Her Free Reads











Sex in a Sidecar by Phyllis Smallman Summary (from the author’s official site): Florida has two seasons. The rainy season brings hurricanes, the dry season delivers tourists – both can be nasty.

Sherri Travis is tending bar at the Bath and Tennis Club where two women have been murdered. A rich socialite, who comes in daily for her quota of side-cars, decides to commit suicide by being the next victim,but first she has to decide who the murderer is.

Sherri pours the drinks and listens to the stories, trying to make sense of it all.

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I wish there was a little more time spent on some of the extra characters or some would have been omitted completely. Many only appear once and don’t contribute to the story. The killer felt too obvious, but somehow managed to catch me a little off guard at the same time.

Sherri is enjoyable throughout the book. I instantly liked her from the moment I started reading. Despite having the tendency to ramble, the action sequences and the hurricane fly by very quickly and in a believable way. I will be adding the Sherri Travis novels to my wishlist.

Verdict: 7
A murder-mystery crossed with chick-lit this book is a lot of fun. It’s worth a read if you are into similar types of books like the Stephanie Plum and Bubbles Yablonski novels.

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Summary (from goodreads.com):

Seventeen-year-old Louisa Cosgrove longs to break free from her respectable life as a Victorian doctor’s daughter. But her dreams become a nightmare when Louisa is sent to Wildthorn Hall: labeled a lunatic, deprived of her liberty and even her real name. As she unravels the betrayals that led to her incarceration, she realizes there are many kinds of prison. She must be honest with herself – and others – in order to be set free. And love may be the key…

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I requested Wildthorn because of the cover, which is absolutely gorgeous. 

This book has four parts. (Five, if you count the epilogue.) Part One is very slow. It focuses on Louisa’s arrival to the asylum as she continues to have flashbacks to her childhood up until her arrival. Things pick up pace and get more interesting in Part Two and continue nicely into Parts Three and Four.

The book as a whole is just a little too modern. I found myself more interested in some of the other characters who were a bit more in-sync with the times. Louisa complains about not being allowed to do the same things  men do, but fails to acknowledge how all women are oppressed in the same way and finds it shocking that  she, a well-to-do young lady, is expected to marry, keep house, and have children. Fortunately, this does die down after Part One without her changing her ideology. Outside of Louisa, no one finds her being a lesbian strange or different. It’s one thing in these more enlightened times, but back in the sexually repressed Victorian era I find it hard to believe. The ending tends to wrap up just a little too neatly. The “good guys” receive exactly what they want and the “bad guys” are punished. However, this is a young adult book, so it’s to be expected.

I like the themes presented in this book. The ideas of women being able to work any job we want,  it’s okay to fall in love no matter who it turns out to be, and patient rights. It felt as though there was a little too much being juggled at once. If any one of the themes had been removed, things would have flowed better, but I can understand why the author went the route she did. The epilogue was nice. I dreaded a completely unbelievable fairy-tale ending, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Verdict: 4
It does a nice job at presenting the issues of various human rights, but it wasn’t for me. Might be worth a look if you are curious about the mistreatment of patients in asylums during the Victorian era or interested in GLBT teen/young-adult romance.

.~*♥ Shannon

Note: Despite being an “advanced reading copy”, this book was originally published in 2009, but was released in paperback September 2010.

*It originally published in 2009, but was released in paperback September 2010.*


The Mermaid's Mirror - L.K. Madigan Summary (from goodreads.com):
Lena has lived her whole life near the beach—walking for miles up and down the shore and breathing the salty air, swimming in the cold water, and watching the surfers rule the waves—the problem is, she’s spent her whole life just watching.

As her sixteenth birthday approaches, Lena vows she will no longer watch from the sand: she will learn to surf.

But her father – a former surfer himself – refuses to allow her to take lessons. After a near drowning in his past, he can’t bear to let Lena take up the risky sport.

Yet something lures Lena to the water … an ancient, powerful magic. One morning Lena catches sight of this magic: a beautiful woman—with a silvery tail.

Nothing will keep Lena from seeking the mermaid, not even the dangerous waves at Magic Crescent Cove.

And soon … what she sees in the mermaid’s mirror will change her life …

.~*.*~.~*.*~.~*.*~.~*.*~.~*.*~.~*.*~.

The first half dragged quite a bit. There is a lot of focus on Lena’s day to day life, the mystery surrounding her birth-mother’s death, and her father refusing to surf or even go near the water. The existence of a mermaid is revealed to the reader right from the first chapter, but Lena doesn’t find this out until halfway through the book. It makes her big discovery less of a surprise.

Despite the first half, Lena’s quest remains compelling throughout. Once getting past it, the book picks up speed. The world created beneath the waves is very interesting and intriguing.  I wish there had been more time spent there. The ending is not quite what I would have expected, but in a very good way.

Verdict: 5
It was a nice, light read with a touch of magic. Great for taking to the beach.

.~*♥ Shannon



The Keepers - Heather GramSummary (from the author’s official site):

At the core of New Orleans lie the otherworldly vampires and shape-shifters that hide in plain sight among mankind. As one of the Keepers, an elite group possessing superior skill and strength, Fiona MacDonald’s duty is to maintain peace in a place where one vampire’s bite could ignite war. When Detective Jagger DeFarge, a vampire, is called in at the discovery of a body drained of blood, both the detective and Fiona must join uneasy forces.

Jagger will stop at nothing to find the murderer—including working with the sensual and suspicious Fiona. As more die, it becomes clear that this isn’t the work of an ordinary vampire. No one is safe. So when the killer’s attention turns to Fiona, will Jagger risk destroying his own species to protect the woman he so passionately desires?

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Generally, I’m not a huge fan of the paranormal genre. In fact, paranormal-romances tend to fall slightly farther down on that list. I do, however, love a good mystery which is why I decided to request this one.

I had a hard time putting this one down. The chemistry between Jagger and Fiona felt a little forced at first, but did feel more natural as the book moved along.  The mystery aspect was great. I did have some parts of it figured out, but the ending had a few twists I didn’t see coming. I would definitely love to read more about the MacDonald sisters and their supernatural charges living in New Orleans.

I’ve never read anything by Heather Graham before, but she is definitely going on my “must read more of” list.

Verdict: 8
If you’re into paranormal, mystery/suspense, and/or romance you’ll probably like this one.

.~*♥ Shannon



et cetera