Monique O'Connor James - The Keepers

Publisher: Astraea Press

ISBN: 978-1-936852-34-5

My rating: n/a

Jess denies God. In his infinite wisdom, He’s taken everyone she’s ever loved. Moving to the French Quarter was a ploy to erase the guilt she felt for rebuking her faith. Perhaps, if she hadn’t met Justin, an angel preoccupied with getting back into God’s good graces, and drowning in his hatred for humanity, her plan would have worked.
Justin’s general disdain for the human race makes him difficult to like, but some higher power has appointed him her keeper. Justin’s convinced he can mend her broken relationship with her maker, but in the process he learns a thing or two about his own humanity.
Never mind falling in love, that’s not supposed to happen. In fact, it may even be forbidden. Jess just wants Justin to understand her plight, and he wants to protect her from a world she doesn’t know.
If neither are equipped to save the other, then whose soul will live and whose will perish?

My thoughts

One of the first lines you read when starting this book is that Monique O'Connor James dedicated that book to her late mother. And I have to tell you once you've read well into the story you have a feeling where Jess' (the main character) raw emotions come from ... the author.

For me this one was a risky choice - a paranormal story has to be beyond good for me to keep reading. I liked the idea. Jess' mother died and her faith in God is shaky. Then she meets Justin ...

OK, this book was so not my cup of tea (hence no rating, because that would've been unfair)  I had to put the book aside a couple of times. Not only because of the emotions and the food for thought they gave, but the constant fights between the two main characters were tiring. The discussions between them about faith, love, guilt and all those issues deserve a book over 200 pages, but at some stage I felt it was too much. And I couldn't really figure out between all their fights what made Jess so special to Justin for him to fall in love with her. Other issues I had was that the main character Jess was either sleeping, in bed or in the bathroom, other descriptions didn't make it clear enough for me to have an imaginary picture of the scene which made it even harder to follower the storyline.

The ending got me sucked in then. The dialogue and action with Dawson were fast paced and interesting, but the last pages were disappointing in a sense of leaving quite a few minor questions for me.

I know Monique O'Connor is a very talented writer and having said (or written) all this doesn't say it's not worthwhile reading. Paranormal is not my thing, but I was curious because I liked the blurb. 

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I'm not the best blogger when it comes to regular updates, but I do my best. I tell you about the books I read, the books I write and other things I reckon are worthwhile mentioning.

Now while you're here, I'd love you to have a look at my new WIP
Part 1 .... and  .... Part 2

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Part 2 of my current WIP

This is the second part of the first chapter of my current WIP.
I'd appreciate any comments.
Even better constructive critism.
Best of all would be comments if you like it.


“You’ve got to be joking,” Flynn said into the phone. “What do you mean you need to see me?” He paced up and down his office and then settling by the window. He looked out and his gaze wondered along the Yarra River watching people strolling along the Southbank Promenade. He liked the view – seeing the people walking at different paces as they took in the sights, or looking for restaurants, or as they were simply in a rush to get to their next destination. His eyes wandered further up and took in the sight of the Eureka Tower and a small shiver came up his spine as he remembered what he gave up for being here, for making his life in Melbourne and for getting this job.
It was obvious he wasn’t really happy with the conversation he was having. Then he sighed. “Yes I’ll be there. And this will better be worth it.”
He walked over to the door and swung it open with such force, Ella, his secretary, almost jumped out of her chair.
“Ella, could you please reschedule the appointment tomorrow afternoon with Harry? I’ve got some private business I’ve got to attend to.”
“Not a problem, Flynn. You’ve got your hair cut tomorrow at ...”
“Shit,” he mumbled and cursed a few other words Ella was more than happy to ignore, but she glared at him for an answer. Ella had been working for Flynn McCormack for three years and couldn’t remember ever seeing him so infuriated. She didn’t know much about Flynn’s private life, apart from that the firm, McKenzies, Howard & Partners had supported him through his last year at the University in Melbourne and he had worked himself up to be a well respected business lawyer considering his young age. It was a trial scholarship similar arrangement which had worked out perfectly. McKenzies himself had met Flynn during a talk at the University and had been impressed by his questions, attitude and business thinking straight away – and his support had paid off.
 Flynn was a Tassie boy, and even with his good looks and charm he still lived a bachelor. Not because of lack of women. Ella wasn’t blind, she was aware of the female staff trying to get his attention, but he never had time for anything more than a nice conversation and polite compliments.
He exhaled and while heading back into the office he said, “I go by tonight and see whether Richard can squeeze me in.” And he slammed the door shut.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips - Kiss an Angel

Publisher: Avon, February 1996
ISBN: 978-0380782338

My rating: 3/5

How did pretty, flighty Daisy Devreaux find herself in this fix? She can either go to jail or marry the mystery man her father has chosen for her. Alex Markov, however, has no intention of playing the loving bridegroom to a spoiled little featherhead with champagne tastes. As humorless as he is deadly handsome, he drags the irrepressible Daisy away from her uptown life into an adventure that will change their lives forever. (

My thoughts
My first non-Chicago-Stars book!

