review

Review of Special Agent Charli by Mimi Barbour

After a mad yet exciting race to finish my novella for the Love, Christmas 2 box set where I’m teaming up with 25 awesome bestselling authors, this was the first almost-free weekend I’ve had in a couple of months. What better way to spend it than reading a great book? My TBR pile is – well – piling up, but I’ve been sitting on this book for a while and craving the time to read it. I’m talking about Special Agent Charli, book #6 in the Undercover FBI series by Mimi Barbour.51tIADJ9SLL

This was the first book I’ve read from this author, and I confess I am hooked. I was reluctant to start a book in a series I knew nothing about, but I discovered the stories can be read and enjoyed as stand-alones, and one does not have to read other books in the series unless they want to – trust me, you will! Why? Find out from the 5* review I gave to this novel:

Burned out and craving a wonderful vacation with her beloved Gramps, special FBI agent Carolina “Charli” Madison is not too pleased when forced to change her plans, in order to protect Alicia, a troubled teenage girl who witnessed a murder. Since the killer is a notorious slippery gun for hire the bureau had their sights on for years, she accepts to protect the girl by pretending to be her step sister. Assigned to asist her is Major Blake Sebastian, who’s supposed to play the role of her ex-fiance. Her sexy fellow cop likes women a lot, but in his mid thirties he doesn’t enjoy his wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am lifestyle as much as he used to. While stuck under the same roof with Charli and Alicia, he begins to appreciate the rewards of settling down. And as the thriller/crime side of the story unfolds, Charli and Blake make a great team against a worthy adversary. All in all, a great read that has a bit of everything, and made me wistfully wish I had a Poppa John in my life, with all his kindness, quirkiness and ageless, non-judgmental humor. It was my first book by, Mimi Barbour, and I have discovered a new favorite author!

The Undercover FBI Series Books:

Special Agent Francesca – Undercover FBI Series Book #1
Special Agent Finnegan – Undercover FBI Series Book #2
Special Agent Maximilian – Undercover FBI Book #3
Special Agent Kandice – Undercover FBI Book 4
Special Agent Booker – Undercover FBI Book #5

BUY IT TODAY FROM Amazon !

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Review: MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA by Arthur Golden

929As most of you probably know by now, I’m a voracious reader and a total book addict. Which is why I’ve decided to make a special section on my blog to post reviews of my favorite books. Since I have thousands of books I like – literally – probably I won’t be able to write about all of them. Not in this lifetime anyway. But speaking of that, Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha is one of those books you must read at least once in your life.

A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel presents with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japan’s most celebrated geisha.
In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl’s virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction – at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful – and completely unforgettable.

I’ve read this book for the first time about ten years ago, and I confess I was lost in the storytelling more than in the depth of the characters. However, when I’ve reread it again recently, I discovered how much feeling the author has poured into it. As a longtime fan of Japanese literature, I sensed the difference in the writing style of American author Arthur Golden, who sometimes exaggerates in his efforts to showcase the solid research he’s done about the Japanese culture. However, even if not perfectly accurate, Golden paints a vivid picture of the Geishas and creates a compelling plot that’s definitely worth reading. The story is powerful not just because of the controversial and emotional subject, but also because it’s exotic and gives the reader a good insight into a mysterious, almost forbidden world – the life of a Geisha. That alone makes this book worth reading, not only for entertainment, but also because it’s an interesting piece of history cleverly disguised as bestselling fiction. Five stars!

I also recommend the following books, written in a similar style and guaranteed to draw you in:

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And a selection of movies you should see at least once in a lifetime, from one movie aficionado to another:

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Review: Some Lucky Woman by Carmen DeSousa

Morning, peeps! I don’t know about you, but spring — when it’s finally sunny and warm as it should be! — always puts me in the mood for reading some chicklit. So a couple of days ago I picked up Some Lucky Woman by Carmen DeSousa — I went for the audio version, because this is my favorite format. The only thing I can’t do while listening to a book is vacuum, but one of these days I plan to buy myself one of those new silent vacuums.2307321_orig

