Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Blowin’ My Mind Like a Summer Breeze by Benjamin Roech


Blowin’ My Mind Like a Summer Breeze by Benjamin Roech
Publisher: Deep Hearts YA
Genre: Young Adult (14 – 18 y.o.), Romance, LGBTQ, Contemporary
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Fifteen-year-old Rainey Cobb never thought meeting someone could actually change her life. But, then again, she’s never met anyone like Juliet.

It’s 1995 and The Cobb Family Band, led by Rainey’s rock star parents, has arrived for a week-long gig at the Midwestern resort owned by Juliet’s family. Dazzled by Juliet’s carpe diem attitude, DIY tattoos, and passion for grunge, Rainey falls hard. And when Juliet gives Rainey a mixtape that unlocks her heart’s secret yearnings, Rainey starts seeing herself-and her vagabond, show-biz life-through new eyes.

If Rainey quits the band, her parents’ fading career might never recover. But if she doesn’t leap now, she might be stuck forever in a life she didn’t choose…and always wonder who she could have been.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Unlock My Heart by Jennifer Wilck


Unlock My Heart by Jennifer Wilck
Scarred Hearts, Book Two
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Abby Marlow, computer security expert, lands a job at the best IT security firm in the country. Her sole focus is financial independence so she never has to rely on others again, especially a man. But why does her boss make her wires short circuit?

Ted Endicott, CEO and founder of the IT security firm, is hard of hearing. Although an expert in his field, he’s still uncomfortable admitting his hearing problem to clients or employees. So why is he willing to accept Abby’s help?

As Ted and Abby work together, barriers fall away, and the lines blur between colleagues and lovers. But a security glitch in a client’s system shows one of Ted’s employees is the hacker, and all signs point to Abby. Can they get past the suspicion and find a future together?

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Teddy Loses His Ears by Christine Milkovic Krauss


Teddy Loses His Ears by Christine Milkovic Krauss
Publisher: Tellwell Talent
Genre: Children’s (0 – 6 y.o.), Contemporary
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Teddy is a rescue cat who lost his ears from frostbite. Teddy has inspired a series of stories with his true-life adventures that share relatable messages of kindness and acceptance. Teddy hopes that his stories will raise awareness to the organizations that saved his life, and thousands of other animals’ lives every year.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Monkey Business: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Films of the Marx Brothers by Josh Pachter


Monkey Business: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Films of the Marx Brothers by Josh Pachter
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Historical
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

A Night at the Opera, A Day at the Races, Duck Soup, Animal Crackers…over the two decades between 1929’s The Cocoanuts and 1949’s Love Happy, the Marx Brothers—Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and sometimes Zeppo—entertained movie-goers around the world with their madcap antics, rapid-fire dialogue, and prowess on the piano, the harp, and in song.

Now, a Who’s Who of award-winning crime writers pays homage to the Marxes in fourteen short stories, each inspired by one of the brothers’ thirteen studio films. (Wait a second: fourteen stories inspired by thirteen films? How does that add up? You’ll find the answer to that question…and so much more!…inside the covers of this book.)

The authors? Donna Andrews, Frankie Y. Bailey, Jeff Cohen, Lesley A. Diehl, Brendan DuBois, Terence Faherty, Barb Goffman, Joseph Goodrich, Robert Lopresti, Sandra Murphy, Robert J. Randisi, Marilyn Todd, Joseph S. Walker, and editor Josh Pachter, who is a recent recipient of the Short Mystery Fiction Society’s Golden Derringer Award for Lifetime Achievement and the editor of two previous “inspired by” anthologies from Untreed Reads, The Beat of Black Wings: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Joni Mitchell and Only the Good Die Young: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Billy Joel.

To paraphrase Groucho: Outside of a dog, this book will be your best friend. (Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.)

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Sworn to Fly by Maria Imbalzano


Sworn to Fly by Maria Imbalzano
(Sworn Sisters Series) Book 3 of 3
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Mistflower

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Risk-averse ER nurse, Alyssa Beckman, is about to lose her job because of yet another bad decision. In order to put her life back on track, she books a week at a rustic mountain resort to ponder her next steps and rejuvenate. But when she arrives, she learns she’s enrolled in boot camp, an adventure program far out of her comfort zone.

While there, she meets Gabriel Sutton, a world-travelling high-fashion photographer who is in danger of losing his clients as well as his status if he doesn’t start following the rules. While hiking, kayak racing, and participating in team challenges, sparks fly between Alyssa and Gabe as they encourage each other to take different life paths. But will those paths lead them farther apart or bring them closer together?