So this was my first choice .... out of a nice selection .... yet when I read the blurb my initial thought was "WTF??" But SEP pulled off a modern-day arranged marriage nicely, but not only that, it's all set in a circus.

Alex is the sexy Russian hero and Daisy's husband. He's got a lot of baggage to carry and again SEP did brilliantly to develop him from a seemingly straight laced, cold man who has a strong sense of honour and pride to the man who falls in love with Daisy. She shows and teaches him how to care for someone and love.
Daisy has her baggage as well.  She's broke and has no choice but to agree to the marriage with Alex or face prison because she can't pay her debts.

I loved the book. It made me laugh, it made me cry and made me want to visit the next circus coming to town. Yet, it wasn't quite the page turner I'm used to from SEP, but I can't pinpoint why it wasn't.

If you love SEP you'll love this one as well. It's a great read, with raw emotions that keeps you reading till the end.

So .... which one will I read next? :-)

Lindsay Downs - Emily Dahill CID Part One

Publisher: Astraea Press

ISBN: 978 - 1 - 936852-51-2

My rating: 4/5

Final Mission
After being seriously wounded in a copter crash in Iraq Sgt. Emily Dahill meets her new partner as she embarks on her new Army career as a CID agent. Who could this new partner be?
A Body in the Snow
Emily and her partner, Dakota, cross bullets with their most determined foe. Who will survive?
Right Place, Wrong Day
On leave to hang with friends Emily gets the surprise of her life.
Dog on Fishing
When it comes to knowing how to fish, and catch the big ones, never underestimate your partner. He might surprise you. (

My thoughts

When I "chit chatted" with Lindsay Downs via FB a few weeks back the author told me that she loosely used JAG and NCIS as an idea for the Emily Dahill stories. That was it for me I had to read the book.

I would have liked to give the book 5/5 but I honestly have to say reading through the stories felt like having a yummy cake in front of you, but you're only allowed to have a little piece. The stories (see above for the outline) were interesting, written with (IMHO) knowledge, humour and wit, yet I would have like to have more of it. More detail. More background. More who's who. More character development - I believe I would have enjoyed it even more.

Favourite Quote:
"You know Special Agent Emily Dahill, I've been detained by all sorts of police, military and civilian, but I swear this is the first time by someone wearing bright pink, floppy eared, bunny slippers."

I definitely recommend the Emily Cahill Stories to anyone .... the fast paced short stories can be read within an hour or two. Yet another very good reason: 100% of the proceeds from the this book go to Japan relief!

Sample Sunday .... My current WIP

This is the first chapter of my current WIP.
I'd appreciate any comments.
Even better constructive critism.
Best of all would be comments if you like it.


“My Mum is dead.”

Emma peeked over the reception desk and into two beautiful green eyes, which belonged to a little girl with brown curly hair, a cute little face with a freckled button nose and she couldn’t help but smile.

“Nadine!” Emma heard a stern voice and turned to see an elderly lady.

“My apologies for that,” the lady said to Emma without the face actually showing any signs of apologies.

Emma smiled. “No need to apologise.” She noticed an elderly man joining the lady and then said, “May I help you?”

“Yes. We would like to check in. Gibbs. William and Teresa Gibbs.”

Emma typed the name on the keyboard and while she was waiting for the screen to give Mrs Gibbs the details she looked at the little girl and broke into a friendly smile.

“Holidays?” she asked.

Nadine’s face spread into a smile and Emma noticed that the little girl had her two top teeth missing.

“And I see the tooth fairy has been to see you recently.”

“Excuse me, –” Teresa glanced at Emma’s name badge. “– Emma. Can we proceed with the check-in please?”

“My apologies, ma’am.” Emma concentrated on the screen, made a few notes and turned around to activate the automated door card in the back office. All the while she noticed Teresa’s glare on her and instinctively pulled on her navy uniform skirt feeling slightly uncomfortable.

Emma was in her early twenties and had worked at the “All Stars” Hotel in Melbourne for about twelve months. It had been something she had always wanted to do – to greet people to this beautiful city and make their stay as comfortable as possible. She was a petite young woman with tawny short curly hair, which was always a bit in disarray, a freckled face with piercing blue eyes and always a smile on her face – Emma was popular with staff and guests.

“Ma’am, that’d be room 502. If you go to the right over here, take the lift to the fifth floor and follow the hall to the near end, you will find Room 502 on your right.”

Teresa Gibbs took the card from Emma and turned it in her hands.

