Saturday, 31 May 2014

Review: All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner


Allison Weiss has a great job...a handsome husband...an adorable daughter...and a secret.

Allison Weiss is a typical working mother, trying to balance a business, aging parents, a demanding daughter, and a marriage. But when the website she develops takes off, she finds herself challenged to the point of being completely overwhelmed. Her husband’s becoming distant, her daughter’s acting spoiled, her father is dealing with early Alzheimer’s, and her mother’s barely dealing at all. As she struggles to hold her home and work life together, and meet all of the needs of the people around her, Allison finds that the painkillers she was prescribed for a back injury help her deal with more than just physical discomfort—they help her feel calm and get her through her increasingly hectic days. Sure, she worries a bit that the bottles seem to empty a bit faster each week, but it’s not like she’s some Hollywood starlet partying all night, or a homeless person who’s lost everything. It’s not as if she has an actual problem.

However, when Allison’s use gets to the point that she can no longer control—or hide—it, she ends up in a world she never thought she’d experience outside of a movie theater: rehab. Amid the teenage heroin addicts, the alcoholic grandmothers, the barely-trained “recovery coaches,” and the counselors who seem to believe that one mode of recovery fits all, Allison struggles to get her life back on track, even as she’s convincing herself that she’s not as bad off as the women around her.

With a sparkling comedic touch and tender, true-to-life characterizations, All Fall Down is a tale of empowerment and redemption and Jennifer Weiner’s richest, most absorbing and timely story yet.



Hardcover, 400 pages
Expected publication: June 17th 2014 by Atria Books
Terri's Thoughts
I won an advanced copy of this book via Goodreads first reads in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is June 17 2014.
I have not read any of Jennifer Weiner's other books however I had certainly heard of her and I have been curious for some time.  I was overjoyed when the opportunity arose to read her latest work.  I have to say it was truly worth the wait.
While an easy read in style it is not an easy read in content.  Dealing with the subject of addiction this story weaves a scary tail of drug abuse and the nose dive your life can take when your addiction takes over.  I loved that this look in to addiction was told through an everyday ordinary person.  Great family, great job, "mcmansion" in the suburbs.  I found it realistic in the fact that addiction does not discriminate and stereotype and it can happen to anyone.
I have to admit that there were many times that I wanted to slap Allison and tell her to wake up!  I couldn't believe what she was doing to herself.  I guess that is the whole point.  Friends and family who are powerless to help and angry because they can't get through.  In this sense I found the story realistic, If I was angry I can only imagine what it is like for people who have to live with it.
I am not going to detail too much about the story since it has not yet been released and I don't like to include spoilers in my review.  I will say that this story really made me think.  It is incomprehensible to me what thousands of "Allisons" go through on any given day as they battle with addiction be it alcohol or narcotics.  The lives it touches and the damage it does.  When I was younger I thought that everyone had a choice and that this can only happen if you let it.  I am older and wiser now and this story dispels that notion and tells it like it is.  There is not necessarily always a rock bottom sob story tail behind an addict however regardless of the story there is no less damage.
I feel lucky to be introduced to Weiner's work through this story.  Without a doubt I will be checking out her other works.  I highly recommend.
About the Author



As a #1 New York Times bestselling author, Jennifer Weiner's books have spent nearly five years on the New York Times bestseller list, with more than 11 million copies of her books in print in 36 countries. Her newest work, ALL FALL DOWN, will be published on June 17, 2014.
Jennifer Weiner was born in 1970 on an army base in Louisiana. She grew up in Connecticut and graduated from Princeton University. She worked as a newspaper reporter in Central Pennsylvania, Lexington, Kentucky, and Philadelphia, before the publication of her first novel, GOOD IN BED, in 2001. She is the author of the novels IN HER SHOES (2002), which was turned into a major motion picture starring Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette, and Shirley MacLaine; LITTLE EARTHQUAKES, (2004), GOODNIGHT NOBODY (2005), the short story collection THE GUY NOT TAKEN (2006), CERTAIN GIRLS (2008), BEST FRIENDS FOREVER (2009), FLY AWAY HOME (2010), THEN CAME YOU (2011), and THE NEXT BEST THING (2012). Her Halloween eShort story, DISCONNECTED, was published on October 28, 2013


Website:      Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/JenniferWeiner
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/jenniferweiner

     


Thursday, 29 May 2014

Feature and Follow Friday #30






Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly meme that allows book bloggers to interact with each other and find new blogs! It has two hosts, Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. The rules are...
 
(Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee & Alison Can Read}
(Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers
Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn’t have GFC (Google Friends Connect) state in your posts how you would like to be followed
Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers
If you’re new to the follow Friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog.

This week's question is...

How important is good writing to you? In an ideal world, a book would be beautifully written AND have great character development, plot, etc. But in the real world, which do you prefer: (1) Great characters and plot with lousy writing or (2) Middling character development and plot but gorgeous writing


Terri's Answer

This is a really tough question to answer.  I love a beautifully written book however I love a great plot, characters etc.  I think it is a really fine line.  I find I can be turned off by both scenarios.  If a story has great writing yet a lousy plot or character development I can find it pretentious and boring.  I always wonder who the author is trying to fool and I tend to be harsh in my judgement. I am like that with people I work with who tend to spew out a bunch of great sounding words with no depth or meaning to them in an effort to impress.  Just get to the point!  I think it is more difficult to have a great plot and characters then to string together a bunch of nice sounding words.  That would make you think I prefer option 1 however I have issue with that also.  While I will always choose a great plot; when the writing is lousy I tend to get annoyed.  It really wears my nerves when I am distracted from a great story because I need to reread half the pages.  Soooooooo...if I have to choose....I say none of the above.  There has to be a balance of both.  I'm not asking for perfection...just a great story that is told well.

Kristine's Answer

I have to agree with Terri on this one. I have read some beautifully written books where the story gets lost in the words and books with great plots and characters but not so great writing. I think because I read so many ARC's I have become more tolerant of not so great writing. Some I feel like I need a decoder or translator to get through but I always do. I think it depends on the book, my mood, my stress level and the countless other things that distract me.

What about you? Which do you prefer?

That is our Feature and Follow Friday for this week! Comment down below if you're a new follower of ours with a link to your blog and we will make sure to follow you back. You can follow us via gfc, bloglovin, email, facebook and/or twitter.


Review: Daddy's Girl by Margie Orford

The little girl tells herself an hour is not so long to wait, and steps outside. The street is empty. Then she hears the car...

Police Captain Faizal has just been told that his six-year-old daughter has been abducted. And he is not allowed to join the search – because his squad think he is the kidnapper.

Investigative journalist Dr Clare Hart is the only one who believes Faizal is innocent. Together they must evade the police and find his daughter – even if it puts all their lives at risk.


ebook, 304 pages
Expected publication date: June 10, 2014 by Witness Impulse
Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Witness Impulse via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

I enjoy a good mystery every now and again and from the synopsis this one sounded like it would fit the bill. A story about a six year old girl who disappears from her dance class with all fingers pointing towards her father who also happens to be a cop. Who can he turn to to help find his beloved daughter when nobody is looking any farther than him? Enter Dr. Clare Hart and the journey begins.

This book is filled with twists, turns, corruption, murder and deception on every page. For readers that like a story that follows many trails in the search for answers, they will surely enjoy it. I liked the story and the fact that it takes place in Africa but I did have a few issues with it.

First of all, there were so many characters in the story that it was hard to keep them all straight. Just when I thought I finally had them all figured out another character would be introduced. This did distract me from the story and it did impact my enjoyment. With this genre I like to try and figure out the mystery before it is revealed but with so many characters it was difficult to keep anything straight. Also, there seemed to be a few stories going on at once. Perhaps this was intentional to throw the reader off the trail but I felt it just made it a little too busy.

In the end I liked the book and thoroughly enjoyed reading about Cape Town but the numerous characters made it too distracting to love.





About the Author
Margie Orford is a journalist, film director and author of children’s fiction, non-fiction and school text books.

She was born in London and grew up in Namibia and South Africa, studying at UCT where she wrote her final exams in prison while detained during the State of Emergency. After travelling widely, she did an honours degree at UCT, then worked in publishing in the newly-independent Namibia, where she became involved in training through the African Publishers Network.

In 1999 she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and while in New York, worked on an archival retrieval project, Women Writing in Africa: The Southern Volume. She made her crime debut with Like Clockwork, which became a bestseller and was followed by a sequel, Blood Rose. Both crime novels will be published in Germany. A recent non-fiction project is Fabulously 40 and Beyond : Women coming into their own; her latest is Fifteen Men.
 

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Review: Sometimes It Lasts by Abbi Glines


Cage York has to choose between a love of the game and a love of the girl in this sultry Sea Breeze novel from New York Times bestselling author Abbi Glines.

After waiting for his big break, bad boy Cage York is finally called up to prove his worth in the college baseball arena. But when Cage’s girlfriend, Eva, mourns the sudden loss of her father, it’s not Cage’s comforting arms she runs to, but those of her former fiancé’s twin brother, Jeremy.

