SOUTHERN LEAGUE: A True Story of Baseball, Civil Rights, and the Deep South's Most Compelling Pennant Race

SOUTHERN LEAGUE                               LARRY COLTON
Posted:  April 28, 2014

"Birmingham is probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States. Its ugly record of brutality is widely known. Negroes have experienced grossly unjust treatment in the courts. There have been more unsolved bombings in Negro homes and churches in Birmingham than in any other city in the nation." 
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Letter from a Birmingham Jail1963
Anybody who is familiar with the Civil Rights movement knows that 1964 was a pivotal year. And in Birmingham, Alabama - perhaps the epicenter of racial conflict - the Barons amazingly started their season with an integrated team. 
Johnny "Blue Moon" Odom, a talented pitcher and Tommie Reynolds, an outfielder - both young black ballplayers with dreams of playing someday in the big leagues, along with Bert Campaneris, a dark-skinned shortstop from Cuba, all found themselves in this simmering cauldron of a minor league town, all playing for Heywood Sullivan, a white former major leaguer who grew up just down the road in Dothan, Alabama. 
Colton traces the entire season, writing about the extraordinary relationships among these players with Sullivan, and Colton tells their story by capturing the essence of Birmingham and its citizens during this tumultuous year. (The infamous Bull Connor, for example, when not ordering blacks to be blasted by powerful water hoses, is a fervent follower of the Barons and served as a long-time broadcaster of their games.) 
By all accounts, the racial jeers and taunts that rained down upon these Birmingham players were much worse than anything that Jackie Robinson ever endured.
More than a story about baseball, this is a true accounting of life in a different time and clearly a different place. Seventeen years after Jackie Robinson had broken the color line in the major leagues, Birmingham was exploding in race riots....and now, they were going to have their very first integrated sports team. This is a story that has never been told.

This is not just a baseball book. This book is about a time and a place that I know I did not see or experience. I cannot imagine what some of these men had to go through. The story takes place in Birmingham, Alabama in 1964. Baseball is coming back to this town and to other towns in the South. But like so much of everything else that is happening there are a lot of that don’t want baseball back. Because now it will not be segregated. The author Larry Colton, mostly follows 4 players, Johnny “Blue Moon” Odom, Tommie Reynolds from CA. Bert Campaneries, from Cuba, and Paul Lindblad. Odom would not get to the team until after he graduated from high school. This was a farm team for the Kansas City A’s, who were owned by Charlie Finley, he was some character. This was still years before he moved the team to Oakland. The team was managed by a man named Haywood Sullivan. Mister Colton weaves stories, tragedies really from the civil rights movement and even events that happened long before the 60s that really shaped the minds of these people in the South. This part of the story true and I know needs to be told and retold, still bother me for the lack of total injustice and people never being held accountable, even so-called law enforcement. These are just a few of the things these players had to deal with. I will say Mister Sullivan did work everyone as a team. They would not eat at certain dinners because they could not eat as a team. And people need to remember that though Campaneries was from Cuba he could not go were the whites went because he was darker skinned. How ignorant. That was the times in the south and these men were playing baseball trying to win their league championship. That part of the story is very fascinating. I really enjoyed the baseball part because I remember watching Bert Campaneries, playing shortstop for the A’s when they won 3 straight World Series, “Blue Moon” was there along with Paul Lindblad. Tommie Reynolds also made it to the big leagues. Haywood Sullivan, would manage one year with the big club then spend the 25 plus years with the Red Sox, at the end being part owner before selling in the 90”s. a good book about baseball and what was going on in our country at that time. I got this book from galley.


