I am an avid reading who loves connecting readers to the right book. I love reading, reviewing and reflecting on books. Also enjoy traveling and sports but always have books with me.

Night's Promise

Night's Promise - Amanda Ashley

Night’s Promise is a delightful entertaining read capturing the excitement and magic, anticipation and hesitation of young couple tenderly falling in love. That the hero in this story is a vampire with a secret gene and the heroine is a human who sought out vampires but never expected to meet one makes this vampire romance appealing as themes of trust, acceptance, and loyalty abound.

Derek Blackwood is a rarity as he is one of the few “born” vampires and the son of the powerful Queen of Vampires. Derek’s growth and maturity into manhood was not without challenges but he was learned to live in a human world. Wealthy, beautiful Sheree Westerbrooke has an obsession with vampires, dressing in black and frequenting Goth nightclubs hoping to catch the eye of a vampire. Sheree is well aware that the men at the club scene all say they are vampire, so when first laying eyes on the handsomely sexy Derek she plays along with his claiming to be a vampire. Upon learning that Derek is indeed a vampire, and she is deeply attracted to him, Sheree realizes she has to face the challenges of falling in love with a vampire or leave and become the “socialite” wife her mother wants. Derek has never felt an attraction/connection to a woman like he has for Sheree which is why is open with her about who he is. But, Derek is holding a back a secret fear – he feels is turning into a werewolf and has no idea who he will be after the full moon.

While the storyline was a little slow in the beginning, it quickly gains momentum. There are a couple of surprises that showcases Ashley masterful skills to effectively combine romance and vampire action without either feeling cheated. And yes, of course there is the fresh viewpoint she adds to vampire culture. I enjoyed not only the moments of tenderness and vulnerability between Sheree and Derek but those of Mara.

At first I was quite sure how Ashley was going to follow up the emotionally captivating storyline of Mara, Kyle and Logan from the last book but I was pleasantly surprised. This book is not as an intense story but overall I found this to be a fun and clever read illustrates that young love is universally the same whether human or vampire.


I received a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased and honest review.


Gripping With Strong Characters

The Summer of Dead Toys - Antonio Hill

Excellent characterizations and plenty of plot twists wrapped in a dark timbre makes for a satisfying and entertaining read. This book introduces us to Inspector Hector Salgado, a Barcelona police homicide detective, who has just returned from visiting his native Argentina, as he is on “forced” leave due to beating up a sex trafficker ring leader who denied culpability in the death of a young Nigerian girl. Because of his violent actions, Hector is taken off this case while his former partner Sgt. Martina Andreu continues the investigation and stealthy keeps him updated. Now assigned to an open-and-shut case of a wealthy young man who fell to death from his balcony, Hector and his new partner Leire Castro are told to quickly wrap it up without a lot of fanfare.
As Hector, Martina and Leire begin to peel back the façade of the public faces of those connected to the two cases, there is a private world of deceit, betrayals and secrets held close to the chest and makes for intriguing plot twists. What I enjoyed most is while this very able police team gets to the truth of the crimes, is we are also learning more about their compelling back stories and their own personal dilemmas and demons. The cases are satisfactorily wrapped up and the author has adequately tantalized me to be invested in knowing how the personal issues will be resolved. And I must say that the last chapter is a pure teaser setting me up for the next book in the series.
The Summer of Dead Toys by Antonio Hill is a gripping murder with compelling characters set in sultry Barcelona. Recommend to mystery readers looking for a noirish style series.
This book was provided by Blogging For Books in exchange for a fair and honest view.

Dazzling and Delightful

The Book of Unknown Americans: A novel - Cristina Henrxedquez

Every now and then I read a book that just touches my heart. The Book of Unknown Americans is such a book. From the first pages I was captivated by the sustained voices of the characters written with such grace and dignity as I felt their humanity, hopefulness, and despair to do what they had to do ensure a better life for their children and often, times themselves. I so enjoyed how the author connects the reader to the characters.
The story opens with Arturo and Alma Rivera arriving in Newark, Delaware with their daughter, Maribel. The Riveras have sold their construction business, left their comfortable life in Mexico so that Maribel can get the education and treatment to hopefully recover as best as she can from the brain damage caused by an unfortunate accident. That first night in a bare-bones apartment that has been better days, Alma listens to her husband and daughter sleeping and thinks:
“The surge of possibility. The tug of doubt. Had we done the right thing coming here? Of course, I know the answer. We had done what we had to do.”
As we follow the Riveras journey, meeting the Toros and other Central and Latin American immigrants we learn of their plights realizing these are slices of life that happen universally. But because of who these immigrants are often times they are defined by preconceived notions not as individuals.
“I felt the way I often felt in this country-simultaneously conspicuous and invisible, like an oddity whom everyone noticed but chose to ignore.”
For me the interesting title is summed up by one of the characters.
“We’re the unknown Americans, the ones no one even wants to know, because maybe if they did take the time to get to know us, they might realize that we’re not that bad, maybe event that we’re a lot like them.”
Henriquez’s masterful story is compassionate, courageous and creative. The compelling characters encapsulate the undulating sweet-and-sour spectrum of life and will stay with you after turning the last page. I recommend this book to readers who are looking for an entertaining yet thought-provoking read.

