Posts Tagged ‘alexandrea weis’

cover to covers

Source: Review copy from author
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Maybe Monique was the kind of woman he needed in his life.  No one had held up a mirror to his empty existence quite like she had.  The characters she had based on him had opened his eyes to the possibility that all was not right with his world.  He had made mistakes, a lot of them, but perhaps there was always room for redemption.

(from Cover to Covers, page 55)

Quick summary: Cover to Covers is about Tyler Moore, an oil company CEO who likes to be in control and is used to getting what he wants, especially when it comes to women.  After running into his girlfriend from 20 years ago, romance author Monique Delome — the only woman he was unable to forget — Tyler leaves his company behind and flies to New Orleans, hoping for a second chance.  He knows she still has feelings for him; after all, she’s based all of the leading men in her books on him.  But Monique finds it hard to trust him because he’s broken her heart before, and Tyler has issues of his own, as the battles with his stepfather for control of the company and the effects of a devastating loss from his childhood threaten his chances of happiness.

Why I wanted to read it: I don’t read many dark and steamy romance novels, but I am a fan of Weis’ writing and am willing to read outside my comfort zone now and then.

What I liked: Weis does a great job developing her characters.  The novel was narrated in the third person from Tyler’s point of view, but I still felt like I understood Monique and the reasons behind her actions.  I also appreciated that the characters were older (Tyler is 50, and Monique is in her 40s), and they have two decades of life experiences under their belts when they meet again at the beginning of the novel, which made it easier for me to relate to them.  The plot itself was interesting, how a man so seemingly in control actually needs to learn to take control of his own life and stop doing what is expected of him.  The sex scenes are very steamy, and in this novel, they actually contribute to the plot and the evolution of the characters and their relationship.

What I disliked: There were times I wished the book were told from Monique’s point of view because I really liked her, and I spent much of the book disliking Tyler.  Even in the end, I appreciated the changes in his character, but I never fell in love with him.  However, Weis did make him believable as a CEO, and I guess that was the point.

Final thoughts: I’ve enjoyed every book I’ve read by Weis so far, and Cover to Covers is no exception.  It may not be my favorite of her novels, but I found the characters intriguing, and even if I didn’t particularly like Tyler, I still rooted for him in the end.

Disclosure: I received Cover to Covers from the author for review.

© 2015 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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the ghosts of rue dumaine

Source: Review copy from author
Rating: ★★★★☆

“Must have been nice to know someone cared about you so much,” Paul remarked.

Danica watched as Gaston’s figure dissolved before her eyes.  “It was comforting at times, and then sometimes suffocating.”

“I heard that,” Gaston hollered as the last vestiges of his form faded from view.

(from The Ghosts of Rue Dumaine, page 144)

The Ghosts of Rue Dumaine is the latest novel from New Orleans native Alexandrea Weis, a paranormal romance that will captivate readers who enjoy ghost stories.  After divorcing her abusive husband, Danica Giles returns to New Orleans to rent the Creole cottage on Dumaine Street in the French Quarter where she lived as a child.  She isn’t concerned about the warnings from the real estate agent and the neighbors about the dark man haunting her home; in fact, the reason she returned is because she promised the ghost who helped her deal with her mother’s death when she was just a child that she would be back some day.

Gaston Deslonde, a rich plantation owner who has been dead for more than 150 years, still inhabits Danica’s childhood home.  He has been intrigued by Danica since he first appeared to her when she was six years old, and she wasn’t scared of him.  With Danica now a grown woman, her feelings for the charming, sexy Gaston have changed.  Though Gaston knows she needs a real flesh and blood man, he can’t bear the thought of losing her, so when Paul Gaudette, the son of her ghost-obsessed neighbor, Claire, takes an interest in Danica, Gaston goes too far in his efforts to keep her for himself.  Gaston’s decision forces Danica to confront a sinister spirit…and her own heart.

Weis never fails to pull me into a story from the very beginning with her rich, vibrant descriptions of New Orleans and its architecture.  I never really felt a desire to visit that city until I discovered her books, where it is almost a character itself.  As Danica uncovers secrets from Gaston’s past, Weis emphasizes visitors’ fascination with the city’s ghosts, fortunetellers, and voodoo culture.