Posted:  April 28, 2014

Les Pensees: The Thoughts of Lucienne Hollard McKay She survived war when her family did not, battled for liberty with the
French Underground, and fell in love with an American doctor in Paris. And
throughout her too-short lifetime, she recorded her innermost thoughts and
impressions with intensely personal poems.
The daughter of a French physician, Lucienne Hollard McKay's poetry reflects
many of her thoughts, her moods, her intimations. In them one finds pain as
well as gaiety; and fantasy, delight, and ecstasy.
Tremendously personal, the poems are set down in the author's native French
and were never intended for publication.
To honor Lucienne's memory after her passing, her husband selected more than
fifty of these poems to share with the world. They appear herein, filled
with all the nuances and delicate iridescence of their original expression.
Translated with dedicated friendship by Lilian Polk, the English poems
appear side-by-side, next to the romantic language in which they were
In these poems, daydreams commingle with reality, life and death are
interwoven, and always there is an ethereal beauty-even in the midst of
Lucienne Hollard knew the mighty and the lowly, enjoyed the society of the
famous, and worked closely with the nameless ones of the French Underground
during World War II. Everywhere her life took her, she remained a dauntless
spirit with an unbounded verve for whatever life brought. No other memorial
could conceivably preserve, as if still alive, the exquisite personality of
its author.

I normally don’t read poems but something caught my attention when I was looking at books. Most of these poems were written at a time when she was living in France under German occupation. Her parents had been killed and she was living with relatives. These poems are translated from French to English so I hope they don’t miss too much in the translation. She also started writing them when she was in her early teens, not knowing if she was going to live or die. Two of the ones that really stood out for me was one about her mother. That she wrote on mother’s day. Expressing her disappointment in not having her mother their but knowing that if she could one day make it out and find love that her mother would always be with her. The other one was on Easter morning about forgiveness and how Christ dying on the cross and then rising from the dead that she has hope, faith that she will see her love ones one day in heaven. I am not doing either one of these poems the true feeling she wrote with. But these are some great poems short but very moving in a time when she was looking for something to keep her going to the next day her writing was it. A very moving book of poems. I got this book from net galley.


THE CHASE                               JANET EVANOVICH & LEE GOLDBERG
Posted:  April 28, 2014

The Chase (Fox and O'Hare, #2) Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg, New York Times bestselling authors of The Heist, return in this action-packed, exciting adventure featuring master con artist Nicolas Fox and die-hard FBI agent Kate O’Hare. And this time around, things go from hot to nuclear when government secrets are on the line. Internationally renowned thief and con artist Nicolas Fox is famous for running elaborate and daring scams. His greatest con of all: convincing the FBI to team him up with the only person who has ever caught him, and the only woman to ever capture his attention, Special Agent Kate O’Hare. Together they’ll go undercover to swindle and catch the world’s most wanted—and untouchable—criminals. Their newest target is Carter Grove, a former White House chief of staff and the ruthless leader of a private security agency. Grove has stolen a rare Chinese artifact from the Smithsonian, a crime that will torpedo U.S. relations with China if it ever becomes public. Nick and Kate must work under the radar—and against the clock—to devise a plan to steal the piece back. Confronting Grove’s elite assassins, Nick and Kate rely on the skills f their ragtag crew, including a flamboyant actor, a Geek Squad techie, and a band of AARP-card-carrying mercenaries led by none other than Kate’s dad. A daring heist and a deadly chase lead Nick and Kate from Washington, D.C., to Shanghai, from the highlands of Scotland to the underbelly of Montreal. But it’ll take more than death threats, trained henchmen, sleepless nights, and the fate of a dynasty’s priceless heirloom to outsmart Fox and O’Hare. From the Hardcover edition.

The Chase has for the most part the same characters. Kate, the FBI agent and Nicholas, the thief who is now working with the FBI. No one knows that part except her and two top people in the FBI. This story starts off fast and does not let up until the end. it takes them around the world chasing after stolen art collection when they break into a former high ranking government official home. After finding what they were looking for they decide to take him down and give back all of the art pieces that he has stolen or paid for after they were stolen. They bring back the same characters from the first book and like the first book her father brings a couple of friends to help them out of the jam they get into. a good fast paced story that takes you globe hopping with a lot of chases and a few shoot outs. I really liked this book. I got this book from net galley.


