Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Review: Where Sea Meets Sky by Karina Halle

A new adult novel that perfectly captures the existential angst of your early twenties with raw wit, fresh insight, and true feeling from a critically adored USA TODAY bestselling author.

Joshua Miles has spent his early twenties spinning his wheels. Working dead-end jobs and living at home has left him exhausted and uninspired, with little energy to pursue his passion for graphic art. Until he meets Gemma Henare, a vivacious out-of-towner from New Zealand. What begins as a one-night stand soon becomes a turning point for Josh. He can't get Gemma out of his head, even after she has left for home, and finds himself throwing caution to the wind for the first time in his life.

It's not long before Josh is headed to New Zealand with only a backpack, some cash, and Gemma's name to go on. But when he finally tracks her down, he finds his adventure is only just beginning. Equally infatuated, Gemma leads him on a whirlwind tour across the beautiful country, opening Josh up to life, lust, love, and all the messy heartache in between. Because, when love drags you somewhere, it might never let go even when you know you have to say goodbye.


Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Expected publication: March 31st 2015 by Atria Books 
Genre: New Adult

Kristine's Thoughts:

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

I'll start out with the positive points of this book. I really liked the cover and the title but unfortunately that is where it ends for me.

In the interest of being honest, as I am with all my thoughts, I can say that I disliked this book to the point of hating it. I always feel guilty when I dislike a book this much because I recognise the author's effort but to lie would serve no purpose.

Why didn't I like it??

Josh and Gemma had a one night stand on the eve of her returning home to New Zealand. I think there was an attempt to give the characters an emotional connection on top of the physical but it fell flat and just wasn't there. Basically it felt like a cheap and drunken hook up between two drunk people at a party. Next thing you know, Josh is backpacking to New Zealand because he can't get Gemma out of his head. At this point I couldn't help but think that it was the worlds most expensive booty call. It just felt ridiculous.

The characters didn't really have an impact on me. Their development was weak which left me not caring a whole lot about them. They all seemed shallow and immature and felt more like high school kids than in their early twenties. Add in a fairly weak plot and it just didn't cut it for me.

I will say that if you are looking to learn a little about the New Zealand countryside you will find some interesting parts to the story. It reads a little like a map and is the only aspect of the story that held any appeal to me.

This book just wasn't for me but with the pretty cover and title I feel like people will pick it up regardless of the reviews.





About the Author
Karina Halle is a former travel writer and rock music journalist and the USA TODAY bestselling author of Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, Experiment in Terror and other wild and romantic reads. She lives in a 1920's farmhouse on a bucolic island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails, and devours a lot of books.



Connect with Karina


Monday, 30 March 2015

Review: Just a Little Flirt by Renita Pizzitola

Saying yes has always come easy for Fallon. Now, in Renita Pizzitola’s steamy, poignant new novel, winning her dream job means saying no to the guy she wants the most.

Between all the parties and random hook-ups, Fallon Carr is this close to flunking out of college. But her internship working with pediatric patients means the world to her—especially since, at the end of the summer, one lucky intern will be offered a paid position. Determined to leave her bad reputation behind, Fallon even takes a bet that she won’t sleep with anyone from work. But there’s one little catch. . . .

Not only is Cade Ryan the hottest guy Fallon has ever laid eyes on, he’s a therapy dog handler who volunteers his time to visit kids at the hospital. So when he starts pursuing her, Fallon can’t believe her bad timing. The thing is, Cade is different. He’s not like the college guys who see her as a one-night stand, or the high-school boyfriend who took a part of her she can never get back. Cade genuinely wants to spend time with her—and not just between the sheets.

Fallon won’t let her growing feelings for Cade get in the way of her dreams. Besides, no guy can break down the walls she put up long ago. So what’s the harm in a little flirting? It’s not like she’s falling in love. But she may have seriously underestimated how complicated things can get when the perfect guy falls for her first.


ebook, 240 pages
Expected publication: March 31st 2015 by Flirt/Random House 
Series: Crush #2
Genre: New Adult

Kristine's Thoughts:

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

Just a Little Flirt is the second book in the Crush series by Pizzitola. I did have the opportunity to read Just a Little Crush (the first book) in advance of this one but it is not necessary in order to follow along with the story. This book was about Fallon where the first book was about her roommate Brinley.

This is the type of new adult fiction that I enjoy the most. It follows the typical formula of this genre but the characters are true to age in their thoughts and problems and there is more than just sex on each page. In other words, it is more realistic and relatable than some other ones I have read.

I'll start with my thoughts on the characters...

I remembered Fallon from the first book and she had quite a reputation. Although I liked her, I wasn't sure how an entire story about her would play out. Lets just say that I didn't need to question it. Pizzitola did an excellent job at filling in her story so that the reader understood fully the reasons she did the things she did and made her extremely likeable. You got to really see her softer and more fragile side. You really couldn't help but like her.

Then there was Cade...sigh! I loved, loved, loved him! He wasn't the alpha male that is so often found in this genre but the genuinely nice and respectful guy that just happened to be hunky as all heck. Just when I didn't think I could like him any more he would do something to prove me wrong. Seeing as I'm a married woman I can just hope for someone like him for one of my daughters off in the way distant future.

