Saturday, April 30, 2016

Starfish Moon by Donna Kauffman (review)

Donna Kauffman

Nestled on the Maine coast, Blueberry Cove is a peaceful retreat compared to the excitement of exotic cities and foreign lands. But it’s also the best place in the world for one woman to find her heart’s true home…Kerry McCrae’s wanderlust has taken her to parts of the globe most people have only glimpsed in pictures. So why is tending bar at the family pub in Blueberry Cove after her Uncle Fergus’s stroke an easier adjustment than she expected? And why hasn’t she left once Fergus is back on his feet? When tall, tanned Cooper Jaxton walks through the door, she knows the answer in a heartbeat…

Born and raised deep in Australia’s outback, Cooper never planned to leave the wild country he loves. But after almost a year of having Kerry—with her sparkling eyes and outrageous stories—on his cattle station, Cooper was stunned when she left. Suddenly home wasn’t the same without her. Making his way to Blueberry Cove to find her is a risk, but Cooper is counting on the passionate connection between them to convince her that the only place either of them needs to be is together…

Let the honeymoon begin…

Includes a DIY wedding cake recipe!


My review:

5 out of 5 stars

“Starfish Moon” by Donna Kauffman is part of the ‘The Brides of Blueberry Cove’ series and takes place after many of the McCrae siblings have found their life partners.  Kerry McCrae has come home temporarily for first one wedding, and the next, then to care for her beloved uncle Fergus while he recovers from a stroke, while staying even longer for the marriage of her last unwedded sibling.  Known for her wanderlust, she has neglected to explain what kept her in Australia, atypically, for so many months.  Then Cooper Jax arrives from Down Under, and many questions are answered, but not the one most important to him…and, as it turns out, to her as well.

Who can resist a feisty heroine who can hold her own in a pub or on a boat or working as a jillaroo?  I was delighted to get to know the least settled member of the McCrae family and when her former boss shows up with his yummy Aussie accent and down-to-earth manners, who could resist giving a heartfelt sigh? 

The rich characterization of all of the players, including the secondary ones who are drawn into the orbit of this charismatic family, makes this a wonderfully entertaining series for me, and I was willingly drawn into the orbit of the two main characters whose pet nicknames for each other gave rise to wonderfully romantic scenes.  I was drawn into the conflict between pursuing a comfortable habit and the risk of following one’s heart, and I like that the heroine, though very capable and assertive, has a few flaws, including a regrettable failure to keep in touch with those who are important to her.  The wonderful courtship by a man who has been far too patient and the counterpoint of wedding plans for sister Fiona are highlighted by the whimsical interactions that take place and keep the story from getting too sweet and there were plenty of opportunities to chuckle as well as cheer.  I thought the ending was just a bit over the top and have to wonder who is minding the fires back home, but I still adored the story.  There was no problem reading this as a stand-alone story, but I definitely want to read the others in the series that I have missed.  I am hopeful that a certain service animal trainer will have her own time in the spotlight and draw us back to Blueberry Cove once again.

© Night Owl Reviews 

I received a copy of this title in return for an honest review.

Other titles in the series:

My review is at this link

Friday, April 29, 2016

Alien in Chief by Gini Koch (review)

by Gini Koch


As Kitty can tell you, it’s not easy being the wife of the vice president—especially not when he’s an alien from the Alpha Centauri system. But she and her A-C husband, Jeff, have learned how to roll with whatever life and the bad guys throw at them—they think.

When the Alpha Centauri Planetary Council requests a visit with the president and vice president, things look politically dicey. When the most dangerous prisoners in the most secure supermax prison escape with ease, things look bad. But when the Mastermind releases a virus that kills people in a week, things go to Defcon Worse fast.

Now it’s up to Kitty to save everyone important in the U.S. government—including her mother, her husband, and herself—before the virus spreads through the rest of the country, and then the world. Plus she’s facing invisible attackers, crazed assassins, a teenager in hiding, the most dangerous train ride ever, the disappearance of her beloved flyboys, and a mysterious alien who could be an enemy or the ally she needs.

And this time, the Mastermind’s made it very personal. Either he’s going down...or Kitty is.


My review:

4.5 out of 5 stars

Alien in Chief by Gini Koch is book 12 in the ‘Alien’ series.  Kitty and her husband are settling into the vice-presidency roles so of course additional challenges have to disrupt everything!  A mysterious bow-wielding assassin, a train trip to Florida to greet a visiting alien delegation, and all of the mayhem and chaos that goes with thwarting the Mastermind and other enemies provide plenty of opportunity for moves and counter-moves that mobilize allies and enemies alike.  

The wonderful blend of reality and fantastical science fiction adventures provide hours of entertainment in this series that continues to ramp up the excitement while exploring how aliens can get well-assimilated into Earth politics.  The hints being delivered through song choices, the escalation of events that will alter the tenor of human and alien relations, the challenge of trying to defeat the Mastermind without losing allies, the fortuitous provision of an essential piece of equipment that didn’t even require discussion with the refrigerator, plus the use of Poof Approval for vetting folks all add up to another wacky and exciting chronicle of the adventures of Kitty Katt-Martini and hubby and VPOTUS Jeff. 