WHY BE CATHOLIC?                               PATRICK MADRID
Posted:  April 28, 2014

Why Be Catholic: Ten Reasons Why It's Not Only Cool but Important to Be Catholic The popular blogger and publisher of Envoy magazine offers 10 key reasons why he loves being Catholic (and you should too). Drawing heavily on poignant anecdotes from his own experience as a life-long Catholic born in 1960s, Madrid offers readers a way of looking at the Church--its members, teachings, customs, and history--from perspectives many may have never considered.

Growing up Catholic during a time of great social and theological upheaval and transition, a time in which countless Catholics abandoned their religion in search of something else, Patrick Madrid learned a great deal about why people leave Catholicism and why others stay. This experience helped him gain many insights into what it is about the Catholic Church that some people reject, as well as those things that others treasure. Drawing upon Madrid's personal experiences, Why Be Catholic? offers a deeply personal, fact-based, rationale for why everyone should be Catholic or at least consider the Catholic Church in a new light.

This is a good book for either a Catholic or for a Catholic that has left the church for whatever reason. For today’s Catholic he helps define what it means to be a Catholic and explains the teachings of the church in a way that is easy to understand but also has all of the reverences to go along with them. He also explains how or what events when he was younger made him defend his faith. I found that part of the book interesting, for I would not have been able to do that when I was a teen. Being a Catholic, I realized that that this book is not only for adults but for families and for children. This is the one thing we lack at times, teaching what it means to be Catholic, the true meaning. The importance of our sacraments and where in the scriptures they come from. By doing this our young people would feel more empowered and not feel like they are defending the church from the beginning. He does tells of a story of a teenage girl going to a Priest and asking for help and he could not even make the time to pray with her. Those type of stories are hard to dismiss, for there are hundreds, thousands of them out there. Some people should not be a priest. That part is something that when I heard that story broke my heart for that women. He speaks of the scandal and like most books about the church he dealt with it at the beginning. Again growing up in the church it seems less than but I feel very sorry for all who came forward and for those who could not. This book was a very honest and good book about the reasons why to be a Catholic. For me it just reaffirmed my Love for Christ. A good book for Catholics and none Catholics. I also think that every family should be given a copy of this book. I got this book from net galley. 


IT'S ALWAYS BEEN YOU                       JESSICA SCOTT
Posted:  April 28, 2014

It's Always Been You (Coming Home, #5) She plays by the rules . . . 
Captain Ben Teague is many things: a tough soldier, a loyal friend, and a bona fide smart-ass. He doesn't have much tolerance for BS, which is why he's mad as hell when a trusted colleague and mentor is brought up on charges that can't possibly be true. He's even more frustrated with by-the-book lawyer Major Olivia Hale. But there's something simmering beneath her icy reserve--and Ben just can't resist turning up the heat . . .
. . . and he's determined to break them
The only thing riskier than mixing business with pleasure is enjoying it . . . and Olivia can't resist locking horns--and lips--with Ben. He's got more compassion in his little finger than any commander she's ever met, a fact that makes him a better leader than he realizes. But when the case that brought them together awakens demons from Olivia's past, she will have to choose between following orders--or her heart . . .

Another story that takes place at Ft. Hood. This story is about a Cat. Named Teague who is dealing with feelings of letting down one of the sergeants from the last deployment. He also is trying to overcome some other problems he has when two things happen. One is made commander of a platoon, which he does not want and he meets Major Hale. She is legal and they are trying to clean up the division before the next deployment. She also has some issues she needs to work out from her past. As they begin to work more closely together they know there is a spark between them and together they help the other one overcome some of their fears. Again this book is dealing with the issues of PTSD, drinking, drug use, brain injuries that cause you to act like a different person and not even remember doing it. Deals with not only the scares on the outside but also on the inside. A very powerful and though happy at times sad book, for a love story at least for me. Very real and not fake. I got this book from net galley. 


ALL FOR YOU                                           JESSICA SCOTT
Posted:  April 28, 2014

All For You (Coming Home, #4) Can a battle-scarred warrior . . .

