Sunday, December 23, 2012

Courting Miss Amsel by Kim Vogel Sawyer

imagesCATJGI1L Edythe Amsel is delighted with her first teaching assignment: a one-room schoolhouse in Walnut Hill, Nebraska. Independent, headstrong, and a firm believer in a well-rounded education, Edythe is ready to open the world to the students in this tiny community. But is Walnut Hill ready for her?

Having raised his nephews since their parents’ untimely deaths, Joel Townsend is thrilled to learn the town council has hired a female teacher. His sons could use a woman’s influence. But he sure didn’t bargain on a woman like Miss Amsel. Within the first week, she has the entire town up in arms over her outlandish teaching methods. Of course, Joel can’t help but notice that she’s also mighty pretty—and just might make a good mother for his boys.

When Edythe decides to take her pupils to hear Miss Susan Anthony speak on the woman’s suffrage amendment, the town’s outcry reaches new heights. Even Joel isn’t sure he can support her new fangled ideas any longer. And is he can’t trust her to teach the boys, how can he trust her with his heart? (From the back of the book)

Title: Courting Miss Amsel, Author: Kim Vogel Sawyer, ISBN: 978-0-7642-0784-6, Publisher: Bethany House, Released:2011, Format: Trade paperback, $14.99, How I Read It: Trade Paperback that I purchased, Rating: 4 Cups

My Thoughts:

Edith Amsel decided that her purpose in life was to teach, thus she sworn off marriage, left her father and her siblings, and headed to Walnut Hill, Nebraska where her teaching style pushes the limits of the locals.

Joel Townsend—a gentleman to his core—is raising his brothers sons by himself. Needing to find a wife to mother his children, he finds himself drawn to the new schoolmarm yet when he discovers something about Edith his feelings start to change.

So the title is Courting Miss Amsel, and while Joel fancies Edith and she reciprocates the feelings, there was little to no courting going on. When they shared a page you could plainly see the sparks flying between them. Although for an inspirational romance there was little interaction between the two of them without it being in a social setting, (church, school, general store) I was hoping that there would be a bit more courting in the book.

What I enjoyed about the book was the fact that it was more so a book about finding oneself and Edith’s journey to self-discovery was an interesting one. Joel’s realizations were a bit more subtle but just as interesting.

The only thing that I was a bit annoyed with was the fact that every book set in the era makes mention or revolves somewhat around woman’s suffrage. I know that at the time it was a hot topic and I am all for woman’s independence, yet not all women would be casting off their aprons so occasionally I would love to see this omitted from novels in this era.

Overall, I found that I enjoyed this novel. It reminded me of the Christy novels I read as a teenager.

Courting Miss Amsel was the first novel I read by this author and I have to say I am looking forward to reading more from her.

Until We Meet Again,

Best Wishes & Happy Reading,

angela new

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sylvester or the Wicked Uncle by Georgette Heyer

Sylvester Rank, wealth, and elegance are no match for a young lady who writes novels…

Sylvester, Duke of Salford, has exacting requirements for a bride. Then he encounters Phoebe Marlow, a young lady with literary aspirations, and suddenly life becomes very complicated. She meets none of his criteria, and even worse, she has written a novel that is sweeping the ton and causing all kinds of gossip…and he’s the main character!

Book Details: Publisher Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2011, 937-4022-3880-2, Trade Paperback, $13.99, 386 pages Source: Purchased from B&N


519z1yhTPQL__SL175_ When Sylvester, the Duke of Salford, first meets Phoebe Marlow, he finds her dull and insipid. She finds him insufferably arrogant. But when a series of unforeseen events leads them to be stranded together in a lonely country inn, they are both forced to reassess their hastily formed opinions, and begin a new-found liking and respect for each other.

Sylvester calls to mind the satirical genius of a Jane Austen novel and is adored for its wit and a fast-paced plot, which ranges across a myriad of settings.

Audiobook Details: Naxos Audiobooks, 2009, 9626349255, mp3, $9.80, 4 hours 51  minutes, Narrated by: Richard Armitage Source: Purchased from

My Thoughts:

When Sylvester Rayne, Duke of Salford, decides to marry, he makes a list of requirements that his bride must have then runs off and seeks his mother’s advice. Knowing that he does not love any of the five women on his list, she tells him not to marry until he falls in love, then sends him to his godmother who tells him about her eligible granddaughter, Phoebe Marlow.

Phoebe Marlow does not meet any of the Duke’s requirements and when she discovers that the Duke may ask for her hand, she run’s off with aid of her friend, Tom who happens to be the squires son. Although when nasty weather throws the Duke and Phoebe together, Phoebe starts to realize that Sylvester is not quite the villain she made him out to be in novel she wrote.

Fate intervenes even further when Sylvester’s young nephew—and ward—Edward is kidnapped by his eccentric mother and Phoebe tries to retries the boy, leading to even more time spent with Sylvester.

Misunderstanding, arrogance, and the wicked wit that is woven into Sylvester, or The Wicked Uncle, is highly reminiscent of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. With characters both realistic and eccentric this novel thoroughly entertains. One of my favorite Georgette Heyer novels.

As I have been on a Georgette Heyer kick for the last few weeks, I thought that I would give the audio version a try, plus Sylvester was this months pick for my book club. Seeing that it was read by none other than Richard Armitage (North & South, Robin Hood, MI-5/Spooks, The Vicar of Dibley) I knew that I *had* to purchase the audiobook. I made my mistake in not reading the description so I failed to realize that this was the abridged version.

While I could listen to Richard Armitage velvety voice all the days of my life (and he does a brilliant job at brining the characters to life), I still could not get over the fact that huge chunks of the book were omitted. While some of the omitted bits were nothing more the minor descriptions of the setting, others were key scenes that made the book grand. And I noticed that the omissions became larger after chapter 19, meaning that most of the ending was cut from the audiobook.

