Friday, August 30, 2013

Book Review: The Next Door Boys by Jolene B. Perry

****--4 Stars.
October 2011, 272 pages.
My Source: borrowed from the library

Amazon Description: With her body still recovering from last year's cancer treatments, Leigh Tressman is determined to be independent. Despite the interference from her overprotective brother, physical frustrations, and spiritual dilemmas-- not to mention the ever expanding line of young men ready to fall in love with her-- Leigh discovers what it actually means to stand on her own and learns that love can be found in unexpected but delightful places.

My Review: I can't imagine what Leigh went through--cancer at such a young age and now she wants to live her life as a normal college student. I love how normal Leigh is--she really grows and develops through the course of the book, which is basically her first year of college. She starts out thinking she knows it all and wants to do things on her own, but realizes that she needs help and friends. She especially realizes that love isn't always the way you think it is.

Speaking of friends, I loved the friendship that these neighbors all share. They look out for one another and help in anyway they can. Jaron and Leigh share such a special sibling bond. I only wished for more concerning the brother, Joseph. I understand there's a sequel, so maybe he'll be some more time in that one.

Content: Fairly frequent mention of LDS church; kissing; brief mention of an ex who uses/deals drugs. Clean.

To buy, click here.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Book Review: Unenchanted by Chanda Hahn

****--4 Stars.
July 2011, 230 pages.
My Source: amazon (kindle)

Amazon Description: Mina Grime is unlucky, unpopular and uncoordinated, that is until she saves her crushes life on a field trip, changing her High School status from loser to hero overnight. But with her new found fame brings misfortune in the form of an old family curse come to light. For Mina is descended from the Brothers Grimm and has inherited all of their unfinished fairy tale business. Which includes trying to outwit a powerful Story from making her it's next fairytale victim.

To break the fairy tale curse on her family and make these deadly occurrences stop, Mina must finish the tales until the very Grimm end.


My Review: My teenage daughter struggles with reading. If she finds a book she's interested in, she reads like crazy, but if she can't, she doesn't want to read at all. Finding something she likes is a trick sometimes. Her English teacher at school recommended this one and she flew through it and told me I had to pick it up.

I thought this was a fun twist on fairytale-type stories and the Grimm family. Mina is cursed and finds herself in a strange situation and discovers a deep, dark family secret.

Since this book is the first in a series, I didn't really get a good feel for Brody and Jared. It's almost a love-triangle, yet I can't quite decide who they really are and who to cheer on. My daughter read book 2, but I haven't gotten to that one yet. I hope some of these characters develop a little bit more.

Content: some mild violence. Clean.

This book is FREE on Amazon, so if you want to read it, click  here to pick it up.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Book Review: Shannon's Hope by Josi S. Kilpack

****--4 Stars.
July 2013, 224 pages.
Source: checked out from the library.

Amazon Description: Shannon’s troubled stepdaughter has been missing for two weeks. When Keisha finally calls, Shannon doesn’t hesitate to welcome her into her home—despite her husband, John’s, misgivings. As a pharmacist, Shannon has always taken an analytical view of Keisha’s addiction problems and feels that treating her underlying depression and providing a support system can break the bonds that have taken over her life. When Keisha first begins breaking the rules, Shannon worries John will kick Keisha out and send her back to her druggie friends. Shannon commits to being even more diligent in helping Keisha. As more of her energy goes toward Keisha, a distance emerges between Shannon, her husband, and their twelve-year-old son, Landon. Shannon finds it easy to justify her own behavior as unconditional love, but as Keisha’s stumblings become dramatic falls, Shannon realizes this is no longer just about Keisha. Shannon finds herself facing the reality that addiction comes in many forms. Can she shift her perspective from Keisha’s future—which was never hers to control—to her own? Can she keep from spiraling into a pattern of obsessive rescuing and find the strength to repair her own fractured relationships before she drives her husband and son away for good?

My Review: This is the first book in the second set in this series. It almost had a journal-like feel to it, but I still really enjoyed it.

Shannon is Ruby's niece--the one who started up a book club--and she is roped into going by her aunt. She's not a big fiction reader--she's a pharmacist and more interested in science and non-fiction. She has a step-daughter who is nothing but trouble. Keisha is heavily involved in drugs and is trying to change, but it's a lot harder to do than she thinks. Shannon has such love for Keisha and goes above and beyond in trying to help her--to the point where it almost puts her happy marriage in jeopardy.

I think addiction is a major issue in our society today and Shannon's experience with it made it seem more real. I sometimes think, "Why can't they just quit using?" but it's really not that simple. I think sometimes, unknowingly, we enable the user by loving them too much. Making excuses for them, giving them chance after chance after chance, really doesn't cut it when the person is in too deep. I didn't think too much love was possible, but in some situations, tough love is definitely what it takes to help them. And even then, sometimes it's just not enough. This story, even though it's fiction, was definitely eye-opening for me.