The two of them together were a joy to read. The chemistry was off the charts and the build up left you breathless with anticipation. I thoroughly enjoyed every twist and turn (because it wouldn't be NA without complications) in their relationship and routed for them along the way. When the pages heated up they burned, proving that their chemistry was just as strong between the sheets.

One more character that I feel the need to mention who was a big part of the story was Scout. I loved Scout and I had real tears at one point for him. That is all I am going to say about him. You have to read the book to find out more and I can almost guarantee that you will love him as much as I did.

To wrap things up I guess it is obvious that I really enjoyed this story. It was a quick read that I finished in one day. I can't wait for the next instalment!




About the Author
Renita Pizzitola is the author of New Adult contemporary romance and Young Adult fantasy. When not writing, she can be found feeding her caramel macchiato addiction and reading just about anything she can get her hands on. She lives in Austin, Texas.


Connect with Renita


 

 

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Review: At the Water's Edge by Sara Gruen

In this new novel from the author of Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen again demonstrates her talent for creating spellbinding period pieces. At the Water’s Edge is a gripping and poignant love story about a privileged young woman’s personal awakening as she experiences the devastations of World War II in a Scottish Highlands village.

Madeline Hyde, a young socialite from Philadelphia, reluctantly follows her husband and their best friend to the tiny village of Drumnadrochit in search of a mythical monster—at the same time that a very real monster, Hitler, wages war against the Allied Forces. What Maddie discovers—about the larger world and about herself—through the unlikely friendships she develops with the villagers, opens her eyes not only to the dark forces that exist around her but to the beauty and surprising possibilities.


Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Expected publication: March 31st 2015 by Spiegel & Grau 
Genre: Historical Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

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

I read Water for Elephants a few years ago and loved it so I was really excited to dive into this book and see if Gruen was going to leave me feeling the same way again.

I'll start out by saying that this book takes place towards the end of the second World War and also involves hunting the Loch Ness Monster. Although these two things are aspects of the story they aren't what the story is really about. The story is about Maddie as she discovers who she is and who she wants to be in a time and place where she has very little say or control.

I won't re-tell the story but I will say that within the pages you will find characters that you will absolutely hate and ones that you will love. You will be wrapped in a setting as descriptive and cosy as if you are there and will feel like a guest at the Inn.

At the Water's Edge is a very easy book to read. The chapters are all short and if given the time it can easily be read in a day. The plot and setting are both interesting which means there was no skimming of pages for me. I was always interested in what was going to happen next.

Although I really enjoyed the book I do need to point out a couple of things that ran through my head while reading it. The story at times felt almost too simplified if that makes any sense. For a lack of better words it seemed a little "dumbed down." This of course, made for very easy reading but left me craving a little more at times. This was really apparent where Maddie and Angus were concerned. I wanted more depth, built up and emotion with their relationship and if I'm honest I just really wanted more of them period! Also the conflict resolution was a little too neat and tidy to feel believable.

One last thing that I want to mention is that you will find just a tiny hint of magical realism in this story which I absolutely loved. It added an extra element of interest that I really enjoyed.

In the end this was another solid read by Sara Gruen that I am glad to have had the opportunity to read.




About the Author
Sara Gruen is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Water for Elephants, Ape House, Riding Lessons, and Flying Changes. Hers works have been translated into forty three languages and have sold more than ten million copies worldwide. Water for Elephants was adapted into a major motion picture starring Reese Witherspoon, Rob Pattinson, and Christoph Waltz in 2011.
She lives in western North Carolina with her husband and three sons, along with their dogs, cats, horses, birds, and the world's fussiest goat.

Connect with Sara

 

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Review: Narvla's Celtic New Year by Therese Gilardi




Narvla’s life is as precisely choreographed as the routines that have made her a national step-dancing champion. She has a loyal best friend, a devoted boyfriend, and a lock on admission to her dream college, the University of Notre Dame. Until her mother is named U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, and her life unravels. First Narvla receives a disturbing picture of her boyfriend and her best friend. Then she struggles to qualify for the Irish elite step-dancing squad, and her grades plummet.

But the biggest obstacle in Narvla’s new life is Dublin Boy, a cheeky musician with a disdain for academics and a distrust of Americans. Although Narvla is upset when she’s paired with Dublin Boy for the most important semester of her life, her real concern is the growing attraction she feels toward him. As the Celtic New Year unfolds, Narvla is pushed to abandon her lifelong need for control and embrace the charm of the unexpected.


Paperback
Expected publication: April 6th 2015 by Therese Gilardi
 
Terri's Thoughts
 
I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is April 6th 2015.
 
I enjoyed this book more than I thought it would.  I originally chose it because I thought it would be a cute light read and did not have too many expectations.  I was correct in that it was cute and light but it was more interesting than I thought it would be.
 
As the reader you see the struggles of Narvla as she is transplanted to Ireland and struggling with her life plan that has been set in stone for as long as she can remember.  She goes from suddenly being the best at everything to one of many who is finding a way to get by.  She learns that her chosen path may not be as easy to follow as she expected.
 
