Friday, September 15, 2017

Review: Second to None

Second to None Second to None by Nancy Herkness
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

SECOND TO NONE
by
Nancy Herkness

SYNOPSIS:
Billionaire chemist Max Varela is selling his company and leaving New York for good when Emily Wade bursts into his office, desperate for his help in funding her program for disadvantaged kids and shelter dogs. Seven years ago, he fell in love with her when she was married to another man. To fight the unbidden attraction, he cut off all contact but he’s never forgotten her.
Ever since her husband died, Emily has poured her heart and soul into the after-school care center. Seeing Max reawakens the pain of her loss, but it also brings unexpected hope for the future. As emotions thought long gone resurface, they begin a passionate affair that seems destined for a fairytale ending.
Until Max reveals that he’s moving to Chicago in a matter of weeks and wants Emily to uproot her daughter and her life to come with him. If a second chance at love is possible, someone’s got to give.
REVIEW:
Nancy Herkness is a magician of words when it comes to writing in the genre of Romance. She provides her novels with the titillating zing that readers long for, that long drawn sigh that leaves your toes curled and you reaching for that favored drink.
But personally, it is because of something far deeper that I have found myself falling in love with the stories that drip from Nancy’s pen. Her stories take the time to develop characters, to delve into the psyche of why and what makes them tick. You feel like you have fallen beneath their skin and are looking at the world from each character’s eyeballs.
Suddenly, it is you who are catching your breath and feeling the throes of anguish and pain, or ecstasy and joy, as you follow along. Wait! You have felt that very pain before, you have longed that deeply before. Such is the magic that Nancy brings us. She covertly lets us realize that the heroines and heroes of her tales feel the same pain and joy we do, in doing so we become the hero/heroine and experience the joy of the story.
Looking back to my favorite books over the years, be they childhood classics, eternal classics, or modern novels that I have reviewed, it is the works that transcended and allowed the reader to identify with the characters to the point that they could feel the very beats of their hearts that have stayed with me. These are also the ones that I have consistently seen at the tops of the charts and sales. Nancy’s stories consistently reach this height. This is why I love her work and why we consistently see award after award on her works.
Nancy’s newest novella, SECOND TO NONE, will not disappoint. As an introductory novella to her new SECOND CHANCE series, it came out batting 1000. Only so much character development and story line can be pursued in the word limit of a novella, but what Nancy accomplished was masterful. She had the reader eating out of her hand in short order as she introduced us to a widow and her daughter, along with a rag-tag board of directors from a local neighborhood, a feisty group of neighborhood school kids (with a few standouts), and a couple of adorable mutts.
By the end of the novella, the stage was set and this reader is ready and waiting to see who will be entering stage-left to join the fray as Nancy’s heroine and crew work to get a shoestring afterschool program and pet rescue off and running in East Harlem in the new series. My hats off and a definite FIVE STAR rating to this new book and the upcoming series. Congrats, Nancy.
ABOUT NANCY HERKNESS
Nancy Herkness is the author of the award-winning Whisper Horse series, published by Montlake Romance, as well as several other contemporary romance novels. She is a two-time nominee for the Romance Writers of America RITA® award. Her new series, Wager of Hearts, follows the romantic adventures of three very wealthy men who make a life-changing bet.
A member of Romance Writers of America, New Jersey Romance Writers, and Novelists, Inc., Nancy has received many honors for her work, including the Golden Leaf Award, the Maggie Award in Contemporary Romance, and the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award.
Nancy graduated from Princeton University where she majored in English. In addition to her academic work in literature, she was accepted into Princeton's creative writing program, and her senior thesis was a volume of original poetry.
After graduating, Nancy had a varied career which included retail management and buying, COBOL programming, computer systems sales and marketing, and a brief stint as a receptionist at a dental office. Once her children were in school full-time, she sat down and wrote A Bridge to Love, her first romance novel to be published.
Nancy finds nothing odd about writing in the genre she calls “the “Rodney Dangerfield of the literary world. It gets no respect.” She explains: “I was trained as a poet, but from the day my grandmother gave me my first Georgette Heyer novel I wanted to write romance. Romance is the genre of optimism, and that's why I like it.”
A native of West Virginia, Nancy now lives in suburban New Jersey with her husband, two mismatched dogs, and an elderly cat. She cheers loudly for the New Jersey Devils hockey team.
For more information, visit Nancy’s website: www.NancyHerkness.com
Or email Nancy at nancyherkness@comcast.net .





View all my reviews

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Review: The VIP Doubles Down

The VIP Doubles Down The VIP Doubles Down by Nancy Herkness
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

THE VIP DOUBLES DOWN
Wagers of the Heart – Book 3
By
Nancy Herkness

SYNOPSIS
Gavin Miller, the billionaire author of a bestselling thriller series, struggles with a grim secret: he hasn’t written a word in more than a year.
Writer’s block is killing his spirit and jeopardizing his contracts with his publisher and his Hollywood producers. Prodded by his agent, Gavin reluctantly agrees to see Allie Nichols, a sassy physical therapist tasked with treating the novelist’s severe neck and shoulder pain—and maybe his writer’s block, too.
The tempestuous Gavin and no-nonsense Allie soon find themselves entangled in a steamy affair that sparks Gavin’s creativity again. But their manipulative ex-lovers and Gavin’s lingering childhood scars threaten their happily ever after. Can Gavin and Allie find their way to love when the stakes are high and the obstacles are overwhelming?