I couldn’t help but root for Danica as she tries to rebuild her life, and I could easily understand her feelings for the seductive Gaston and her confusion when Paul enters her life.  I like how Weis kept me guessing about both Gaston and Paul because it made it harder for me to predict the outcome of the book.  There were times that, had I been in Danica’s shoes, I have no idea what I would have done, and there were times I wanted to shake her silly because she didn’t do what I wanted her to.  I just love how I can get all wrapped up in a character’s life and decisions; it means the author has crafted them well.

The Ghosts of Rue Dumaine was so good I couldn’t put it down.  It followed me to my daughter’s soccer game, and I stayed up way past my bedtime reading it despite not feeling well because I just had to know what happened.  Weis has become one of my favorite romance authors, and even though I don’t consider myself a huge fan of the genre, I always enjoy her strong, believable characters, steamy sex scenes, humor, and the touch of New Orleans that is the icing on the cake.

Disclosure: I received The Ghosts of Rue Dumaine from the author for review.

© 2013 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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the satyr's curse

Source: Review copy from author
Rating: ★★★★☆

Stripped bare of his charm and absolute confidence, he appeared to be a man who had suffered through some unbearable hell that had left an indelible mark on the essence of his being.  The intensity of his desolation seemed to fill the air between them, making Jazzmyn long to relieve his suffering and take away all of his misery.

(from The Satyr’s Curse, page 69)

The Satyr’s Curse is the first book in a new supernatural/horror/romance series by Alexandrea Weis that is set in her native New Orleans.  Weis brings the city’s voodoo culture to life through a love triangle involving a young restaurant owner who has put her happiness on hold to keep her father’s dream alive and the two men she can’t resist — one who loves her despite her best efforts to avoid her feelings for him, and one who needs her love in order to put an end to his years of torment.

Jazzmyn Livaudais spends nearly all her waking hours trying to keep her late father’s restaurant, The Sweet Note Bistro, afloat and make enough money to maintain the home that has been in her family for generations.  Abandoned by her mother as a child and left alone after her father’s death, Jazzmyn views the restaurant as her life and her employees — particularly head chef, best friend, and one-time lover Kyle, the sassy and all-seeing Ms. Helen, and the family-man bartender Scott — as family.

Kyle refuses to believe the night he and Jazzmyn slept together was a mistake, but despite his never-give-up attitude, Jazzmyn is too embroiled in a flirtation with the incredibly charming, irresistible, and rich Julian Devereau to confront her feelings for him.  Julian is intense and gentlemanly, but there’s a darkness in his eyes she just can’t ignore.  Between her curiosity about Julian’s fascination with New Orleans families from 150 years ago, concerns about the gruesome murders of several women in the city, despair over Kyle and Julian’s increasing dislike of one another (which is taking its toll on the restaurant), and Julian’s ever-changing personality, Jazzmyn’s world is spinning out of control.  She is willing to sacrifice herself to save the man she loves, but is there a way to break the curse that threatens to imprison her forever?

Weis took me on a roller coaster ride with these characters.  There were times I wanted to slap them (Was Jazzmyn really that blind?  Did Kyle really need to be so pushy?), but ultimately they grew on me — and there were even times I felt sorry for the bad guy!  I especially liked how Weis revealed the story of the curse, doling out a little bit here and a little bit there, and how she managed to keep me guessing about how it would all play out.  I thought the supernatural/voodoo storyline was unique, and even though I couldn’t relate to the characters (thank goodness!), Weis made me care enough about them to want to know what happens next.

The Satyr’s Curse isn’t my usual cup of tea, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.  I’m not a big fan of supernatural romances, but Weis had me from the first page.  Her characters are always well crafted and her romances always steam up the pages, but what amazes me every time I read one of her novels is her ability to transport me to New Orleans.  Her love of that city shines through in every description, from the landscaped gardens and historic homes to the vibrant nightlife and the voodoo.  It’s the latter that dominates The Satyr’s Curse, and Weis made me believe this story of curses, rituals, and the mythical satyr.  So much so that I can’t wait for the next book in the series!

Disclosure: I received The Satyr’s Curse from the author for review.