Stay sober. Get deployed. Lead his platoon. Those are the only things that matter to Sergeant First Class Reza Iaconelli. What he wants is for everyone to stay out of his way; what he gets is Captain Emily Lindberg telling him how to deal with his men. Fort Hood's newest shrink is smart as a whip and sexy as hell. She's also full of questions—about the army, its soldiers, and the agony etched on Reza's body and soul.
. . . open his heart to love?
Emily has devoted her life to giving soldiers the care they need—and deserve. Little does she know that means facing down the fierce wall of muscle that is Sergeant Iaconelli like it's just another day at the office. When Reza agrees to help her understand what makes a soldier tick, she's thrilled. Too bad it doesn't help her unravel the sexy warrior in front of her who stokes her desire and touches a part of her she thought long dead. He's the man who thinks combat is the only escape from the demons that haunt him. The man who needs her most of all . . .

A story that takes place at Ft. Hood. Begins with Sgt. First Class Reza and his drinking problem and not being able to sleep. After a while he is told that if he wants to stay in he must get treatment. He puts himself into the base hospital where he meets Dr. Emily, she is a Cap. As he struggles with drinking and makes it to 30 days without a drink he finds more reasons to go to the hospital to just see her at first then they start a romance. This is more than a romantic book. It deals with PTSD, drinking, not sleeping, not getting help after returning from action ( deployed ), suicide, and just about everything else that a solider goes through good and bad. The buddies they lost and how each one deals with the pain in their own way. A very good book. More than just a love story. I got this book from net galley.


GIRL MISSING                                           TESS GERRITSEN
Posted:  April 28, 2014

Girl Missing From Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author of the Rizzoli & Isles series, her stunning first thriller!
A beautiful young woman’s corpse is found dumped in a garbage-strewn alley. Now laid out in the office of medical examiner Kat Novak is an unidentified body that betrays no secrets—except for a matchbook clutched in one stiff hand, seven numbers scrawled inside. When a second victim is discovered, Kat begins to fear that a serial killer is stalking the streets, using a deadly drug to do his dirty work. The police are skeptical. The mayor won’t listen. One of the town’s most prominent citizens, with a missing daughter of his own, is also Kat’s chief suspect. As the death toll rises, Kat races to expose a deadly predator who is close enough to touch her.

This book was first published in 94 titled Peggy Sue Got Murdered. The main characters are Kat Novak the coroner, sgt Louis Sykes and his partner det Vince Ratchet, and Adam Quantrell, who Novak thinks at first has something to do with the murders. When she finds out that he does not and that her ex who is the acting D.A. she pulls him along with her to help solve the murders that are happening in the bad part of town. No one cares about what is happening but her but that is because she is from there. This book has a lot of twists and turns and you are really surprised at the end when you find out who the killer really is. I thought this was a good suspense book and was a fast read. The book itself is not very long and so the action is fast paced. A very good book. I got this book from net galley.


PLEASE BE WITH ME                              GALADRIELLE ALLMAN
Posted:  April 28, 2014

Please Be with Me: A Song for My Father, Duane Allman  A deeply personal, revealing, and lyrical portrait of Duane Allman, founder of the legendary Allman Brothers Band, written by his daughter

Galadrielle Allman went to her first concert as an infant in diapers, held in her teenage mother’s arms. Playing was her father—Duane Allman, who would become one of the most influential and sought-after musicians of his time. Just a few short years into his remarkable career, he was killed in a motorcycle accident at the age of twenty-four. His daughter was two years old.
Galadrielle was raised in the shadow of his loss and his fame. Her mother sought solace in a bohemian life. Friends and family found it too painful to talk about Duane. Galadrielle listened intently to his music, read articles about him, steeped herself in the mythic stories, and yet the spotlight rendered him too simple and too perfect to know. She felt a strange kinship to the fans who longed for him, but she needed to know more. It took her many years to accept that his life and his legacy were hers, and when she did, she began to ask for stories—from family, fellow musicians, friends—and they began to flow. 
Galadrielle Allman’s memoir is at once a rapturous, riveting, and intimate account of one of the greatest guitar prodigies of all time, the story of the birth of a band that redefined the American musical landscape, and a tender inquiry of a daughter searching for her father in the memories of others.

