Sunday, 30 November 2014

Review: Lovely Wild by Megan Hart

Brought up in the savage captivity of her unstable grandmother's rural Pennsylvania home, Mari Calder once yearned for rescue. Now she struggles every day to function as an adult in the confines of normal society. Left with only a foggy recollection of her childhood, she's consumed with being a dutiful wife to her husband, Ryan, and mother to their two children.

But an unexpected twist of events returns her to that long-forgotten house in the woods. Soon, Mari is greeted with reminders of a past life, the clarified memories only inviting a new level of strangeness into her fragile world. To protect her family, she must find the beautiful, powerful strength hidden in her inner chaos. Because someone is bent on exploiting Mari's trauma, and as normal and wild begin to blend, a string of devastating truths force Mari to question all she thought she knew.


Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published November 25th 2014 by Harlequin MIRA 

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received an e-copy of this book from Harlequin via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

The best way to describe this book is to say that it is different. From reading the synopsis I got a glimpse of what the story was about but it didn't necessarily play out the way I was expecting. This wasn't a bad thing and because of it, I was unable to put it down. I needed to know the whole story. At some points I was confused and angry but mostly I was just plain curious.

The story is told from Mari, her husband and her daughter's perspective. This is a style that I have always liked because I feel you get a better understanding of all of the characters this way. The reader learns that Mari had a pretty traumatic past as a little girl where she was basically left to care for herself in any way she could. She lived in poverty, hiding from "Them" and scrounged for food along with the animals of the house. Years later she is a healthy, somewhat stable mother and wife, living the American dream.

It is through flashbacks and circumstances that things come to light when the family moves to her childhood home for the summer. It is also at this point where things start to get a little strange. Is someone trying to hurt them? Who is the Forest Prince that Mari starts to remember? What the heck is happening?

Without giving anything more away I do feel the need to mention some of the players in the book. I absolutely hated Mari's husband. He was cold and selfish and his motives were less than stellar. I really wish that there had been more consequences to his actions. As far as the "Forest Prince" part of the story went, I can't quite put it in words. At first I was intrigued and wanted to know who he was but as events played out I found that whole part of it odd and creepy. I'm still unsure if I like the way it played out.

In the end, it was a truly unique and entertaining story. Even though some parts left me unable to decipher how I felt, it was what made it a good story. Any time a story leaves me feeling something one way or another I feel it has done its job. I am glad that I had the opportunity to read it.




About the Author

Megan Hart has written in almost every genre of romantic fiction, including historical, contemporary, romantic suspense, romantic comedy, futuristic, fantasy and perhaps most notably, erotic. She also writes non-erotic fantasy and science fiction, as well as continuing to occasionally dabble in horror.

Connect with Megan

 

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Review: Love Me Tender (Caribou Crossing #4) by Susan Fox


Pay a visit to Caribou Crossing, the rustic, inviting Western town where broken hearts mend and new love takes root…

Dave Cousins, owner of the Wild Rose Inn, is known throughout Caribou Crossing as the nicest—and loneliest—guy in town. He's had his heart broken more than once, and he's determined not to let it happen again. So it's no wonder he's wary when a free-spirited drifter leaves him longing for more than just a steamy fling…

Like the wild goose tattooed on her shoulder, Cassidy Esperanza goes wherever the wind takes her. For her, a new day means a fresh start. And yet something about her days in Caribou Crossing—and nights with its handsome hotel owner—makes her think about staying a while. But when life takes an unexpected turn, her first instinct is to take flight once more. Is Dave strong enough to help them both face their fears, come to terms with the past, and believe that sometimes love truly can last a lifetime?



Paperback, 480 pages

Expected publication: December 2nd 2014 by Zebra
Terri's Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher Kensington Zebra via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is December 2nd, 2014.

Sometimes you read a story that you can really identify with and this is one of those cases.  While the storyline was pretty typical of the genre it spoke to me when (trying not to give spoilers) the topic of illness was introduced so I will start there.  Having recently been diagnosed with a different albeit very similar illness as the one addressed in this story it really hit home for me.  The symptoms are exactly the same and I could tell that Fox either knows someone dealing with this illness or has done some extensive research.  I want to thank her for portraying it for what it is and giving it a realistic place within the story.  You do not read about it often and it is something that people should be educated on, if even via the pages of fiction

I digress...back to the story

This is part of the Caribou Crossing series and I had not read the previous three instalments.  Although it was not necessary I feel like I would have had a better understanding of the secondary characters.

The chemistry between Dave and Cassidy was evident from their first meeting.  It was fun to watch how two very different personality types attract and learn how to adapt to each other.  Although it does not really stray from the typical formula it was still a fun ride.

Lastly I was pleased to be introduced to another great Canadian writer whose stories take place in Canada even if the town is fictional.  It makes the story feel a little more like home.  I will be sure to check out the rest of the series to learn more about the characters of Caribou Crossing.



About the Author


Susan Fox, who also writes as Savanna Fox and Susan Lyons, is the award-winning author of “emotionally compelling, sexy contemporary romance” (Publishers Weekly). She is published by Kensington Zebra and Brava, Berkley Heat, and Harlequin Spice Briefs. A resident of both Victoria and Vancouver, B.C., Susan has degrees in law and psychology but would far rather be writing fiction than living in the real world.