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

Monet Talks by Tamar Myers


Monet Talks by Tamar Myers
Den of Antiquity, book 5
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Charleston antiques dealer Abigail Timberlake Washburn is thrilled by her recent estate auction purchase of a spectacular bejeweled birdcage from India, but not so much by its occupant, a mouthy mynah named Monet. Still, her customers at the Den of Antiquity seem charmed by the insufferable birdbrain, so Abby figures she’s stuck with him. That is, until she finds a stuffed starling resting on his usual perch with a ransom note demanding a real Monet (the painted variety) in exchange for her purloined pet.

Since she doesn’t happen to have a priceless masterpiece on hand — and since a mynahless existence isn’t all that distasteful a prospect — Abby figures she’ll let the thief keep the annoying avian. But when her mama Mozella is abducted by the craven birdnapper, Abby must leap into the fray to rescue mater and mynah alike … before the feathers really start to fly!

A missing bird, a crazy fancy Taj Mahal and a mystery. This one will be a tough one to crack!

I picked this book up, first because of the orange cat on the front and, second because I like a good cozy mystery. I’d never read a book by Tamar Myers, so this was a good introduction to her work. The story flew by, pardon the pun, and it had moments of great flash.

I did like that there is a cat in this story. Sometimes the books are marketed with having an animal that never actually shows up, so that was a plus for me. The main character, Abby, owns an antique shop and one of the things that goes missing is the Taj Mahal, the mynah bird that lived in it and her cat! So, I rooted for Abby to get the cat back.

One of the things that lowered enjoyment of this story for me was the sheer number of characters. I got so confused at times as to who is who and finally realized this is the fifth book in a series. It would probably help the reader to start at the beginning of the series in order to keep everyone straight. Another thing that sort of irritated me was the way the mystery took a backseat to the rest of the action. There’s also a lot of talk about just how hot it is in Charleston, SC, and that got a bit redundant, too.

Still, this is a good afternoon read and the conclusion of the mystery is worth the effort. You’ll want to pick this one up!

The Boys by Ron Howard & Clint Howard


The Boys: A Memoir of Hollywood and Family by Ron Howard & Clint Howard
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Historical, Non-Fiction, Memoir
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Happy Days, The Andy Griffith Show, Gentle Ben—these shows captivated millions of TV viewers in the ’60s and ’70s. Join award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard and audience-favorite actor Clint Howard as they frankly and fondly share their unusual family story of navigating and surviving life as sibling child actors.

“What was it like to grow up on TV?” Ron Howard has been asked this question throughout his adult life. in The Boys, he and his younger brother, Clint, examine their childhoods in detail for the first time. For Ron, playing Opie on The Andy Griffith Show and Richie Cunningham on Happy Days offered fame, joy, and opportunity—but also invited stress and bullying. For Clint, a fast start on such programs as Gentle Ben and Star Trek petered out in adolescence, with some tough consequences and lessons.

With the perspective of time and success—Ron as a filmmaker, producer, and Hollywood A-lister, Clint as a busy character actor—the Howard brothers delve deep into an upbringing that seemed normal to them yet was anything but. Their Midwestern parents, Rance and Jean, moved to California to pursue their own showbiz dreams. But it was their young sons who found steady employment as actors. Rance put aside his ego and ambition to become Ron and Clint’s teacher, sage, and moral compass. Jean became their loving protector—sometimes over-protector—from the snares and traps of Hollywood.

By turns confessional, nostalgic, heartwarming, and harrowing, THE BOYS is a dual narrative that lifts the lid on the Howard brothers’ closely held lives. It’s the journey of a tight four-person family unit that held fast in an unforgiving business and of two brothers who survived “child-actor syndrome” to become fulfilled adults.

Two brothers, one journey few can understand and a lifetime of memories.

I love to read biographies and autobiographies. When I saw this one about little Ronny Howard, I had to read it. I’m glad I did. There’s a whole lot more to Ron Howard than you might think. First, he’s not only a gifted filmmaker, but also a gifted writer. This was like reading a conversation between friends. Truly. His brother, Clint, writes half of this book and he’s more complicated than I ever thought.

Ron Howard is more than just Opie from the Andy Griffith show. I had no idea how hard worked to get ready for that part and how he had to work to BE Opie. I had no idea he had no concept of how to sign autographs while playing the role of Opie. He didn’t have the easiest life and it’s interesting to read about his transition from Opie to Ritchie Cunningham on Happy Days, then his move to directing. I liked how he’s so honest in his retelling of this era and his tendency to wish his father had his success, rather than having it for himself. It shows his humbleness.

Then there’s Clint. I knew this was his brother, but I didn’t know much about him. This book obviously changed that. He didn’t have quite the same experiences as Ron, even though he grew up in the same household. That’s not to say he wasn’t treated well. He was, but he had different experiences. There’s the unfortunate incidence with the buzzard during the filming of The Red Pony. If you’re upset by indignities to animals, then this might be the portion to skip. I never realized he had such drug problems or had become such a character actor. I have a new respect for Clint Howard.

