Monday, June 30, 2014

Review: Chances Are by Traci Hunter Abramson

Chances Are 

My Source: I borrowed it from the library
Published: March 2014, 245 pages
Description: Maya Gupta is a survivor. After escaping an impending arranged marriage in India as a teenager, she has thrived in America. But now she faces her greatest challenge yet—cancer has invaded her life, and unless she finds a way to participate in a clinical trial in Washington, DC, this may be one battle she loses. When Maya’s best friend Kari offers Maya the lifeline of a place to stay—her brother’s currently vacant DC apartment—the young woman eagerly accepts and goes to meet her fate . . .

Ben Evans’s plans have changed, and he’s heading home for some much-needed rest and relaxation during his off-season in the major leagues. Upon arriving at his DC apartment, however, Ben is shocked to find Maya—his sister’s friend, who he hardly knows—in residence. He soon finds himself trapped between protecting his above-reproach reputation and searching for a way to help a woman he is coming to admire. When Maya’s fight to survive her disease becomes more complicated than ever, she and Ben scheme an extreme solution to her predicament that tests to what lengths they’re willing to go together to save Maya’s life.

My Review: When I was a teen, I loved to watch movies (like Beaches or My Life) and read books (like Lurlene McDaniel) that made me cry. I loved to see a story unfold about a doomed couple or person and just sob my heart out. Now that I'm older, that's not my most favorite thing to do--in fact, I hate to cry. I saw this book arrive on the shelves and thought, "It's one of those teen books that I used to love so much" and I didn't rush to pick it up. Wow, was I wrong in waiting! This one was amazing! Yes, there were some sad parts, but they weren't overwhelming. I wasn't grieved, I was full of hope and completely engrossed in the story.

Maya has had a lot to deal with in her young 20 years. She is now fighting for her life and does so with such grace and dignity. Her best friend, Kari, offers a way to help her out of a hopeless situation--she can stay in Kari's brother's apartment while he's living in LA during the baseball off-season. But Maya finds herself in quite a predicament when he decides to move back home and back into his apartment, completely unaware that Maya is living there. Determined to protect his squeaky clean image and to help Maya out, he comes up with an unusual plan--a crazy one, but one that just might work.

I completely fell into this story and loved every minute of it. I loved the sweet, sincere, and unselfish nature of Maya. I loved the confident, caring, and personable image that Ben was and portrayed. This book is completely different and opposite of any of this author's other books. My only wish was that the ending wouldn't have been so rushed. I felt that it was a little abrupt and I'm not sure if that's because there will be a companion book to this one to fill some cracks in or if this is it. I really, really hope there's more!

Content: no language or violence; kissing. Clean!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Review: Split Second (Pivot Point #2) by Kasie West

Split Second (Pivot Point, #2)Split Second (Pivot Point #2) by Kasie West
Published: February 2014, HarperTeen, 360 pages
Source: borrowed from the library

Life can change in a split second.

Addie hardly recognizes her life since her parents divorced. Her boyfriend used her. Her best friend betrayed her. She can’t believe this is the future she chose. On top of that, her ability is acting up. She’s always been able to Search the future when presented with a choice. Now she can manipulate and slow down time, too . . . but not without a price.

When Addie’s dad invites her to spend her winter break with him, she jumps at the chance to escape into the Norm world of Dallas, Texas. There she meets the handsome and achingly familiar Trevor. He’s a virtual stranger to her, so why does her heart do a funny flip every time she sees him? But after witnessing secrets that were supposed to stay hidden, Trevor quickly seems more suspicious of Addie than interested in her. And she has an inexplicable desire to change that.

Meanwhile, her best friend, Laila, has a secret of her own: she can restore Addie’s memories . . . once she learns how. But there are powerful people who don’t want to see this happen. Desperate, Laila tries to manipulate Connor, a brooding bad boy from school—but he seems to be the only boy in the Compound immune to her charms. And the only one who can help her.

As Addie and Laila frantically attempt to retrieve the lost memories, Addie must piece together a world she thought she knew before she loses the love she nearly forgot . . . and a future that could change everything.

My Review: 
I read Pivot Point last year and have read a lot of books in between then and now. Split Second picks up right where PP left off and I was a little lost at the beginning, since I didn't re-read the first one. If you haven't read Book 1, you might want to skip my review, since Split Second will probably give things away.

