a whole bunch of Holy Shit with a side order of WTF cuz I had no idea what was going on! Lol I have to say that I really loved the different aspects of the story that were all woven into one intersecting outcome.

Now I did think that the lengths that Jake went sometimes bordered on unbelievable for a college professor but I guess not completely out of the realm of possibility. I then would think about Jake’s love for Natalie and think, that yeah, that could totally happen.

The end of the book was a bit of a surprise when certain things are revealed but the road to getting to that point was so gripping that I it flowed nicely with the entire story. I haven’t read Harlan Coben before but I if all of his novels are this good I will definitely be reading more.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Dutton’s Holiday Gift Guide.

Posted December 7, 2011 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Christmas is just around the corner and the good ol’ folks over at Dutton have Holiday bookish picks to make shopping for the readers in your life (of all genres) a little easier this holiday season.

Check out their suggestions…

Dutton’s Holiday Picks:

For music-lovers, the must-have gift:

I Want My MTV: The Uncensored History of the Music Video Revolution
by Craig Marks and Rob Tannenbaum

This is The Book of MTV. With rave reviews from critics and readers alike, I WANT MY MTV is an obscenely fun look back at the glory days—when MTV actually aired music videos and a channel that almost didn’t get off the ground revolutionized music and pop culture forever. With more than 400 interviews from pop stars, musicians, VJs, directors, and execs, everyone has a story to tell—about each other, the network, and the idea that started it all.

The jokester:

That is All
by John Hodgman

Forget Wikipedia, almanacs, and encyclopedias. For complete world knowledge, look no further than John Hodgman’s third and final foray into the genre of completely falsified true facts: THAT IS ALL. Hodgman, resident Daily Show expert, former-PC, and New York Times bestselling author of The Areas of My Expertise and More Information Than you Require, has now taken to the simpler life of a humble DERANGED MILLIONAIRE. This handy book contains lots of useful information on surviving the coming global superpocalypse, but also embraces the subjects of wine and sports, taboos of sea travel, helpful foreign phrases besides “let’s have a liquor party,” and $999,999 ideas, among other things.

Shatner Rules
by William Shatner

The gift for the Trekkie in your life.

Who better to take advice from than a man whose career has spanned decades, whose fans are so fervent one even stole all of his underwear from his hotel room, and who proves that everything is better with age? William Shatner is at his most hilarious—and candid—in SHATNER RULES, as he shares stories from his oftentimes unbelievable life and successful career.

The armchair explorer:

Turn Right at Machu Picchu
by Mark Adams

He’s no Indiana Jones, but National Geographic writer and native New Yorker Mark Adams had his own real-life Indy moments after deciding to trace the original trail of Hiram Bingham—the real-life inspiration for the character made famous by Harrison Ford. Adam’s New York Times bestselling narrative is a hilarious and, at times, harrowing, account of his voyage through the dense jungle and mountainous terrain of Peru, along with an Aussie guide who walked the trail barefoot—twice.

The thrill-seeker:

The Devil’s Elixir
by Raymond Khoury

In this cinematic and action-packed thriller from New York Times bestselling author Raymond Khoury—most known for his run-away debut The Last Templar—Sean Reilly and Tess Chaykin chase the dangerous and ruthless drug lord Raoul Navarro. Having synthesized a mysterious elixir that dates back to 1700s Mexico, Navarro is hell-bent on mass-distributing the drug that “will make meth seem as boring as aspirin.” It’s a race against the clock to stop him from releasing THE DEVIL’S ELIXIR and destabilizing the modern world.

Down the Darkest Road
by Tami Hoag

Oak Knoll, California, is the place where people move to raise their children, far from the pressures and dangers of the big city. But small-town life isn’t as lovely as it appears. From #1 New York Times bestselling author Tami Hoag comes DOWN THE DARKEST ROAD, which follows a mother desperate for justice after her sixteen-year-old daughter goes missing. Lauren knows the man who killed her—even if the police and legal system won’t listen—and will stop at nothing to see him dead.

For you romance readers out there, we’re working on a list just for you guys so stay tuned for that.

But there you have it, the books that Dutton has on their Holiday Gift Guide. We hope it’s helpful to you!

Happy shopping for your bookish friends!

Rowena, Casee & Holly


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