Then comes in Dublin Boy.  Why do these stories always have the best potential love interests?  He was utterly adorable in the handsome, unapproachable, sensitive sort of way.  I was drawn to him the same way Narvla was.  I particularly enjoyed his Narvla playlist.
 
I'm not sure if this story depicts what it is actually like to be a high school senior in Ireland as I have never been there but I really loved the sense of community and close friendships.  People looking out for friends and family and gatherings at the pub was interesting as well.  If it was playing to stereo types then it is the type of stereotype I would want.
 
This story will appeal to the YA audience who wants a good love story/growing up and finding your way kind of book.  I was along for the journey with Narva and hoping that everything would work out in the end.  I am glad I stumbled across this book.
 

About the Author

Therese Gilardi is a poet, novelist and essayist who lives in the hills above Los Angeles with her Irish Man, fluffy dogs and Viennese hare. Therese adores blue cameos, Irish pub music and the Paris metro. Therese's work appears online in "Literary Mama", "Punchnel's", "The Mom Egg Review", "The Dirty Napkin", and "The 13th Warrior Review". Therese's essays about her life in Paris, France appear in the anthologies "Knowing Pains" and "So Far And Yet So Near: Stories of Americans Abroad". Therese's short fiction and poetry can also be found in print journals, as well as in the recently released collection, "Matrimonial Mayhem". Therese's paranormal romance, "Matching Wits With Venus", about a Hollywood matchmaker and the Roman god Cupid, was released by Astraea Press. Therese's poetry will appear in the upcoming edition of "Onthebus".

Website: 
     


Friday, 27 March 2015

Feature and Follow Friday #65

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: Have you ever been to BEA? If not, what's stopping you? If you have, what was your best experience there? - Suggested by The Paperback Princess

 

We have not been to BEA but would love to go one of these years. I'm not sure what is stopping us other than life and work. We have very opposite and busy schedules and it's often hard for us to get the same time off. I can't speak for Terri but I know I wouldn't want to go without her.

 

Have you been?

 

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, 26 March 2015

Review: The Life I Left Behind by Colette McBeth


Six years ago, Melody Pieterson was attacked and left for dead. Only a chance encounter with a dog walker saved her life. Melody's neighbor and close friend David Alden was found guilty of the crime and imprisoned, and the attack and David's betrayal of her friendship left Melody a different person. She no longer trusts her own judgment, she no longer trusts her friends. In fact, she no longer really has any friends. She’s built a life behind walls and gates and security codes; she’s cloistered herself away from the world almost entirely.

And then, soon after David is released from prison, Eve Elliot is murdered in an attack almost identical to Melody’s. With the start of a new police investigation, Melody is suddenly pulled from her ordered, secluded life and back into the messy world around her. But as she learns more about Eve's murder, Melody starts to wonder if perhaps David hadn’t betrayed her after all...if perhaps the killer is someone else entirely, someone who’s still out there, preparing to strike again.

Narrated alternately by Melody and by Eve’s lingering ghost, The Life I Left Behind is a taut thriller and an intimate look at two young women bound together in ways neither of them could ever have predicted. Colette McBeth has proven once again that she is a master of suspense.


Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 24th 2015 by Minotaur Books

Terri's Thoughts

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

I really enjoyed the fact that this story was told through multiple perspectives.  I found that it added another element of interest for me and kept the story moving along.  You see the story from Melody's point of view (the first victim), Eves (the dead victim) and the detective although her story was not as developed.

The story started slow for me but then picked up momentum.  I was curious to see how the pieces would fit together although I did figure out who the guilty party was pretty early on.  Aside from the mystery/suspense aspect of the story it was also about Melody finding herself again after hiding within herself for years.  This was interesting to read although I found towards the end she still played victim more than I would have liked.  I was slightly confused to how she handled things at a certain point.  I would love to elaborate but can't as it would give away too much.

As a whole this was an interesting read with just enough puzzle pieces to keep me entertained.  I am glad that I had the opportunity to read this.




About the Author

Colette McBeth had been a BBC News reporter for 10 years when she won a place on the Faber Academy Writing a Novel course and started her first book, Precious Thing. She lives in London with her husband and three children but dreams of being beside the seaside.

Website: 
Twitter:  colettemcbeth


Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Review: Love or Something Like It by Laurie B. Friedman


Now that April is officially going out with hot-boy-next-door Matt, she's head over heels. She loves how he makes her feel . . . most of the time. But one minute he's sweet and attentive, and the next, it's as if he's forgotten they're together. April just wants things to be great between them, like when they started going out. Now as summer approaches, she has to decide if she'll go to camp with her best friends, Billy and Brynn, or stay home and be with Matt. April wishes she could do it all--keep up with friends, have summer adventures, please her annoying family, and save her new relationship. But with Matt's affection running so hot and cold, she has some tough decisions to make.

Hardcover, 184 pages
Expected publication: April 1st 2015 by Lerner Classroom

Terri's Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!  The expected publication date is April 1st 2015.

This story is definitely geared towards the younger YA audience, I would say the junior high age group.  I am well beyond that demographic however as I was reading the story I could remember experiencing all of the same emotions that April went through.

