Thursday, 30 October 2014

Review: How We Fall by Kate Brauning

Ever since Jackie moved to her uncle's sleepy farming town, she's been flirting way too much--and with her own cousin, Marcus.

Her friendship with him has turned into something she can't control, and he's the reason Jackie lost track of her best friend, Ellie, who left for...no one knows where. Now Ellie has been missing for months, and the police, fearing the worst, are searching for her body. Swamped with guilt and the knowledge that acting on her love for Marcus would tear their families apart, Jackie pushes her cousin away. The plan is to fall out of love, and, just as she hoped he would, Marcus falls for the new girl in town. But something isn't right about this stranger, and Jackie's suspicions about the new girl's secrets only drive the wedge deeper between Jackie and Marcus--and deepens Jackie's despair.

Then Marcus is forced to pay the price for someone else's lies as the mystery around Ellie's disappearance starts to become horribly clear. Jackie has to face terrible choices. Can she leave her first love behind, and can she go on living with the fact that she failed her best friend?


Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: November 3rd 2014 by Merit Press 
Genre: Young Adult/Mystery

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received an advanced readers copy from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

I have to admit that this story took a bit to get use to. The idea of cousins in what is basically an incestuous relationship in not typically the type of relationship I like to read about. I kept thinking about my own cousins. No offence if any of them happen to read this but YUCK! Initially I thought that I would hate the book but that was not the case.

Perhaps it was because the relationship was so different from what I typically read that I couldn't put the book down. I desperately wanted to know how things would play out for Jackie and Marcus. Once I got past the yuck factor of them being cousins I have to admit that Brauning captured the emotions and turmoil of the two beautifully. Also I think that because the relationship was unique compared to what I am accustomed to, it added to my curiosity. I do wish that their relationship began with the book so that the reader could have been a part of that journey instead of it already being developed at the beginning of the story. I think this might have helped me get over the whole cousin thing a lot quicker. Even though I am a little shocked to say this, I really enjoyed the relationship aspect of this story even though I didn't fully relate to it.

The mystery aspect of this story was just alright for me. I found that for the first 3/4 of the book it was barely there and just random tidbits were thrown in along the way. The focus was so much on Jackie and Marcus that Ellie was almost non-existent in the story and in Jackie's thoughts. Then all of a sudden near the end it becomes the entire focus of the story. It disappointed me slightly that Jackie didn't think about her more before this time. I understand that her focus was on Marcus but once she became aware of what happened to Ellie I expected a little more. It wasn't terrible but I feel like the story could have stood its own if it just focused on the relationship and left the mystery out of it. My rating would have been higher if this was the case.

Over all it was a quick and unique story that I was happy to read. I applaud Brauning for making a believer out of a sceptic like me. She is now an author I will be sure to read more from in the future.




About the Author
Kate writes YA contemporary and suspense, and she is represented by Carlie Webber at CK Webber Associates. Kate is an editor with Month9Books, and a compulsive traveler, cake-baker, and music lover. She loves bright colors, fall leaves, unusual people, and all kinds of music.

Kate spent her childhood in rural Missouri raising purebred Siberian huskies, running on gravel roads, and navigating life in a big family. She now lives in Iowa, is married to a videographer from the Dominican Republic, and still owns a husky. She has written novels since she was a teen, but it wasn’t until she studied literature in college that she fell in love with young adult books. Kate now works in publishing and pursues her lifelong dream of telling stories she’d want to read.

Connect with Kate

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Review: Wyoming Wildflowers: The Beginning by Patricia McLinn


One look, a passionate love . . . and then they part . . . Forever?


Before the bestselling and award-winning Wyoming Wildflowers series, there was another love story, one that laid the foundation for all those that came after.


Ed Currick’s and Donna Roberts’ worlds couldn’t have been any more different – a rancher from Wyoming and an up-and-coming Broadway musical actress on a national tour. What could have been a momentary encounter sparks desire . . . and more. But can there be anything but heartbreak ahead when they have only days before their dreams pull them apart?

Terri's Thoughts

This was a free Amazon download and I selected it as I wanted a quick read that did not require a lot of commitment.  That is what I got.

This is basically a typical boy and girl from opposite worlds meet and are attracted to each other story.  What starts as ships passing in the night grows to something more significant.  

I would like to say that this story impressed me but it really didn't.  There were no real stand out moments and sadly I will forget this story by the time I am dine reading the next one.  I do however think that there will be more significance for those readers who have read the Wyoming Wildflower series as I believe these characters play a role in them.  This story would take the reader back to when it all began and should be the target audience for this book.