I can't imagine having the ability to see where your choices will lead you. Addie has that power--if she's faced with a choice, she can see where she'll end up if she chooses this way or that. In a way, that would be nice, but in another, it would be hard. What I really liked about this book is that she saw the choices in Pivot Point and made a huge sacrifice, choosing the path that was not selfish in the least, but things still didn't turn out the way that I thought they would. Surprises still popped up and there were twists and turns that I did not see coming. I love a book that keeps me guessing.

My heart broke a little in the romantic interest department. At the end of Pivot Point, Addie had fallen in love and now, he has no memory of her and things have to build again. I can't imagine going through what Addie did. I loved the romantic tension--there were a couple of relationships developing and they were all great.

Another point to the story that I really enjoyed was seeing more from Laila's point of view. She's such a fun friend and it was fun to be inside of her head. Because different pathways were chosen, friends were made that wouldn't have been with the other choices (like Stephanie). I thought this was a very fun, creative, and enjoyable story. The way the ending came together was perfect.

Content: I don't remember any language; mild violence (a fight); kissing. Clean.

About the Author:
Kasie WestI write YA. I eat Junior Mints. Sometimes I go crazy and do both at the same time. My novels, published through Harper Teen are: PIVOT POINT, its sequel SPLIT SECOND (Feb 2014), and THE DISTANCE BETWEEN US (a contemporary novel). I also have two more contemporaries, ON THE FENCE coming out July 1, 2014, and THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND coming out the summer of 2015. My agent is the talented and funny Michelle Wolfson.

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Saturday, June 28, 2014

True Colors by Krysten Lindsay Hager $50 Book Blast

True Colors CoverTrue Colors
Landry Albright enters a modeling competition with her two best friends, but runs into jealousy when she advances to the next level without them. Enter the gorgeous Devon, who also makes the first cut of the modeling contest. Devon seems like the perfect new best friend, but can their friendship survive the competition? Throw in a new boy, jealousy and loyalty issues, and insults from hair stylists. How’s a girl to deal?

The competition was for girls between the ages of thirteen and seventeen, but it felt like Ericka, Tori, and I were the youngest ones there. I only saw a couple of girls from school, and the lineup looked more like something you’d see on a music video set. All the girls were gorgeous, and they had these curvy womanly bodies. I looked like a skinny little kid next to them. The first girl walked out, and I heard the judges say she “owned the runway,” and, “walked like a gazelle.” I was starting to feel ill. I wasn’t sure which way it was going to come, but I knew I had to find a bathroom — fast. I started to get out of line when Ericka grabbed my wrist.

“It’s almost time,” she said. A tiny bit of spit flew out of her mouth and hit my cheek.

I wasn’t sure why she was so intent on me going through with it, but she had a death grip on my arm, so I didn’t have much of a choice. Her number was called and she walked out to the stage. One of the other girls said she walked like a kid with sand bucket stilts on her feet, but she came back with a smirk on her face like she knew she’d get chosen.

“They said they had never seen such long legs,” she said.

Tori was next.

“She walks like a gorilla at feeding time,” said the girl behind me. I went next, and I tried to focus on not tripping over my feet. My mom’s pumps had a rubber sole on the bottom, which probably wasn’t the brightest idea seeing as my shoes were making squeaking noises as I walked. I was so nervous I couldn’t stop smiling as I walked. I looked like the plastic clown who blows up balloons with its mouth at the Pizza Palace. When I got to the end of the runway, I tried to cross my feet to turn like the other girls had, but I over rotated and ended up doing a full spin which made my kilt fan out and gave the mall walkers a view of my blue underpants. I tried to act like it was intentional and did an extra turn. One of the judges put her hand up to stop me, and I held my breath as she started to speak.
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Krysten LAuthor Biography
Krysten Lindsay Hager is an author and book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and also writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction. Her debut novel, TRUE COLORS, will be out June 17th from Astraea Press. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and currently resides in Southern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows.