This is more than just a book about a fantastic musician. It is also a daughter trying to find something out about a father that she never knew. She is able to talk to people who had either known her father or worked with her father and because some of the people still knew her they shared stories with her. She was also able to talk to her grandmother who gave her some insight into his personality. She also just slightly talks about the following that her father and the Allmans Bros band still have and the connection people fell to the music. They were probably first bigger as a touring band or concert. Their first few records were not big sellers. But there shows were all sold out. The groups that played with them for the part enjoyed it. Some of the artists that had recorded with him she said spoke like they had just seen each other and yet they had not worked together since the mid-60s. For me this was a great book I still enjoy his music and now knowing a little more of the story makes it even better. I don’t think you need to be a fan to enjoy this book I think anyone who has lost a parent can relate to her wanting to know more about the father she never knew except through music. I got this book from net galley.


RUSSIAN ROULETTE                              GILES MILTON
Posted:  April 28, 2014

Russian Roulette: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Plot for Global Revolution In 1917, a band of communist revolutionaries stormed the Winter Palace of Tsar Nicholas II—a dramatic and explosive act marking that Vladimir Lenin’s communist revolution was now underway. But Lenin would not be satisfied with overthrowing the Tsar. His goal was a global revolt that would topple all Western capitalist regimes—starting with the British Empire. 
Russian Roulette tells the spectacular and harrowing story of the British spies in revolutionary Russia and their mission to stop Lenin’s red tide from washing across the free world. They were an eccentric cast of characters, led by Mansfield Cumming, a one-legged, monocle-wearing former sea captain, and included novelist W. Somerset Maugham, beloved children’s author Arthur Ransome, and the dashing, ice-cool Sidney Reilly, the legendary Ace of Spies and a model for Ian Fleming’s James Bond. Cumming’s network would pioneer the field of covert action and would one day become MI6. 
Living in disguise, constantly switching identities, they infiltrated Soviet commissariats, the Red Army, and Cheka (the feared secret police), and would come within a whisker of assassinating Lenin. In a sequence of bold exploits that stretched from Moscow to the central Asian city of Tashkent, this unlikely band of agents succeeded in foiling Lenin’s plot for global revolution.

This book is the beginnings of the spy network of Britain that became to be known as MI6. The State or local one is MI5. Mansfield George Smith Cumming was chosen to be the man in charge. He was a Navy Officer who had to retire from active service and was selected by Re Admiral Alexander Belthell who was in charge of naval intelligence. On August 10, 1909 the government decided to establish a foreign and domestic secret service with two separate but connected divisions. The foreign would be charged with gathering military, political and technical intelligence from overseas. To also recruit, train and send them into foreign countries to report any threat that country might pose. He was able to get the network going for the start of WWI and by the time of 1917 there were agents already in Russia with knowledge of an uprising called the Bolsheviks revolution. One of the main spies was a man by the name of Riley. He would later be known as Riley “the ace of spies “. He had already told them months before when it looked like Lennin was going to be in power. He was told to do nothing. The right hand man for Lennin was named Dzerzhinsky, he was a very ruthless man. Then on July 17, 1918 one of the most hideous events happened in the revolution, the Tsar Nicholas II, his wife and all of his children were killed. The Bolshevik press tried to make the killings justified. It should be noted that Lennin was exiled and when he was being brought back into Russia Riley and his team of spies tried to do things to hold up his entry but was finally told to let him pass. This really was the beginning of the end of Russia and all of the countries around it. For after a few months papers were taken and sent to England stating how Lennin wanted total world domination but no one would listen. He first started in India and then central Asia. The India one fell apart by another group of spies from Britain but this would become a lifelong fight for many. Over the years they gathered how many people died or just disappeared. Most of this information was not made public. By the time Stalin came into power there was already a mole inside his office but Riley had to leave for there was a price on his head. In the late 20s Riley went back to Russia helping to get out some of the people that had worked for him. The only one he could not save was himself. This book offers a lot of history of both England and Russia, and takes you up to the rumbles of a new problem in Germany. The same fight Russia has today with Georgia, they were having back in 1918 and 1919. Fighting and trying to force people to follow them that don’t want it. I thought it interesting also that Churchill is mentioned a few times saying that communism is evil but was right there shaking hands with Stalin in WWII. Overall this is a very good book with a lot of information and the author gives the men and women who no one knew about their place in history for the sacrifices that they made. I got this book from net galley.