At the end of the day I wanted a short read to pass a small amount of time and that is what I got.  No more, no less.




About the Author

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Review: The Ship of Brides by JoJo Moyes

1946. World War II has ended and all over the world, young women are beginning to fulfill the promises made to the men they wed in wartime.

In Sydney, Australia, four women join 650 other war brides on an extraordinary voyage to England—aboard HMS Victoria, which still carries not just arms and aircraft but a thousand naval officers. Rules are strictly enforced, from the aircraft carrier’s captain down to the lowliest young deckhand. But the men and the brides will find their lives intertwined despite the Navy’s ironclad sanctions. And for Frances Mackenzie, the complicated young woman whose past comes back to haunt her far from home, the journey will change her life in ways she never could have predicted—forever. 


Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: October 28, 2014 by Penguin Group




Kristine's Thoughts: 

I received an advanced readers copy from Penguin Group via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! This appears to be a re-release of the title as Edelweiss has the publication date as October 28, 2014 but earlier dates are indicated on Goodreads.

I was drawn to this book for three reasons. The first was because of the author. I have read two other books by Moyes that I adored and have all of her other books on my "to-read" list. The second reason is because I love historical fiction particularly stories surrounding both World Wars. Although this book takes place in 1946 just after the second World War it still qualifies. I have read hundreds of books related to the war but this is the first one for me that is about the war brides of that time. The third reason is because I have heard my husband tell the story of his Grandmother being a war bride numerous times. The circumstances were a little different, she travelled by ship from Britain to Canada with an infant to an unknown future but the premise is the same.

This book tells the story of war brides from Australia who embark on a journey aboard the HMS Victoria to England to reunite and begin their new lives with their husbands. 650 woman board the ship filled with hope, uncertainty and fear. They are all heading to a new and unfamiliar place to be with the men they married during the war, many of whom never had the chance to spend much time at all with their new husbands. The Victoria is not the usual passenger ship either. It is an old war ship, an air craft carrier, that has been altered to accommodate these woman that still has its crew of naval officers and men.

The story centers around four of the 650 brides that share accommodations and tells of their struggles both past and present as the story unfolds. There is Margaret the pregnant farm girl, Avice the snobby socialite, Jean the young and energetic girl and Frances the quiet and mysterious nurse. I enjoyed getting to know all four characters but I have to admit that Margaret and Frances were my two favourite. I was most anxious to know Frances' story and find out what she was hiding. On top of these four woman we also get inside the head of the Captain and the Marine that is stationed outside their door.

I was captivated throughout their entire journey. So many things happen on board the HMS Victoria from betrayals, stow away dogs, rape, miscarriage, fire, "not wanted don't come telegrams" and attraction to name just a few. It felt like I was on the ship along with all the other brides. Moyes writing style and story telling had me lost deep within the pages. Being an avid cruiser I was particularly interested in the life on board the ship and found myself comparing the luxuries in which I am accustomed to the not so luxurious accommodations that the brides had on their journey. Also I really enjoyed reading about the socially acceptable behaviour of that time. The things that a bride could be shames for are so different from our time now.

When I really enjoy a book I could go on and on so I will stop myself here. All I can say is that I loved this book and can add it to my growing list of JoJo Moyes books that I adore. If you are a fan of historical fiction then I encourage you to embark on the HMS Victoria and sail the seas with these brides. You won't be disappointed. It is truly a wonderful story.





About the Author


Jojo Moyes is a British novelist.

Moyes studied at Royal Holloway, University of London. She won a bursary financed by The Independent newspaper to study journalism at City University and subsequently worked for The Independent for 10 years. In 2001 she became a full time novelist.

Moyes' novel Foreign Fruit won the Romantic Novelists' Association (RNA) Romantic Novel of the Year in 2004.

She is married to journalist Charles Arthur and has three children.



Connect with JoJo

 

Monday, 27 October 2014

Review: The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood


Alex Marwood’s debut novel, The Wicked Girls, earned her lavish praise from the likes of Stephen King, Laura Lippman, and Erin Kelly, and was shortlisted for an Edgar Award. Now Marwood’s back with a brilliant, tightly paced thriller that will keep you up at night and make you ask yourself: just how well do you know your neighbors?
Everyone who lives at 23 Beulah Grove has a secret. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be renting rooms in a dodgy old building for cash—no credit check, no lease. It’s the kind of place you end up when you you’ve run out of other options. The six residents mostly keep to themselves, but one unbearably hot summer night, a terrible accident pushes them into an uneasy alliance. What they don’t know is that one of them is a killer. He’s already chosen his next victim, and he’ll do anything to protect his secret.