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Blast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 8/8/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an 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 and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Friday, June 27, 2014

Cover Reveal: Love Overcomes by Angela Schroeder

Cover Reveal Media Kit
Friday, June 27, 2014
Love Overcomes by Angela Schroeder
Anaiah Romance

Displaying LOVE-OVERCOMES-cover.jpg 

Single mother Arabella Mackenzie never imagined that going to California with her sister Clara

would have such a huge impact on her life. Since the end of a disastrous relationship, Arabella

has been wary of wanting or needing anyone other than her family. But when she meets hunky

actor, Jeremy Fowlis, she begins to have feelings for a man for the first time since her three year

old son was born. Now, she needs to try to overcome her past and learn to trust again.

Jeremy is not used to women who don't want to date him, or at least show him off to their friends

- he is an in-demand actor, after all. He is tired of the shallow, avaricious attention that he gets

from the public, but when he meets intelligent, cautious Arabella, she doesn't even know his

name. Arabella’s grounded beauty captivates him instantly, but, he is wary of getting involved

with a single mother with a complicated past.

Can Arabella and Jeremy both overcome their doubts and fears in order to find love?

Release Date:
Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Book Links:

Author Bio:Displaying Angela-Schroeder.jpgI was born and raised in Iowa. I am a single mother to three fantastic children. I enjoy attending church, playing games with my kids, and spending time with my parents and siblings. Writing has always been a passion of mine and I believe that a handwritten letter will never go out of style.

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Summer Book Trek 2014 Challenge

New LDS Fiction 
It's almost time for the Summer Book Trek 2014!

My list to read (I'll highlight in red when finished):

A Timeless Romance: Summer in New York
Becoming Lady Lockwood by Jennifer Moore 
Victoria's Promise by Julie Wright
A Timeless Romance: Old West Collection
The Skeleton in My Closet Wears a Wedding Dress by Sally Johnson
The Husband Maker by Karey White
Diamond Rings are Deadly Things by Rachelle J. Christensen
The Dreamosphere by Laura Stoddard 


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Review: The Shamrock Case (Amelia Moore Detective Series Book 2) by Linda Weaver Clarke

The Shamrock Case

The Shamrock Case (Amelia Moore Detective Series Book 2) by Linda Weaver Clarke
Published: June 22, 2014, Red Mountain Shadows Publishing, 150 pages
My Source: I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review

Amelia Moore, the founder of the Moore Detective Agency, specializes in missing persons. Her cases have taken her to some very interesting places and put her in some dangerous situations, but she always solves the case. With the help of Rick Bonito, her new partner, her business is flourishing.

When Amelia is hired to search for her client’s grandparents, the case takes them to Ireland. Kate must learn about her heritage. Who are her grandparents and could they still be alive after all these years? Why did her parents leave Ireland suddenly and move to America? Is there more to this case than meets the eye?

My Review: Amelia Moore is at it again, this time in Ireland! Kate was adopted and wants to learn more about her birth relatives. She hires Amelia to find them for her. Amelia is a great detective and with the help of Rick, her partner, she is able to uncover Kate's heritage...and more. I loved the twist to the story. I loved the way real facts and locations were detailed in the story--I never knew so much about the Blarney Stone and it was fascinating!

Amelia is an enjoyable character. She's not a superhero, but she has a real knack for solving mysteries. She is a normal, down-to-earth woman, which is refreshing. I love seeing the romance between Rick and Amelia slowly unfold. He's a great guy who can hold his own and is full of surprises.

I think the author explains this type of story best when she told me:

"There are many types of mysteries to choose from such as a cozy mystery, hard-boiled, soft-boiled, or the thriller. What is the difference? A cozy is an enjoyable story with a bit of humor. It can be slow paced but not boring by any means. The sleuth is always an intelligent and likeable woman. This genre is G-rated.

"A thriller has non-stop action and doesn’t let up until the climax of the story. The hard-boiled mystery has violence, plenty of action, and is R-rated. The soft-boiled mystery falls in the middle of the cozy and hard-boiled and has light humor.

"The Amelia Moore Detective Series is closer to a cozy than the others but is not a “who-done-it” mystery. Amelia Moore  specializes in missing persons."

That's exactly what this series is about--fun, gentle, entertaining, without all the gore and violence. It's a fun series!

language: none
violence: none
romance: mild kissing

About the Author:
Linda Weaver Clarke 
Linda Weaver Clarke travels throughout the United States, teaching and encouraging people to write their family history and autobiography. She has traveled to seventeen states and given over 400 workshops. She is the mother of six daughters and has several grandchildren. Clarke is the author of six historical sweet romances, a mystery/adventure series, a new cozy mystery series, and a children’s book. She has also written two non-fiction e-books: Reflections of the Heart and Writing Your Family Legacy. All her books are family friendly.