MORE THAN A FEELING                       C.J. CARMICHAEL
Posted:  April 28, 2014

More Than A Feeling by C.J. Carmichael
 Small town romance with a dash of mystery
A dangerous twenty-year-old secret is about to be uncovered in the quaint Vermont town of Carol Falls, where not everyone is who they seem to be. 
At first meeting, Spencer Frost appears to be a simple farmer who enjoys reading and quoting poetry. In fact he’s a criminal law attorney from Boston on sabbatical at Frost Family Farm. When he meets Robin Redmond, the lovely new sales clerk at the local independent bookstore, he has no idea he’s about to step into a drama to rival even his toughest legal case. 
Robin moved to Carol Falls in pursuit of the man who destroyed her sister’s life. Driven to face him—as well as her own guilt about her sister--falling in love with Spencer is not part of her plans. But as they partner up to unravel the twisted truth behind the crime, she discovers love is the strongest weapon of all.
This is the fourth book in a small-town romance/cozy mystery series that began with The Frost Family Christmas trilogy. These three titles are: 

Book 1: What Child Is This by C.J. Carmichael 
Book2: Home For Christmas by Roxy Boroughs 
Book 3: The Holly & The Ivy by Brenda M. Collins.
     What an intriguing story in the form of a romance mystery.  At the heart of the story is Robin Redman who has moved to Carol Falls in order to confront the man who destroyed her family.  She wants to have a face to face with the man who has gotten out of prison and is now living with his twin brother.  She needs to ease her own guilt and heartache.  It’s all too painful and it has eaten up to many years of her life and ruined too many lives and relationships.
     She works at her new job a local independent bookstore, where she meets Spencer Frost.  Who she believes to be a maple farmer who enjoys reading and quoting poetry.  Only to find out he is a criminal lawyer.  So, on their first date when she finds out it’s a bust.  She is gone in a flash. 
     For Spencer however he can’t get Robin out of his mind.  She is the first woman he has met outside of his well to do circles of galas, fundraisers, and work.  So, when he can’t take “no” for an answer he pursues her again to find out something else has her spooked.  Against her better judgment but finding that Spencer is easy to talk to she starts to tell him what happened to her sister and family years ago.  A bond begins to form.
     Come and see how this mystery unfolds of this face to face.  Will it be what she is looking for or will there be another mystery that will unfold right before her eyes?  A romance that couldn’t possibly go anywhere with a woman so mentally obsessed with this case she can’t seem to heal to the point that she allowed it to ruin her first marriage.  And a family who through love, illness, pain, and joy make life more enjoyable together than apart.

     I give this book 5 stars.  Provide by the author for an honest review.   Follow us at: 


THE ACE                                                      RHONDA SHAW
Posted:  April 28, 2014

 “Love ’em and leave ’em” has been real estate agent Karen Bently’s motto for as long as she can remember. She doesn’t need a man, except to make her toes curl. Or so she thought, until her longtime crush, Ace pitcher Jerry Smutton, sets his sights on her. 
After signing one of the largest baseball contracts in history with the Detroit Rockets, Jerry enlists Karen to help him find the house of his dreams. Their connection is instant and electric, but neither of them is the relationship type. When Jerry proposes a friends-with-benefits arrangement, that suits Karen just fine. 
Passionate sleepovers soon turn into long, romantic evenings… Still, Karen and Jerry refuse to acknowledge they’re a couple. Karen insists that she’s immune to Jerry’s heart-melting charm. Jerry’s not ready to settle down. Denial is the name of the game, until one pitch changes everything…