Paperback, 400 pages
Expected publication: October 28th 2014 by Penguin Books

Terri's thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher Penguin Books via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is October 28th, 2014.

If I could describe this book in one word it would be creepy.  I mean, really really creepy.  Going back and forth from the perspective of the tenants in 23 Beulah Grove and "The Lovers" perspective added an additional element to the story.

We learn about the secrets of each of the resident's throughout the story and what brought them to this stage in their life.  We also learn bit by bit what the killer is up to.  You are left guessing for a while who it may be but it is revealed (I'm not telling) before the conclusion of the story.  I figured it out right away so I will leave it to others to do the same.

The passages involving "The Lover"  were really gross.  This may not be the best reading material for those who have weak stomachs as it is pretty graphic from describing what he does with the bodies down to the smell.  There is a lot of emphasis on the smell which I will admit turned my stomach as well.

I had a couple of small issues with the story which are completely mine and not really associated tot he writing.  The first is that I was not familiar with some of the terms used as the story takes place in England.  A little bit of a different English but mostly associated to the titles of the detectives etc.  Not a show stopper at all.  The second was in some of the descriptions of what the killer was doing to the bodies.  Since it is so far from my reality I wasn't always sure what it was but was able to get the main gist of it.  Perhaps it is a good thing I am so naïve!

Overall this was a good albeit creepy read.  A little out of my usual comfort zone but I enjoyed it.  The ending in my opinion was perfect!



About the Author


Raised by wolves, Alex Marwood passed her formative years in the lands beyond the Arctic circle, developing pack skills, excellent night vision and an ability to survive on raw protein. Ideally equipped for a life on Fleet Street, she then became a journalist.

Her first novel, The Wicked Girls, was published by Sphere, in 2012, and achieved widespread acclaim and word-of-mouth bestsellerdom. In 2013 it was shortlisted for an ITW award, and included in Stephen King's Ten Best Books of the Year list. It was published by Penguin in the US in 2013, and is shortlisted for an Edgar Allen Poe award.

The Killer Next Door, described by The Sun as "nasty, compelling and original", was released as an ebook in 2013, and will come out as a paperback in June 2014.

Alex herself is a figment of the imagination of the novelist and sometime journalist Serena Mackesy. If you're interested in a more truthful biog, an FAQ and other books, visit her website.


Website: 
Twitter:  AlexMarwood1


Sunday, 26 October 2014

Review: If I Knew You Were Going To Be This Beautiful I Never Would Have Let You Go by Judy Chicurel

No matter how beautiful some dreams are, there comes a time when we must let them go.
  It is the summer of 1972, and Katie has just turned eighteen. Katie and her town, Elephant Beach, are both on the verge: Katie of adulthood, and Elephant Beach of gentrification. But not yet: Elephant Beach is still gritty, working-class, close-knit. And Katie spends her time smoking and drinking with her friends, dreaming about a boy just back from Vietnam who’s still fighting a battle Katie can’t understand.  In this poignant, evocative debut collection, Judy Chicurel creates a haunting, vivid world, where conflicts between mothers and daughters, men and women, soldiers and civilians and haves and have-nots reverberate to our own time. She captures not only a time and place, but the universal experience of being poised between the past and the future. 


Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Expected publication: October 30th 2014 by Putnam Adult 

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received an ARC through a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

This book follows Katie through the summer of 1972 after she graduates from high school in the town of Elephant Beach.

I'll start by saying that I did enjoy the time frame of this book. It was interesting to read about the teen/adult population of the 70's. A lot of issues are touched on including the effects of war, drug and alcohol abuse and teenage pregnancy. I did however have many issues with the book. It was extremely busy with too many characters and the story jumped all over the map leaving me confused and frustrated. So many names were mentioned in this book that I couldn't keep them all straight. Just when I thought I had them figured out there would be a new chapter talking about someone new. I had a hard time connecting with the book because of it and found it challenging to get through it. For a book that is so busy it was slow at the same time if that makes any sense. It took me quite a while to get through the first half but it did improve slightly in the second half.

It just didn't have what I need in a book to hold my interest and if I weren't reviewing it I probably would have given up on it part way through.





About the Author
Judy Chicurel’s work has appeared in national, regional, and international publications, including The New York TimesNewsday, and Granta. Her plays have been produced and performed in Manhattan. Chicurel currently lives by the water in Brooklyn.