Torn between his baseball dream and the girl of his dreams, Cage must prove he’s worthy of Eva’s love, or risk losing her to Jeremy forever.



Paperback, 288 pages
Expected publication: June 3rd 2014 by Simon Pulse
Terri's Thoughts
I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher Simon Pulse via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The expected release date is June 3, 2014 however this appears to be a re-release and was previously released in 2013.
This is book 5 in the Sea Breeze series and I did not realise and have not read the previous books.  I was able to follow along without this background and the book can be read as a standalone however I believe there would have been added value if I had read the first four.  There is a back story of how Cage and Eva that occurred in an earlier instalment (I researched after the fact) that had me curious as I worked my way through this.  There are also several supporting characters with backstories that I would have known if I had read the others.  That aside, as mentioned, I was still able to enjoy this book without it.
Let me warn you that there are some hot and heavy scenes in this story.  Those that appreciate that in there stories will not be left disappointed.  The chemistry between Cage and Eva is scorching.  Although there is an emotional connection as well it is definitely the physical chemistry that stands out.  Again to my first comment it made me want to find out how they got to the point where the story begins.
This story was predictable and there was no real point where I was left surprised with anything however that is not the point.  The point is to escape reality with some super hot characters and just enjoy the ride.  I have not read any of Gline's work before although I have heard of her however I did enjoy her writing and the story.  I do not know how she can manage to have so many hot characters in one small (albeit fictional) geographic area however I will take it.  We all need an escape from reality and I will be checking out the rest of this series and perhaps make a request.  If there are more stories in this series I really hope one will be Jeremy's story.
About the Author



Since publishing her first novel Breathe in May of 2011, Abbi has also released The New York Times bestselling Seabreeze Series which includes Breathe, Because of Low, While It Lasts, Just For Now and Sometimes It Last, The Existence Trilogy that includes the USA Today Bestseller Ceaseless. New York Times and USA TODAY bestsellers The Vincent Boys and The Vincent Brothers. Last but not least her most popular series to date, Rosemary Beach which includes The New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers Fallen Too Far, Never Too Far, Forever Too Far, Twisted Perfection and Simple Perfection. Her newest book scheduled to be released on December 17th, 2013 is Misbehaving (Seabreeze).

When Abbi isn’t locked away in her office typing away she is hauling her kids to and from their many social activities. You could say her second job is the Glines Kids personal chauffeur. It’s a rather illustrious job.


Website:  http://www.abbiglines.com
Twitter:  abbiglines



Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Sale Blast and Giveaway: Shadow Fire by Kimber Leigh Wheaton



Shadow Fire
Favorite Quotes

The villagers will be awaiting my return, skulking in the shadows, desperate to catch a glimpse of the walking dead girl. ~Ashlyn

After all, love conquers nothing but fools. ~Delistaire

Perhaps you shouldn’t have chased the poor pirate all over the ship shooting light daggers at him. ~Zane

How would you like a tour of this grand vessel, my angelic beauty? I’ll show you my favorite trysting spots. ~Taranis


Praise for shadow Fire

"Shadow Fire has something for everyone: suspense, love, action, adventure…all woven together perfectly making this debut novel a winner." ~ BTS Book Reviews

"I thought the writing was strong; it had me turning the pages quickly to see what would happen next. The characters were engaging and the dialogue well-written." Lisa Temple ~ Author of Illuminating Gracie

"Oh, I truly loved this one! Shadow Fire, by Kimber Leigh Wheaton, is a snappy, sassy, sweet, all-that-kind-of-awesome-and-then-some YA read. I couldn't put it down." Sasha Hibbs ~ Author of Black Amaranth

"It is a beautiful love story surrounded by mystery, adventure, and magic." Christy ~ Amazon Reviewer

“I have to say that this is one of the best books I've read this year… From a breathtaking cover to a Must Read story. This is one book you won't put down!” ~ Crossroad Reviews


Shadow Fire
Light Chronicles Book 1

Kimber Leigh Wheaton

YA Fantasy Romance


$0.99 May 25 - May 30

Ashlyn – a free-spirited teenager whose peaceful life is shattered when the village elders honor her with a perilous quest to recover a stolen relic.

Zane – a jaded mercenary, torn by his undeniable desire for Ashlyn and the dark secret that could make her hate him forever.

Delistaire – a malevolent sorcerer driven by an insatiable lust for power.
All three are bound together by an ancient relic supposedly infused with the power of a Goddess.