Having read the book countless times, to me these omissions were pronounced. I wondered what fresh listeners would think of the book and during my book club discussion one of the ladies said that she had listened to the audio version rather than read the book and the book felt incomplete to her, so apparently I was not the only one to notice the injustice the audiobook does the actual book.

Book or Audiobook? Definitely the book, especially for newbie readers. Sadly, I am afraid that not even the lovely Richard Armitage could save the unabridged audiobook.

Best Wishes & Happy Reading or listening,

angela new

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tuesday Intros: Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling


Every Tuesday, Diane @ Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (maybe two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening paragraph(s). Feel free to grab the banner and play along!


Chapter 1 The Unraveling of Nanny Prum

Every night I dreamt of the dead. In dreams those who have been lost can be found, gliding on fragments of memory through the dark veil of sleep to ensnare themselves within the remains of the day, to pretend for a moment like a lifetime that they might still be alive and well, waiting by the bedside when the dream is done. They never were, but I could not stop myself from wishing for the possibility that everything I remembered was a mistake, a nightmare taken too literally by the imagination. But morning always came, and with it the startling realization that the dead continued to be so, and that I remained alone.

Would you continue reading? I know that I am eager to devour the secrets of Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling by Michael Boccacino.

Best Wishes & Happy Reading,

angela new

Monday, October 8, 2012

Keith Harkin CD Giveaway

Keith Harkin, of Celtic Thunder fame, has released his debut album simply entitled, ‘Keith Harkin’ (Verve, 602537115488, Released 9/18/2012).
Comprised of six original songs penned by Keith and six cover songs, the album has an old school feel that reminds me of digging through my mother’s records. I must admit, I kind of wish that this would have been recorded on vinyl, as I love that scratchy sound only a record player can deliver and this mix of songs and would be brilliant on vinyl. (side note: I was born in ’86 and my mother had large collection of records and a passion for good music, so what can I say, I am a record addict.)
recordsFor those of you who do not know, these are records, that you play on a record player and should never become a chip bowl.
The album ranges from upbeat covers like Here Comes The Sun to heartfelt songs such as Rosa. This is one of those albums that has something to offer everybody.
The Originals
Daisy Fields—I loved the Uillean pipes on this song
Nothing But You & I—Lovely song
Orange Moon—this is one of those songs that I often repeat
Take It Away Boys—One of my favorites on the album
Don’t Forget About Me—First single
Rosa—This song has a lot of emotion behind it
The Covers
The End Of The Innocence—reminds me of record day when I was little.
Have I Told You Lately That I Love You (duet with Cobie Calliat)—kind of reminds of the version Rod Stewart and Joss Stone performed.
Everybody’s Talkin’—another great song that reminds me of record day
Here Comes The Sun—I tend to skip this song, not because I don’t like—I do—but I have a tendency to randomly sing this song aloud in public places such as the Post Office
Tears Of Hercules—One of my favorites and I often repeat it as well
Heart Of Saturday Night—You can never go wrong with a Tom Waits song. I would love to hear him do Tom Traubert's Blues or Downtown Train.
keithharkinaSo, I will admit it, I was a bit impatient to get my hands on this album and even though I preordered two copies on Amazon, I made a run to Barnes & Noble when it came out.
I have two copies to giveaway.
Giveaway is Worldwide.
To enter please leave your name and a valid email address.
Giveaway Ends October 30
Want to get your hands on a copy? You may do so at the following:
 Barnes & Noble
Best Wishes & Happy Listening,
angela new

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Apples, Books, and Two Green Pillowcases


Fall has finally arrived where I live bringing with it foggy mornings, cooler temps, brilliant colors, touches of frost, and unintended trips to the apple orchard. Fall also means that I get to, mostly, work from home as I do my travelling for work in the spring and summer.

A recap of my week:

I arrived home Monday, and seeing how the weather had changed, I thought it wise take my Fall bedding to the dry cleaners. I dropped off an all purple bedding set however, when I returned the next day to pick them up two of my purple Egyptian cotton pillowcases mysteriously turned into two HPIM3924 green ones made from imitation silk. Of course I only discover this when I am at home and in the process of making of bed. When I go back to the dry cleaners to inquire about my purple pillowcases they say that was how they arrived at the cleaners. Seriously? Did they really think I decked my bed out in the colors of Mardi Gras? Plus, my tag clearly states that there was four purple pillowcases.

After the great pillowcase debate, I had to hurry home and get ready to attend the wedding of an acquaintance, (you know how it is when a friend of a friend marries, and you get an invite because you travel in the same circles yet you barley know the people getting married). Rather than travelling on my own, I decide to go with a group of friends. My friend took one wrong turn too many and needless to say we ended up getting lost and stopping to ask  for directions, which happened to be the wrong thing to do as the man gave us the wrong directions. By the time we realized where we were the wedding was long over, but we did accidently discover an apple orchard and a bookshop along the way and we were way over dressed for either place.

HPIM3863So, now I have an abundance of apples, two new books, and two green pillowcases the dry cleaners refused to take back

What books did I purchase from the bookshop? 2 Jeanette Baker books, Nell, which I read, reviewed and wasn’t too thrilled about, and Irish Lady, which I am hoping is better than Nell although I am a bit afraid to read it as it is on the same lines as Nell.

What I am doing with the apples? I am making, baking, cooking, experimenting with every apple recipe that I can find! HPIM3917Apple pancakes, anyone?

As for the pillowcases, they are sitting on the bottom shelf of my linen closet annoying me with their presence.

Books I am reading:

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte—I am slowly rereading this book

Dracula by Bram Stoker—another book that I am slowly rereading

Bedeviled Eggs: A Cackleberry Club Mystery by Laura Childs

Books I am eager to start reading:

Dracula, The Un-dead by Dacre Stoker & Ian Holt

The Kingmaker’s Daughter by Philippa Gregory

The White Forest by Adam McOmber

Charlotte Markham and the House of Darkling by Michael Boccacino

Books I am thinking about reading although I am not sure if I will like:

City Girl, Country Vet by Cathy Woodman- After a broke romance London veterinarian Maz Harwood agrees to run a country practice and falls for a rival vet.