All in all, this is a wonderful Hollywood autobiography and one that shouldn’t be missed. Recommended.

Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ The Purveli by Dianne Duvall


The Purveli by Dianne Duvall (Author), Kirsten Potter (Narrator),
Aldebarian Alliance, Book 3
Publisher: Self-published, Tantor Audio (Audio Publisher)
Genre: Sci-fi/Fantasy, Romance, Action/Adventure
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Ava has always been different. Born with strong telepathic abilities, she lives a very isolated life until she is offered a job with an obscure network that aids powerful Immortal Guardians in their quest to protect humanity from the psychotic vampires who prey upon them. Suddenly, she doesn’t feel so different. For the first time in her life, Ava has found a place where she belongs. She’s happy. Life is good. And when her employers invite her to join a group of other gifted ones and a handful of Immortal Guardians on a journey to another planet, it becomes absolutely fantastic.

In no time at all, she is speeding across the galaxy aboard a Lasaran warship manned by two amazing alien races. It’s the dream of a lifetime… until a vicious attack by a mutual enemy of Lasara and Earth lands her alone in an escape pod with no habitable planet in sight and only one ship within range: one that carries the enemy who wants to know why the bioengineered virus they released on Earth long ago didn’t exterminate humanity and leave the planet ripe for their claiming.

Jak’ri doesn’t know how long he has been a prisoner aboard the Cebaun, but he fears the enemy’s twisted experiments will soon lead them to a virus that will eradicate the Purveli people. Despair grips him until a female from Earth is taken captive and reaches out to him telepathically. The gift that Ava said caused her such misery in the past soon becomes his salvation as the two of them form a fast friendship. Determined to distract each other from the horrors of their existence, they immerse themselves in telepathic communion during the day, then seek solace and adventure together in shared dreams. As their friendship deepens into love, the two hatch a daring plot to escape their captors. But the enemy will not let them go without a fight.

Can Ava and Jak’ri stand against so many and emerge victorious?

FIND THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ The Wrong Words by Yvonne Rediger


The Wrong Words by Yvonne Rediger
An Adam Norcross Mystery Book 1
Publisher: BWL Publishing Inc.
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Adam Norcross is not in a good place. He recently buried his mother and now he needs something more than a power struggle between him and his mother’s cat to distract him from his grief. That something comes in the form of an assignment from his boss, Walter Shapiro, who is not a patient man. Not surprising since he reports directly to the prime minister. Shapiro interrupts Norcross’ bereavement leave to give him an assignment. Norcross’ task is to find out how the country’s most eminent climate scientist ended up dead off the highway in a mountain ravine. Was it an accident or suicide? As soon as he speaks to Shapiro, Norcross’ unique precognitive ability tells him it is something else, something darker.

Sergeant Bethany Leith is not thrilled to have Norcross stepping on her toes. Even though Constable Bighetty is willing to give Norcross the benefit of the doubt. Once he inserts himself into Leith’s suspicious death inquiry, Norcross will use his investigative knowledge and unusual talents to help her uncover who wanted Doctor Flete dead and why.

Salish University is ground zero for the investigation. Among those involved are Flete’s dean, his wife, and his new girlfriend. Then there are his colleagues, some of whom denounced Doctor Flete’s important work, including a woman from Adam Norcross’ past.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Shiloh’s Secret by KD Ellis


Shiloh’s Secret by KD Ellis
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, LGBTQ, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Moonflower

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

This levitra brand erectile dysfunction medication can be found in 20mg pills. The only caveat to be aware of is that it is not taken by patients who have sex levitra free samples problems or by those who can’t experience it. Those with prostate cancer may also feel low and depressed cheapest levitra prices because of this issue. Even hypothyroidism, which is related to hormonal system, midwayfire.com cheap cialis can lead to male impotence. Shiloh Beckett has a trust fund, a stalker and a secret. He doesn’t trust easily, but his new bodyguard might just break the cycle.

Shiloh Beckett might be the sole heir to Beckett Industries, one of the leading tech companies in the world, but the last thing he wants is to become another suit-and-tie. He’s learned the hard way that money can’t buy happiness, just a better brand of misery.

Gage Tucker lives by the motto Protect and Serve. Raised by a cop who failed his family, Gage chose to serve his country the only way he knew how—with boots on the ground and a gun in his hand. After a mission gone wrong, Gage came home with a broken body but the same drive to protect. Months of rehab later, he joined Eagle Security as a Personal Protection Officer and he’s been a bodyguard ever since. Protecting a trust-fund brat from the paparazzi isn’t what he signed up for.

Soon he learns that there’s more than just the media after Shiloh, and the secrets the boy is hiding will change everything. If he can’t convince Shiloh to trust him, how can he keep him safe?

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!