Anyway, this is my second book by Carmen DeSousa, after Love Like Crazy, and I’m not just hooked, but amazed of how versatile this author can be. She tackles the chicklit genre just as well as she does young adult, suspense, and paranormal romance. With this audio book, she literally had me laughing out loud from the first paragraphs, in such a well written scene that is enhanced by a great narrator, whose interpretation is suitably quirky. Jana is your average woman with high intelligence and bad luck in love. Add a cheating ex-husband named Dick in the picture… Go figure! After she divorces him, her professional life becomes her focus, and soon she becomes a successful writer — that’s what I call living the dream! Her love life on the other hand is inexistent. That is, until she meets the handsome Adrian…
Overall, I thought this was a lovely, light-hearted journey that kept me smiling and wishing I were Jana, even in the trickiest of situations, which she treats with the best weapon she has : humor and sarcasm. Not to mention I was thrilled to see there’s a second book in the series: Down on Her Luck. Can you guess what I’m doing today? 😀

If this book appeals to you, I’ve also put together a selection of similar books you might like. I’ve read and LOVE all of them — reviews to come! ❤

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Review of The Diary from InD’tale Magazine

Good Sunday morning, everyone! It’s a dreary, cloudy day here, one of those days when you just want to cuddle with a good book, a huge mug of hot chocolate and a spouse/kid/pet by your side. Lucky you if you have all of that AND time to read. 😀

My day has suddenly brightened an hour ago, when I saw that InD’tale Magazine has finally reviewed my book, The Diary, which I submitted in August 2017. I was a little anxious  because I know this magazine is quite exigent, and The Diary is one of my best books, so imagine my delight when I saw it got a 4 star review from Majanka Verstraete!

Without any more preamble, here is the much-expected review:

The diary teaser

stars-4 GOTHIC:  In Transylvania, a castle is uncovered that once belonged to Erzsébet Báthory, the infamous Blood Countess. Cameraman Hunter Cole and journalist Serena Scott are called to the castle to make a documentary about the discovery. The more they work together, the more they’re drawn to one another, as Serena uncovers certain hidden depths to Hunter’s character. As tension lingers between them and the attraction between them grows, can they still keep things professional? When in a nearby village, two girls are tortured and killed in a manner very similar to Báthory’s modus operandi, Serena and Hunter fear they might have a copycat killer on their hands. Then the question arises: who will be next?

As far as murder mysteries go, “The Diary” is quite solid, with a few unexpected twists. The throwback to Báthory’s way of working is intriguing too, as the Blood Countess was certainly an interesting historical figure, although quite frightening and deadly too. The author shines when describing atmosphere, not just in the old, decrepit castle, but also in the nearby village. There’s a palpable sense of isolation for both characters, contradicted only by the growing bond between them. Fans of mystery novels, especially ones with a lot of romance and historic twists, will definitely enjoy this book.

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Why bother?

We’ve all read books we liked at one time or another. And books we disliked. But how many of you bother to leave a review? I confess I’ve read thousands of books so far, but before I became an author myself, I didn’t even know much about reviews, how important they are to a writer and why.leave a review

I don’t know about other authors, but I learn very much from each review I receive. I learn what the readers like and dislike about my writing, I realize mistakes I wasn’t aware of making and learn to value the good points of my writing style. Simply put, reviews continuously help me grow as an author. Even the critic ones (I never call them bad) have helped me judge my writing and see it through someone else’s eyes.

I always try to make criticism constructive, but it’s important for an author to know which reviewers make a valid point. Some writers get depressed and discouraged when they get a negative review. I rarely do. Instead, I try to pick the bits and pieces that make sense, and separate them from the reviewer’s personal opinions. For instance, a reader who is a BDSM fan will never like my anti-BDSM comments. I can’t help that, nor can I let it change my own opinions. But when several readers have complained about some of my sentences being too long, I did try to rectify that, without changing my distinctive author voice.

And that’s why I began writing reviews myself for the books that have made an impression on me, whether it was good or bad. It’s not only to voice my opinion about the story, but also to help those authors improve and grow, just like I am doing all the time.

If my readers are happy, that makes me happy. So if you’ve already read my books or want to give them a chance, I would truly appreciate if you stopped by and let me know your thoughts. Each and every one of them matter. ❤ ❤ ❤

Melinda De Ross’s Amazon page: http://goo.gl/2nH9cC