This was all about young "love" and the emotional drama involved.  I remember liking a boy and over analyzing every conversation and non verbal queue like it was the most important thing in life just as April did.  I remember the highs and lows of crushes and utter feeling of euphoria when a boy I liked had liked me back.  I remember when life did not exist outside of catching a glance of a boy I was interested in and how it consumed all of my thoughts.  This is what the story brought back for me.

This is the fourth story in the series and although I had not read the others I could easily follow along.  I thought the story was really cute and realistic for the demographic of a thirteen/fourteen year old girl.

I feel that this story will not appeal to the older YA audience as it may be too innocent and perhaps readers may not appreciate how truly realistic this story is for the age group but younger readers should enjoy it.  For me it was fun to remember the drama of my younger years and realize how truly insignificant it was now that I am older.  I was able to read this story in record time due to its simplicity however I appreciate the fact that it took me back to my younger years.



About the Author

Laurie Friedman is the author of over 35 award-winning books for children. Laurie writes the popular Mallory McDonald chapter book series for 7-10 year olds. Published by Lerner Publishing, the series currently includes 23 titles. Laurie has a new journal format series for 10-15 year olds entitled, The Mostly Miserable Life of April Sinclair. Laurie has also written many rhyming picture books, including the Ruby Valentine series. Her newest book, Ruby Valentine and the Sweet Surprise is out this fall!

Website: 

Twitter:  lauriebfriedman



Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Review: The Day We Met by Rowan Coleman

For fans of Jojo Moyes’s Me Before You comes a beautifully written, heartwarming novel about mothers and daughters, husbands and wives. The Day We Met asks: Can you love someone you don’t remember falling in love with?

A gorgeous husband, two beautiful children, a job she loves—Claire’s got it all. And then some. But lately, her mother hovers more than a helicopter, her husband Greg seems like a stranger, and her kids are like characters in a movie. Three-year-old Esther’s growing up in the blink of an eye, and twenty-year-old Caitlin, with her jet-black hair and clothes to match, looks like she’s about to join a punk band—and seems to be hiding something. Most concerning, however, is the fact that Claire is losing her memory, including that of the day she met Greg.

When Claire meets a handsome stranger on a rainy day, she starts to wonder if Greg still belongs in her life. She knows she should love him, but she can’t always remember why. When Greg gives her a blank book, Claire fills its pages with private memories and keepsakes, jotting down beginnings and endings and everything in between. The book becomes the story of Claire—her passions, her sorrows, her joys, her adventures in a life that refuses to surrender to a fate worse than dying: disappearing.


Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Expected publication: March 31st 2015 by Ballantine Books
Genre: Womens Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

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

This book tells the story of one woman with early onset Alzheimer's. Although a very serious and sad subject, Coleman attacks the story to include quite a bit of humour. There were some laugh out loud moments which helped to balance out the obviously depressing parts of it. Each chapter of the book is an entry into Claire's memory book written by herself or one of her family members. It helps to paint a beautiful picture of a happy family that is torn apart by a dreadful disease.

I don't know a lot about Alzheimer's and I hope I never have to so I can't speak as to how accurate the depiction is in this book. I can say that it takes you through a roller coaster of emotions and will probably cause a few tears. It shows the strength of love in one family and the struggle they go through to adapt and cope with the woman they love changing before their eyes.

 The story is easy to read, the characters are easy to like and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. This is the first book by Rowan Coleman for me but it won't be my last.  







About the Author

Rowan Coleman lives with her husband, and five children in a very full house in Hertfordshire. She juggles writing novels with raising her family which includes a very lively set of toddler twins whose main hobby is going in the opposite directions. When she gets the chance, Rowan enjoys sleeping, sitting and loves watching films; she is also attempting to learn how to bake.

Rowan would like to live every day as if she were starring in a musical, although her daughter no longer allows her to sing in public. Despite being dyslexic, Rowan loves writing, and The Memory Book is her eleventh novel. Others include The Accidental Mother, Lessons in Laughing Out Loud and the award-winning Dearest Rose, a novel which lead Rowan to become an active supporter of domestic abuse charity Refuge, donating 100% of royalties from the ebook publication of her novella, Woman Walks Into a Bar, to the charity. Rowan does not have time for ironing.


Connect with Rowan


Monday, 23 March 2015

Review: The Second Sister by Marie Bostwick


From New York Times bestselling author Marie Bostwick comes an emotionally rich, inspiring new novel about family, second chances--and the connections that bring women together in hope and healing. . .

Years of long workdays and little sleep as a political campaigner are about to pay off now that Lucy Toomey's boss is entering the White House. But when her estranged older sister, Alice, unexpectedly dies, Lucy is drawn back to Nilson's Bay, her small, close-knit, Wisconsin hometown.

An accident in her teens left Alice mentally impaired, and she was content to stay in Nilson's Bay. Lucy, meanwhile, got out and never looked back. But now, to meet the terms of Alice's eccentric will, Lucy has taken up temporary residence in her sister's cottage--and begins to see the town, and Alice's life, anew. Alice's diverse group of friends appears to have little in common besides an interest in quilting. Yet deep affection for Alice united them and soon Lucy, too, is brought into the fold as they share problems and stories. And as she finds warmth and support in this new circle, Lucy begins to understand this will be her sister's enduring gift--a chance to move beyond her difficult past, and find what she has long been missing. . .