“Ma’am, you slide that into the door instead of a key. I’m happy to ask someone to come with you and show –”

“I’ll be fine thank you.” And Teresa turned to go.  ­

Emma rested her arms onto the counter and winked at the girl. “Enjoy your holidays,” she said and winked with her eye. “And come and see me sometime to tell me about the tooth fairy.”

“We’re not on a holiday,” the girl said in almost a whisper. “We’re here to meet my Dad.”  Then she hopped off after her ... well Emma assumed Mr and Mrs Gibbs were the little girl’s grandparents.

Emma wondered about that remark and then remembered what the little girl had said about her mother. She watched as Mrs Gibbs rushed her husband and Nadine into the lift and then they all disappeared.

“Emma! Come on, stop dreaming.”

Emma turned around and saw Jack standing next to her. She smiled.

“Jack! Where’ve you been?”

Jack lifted one side of his mouth. “Morning Tea.”

“Are you for real? You’ve been gone for an hour.”

Jack grinned and ruffled her hair. “Another bad hair day?”

Emma gently pushed him away and rolled her eyes. “You’re avoiding the subject, Jack!”

He raised his eyebrows. “Which subject?”

 And she poked her tongue out at him. Why should I care if he gets into trouble!

“Miss Gallagher!”

Emma startled and blushed as she slowly turned her head only to see her boss standing behind her. “My apologies Mr Morgan,” she said with a tilt of her head.

Leo Morgan, a man in his mid-forties, still handsome with his olive skin and the hair showing the first signs of gray, suiting his blue eyes, though now his square jaw tensed visibly, took a deep breath and stepped slightly closer to her. “Listen Emma,” he whispered, “I only hear good things about you, people like you and you have a good –, “he paused and then said, “– let’s call it repute. But there’s a certain standard here and I need you to uphold that. Are we understood?”

Emma nodded. “Yes, sir.”

“Good. Now go and do your job and whatever it is between you two, keep it outside the hotel.”

She looked straight up. “But there is nothing –”

“Miss Gallagher!”

“Yes, sir. Understood.”

Emma turned around and checked-in the next few guests. It was only after she had finished her shift that she was able to talk to Jack.

“Thanks for getting me into trouble again.”

Jack placed his arm around her and gave her a kiss on her forehead. “Sorry for that. But you seem to attract that guy. In the five years I’ve been working here, I’ve never seen him as often in the lobby as I have in the last few weeks.”

“Yes, and that’s been exactly every time when I muck up and his focus lands on me.”

“You’ll be right. How about dinner at my place?”

Emma rolled her eyes. “Jerk!”

He grinned and held his arms up in defence. “What?”

Susan Elizabeth Phillips - Natural Born Charmer

Publisher: Avon

ISBN-13: 978-0061233050

My rating: 3/5

Chicago Stars quarterback Dean Robillard is the luckiest man in the world: a bona-fide sports superstar and the pride of the NFL with a profitable side career as a buff billboard model for End Zone underwear. But life in the glory lane has started to pale, and Dean has set off on a cross-country trip to figure out what's gone wrong. When he hits a lonely stretch of Colorado highway, he spies something that will shake up his gilded life in ways he can't imagine. A young woman . . . dressed in a beaver suit.
Blue Bailey is on a mission to murder her ex. Or at least inflict serious damage. As for the beaver suit she's wearing . . . Is it her fault that life keeps throwing her curveballs? Witness the expensive black sports car pulling up next to her on the highway and the Greek god stepping out of it.
Natural Born Charmer is for everyone who's ever thought about leaving their old life in the dust and never looking back.

Chicago Stars Book #7 (

My thoughts

Okay - those who read my "reviews" know I like SEP books! They're funny, witty, full of romance and make my day. I found the exception to the rule :-(

The story is simple: Blue gets picked up by Dean (one of the Chicago Stars) who's on a cross country trip to figure out what's missing in his life. So far so good! He gives Blue a lift and they somehow end up together on his new farm.

The usual SEP-recipe in her books doesn't work this time - we add Dean's mother, his father and his half sister -  oh yes, not to forget, Nita, the owner of the town nearby the farm. That should work, shouldn't it?

First of all, I couldn't warm to Blue. For me she was a pain in the butt with all her whinging and attitudes .... only to end up in Dean's bed, so she, for once in her life, could have something "good". Dean was ... not a charmer, but something else and his character not well developed, witty or even "sensitive" as all the other Chicago Stars. And the ending was confusing and irritating.

I loved April - she had style, attitude, character and was well developed. And again, not to forget Nita ... she gave the story the oompf it needed!

Bottom line ... if you've read all the other Chicago Stars Books, you should read this one, yet don't expect too much. If you haven't .... don't start with this one!

Check out my Guest Blog @ Astraea Press !

Please have a read of my guest blog over at Astraea Press: Writer or Story teller.
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