Shadow Fire – adventure, passion, secrets, and betrayal

As Ashlyn and Zane race to stay one step ahead of the evil lurking in the shadows, their passions are ignited and their bond strengthens. But will they find the relic before Delistaire? Or has their entire quest been orchestrated from the very beginning by a madman in pursuit of ultimate power?

Each installment of the Light Chronicles is a standalone story.

I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Shadow Fire and you can find my original review here.


Kimber Leigh Wheaton is a YA/NA author with a soft spot for sweet romance and is a member of Romance Writers of America.

She is married to her soul mate, has a teenage son, and shares her home with three dogs and four cats. No, she doesn’t live on a farm, she just loves animals. Her house is filled with dragons, though she does lament that they are the porcelain, non-flying variety.

Kimber Leigh is addicted to romance, videogames, superheroes, villains, and chocolate—not necessarily in that order. (If she has to choose, she’ll take a chocolate covered superhero!)

Her debut novel, Shadow Fire, is the first book in the Light Chronicles series. Watch for book two, Stolen Moon, a standalone sequel, coming August 2014. Also watch for Tortured Souls, a YA paranormal romance, coming July 14, 2014.

Author Links:



Giveaway!!
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Review: Here's Looking at You by Mhairi McFarlane

What if the last person you wanted to see was the person you needed?
Here's Looking At You is, in essence, an ugly duckling tale. Our heroine Anna returns to school after fifteen years for a reunion. School doesn't hold happy memories for her, as being a roly poly Italian (known as the Italian Galleon), and always armed with a Tupperware full of pungent Mediterranean food, she was bullied incessantly throughout her years there.
Now in her 30s, Anna wants to put the past behind her once and for all and face up to the bullies who made her life hell. But she is much-changed from the girl she once was - all curves and because I'm worth it hair - and no one recognizes her when she arrives. Losing her cool, she backs out on her plan for revenge and slinks off, hoping never to be reminded of her years at school again.
But fate gets in the way, and after the reunion her path keeps crossing with James - major hunk and Anna's major crush back at school. But alas, as a crony to the bullies, Anna to this day believes that his beautiful exterior hides an ugly interior. As they continue to cross paths a love/hate relationship ensues until eventually something shifts, and they both start to discover what the person underneath is really like…
Full of laugh out loud humor, Here's Looking At You is a novel about facing your demons and being happy with who you really are.


Kristine's Thoughts:

I received an advanced readers copy of this book from HarperCollins via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. The expected publication date is June 3, 2014.

I am not going to re-tell the story because you can read the synopsis to find out what it is about. Instead I am just going to touch on a few things that explain my rating.

First, this is a story that has been done before but it is being marketed as humorous so I thought I would be in for a few laughs. For the most part this did not happen. Partly I think this is because it didn't translate well. A lot of references to people, things and places were completely lost to me because I had never heard them before. The author is based in Nottingham so it may be common language to her but it was completely lost on me. Unfortunately I think it was in these parts that it was meant to be funny. As the book progressed there seemed to be less language that I didn't understand but it could also be that I was figuring it out as I went along. This would not have been an issue had it not seemed to happen at what I think were suppose to be the funny parts. For me, the only really humorous parts were the occasional emails that Anna would get from Neil, her blind date gone wrong.

This story was also quite long. I felt like it would have been better served with at least 100 pages less. The first 50% of the book really dragged and I contemplated not finishing it. I always see things through to the end so I stayed with it and it did improve in the last half. Anna and James don't even begin a friendship until around 50% and I think it was at 80%  before he figured out who she was from high school. With such a lead up I expected great repercussions but it was fairly anti climatic.

I do give the author props for dealing with the long term repercussions of bullying and the effects it has on people. Although Anna is well beyond her high school years she still deals with the insecurities from those days.

In the end the book was alright but did not live up to my expectations. I am giving it a very generous 3 star rating.





About the Author

 Mhairi was born in Scotland in 1976 and has been explaining how to pronounce her name ever since. (With a 'V', not an 'M'. Yes, that's us crazy Celts for you).

She is based in Nottingham where she used to be a local journalist. Now she's a freelance writer and sometime-blogger, which we all know is code for pissing about on Twitter.

She likes drinking wine, eating food and obtaining clothes; all the impressive hobbies. Her best anecdotes involve dislocating her elbow tripping over a briefcase and a very bad flight to New York. She lives with a man and a cat.


Connect with Mhairi

Monday, 26 May 2014

Review: Midnight In Europe by Alan Furst


Paris, 1938. As the shadow of war darkens Europe, democratic forces on the Continent struggle against fascism and communism, while in Spain the war has already begun. Alan Furst, whom Vince Flynn has called “the most talented espionage novelist of our generation,” now gives us a taut, suspenseful, romantic, and richly rendered novel of spies and secret operatives in Paris and New York, in Warsaw and Odessa, on the eve of World War II.