Paperback, 352 pages
Expected publication: March 31st 2015 by Kensington

Terri's Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of the book from the publisher Kensington via Edelweiss in exchange fore an honest review.  The expected publication date is March 31st 2015.

This is one of those stories that I have a hard time sharing my thoughts on because it did not excite nor bore me.  It was simply a book that past the time for me but didn't really offer any stand out element to me.
If I had to describe this story in its most simplistic terms it is about coming home and discovering yourself.  I enjoyed the close knit small town backdrop tot he story.  Since it took place in the winter I could identify to the cold and snowy climate.

The highlight of this story is the "misfit" group of friends that Alice was a part of.  Each somewhat odd yet truly endearing people. 

Lucy on the other hand I had a hard time warming up to.  I think it simply took too long to get to see the demons she was fighting and it made it difficult to be in her corner.

At the end of the day this story provided me with some entertainment that while predictable was enough to take me away from reality for just a little while

     


About the Author

Marie Bostwick is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of uplifting historical and contemporary fiction. She lives in the state of Connecticut and travels fequently to sign books, speak to reading groups, and meet her readers.

Website: 

Twitter:  mariebostwick




Sunday, 22 March 2015

Review: The Winner Takes It All by Jennifer Dawson

For two stubborn people…

Corporate mogul Shane Donovan sees the ultra-cool, collected Cecilia Riley as an ice queen—even if he can't deny that, on the surface, she's a work of perfection his body can't ignore. Forced to spend two weeks in the same house for his sister's upcoming wedding, Shane senses that deep down Cecilia mirrors his need. And he's determined to draw her into a sexy game that will melt away her reserve…

Losing is not an option…

Career-driven Cecilia Riley has just enough free time in her schedule to head out of town for her brother's wedding. But her agenda is thrown for a loop by the presence of Shane. Though his over-confident attitude leaves a lot to be desired, his insanely hot body has kept Cecilia up nights. Unsure what game Shane is playing, Cecilia takes the bait, bent on resisting him at all costs.

But as Shane and Cecilia discover, temptation follows no rules…


Paperback, 368 pages
Published December 2nd 2014 by Zebra
Series: Something New #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Kristine's Thoughts:

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

I enjoyed this book more than I was expecting to. When dealing with a series in the contemporary romance genre I often find that the stories can get monotonous and overly predictable. Although somewhat predictable I didn't once get bored with the characters and plot.

The characters were mature, strong and likeable as far as I was concerned. The attraction between Cecilia and Shane was undeniable and there were a lot more sexy and "blush" moments than I was expecting. The pages heat up on numerous occasions.

I didn't have the opportunity to read the first book in the series before this one but I was able to follow along easily. References are made to what happened in the first book that has me wanting to go back and read it. References are also made to indicate what the next book will be about that has peaked my interest as well.

I think fans of contemporary romance with mature characters (not teenagers or new adults) and steamy interactions will be sure to like this series just like I did. It was a very easy book to get through.


 


About the Author
Jennifer Dawson grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and graduated from DePaul University with a degree in psychology. She met her husband at the public library while they were studying. To this day she still maintains she was NOT checking him out. Now, over twenty years later, they’re married and living in a suburb right outside of Chicago with two awesome kids and a crazy dog.

Despite going through a light FM, poem writing phase in high school, Jennifer never grew up wanting to be a writer (she had more practical aspirations of being an international super spy). Then one day, suffering from boredom and disgruntled with a book she’d been reading, she decided to put pen to paper. The rest, as they say, is history.

These days Jennifer can be found sitting behind her computer, writing her next novel, chasing after her kids, keeping an ever watchful eye on her ever growing to-do list, and NOT checking out her husband.


Connect with Jennifer


Saturday, 21 March 2015

Review: The Memory House by Linda Goodnight


New York Times bestselling author Linda Goodnight welcomes you to Honey Ridge, Tennessee, and a house that's rich with secrets and brimming with sweet possibilities

Memories of motherhood and marriage are fresh for Julia Presley--though tragedy took away both years ago. Finding comfort in the routine of running the Peach Orchard Inn, she lets the historic, mysterious place fill the voids of love and family. No more pleasure of a man's gentle kiss. No more joy in hearing a child call her Mommy. Life is calm, unchanging...until a stranger with a young boy and soul-deep secrets shows up in her Tennessee town and disrupts the loneliness of her world.

Julia suspects there's more to Eli Donovan's past than his motherless son, Alex. There's a reason he's chasing redemption and bent on earning it with a new beginning in Honey Ridge. Offering the guarded man work renovating the inn, she glimpses someone who--like her--has a heart in need of restoration. But with the chance discovery of a dusty stack of love letters buried within the lining of an old trunk, the long-dead ghosts of a Civil War romance envelop Julia and Eli, connecting them to the inn's violent history and challenging them both to risk facing yesterday's darkness for a future bright with hope and healing.