The Mermaid Collector by Erika Marks- Cradle Harbor, Main, is a seaside town moored in tragic legend: the 1880’s tale of a lighthouse keeper swept up by the sea into the arms of his mermaid lover, and whose wife paid a terrible price for hi wandering heart. Return to present day where Tess Patterson nurses her own heartache after the town’s golden boy ends their affair. A sculptor, Tess pours herself into creating a carving for the upcoming Mermaid Festival. Tom Grace, the new lighthouse owner, also has personal demons to contend with, but one glimpse of Tess could change everything. As their relationship heats up—careening toward a meltdown—can Tess and Tom turn the lighthouse’s curse into a luminous future—together?

Books that I purchased:

Corinthian by Georgette Heyer

Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer

Friday’s Child by Georgette Heyer

Books that I finished:

Nell by Jeanette Baker Review HERE

Imperfect Bliss by Susan Fales-Hill –review coming next week

What I am watching:

On the telly:

Once Upon A Time—not too thrilled with how season two opened. I loved Mr. Gold, played by Robert Carlyle, for the simple fact that he is played by Robert Carlyle, as for the rest I felt the show was lacking. I seriously hope it improves.

Two Broke Girls—loved season one, probably skip season two.

Greys Anatomy & Private Practice—Cancelled prescheduled dvr recordings for both shows.

Call The Midwife—I am loving this show.

Upstairs Downstairs—another great find.

What I am listening to:

Keith Harkin’s debut album, ‘Keith Harkin’—I will be giving away two copies tomorrow.


Best Wishes,

angela new

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Nell by Jeanette Baker


imagesCAO54HL1He came upon her in the light of the silver moon and knew instantly that they should meet without the trappings of wealth, family, and formality. For in the end, in the sweetly scented darkness, it would be just the two of them. Donal O’Flaherty didn’t see English versus Irish. He saw only Nell, and that was enough.

But Fate had another plan. Soon Nell is swept away to the treacherous Tudor court. Yet through the centuries and across generations, she would prove that neither prison bars nor the hands of time could stop the power of a love meant to be…. (from the back of the book)


First Thoughts After Reading The Blurb: A novel of second chances set in the Tudor Court during the English/Irish conflict sounds like a great read. Plus, I loved Jeanette Baker’s Scottish novels!

First Thoughts After Finishing The Novel: What did I just read?! Does no one check historical facts? Was this really a Jeanette Baker book?

The Plot:

Nell was actually two stories combined into one novel and I strongly believe that should have been two separate books.

Jillian & Frankie

The novel starts with a ten-year-old Jillian ‘Jilly’ Fitzgerald of Kildare Hall, who is a Protestant, developing a crush on fourteen-year-old Francis ‘Frankie’ Maguire who is described as a son of a Catholic working-class kennel keeper.

That was in 1972. The novel then skips to 1974, Jilly’s crush on Frankie is still going strong, and Frankie has started to develop feelings for her although he has other things on his mind such as going to Belfast and joining the IRA. When Frankie returns from Belfast he finds that Jilly’s brother Terrence has gotten his sister, Kathleen, pregnant and an odd turn of events leads to Terrence’s death. Frankie takes the blame and ends up in Long Kesh prison.

The novel then skips to 1979. Frankie has escaped from prison, changed his name to Danny Browne, and married a woman that is not Jilly. Frankie, or rather Danny Browne, is now the chief negotiator for the Sinn Fein. In 1986 Jilly married Avery Graham (the secretary to Northern Ireland who then becomes the acting minister) because he agreed to help her adopt her brother’s child.

In 1994 Jillian’s husband dies then she takes over as acting minister to Northern Ireland, which leads to Jilly and Frankie crossing paths. Although it takes a while for them to admit that they know each other.

Nell & Donal

Through Jillian and Frankie’s story we have the story of another Fitzgerald woman, Nell. Once again, she is Protestant and the man she loves, Donal, is a Catholic, which leads to them being separated then having to fight to find their way back to each other.

My Thoughts:

If the novel would have just focused on the story of Jilly & Frankie and developed it a little more or stuck to historical facts when dealing with Nell & Donal’s story I think that this would have been one of my favorites.

However the historical facts were thrown out the window with Nell & Donal’s story and while the author did say that she has “taken occasional liberty with history in order to create a more evocative and timely story” I feel that these were liberties that ruined the book. And if I am being honest, I skimmed over the majority of Nell’s story because of these liberties were just to over the top.

Just A Few Of The Liberties That Ruined The Book For Me:

-The novel features a very alive Gerald Fitzgerald, the 9th Earl of Kildare, yet the historical part of the novel takes place in 1537 and the Earl actually died in 1534. So, I suppose it should have been the ghost of the 9th Earl of Kildare rather than a living version of him

-Nell was actually Gerald Fitzgerald’s granddaughter, not his daughter, meaning she was young Gerald’s aunt, not his sister.

-Nell did marry a Donal, but not a Donal O’Flaherty. The Donal she married was a McCarty.

-Cardinal Wolsey was not executed. He was however arrested and died in jail.

Time Travel Aspect:

Throughout the novel, the ghost of Nell visits Jilly giving her advice. After Francis gets arrested, Nell takes Jilly back in time so she can gather information about what happened to the Geraldine’s after they were arrested by Henry VIII.

Book Details:

Title: Nell Author: Jeanette Baker

ISBN: 978-1-4022-5589-2

Publisher: Sourcebook Casablanca

Format I Read: Trade Paperback (ebook also available) $12.99

Source: Purchased from Barnes & Noble

Rating: I am not sure how to rate this one.

Best Wishes & Happy Reading,

angela new

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My Misadventures in Reading & Giveaway


The air is starting to cool. There is a gentle breeze rustling through the trees as the periodical cicadas and crickets play the tune of an autumn day. I have the entire day free and I know exactly what I am going to do with it: I am going to fix a nice pot of strong tea, grab a stack of books that I purchased the day before on my trip the bookstore, and head to the garden to read while the weather still permits it.