 Website: 

Friday, 28 November 2014

Review: Maybe Not by Colleen Hoover

Colleen Hoover, the New York Times bestselling author of Maybe Someday brilliantly brings to life the story of the wonderfully hilarious and charismatic Warren in a new novella, Maybe Not.

When Warren has the opportunity to live with a female roommate, he instantly agrees. It could be an exciting change.

Or maybe not.

Especially when that roommate is the cold and seemingly calculating Bridgette. Tensions run high and tempers flare as the two can hardly stand to be in the same room together. But Warren has a theory about Bridgette: anyone who can hate with that much passion should also have the capability to love with that much passion. And he wants to be the one to test this theory.

Will Bridgette find it in herself to warm her heart to Warren and finally learn to love?

Maybe.

Maybe not.


Kindle Edition, 129 pages
Published November 24th 2014 by Atria Books 
Genre: New Adult

Kristine's Thoughts:

Maybe Someday was one of my favourite reads this year so I was thrilled when I found out that Maybe Not, a novella featuring Warren and Bridgette, had been published.

Capturing the right emotions in so few words is such a difficult and risky task but, as always, Hoover managed to nail it. She had me behind Warren and Bridgette the entire time. Their relationship was so dysfunctional that it worked and I loved their very unique way of interacting with each other. I am truly in awe of her ability to write characters in a way that makes you love them. I adored Warren and his quirky personality!

Being a novella, it is an extremely quick read but it at no time felt rushed. Perhaps if I had not read Maybe Someday I would have felt differently but with knowing all the players already I did not. For fans of Sydney and Ridge, they also appear in this story and you get to re-visit them.

I don't like to say too much when talking about a novella because there is only so much story. In my opinion, Hoover continues to be one of the leading authors in new adult fiction and fans of the genre will not be disappointed in anything she writes.

Check out my review of Maybe Someday








Connect with Colleen








Thursday, 27 November 2014

Review: The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant

Addie Baum is The Boston Girl, born in 1900 to immigrant parents who were unprepared for and suspicious of America and its effect on their three daughters. Growing up in the North End, then a teeming multicultural neighborhood, Addie’s intelligence and curiosity take her to a world her parents can’t imagine—a world of short skirts, movies, celebrity culture, and new opportunities for women. Addie wants to finish high school and dreams of going to college. She wants a career and to find true love.

Eighty-five-year-old Addie tells the story of her life to her twenty-two-year-old granddaughter, who has asked her “How did you get to be the woman you are today.” She begins in 1915, the year she found her voice and made friends who would help shape the course of her life. From the one-room tenement apartment she shared with her parents and two sisters, to the library group for girls she joins at a neighborhood settlement house, to her first, disastrous love affair, Addie recalls her adventures with compassion for the naïve girl she was and a wicked sense of humor.


Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Expected publication: December 9th 2014 by Scribner 
Genre: Historical Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

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

This book gave me the warm and cozies and left a smile on my face. It's not that the entire story was happy, because it wasn't, but Addie was such an enjoyable character to get to know and it was beautifully written.

The book is told in the first person as Addie tells her life story to her granddaughter. It doesn't chronicle every last detail but highlights the significant events that impacted her life. I had a hard time putting it down and was able to finish it very quickly. Addie's story drew me in immediately and I adored her as if it were my own Grandmother telling me her story.

Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres because I love to read about times that were very different from what I know and this book does not disappoint in that regard. The time frame spans over many significant and important events in history as Addie's story unfolds.

I am not going to re-tell the story but I will say that Addie is one of the most likeable characters I have read in a long time. From struggling with her home life, making an incredible group of life long friends to figuring out what she wanted to do with her life, there were many question marks about her future. I was right there with her and thoroughly enjoyed each and every bend in the road.

The writing style is very simple but effective. It is not over written leaving the beauty to come from the story itself. I appreciated that with this book. Each chapter is short and if you are the "just one more chapter" kind of person like me, plan to ignore your reality for a while.

This was the first book by Diamant for me and I feel like I've been missing out. I will be checking out the rest of her work because if this book is any indication, I will have a new author to add to my favourites.




About the Author
Anita Diamant is the author of eleven books and one on the way. She is best-known for her first novel, The Red Tent, which was published in 1997 and won the 2001 Booksense Book of the Year Award. Based on the biblical story of Dinah, The Red Tent became a word-of-mouth bestseller in the US and overseas, where it has been published in more than 25 countries. Three other novels followed: Good Harbor, The Last Days of Dogtown and, Day after Night, which is set in 1945 Palestine and tells the story of four young Jewish survivors of the Holocaust who make their way to the land of Israel.
Her fifth novel, The Boston Girl, will be published in December 2014. Addie Baum is The Boston Girl, born in 1900 to immigrant parents who were unprepared for America and its effect on their three daughters. Growing up in the North End, then a teeming multicultural neighborhood, Addie’s intelligence and curiosity take her to the wider world of the 1910s and ‘20s: short skirts, celebrity culture, and new opportunities for women.
Anita has also written six non-fiction guides to contemporary Jewish life, which have become classic reference books: The New Jewish Wedding, The Jewish Baby Book, Living a Jewish Life, Choosing a Jewish Life, How to Raise a Jewish Child and Saying Kaddish.
Pitching My Tent, a collection personal essays, is drawn from twenty years worth of newspaper and magazine columns.
An award-winning journalist, Diamant's articles have appeared in the Boston Globe Magazine, Real Simple, Parenting Magazine, Hadassah, Reform Judaism, Boston Magazine and Yankee Magazine.