     Rhonda Shaw puts a very interesting spin on a new event in men and women’s lives, casual, unattached, and “friend bennies.”  “Friend beneies” you ask? Well, it means friends with benefits.
     You see Karen Bently has been has been hurt by two important relationships in her past, an ex-fiancĂ© who was deceitful to her in last year in college when they were to marry.  The more important of the two would be her father.  He deserted her mother, which in turn deserted her too.
     So, now she is the one woman wrecking team in the relationship department, in fact she doesn’t let one start.  Her best friend Maddie and sister Shannon are always talking to her about it but it never takes hold.  In fact she just never really allows a relationship to start.  If a guy gets to close she gives him his walking papers.  Sometimes, cutting him off at the knees.
     Now Jerry Smutton, he could be her down fall he is the best friend to Chase which is her best friend Maddie’s fiancĂ©.   They are getting married and Jerry and Karen have been asked to stand up for them that is how they met.  He is the Ace pitcher for the Detroit Rockets, Chase is also a pitcher for the team.
     Jerry just signed a lifetime contract as the highest paid player in the major league.  They had met through Chase and Maddie and he knew she was in real estate.  So, as a ruse to get close to her he asked her to show him some houses.  What he is really looking for is a “friend beneies.”
     One of the times out Karen take him to this house that they both seem to like but this is what happens before he even walks in.  Jerry had a vision of Karen coming out of the front door, laughing as a yellow dog sprinted by her and out into the yard, eager to play.  As fast as it hit him it left him.  It left him unsettled wondering where it had come from and if he was starting to lose his mind since he did not want to settle down at all.  This vision left him with a sense of loneliness that he felt every time she took him looking for houses.  The minute he stepped over the threshold his hairs stood on end which he had to ignore.  He had to fight the feeling to leave it was a feeling of something that he was not ready for but once he looked around his uneasiness was gone.
     After a few times out looking, flirting, and circling they lay down the ground rules.  They finally go for it and have their first night but something is off.  They are “feeling” and not liking that one big time.  Denial in the forefront they forge ahead but their minds and hearts keep them off balance.
     Come on the rollercoaster ride you may be surprised to see how funny, unnervingly real, and piercing your emotions ride the surface as these two try to figure out what is happening to them.  Could the tapes of old fears and old hurts cause them to not connect and stay together.  You might want to read "The Changeup" first.
     I give this 5 stars.  Provided by Net Galley.
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THE CHANGEUP                                       RHONDA SHAW
Posted:  April 28, 2014

The Changeup by Rhonda Shaw Playing for keeps
After nine years of striking out in the dating department, Maddie Hamlin is throwing in the towel. But just as this mom resolves to remain single, she meets sweet and sexy pitching phenom Chase Patton at a family dinner. He’s perfect for her--aside from the fact he’s only twenty-two.
Chase knows he should be focusing on his rookie year with the Detroit Rockets, but he can’t stop thinking about Maddie. He doesn’t care that the beautiful school counselor is twelve years older, and he’s already lost his heart to her adorable daughter. When an incredible date leads to an incredible night of passion, he knows he never wants to let her go.
But dating in the media spotlight is a whole new ball game. Maddie quickly discovers that not everyone accepts their unconventional relationship and that finding love may mean losing everything else.