I pour myself a steaming cupper and grab my first book eager to lose myself in the world the author created. I read the first few pages and say to myself, “I think I have read this before”. I finish pemberley_by_the_sea2008wthe first chapter and say, “I have  read this before”. I close the book and read the title, Pemberley by  the Sea: A Modern Love Story Pride & Prejudice Style by Abigail Reynolds.

man_who_loved_pandp2010w2 I have read this book before, in fact, I reviewed it when Sourcebooks Casablanca rereleased it as The Man Who Loved Pride & Prejudice: A Modern Love Story With A Jane Austen Twist. I cannot believe that I purchased the same book that was sitting on my bookshelf—a book that I have read and reread several times.

I put the book down and pick-up another book—nonfiction this time—thinking that nonfiction titles rarely undergo a title change. I am excited about h8this book; it was the first one that I picked up at the  bookshop, Henry VIII by Alison Weir. I am eager to feed my Tudor addiction and one can never go wrong with an Alison Weir book. Expect when you have already read—and own—the book.


imagesCAL1JXD9 Seriously! I cannot believe I did it again. But sure enough, I have that book although its titled The King & His Court.  This is day of reading is not going well for me.


At this point, I am getting a bit frustrated—my tea is sitting on the stand practically untouched growing cold and I have wasted thirty bucks on two books that I already own. I pick up the third book, a contemporary cowboy romance, from my shrinking stack and get the notion to turn my phone on and Google it just to ensure that I have not read this book under another title. Although, I know that if I turn my phone on it will start ringing and I am determined to spend the day (my free day) tucked in my garden reading.

I start reading. Chapter one and two flies by, then three, then four, so far so good. I pour myself another tepid cupper start on chapter five and I get the sense that I have read this book before—only the names of the characters and the town they live in have been changed. This time I do turn my phone on and search out the book. This is the first time the book has ever been published, yet I still have the feeling that I have read this book somewhere before.

I head back to the house to fix another pot of tea and grab a tea cozy just in case I have another horrid encounter and need to run off to find another book. While I am waiting for the kettle to whistle, I search my bookshelf looking for another contemporary cowboy book that I have recently read. I find it, skim through the chapters and sure enough, even though the books are indeed two separate books by two separate authors they are alarmingly similar right down to the accident that occurred it stables only the color of the horse was changed.

I put the book down on the shelf and walk away.

By this time, I am wondering if I should just give up trying to read and watch one of the many versions of Jane Eyre that I have collected. Although I know that the weather is growing cooler and soon I will not be able to sit in the garden and read, so armed with my pot of Earl Grey, I head back out into the garden and pick up the last book in my stack.

Thankfully, I have not read this book or any version of it.

Has this happened to you? Have you grabbed a copy of a book because the cover is new and shiny and giving you that come hither and read me look only to realize that it was a reprint that is sitting on your shelf with a different title? Or have you read a book that was so similar to another book it makes you pause to see if they were wrote by the same author.

We spend so much time sharing our good experiences with book so I want to hear about your bad book experiences.

Giveaway Time:

I have 1 copy of Henry VIII by Alison Weir and 1 copy of Pemberley by  the Sea: A Modern Love Story Pride & Prejudice Style by Abigail Reynolds.

Leave a comment and a valid email address along with which book you would like to win.

Giveaway Ends October 16

Best Wishes,



As you may have noticed, Renee’s Reads is now titled ‘Simply Angela’. It’s the same great blog only the name has been changed. I am keeping the url the same, so those of you who are email subscribers have nothing to fear.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mailbox Monday and Update


Mailbox Monday

is a gathering place for readers to share the books that

came into their house last week and explore great book blogs.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Our September host is: Kristen @ BookNAround

Books I Received For Review:

Historical Fiction


Contemporary Fiction


Books I Purchased:






Books Read and Reviewed

Over The Edge by Mary Connealy

What lovelies did you find in your postbox?

Best Wishes & Happy Reading,

Angela Renee

Over the Edge by Mary Connealy


  1. Title: Over The Edge
  2. Series: The Kincaid Brides, Book 3
  3. Author: Mary Connealy
  4. ISBN: 978-0-7642-0913-0
  5. Publisher: Bethany House
  6. Format: Trade Paperback
  7. $14.99
  8. Source: Trade Paperback from Publishers
  9. Rating: Rating 3




Seth Kincaid survived a fire in a cave, but he hasn’t been the same since. Then he fought in the Civil War and returned to Colorado crazier than ever.

Somewhere along the line, it appears Seth got married. Oh, he has a lot of excuses, but his wife isn’t too happy to out Seth doesn’t remember her. Callie isn’t a long-suffering woman. When Seth disappeared, she searched, prayed and worried. Now she’s come out west to wrangle her long-lost husband.

Seth is willing to make amends. Callie is more interested in shooting him. Can they rekindle their love before one of them goes over the edge? (from the back of the book)

My Thoughts:

Series Alert:

This is the third book in The Kincaid Brides Trilogy, although it’s the first one that I have read. While it reads well as a standalone, I felt that I was missing certain pieces needed to fully enjoy the story. It also felt as though I was missing critical backstories of Seth’s brothers as well as the danger that had visited the Kincaids.

The Plot:

Callie, a tough as nails woman from Texas, goes searching for the husband who abandoned her. Finding herself in the midst of a coach robbery, she has no choice but to fight them off. Seth finds Callie injured then realizes that she is his wife that he doesn’t quite recall and he has no choice to care for her and the son he did not realize he had.

Seth is plagued by a tragic cave accident that happened during his youth and left him with horrid scars on his back. He is also plagued with a crazy nature yet he has no choice but to accept the responsibility of his wife and child and a newly discovered brother that came from his deceased father’s secret family.