Saturday, 25 October 2014

Review: Us by David Nicholls


David Nicholls brings the wit and intelligence that graced his New York Times bestseller one day to a compellingly human, deftly humorous new novel about what holds marriages and families together--and what happens when everything threatens to fall apart.

Douglas Petersen may be mild mannered, but behind his reserve lies a sense of humor that, against all odds, seduces beautiful Connie into a second date . . . and eventually into marriage. Now, almost three decades after their relationship first blossomed in London, they live more or less happily in the suburbs with their moody seventeen-year-old son, Albie. Then Connie tells Douglas that she thinks she wants a divorce.

The timing couldn't be worse. Hoping to encourage her son's artistic interests, Connie has planned a month-long tour of European capitals, a chance to experience the world's greatest works of art as a family, and she can't bring herself to cancel. And maybe going ahead with the original plan is for the best, anyway? Douglas is privately convinced that this landmark trip will rekindle the romance in the marriage, and may even help him to bond with Albie.

Narrated from Douglas's endearingly honest, slyly witty, and at times achingly optimistic point of view, Us is the story of a man trying to rescue his relationship with the woman he loves and learning how to get closer to a son who's always felt like a stranger. Us is a moving meditation on the demands of marriage and parenthood and the intricate relationship between the heart and the head. And in David Nicholls's gifted hands, Douglas's odyssey brings Europe--from the streets of Amsterdam to the famed museums of Paris, from the cafes of Venice to the beaches of Barcelona--to vivid life just as he experiences a powerful awakening of his own. Will this summer be his last as a husband, or the moment when he turns his marriage, and maybe even his whole life, around?


Hardcover, 416 pages
Expected publication: October 28th 2014 by Harper
Terri's Thoughts
I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher Harper via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication data is October 28th, 2014.

This is one of those stories where all of the characters are extremely frustrating yet it comes together to produce an entertaining read.

Douglas:  I have never read a character that was more uptight than him.  Playing in to the stereotype that all scientists are boring and anal retentive, he was the poster child.  I found his character extreme and somewhat obnoxious in how tightly strung he was.

Connie:  Again playing in to stereotypes she was the free spirited artist.  I found that she was too often siding against her husband in matters relating to their son.  I found myself questioning throughout the story if she truly loved Douglas or ever had

Egg:  Perhaps I can be a little more forgiving with him.  He was an obnoxious seventeen year old with a distinct hatred for his father.  I found him unfair often but could also see the typical teenage rebellion in him.

This story is what happens when a dysfunctional and mismatched marriage starts to fall apart at the seams.  Sometimes humorous particularly when Doug was traipsing around Europe looking for his son, I also found it sad in the way you know a relationship is doomed.  I enjoyed the literal bubble Doug lived in but felt bad for the outcome of this.

So to summarize this was a frustrating read for me as I did not particularly like or identify with any of the characters yet couldn't wait to see how it would all play out.  I get the feeling that this is exactly what Nicholls was aiming for with this story and if so he succeeded.

About the Author

David Nicholls is a British author, screenwriter, and actor. A student of Toynbee Comprehensive school and Barton Peveril Sixth Form College, he Graduated from the University of Bristol having studied English Literature and Drama.

After graduation, he won a scholarship to study at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, before returning to London in 1991 and finally earning an Equity card. He worked sporadically as an actor for the next eight years, eventually earning a three year stint at the Royal National Theatre, followed by a job at BBC Radio Drama as a script reader/researcher. This led to script-editing jobs at London Weekend Television and Tiger Aspect Productions.

During this period, he began to write, developing an adaptation of Sam Shepard’s stage-play Simpatico with the director Matthew Warchus, an old friend from University. He also wrote his first original script, a situation comedy about frustrated waiters, Waiting, which was later optioned by the BBC.

Simpatico was turned into a feature film in 1999, and this allowed David to start writing full-time. He has been twice nominated for BAFTA awards and his first novel, Starter for Ten was featured on the first Richard and Judy Book Club.



Website: 



Thursday, 23 October 2014

Feature and Follow Friday #50 Bring Back to Life

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:

Characters, sometimes our favorites, die during books. If you'd get to choose, who would you bring back? - Suggested by Howling for Books 
 
This is an easy one to answer and I have no doubt that it will also be the most popular answer this week as well. Both Terri and I would bring back...
 
Augustus Waters
 
We both adored Augustus and can say that he is one of if not our favourite male character in a book ever. John Green is a genious for creating such a unique, loveable and amazing character.
 
We felt the need to come up with another character because Augustus is probably going to be a lot of peoples answers so...
 
Will Traynor
 
What character would you bring back?
 

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: Sleigh Bells in Valentine Valley by Emma Cane

When Tony De Luca's ex, Kate Fenelli, waltzes through the door of his tavern and pulls up a bar stool, she turns his balanced world on end. Once they'd been each other's first love, first everything. But then life happened, and they walked away with broken hearts. Now Kate is back in Valentine, and they can't seem to stay out of each other's way. When Tony begins wondering what would happen if they rekindled the sparks, he knows he's in big trouble.

Kate can't believe she's sitting at Tony's bar spilling her life-changing problems to him. He's as gorgeous as ever, and she can't seem to forget how incredible he always made her feel. Still, the door on that chapter of their lives closed long ago. Yet with Christmas buzzing in the air, Kate can't help wondering if anything is possible—even a second chance with the only man she's ever loved.


ebook, 368 pages
Expected publication: October 28th 2014 by Avon 
Genre: Holiday/Contemporary Romance

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received an advance readers copy from Avon via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

I have to say that this was my first holiday book of the season and I enjoyed every second of this second chance romance. From the large cast of characters to the beautiful setting of Valentine Valley, it provided exactly what I was in the mood for to get the holiday season started. It is book #5 in the Valentine Valley series but can be read as a stand alone.

I absolutely adored the town of Valentine Valley. Coming from a small town myself I could relate to the happenings and strong sense of community. I could easily visualise the quaint storefronts decorated for Christmas and picture myself browsing through all of the unique shops. It felt like the town was just as much a character as Kate and Tony were.

The story of Kate and Tony was a treat to read as well. Being divorced for nine years with a teenage son provided me with a lot of doubt about how the story could possible end well but Cane did an amazing job at providing a story worth reading. She captured the turmoil and emotions of the two of them in an honest and believable manner. I was routing for them with the turn of each page.

If you are looking for a sweet and easy to read holiday story, look no farther. This book provides everything that a sucker for second chances and holiday charm is looking for. I enjoyed Valentine Valley so much that I now have to check out the other instalments of this series and read about the other members of the community.

 

About the Author
Emma Cane grew up reading and soon discovered that she liked to write passionate stories of teenagers in space. Her love of “passionate stories” has never gone away, although today she concentrates on the heartwarming characters of Valentine Valley, her fictional small town in the Colorado Rockies.

Now that her three children are grown, Emma loves spending time crocheting and singing (although not necessarily at the same time), and hiking and snowshoeing alongside her husband Jim and two rambunctious dogs Apollo and Uma.

Emma also writes USA Today bestselling historical romances under the name Gayle Callen.
  
Connect with Emma


Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Review: Christmas On Chestnut Street by Nancy Thayer


In this enchanting holiday novel from New York Times bestselling author Nancy Thayer, family and friends gather on Nantucket for a gorgeous winter wedding with plenty of merry surprises in store.

As Christmas draws near, Felicia returns to her family’s home on the island to marry her adventurous, rugged boyfriend, Archie. Every detail is picture-perfect for a dream wedding: the snow-dusted streets, twinkling lights in the windows, a gorgeous red and white satin dress. Except a lavish ceremony is not Felicia’s dream at all; it’s what her mother, Jilly, wants. Jilly’s also worried that her daughter’s life with daredevil Archie will be all hiking and skydiving. Wondering if their handsome neighbor Steven Hardy might be a more suitable son-in-law, Jilly embarks on a secret matchmaking campaign for Felicia and the dashing stockbroker.

As the big day approaches and Jilly’s older daughter, Lauren, appears with rambunctious kids in tow, tensions in the household are high. With the family careening toward a Yuletide wedding disaster, an unexpected twist in Nancy Thayer’s heartwarming tale reminds everyone about the true meaning of the season.


Hardcover, 224 pages
Expected publication: October 28th 2014 by Ballantine Books

Terri's Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher Ballantine via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is October 28th 2014.

This was a really cute Christmas read in advance of the approaching Christmas season.  For me their were two main highlights to the story which I will outline separately.

First it was the cat Rex.  Let me explain that I do not like cats at all.  I am now and will forever be a dog person with an above average disdain for cats.  That aside I just loved Rex.  His (in my mind) creepy cat personality added a lot of humor to the story.  The way he contributed to the chaos of the household during the holiday's had me cracking up.  It is not often I can appreciate a cat but it worked well in this story.

The second was the chaos of extended family converging in one household for the holidays.  It reminded me of my family.  My two sisters and I show up at my parents with husbands and children in tow and three large breed dogs.  The ensuing chaos is something that I will always cherish.  This story resembled my personal experience of trying to house all of these individual personalities under the same roof for the holiday's.  I can only guess that Thayer has had a similar experience to nail it the way she did.

Overall this is a story to curl up to on a snowy day with a cup of hot chocolate in anticipation of the holiday season.  Let's just hope that the snow holds off a little while longer.



About The Author


Nancy Thayer has a B.A. and M.A. in English literature from the University of Missouri at Kansas City. Before settling down to write and have children she taught English at various colleges and traveled, living in Paris, Amsterdam and Helsinki. In 1981 she was a Fellow at the Breadloaf Writers Conference. She has lived on Nantucket Island year round for twenty-five years with her husband Charley Walters. They have two children and two grandchildren.

Nancy Thayer is the author of nineteen novels, including Summer House, The Hot Flash Club series, Moon Shell Beach, Stepping, and Three Women At The Water's Edge.

Her books concern the mysteries and romance of families and relationships and the humorous adventures of growing older.

In 2008, Redbook magazine chose her novel Moon Shell Beach for their "Hot Summer Read." Nancy's work has been translated into more than 14 languages, including Polish, Hebrew, Russian, and Serbo Croatian. Her novels have been condensed or excerpted in several magazines, including Redbook, Good Housekeeping, England's Cosmopolitan, Holland's Viva, and South Africa's Personality.

She has published a commissioned three-part mystery novella in Redbook, and short stories in literary reviews in the United States, Canada, and Spain. Her first novel, Stepping, was made into a 13-part series for BBC Radio. Her ghost novel Spirit Lost was produced as a movie by United Image Entertainment. Her novel Everlasting was a Main Dual selection of the Literary Guild in 1991.


Website: 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Review: Draw Me In by Regina Cole

After her parents pull the plug on her college fund to finance their nasty divorce, Hailey Jakes is desperate to pay her own way and finish her degree in graphic design. She can hardly believe her luck when the sexiest guy she’s ever seen hires her to be the receptionist at his tattoo shop. With sea-blue eyes, jet-black hair, and full sleeves of tattoos on his muscular arms, Neill Vanderhaven looks like the kind of guy who wouldn’t give her the time of day. In fact, he’s mesmerized by her—and it doesn’t hurt that she’s talented as hell.

But Hailey and Neill have more in common than instant chemistry: They’re both carrying serious baggage. Hailey’s parents split after years of blowout fights and sloppy affairs. Neill just got out of something serious with a woman who loved her bad habits more than she loved him. When they take the plunge on a new relationship, they’re both breaking their own rules.

But then a terrible misunderstanding brings Neil’s worst fears to life, and their connection threatens to come crashing down. What they have is more than skin-deep, but now Hailey and Neill need to decide whether the kind of love that lasts forever is worth such exquisite pain.


ebook, 292 pages
Expected publication: November 4th 2014 by Flirt 
Genre: New Adult

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received an advanced readers copy from Flirt via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

This is a book where girl has a problem, boy comes to the rescue (so to speak), there is instant chemistry but both have pasts that stop them from acting on it. Throw in all kinds of angst and misunderstandings and you have a typical new adult romance. 

Draw Me In is a quick and easy book to read and avid readers can have it finished in less than a day. The employees at Neill's tattoo shop are fun to read about and I enjoyed getting to know them. I felt that the best parts of the book took place within the walls of the shop. The chemistry between Hailey and Neill was immediate and I found myself in their corner. Readers who like their books on the steamy side will find it within these pages but I would say that it is on the mild to moderate side of the steamy scale.

There were a few minor issues with the story for me. I felt that the build up to Neill and Hailey's relationship lacked a little bit of emotion for me and I wished for a little bit more depth and feeling. Their reasons for avoiding relationships were a tiny bit on the weak side for my liking as well. Having said that, it is a story, and everyone as their own reasons for doing and feeling the way they do so I didn't let it bother me too much. What did bother me a little was where the story involved Hailey's student advisor. I really would have liked more detail when it came to that aspect. The story just seemed a little rushed at times.

Over all Draw Me In provides a few good hours of entertainment for fans of this genre and I would recommend it for those fans. If you are not a fan of new adult, it is probably not the book for you.


About the Author
Regina Cole, lover of manly muscled arms, chest hair, and mini-marshmallows, has been reading romance since her early teens. While she loves a love story of any heat level, she’s been drawn to the erotic side, and is loving every minute.

When she’s not frantically pounding away at the keyboard, she can be found fishing with her family, playing with her dogs, trying out strange new recipes, or snuggling with her hubby.

Connect with Regina

Monday, 20 October 2014

Review: Good Dog (Preview Edition): True Stories of Love, Loss, and Loyalty


When Garden & Gun magazine debuted a column aptly named “Good Dog,” it quickly became one of the publication’s most popular features in print. Now, Editor-in-Chief David DiBennedetto (proud owner of a Boykin spaniel) and the editors of G&G have gathered the most memorable stories, as well as original pieces, in this collection of essays written by some of most notable dog owners in literature and journalism.

Good Dog offers memorable, beautifully written stories of dog ownership, companionship, friendship, and kinship. From the troublemakers who can’t be fenced in to the lifelong companions who won’t leave our sides, this poignant anthology showcases man’s best friend through all of his most endearing—and sometimes maddening—attributes. By turns inspirational and humorous (just like the dogs we love), Good Dog is a must-have collection for dog lovers everywhere.

Expected publication:  October 21st, 2014

Terri's Thoughts

** I received and advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is October 21st, 2014**

This is a great collection of stories for those of us who love dogs.  It features several different stories from several different writers about their experience with their family pet.  Although a lot of the stories feature hunting dogs (which makes sense considering who published it) the theme that is prevalent throughout is the love for their pet.

What I enjoyed is the fact that regardless of how good or how "bad" the pet was that there was an underlying affection no matter what.  Those who are not dog lovers or never had a dog would never understand.  We love everything about our pet regardless of what bad habits they may have.  A dog gives so much more than we can ever give back and that make sus accepting of the fact that perhaps they may chew up our favorite very expensive shoes.

I won't go in to detail on this story other than to recommend it for those dog people out there.  The fact that it is numerous short stories allows the reader to either read it all in one sitting or read a little bit at a time.  I will say that my adorable Golden Retriever got a few extra cuddles while reading this book.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Review: White Friday by Ray Jordan

Ashley Freeman brightened everyone's day. She used simple tools, like smiles, kind words and cookies. At Tomlin University, it seemed that everyone who came in contact with her would leave better off. Hardly an easy task in a world of exams, booze, drugs, and constantly-changing relationships. Now she's dead. And Glenn Wallace needs to know why. He could have loved her, after all. Yes, the two-foot snowfall isolates their dorm from the rest of the world... and no, the police will not arrive in time. But Glenn will do it himself. He will confront his friends, his enemies and even his own repressed memories. He may cause even more damage in his search for the truth... but he will find it.

Paperback, 248 pages
Published November 27th 2013 by Createspace (first published October 7th 2013)  

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received a copy of this book through a Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

Whenever I discuss my thoughts on a book I always try to list the positives before the negatives. Unfortunately with this book I find it very hard to do that. It is a little bit of a stretch but if I had to pick something that I liked it would have to be Ashley's journal entries. They were about the only part of the book that was not terrible.

I know this sounds harsh but I really, really disliked everything about this book from the characters to the plot. It was all just so far fetched, unbelievable and huge contradiction at times. One minute it is preachy and goes on about the value of a relationship and the next it is sex, sex, sex. Seriously...did I really just read about a guy having sex with a girl in order to find out where the missing body was? Next thing I know the killer is revealed and Glenn is still thinking about sex. I really think that all female readers will share my feelings on this. It certainly doesn't do much to appeal to the female reader.

My issues also were with the characters in this story. They were boring and lacked personality and I really couldn't find myself caring about them at all. Unfortunately the only one that was remotely likeable was Ashley and she starts the book off dead. In short, I liked this book about as much as Glenn liked Black Friday shopping.

I really hate that I have to write a negative review but I have to be honest as I am with all of my reviews. This book really hit a lot of nerves with me and was not my cup of tea. I do however encourage people to read it for themselves and form their own opinions. Just because it isn't for me doesn't mean that someone else won't enjoy it.


About the Author
Ray Jordan loves God and lives in central Pennsylvania. He enjoys sports, cooking, and epic movies. 

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Review: Damaged by Amy Reed


Two teens must come to terms with their friends death and her afterlife in this gritty and realistic novel from the author of BeautifulCleanCrazy, and Over You.