Cristián Ferrar, a brilliant and handsome Spanish émigré, is a lawyer in the Paris office of a prestigious international law firm. Ferrar is approached by the embassy of the Spanish Republic and asked to help a clandestine agency trying desperately to supply weapons to the Republic’s beleaguered army—an effort that puts his life at risk in the battle against fascism.

Joining Ferrar in this mission is a group of unlikely men and women: idealists and gangsters, arms traders and aristocrats and spies. From shady Paris nightclubs to white-shoe New York law firms, from brothels in Istanbul to the dockyards of Poland, Ferrar and his allies battle the secret agents of Hitler and Franco. And what allies they are: there’s Max de Lyon, a former arms merchant now hunted by the Gestapo; the Marquesa Maria Cristina, a beautiful aristocrat with a taste for danger; and the Macedonian Stavros, who grew up “fighting Bulgarian bandits. After that, being a gangster was easy.” Then there is Eileen Moore, the American woman Ferrar could never forget.

In Midnight in Europe, Alan Furst paints a spellbinding portrait of a continent marching into a nightmare—and the heroes and heroines who fought back against the darkness.



Hardcover, 272 pages
Expected publication: June 10th 2014 by Random House
Terri's Thoughts
 
I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher Random House via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is June 10, 2014.
 
This is one of those stories where I struggle with my comments and opinion....
 
The book was exactly as advertised.  A spy novel with numerous dangerous and sketchy plots in an effort to assist a war effort.  Check.  Well written and easy to understand.  Check.  An interesting venture in to a volatile time in world history.  Check.
 
Based on this you would think that I would give it a glowing review.  Somehow I cannot.  There was just something missing in this story for me and I am not sure I can pinpoint what it was.  The characters did not interest me enough to become fully invested and therefore I did feel part of the story as I do with a truly outstanding read.  I found the story dull at many times and that in spite of everything that occurred, nothing really happened.
 
I will caution anyone who may read my review that just because I am not doing cartwheels over this story does not mean that I do not recommend it.  I think that this is one of those stories that may not necessarily appeal to everyone however could strongly appeal to some.  It seems geared more towards a truly specific genre and doesn't offer a whole lot outside of it.
 
Although interesting in parts, for me it was just a little on the dull side...
About the Author

Alan Furst is widely recognized as the current master of the historical spy novel. Born in New York, he has lived for long periods in France, especially Paris. He now lives on Long Island.

Night Soldiers novels
* Night Soldiers (1988)
* Dark Star (1991)
* The Polish Officer (1995)
* The World at Night (1996)
* Red Gold (1999)
* Kingdom of Shadows (2000)
* Blood of Victory (2003)
* Dark Voyage (2004)
* The Foreign Correspondent (2006)
* The Spies of Warsaw (2008)
* Spies of the Balkans (2010)
* Mission to Paris (2012)

Stand-alone novels
* Your day in the barrel (1976)
* The Paris drop (1980)
* The Caribbean Account (1981)
* Shadow Trade (1983)


Website: 


Sunday, 25 May 2014

Review: Heated by J. Kenner

I knew better than to risk my heart.
But fierce passion comes at a high price.


I grew up believing in right and wrong, good and evil, black and white. I knew better than to trust. And then I met Tyler Sharp.

Bold, charming, and dangerously sexy, Tyler always gets what he wants. But his smile can be deceiving, his dealings sordid, his ambitions ruthless. I thought I was the one woman strong enough to resist him, but our need for each other was too urgent to deny.

One look and I was in trouble. One touch and I was hooked. One night and I became his.

And now that I’ve fallen, there’s no going back.

Heated is an erotic romance intended for mature audiences.


Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Expected publication: June 3rd 2014 by Bantam 
Genre: Erotica

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Random House Publishing Group - Bantam via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. The expected publication date is June 3, 2014.

Heated is the second book in the Most Wanted series but can be read as a stand alone. I did read Wanted, the first book, but have no doubt that I could have still followed along if I hadn't. The first book was about Evan and this one is about Tyler and the next one I assume will be about Cole.

As warned in the synopsis, this book is intended for mature audiences and the pages heat up pretty much at the very beginning. In fact, there was so much sex that I wasn't sure if there would be a story to go with it. The chemistry and lust between Sloane and Tyler was off the charts. As I continued through the pages I was happy to see that a story does evolve to go along with their between the sheets action.