Connect with Anita
 

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Review: Hiding In Plain Sight by Nuruddin Farah


When Bella learns of the murder of her beloved half brother by political extremists in Mogadiscio, she’s in Rome. The two had different fathers but shared a Somali mother, from whom Bella’s inherited her freewheeling ways. An internationally known fashion photographer, dazzling but aloof, she comes and goes as she pleases, juggling three lovers. But with her teenage niece and nephew effectively orphaned – their mother abandoned them years ago—she feels an unfamiliar surge of protective feeling. Putting her life on hold, she journeys to Nairobi, where the two are in boarding school, uncertain whether she can—or must—come to their rescue. When their mother resurfaces, reasserting her maternal rights and bringing with her a gale of chaos and confusion that mirror the deepening political instability in the region, Bella has to decide how far she will go to obey the call of sisterly responsibility.

A new departure in theme and setting for “the most important African novelist to emerge in the past twenty-five years” (The New York Review of Books) Hiding in Plain Sight, is a profound exploration of the tensions between freedom and obligation, the ways gender and sexual preference define us, and the unexpected paths by which the political disrupts the personal.


Hardcover, 352 pages
Expected publication: October 30th 2014 by Riverhead Hardcover
Terri's Thoughts

I won an uncorrected copy of this book in a giveaway on Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.

I really do not know what to say about this story.  I was left feeling rather disappointed at the end.  I just don't know if I can elaborate on why.

What was set up to be a compelling storyline ended up falling a little flat for me.  The concept of a sister travelling back to Africa to care for her deceased brothers children and dealing with the biological mother entering back in to the equation held so much potential.  I couldn't wait to find out what would happen.  The problem is I have turned over the last page and I am still waiting.  Nothing really happened in this story.

Add to it that I was rather annoyed with almost every character.  The children were either bratty or too mature for their age.  Bella was too formal to the point that she didn't seem realistic.  Valerie was a nightmare however that was to be expected.

I don't know, I am feeling a little frustrated after the investment of my time on this book.  What had really good bones just failed to develop in to a compelling story for me.



About the Author


Nuruddin Farah is a prominent Somali novelist. He was awarded the 1998 Neustadt International Prize for Literature


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Review: You Could Be Home By Now by Tracy Manaster

An hour and a half outside Tucson, Arizona, The Commons is a luxury retirement community where no full-time resident under the age of fifty-five is permitted. Young professionals Seth and Alison Collier accept jobs there as a means of dealing (badly) with a recent loss. When a struggling resident, underwater on her mortgage and unable to relocate due to the nation s ongoing housing crisis, is discovered to be raising her grandson in secret, the story--with the help of a well-meaning teenaged beauty blogger and a retiree with reasons of his own to seek the spotlight--goes viral. "You Could Be Home By Now" explores the fallout for all involved, taking on the themes of grief and memory, aspiration and social class, self-deception, and the drive in all of us to find a place to belong."

Hardcover, 288 pages
Expected publication: December 5th 2014 by Tyrus Books 
Genre: Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

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

There are a few different stories going on in this book all set within a luxury retirement community. There is Seth and Alison, a young couple, who take jobs at The Commons as a way to run away from the grief of losing their baby at birth. Ben is a retired veterinarian who lives in the community and struggles with the disappearance of his daughter years earlier and his divorce. There is also Lily who comes to stay with her Gran when she finds herself in trouble at home. She is sent to stay under the pretext that she is there to help her Gran get through the one year anniversary of her Grandfather's death. Finally there are the Rosko's, a Grandmother who is raising her grandson in the community even though children are not allowed to live there.

I have to admit that I wasn't sure what to think of this book at first. There are many characters and it took me a little while to sort who was who. After that it kind of started growing on me. It is uniquely written and uses a bit a humour to deal with difficult situations. Basically it is a story about the struggles of a bunch of different people within one community and how they deal with it.

I did have a few issues with the characters in that I didn't really like most of them. Perhaps this was because in difficult or challenging situations we don't necessarily get to see the pretty side of people. Maybe it was intentional. I didn't hate them, except Lily, but I didn't love them either which made it hard for me to route for them and care about the outcome.

In the end, it was a unique story about a group of different people in the same setting with unique sets of problems and what happens when they are all co-existing in the same community. The way Manaster gets inside these characters heads and is able to articulate these thoughts on the pages is what really won me over in the end. I'm glad I had the opportunity to read it.




About the Author

Tracy Manaster is a graduate of Wesleyan University and The Iowa Writers' Workshop. She was the 2006 recipient of the National League of American Pen Women's Joanna Catherine Scott prize for novel excerpt. Her nonfiction has appeared in iAgora and Moxie magazines and as interactive exhibit texts for the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and twin daughters.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Review: The Shape of My Heart (2B Trilogy #3) by Ann Aguirre


Some people wait decades to meet their soul mate. Courtney Kaufman suspects she met hers in high school only to lose him at seventeen. Since then, Courtney's social life has been a series of meaningless encounters, though she's made a few close friends along the way. Especially her roommate Max Cooper, who oozes damaged bad-boy vibes from every pore.