Paperback, 384 pages
Expected publication: March 31st 2015 by HQN Books
 
Terri's Thoughts
 
I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher HQN Books via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is March 31st 2015.

This story was a little bit of a surprise for me.  While I was expecting a story of redemption and starting over I was not expecting to read the story of Charlotte during the civil war in parallel with Julia and Eli's story.  I was very pleased with this as it is the type of story that I tend to gravitate towards and enjoy.

There are many themes explored throughout this book.  Grief, forgiveness, love and responsibility to name just a few.  They were woven together so seamlessly that I was actually surprised when I came to the end of the story.  It simply did not feel like I had been reading it long enough to complete it.

I will refrain from discussing the plot as I think the synopsis does a good job at capturing what the story is about.  All I will say is that I was along for the journey and felt the emotions of the characters as they forged forward in their lives.  Eli's son Alex adds a dimension to the story that is at times heartbreaking and other times a complete joy.

This is the first time I have read one of Linda Goodnight's work and I think that after this I will seek out other novels she has written.  I enjoyed this read.

 
 
About the Author
 
      NY Times and USA Bestseller, Linda Goodnight writes novels to touch the heart as well as to entertain. Her emotional stories of hope have won the RITA , the Carol, the Reviewer’s Choice, and numerous other industry awards. A small town girl, Linda remains close to her roots, making her home in rural Oklahoma. She and husband have a blended family of eight, including two teenagers recently adopted from Ukraine. Many of her books are about family and children and rightly so, as she draws her deeply emotional stories from her surroundings, her great love of family, and from personal experiences as a nurse and teacher.
 
Twitter:  Lindagoodnight


Thursday, 19 March 2015

Review: Confess by Colleen Hoover

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover, a new novel about risking everything for love—and finding your heart somewhere between the truth and lies.

Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…


Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published March 10th 2015 by Atria Books 
Genre: New Adult

Kristine's Thoughts:

It is a given for me to read anything that has Colleen Hoover's name on it. Because I know that I am going to read it I don't read the synopsis and I don't read reviews. The less I know about the book the better my enjoyment of it always is. Confess was no exception and I went in blind. Hoover's writing for me is like slipping on your cosiest pyjama's, finding that spot on the couch that molds to you and that much needed glass of wine after a hard day at work all wrapped into one.

OMG...

 Reading the prologue just about killed me. I could tell that I was in for an emotionally charged story and I was more than up for it. Then when I felt the intensity between Auburn and Owen when they first met I knew I was in for an amazing few hours. There was no way that anything was getting done in my house.

"I could tell her how I know her. Make her realize why I have this overwhelming urge to protect her. But some secrets I'll take to my grave."

I've said it before but Hoover has a way of capturing the emotions and chemistry between characters that sets her apart from other authors in this genre. In this book I was captivated by the simple act of hands touching. The moment I am talking about happens at Auburn's apartment when Owen is leaving and they are on opposite sides of the door. It was absolutely and undeniably one of the most beautiful and intimate moments I have had the pleasure of reading. The way she takes such a basic act and turns it into something so breathtaking is beyond amazing.

"There are people you meet that you get to know, and then there are people you meet that you already know."

I won't re-tell the story or give anything away but I will say that I loved it. I loved the plot, I loved Auburn and I loved Owen.  Colleen Hoover  is one of the leading authors of this genre in my opinion and I was not disappointed. Her amazing storytelling filled with humour, chemistry and emotion was as evident in this book as in the rest of them.




 

 About the Author
Colleen Hoover is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Slammed, Point of Retreat, This Girl, Hopeless, Losing Hope, Finding Cinderella, Maybe Someday, Ugly Love, and Maybe Not. She lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys.





 Connect with Colleen
 

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Review: Every Move She Makes by Jannine Gallant


No matter where she goes, he knows her every move…

Long ago, Rachel Carpenter was a glamorous soap star. She gave it all up to move to Napa Valley with her daughters to open up a bookstore near her family vineyard. Her life is safe and dependable, until she encounters Kane Lafferty at a wilderness camp in the rugged High Sierra. A burned-out police detective struggling with his own demons, Kane is instantly attracted to Rachel. And like Rachel, he isn’t sure if he’s ready to open up his heart. But everything is about to change…

Someone is watching from the darkness. A fanatic obsessed with Rachel for years has decided to claim what he believes is his. It will be up to Kane to not only protect his new love and her family, but to uncover the identity of the stalker before it’s too late for all of them…


ebook, 268 pages
Expected publication: March 31st 2015 by Lyrical Press

Terri's Thoughts

** I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher Lyrical Press Kensington via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is March 31st 2015**

This book kept my attention captured so much that I read it in one sitting.  I think the main factor is that there was a real creep factor to the story.  I tend to shy away from creepy reads, not sure why as I enjoy them when I sit down with one, however this book was well balance between the romance and the creepy/suspense factor.

As the reader you do not get to see the perspective of the stalker very often but when you do it really makes your skin crawl.  The majority of the time the story is being told from Rachel and Kane's perspective and you only see the actions the stalker takes.  This was good for me since the story didn't get caught up in trying to be too weird.