There was something that I really liked about Tyler but I can't really put a finger on it. Perhaps it was his bad boy, take charge attitude or maybe it was just his skills in the bedroom. Whatever it was I liked it. Although he was shady I still found him appealing. I didn't warm up to Sloane quite as much. Perhaps it was the things she was willing to do and the lengths she was willing to go to solve her mystery that did it. She was willing to sleep with Tyler to get information before she even knew that they had wild sexual chemistry.

The story itself was alright but I did think that the emotional connection between them was a little rushed and underdeveloped. I could feel the sexual chemistry but the emotional chemistry got a little lost in the heat as did the rest of the story. The ending was also a little rushed and a little anti climatic.

If you are a fan of books with a lot of steam, heat and sex you will probably really like this book. For me, I wished that the rest of the story was as strong.





About the Author
J. Kenner spent more than ten years as a litigator in Southern California and Central Texas, using her rare free time to indulge her passion for writing. California born, she now lives—and writes—in Texas, with her husband and daughters. 






Connect with J. Kenner

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Review: China Dolls by Lisa See


In 1938, Ruby, Helen and Grace, three girls from very different backgrounds, find themselves competing at the same audition for showgirl roles at San Francisco's exclusive "Oriental" nightclub, the Forbidden City. Grace, an American-born Chinese girl has fled the Midwest and an abusive father. Helen is from a Chinese family who have deep roots in San Francisco's Chinatown. And, as both her friends know, Ruby is Japanese passing as Chinese. At times their differences are pronounced, but the girls grow to depend on one another in order to fulfill their individual dreams. Then, everything changes in a heartbeat with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Suddenly the government is sending innocent Japanese to internment camps under suspicion, and Ruby is one of them. But which of her friends betrayed her?

Hardcover, 400 pages
Expected publication: June 3rd 2014 by Random House
Terri's Thoughts
 
I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher Random House via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is June 3, 2014.
 
This was an interesting read for me.  Caught up in the glitz of the nightclub scene and the "Oriental" showgirls before and during the wartime.  It was fascinating to read about this era that I had no previous knowledge of.
 
The core of this story centralizes around Grace, Helen, and Ruby who are three best friends on the circuit together.  Their relationship was competitive and deep rooted at the same time.  Let me tell you that I would not want friends like these with everything they put each other through.  Without divulging any of the plot you see both the good and the bad of all of the characters.
 
I did have some issues with all three of the friends.  I found that I did not particularly like any of them.  They were self centered, selfish and put themselves before others many times.  I believe that is the whole point of the story.  That people can find each other and learn to accept them for through all of their flaws.  That friendships can be complex and fragile.
 
This story also has an interesting cast of supporting characters.  Some you will love and some you will hate.  They all serve the purpose of spinning an interesting tale.
 
At the end of the day this is a different read than I am used to and I really enjoyed it.  It evoked feelings of anger and laughter within its pages.  For a read that is just a little different than the norm I would recommend this.
About the Author

Lisa See is a Chinese-American author. Her books include Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (2005), Dragon Bones, and On Gold Mountain. She was named the 2001 National Woman of the Year, by the Organization of Chinese American Women. She lives in Los Angeles.

Website: 


Thursday, 22 May 2014

Feature and Follow Friday #29






Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly meme that allows book bloggers to interact with each other and find new blogs! It has two hosts, Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. The rules are...
 
(Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee & Alison Can Read}
(Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers
Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn’t have GFC (Google Friends Connect) state in your posts how you would like to be followed
Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers
If you’re new to the follow Friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog.

This week's question is...


Have you ever convinced someone to read a book, a series, or a whole genre? What book(s) and who was it? Did they like it?


Kristine's Answer

I convinced my daughter to read The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons. She was in a tragic love story kind of mood and I told her that it fit the bill and that she would probably like it. Not only did she love it but she went on to read the next two books in the series which I haven't even got around to doing yet. Normally she is the one convincing me to read different books and genres.






Terri's Answer

I introduced my sister (Kristine) to Kate Morton who I absolutely love.  We tend to have similar taste in books so when I read Forgotten Garden I just knew she had to read it also.  This began our book exchange where we would trade books back and forth.  We don't do it so much anymore now that we have gone digital however we both have a long summer reading list from each other waiting for each other



 
 
That is our Feature and Follow Friday for this week! Comment down below if you're a new follower of ours with a link to your blog and we will make sure to follow you back. You can follow us via gfc, bloglovin, email, facebook and/or twitter.

Blog Tour & Giveaway: A Summer Romance (Devereaux Manor Mystery #1) by Tracey Smith

Welcome to my stop on Tracey Smith's blog tour for her latest book A Summer Romance.
Discounted on Kindle for .99 cents (US) May 19th-23rd

Maggie had her entire life planned out since the age of twelve, looks like the joke was on her. As all of her carefully laid plans begin to fall apart she jumps at the opportunity to get away and spend a carefree summer down south.

When she arrives at Devereux Manor it all seems too good to be true. The home is beautiful, the town is inviting, and the sexy gardener promises to make this a summer she won’t soon forget.

However the more she learns about the elusive Ms. Devereaux she begins to realize that the carefully placed ad in front of her dorm room may not have been the happy coincidence that it once seemed. Maggie isn’t the only one who Ms. Devereaux has lured to the plantation, and Ms. Devereaux isn’t the only one with secrets to hide.



Kindle Edition, 170 pages
Published April 3rd 2014 by Amazon Digital Services 
Genre: Romance/Mystery

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received a copy of this book directly from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank You!


Let me start off by saying that this is not the first book by Smith that I have read so I was extremely excited to dive into this book and see if I enjoyed it as much as the last one. The synopsis captured my attention and I prepared myself to get lost in the pages.

It is like you are getting a two for one deal with this book. You get the steamy romance along with a suspenseful mystery all wrapped into one easy to read and engaging story. This pleased me because I enjoy both genres and they molded together flawlessly.

The story begins when Maggie answers an ad to look after Deveraux Manor for the summer and gets the job. She travels from Boston to small town Georgia thinking that it is the answer to all her problems. She is running from her past. Little does she know that she is not the only one there and is pleasantly surprised when she meets the hunky groundskeeper Aaron. The early chapters deal mostly with the development of Maggie and Aaron's relationship. They both have scars and secrets from their past but they can't seem to resist the chemistry that they so obviously have. The pages heat up (a lot) as their relationship grows but is their past too much for them to overcome? This in itself would be enough to keep you glued to the pages but there is more...

Who is this mysterious Ms. Devereaux that they both work for but have never met? What secrets does she hold and was it a coincidence that Maggie found the ad outside her dorm? Are the rumours about her true? What is with the strange happenings in the house and who is in the black car that Maggie keeps seeing? Clues are discovered and some questions answered as the story progresses but not all of them. As much as I love a good love story I found myself drawn to this aspect of the story the most. I was dying to find out the secrets behind the Manor. Be warned...you will not get them all in this book. The book ends before everything is solved and there is a sequel. The next instalment in the Devereaux Manor Mystery series is called A Winter Wedding. I can't wait! It has a tentative release date of December 2014. I think I have an idea of how it will play out and what the mystery is but I won't know for sure until I get my hands on it.

Over all I really enjoyed this book as I did with the last one I read by Smith. I have definitely found a new author who's work I will be following. 

You can find my review for Cedar Hollow also by Tracey Smith here





About the Author
I grew up in Southern California, but as a teenager moved with my family to a small town in Arkansas. It was there that I met my husband, who had also recently moved to the state. Fate brought us both to that same small town and into each others lives and it is where we remain today raising our two children and living out our happily ever after. As you can tell I'm a hopeless romantic.

I began my writing career in 2009 with the publication of my first novel Love's Fate, which quickly grew into a romantic series. Since that first day that I sat down to write I haven't been able to stop. Writing is my passion and has become a necessary part of my life. Sometimes there are stories that just beg to be told.

Connect with Tracey
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Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Review: Gimme Some Sugar by Kimberly Kincaid


Out of the frying pan. . .and into the fire!

Desperate to escape the spotlight of her failed marriage to a fellow celebrity-chef, Carly di Matisse left New York City for a tiny town in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The restaurant she's running these days may not be chic, but in Pine Mountain she can pretend to be the tough cookie everybody knows and loves. Until she finds herself spending too much time with a way-too-hot contractor whose rugged good looks melt her like butter...

Jackson Carter wasn't looking for love. But he's not the kind of man to walk away from a worksite—or from a fiery beauty whose passionate nature provides some irresistible on-the-job benefits...

It's the perfect temporary arrangement for two ravenous commitment-phobes, except that Jackson and Carly keep coming back for seconds... and thirds... and fourths..



Paperback, 352 pages
Expected publication: June 3rd 2014 by Zebra
Terri's Thoughts:
I received and advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is June 3 2014.
 
This is the second in the Pine Mountain series and I had not read the first instalment.  Luckily this can be read as a stand alone and it did not impact the ability to enjoy this read.  This was a fun and sexy read all on its own.
 
Kincaid does a wonderful job of creating two characters who have amazing chemistry from the get go.  Carly is a spit-fire and Jackson is the usual drool worthy leading man.  They seemed to be destined for each other from the beginning of the story. Let me tell you that some parts of the story were downright steamy! My only criticism and it is not just limited to this story is the physical descriptions of the characters.  While Jackson is 6 feet 4, Carly comes in at an even 5 feet.  This is typical among many stories.  I have a hard time picturing them because in reality it makes a rather awkward looking couple.  While I am all for the leading ladies to be short I don't know why they tend to be below the average female height which I believe is somewhere around 5'3.  That being said if that is my only complaint then it really doesn't impact the story.
 
As Carly is a chef, a lot of the story is focused around food.  Either Kincaid has a second occupation as a chef, an intense love of food or completed a lot of research on food.  I found myself hungry throughout the story with all of the delicious sounding dishes described.  It was a nice surprise to be rewarded with some recipes at the end since I could all but taste the food as I was reading.  
 
This is my first introduction to Kincaid's works and I can say it will not be the last.  I will now go back to read the first story and I look forward to the third instalment.  I will also be eager to check out some of her other work.

About the Author


Kimberly Kincaid writes contemporary romance that splits the difference between sexy and sweet. When she's not sitting cross-legged in an ancient desk chair known as "The Pleather Bomber", she can be found practicing obscene amounts of yoga, whipping up anything from enchiladas to éclairs in her kitchen, or curled up with her nose in a book. Kimberly is a 2011 RWA Golden Heart® finalist who lives (and writes!) by the mantra that food is love. Kimberly resides in northern Virginia with her wildly patient husband and their three daughters.


Website: 
Twitter:   kimberlykincaid
 

  


Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Review: Goodnight June by Sarah Jio

Goodnight Moon is an adored childhood classic, but its real origins are lost to history. In Goodnight June, Sarah Jio offers a suspenseful and heartfelt take on how the "great green room" might have come to be.

June Andersen is professionally successful, but her personal life is marred by unhappiness. Unexpectedly, she is called to settle her great-aunt Ruby’s estate and determine the fate of Bluebird Books, the children’s bookstore Ruby founded in the 1940s. Amidst the store’s papers, June stumbles upon letters between her great-aunt and the late Margaret Wise Brown—and steps into the pages of American literature.


Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Expected publication: May 27th 2014 by Plume
Genre: Women's Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Penguin Group- Plume via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The expected publication date is May 27, 2014. Thank you!

Sarah Jio has become one of my favourite authors in recent years. Her books always have stories that draw me in and keep me glued to the pages. There is always a story that links past and present that are equally interesting and entertaining. Goodnight June is no exception. It proved again why I am always so anxious to pick up one of her books.

I will admit that I never read Goodnight Moon (at least I don't think I did) as a child so I did not know anything about the children's book that is the centre of this story. I was however an avid reader as a child who always got those special certificates from the teacher for reading the most books in the class. This is why, I think, I was so drawn to this storyline. I remember the joy that books gave me in my younger years and still do.

This book is about a woman named June who inherits her aunt's bookstore and along with struggling professionally and personally, has to decide what to do with the one place that holds the greatest memories for her. During this time she finds a trail of old letters between her aunt and Margaret Wise Brown, the author of Goodnight Moon, and discovers a past that she never knew existed.

The story weaves between June's present day struggles and uncovering her Aunt Ruby's secrets. Jio does this flawlessly and kept me engaged from beginning to end. The characters were all likeable and the story flowed so smoothly that I easily finished the book in one day.

I have to comment on Bluebird's Bookstore because it was just as much a character as the people in it. The way that it was described in the story, I could easily visualise myself in it. I wish such a place existed where I lived when I grew up.

Fans of Sarah Jio will not be disappointed. It was a truly wonderful book to read as all her other ones were. My only wish is that she could clone herself so that she could write twice as many books so that I wouldn't have to wait long for the next one!



About the Author
Sarah Jio is the New York Times bestselling author of THE LAST CAMELLIA, BLACKBERRY WINTER, THE VIOLETS OF MARCH (a Library Journal Best Book of 2011), THE BUNGALOW, and MORNING GLORY, all from Penguin/Plume. Sarah is also the former health and fitness blogger for Glamour.com. She has written thousands of articles for national magazines including Redbook, O, The Oprah Magazine, Glamour, SELF, Real Simple, Fitness, Marie Claire, and many others. She has appeared as a commentator on NPR’s Morning Edition. Sarah lives in Seattle with her husband and their three young boys.
Twitter-sarahjio