Bringing his new family back to the Kincaid ranch Seth must find a way to ease his conscience, remember his wife, and save his family from the man seeking the diamond’s his sister-in-laws first husband stole.

The Characters:

Callie-She was likeable. A strong character with a ‘I will do it my way’ attitude, although there was really nothing grand to make her a memorable character.

Seth—He was an odd choice for a main character and I am family sure he should have been Bedlam bound. His character had potential to be complex although his personal struggle was mentioned it was not developed well enough to have any weight. Other than being as mad as mad can be, there was nothing too grand about him.

Secondary Characters--The secondary characters were not developed well enough to make mention of.

Overall Opinion:

An occasionally humorous novel with Western themes and cowboy troubles that offered a little light reading with nothing more to recommend it.

Would I read the previous books in the trilogy?

I *may* read them if I happen upon them to see if it improves my feelings towards this novel, but I will not go out of my way to search them out.

Best Wishes & Happy Reading,

Angela Renee

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires by Molly Harper



Title: The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires

Series: Half Moon Hollow book 2

Author: Molly Harper

ISBN: 978-1-4516-4183-7

Publisher: Pocket Star Books

Format: Mass Market Paperback $7.99

Source: Publisher Rating: rating 5


“The thing to remember about a ‘stray’ vampire is that there is probably a good reason he is friendless, alone, and wounded. Approach with caution.”

Iris Scanlon, Half-Moon Hollow’s only daytime vampire concierge, knows more about the undead than she’d like. Running their daylight errands—from letting in the plumber to picking up some chilled Faux Type O—gives her a look at the not-so-glamorous side of vamps. Her rules are strict; relationships are purely business, not friendship—and certainly not anything more. Then she finds her newest client, Cal, poisoned on his kitchen floor, and her quiet life turns upside down.

Cal—who would be devastatingly sexy, if Iris thought vampires were sexy—offers Iris a hefty fee for hiding him at her place. And even though he’s imperious, unfriendly, and doesn’t seem to understand the difference between “employee” and “servant,” she agrees. But as they search for who wants him permanently dead, Iris is breaking more and more of her own rules . . . particularly those about nudity. Could it be that what she really needs is some intrigue and romance—and her very own stray vampire? (from the back of the book)

My Thoughts:  

I completely forgot that this book was the second book in Molly Harper’s Half Moon Hollow series so I read it before I read, or rather listened to, Driving Mr. Dead. (Nothing to worry about—the book didn’t burst into flames, my eyeballs didn’t fall out of head, no member of the undead community came by to sample my blood, more importantly I was not lost as these books are stand alone reads.)

As Half-Moon Hollow’s only daytime vampire concierge, Iris Scanlon has had to do some rather odd things although she has made sure to limit her contact with her undead clients to a minimum—preferably none at all if she can get by with it. However, when she trips over her newest client, Cal, who has been poisoned, her ‘no mingling with her clients’ rule flies out the window.

Bringing Cal into her home she must figure out how to cohabitate with the sexy vampire whilst trying to care for her teenage sister and figure out who is trying reduce Cal to a not so flattering pile of ash.

There is something about Molly Harper’s wicked witty humor that I cannot get enough of. Each time I pick up one of her books I know that hilarity is going to ensue and while The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires was not as funny as her Jane Jameson series it was still jammed packed with lol moments.

For those of you who have read her Jane Jameson series (or Nice Girls series—which ever you prefer to call the series is fine by me, as my book club had a lively twenty-minute discussion a few nights ago about the correct title.) you will recognize several characters. Although if you have not had the pleasure of reading the previous series worry not as the book does stand brilliantly on its own by giving the reader the ample amount of info on the characters, both new and old.

Filled with paranormal hilarity that only Molly Harper can create The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires offers witty characters, a can’t put it down plot, romantic tension, and thankfully vampires that do not sparkle.

I read this book in less than fours and simply cannot wait for the next book, Witch Hunt.

I must applaud the art department because I think this cover is absolutely stunning.

Best Wishes & Happy Reading,

Angela Renee

Friday, September 14, 2012

Driving Mr. Dead by Molly Harper review & Giveaway

51RqZ7e8XKL__SL500_AA300_PIaudible,BottomRight,13,73_AA300_ Title: Driving Mr. Dead

Series: Half Moon Hollow book 1

Author: Molly Harper

Publisher: Audible, Inc.


Format: Unabridged Audio  $17.95 Narrator: Amanda Ronconi

Source: Purchased from Audible

Rating: rating 5

Driving Mr. Dead

After failing as a magician's assistant, a photographer, and most recently, a bride, Miranda Puckett takes a position as a driver for Beeline, Half-Moon Hollow's premiere vampire concierge service.

Miranda's assignment? Driving Collin Sutherland, the world's most fastidious vampire from Washington to Kentucky, so he can deliver a mysterious black case to Council official Ophelia Lambert.

Collin, a paranoid, aristocratic vampire with a debilitating fear of flying, refuses to let the case out of his sight. Miranda needs this time on the road to decide whether to permanently cut her ties with the fiance that had an "emotional affair" with a childhood pal, but Collin’s neatnik tendencies are driving her around the bend. The man acts as if leaving a fast food wrapped on the passenger seat is reason for a full-on CDC de-contamination scrub-down of the car. All she can do is promise to stop intentionally doing the things that make his stiff upper lip twitch with irritation.

As more and more mishaps occur on the road trip from hell, Miranda and Collin work together to meet his delivery deadline. Hotel rooms are destroyed. Beloved cars are defiled. And somewhere along the line, client-driver hostilities become snarky flirtation.

Will Collin and Miranda make it to the Hollow in one piece? And if they do, will Miranda leave old, safe relationships behind for something new and well, just plain weird?

My Thoughts:

I have a confession to make. I broke my ‘I will *NEVER* listen to an audiobook’ rule.

I know, odd right? Me, the lady who hates to listen to people reading aloud (it’s one of my top pet peeves) bought and listened to an audiobook (no, I wasn’t captured by the audiobook pirates and forced to listen it while they made me swab the deck, I purchased it myself of my own free and eager will).