Content: nothing is graphic, but this story deals with addiction so drug use is mentioned as well as means to make money for drugs--prostitution, theft, lying, etc. I believe there were just a couple of swear words too. 

BOOK BLAST: DiSemblance by Shanae Branham

DiSemblance DiSemblance Jason Tanner’s life has always been different from the ordinary citizen’s. It started when he was an infant and his parents were only teenagers. A computer science prodigy, Lloyd attended MIT but left a pariah in the eyes of the school’s dean—but a computer physics genius in the eyes of his primary investor. Then his theories and ideas created a holographic machine and their world shrunk as contact with the outside world became less and less frequent. A computer prodigy now himself, Jason is about to learn that the world never waits for you if you have the ability to change it: it will come for you. Detective Bruce Durante has been handed the case of the Comfort Killer, a serial killer so named because he appears to abduct terminally ill patients before returning their corpses to their families in refrigerated coffins. When he picks up the trail, it leads straight to the home of Lloyd Tanner. Jason has been living life through the world of Lloyd’s invention and wishing he could carry on a relationship with Boston, the beautiful girl next door. When his father is murdered and framed as the Comfort Killer, he is brought back to reality in a hurry. He is forced to destroy all of the planted evidence—and finds he is being targeted as the killer’s new fall guy. But the secrets of his father’s invention run deep and Jason, his brother Isaac,Boston, the Comfort Killer, and Detective Durante hurtle towards one another on a deadly collision course that leaves everyone’s life hanging in the balance.
Shanae Author Shanae Branham I am a professional writer with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and a minor in grammar. I have also attended several years of classes and workshops in screenplay writing at the Los Angeles Screenplay writer’s Expo. I love suspense thrillers and am a master at plot and character development. I enjoy stories with happy endings. I promise all my readers that when they put one of my books down or walk away from one of my movies, they will be enthused with excitement and joy. This does not mean there will not be some sad parts, because you have to feel the bitter in order to understand the sweet. In fact, I have struggled with Dyslexia my whole life, so you can imagine how overjoyed I was when DiSemblance won a Silver metal in the fantasy/science fiction category at the eLit awards in 2012.  
 
  BookBlast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 9/13/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.   a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

BOOK BLAST: The Silver Strand by L.J. Clarkson

silver strandThe Silver Strand Ever since twelve year old Isabelle Tresdon’s silver strand of hair sprouted, it’s been nothing but trouble: bleeding pink dust and sparking like a firecracker. Refusing to be known as the girl with the freaky, grandma hair, she wishes it never grew and the hair withers and tarnishes. The only problem is, the strand is Isabelle's source of magic, and she can transform particles of energy into matter. It's also her ticket into Mastermind Academy, a secret school inside the earth’s core. Five days remain before the strand drains her magic and life, forcing Isabelle to enter into a deal with two trickster Masterminds to save it. But what she doesn't count on is there is more at stake than just her life. The Silver Strand, a MG Fantasy Adventure for 9-12 year olds, is book 1 in the Mastermind Academy Series.
louisaAuthor L.J. Clarkson One thing you need to know about LJ Clarkson is that she tells BIG lies. She tells everyone that she gave up her career as an Environmental Engineer and Project Manager to write full time. But that's not entirely true. Ten percent of the time she sleeps in. Fifteen percent of her day, she spends surfing the internet, researching for new books and her business. Ok, fine. Two percent is for research. But she's only admitting it so she doesn't end up like Boldrick. For eighteen point seven five percent of her day, she runs her promotional and support site for authors, called Indicated (www.indicated.com.au). The rest of her time involves writing, reading, watching movies and TV, walking her dogs and falling asleep whenever her boyfriend talks technical computer lingo. Truthfully, she hates early mornings, mondays, grammar (yuck! just ask her poor editor!), broccoli and cleaning. If you would like to drop her and line and let her know what you think of the book, she would love to hear from you. Just not before 8:30am in the morning.
  Excerpt “Did you know Isabelle has a silver, alien antenna?” Bimouth’s voice sang out over the shouts and chatter of the school bus, capturing everyone’s attention. “In science class, a magnet flew out of Mr. Higgins’ hand and stuck to her antenna. How freaky is that?” Isabelle’s back pressed against her seat. Bianca leapt up like a jack-in-a-box. Her voice came out as a hiss. “Shut your face horse mite or I’ll shut it for you.” Looked like the bus ride might end in death. Bigmouth turned to face Bianca. “What if Isabelle’s antenna, like, turns us into alien zombies?” A chorus of whispers broke out. Catching the bus was a very bad idea. Isabelle prayed again for that black hole to open up and suck her in. Better yet, she wished it would gobble up the bigmouth. Isabelle tugged on Bianca’s arm and said in a low voice, “Just cut it off.” Her friend’s eyes softened. “You sure, Boof?” “The hair’s caused nothing but trouble since it sprouted.” The little voice inside Isabelle’s mind begged her not to, but she didn’t listen. “Ok.” Something in Bianca’s school bag rattled as she riffled through it. She yanked a pair of scissors free. Isabelle’s gut clenched as her friend laid the strand between the blades. “Wait!” She suddenly felt unsure about whether to get rid of it. What if it were special and magical like Bianca had said? A magnetic hair, although cool, was hardly magical. Isabelle decided to test it. Closing her eyes, she willed her strand to turn Bigmouth into a toad. But Bigmouth’s voice still carried throughout the bus. “And in gym class, like, she bled this weird, pink dust.” “Definitely an alien,” someone nearby agreed. So much for Isabelle’s strand being magical. “Cut it,” she said, exchanging a sideways look with Bianca. Her friend squeezed the handles together. Fuchsia-colored sparks shot out and scalded Isabelle’s right cheek. The strand sizzled and hissed like a firecracker, drawing the attention of Bigmouth. She shrieked like a real girl. “Look! Isabelle’s antenna’s on fire.”  
  BookBlast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 9/15/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: The Reluctant Blogger by Ryan Rapier