     What a riveting story of a pure innocent love a 22 year old young man, Chase Patton, feels for older single mother, Maddie Hamlin.  She is 12 years older than him, making her 34 years old and if that wasn’t enough her daughter is nine years old adding to the whole situation.
     The difference with their relationship that is different is Chase is a professional baseball player and so much more mature, just ask anyone.  In fact he is one of the highest paid young athletics paid directly out of high school.  He is such a good pitcher and has such control on the ball and control of the head on his shoulders (and the other one too.)  He is not one to go out drinking or partying.  No wild women or staying out real late in fact they call him “Grandpa.”  For this he only stayed in the minors for a very short while.  When he met Maddie it was love at first sight.  He knew what he wanted and he went after it just like baseball.  Bree was a bonus as far as he was concerned an awesome one. 
     So, once he came off the road trip he was on, he started making a point of dropping by.  Which was easy since they were neighbors.  His teammate, “Smutty,” and he have a condo they share a couple of doors down.  After a few visits he got his nerve up and asked her out.  She didn’t think it was a good idea due to their age although she was highly attracted to him.  He kept talking she finally agreed.  One thing led to another and bang they are a couple.  It is not an easy the road is not smooth and she is shaky to begin with.  He goes on another road trip and all hell breaks loose on her while he is gone.  She is forced to break up with him.  Not of her making and their lives are at their lowest emotionally, spiritually and his job is paying for it.  She is force to break up with him though to keep what she has safe and protected.  See what happens.  You do not want to miss it.  It was tastefully done and taps on a lot of issues that a relationship of this type would come up against. Truthful as well as insightful.
     I loved, loved, loved this book.  Emotions are amazingly pure, sexy as hell, and I love Chase.  You have to read, “The Ace” you will love it too.  Karen and Smutty are wonderful characters and they are so funny together but there is also a lot of emotions in that one too. 5 stars.  Provided by Net Galley.   Follow us at:


TAKEN WITH YOU                                   SHANNON STACEY
Posted:  April 28, 2014

Taken with You by Shannon Stacey Hailey Genest has seen most of her friends marry and have babies, and she's happy for them, but it was a lot easier before she hit forty. She's spent her entire life in Whitford, Maine, and if she hasn't found her Prince Charming by now, she has to accept she's probably not going to. When a new friend suggests they go on an adventure and embrace being single, Hailey agrees.

Surviving in the woods is game warden Matt Barnett's idea of a relaxing vacation. But when he meets two women in need of help, he leads them back to safety - a task that proves more fun than expected, thanks to a certain hot blonde. He can't resist pushing her buttons, even though she's made it clear that the rugged, outdoorsy type just isn't for her.

Hailey is glad to see the back of her tempting-tour-guide-slash-pain-in-the-ass. When he shows up in her life again, she's determined to avoid him, no matter how good he looks in his uniform. But that's easier said than done in Whitford, especially when he's renting the house right next door...

     Okay, by now if most of you have been avid readers of our blog or even my reviews you know I am a sucker for these family dramas.  Well, Shannon Stacey doesn’t disappoint in this story which is an off shoot of the actual family, The Kowalski series, friend Hailey Genest the librarian.
     You see she is 40 now an see her life passing her by and her clock ticking loudly, and all her close BFF;s have become traders by marrying or shacking up. It’s worse, because of those sexy as hell Kowalski Boys.  So, she befriends a much younger woman who swears/vows never to marry only to bed her men.
     Tori is a young woman of 2014 who seems bold and frisky.  They sign up for a single woman’s hiking weekend.  Something new kind of, “I am Woman hear me Roar!” But, they are not out doorsie.  Hailey being the worse.  Going on Pinterest to make her own bug spray that only attracts them, buys new hiking boots, and puts on make-up.  At least their one saving grace being that Matt was out hiking when they got separated from their group and lost.
     First impressions are hard to break especially by him looking like a cave man with hiking gear.  Off the bat she wouldn’t gave him the time of day.  Little did she know he caught the look she gave him and he wrote her off too?  Which is now hard because one week later he is her next door neighbor.  Life and fate are fickled ladies.  Not only did they want each other they needed each other.  Would they be able to work out their differences? 
     Come and see what happens when the town tries to help but ends up causing problems.  Mas has old hurts from past relationships to get over in order to make it work. 
I give this 5 stars.  Provided by
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