Max knows about feeling lost and trying to move beyond the pain he's been on his own since he was sixteen. Now it's time to find out if he can ever go home again, and Courtney's the only one he trusts to go with him. But the trip to Providence could change everything because the more time he spends with Courtney, the harder it is to reconcile what he wants and what he thinks he deserves.

It started out so simple. One misfit helping another. Now Max will do anything to show Courtney that for every heart that's ever been broken, there's another that can make it complete.



Paperback, 352 pages

Expected publication: November 25th 2014 by Harlequin HQN
Terri's Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher Harlequin via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was the third instalment in the 2B trilogy and I had previously read the first book so I was excited to get my hands on this.  I unfortunately have not yet read the middle story however I will be eager to get my hands on that one as well.  The good news is that these can be read as stand alones however there are characters common to all the stories and references to the events that had happened in the previous books.

This was a truly a love story.  An achingly sweet one.  I love when two best friends fall in love as the foundation is already built and the attraction makes sense.  There is also so much more to lose which was evident within the pages of this story.  Both characters were so likeable that I was cheering them on the whole way

Courtney - She had the best sense of humor that I have read in a long time.  Quick witted and funny.  I also really liked that she wasn't the typical drop dead gorgeous girl you are used to reading about in these stories.  She was an ordinary girl, with ordinary flaws that women will be able to identify with.  Who hasn't worried if their butt was too big or their nose a little too long or they were packing an extra ten pounds.  This made her relatable.  The way she cared about Max and his well being was really heartwarming.

Max - Now he was the typical hot guy.  Tall dark and slightly edgy looks.  What made his character was that although he had a confident exterior he was deeply wounded and vulnerable on the inside.  His attraction to Courtney as a result of her being there for him was for lack of a better word beautiful.  I think every girl dreams of a man looking at her the way Max looked at Courtney.

Add to the story some pretty steamy scenes and you have a good story.  I would recommend this to anyone who likes the NA genre.  My only suggestion is why limit yourself with this one, start with the first in the series and end with this one.  You will not be disappointed.




About the Author


Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. She likes all kinds of books, emo music, action movies and Doctor Who. She writes all kind of fiction in multiple genres, both YA and for adults.

Website:   
 
 

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Review: Celine's Landing by Steven A. Segal

With the Second World War ravaging France, the Nazis prepare to annihilate the Jews living in the French Alpine village of Treaire. Six mid-twenties Treaire citizens, lifelong friends—Remi, Celine, Amaury, Felicien, Daniel and Alexis—all born within ten days of each other, risk everything to rescue their Jewish neighbors and save the strategic Saint Laurnee railroad trestle and tunnel from Nazi sabotage.
Combining forces with the brilliant but reclusive Doctor Gasper Chabot, this tiny band of Resistance fighters, known only by their code name “the Tristan”, confront the callous brutality of the Nazi army—the most powerful military force in Europe.
Each of the friends are irreversibly changed by the crushing demands of war as they surreptitiously undermine the Nazis by taking control of their radio communications, destructively attacking their military installations, and disrupting the supply lines supporting Hitler’s troops fighting the Allies in Italy.
Despite the Tristan’s cleverness and good fortune, the power of the Nazi forces is relentless. After months of struggle, the friends’ only hope for survival is if General Alexander Patch’s 7th US Army can battle their way to aid the “Tristan” in their final fight for the strategic Falauge rail depot where they are mired in life and death combat defending the areas’ Jews and the Saint Laurnee Passage they have pledged their lives to protect.


Paperback, 394 pages
Published June 30th 2014 by Steve Segal (first published April 25th 2014)
Genre: Historical Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received a copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!


I just finished this book minutes ago and I have to say that it far exceeded my expectations. I was a little reluctant to start this book. I try not to judge a book by its cover but I have to admit that I was guilty in this case. Without sugar coating...the cover of this book is terrible and I found myself putting off reading it for way longer than I should have. It wasn't until I re-read the synopsis and remembered why I had entered the giveaway in the first place that I eventually began reading.

The story takes place during the Second World War and centres around a small group of life long friends as they try to protect their small country town of Treaire from the Nazi soldiers. The Tristan prove that numbers don't necessarily mean anything when your belief in a cause is so strong.

This book is not a love story but there is more love within the pages than in any romance. There is love of a country, people, freedom and friends. The reader is drawn in by the love that this small group of people have for all these things. You connect with the characters and fight the fight right along with them. Each one of them possess qualities that draw the reader in and has them routing for them the entire way.

I liked the fact that the writing style was simplistic. I have read hundreds of war stories and often find that the terminology can be overwhelming when describing the German Army and its different ranked officers. This was not the case with this book. Everything flowed nicely and was easy to understand. I was extremely thankful that I didn't need to look up any words to understand what was being told.

I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of this book and am an even stronger believer in not judging a book by its cover because of it. If you do not enjoy historical fiction then I do not recommend reading it but if you do you will find a real gem in this one.





About the Author
Steve spent his career as CEO of NAP-Gladu the nation’s largest supplier industrial carbide and diamond tipped cutting tools to the woodworking and metal sawing industries. Steve and his wife Lavonne live in Scottsdale, Arizona. It is a second marriage for both of them and between them they have three daughters, a son and eleven grandchildren.