****--4 Stars.
August 2013, 430 pages.
Source: received from  Netgalley

Amazon Description: 
Blogging was the last thing Todd Landry expected his psychiatrist to recommend in dealing with his wife’s death. But his aversion to therapy demands drastic measures, and Todd soon finds himself writing about his sometimes-humorous struggles with single parenthood, dating, and shattered expectations. With each blog entry, Todd lets his guard down and discovers that perhaps he can find love once again. 

My Review:
Todd is struggling to deal with the loss of his wife. His therapist gives him an ultimatum (after months)--start blogging to give them something to work with or he's done with therapy. For some reason, this kicks Todd into gear. The rest of the book is what Todd views as important and worth blogging about in his life and the therapy received because of it.

I really enjoyed the story. It made me cry, smile, and feel. I can't imagine the burdens that Todd felt and the things he had to deal with (bratty teenager, dating again, friend drama, family stuff, etc)--his life wasn't easy by any means, yet he seemed to handle things better than most. I loved his wit and way of dealing with his father.

In some ways, I wish the story didn't have holes in it. There were places where it jumped from one time to several weeks later and a lot happened in that amount of time, but...the reader is almost reading it as if s/he was reading the actual blog.

I didn't like the way the story was heading, towards the end, but it ended perfectly. As I said, it really made me feel and drew me in. I love the lessons that Todd learned about himself and those around him and how he became more aware and compassionate.

Great story and I look forward to more by this author!!

Content: religious aspects (LDS), brief mention of homosexuality, bars and drinking. Clean.




To buy, click here.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Books to Movies Giveaway Hop!!



Books to movies August (2)

I really enjoyed The Last Song and loved the movie just as much. I hope you enjoy it too!! Feel free to enter and then hop on over to some of the other blogs to enter their giveaways as well. Happy Reading!!

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Book Review: Stryker by M.M. Wheezee

****--4 Stars.
July 2013, 254 pages.
Source: from author for review. All opinions are my own and are not influenced by anyone.

Amazon Description:
"Stryker" is a middle-grade novel, for ages 9 and up.
Since his mom died a few years ago, Harold Stryker has been following her instructions:
He lives all alone, in secret, in his house outside Los Angeles.
He avoids, as best as he can, other kids, and certainly grown-ups.
He keeps only his huge, gassy dog and his collection of power tools for company.
But he's okay with all that. Until the big night of the little earthquake. And his plunge into a dangerous forgotten tunnel beneath his dining room floor. And his encounter with the sweet, terrifying girl baseball star named Tien Tang and the compulsive, camo-suited, overweight force of nature known officially as Bella but universally as Blunt. They push and pull him through an underground adventure with a bullying science teacher, a tasteless chef, a greedy criminal, hairy tarantulas (live), sabertooth cats (long dead), smelly mushrooms, old trolley cars, new subways, and a baker's dozen of illegal Asian immigrants who need to be rescued from a life of slavery in a California ghost town. Harold Stryker is okay with all that too. But those two girls are now his friends. And that has him shaking.



My Review:
 I thought this was a very creative adventure book that both boys and girls would enjoy!! I loved how the story starts right out with a bang--literally. When a small earthquake hits, Stryker discovers a secret that will change his whole life as he knows it.