© 2013 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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acadian waltz

Source: Review copy from author
Rating: ★★★★☆

But God, in his infinite wisdom, wanted to make sure that we were always reminded of our heavy feelings of culpability.  That was why he created the great guilt-making machine of them all — the mother.

(from Acadian Waltz, page 7)

Alexandrea Weis’ latest novel, Acadian Waltz, follows Nora Kehoe, a 30-year-old physical therapist whose overbearing mother, Claire, constantly pressures her to get married and have children.  When she meets Dr. John Blessing, she thinks he might be the answer to her mother’s prayers, but she doesn’t know what to make of the fact that he has their relationship on a schedule and has mapped out their future.  She’s even more confused when forced to confront her feelings for Jean Marc Gaspard, a childhood friend turned adversary.

John is the practical choice and everything her mother has ever wanted for her in a husband, while Jean Marc is spontaneous and mysterious…and a member of the family her mother has hated since her doomed marriage to Jean Marc’s uncle.  As owner of Gaspard Fisheries, has Jean Marc continued his family’s history of smuggling goods through the swamps?  Does his past even matter if she’s in love with another man?

Acadian Waltz drew me in from the first page with Nora’s first-person narrative.  She’s a very strong, opinionated woman who can go toe-to-toe with her mother, and Weis does a great job showing how she loses herself in other people’s expectations.  Although Nora infuriated me at times, her behavior made sense given the pressure she was under.  But Nora wasn’t the only character to elicit strong reactions; I just loved Nora’s Uncle Jack, a gruff fisherman who was quite observant despite being an alcoholic, Steve, Nora’s gay secretary, and Jean Marc, because who doesn’t love a sexy bad boy?

Weis brings to life the Louisiana bayous and the people whose livelihoods depend on them in Acadian Waltz.  Her characters are fascinating and well developed, and my only complaint would be that I wanted more of them, particularly Henri, Jean Marc’s shady twin.  Acadian Waltz is a fast-paced romance with some steamy sex scenes and a little mystery, danger, and humor thrown in.  For someone who says she’s not a big fan of romance novels, I gobbled this one up in about a day.

Disclosure: I received Acadian Waltz from the author for review.

© 2013 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Source: Review copy from author
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Perhaps it was time to adjust her way of thinking and start embracing the possibilities of life with a man who wanted to take care of her.  But Kara was not completely convinced that she would be able to overcome her apprehensions.  After all, she reasoned, no grown woman ever truly believes she will find happily ever after, because any relationship that begins with a handsome prince usually ends up being just another fairy tale.

(from Diary of a One-Night Stand, page 157)

Diary of a One-Night Stand isn’t the kind of book I normally read, but having read and enjoyed To My Senses several years ago, I thought I’d give Alexandrea Weis’ latest novel a try.  For the most part, I wasn’t disappointed, and I gobbled this one up in its entirety on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

The novel is just as steamy as you would expect given the title and the cover, and Weis wastes no time getting the characters in bed.  Kara Barton is a 41-year-old attorney who goes back to work after her husband, Cal, falls ill and has to pull back on his workload.  Kara isn’t happy with their marriage; Cal is perceived by Kara as overbearing and a mostly hands-off father to their young daughter, Simone.  On top of all that, she doesn’t have much of a relationship with her mother, Helen, who was an alcoholic and had a string of failed relationships with wealthy men.

The novel opens with Kara getting ready for her tryst with Scott Ellsworth, a 51-year-old businessman whom she met at a political fundraiser.  They knew right away they wanted one another, and she agrees to meet him in his hotel suite.  When their night of passion is over, Kara wants to go back to her life, but Scott wants more from her.  Scott has a reputation as a ladies’ man, and when he becomes a client of hers, Cal warns her about him and grows increasingly suspicious.  It’s not long before what was supposed to be a one-night stand throws Kara’s life into chaos, and she must decide who owns her heart, even as she worries that Scott is hiding something from her.

I think Weis did a great job developing Kara.  I felt like I knew her, though I didn’t agree with her decisions or thought processes.  I never felt like I knew the real Cal or Scott, and at times, I wondered why she allowed them in her life.  The only thing that really bothered me about the book was the neatly tied-up ending; given all Kara had gone through, it didn’t sit well with me and felt like an easy out.

Diary of a One-Night Stand is a well-written, quick read about a woman who is feeling her age and wanting to be beautiful, desirable, appreciated, and spoiled by a man.  She’s a strong woman who can take care of herself, but she never felt like an equal in her relationship with Cal, insisting they got married and had a child because he demanded it.  It’s easy to understand how she could get caught up in a relationship with Scott, but like many people, Kara confuses sex, lust, and loneliness with love.

Although I’m not a fan of graphic sex scenes, it made sense that they were included in a novel with lust and adultery at its core.  What I appreciated most about the novel was Weis’ focus on older characters, as most of the hot-and-heavy novels I’ve read have main characters in their 20s or 30s.  The novel did take me outside my comfort zone, but I think it’s good to read something different every now and then.

Disclosure: I received a copy of Diary of a One-Night Stand from the author for review.

© 2012 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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I want to welcome Alexandrea Weis, author of To My Senses (which I reviewed earlier this month), to Diary of an Eccentric to talk about her upcoming book Recovery and her experiences as a resident of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

In writing “Recovery,” the sequel to my first book “To My Senses,” I incorporated a great deal of my experiences with the aftermath of Katrina into the novel. It was not a cathartic event but writing this novel did help me to redefine what the concept of recovery meant to me.

I had lived in Lakeview about a half a mile from the now infamous seventeenth street canal. When we were finally allowed back into the city six weeks after the storm, the devastation that greeted me would have made even Irwin Allen cry. My house had been lifted off its foundation and inundated with twelve feet of black water and debris. In an instant, so many happy memories had been reduced to an unsalvageable pile of trash. But worst of all for me, from the grass to the beautiful gardens that had graced this neighborhood, everything that had once been green and filled with life was brown and dead. It was as if the devil himself had blown his putrid breath over our city and killed every living thing in his path. People always used the term come hell or high water; well after Katrina I learned, first comes the high water and then comes the hell.

Gone were the places of my past, the houses I had known and the people I had associated with. It was one thing to grieve the loss of a loved one, but how do you grieve the loss of your city? The street where you had stood to watch Mardi Gras parades, the corner grocery that had always smelled of fresh French bread and spicy boiled shrimp, the restaurant that had served your favorite gumbo, the church where you had prayed for happiness, the home where you had gathered for the holidays, the neighborhood where you had grown up but had never left behind. How do you begin to cope with the loss of everything that up until that moment had been part of you, completed you? In New Orleans it was always said we are where we live, but who are we when we cannot live there anymore? Displaced across the face of the United States were those that had so dearly loved their little bastion of paradise eight feet below sea level. We all knew we were crazy to live there, but insanity tends to breed comfort in many ways. If you’re crazy and you know it at least you don’t have to worry about being crazy anymore.

But how does one describe to an outsider what we went through those first months after the storm? New Orleans had been upended with “the new normal” taking over what FEMA had left behind. Everyday rumors would sweep the city or the outlying parishes about when the promised billions would arrive while over our airways politicians and urban miscreants fought over how to divvy up the goods. Beneath the streets, water mains continually broke making bathing an infrequent occurrence. Electricity came and went leaving many to rely on their generators. Cell phones didn’t work and landlines became the last vestiges of communication linking us to the outside world. Crime took over, making looting, shooting and anarchy a familiar pastime for the citizens of our city while the circling scavengers from the world’s media avidly documented each labored breathe of our struggles. We were hurt, bleeding, in pain and lost. Where in the hell was superman when you needed him?

But to our rescue people came from churches, schools, clubs, fraternities and Fortune Five Hundred companies. They pulled up stakes and headed south to provide comfort and let us know that we were not alone. All those altruists will never know what their actions meant to us. We were and still are eternally grateful to all who packed up their lives to bring us food, water and a lot of encouragement.

Recovery is a long process from which I have yet to emerge. But like other survivors in our rebuilding city, I am picking up the pieces of my past and with a lot of bleach, a little super glue, and a tower of patience, I am moving on. I have learned that recovery means letting go of what I have lost and facing the uncertainty of tomorrow by appreciating what I hold in my hands today. From every tragedy there is recovery and in every recovery a hopeful new beginning.

“Recovery” is due out later this year.

Alexandrea, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule for me and my readers!

Disclosure: I am an Amazon associate.

© 2009 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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Alexandrea Weis, author of To My Senses, is offering 5 copies of her book to my readers! Thanks so much, Alexandrea!

You can read my review here. (Remember how the ending was so upsetting to me? Well, the story isn’t over yet! Alexandrea emailed me to say she’ll be releasing a sequel, Recovery, soon!)

Here’s the description from the back cover:

For Nicci Beauvoir, a disillusioned New Orleans debutante, life is about practicalities until she meets a secretive struggling artist and part-time gigolo named David Alexander. In his arms she learns of passion and he finds his artistic muse. But jealous rivals and intrigues conspire against them and a broken hearted Nicci turns to the cold and manipulative Dr. Michael Fagles for comfort. Soon fate and family intervene to save Nicci from a life without love. But her salvation comes with a tragic price that changes the course of her life forever.

If you’d like to enter to win To My Senses, just leave a comment on this post and tell me your favorite romantic pair. They can be from books, movies, real life, whatever. (Here are some of my favorites: Noah and Allie from The Notebook, Ron and Hermione from the Harry Potter series, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, and of course, Rhett and Scarlett from Gone With the Wind.) Make sure you leave your email address; I need a way to contact you if you win. This giveaway is open internationally and ends at 11:59 pm EST on Sunday, February 8, 2009.

**Please note that this giveaway is now closed**

Disclosure: I am an Amazon associate.

© 2009 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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I don’t read a lot of romance novels, but I’m glad I agreed to review To My Senses by Alexandrea Weis. I was intrigued by the promise of a love story involving a New Orleans debutante who doesn’t crave money and status like others in her family’s circle and the painter/gigolo she meets at a tea party.

Nicci Beauvoir doesn’t want to take over her father’s scrap business, and studying to become a nurse doesn’t leave her much time for men, much to the chagrin of her cousin Colleen, her Aunt Hattie, and the rest of her family. She first sees David Alexander on the arm of Sammy Fallon, her father’s main business competitor and the mother of Eddie, who has long been in love with Nicci. David is intrigued by Nicci, as she is much different than the rest of the crowd and not easily won over by his charms. He paints the scenery of New Orleans, hoping his “connection” to Sammy will generate interest in his art, but it’s not until he meets Nicci that he reaches his artistic potential. Nicci is his muse. Weis does an excellent job showing the passion between Nicci and David, both sexually and artistically.

To My Senses is a standard romance: rich girl meets bad boy, boy eventually wins girl’s heart, boy loses girl. But thankfully, the book is so much more. Not only does Nicci have to come to terms with her feelings for David, but she also must find herself. After she and David part ways (I won’t give the reason away), she decides she can never fall in love again but immediately starts a relationship with Dr. Michael Fagles, a psychiatrist whose main concern is money and status. Nicci goes from being an independent, intelligent woman to someone who puts up with a man telling her she needs to dress more conservatively and keep her thoughts to herself. Of course, in true romance style, David is not gone for good.

I hated the ending, but I must clarify my thoughts here. The ending was great–character evolution, no loose ends, compelling story. But I didn’t expect it, and it wasn’t what I wanted. Weis pulled an Anita Shreve on me, changing the course of the entire book in one paragraph. Boy, I haven’t shed a few tears at the end of a book in awhile. When I closed the book, I still had 40 minutes of my afternoon commute left, and I couldn’t do anything but stare out the window and contemplate. To me, that shows why To My Senses is much more than just a romance novel. To top it off, the book is beautifully written. Here’s my favorite passage:

I open my eyes and suddenly the world looks completely different, like a veil has been removed from before me. It is the same world, but I see everything around me in a new way as if the darkness of the past has been replaced by the light of a new beginning. (page 336)

To My Senses is a good choice if you enjoy a passionate love story, intriguing characters who bare their flaws and all, and a vivid setting. If you’re a painter, a writer, or any other artist, you’ll appreciate the struggles the main characters encounter during the artistic process.

Disclosure:  I received a copy of To My Senses from the author for review purposes. I am an Amazon affiliate.

© 2009 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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