REVIEW
Every once in a while I have the privilege of reading a story that reaches down deep, that connects on a special level. It is these stories that are filled with the same magic that the fairytales of my youth captivated me and drew me into their special world. A world where the hearts of the hero and heroine twist and bleed in their misery and longing for what we long for most—love, kindness and acceptance.
Within a few opening pages, I began feeling the magic draw me into the story of Gavin and Allie as each fought their own demons. But there was more. Having had the opportunity to read two previous novel series written by Nancy Herkness, I have come to know her and her style of writing. I also have a common touch point with my love of West Virginia and the wonderful years that I had the privilege to live in the same area of the woods where she grew up.
Suddenly, I realized, that this was more than just another of her very well written books. This is a book of her heart. It comes out in the pain of the author struggling to write. It shows in the despair at trying to grasp for words from the thin air of a muse who has left residence and taken her word-craft with her. Only one who has starred into that bleak dark void could understand and write of it with such passion. I felt the pain, saw the tears slide off the page.
Introducing Allie, a gentle woman born and bred in the depths of Appalachian West Virginia, was the light to the darkness of Gavin. Even though she had demons of her own, the light that glowed from within and the prevailing positive outlook on life of her people kept the story light. Overtones of a masterful Literary “Beauty and the Beast” came to mind.
The VIP Doubles Down is the third book in “The Wager of the Heart” Series. Each of the books is easily read as a stand-alone novel, but read together as a unit, each shows the growth and development of her characters as the overall storyline progresses. The growth of maturity in the relationships between the characters and the affect of love on the lives of the couples graces the pages. Love is prevalent in living and lives, not words.
With the writing of this, her third book in the series, Nancy Herkness shared her heart. She poured her laughter and tears into the pages and allowed us to see the soul of a writer. Oh yes, she still had those steamy scenes that readers seek, but the soul of this book went far deeper and touched the very soul of this reader.
I wish there were more than FIVE STARS to give this book. I love how she ended the story and would love to have been able to turn another page or two to see where it went.
A CEO, a quarterback, and a writer walked into a bar. . .”
Gavin waited for the ripple of laughter to die down before he said, “And they came out better men.”

ABOUT NANCY HERKNESS
Nancy Herkness is the author of the award-winning Whisper Horse series, published by Montlake Romance, as well as several other contemporary romance novels. She is a two-time nominee for the Romance Writers of America RITA® award. Her new series, Wager of Hearts, follows the romantic adventures of three very wealthy men who make a life-changing bet.
A member of Romance Writers of America, New Jersey Romance Writers, and Novelists, Inc., Nancy has received many honors for her work, including the Golden Leaf Award, the Maggie Award in Contemporary Romance, and the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award.
Nancy graduated from Princeton University where she majored in English. In addition to her academic work in literature, she was accepted into Princeton's creative writing program, and her senior thesis was a volume of original poetry.
After graduating, Nancy had a varied career which included retail management and buying, COBOL programming, computer systems sales and marketing, and a brief stint as a receptionist at a dental office. Once her children were in school full-time, she sat down and wrote A Bridge to Love, her first romance novel to be published.
Nancy finds nothing odd about writing in the genre she calls “the “Rodney Dangerfield of the literary world. It gets no respect.” She explains: “I was trained as a poet, but from the day my grandmother gave me my first Georgette Heyer novel I wanted to write romance. Romance is the genre of optimism, and that's why I like it.”
A native of West Virginia, Nancy now lives in suburban New Jersey with her husband, two mismatched dogs, and an elderly cat. She cheers loudly for the New Jersey Devils hockey team.

For more information, visit Nancy’s website: www.NancyHerkness.com
Or email Nancy at nancyherkness@comcast.net .



View all my reviews

Review: The VIP Doubles Down

The VIP Doubles Down The VIP Doubles Down by Nancy Herkness
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

SYNOPSIS
Gavin Miller, the billionaire author of a bestselling thriller series, struggles with a grim secret: he hasn’t written a word in more than a year.
Writer’s block is killing his spirit and jeopardizing his contracts with his publisher and his Hollywood producers. Prodded by his agent, Gavin reluctantly agrees to see Allie Nichols, a sassy physical therapist tasked with treating the novelist’s severe neck and shoulder pain—and maybe his writer’s block, too.
The tempestuous Gavin and no-nonsense Allie soon find themselves entangled in a steamy affair that sparks Gavin’s creativity again. But their manipulative ex-lovers and Gavin’s lingering childhood scars threaten their happily ever after. Can Gavin and Allie find their way to love when the stakes are high and the obstacles are overwhelming?