More shockingly, I enjoyed it! Yes, you read that right, I, Angela, enjoyed listening to –dare I say it—an audiobook! That should be proof enough of my addition to all things Half Moon Hollow.

Driving Mr. Dead is exactly what the title said. Miranda Puckett, Beeline’s (a daytime vampire concierge service owned by Iris Scanlon) newest employee and walking disaster, has been given her first assignment: Pick up reclusive and undeniably sexy vampire, Collin Sutherland in Washington and bring him to Half Moon Hollow.

Piece of cake, right? Although with Miranda’s past record of on the job fires, things could get very interesting especially since Collin is highly flammable.

As the drive –and the chaos— progresses, Miranda and Collin grow closer.

I really thoroughly enjoyed Driving Mr. Dead, although I wished that it would have been longer than just a novella. The narrator was enjoyable as well and I thought that she was the perfect pick for this novella.

Collin was a bit on the OCD side of life and Miranda was a total klutz with no solid direction in life, which made for an interesting pairing. We also see a few of the Half Moon Hollow friendlies popping up towards the ending of the novella.

A perfect introduction to a Jane Jameson spin-off series. Although I will admit I listened to this book after reading the second in the series and had no problem reading/listening to them out of order.

If you are not a fan of audiobook, Driving Mr. Dead is also available as an ebook. Sadly, it is not available as a print book.

Giveaway Time:

Giveaway is International

Two lucky winners will win their choice of either an audiobook or an ebook of Driving Mr. Dead.

To Enter leave your name and a valid email address.

Giveaway Ends: September 21

Best Wishes & Happy Reading (or in this case, listening)

Angela Renee

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Molly Harper Reviews & Worldwide Giveaway

Hello Dear Readers!

I hope that you are well! I was unable to post yesterday due to a blog malfunction so I will treat you to two reviews today! Today will be the end of my reviews of Molly Harper’s Jane Jameson series. In addition, you will get two more chances to enter the Molly Harper Prize Pack. The giveaway is worldwide!

The more you comment, the more chances you will have to win.

Here are the links to the previous reviews & giveaway opportunities:

Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs

Nice Girls Don’t Dead Date Men



Title: Nice Girls Don’t Live Forever

Series: Jane Jameson series book 3

Author: Molly Harper

ISBN: 978-1-4165-8944-0

Publisher: Pocket Star Books

Source: Publisher $7.99

Rating: rating 4



Nothing sucks the romance out of world travel like a boyfriend who may or may not have broken up with you in a hotel room in Brussels. Jane Jameson's sexy sire Gabriel has always been unpredictable, but the seductive, anonymous notes that await him at each stop of their international vacation, coupled with his evasive behavior over the past few months, finally push Jane onto the next flight home to Half Moon Hollow -- alone, upset, and unsure whether Gabriel just ended their relationship without actually telling her.

Now the children's-librarian-turned-vampire is reviving with plenty of Faux Type O, some TLC from her colorful friends and family, and her plans for a Brave New Jane. Step One: Get her newly renovated occult bookstore off the ground. Step Two: Support her best friend, Zeb, and his werewolf bride as they prepare for the impending birth of their baby...or litter. Step Three: Figure out who's been sending her threatening letters, and how her hostile pen pal is tied to Gabriel. Because for this nice girl, surviving a broken heart is suddenly becoming a matter of life and undeath.... (from the back of the book)

My Thoughts:

Book 2 (Nice Girls Don’t Date Dead Men) ended with Gabriel offering Jane an overseas holiday. Immediately I thought ‘oh, the places they will go’… Sadly, the only place they went was the hotel, then due to Gabriel’s super-secret-I’m-not-talking-about-the-mysterious-letters-scrawled-in-a-woman’s-hand ways, Jane left a not too bother about her leaving Gabriel and returned to her undead life at Moon Hollow.

While I enjoyed this installment, I did not think that it was in the same league as the rest of the series. It almost seemed as though the author was in a writing slump. At times, I was annoyed with Jane because rather than questioning Gabriel she turned and fled. Yet I still enjoyed the tension between the two of them. I also enjoyed Jane’s frolic with the chamber of commence.

Overall, it was still an enjoyable edition to the Jane Jameson series.


Nice Girls Don’t Sign a Lease Without a Wedding Ring

(Jane Jameson #3.5)

Source: Author’s Blog you may read it HERE

Because I am a Jane Jameson addict, I had to read the funny little add-on short story that explains how Jane & Gabriel moved into each other. I love when authors give readers little bonus reads like this.


imagesCABJR386 Title: Nice Girls Don’t Bite Their Neighbors

Series: Jane Jameson series book 3

Author: Molly Harper

ISBN: 978-1-4516-4181-3

Publisher: Pocket Star Books

Format: Mass Market Paperback $7.99

Source: Publisher

Rating: rating 5


Just as Jane Jameson’s unlife seems to be stabilizing, fate sinks its fangs firmly into her butt. Despite her near-phobia of wedding planning, her no-frills nighttime nuptials to her sexy boyfriend, Gabriel, are coming along smoothly. That is, until she turns a fatally wounded teenage acquaintance, and the Council pronounces her responsible for the newborn vamp until he can control his thirst.

Jane’s kitchen barely holds enough Faux Type O to satiate the cute teen’s appetite and maintain Gabriel’s jealous streak at a slow simmer. As if keeping her hyperactive childe from sucking the blood out of the entire neighborhood isn’t enough to deal with, the persnickety ghost of Jane’s newly deceased grandma Ruthie has declared war on the fanged residents of River Oaks. Suddenly choosing monogrammed cocktail napkins and a cake she can’t even eat seem downright relaxing in comparison.