Impressive Debut

The Girl in the Road - Monica Byrne

This futuristic inventive adventure tale mesmerized me from the beginning with its captivating protagonists, beautifully rendered landscapes, and provocative themes. I was not quite sure what to expect from The Girl In the Road, but my past reading experience has shown that I enjoy stories that often defy fitting neatly into a specific genre. I enjoyed the format of the parallel storylines while both set in the future but not at the same time, and the tension building in each of the storylines knowing not quite how but still knowing they will intersect at some point.
Meena awakes with snakebites on her chest, thinking someone is out to get her, flees Mumbai deciding to go to Ethiopia to find out the truth of her mother’s death. And since she does not want to be tracked decides to take the Trail, an energy-harvesting bridge spanning from India to Africa. The only thing is the Trail has a mysterious aura of its own, and is a dangerous forbidden way. Mariama, a young girl is also fleeing her home in western Africa and joins a caravan of misfits going to Ethiopia. As one travels from east to west, and the other from west to east, both landing in the same place, now the new power center of the world is in Africa and energy is the resource fueling this shift of power. My only nitpick is that the storyline sagged a little in the middle, but it did pick again for a stunning ending.
Byrne’s has penned an impressive debut of two strong appealing female protagonists of color seeped in the richness of an impressive non-European worldbuilding environment.

I received a copy of the book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.

Delilah's Daughters

Delilah's Daughters: A Novel - Angela Benson

Delilah Monroe beams with pride as she watches her three daughters, the singing group Delilah’s Daughters, receive a standing ovation at the annual Gospelfest in their hometown of Birmingham, Alabama. It has been three years since her beloved husband, Rocky passed, but she and her daughters know he is always watching over them. They always feel his presence even more at Gospelfest as they continue his belief in their musical gifts – both as individuals and as a group. Roxanne the oldest, lives to sing and her melodious voice reflects this love. Veronica, the middle daughter, is a born entertainer who loves the center stage. Alisha, the youngest daughter, has a talent for composing and arranging songs. Their family bond, faith, and keeping their egos in check, help to make staying together as a group a priority. When Veronica signs an individual contract with a mega recording studio, it turns outs to be just the beginning of opening a Pandora’s Box of secrets, betrayals, and dashed dreams. How will Delilah and her daughters confront the challenges and opportunities presented to each of them? How will they balance individual happiness against the demands of faith and family?

DELILAH’S DAUGHTERS is classic Benson with its emphasis on the strength of family and faith, endearing characters, and prose warming your heart and soul like a favorite melody. The characters are well-developed, and each has their own distinct personality. I enjoyed getting to know each of them and their journeys as life threw them curveballs, while accepting the consequences of their actions. When offered a contract with possibilities of being the next superstar, Veronica accepts with the naivety this is best for her, her sisters and mother, and her husband. Quickly finding out the demands of the contract means complete allegiance to the studio, and that her husband is working behind her back to ensure she stays isolated from her family, Veronica knows she needs to take off her rose-colored glasses before all that she values is lost. It is a sermon that settles her mind and through much soul-searching knows the key is following the road God wants her to stay on and avoid the road shoulders. As every journey begins with the first step, Veronica knows she will have to take the initiative in reconciling with her family and have the hard discussions with her husband. The strength she now shows helps her family heal and her marriage is now stronger. Alisha was the least upset when her sister signed the contract and saw this as an opportunity to more aggressively pursue her dreams as a song writer and is excited when learning her mentor will be an award-winning songwriter she admires. But her mother is devastated to learn who the mentor is as this was a piece of her past she hoped to take to her grave. The truth upsets Alisha’s world regarding her parentage and her journey to forgiveness allows her mother to let go of the past and embrace the present and future blessing. The cast of secondary characters allows for exploring the theme of family ties, both old and new, and the moment that connect our hearts and faith, which works well in our contemporary times of blended families.

The majority of the book takes place in Birmingham, Alabama and Atlanta, Georgia, though physically not that far from each other, the storyline effectively captures the mood and timbre of both cities.

It is a tribute to Benson’s storytelling abilities that she has taken a plot that is not new, puts her own stamp on it and makes it a standout in the plethora of entertainment-themed storylines. I also appreciated a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the less glamorous side of the music business.

DELILAH’S DAUGHTERS is a heartwarming, inspiring tale that makes you believe dreams do come true. This is the perfect book to make you smile and sigh as you read the last page.


Reviewed for RomanceInColor.com

Challenge Participant