“I have always been fascinated with historically based events wondering what it would have been like having lived through the challenges of life at those times. Life is challenging. It presents us with serious problems and how we deal with its challenges determines our future, the future of our children and our society.” 
 

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Review: Bah, Humbug by Heather Horrocks



Lexi Anderson is an up-and-coming, Martha Stewart-type TV hostess whose two kids love the Jared Strong adventure novels, which happen to be written by their new neighbor, Kyle Miller.
For the first time in his writing career, Kyle has writer's block - until he sees the snowman on his lawn and realizes this is the perfect place for his villain to hide the weapon. He digs into the snowman to discover two things: the weapon fits int he body just under the head, and the snowman was supposed to be the back drop for Lexi's next show.
From this improbable beginning comes friendship. Can there be more for a woman who is afraid to get close again and a man who has shadows from his childhood?
Families join together and hearts are healed as this couple goes walking in a winter wonderland.

Kindle Edition, A Romantic Comedy Novella, 96 pages
Published September 9th 2011 by Word Garden Press
Terri's Thoughts
 
I was looking for a cute holiday read that did not require a lot of commitment when I stumbled across this story as a free download on Amazon.
 
This story was exactly what I was looking for.  A light short read that truly captured the feel and spirit of the holidays.  It had the perfect recipe of romance, cute kids, snow and holiday festivities to meet my needs.  Lexie and Kyle were both characters that you had no choice but to like from the very beginning.  The entire story brought a smile to my face.
 
The ending was a little syrupy for my liking however what is one to expect from this kind of read.  It still put me in the holiday spirit.
 
When trying to think of the right words to capture for this story I came across Horrocks thank you note at the end.  She managed to capture it so I am going to repeat it here.  I hope she doesn't mind.
 
It was a light hearted, humorous, chick-flick-in-a-book story that allows people to curl up with a good book for an afternoon.  Well said Horrock, I do not think I need to say more.


About the Author

I’m an author who had a somewhat unorthodox upbringing. I was raised in South America and the Middle East, and wrote my first stories as a teenager in Kuwait, where my sister and I proved it really is hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk. I wrote my first novel in three months on a typewriter when I was 21, I used every romance cliché possible (including amnesia — need I say more?), and never rewrote anything, which is why it’s so much fun to pull it out occasionally when I need a good laugh. I wrote sporadically until my youngest child (who is now 18) was two, when I decided it was time to either actually start writing, or to stop saying I was a writer. So I took a class and started doing the scary things that writing requires. Now I’ve written about twelve novels and several children’s books.
     

Friday, 21 November 2014

Feature and Follow Friday #52

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.


Question of the Week: Create an ad listing all the qualities and qualifications of your perfect co-blogger. - Suggested by Girl of 1000 Wonders

 



Terri's Answer

This is an easy answer since I already have the best co-blogger in the world.  Here is my list of qualifications.

  • Must read regularly
  • Must post regularly
  • Must be interested in multiple genres
  • Must call me regularly to discuss the books she is reading
  • Must recommend books to me that she knows I will like
  • Must be patient that I get behind in my posts because of work
  • Must love books
  • Must look like me **extremely important**
Since I blog with my twin sister my ad has already been answered!

Kristine's Answer

Terri pretty much took the words right out of my mouth!

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. 

 

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Review: Damnation by Jo Noelle

Cassie is going to heaven—if she can get amnesty from hell in the next twenty days. Her assignment is to change the eternal destination of a girl in Albuquerque to earn admittance into heaven.
No sweat.
But when Cassie returns to earth during her three-week, mostly-mortal assignment, her old habits get in the way, (apparently habits don’t die when you do), the partners assigned to help her are anything but helpful, and it turns out the girl she is supposed to help is the only enemy she made on her first day of school.
Oh, I’m so going to hell.
Things aren’t all bad—it helps to have a hot angel on your side. Mmm-Marc. Even though he’s all about heavenly business, Cassie would like to make it personal.
Assignment with benefits.


Paperback, 339 pages
Published September 4th 2014 by Little Box Press LLC (first published August 16th 2014) 
Genre: Young Adult

Kristine's Thoughts:

I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!


I should start out by saying that the author had an audience of young females ages 14-17 in mind when the book was written. Although I did enjoy the story I do believe that the younger audience will enjoy it more thoroughly.

Cassie is leading a destructive life that ultimately ends in disaster for her and her friends. She finds herself at the "Gate" where either the yellow or blue door (heaven or hell) will open for her. As she reviews her life she has no doubt which direction she is heading but instead is offered a chance to enter the Amnesty Program to help change the tragectory of another teenage girl in trouble. There is only one small problem. She only has 20 days and the girl wants nothing to do with her.

The story that follows is full of twists, turns and a little bit of romance. Again, I feel that young people will enjoy the way the story flows. I however, did find it predictable and the one big "shocker" was obvious to me. It is a story about redemption and I understand the message that the author is sending but at the same time I felt that things were a little too easy for Cassie considering what she was responsible for doing that got her there in the first place. Maybe it is my age and I am over analyzing it but I wished for more consequences. I really didn't feel that she was deserving of the budding romance nor the time to persue it.