I liked Kane and Rachel together from the start.  I also like that I did not have to endure the endless...I'm attracted to you but I can't be with you scenario that is so common.  The story focuses on how they have to cope with a new romance with all of the drama of a ready made family and a stalker.  I did not like having to read about the attitude of 14 year old Lark.  I would not tolerate her behavior at all but then again maybe that is the reason I don't have children.

This was a nice way to spend an afternoon immersed in some romance and suspense all in one.

Random thought:  The main character had a Golden Retriever which automatically makes me a little bit biased as they truly are the best dogs out there



About the Author


From her Goodreads profile

Write about what you know. I've taken this advice to heart, creating characters who live in small towns and plots that unfold in the great outdoors.

I grew up in Gasquet, a tiny town in Northern California, where as kids we swam in the river, ran wild in the woods, and rode our bikes everywhere we wanted to go. Now I live in Tahoe City with my husband, two daughters, and dog, Ginger. When I'm not busy writing or being a full time mom, I enjoy taking Ginger for hikes in the woods around our home.

Whether I'm writing romantic suspense, contemporary, or historical romance, I try to bring the beauty of nature to my stories.

I graduated from U.C. Davis with a double major in history and creative writing. Though I've worked in both the restaurant and ski industries, I never wanted to be anything but a writer. After many years of pursuing my passion, I've finally achieved success, proof positive that dreams do come true!


 Website: 

 

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Review: Seduction by Violetta Rand

Seduction returns to the Devil’s Den, a Texas strip club where hearts can’t hide when the chemistry is right.

The night Marisela Gonzalez rides up to the Devil’s Den on her motorcycle, running from trouble and looking for her sister, she finds more than a place to hide out and work her red-hot body. She meets a guy brave enough to stand by a tough, terrified nineteen-year-old girl who’s been in the wrong place with the wrong jerk one too many times. And he’s ready to show Marisela how a real man treats the woman he desires.

An ex-cop taking over as the club’s head of security, Craig Hanson can handle anything—except the urgent need he suddenly feels to hold Marisela tight. Commitment has never been his thing, but all that changes when Craig finds something too real to deny between them. Sensual and vulnerable, Marisela’s got a scary past. And when it comes knocking, Craig goes all in to protect her—because seduction is the ultimate game changer.


Kindle Edition, 250 pages
Expected publication: March 17th 2015 by Loveswept 
Series: Devil's Den #2

Kristine's Thoughts:

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

Seduction is the second book in the Devil's Den series. The first book was Surrender and I did have the opportunity to read it first. This book can be read as a stand alone but I think readers will benefit and take more from the story if they read them in order.

Marisela was first introduced as Robyn's younger and privileged sister in the first book. Things since then have changed and her situation is much different. Circumstances and events have hardened her. As she runs from her past she runs straight to The Devil's Den and into Craig's arms.

I had the same issues with this book as I had with the first one. The relationship between Marisela and Craig moved too quickly and before I even had the chance to process what was happening it was getting hot and heavy between the sheets. Their relationship was a little underdeveloped for me to feel the connection that it kept mentioning they had. Although the emotional connection was lacking a bit the physical connection definitely was not. In fact, I felt like perhaps a bit too much of the story was spent in the bedroom. Rand definitely knows how to write about sex.

A big problem for me was with the characters. Craig wasn't all that likeable in the first book and although he was much better in Seduction, I would have liked a little more of his personality to shine through. He wasn't terrible but he puffed his chest a little too much for my liking and was a little too possessive. Marisela on the other hand was bordering on annoying throughout the entire story. I wasn't a big fan of hers. She was definitely more likeable from the little I read of her in the first book.

I would have to give a little bit of an edge to the first book in this series over this one. Although it was an entertaining read it was shy on plot and character development and heavy on the physical. I am very much looking forward to the next instalment about the best friend. With her unique and say it like it is attitude, it should make for some interesting developments.




About the Author
Raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, Violetta Rand spent her childhood reading, writing, and playing soccer. After meeting her husband in New England, they moved to Alaska where she studied environmental science and policy as an undergraduate before attending graduate school. Violetta then spent nearly a decade working as an environmental scientist, specializing in soil and water contamination and environmental assessments.

Violetta still lives in Anchorage, Alaska and spends her days writing evocative New Adult romance and historical romance. When she’s not reading, writing, or editing, she enjoys time with her husband, pets, and friends. In her free time, she loves to hike, fish, and ride motorcycles and 4-wheelers.
  

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Monday, 16 March 2015

Review: Between Now & Never by Laura Johnston


Buh boom, buh boom.

My heart thrusts with a force that takes me by surprise. Telling me something I don’t understand. A splitting pain, a longing to slip back under. They tell me I was in a hit-and-run, but I can’t remember what happened that night. All I know is that I woke up with pictures in my pocket, a card from one of those photo booths in the mall. And I’m in the pictures. Cody Rush. Me and…

Julianna.