REVIEW
Every once in a while I have the privilege of reading a story that reaches down deep, that connects on a special level. It is these stories that are filled with the same magic that the fairytales of my youth captivated me and drew me into their special world. A world where the hearts of the hero and heroine twist and bleed in their misery and longing for what we long for most—love, kindness and acceptance.
Within a few opening pages, I began feeling the magic draw me into the story of Gavin and Allie as each fought their own demons. But there was more. Having had the opportunity to read two previous novel series written by Nancy Herkness, I have come to know her and her style of writing. I also have a common touch point with my love of West Virginia and the wonderful years that I had the privilege to live in the same area of the woods where she grew up.
Suddenly, I realized, that this was more than just another of her very well written books. This is a book of her heart. It comes out in the pain of the author struggling to write. It shows in the despair at trying to grasp for words from the thin air of a muse who has left residence and taken her word-craft with her. Only one who has starred into that bleak dark void could understand and write of it with such passion. I felt the pain, saw the tears slide off the page.
Introducing Allie, a gentle woman born and bred in the depths of Appalachian West Virginia, was the light to the darkness of Gavin. Even though she had demons of her own, the light that glowed from within and the prevailing positive outlook on life of her people kept the story light. Overtones of a masterful Literary “Beauty and the Beast” came to mind.
The VIP Doubles Down is the third book in “The Wager of the Heart” Series. Each of the books is easily read as a stand-alone novel, but read together as a unit, each shows the growth and development of her characters as the overall storyline progresses. The growth of maturity in the relationships between the characters and the affect of love on the lives of the couples graces the pages. Love is prevalent in living and lives, not words.
With the writing of this, her third book in the series, Nancy Herkness shared her heart. She poured her laughter and tears into the pages and allowed us to see the soul of a writer. Oh yes, she still had those steamy scenes that readers seek, but the soul of this book went far deeper and touched the very soul of this reader.
I wish there were more than FIVE STARS to give this book. I love how she ended the story and would love to have been able to turn another page or two to see where it went.
A CEO, a quarterback, and a writer walked into a bar. . .”
Gavin waited for the ripple of laughter to die down before he said, “And they came out better men.”


View all my reviews

Monday, August 1, 2016

Review: Relativity

Relativity Relativity by Antonia Hayes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Relativity was a beautiful, but tragic story. It was a story of struggle and survival by a little boy who knew he was different from others in the world around him. We were provided the opportunity to see life through his eyes, to experience a viewpoint that few are allowed to see. At the same time, through flashbacks, we see the heartbreaking story of a young family torn apart by tragic circumstance and grievous consequence to one night turned upside down. The entire storyline is viewed through the eyes of the mother, the young son with s special genius in mathematics and physics, and later the father. Together, the three telling of the same story come together to give us a spell binding story line that would allow me to put the book down. My heartstrings rooted for healing for the child and the family, but life does not always give us what we want. The ending was a gut twisting surprise that left this reviewer with an empty box of kleenex and a longing for a few more chapters.
Antonia Hayes did a marvelous job of character development for her central characters. You felt every sigh and breath and saw every tear slide down the page as you reached to turn for the next ragged breath.
Though not the easiest read of the year, Relativity is one of my top reads,for dynamic stories. It made me think. It made me feel deeply. It made me,want to live my life to its fullest. If give this book a good 4.5 stars f I r the creativity and story telling skills shared with us by Ms Hayes.
Relativity was provided to me as an ARC to read and assess in exchange for a fair and honest review of the material

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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Review: The Girl from Summer Hill

The Girl from Summer Hill The Girl from Summer Hill by Jude Deveraux
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

The Girl from Summer Hill was one of the most creative and fun re-telling of Pride and Prejudice's' stories that I have come across. I have always loved the way Jude 'Deveraux writes, looking forward to each of her new releases for years. When she took on the challenge of mashing Jane Austin's classic tale up with her own wonderful modern romantic summer style of romance storytelling, I knew we would all be in for a true treat. I was not wrong.
From the opening page, to the final chapter, Jude kept this reader in stitches while simultaneously steamrolling us forward in a rollicking narrative that left us with no doubt that we had landed in the land of Austen (Jane, that is). In the true style of Deveraux, she threw in a good dose of mystery to keep us and the characters within the pages guessing as to what the next turn would bring.
Short of being a royal stick-in-the-mud, I can't think of a reason that any reader who loves Jane Austen and/or Jude Deveraux, or just a fantastic summer read, for that matter, would want to miss a chance to read THE GIRL FROM SUMMER HILL. This reviewer gives this delightful novel a full FIVE STAR review for the storyline, captivating characters, and plain fun of this wonderful summer read.
Blogging Under the Shade Tree aka Shade Tree Book Reviews was provided an ARC of THE GIRL FROM SUMMER HILL to read and assess in exchange for a fair and honest review of the material.

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