A train ride to rival any trial under fire, enemies galore, and biological warfare add up to a plethora of changes and unexpected events that aren’t all resolved by the end of this book.  One definitely needs a quick breather to catch up on things, and woe betide you if you forget who is on which side.  Of course, what was true yesterday may not be true tomorrow, so the best thing is to dive in and hang on for a totally wacky ride…but better if you have read the rest of the series so you don’t have such an intense case of whiplash.  This is another fun and hair-raising set of adventures featuring an intrepid and occasionally klutzy but loyal and protective woman who finds a way to utilize all of the resources at her command in order to save the day.  Warning, tissues should be close at hand…if only to deal with the fallout of infectious disease…and I am very relieved that I already have the next book in the series waiting to be consumed!

A copy of this title was provided to me for review which has been offered to Night Owl Reviews 

Previous title in the series:

Alien Separation

Next title in the series

Camp Alien


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Passion, Poison & Puppy Dogs by Sally J. Smith & Jean Steffens (spotlight, excerpt and GIVEAWAY) BTG

A Danger Cove Pet Sitter Mystery
Sally J. Smith & Jean Steffens
Gemma Halliday Publishing
ISBN: 9781943587469

—In this dog eat dog world, it’s people you have to keep your eye on.

When Lizzie Jones, pet sitter extraordinaire, is asked to watch over her best friend's two spoiled dogs at the posh gated community of Craggy Hill Estates, the last things she expects is to wind up in the middle of a homicide. But that's exactly what happens when she finds her best friend's cheating husband and Danger Cove’s celebrity bodybuilder champ, Mr. Jupiter, floating facedown in his hot tub. To make matters worse, the police aren’t looking any further than the wife for a suspect—isn’t it always the wife? Well, not in this case—at least Lizzie refuses to believe it.

Between dealing with Craggy Hill's hot security guard, Tino Morales—who also just happens to be the man who broke Lizzie’s heart in high school, caring for her grieving friend, and watching three rambunctious dogs, Lizzie has her hands full. So she recruits her famous granddad, retired network field correspondent, Jimmy John Jones, to help her put two and two together to find the real killer. Was Mr. Jupiter murdered by one of his women on the side? A jealous, disgruntled employee? Or someone with a bitter and deep-seated hatred of the superstar? It's up to Lizzie, Jimmy John, and Lizzie's own pug, Vader, to crack the case before the killer claims another victim...this one much closer to Lizzie’s own heart!


"I was thinking about you too," I said. "I had a terrific time last night. Dinner, dancing. What more could a girl ask for?"
He smiled down at me, lifted my hand over my head, and led me to circle beneath our arms. Humming softly, he pulled me into a slow dance and whispered in my ear, "There are all kind of rhythms to the bachata. You like this one?"

Whew. When exactly had his cute-and-cuddly factor flipped the switch to hot and sexy? I was so caught up in the nearness of him that I actually made it a few beats before stepping on his toes and causing him to flinch in pain.

Dang. "Sorry, Tino. I guess I should have warned you that I'm a notorious klutz."

He was all dewy-eyed and cuddly. "But the cutest klutz I've ever seen." And before I realized what he had in mind, he bent his head, pulled me in at the waist, and planted a kiss on me. Our lips met softly, then tightened as we pushed against each other, caught by surprise at the heat we were generating.

I stepped back, breathing hard. He blinked a few times and ran his hand through his soft dark hair.

"Oh my," I said.

"Caliente," he said.

"Yes." I shook my head to clear it. "You can say that again."


Visit the Town of Danger Cove official website!

Buy Links:   GemmaHalliday Publishing      Amazon     Nook
iBook    Kobo    Smashwords    Print


Sally J. Smith & Jean Steffens Author Bio

The international best-selling writing team of Sally J. Smith (right brain) and Jean Steffens (left brain) make up equal halves of one totally functional writer’s mind. Creative and intuitive and organized and systematic? What could be better than that?

The two desert dwellers work together side-by-side, literally finishing each other’s sentences, putting together their novels faster and more efficiently than they ever could individually. 

When their heads aren’t together over a manuscript, you’ll find them with their families, at a movie, the yoga studio, the mall, or out-to-lunch—in the food sense, not the spaced-out sense, well…most of the time. Their current series include Jordan Welsh & Eddie Marino Novels, Mystic Isle Mysteries, Danger Cove PetSitter Mysteries, and coming soon, Aloha Lagoon Gabby LeClair Mysteries, and Digby Sloan Mysteries.
Visit our website, look around, and sign up for our newsletter. We love hearing from our readers and always answer our e-mails:

Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens, are partners in crime—crime writing, that is. They live in the Valley of the Sun in Arizona, awesome for eight months out of the year, an inferno the other four. They write bloody murder, flirty romance, and wicked humor all in one package. 

*    *    *    *    *
Register for these 2 great giveaways !!

$25 Amazon Gift Card
Valid tour wide (US & Intl)

As well as a special giveaway from Sally & Jean

(note from ELF:  Apologies to those of you like me who don't use FB, but this one is on FB only)

The Passion, Poison & Puppy Dogs Giveaway

A Digital or print copy of the book, a coffee mug of adorable Vader, and a bib apron with our celebrity pug.

Comment under Vader's picture to enter and win a bib apron and coffee mug starring Vader, our celebrity pug, & your choice of a digital or paper copy of the book.