In the end it was an entertaining read regardless of whether I agreed with how the events played out or not. I was happy to read it and get lost in the pages for a few hours.





About the Author
Jo Noelle grew up in Colorado and Utah but also spent time in Idaho and California. She has two adult children and three small kids.

She teaches teachers and students about reading and writing, grows freakishly large tomatoes, enjoys cooking especially for desserts, builds furniture, sews beautiful dresses, and likes to go hiking in the nearby mountains.

Oh, and by the way, she's two people--Canda Mortensen and Deanna Henderson, a mother/daughter writing team. We write sweet romance stories with contemporary, paranormal, fantasy or time-travel twists.  

Connect with Jo Noelle



Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Review: Hello, Sweetheart by Elaine McCluskey


Hello, Sweetheart is darkly humorous, gritty, and touching.  McCluskeys unassuming Canadian towns are populated by dreamers and disappointment, killers and collaborators, VLT junkies, sinister drug-testers, and a dangerous stay-at-home dad named Mugsy.  It exposes the frailties of people - marginalized people, forgotten people, and grieving people but never loses sight of their humanity.  Edgy and at times disturbing, this collections of short stories will take you places you don't expect to go.
     
Paperback, 208 pages
Published September 1st 2014 by Great Plains Publications
Terri's Thoughts

I won a copy of this book in a giveaway on Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.

This book consists of a series of short stories, some of which are loosely linked together.  If you are looking for a happy read where things are tied up neatly at the end then this is not the book for you.  This is a truly gritty collection of stories about the forgotten & down in out people in society.  It is dark and offers no apologies.

I almost howled with laughter when I saw the story titled Keno Man.  Similar to these stories I had worked in my younger years in a convenience store in a small town that catered to the less desirable folks in our town.  We had a guy come in daily that we had titled Keno Man because he bought and scratched in fron of us the instant Keno tickets.  Similar to this story we were cutious about the sad state of this daily routine.  We actually wrote little short stories (all the female staff took turns) about this character and others.  I wonder if this is how McCluskey found her inspiration for this novel.

Based on this time in my life I could actually identify with a lot of the stories.  While I have been IMHO fortunate in life so far I saw a lot who were not.  I could appreciate the darker side of these stories and identify somewhat with the characters within the pages.

This story will not be for everyone but for those who like their stories on the darker side or have had a glimpse of the harder lives that people can lead this would be an interesting read.  I am glad I had the opportunity to read this story.



About the Author
  Elaine McCluskey’s stories have appeared in The Antigonish Review, Gaspereau Review and Pottersfield Portfolio. The title story in her debut collection The Watermelon Social (GP, 2006) was shortlisted for the 2004 Journey Prize. A former Bureau Chief for the Canadian Press news agency, McCluskey lives with her family in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.   

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Review: A Cowboy's Christmas Promise by Maggie McGinnis

Boston veterinarian Hayley Scampini tends the city’s pampered pets but dreams of the rural life of a country vet. She’s single and determined to stay that way, convinced that love isn’t permanent enough to trust. Then a vacation to the Whisper Creek dude ranch introduces her to Daniel McKee, a sexy single dad who runs the kind of veterinary practice she aspires to—and rattles her conviction to keep men at a distance.

Managing a thriving practice, coping with the loss of his wife, and fighting a custody battle with his in-laws over his twin daughters, Daniel couldn’t be more overwhelmed. Hayley is a godsend, accompanying him in the field and winning over his girls. It doesn’t take Daniel long to realize he’s falling for this woman, hard and fast. So before Hayley returns to Boston, he extracts a promise: that she will return to Whisper Creek for Christmas. It’s the perfect time and place to show Hayley that the promise of a beautiful life together is something she can believe in.
  



Expected publication: November 18th 2014 by Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Kristine's Thoughts:

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

The title of this book is a little misleading. Yes, some of it occurs over the Christmas holiday but a great deal of it does not. I fear that people may only want to read it around the holiday season but it is a book that can be read and enjoyed any time of year.

This is a super easy and quick read about two people who are struggling with their pasts and who are afraid for their future because of it. Daniel is raising his seven year old twin girls alone and coping with the fact that his wife has been gone for two years. He is trying to balance his domestic life with his professional life that keeps pulling him away from his girls. Hayley is busy running her Uncle's vet practise for pampered pooches while wishing she could be caring for "real" or larger animals. She is single and that is just the way she likes it. She doesn't want to get close to any man for any length of time because she fears they will end up leaving like the men in her past. She doesn't want to make the same mistakes her mother made.

Then they meet...

As much as they don't want to admit it, there is an instant attraction that catches them both off guard. This is not just a simple story of two people coming together. There are conflicting emotions of guilt, sadness, fear as well as geographic differences and two young girls to consider.

All of the characters in this book are wonderful. Well, most of them are. I adored both Daniel and Hayley and loved the chemistry between the two. The easy bantering between the two of them had me smiling on many occasions. I also loved the way Hayley interacted with the twins and the relationship they had with each other.

This is a sweet and emotional story of an attraction that deals with real problems in an honest and realistic way. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

*Warning*

Reading this book will make you crave cupcakes and want to make snow angels!