I remember reading The Boxcar Children when I was younger and thinking about how much fun it would be to live on my own--because I was obviously old enough to do so, right? Not. Harold Stryker (who prefers to go by his last night) is lucky enough to do just that. Well...maybe lucky isn't quite the right word, but regardless, he's on his own and he's only 12. Although Harold isn't a really deep character, his emotions show throughout this story, which really endears him to the reader. He's very resourceful and socially backwards, but he has some very genius ideas and is really a natural leader.

I loved how the story started out with Stryker's and then told about three girls and their experiences with that same earthquake and how it brought them all together. Tien (aka TNT or just plain T) was really delightful. She had some spitfire and yet she was very in tune with the feelings of those around her and was great at diffusing stressful situations--unless she was the one in the middle of them.

Bella Lunt, otherwise known as Blunt, reminded me of Peppermint Patty on The Peanuts cartoons. She was loud, crazy, bossy, and didn't quite know when to stop and let things drop, yet she was the push and shove behind a lot of their schemes. Things wouldn't really happen without her around.

Pakpao (or Oi) was a sweet trooper who really cared for others, even when they weren't very nice to her. I loved how they translated everything for each other.

I obviously loved the characters. The storyline kept me turning pages--it was so much fun and so different from anything I've read. I got the impression that another book with this group may be in the works--it didn't really end on a cliff hanger, but on more of a teaser. My only complaint would be there was a little more swearing than I would like to see for this target audience (middle grade).

Content: some cruelty (slavery); some language.

 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Book Review: My Favorite Childrens Books by Kevin Henkes

I think Kevin Henkes has a definite talent in creating stories that are fun, cute, and easy for kids to relate to. He tackles some issues that a lot of kids deal with and it's done is such a fun way. The characters are great!! I wish there were more of these books...


border: none !important; margin: 0px !important;" width="1" /> She was a perfect baby, and she had a perfect name. Chrysanthemum. When she was old enough to appreciate it, Chrysanthemum loved her name. And then she started school. "I'm named after my grandmother," said Victoria. "You're named after a flower." Chrysanthemum wilted. Life at school didn't improve. In fact, it got worse. Then the students were introduced to their music teacher, Mrs. Twinkle. Mrs. Delphinium Twinkle. And suddenly, Chrysanthemum blossomed....

My Review: I love Kevin Henkes' books! I don't know if my kids enjoy them as much as I do, but they sit through them with full attention while I'm reading to them. In this one, Chrysanthemum is given a special name, only to start school and have the other kids make fun of it.

A back-to-school favorite. Wemberly worried about spilling her juice, about shrinking in the bathtub, even about snakes in the radiator. She worried morning, noon, and night. "Worry, worry, worry," her family said. "Too much worry." And Wemberly worried about one thing most of all: her first day of school. But when she meets a fellow worrywart in her class, Wemberly realizes that school is too much fun to waste time worrying!

My Review: Wemberly worries about everything!! As the mother of a worrier, it was a fun story to deal with insecurities and irrational fears.

Chester and Wilson had their own way of doing things, and they did everything together. When they cut their sandwiches, it was always diagonally. When they rode their bikes, they always used hand signals. If Chester was hungry, Wilson was too. They were two of a kind, and that's the way it was - until indomitable Lilly, who had her own way of doing things, moved into the neighborhood.

My Review: Chester and Wilson are so much alike and are nearly inseparable. Lilly moves in and wants to be friends with them, but they won't allow it--until she rescues them from some bullies and they find out how much they have in common with her. The way this book is written is so much fun and it has such a good message about befriending others, because you never know who your next best friend will be.

The riotously funny Lilly, last seen in Chester's Way (Greenwillow), thinks her new baby brother, Julius, is disgusting -- if he was a number, he would be zero. But when Cousin Garland dares to criticize Julius, Lilly bullies her into loudly admiring Julius as the baby of the world.Lilly knows her baby brother is nothing but dreadful -- until she claims him for her own. "Henkes displays a deep understanding of sibling rivalry and a child's fragile self-esteem....Lilly is a superb and timely heroine." -- Publishers Weekly. "

My Review: Lilly does NOT like her new baby brother and tries everything she can to get rid of him. Obviously, nothing works. When her cousin says the same types of things about him that Lilly does, she realizes that she does love him. Good story about a new baby in the home, told in a cute way.

Lilly loves everything about school, especially her cool teacher, Mr. Slinger. But when Lilly brings her purple plastic purse and its treasures to school and can't wait until sharing time, Mr. Slinger confiscates her prized possessions. Lilly's fury leads to revenge and then to remorse and she sets out to make amends.
Lilly, the star of Chester's Way and Julius, the Baby of the World, is back. And this time she has her name in the title - something she's wanted all along. If you thought Lilly was funny before, you are in for a treat. So hurry up and start reading. Lilly can't wait for you to find out more about her.

My Review: I love Lilly!! She's such a silly little mouse who is such an individual. She's bossy, yet sweet and definitely one of a kind. I love how impulsive she is and yet quick to feel remorse for her actions and to try and make things right.


Mr. Slinger has big news. He's getting married. Married! Lilly has big plans. She's going to be the flower girl. (Lilly has always wanted to be a flower girl. Even more than a surgeon or a diva or a hairdresser.) But what's the biggest, the best, the most perfect thing of all? You're invited to the wedding -- so start reading!

My Review: Once again, Lilly is back to bringing laughs in her cute, yet demanding, way. I love how she practices, even when it's not a for sure thing. Kevin Henkes has such a good way in bringing laughter and fun to real children's feelings. And the art in these books...soooo cute!!

Sheila Rae is not afraid of anything. She walks backwards with her eyes closed, steps on every crack, growls at stray dogs, and bares her teeth at stray cats. But when Sheila Rae becomes lost on the way home from school, it is her "scaredy cat" sister, Louise, who shows her a thing or two about bravery and sibling love.

My Review: I love how fearless Sheila Rae seems and then realizes that it's okay be scared. It's okay to rely on others and to have fun with your sister.
 
  Owen had a fuzzy yellow blanket. "Fuzzy goes where I go," said Owen. But Mrs. Tweezers disagreed. She thought Owen was too old for a blanket. Owen disagreed. No matter what Mrs. Tweezers came up with, Blanket Fairies or vinegar, Owen had the answer. But when school started, Owen't mother knew just what to do, and everyone -- Owen, Fuzzy, and even Mrs. Tweezers -- was happy.

My Review: This is my all-time favorite book of Kevin Henkes. I love his books!! Owen is about a boy who has a hard time giving up Fuzzy, his security blanket. My youngest son is the exact same way and this book could have been written about him.   

Friday, August 23, 2013

Blog Tour and Review with a $25 Giveaway--Working it Out by Rachael Anderson

working it out tour
Author Rachael Renee Anderson Rachael Anderson is the author of five novels (Working It Out, The Reluctant Bachelorette, Minor Adjustments, Luck of the Draw, and Divinely Designed) and two novellas (Twist of Fate, from the All I Want anthology and The Meltdown Match from The Timeless Romance Anthology: Summer Wedding Collection). She's the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can't sing, doesn't dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.

Working It Out A chance encounter . . . Grace Warren's life is safe and predictable—exactly the way she likes it. But when she gets roped into going to an auction to help out a friend, everything changes. She meets Seth Tuttle—a guy who unexpectedly kisses her then disappears, leaving her flustered and upset. If she never sees him again, it will be too soon.
A chance for love . . . Weeks later, when Seth limps into Grace's rehab clinic post surgery, she immediately recognizes him. Unfortunately, he's every bit as frustrating and annoying as she remembered. Yet there's something about him that makes her second-guess her carefully placed boundaries even though he's everything she's sure she doesn't want in a man. But maybe Seth is exactly what Grace has needed all along—assuming she's willing to risk safe and predictable for a chance at love.  
Blog Tour Special Price Drop!
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EXCERPT -  Her eyes continued to search his face—well, more like probe—as though she could see into his mind and thoughts. She held up the brochure she carried, showing Seth the face of the bachelor he’d just bid twenty grand for. He took it from her to get a closer look. “What do you plan to do about the incredibly expensive date you won?” she asked. Seth scanned through Cameron’s bio, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. He returned the brochure back to her and tapped the page. “Experience an unforgettable day of high adventure, apparently. Sorry if I, uh, took that away from you.” She looked completely unfazed, as though this strange situation happened all the time. “You know he’s not gay, right?” “I made that assumption, yes,” Seth said, wondering what was going through that pretty head of hers. “Why? Are you hoping I’ll hand the date off to you since I’m clearly not gay either?” “Aren’t you?” The way she said it made Seth’s jaw work back and forth. She looked so confident, so unshakable, reminding him of someone who got under his skin on a regular basis—Lanna. Except the two women looked nothing alike. Lanna was petite and fair, whereas this woman was taller, with darker hair and a darker complexion. But that expression—that impassivity—exactly the same. Maybe Lanna had given her lessons. Yet for whatever reason, it bothered Seth that this woman might think he preferred men to women. “No, I’m not.” “Then you won’t mind if I do borrow that date from you. I’m sure Cameron would prefer me over you anyway.” If she didn’t look so sure of herself, Seth would have said, “Have it, it’s yours.” But something in the way she said it made Seth bristle. “Yes, I would mind, actually. I happen to like ziplining, parasailing, and . . . romantic horseback rides.” “And Cameron, apparently.” Seth took a step forward, leaning close so his eyes were only inches from hers. “Like I told you, I’m not gay.” “Oh yeah? Prove it. Give me the da—” Seth immediately dipped his head slightly and covered her mouth with his. Her lips were warm and soft, and she smelled faintly of citrus. For a second, it seemed like she responded, but then she planted her palms against his chest and shoved him away.

My Review: *****--5 Stars!!

Grace is pretty predictable. She doesn't like to take risks, has a great and stable job, and knows what a guy is like based on his name. Seth is completely opposite and is used to being persistent and going after what he wants. All of that equals a recipe for disaster.

I really liked Grace. I could understand her heartache and fears and loved how uptight she was at times, especially where Seth was concerned. I think most people blame themselves for things that happen in life that are really out of our control and I loved how hard she tried to make things right, even if only in her own mind. She really has such a giving heart, but protects it with a thick shell.

Seth was crazy!! I'm not a big risk-taker and had a hard time relating to that adrenaline rush that he seemed to be in constant need of. Of course, that causes him to be very impulsive in his everyday life too, which made the story very interesting. I really liked how he could draw out the best in people around him by just being himself. That is truly a gift!!

I LOVE this author's stories and this one didn't disappoint. I can't wait to see what she has up her sleeve next.

Content: mild kissing, but otherwise clean. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Book Review: The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

*****--5 Stars.
July 2013, 325 pages.
Source: borrowed from the library

Amazon Description:
Money can't buy a good first impression.
Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers learned early that the rich are not to be trusted. And after years of studying them from behind the cash register of her mom's porcelain-doll shop, she has seen nothing to prove otherwise. Enter Xander Spence—he's tall, handsome, and oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and the fact that he seems to be one of the first people who actually gets her, she's smart enough to know his interest won't last. Because if there's one thing she's learned from her mother's warnings, it's that the rich have a short attention span. But just when Xander's loyalty and attentiveness are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn't a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she'd ever realized. With so many obstacles standing in their way, can she close the distance between them?

My Review:
Caymen works in a doll shop with her mom and her world shifts to a different place around the time of her senior year. She meets honey-voiced lead singer for the Crusty Toad's, Mason, just after she meets Xander, a customer's grandson. I guess in a way, this is a love triangle, but things are clearly in favor of one of the guys.

Caymen referred to herself at one point as living the life of a 40 year old, which was very sad to me. Yes, teens today need to learn responsibility, but not so much that they aren't able to be a teen and have fun with their friends, dream of college, have a social life, etc. Caymen shouldered so much for her mom and sacrificed even more. Her dry humor really did mask a lot of her feelings.

I liked how easy going Mason was. He was accepting of all and fun to be around, which was just what Caymen needed at that time.

Xander was awesome!! So down-to-earth, even though he had every reason not to be. I loved the career days he planned.

I felt like things were wrapped up a little too neatly. Of course, I love a happily ever after ending, but with so much conflict with Caymen's mom and her family, it was just a little to quickly resolved for me. I guess I wanted more story!! :)

All in all, I loved it and can't wait for more from Ms. West!!

Content: brief mentions of teen unwed pregnancy and drinking; kissing. Clean.

To buy, click here.

Book Spotlight: Starchild: The City of Souls by Vacen Taylor

Starchild: The City of Souls

In The Age of Akra, a pilgrimage to the Valley of a Thousand Thoughts brings together four children as an ancient prophecy is set in motion. Having triumphed against dangerous adversaries, Mai, Long, Akra and Sahib are now pursued by the melkarie and must escape to the City of Souls. In the land of Naroan, in a city hidden under a blanket of living green, they are confronted with the challenge to find the Singing Soul.
But the underworld has other plans, and a beast so fierce is conjured to stop the children from finding anything that will add to the power to the prophecy of the seven nations.






Author Vacen Taylor

Vacen Taylor is an author, writer, storyteller, occasional artist and amateur photographer. She describes her writing as a basic prose style with the occasional splash of creative penning. She collects comics and loves superheroes, anime and science.







Giveaway Details
$10 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Open Internationally
Ends 9/8/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

*An additional $10 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash is available to anyone who shares this giveaway on their blog by 9/8/13 See link in the rafflecopter form.


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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

$25 Giveaway Blog Tour and Review!! Midnight Masquerade by Marcia Lynn McClure

midnight masMidnight Masquerade
Stavos Voronin was not as blind-eyed as many nobles and royals. Evony’s physical gestures—even the simplest movement of her hands—revealed that she had not always been destitute. The same was true of the children—of their polished manners and the boy’s knowledge of horses and tendency to be bold and fearless of strangers.
Ah yes, Stavos enjoyed a good mystery. After all, interest in the inexplicable circumstances surrounding the royals of Abawyth was the very thing that had lured him to the kingdom—the enigma of Abawyth’s twelve sleepy princesses. And yet now—now his mind was all the more intrigued. Not only was the obscurity of what had caused the profound and baffling torpidity of Abawyth’s princesses laid out before him, but also he found his curiosity intensely piqued over the riddle surrounding the very lovely Evony and her siblings.
As Stavos strode through the village resting on the outskirts of Abawyth Castle, his mind reeled with possibilities. His musings were drawn back to why he had come to Abawyth at all—to solve the conundrum surrounding the twelve beautiful princesses of Abawyth kingdom—to solve the seemingly impenetrable crux and thereby win the hand of one of Abawyth’s princesses, as his father, King Letholdus of Ethiarien, had commanded.

marciaAuthor Marcia Lynn McClure
Marcia Lynn McClure’s intoxicating succession of novels, novellas, and e-books, has established her as one of the most favored and engaging authors of true romance. Her unprecedented forte in weaving captivating stories of western, medieval, regency, and contemporary amour void of brusque intimacy has earned her the title “The Queen of Kissing.”
Marcia, who was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has spent her life intrigued with people, history, love, and romance. A wife, mother, grandmother, family historian, poet, and author, Marcia Lynn McClure spins her tales of splendor for the sake of offering respite through the beauty, mirth, and delight of a worthwhile and wonderful story.


Blog Tour Giveaway
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 9/17/13

a Rafflecopter giveaway

My Review: *****--5 Stars.
Marcia Lynn McClure is a master at taking a story and putting her personality into it. She has such a delightful way of crafting a story and engaging the reader, not to mention, her kissing scenes are epic (and clean, of course)!!

I love fairy tales and love to read what different author's do to re-tell those beloved stories. This is a great version of the Twelve Dancing Princesses. I love the unique twists and turns and the interpretation.

Prince Stavos is determined to solve the mystery of the twelve sleepy princesses--even though no one else has come close to doing so. I loved how brave Stavos was. He proposed a solution that is risky, yet he was willing to go through with it in order to help this family out. Evony has secrets of her own, yet she goes out on a limb to trust this handsome stranger. She is so dedicated to her family and loved ones--she'll even put herself into a miserable situation to support them, all while having a good attitude. A fun romance (kissing) is blossoming, while danger lurks and mysteries are solved. Loved it!!

Content: kissing (clean), a couple of mild swear words, a little violence.

BOOK BLAST: Keeper of Reign Book 1 by Emma Right

keeperKeeper of Reign Books written in blood. Most are lost, their Keepers with them. A curse that befell a people. A Kingdom with no King. Life couldn’t get more harrowing for the Elfies, a blend of Elves and Fairies. Or for sixteen-year-old Jules Blaze. Or could it? For Jules, the heir of a Keeper, no less, suspects his family hides a forgotten secret. It was bad enough that his people, the Elfies of Reign, triggered a curse which reduced the entire inhabitants to a mere inch centuries ago. All because of one Keeper who failed his purpose. Even the King’s Ancient Books, did not help ward off that anathema. Now, Gehzurolle, the evil lord, and his armies of Scorpents, seem bent on destroying Jules and his family. Why? Gehzurolle’s agents hunt for Jules as he journeys into enemy land to find the truth. Truth that could save him and his family, and possibly even reverse the age-long curse. Provided Jules doesn't get himself killed first.  
    emmaAuthor Emma Right Emma Right is a happy wife and homeschool mother of five living in the Pacific West Coast of the USA. Besides running a busy home, and looking after their five pets, which includes two cats, two bunnies and a Long-haired dachshund, she also writes stories for her children. She loves the Lord and His Word deeply, and when she doesn't have her nose in a book, she is telling her kids to get theirs in one. Right worked as a copywriter for two major advertising agencies and won several awards, including the prestigious Clio Award for her ads, before she settled down to have children.
Keeper of Reign copy
  BookBlast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 9/5/13 a Rafflecopter giveaway   Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Book Review: The Merchant's Daughter by Melanie Dickerson

****--4 Stars.
November 2011, 288 pages.

Description (from amazon):
An unthinkable danger. An unexpected choice. Annabel, once the daughter of a wealthy merchant, is trapped in indentured servitude to Lord Ranulf, a recluse who is rumored to be both terrifying and beastly. Her circumstances are made even worse by the proximity of Lord Ranulf's bailiff---a revolting man who has made unwelcome advances on Annabel in the past. Believing that life in a nunnery is the best way to escape the escalation of the bailiff's vile behavior and to preserve the faith that sustains her, Annabel is surprised to discover a sense of security and joy in her encounters with Lord Ranulf. As Annabel struggles to confront her feelings, she is involved in a situation that could place Ranulf in grave danger. Ranulf's future, and possibly his heart, may rest in her hands, and Annabel must decide whether to follow the plans she has cherished or the calling God has placed on her heart. 

My Review:
Annabel's family hasn't done their share of the work in the village and they are demanded to pay back the three years they've neglected. Since her father has died and they have no money, she goes to work, as an indentured servant for the "beast." Her dream is to become a nun, but there are many men who want her attentions.

Set in the medieval ages, this story has a Beauty and the Beast feel to it, but with a Christian twist. Beauty and the Beast has always been one of my favorite fairy tales. 


I really liked Annabel. She knew what she wanted in life and worked hard to get it, yet was so kind to those around her. She definitely didn't use people, like some of the girls around her did. She is definitely someone to look up to.

Content: a man tries to attack a girl, otherwise clean.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Book Review: The Cinderella Project by Stan Crowe

****--4 Stars.
August 2012, 244 pages.

Description (from amazon):
Committed to saving his marriage before it starts, doctoral student Nick Cairn embarks on a project aimed at finding the secrets of everlasting love. But when MoirĂ© De Lanthe, a smart and sassy research assistant, enters the picture, his Happily Ever After is put to the ultimate test. 

My Review:
I thought this was a different book, in that it's from a male's point of view and was written by a man.

Nick is working towards his doctorate and does a big project on determining the secrets of an everlasting marriage/relationship. I love how each chapter started--with a snippet from his past.

Let me just say, Ella, Nick's fiance, is a piece of work!!! He is such a nice, kind, and patient guy to put up with someone like her. Nick is pretty serious and kind of old fashioned and is so worried if Ella won't have him, then he'll end up single forever. So he caters to her--way too much, in my opinion. I really liked Moire, his research assistant. She has such a great sense of humor and such an interesting name.

I enjoyed this story and it's definitely clean, which is a big bonus for me. :)
 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Book Review: Undercover Saint by Frank Holdaway

****--4 Stars.

Description (from amazon):
Going undercover in a Salt Lake City Mormon singles ward is not anti-terrorist agent Matthew Knight’s idea of a high-profile assignment. And he has deliberately avoided the Beehive State ever since his mother was murdered in Salt Lake City when he was eight years old. Ready at first to defy his orders from Washington, he resolves to stick around when he’s attacked by a man with ties to his past. But this undercover assignment is unlike any Matt has encountered before. Not only must he find the bad guys, but he also must deal with eccentric roommates, a giant of a bishop who is also his boss, a boisterous ex-Marine who wants to engage Matthew in a public display of ultimate machismo, and a seventy-five-year old woman named Permelia who wants to marry him. And these are small distractions compared to the beautiful Hope Winslow, a woman with mountains of hair who adopts him as a surrogate big brother. But before he can think about love, Matt has to get rid of a few terrorists, including his mother’s killer—and his own inner demons. 

My Review:
I love stories with quirky characters!! And Undercover Saint is full of them. Matthew is going undercover in his toughest assignment yet--an LDS singles ward. Really...who would ever dream of someone being a spy in a singles ward?! He has quite a different sense of humor and the ward members are very unique as well. I enjoyed the twists and turns that the story took me through. I loved how there was a little bit of everything--humor, romance, and a very unique mystery.

Content: some mild violence, otherwise clean.
  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

$50 Giveaway BOOK BLAST!! Working it Out by Rachael Anderson

Working It Out A chance encounter . . . Grace Warren's life is safe and predictable—exactly the way she likes it. But when she gets roped into going to an auction to help out a friend, everything changes. She meets Seth Tuttle—a guy who unexpectedly kisses her then disappears, leaving her flustered and upset. If she never sees him again, it will be too soon.
A chance for love . . . Weeks later, when Seth limps into Grace's rehab clinic post surgery, she immediately recognizes him. Unfortunately, he's every bit as frustrating and annoying as she remembered. Yet there's something about him that makes her second-guess her carefully placed boundaries even though he's everything she's sure she doesn't want in a man. But maybe Seth is exactly what Grace has needed all along—assuming she's willing to risk safe and predictable for a chance at love.  
 
Author Rachael Renee Anderson Rachael Anderson is the author of four books: Divinely Designed, Luck of the Draw, Minor Adjustments, and The Reluctant Bachelorette. She's the mother of four and is pretty good at breaking up fights, or at least sending guilty parties to their rooms. She can't sing, doesn't dance, and despises tragedies. But she recently figured out how yeast works and can now make homemade bread, which she is really good at eating.
 
Book Blast Special Price Drop!
Grab a copy of Working it Out for just $2.99!
price drop working     BookBlast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 9/6/13 a Rafflecopter giveaway   Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer http://iamareader.com and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.