Her brother was there that night, and my dad, the FBI agent, was the one who put her mom behind bars. What’s the connection? And why won’t Julianna talk to me now? Somehow, she holds the key to it all, and getting close–real close—to her for the answers I need will be no hardship at all…


ebook, 336 pages
Expected publication: March 31st 2015 by KENSINGTON

Terri's Thoughts

** I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher Kensington via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is March 31st 2015**

I knew I had to get my hands on this book after reading Johnston's first book Rewind To You (review found here).  She added a voice to the YA genre that was just a little bit different than what you find out there today and it is refreshing.  This book did not disappoint.

This story was quite a bit different than her first.  A little bit darker but not too much so as to lose the YA audience.  It is still filled with teen angst, two people from opposite sides of the track being attracted to each other and enough social and emotional drama to satisfy.

Both Cody and Julianna had plenty of emotional baggage to keep the story going.  Cody with his lost memory from the accident and the death of his little brother many years ago.  Julianna with her mom in prison, her brother possibly doing drugs and financial worries to boot.  Then you throw in the fact that Cody's father is the one who put Julianna's mother behind bars.  This should be more than enough to keep the two apart....right?

I am sure that you can guess that things are not so simple and that the two keep getting thrown back together.  The story was dripping with anticipation of whether the two could overcome their hurdles and find their way to each other.  As in any YA love story this is what pieced the story together.  Two people who have a spark together and a million reasons why they should not act on it.  You get the drift...but I enjoyed it!

I have come to appreciate Johnston's writing style and her works thus far.  I hope that I have discovered her early enough in her writing career that I will be able to enjoy many more of her books in the future.  I will be keeping my eyes peeled for her next work and hopefully it will not be a long wait.


About the Author

Laura Johnston is the author of REWIND TO YOU and BETWEEN NOW AND NEVER, contemporary YA novels published by eKensington. She fell in love with the young adult genre both through her experience in high school as well as her job later as a high school teacher. Laura enjoys running, playing tennis, sewing, traveling, writing, and above all, spending time with her husband and kids.

Website: 
Twitter:  lauralojohnston


Sunday, 15 March 2015

Review: A Work of Art by Melody Maysonet

Shy, artistic Tera can't wait to attend a prestigious art school in France to prove to her famous artist father that she can make something of herself. But Tera's hopes for the future explode when the police arrest her dad for an unspeakable crime. Her father's arrest must be a mistake, so Tera goes into action, sacrificing her future at art school to pay for his defense. Meanwhile, she falls head over heels for Joey, a rebel musician who makes her feel wanted and asks no questions about her past. Joey helps Tera forget her troubles, but he brings a whole new set of problems to Tera's already complicated life. Then, to make matters worse, as her relationship with Joey deepens and as her dad's hotshot lawyer builds a defense, fractures begin to appear in Tera's childhood memories--fractures that make her wonder: could her father be guilty? And whether he's guilty or innocent, can she find a way to step out of the shadows of her father's reputation and walk free? Can she stop him, guilty or innocent, from tainting the only future she ever wanted? A Work of Art is a deeply felt story about self-image, self-deception, and the terrible moment that comes when we have to face the whole truth about the myths of our childhoods.

Kindle Edition, 242 pages
Published February 15th 2015 by Merit Press 
Genre: Young Adult

Kristine's Thoughts:

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

I'm struggling a little with my thoughts on this book. I finished it and instead of writing down what I thought right away I gave myself time to think about it. The time was needed for me to figure out how I felt about it. I think the reason that I struggled so much was because there are many excellent early reviews on the book and I was just not that excited by it.

A Work of Art was a very easy book to get through with a unique and attention grabbing plot. A few uninterrupted hours is all that is needed to get through this book. I had it finished in one sitting. Tera deals with many different issues throughout the book from her father to the boy she has a crush on.

So here is what I struggled with...

Tera was seventeen and eighteen in this book but she came across a lot younger. She was so immature and naive as well as not very smart (for lack of a better word) for someone of that age. I had to keep reminding myself of her age because I visualised her at about thirteen or fourteen.

Not only was Tera dealing with the allegations against her father and remembering events from her childhood but she was also dealing with the pressures of being a teenager at the same time. Things like having a boyfriend, sex, drugs and lies were all piled on top of the fact that her dad was in jail for an unthinkable crime. I guess I was hoping that the book would dig a little deeper into her emotional state and frame of mind but it didn't. She got through each trial and tribulation without too much of an impact on her mental health. I guess I was hoping for a little more depth in this area.

The last thing I struggled with was Tera's relationship with her mother. I get why it was the way that it was but as things came to light I expected a shift. There was a slight bit of mending to the fractured relationship but again I was hoping for a little more.

So in the end I think that the book was OK but in order to properly deal with all of the issues that were presented it needed to be longer. Major things happened and any one of the things that Tera dealt with would have a major impact on any teenager. I think a little more time on Tera's emotional state would have benefited the story tremendously. The length of the book and how she went from one situation to the next made it seem a little too easy.





About the Author
Melody Maysonet has been an English teacher, editor, columnist, and ghostwriter. Currently, she volunteer teaches in a homeless shelter, but she devotes most of her time to writing fiction for young adults. She lives in Coconut Creek, Florida, with her husband and son. A Work of Art is her first novel.


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