About the Author

Maggie started writing when her twins were infants and she was desperately  seeking sanity. The fact that she found it only with imaginary people makes her a bit concerned, but at least they do what she tells them to...usually.

She lives in New England, but spends an inordinate amount of time on Arizona real estate sites in mid-January. While snow piles up to her windowsills, she cyber-stalks the blue skies and pink houses of the Southwest. It's cheaper than therapy...

She used to be an English teacher, a certified black belt, and a cool-car driver. Then...twins. Now she swills caffeine while driving the one vehicle she swore she'd never own: a minivan. It sort of hurts to admit it.

Her debut novel, a cozy mystery, was a Golden Heart finalist, and her debut romance, Accidental Cowgirl, is a USA Today bestseller.


Monday, 17 November 2014

Review:Bigger Things by Ev Bishop


Best friends since childhood, Jen, Chelsea and Kyra know everything about each other. Or think they do. Jen should be celebrating her whopping 121-pound weight loss. Instead she feels like she's betrayed fat girls everywhere. Will anyone love her for who she is inside, fat or thin? More importantly, will she? Chelsea appears to have it all-a husband, a family, a beautiful home-but plaguing memories threaten to destroy everything. In her desperation to maintain control, will she succumb to a compulsion that costs her life? Kyra is sick of the superficial persona she's worn for so long. It's exhausting to pretend to be an airhead while running a successful business. But if she sheds her life-of-the-party facade, will she ever find the boyfriend she thinks she needs? When a nervous breakdown leaves one of them fighting to survive, all their secrets are laid bare. To stay friends, they need to battle personal dragons, confront the past, and embrace change. But can they break free from the roles they've played so long? Or must they leave one another behind in order to move forward?

Paperback, 344 pages
Published July 22nd 2014 by Winding Path Books

Terri Thoughts

I won a copy of this book in a giveaway on Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.

This was a story of three best friends who are trying to find their way in the world but have serious issues from their past that they must overcome.  In all cases their dealing mechanisms are linked to food and body image.

Aside from the events that take place with each of these three characters the story really tackles the stigma of body image for woman and the pressures that are out there to conform to a particular body type.  I liked that this story tackled this topic as woman all over the world are dealing with unrealistic expectations of what they should look like and act like.

All three girls have some serious issues be it weight, emotional scars from abuse or absentee parents.  In all three cases the girls deal with these issues in non-healthy ways before learning to face them dead on.  The bond of friendship was another strong theme throughout.  Three girls who have been best friends since childhood who are more like sisters (fighting and all).  I enjoyed seeing how they were there for each other and for the most part were not enablers for each others issues.

What I enjoyed most about the story was the articles to Fat Girl that were mixed in throughout the story.  I loved the honestly and harsh criticism offered to those who were ignorant to weight issues.  These articles tackled everything that is wrong with society and gave the biting comebacks that many people deserve for their actions.  This was the highlight for me and I think would be helpful to all woman to read.  We all have body image issues however this addresses some of it.

Overall an entertaining read.



About the Author


I’m Ev Bishop, a writer who lives, plays and dreams in wildly gorgeous Terrace, British Columbia, Canada.

A long time columnist with The Terrace Standard, my other non-fiction work appears in a variety of regional and international publications. Bigger Things, my first novel under my own name, has just come out under the imprint Winding Path Books, and I have a growing list of published short fiction – Yay! I also write and publish under the pen name Toni Sheridan.

When I’m not reading or writing, I’m visiting with my husband, two kids and pets, or I’m outside somewhere, usually at the lake or in some garden somewhere. . . .

Website: 


Twitter:  Ev_Bishop



Sunday, 16 November 2014

Review: Equilibrium by Lorrie Thomson

In the year since her husband died, Laura Klein's world has shifted on its axis. It's not just that she's raising two children alone--fact is, Laura always did the parenting for both of them. But now her fifteen-year-old daughter, Darcy, is dating a boy with a fast car and faster hands, and thirteen-year-old Troy's attitude has plummeted along with his voice. Just when she's resigning herself to a life of worry and selfless support, her charismatic new tenant offers what Laura least expects: a second chance.

Darcy isn't surprised her mom doesn't understand her, though she never imagined her suddenly acting like a love-struck teen herself. With Troy starting to show signs of their father's bipolar disorder, and her best friend increasingly secretive, Darcy turns to her new boyfriend, Nick, for support. Yet Nick has a troubled side of his own, forcing Darcy toward life-altering choices.

Exploring the effects of grief on both mother and daughter, Equilibrium is a thoughtful, resolutely uplifting novel about finding the balance between holding on and letting go, between knowing when to mourn and when to hope, and between the love we seek and the love we choose to give.


Paperback, 336 pages
Published August 27th 2013 by Kensington
Genre: Womans Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

I unexpectedly received a copy of this book in the mail from Kensington and for that I will give my honest opinion. Thank you!

This is a beautiful story of one family who is learning how to cope in the aftermath of their husband/father's battle with mental illness and his suicide one year earlier. The story centres around Laura and her daughter Darcy and the pages are filled with emotion, guilt and uncertainty as they try to move on with their lives.

Laura is trying to figure out how to move on when her entire life was spent caring for her husband, worrying whether he was taking his meds and trying to be the voice of reason. In the back of her mind is the concern that her children may end up with the same mental illness. Her life has been about taking care of others with no thought for herself. Her struggle becomes more complicated when she starts to have thoughts that she thought were buried forever about her new tenant.