Book Blast: Contact by Laurisa White Reyes

ContactContact by Laurisa White Reyes
Mira wants to die. She’s attempted suicide twice already and failed. Every time she comes in contact with another person, skin to skin, that person’s psyche uploads into hers. While her psychologist considers this a gift, for Mira it’s a curse from which she cannot escape. To make matters worse, Mira’s father is being investigated for the deaths of several volunteer test subjects of the miracle drug Gaudium. Shortly after Mira’s mother starts asking questions, she ends up in a coma. Although her father claims it was an accident, thanks to her “condition” Mira knows the truth, but proving it just might get her killed.

Laurisa White Reyes Author PhotoPRAISE FOR BOOK: "CONTACT is a page turner that will keep you guessing right along with Mira, right up until the last revelation. And it will make you reconsider the next time you wish you knew someone else’s secrets!" - Margaret Petereson Haddix, author of the Missing and The Shadow Children series
AUTHOR LAURISA WHITE REYES: Laurisa White Reyes is the Editor-in-chief of Middle Shelf Magazine and the author of two middle grade fantasy novels: The Rock of Ivanore and The Last Enchanter. She is also the mother of five kids, a graduate student, a fan of Broadway musicals, and a lover of all things chocolate.


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Blast Giveaway $100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 7/20/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an 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 and sponsored by the publisher. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Review: Hope at Dawn by Stacy Henrie

Publication: June 24, 2014, Forever. 384 pages
My Source: I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.


With her brothers away fighting the Great War overseas, Livy Campbell desperately wants to help her family. Her chance comes when she meets a handsome stranger who lands her a job as a teacher in a place far from her parents' farm. But the war casts a long shadow over the German-American town that Livy now calls home-and the darkness will test everything she thought she knew about family and love . . .

More than anything, Friedrick Wagner wants to be part of his adopted country's struggle for peace. But when the bitter animosity between Germans and Americans soon turns citizens against newcomers, friend against friend, he will do whatever it takes to protect Livy from the hysteria that grips their town. As tragedy-and dark secrets from the past-threaten their future, Friedrick and Livy have one chance to stand up for what's right . . . and one chance to fight for their love.

My Review: First of all, this is a cover that I absolutely adore. It leaves a lot to the imagination, yet is really gorgeous. Next, I loved this story! I haven't read many books that take place during WWI. My great-grandfather fought in this war and passed away when I was really little. I don't know about many things that he experienced and the way life was then. This story made it really easy to picture how things were in my mind. I thought the writing was almost lyrical and the storyline was very engaging, with very likable characters.

Livy has always wanted to be a school teacher and when she gets a tip about a school, she jumps at the chance. I love the way she jumps right in, even though it isn't ideal and is hard work. She doesn't let the little prejudices deter her, nor does she let the big ones. I would be scared to death to teach in a school in an area with such strict laws. She does the best she can and is such a strong and determined woman, standing up for what's right any time she can.

I love Friedrick! He's so gentle and patient. I could feel the pain and embarrassment he had over not being able to serve his country. He's so willing to do whatever it takes to show his loyalty, even at the risk of putting his family in poverty. I love the way he sticks up for others, but does so in a very kind, persistent, understated way.

I thought the author did a fantastic job of weaving fiction with truth. I have ancestors who Americanized their surnames and now I understand why. I learned some things that I didn't realize before. I can't wait to see what's next--Ms. Henrie is definitely an author to watch!

violence--vague talk of war and death; threatening situations; a fight
romance--clean kissing
religious--mention of church, prayer, faith, but not preachy 


About the Author:
Image of Stacy HenrieStacy Henrie has always had an avid appetite for history, fiction and chocolate. While she had a goal to write and publish a book one day, she turned her attentions first to graduating with a bachelor's degree in public relations. Not long after, she switched from writing press releases and newsletters to writing inspirational historical romances as a stay-at-home mom. Stacy loves reading, interior decorating, romantic movies, and most of all, laughing with her husband and three kids. She appreciates the chance to live out history through her characters, while enjoying all the modern conveniences of life in the 21st century. 

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