When Kinsey's best friend Camille dies in a car accident while she was behind the wheel, she shuts down completely, deciding that numbness is far better than mourning. She wants to be left alone during the last few weeks of high school, but Camille's mysterious boyfriend Hunter, who was also in the car that night, has a different idea.

Despite all of Kinsey's efforts, she can't shake Camille, who begins haunting her in dreams. Sleep deprived and on the verge of losing it, she agrees to run away with Hunter to San Francisco. As the pair tries to escape both the ghost of Camille and their own deep fears, Kinsey questions how real her perception of her friendship with Camille was, and whether her former friend's ghost is actually now haunting her. Hunter, meanwhile, falls into a spiral of alcoholism, anger, and self-loathing.

Ultimately, Kinsey and Hunter must come to terms with what they've lost and accept that they can't outrun pain.

ebook, 384 pages
Expected publication:  October 14th 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 publication date is October 14th and it should be released by the time this post goes live.

This book advertises itself as gritty and it is true to form in it's description.  Although this is technically considered in the YA genre it is not the bubble gum teen angst that one can expect from this genre.  This story is about people with real problems and real grief.

The underlying theme is a coming of age story meets a dealing with grief story.  Both of the main characters in Kinsey and Hunter are deeply flawed with some serious issues.  On top of that is the aftermath of their best friend/girlfriend.  Put the two together and it is a deeply dysfunctional relationship as they try to overcome the issues that have brought the two of them together.

If you are looking for a love story then I am not sure if this will be the right story for you.  While it is present within the story it takes a back burner to the real issues at hand.  The battle with the characters ghosts both literally and figuratively is the predominant story-line and it isn't necessarily pretty.  From Hunters battle with alcohol and all of the unpleasantness that comes with that to Kinsey's need to control every emotion you experience an unpleasant view of both characters.  This makes them more real and the story-line more realistic.

I have read many stories about boy/girl road-trip, running to something when it is actually running away from something but this story is a bit different.  It is not glossed over or romanticized like many can be.  At times it was raw and emotional and this is what I enjoyed about this read.  It offered up a little bit more depth and for that I was grateful.

Reed will now be on my watch list and I look forward to discovering other work from her.





About the Author



Amy Reed was born and raised in and around Seattle, where she attended a total of eight schools by the time she was eighteen. Constant moving taught her to be restless and being an only child made her imagination do funny things. After a brief stint at Reed College (no relation), she moved to San Francisco and spent the next several years serving coffee and getting into trouble. She eventually graduated from film school, promptly decided she wanted nothing to do with filmmaking, returned to her original and impractical love of writing, and earned her MFA from New College of California. Her short work has been published in journals such as Kitchen Sink, Contrary, and Fiction. Amy currently lives in Oakland with her husband and two cats, and has accepted that Northern California has replaced the Pacific Northwest as her home. She is no longer restless. Find out more at amyreedfiction.com

 Website:  


Thursday, 16 October 2014

Feature and Follow Friday #49 Songs



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:

Share the song you can't stop listening to - Suggested by Journey Through Fiction
Kristine's Answer
This is actually an easy question for me to answer because there are two songs that I can't seem to get enough of. Normally I tend to gravitate towards older songs but these ones are current. Having said that, I can listen to any song by Chicago and never get sick of them!

I'm Not the Only One by Sam Smith

and

Life of the Party by Shawn Mendes


and an honorable mention for this one with Sarah McLachlan and Pink that gives me goosebumps!
 

Terri's Answer


This has got to be one of the most difficult questions for me to answer.  I am the girl who is dueting with my husband in the car at full volume every chance I can get (watch out if we have the 80's station on!). I will try to narrow it down but there are so many choices

The first is Just Give Me A Reason By Pink ft. Nate Ruess.  Seriously who doesn't love Pink.  This is currently my ring tone because I get a lot of calls and can hear it over and over


Second is When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars.  Just a beautiful song and currently my ringtone for when my husband calls me.  Just in case he ever gets out of line


Honorable Mention goes to...
  • Marry Me by Train - hopefully my nieces wedding song up the isle when her time comes
  • Roar by Katy Perry - A good female empowerment song
  • Nothings Gonna Stop Us by Starship - My favorite song in the 6th grade
  • Say Something by Great Big World - because it is a beautiful song
  • Almost any song by The Black Eyed Peas - Reminds me of road trips with my sister

I could go on and on and on..I'll stop now but this hasn't even cracked the surface.

What song can you listen to over and over?

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.