Tensions inside the house are growing…and outside, a sinister force is aiming a stake straight for the center of Gabriel’s heart. Most brides just have to worry about choosing the right dress, but Jane fears that at this rate, she’ll never make it down the aisle for the wedding all nice girls dream of… (from the back of the book)

My Thoughts:

This is the fourth (and I do believe the final—gasp what will I do with the wacky antics of Jane Jameson?) book in the Jane Jameson series and it still had me as spellbound as the first.

The slump that I found in book three (see the review above) has completely disappeared and Molly Harper is back to her wicked witty writing that has me staying up until the wee hours of the morn to finish the book.

In this installment, we have Jane & Gabriel living together and trying work on having a healthy adult relationship. However, we know that if Jane is involved something will go awry and it did in the form of Jane creating a childe of her own. It just so happens that this childe in particular was one of the kids Jane used to babysit and now will forever be a teenager.

Jane and Gabriel must figure out the skill of co-habitation while also getting a crash course on parenting a modern teen.

I loved this book, and I must admit was a little (okay completely) sad to say goodbye to the characters. I could go on forever about this series but I will leave it to you, dear readers, to discover how it ends.

If you love light, witty contemporary vampire comedies then the Jane Jameson series should be on your must read list.

The Molly Harper Pack contains:

Mass Market Paperbacks of the following:

Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs

Nice Girls Don’t Date Dead Men

Nice Girls Don’t Live Forever

Nice Girls Don’t Bite Their Neighbors

The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires

1 Handmade Salt glazed Goblet (made by a lovely and talented friend of mine)

1 Tin of Cranberry Blood Orange Tea from The Republic of Tea (not pictured)

1 Tin of Hot Apple Cider Tea from The Republic of Tea (not pictured)


As I have devoted this week to Molly Harper’s Vampire novels, each day of the week I will feature a review of the books in the series.

To be entered for this Molly Harper Pack, leave your name and a valid email address.

If you comment on each review during Molly Harper Week, you will receive extra entries.

Extra entries will also be given to followers of the blog


Best Wishes & Happy Reading,

Angela Renee

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Nice Girls Don’t Date Dead Men by Molly Harper & Giveaway


Title: Nice Girls Don’t Date Dead Men

Series: Jane Jameson series book 2

Author: Molly Harper

ISBN: 978-1-4165-8943-3

Publisher: Pocket Star Books

Source: Publisher $7.99

Rating:rating 5 


Following Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs, the second in a hilarious, smart, sexy romantic series about an out-of-work librarian who is turned into a vampire.

With her best friend Zeb’s Titanic-themed wedding looming ahead, new vampire Jane Jameson struggles to develop her budding relationship with her enigmatic sire, Gabriel. It seems unfair that she’s expected to master undead dating while dealing with a groom heading for a nuptial nervous breakdown, his hostile werewolf in-laws, and the ugliest bridesmaid dress in the history of marriage.

Meanwhile, the passing of Jane’s future step-grandpa puts Grandma Ruthie back on the market. Her new fiancé, Wilbur, has his own history of suspiciously dead spouses, and he may or may not have died ten years ago. Half-Moon Hollow’s own Black Widow has finally met her match.

Should Jane warn her grandmother of Wilbur’s marital habits or let things run their course? Will Jane always be an undead bridesmaid, never the undead bride? (from the back of the book)

My Thoughts:

Nice Girls Don’t Date Dead Men is the second installment of Molly Harper’s Jane Jameson series and it more or less picks up from where the first book leaves off.

In this installment of Jane’s Adventures As A Member of the Undead, we see her relationship with Gabriel progress (okay so its more like a rollercoaster ride given that Gabriel is Jane’s sire and she is often times an highly independent child). We also get all the little odd (and occasionally harmful) details of Zeb & Jolene’s impending wedding. I hope Zeb has good health insurance considering that Jolene’s werewolf family seem intent on injuring him (weapons involved include but are not limited to bottles, traps, and fishhooks).

Of course, Jane’s family is still in denial over Jane receiving her official welcome basket from the Undead Committee. And we see her grandmother Ruth, who is now on the hunt for new husband after burying yet another husband, getting involved with a monster of her own, even though she cannot accept Jane’s new condition (although I am fairly sure given their relationship Jane could have been elected president and her gran would still find something to complain about).

Overall this book was another fangtastic read from the highly comedic Molly Harper. While not as funny as the first book, it still had me laughing aloud while those around me looked at me as if I had gone mad.

And while I love, Gabriel it seems that Dick stole the book as his character came into his own in this installment.

Giveaway Time!

Having read, loved, devoured Molly Harper’s Jane Jameson series I thought that I would do a giveaway.


The Molly Harper Pack contains:

Mass Market Paperbacks of the following:

Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs

Nice Girls Don’t Date Dead Men

Nice Girls Don’t Live Forever

Nice Girls Don’t Bite Their Neighbors

The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires

1 Handmade Salt glazed Goblet (made by a lovely and talented friend of mine)

1 Tin of Cranberry Blood Orange Tea from The Republic of Tea (not pictured)

1 Tin of Hot Apple Cider Tea from The Republic of Tea (not pictured)


As I have devoted this week to Molly Harper’s Vampire novels, each day of the week I will feature a review of the books in the series.

To be entered for this Molly Harper Pack, leave your name and a valid email address.

If you comment on each review during Molly Harper Week, you will receive extra entries.

Extra entries will also be given to followers of the blog as well as those who answer the question of the day.

Today’s question:

Zeb and Jolene have a Titanic themed wedding. If you were a werewolf marrying a human, what wedding theme would have chosen? I for one would so be playing Duran Duran at the reception.

Giveaway Ends September 17

All items were purchased by me.


Best Wishes & Happy Reading,

Angela Renee

Monday, September 10, 2012

Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs by Molly Harper Giveaway


Title: Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs

Series: Jane Jameson series, book 1

Author: Molly Harper

ISBN: 978-1-4165-8942-6

Publisher: Pocket Star Books

Format: Mass Market Paperback $7.99

Source: Publisher

Rating: rating 5



Maybe it was the Shenanigans gift certificate that put her over the edge. When children’s librarian and self-professed nice girl Jane Jameson is fired by her beastly boss and handed twenty-five dollars in potato skins instead of a severance check, she goes on a bender that’s sure to become Half Moon Hollow ledged. On her way home, she’s mistaken for a deer, shot, and left for dead. And tanks to the mysterious stranger she met while chugging neon-colored cocktails, she wakes up with a decidedly unladylike thirst for blood.

Jane is now the latest recipient of a gift basket from the Newly Undead Welcoming Committee, and her life-after-lifestyle is taking some getting used to. Her recently deceased favorite aunt is now her ghostly roommate. She has to fake breathing and endure daytime hours to avoid coming out of the coffin to her family. She's forced to forgo her favorite down-home Southern cooking for bags of O negative. Her relationship with her sexy, mercurial vampire sire keeps running hot and cold. And if all that wasn't enough, it looks like someone in Half Moon Hollow is trying to frame her for a series of vampire murders. What's a nice undead girl to do? (from the back of the book)

My Thoughts:

Fired from her job, spent her severance Shenanigans gift certificate on drinks that glowed, mistaken for a deer and shot by the town drunk, then turned into a vampire by the hot guy she flirted with at the bar.

To say that Jane Jameson was having a bad day would be a bit of an understatement although once undead always undead so she must suck it up and start getting accustomed to her new life (or should that be unlife?). Yet being a newly created member of the undead community is a tad bit easier than actually telling your parents that you have died and grown fangs, dealing with a sister that you squabbled with whilst being a member of living community (imagine the magnitude of the fights once she realizes Jane is undead), and there is the whole I-think-I-love-my-sire-although-he-is-way-more-mysterious-and-has-far-too-many-issues-to-even-be-considering-entering-into-a-relationship-with-him-but-the-attraction-is-too-much-to-bear-so-I-will-give-it-a-go thing Jane has to figure out. And, as though that isn’t bad enough, she is being set-up to take the fall for a string of vampire murders.

Throughout Jane’s Adventures in Undead Land, we see her making new friends of the paranormal variety, trying to dine on her best friend Zeb (who meets a love interest at the local support group for friends and family of the undead), fighting off Missy, a psychotic undead realtor (although I haven’t met too many realtors that haven’t been a little on the batty side of life), all the while trying to avoid having to consume her mama’s potpies (which Jane’s mother believes is the cure-all for everything). Plus she has to deal with her sire, Gabriel’s dislike of Dick Chaney (not the former vp, but a sleazy vampire, with a closet full of t-shirts he may have robbed from a college boys closet, that you love to hate who  happens to be Jane’s friend and Gabriel’s childhood friend from the Civil War days that he has had a falling out with over some gambling debt).

Having read devoured Molly Harper’s Naked Werewolf series I knew that it was of the upmost importance for me to read her Jane Jameson series, so when Pocket Books asked me if I wanted to review them, I jumped at the chance (plus I did a wee little Happy Snoopy dance but that’s another story).

Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs, was funny, witty, enjoyable, and unable to put down. Jane’s transition from children’s library to member of the undead was well worth reading. The characters were brilliantly snarky, truth be told I could see myself being friends with them as we share the same odd sense of humor. And while I loved the whole lot of them (main and secondary), I was eager to find out more about Gabriel and while we see a bit of his backstory in the first novel it wasn’t nearly enough which left me yearning next installment.

Overall Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs was a sinfully delicious, humor-filled, light romance whose main character had an addition to Jane Austen as well as useless trivia (although I did learn that the dot over an ‘i’ is called a title)

Here is one of my favorite bits:

“I am your sire. I am to guide you through your first days as a vampire. Your first feeding is a rite of passage, a sacrament. It will not be wasted on some hormone-driven frenzy. This is why I wanted you to feed from me.”

“I will not drink it in a house, I will not drink it with a mouse. I will not drink it here or there, I will not drink it anywhere,” I wheezed, hoping I was able to communicate adequate sarcasm through the crippling belly cramps.

“Did you just quote Green Eggs and Ham?”

For future reference, my sire did not appreciate being silently flipped the bird by his panting, twitching, protégé.

― Molly Harper, Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs page 39

Giveaway Time!

Having read, loved, devoured Molly Harper’s Jane Jameson series I thought that I would do a giveaway.


The Molly Harper Pack contains:

Mass Market Paperbacks of the following:

Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs

Nice Girls Don’t Date Dead Men

Nice Girls Don’t Live Forever

Nice Girls Don’t Bite Their Neighbors

The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires

1 Handmade Salt glazed Goblet (made by a lovely and talented friend of mine)

1 Tin of Cranberry Blood Orange Tea from The Republic of Tea (not pictured)

1 Tin of Hot Apple Cider Tea from The Republic of Tea (not pictured)


As I have devoted this week to Molly Harper’s Vampire novels, each day of the week I will feature a review of the books in the series.

To be entered for this Molly Harper Pack, leave your name and a valid email address.

If you comment on each review during Molly Harper Week, you will receive extra entries.

Extra entries will also be given to followers of the blog as well as those who answer the question of the day.

Today’s question:

What is your favorite Vampire movie or television show?

Giveaway Ends September 17

All items were purchased by me.

Best Wishes & Happy Reading,

Angela Renee

Monday, August 27, 2012

Mailbox Monday and Update



Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Our August host is: Jennifer D at 5 Minutes for Books

Here are the lovelies that I found in my mailbox!

Books For Review:

imagesCALAD328 The Care & Feeding of Stray Vampires by Molly Harper

imagesCAKNNWKM The Runaway Princess by Hester Browne

imagesCAXP0OQ8 A Dangerous Liaison with Detective Lewis by Jillian Stone

imagesCA46PZ10 Eve & Adam by Michael Grant

merly streep movie club The Meryl Streep Movie Club by Mia March

For Fun:




Books Read Over The Weekend:

molly harper  

What lovelies did you find in your mailbox?


Best Wishes & Happy Reading,

Angela Renee