Darcy is also struggling with life without her father. They shared a special bond and she harbours some guilt over his death. At the same time she finds herself with the typical trials and tribulations of a teenage girl when a new boy comes into her life. Outwardly she appears rebellious and cold but inside she is struggling with her feelings of sadness, anger, hurt and betrayal.

I thought that Thomson penned a beautiful and heart wrenching story of how mental illness can impact not just the person living with it but also the network of people surrounding that person. She was able to effectively get the enormous range of emotions to resonate on the pages. I was easily able to empathise with the characters in the book. The emotions felt honest and realistic. It was a very solid read.





About the Author

Lorrie Thomson lives in New Hampshire with her husband and their children. When she’s not reading, writing, or hunting for collectibles, her family lets her tag along for camping adventures, daylong paddles, and hikes up 4,000 footers.

Connect with Lorrie



 

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Review: Wyoming Strong by Diana Palmer


Wolf Patterson and Sara Brandon are arch enemies from ages ago, but mischievous fate has brought the tall rancher with the pale blue eyes together with the dark-haired beauty - on neighboring Wyoming ranches. At first, sparks fly, but despite Wolf's misguided notions about the spirited Sara and her indignance over the assorted injustices he has thrown her way, a truce - of sorts - forms. Suddenly Sara notices Wolf's face, while not conventionally handsome, draws her like no other man has ever attracted her. And Wolf sees into the compassionate soul that Sara hides from the rest of the world.

But they are two passionate people with a talent for falling out...can love find the space to take root on the stunning Wyoming plains?


Paperback, 336 pages
Expected publication: October 28th 2014 by Harlequin HQN

Terri's Thoughts

**  I won a copy of this book in a giveaway on Goodreads in exchange for an honest review**  It has just recently been released.

The story got off to a bad start from the very first page for me.  It described Wolf with a big patch of hair poking out of his shirt.  Apparently some woman find this attractive but I am just gagging while I even think about it...blaghhh!  I decided it was not fair to judge a story based on this but I can not say that I visualized Wolf as an attractive man for the rest of the story.

This story is typical of what you would expect a romance novel to be.  It followed the same formula...two people who hate each other who you just know will end up together.  There are no surprises within the pages and no letdowns for those who frequently read this genre.

I did not really find any emotional connections to either of the characters.  I found their back stories a little dramatic and the resulting scars made them too odd for my liking.  It made the characters too damaged to be realistic. 

That being said I was entertained throughout reading this.  I knew how it would end but I was still along for the ride.  If you can get past all of the characters that were randomly introduced then it is a good distraction from the daily grind.



About the Author



Susan Eloise Spaeth was born on 11 December 1946 in Cuthbert, Georgia, USA. She was the eldest daughter of Maggie Eloise Cliatt, a nurse and also journalist, and William Olin Spaeth, a college professor. Her mother was part of the women's liberation movement many years before it became fashionable. Her best friends are her mother and her sister, Dannis Spaeth (Cole), who now has two daughters, Amanda Belle Hofstetter and Maggie and lives in Utah. Susan grew up reading Zane Grey and fell in love with cowboys. Susan is a former newspaper reporter, with sixteen years experience on both daily and weekly newspapers. Since 1972, she has been married to James Kyle and have since settled down in Cornelia, Georgia, where she started to write romance novels. Susan and her husband have one son, Blayne Edward, born in 1980.

She began selling romances in 1979 as Diana Palmer. She also used the pseudonyms Diana Blayne and Katy Currie, and her married name: Susan Kyle. Now, she has over 40 million copies of her books in print, which have been translated and published around the world. She is listed in numerous publications, including Contemporary Authors by Gale Research, Inc., Twentieth Century Romance and Historical Writers by St. James Press, The Writers Directory by St. James Press, the International Who's Who of Authors and Writers by Meirose Press, Ltd., and Love's Leading Ladies by Kathryn Falk. Her awards include seven Waldenbooks national sales awards, four B. Dalton national sales awards, two Bookrak national sales awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award for series storytelling from Romantic Times, several Affaire de Coeur awards, and two regional RWA awards.

Inspired by her husband, who quit a blue-collar manufacturing job to return to school and get his diploma in computer programming, Susan herself went back to college as a day student at the age of 45. In 1995, she graduated summa cum laude from Piedmont College, Demorest, GA, with a major in history and a double minor in archaeology and Spanish. She was named to two honor societies (the Torch Club and Alpha Chi), and was named to the National Dean's List. In addition to her writing projects, she is currently working on her master's degree in history at California State University. She hopes to specialize in Native American studies. She is a member of the Native American Rights Fund, the American Museum of Natural History, the National Cattlemen's Association, the Archaeological Institute of Amenca, the Planetary Society, The Georgia Conservancy, the Georgia Sheriff's Association, and numerous conservation and charitable organizations. Her hobbies include gardening, archaeology, anthropology, iguanas, astronomy and music.

In 1998, her husband retired from his own computer business and now pursues skeet shooting medals in local, state, national and international competition. They love riding around and looking at the countryside, watching sci-fi on TV and at the movies, just talking and eating out.


Website: