Monday, 25 December 2017

Review: Who Do You Love? (Love in the City) by J.M. Bronston


Young features editor Eugenia Shaw is thrilled to have a scoop on not one but two major stories for Lady Fair magazine. The last thing Gena expects is to fall in love—with a quirky looking Chinese Crested named Wiley. Or with the fellow Crested lover she keeps accidentally-on-purpose running into in Central Park . . .

Unlike Gena’s ambitious and self-centered live-in boyfriend, Paul is a man who appreciates Wiley’s unconventional elegance. And the better they get to know each other, the more it appears that he appreciates Gena, too. Soon she can’t help noticing how much happier and more confident she is when they’re together. She’s even beginning to see a new Gena when she looks in the mirror. But will she be brave enough to rewrite her own next chapter? . . .

ebook, 184 pages
Expected publication: December 26th 2017 by Lyrical Shine

Terri's Thoughts

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

I will be starting this review with a random observation.  I want to say kudo's to Bronston for having the cover of her book match what the pages of the story tell.  Too often you have a description of characters only to find the cover does not match at all.  This is a personal pet peeve of mine and while I feel you should not judge a book by its cover, I believe the cover should be consistent with the story.  In this case Wiley and Pie feature on the cover.

I literally just put this book down and I already forget Gena's boyfriends name.  That is how quickly I would be cutting him out of my life if I were her.  It was an instant case of hate at first sight (read) for me and stayed that way throughout the story.  Although not a fan of violence let me tell you I was willing to make an exception in his case.

What I liked about this story is that although there was a budding romance, the story was really about Gena and her journey to find herself in order to get what she truly deserved.  From the beginning when she rescued Wiley, through her journey as a writer for Lady Fair, the reader sees as she gains confidence and learns what she really wants from life.  This was a nice escape from the usual format of this genre.  No steamy scenes to be found but they are alluded to.

This looks like it may be part of a series, Love in the City, but from what I can tell it is a bunch of stand alone stories.  Perfect when you are looking for a nice quick read.


About the Author

Joan Myra Bronston grew up in New York City, married her college sweetheart, and went with him to Germany for a year while he was in the Army and where she worked as a telex operator and mail clerk. They then moved to Austria where Joan spent five years teaching at an international school. She is the mother of three wonderful girls and the grandmother of a super-wonderful grandson. Joan was also a secretary, social investigator, and psychiatric researcher, before entering law school and eventually becoming a corporate attorney.

In addition to her years in Europe, Joan has lived in Pittsburgh, Chicago, and, for 18 years, Salt Lake City. At last, she has closed the circle and returned to her first and most beloved - New York City.

Review: Loving You at Christmas by Kristin Wallace

Widowed stage actress, Annaliese Matheson is convinced she’ll never love again. This Christmas will become the opening act for her holiday happily ever after.

Annaliese Matheson once had the perfect life, with a successful career on Broadway and a loving husband who was her greatest champion. Then her husband died. Devastated, she left the stage behind and only returned when her best friend, Grayson Kendall, asked her to perform at The Paradise Dinner Theatre in tiny Shellwater Key, Florida.

Annaliese is convinced she’ll never love again, but when she steps in to direct to Middle School Christmas Show, nothing will ever be the same. A man unlike any she’s known awakens her buried heart, giving her a second chance at forever with the last person she would have expected. It will take a miracle for Annaliese to let someone else in and embrace happiness again...but then it is Christmas. 


Kindle Edition, 147 pages
Published November 7th 2017 by Write Notions, Inc. 
Series: Shellwater Key #3.5
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Kristine's Thoughts:

Loving You At Christmas is #3.5 in the Shellwater Key series but it can be read as a stand alone. There was a lot of name dropping in this novella that would probably make more sense if you were familiar with the series.

This novella followed the typical formula for a contemporary romance but on warped speed because it was so short. It felt a little too insta love but most romances that are packed into so few pages are. Set during the Christmas season, it wasn't hard to get behind the characters and wish for a happily ever after. This story succeeded in giving me exactly what I was in the mood for. A quick and easy Story set during the holiday season that I could get through without  a huge time commitment.

 

About the Author
Growing up Kristin devoured books like bags of Dove Dark Chocolate. Her first Golden Book led to Laura Ingalls Wilder, Nancy Drew, Encyclopedia Brown, C.S. Lewis and the Sweet Valley High series. Later, she discovered romance novels and fell in love all over again. It’s no surprise then that Kristin would one day try her hand at writing them. She writes inspirational romance and women’s fiction filled with love, laughter and a leap of faith. When she’s not writing her next novel, Kristin works as an advertising copywriter for clients that have included the Miami Marlins, Discovery Networks, The Peabody Hotel, Radisson Seven Seas Cruises and Sea World. She also enjoys singing in her church choir and worship team and playing flute in a community orchestra.

Connect with Kristin
 

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Review: From the Top (Bound by Design #3) by Roxanne Smith



A labor of love…
Seraphina Fawkes is ready to make her mark on the Little Rock design industry as Gallagher Interiors’ new lead on Tanbee House—a coveted historic restoration project. But the job’s biggest perk might be her handsome boss, Grant Gallagher. Grant shares Seraphina’s straightforward, no-nonsense demeanor, so she’s surprised when he hires an old adversary who was suspected of involvement in a drug ring. Though Grant seems intent on giving him a chance, she’ll keep a close watch on anything that could jeopardize the project—or her growing partnership with Grant.

Getting what he wants—even at others’ expense—never used to be difficult for Grant, but sexy, stubborn Seraphina tests his resolve. Though deception is necessary to maintain his covert investigation into the crime syndicate plaguing the city, Grant knows that the longer he hides the truth, the more destructive it will be when revealed. Will Seraphina still trust Grant, and their intense connection, after she finds out their foundation is built on secrets?

Terri's Thoughts

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

Ok, I am going to start my review with a mini rant.  My apologies to those I may offend because they have the same name, but I absolutely cannot stand the name Seraphina.  It just feels like a mouthful and it was written so many times I just kept getting more and more annoyed.  I was waiting for a nickname or something so I could stop reading it but alas a reprieve was not meant to be.  Is this relevant to the story, not really, it just really bugged me and I always promise to write my thoughts down.

Now to the actual character of Seraphina.  I also struggled with her.  I understand that her perceived cold exterior was due to her daddy issues and fear of not measuring up, but I really didn't warm up to her too much.  Grant on the other hand I did warm up to even though his characteristics were the same.  I think it is maybe because of his storyline with his mother and that fact that he was the first to show a "human side".

As this is the third in a series, of which I have not read the previous two, I feel that I may have understood the secondary characters better if I had read the series from the beginning.  I could be wrong but I think they may have been featured in the earlier installments.

For me, this story was just alright.






About the Author


Roxanne Smith lives in a small North Carolina town, nestled in the Smokies. She reads a lot.



Thursday, 21 December 2017

Review: Christmas Promises by Brenda Hiatt

When Lord Vandover leaves for London, he promises his grandmother he will return with a bride, for she is quite right that it is high time for him to wed. Unfortunately, with each simpering debutante he meets he regrets that promise more—until he encounters the lovely Miss Holly Paxton. Her directness and unbridled zest for life draw him like a moth to a flame, making his choice clear. Though undeniably smitten, Holly finds the handsome Marquess far too serious for her taste—and for his own good. She therefore makes a Christmas promise of her own: to bring into Lord Vandover’s life the joy and laughter he so clearly needs. If both of them make good on their promises, they can look forward to a rapturous life together and possibly the best Christmas ever.
A heartwarming courtship prequel to Christmas Bride.


Kindle Edition, 102 pages
Published December 6th 2016 by Dolphin Star Press 
Genre: Historical Romance
Kristine's Thoughts:

Christmas Promises is a short novella about the courtship between Lord Vandover and Miss Holly Paxton. It is the prequel to Christmas Bride.

This novella is exactly what was described, a short courtship story. Although it was interesting to read about society dating during that time frame, the story itself wasn't overly exciting. It was very slow moving for such a short read. I think that in order for it to really hold your interest you need to have read Christmas Bride in order to care about the characters.

 

 
About the Author
New York Times bestselling author Brenda Hiatt has published 21 novels to date, her first 15 with Harlequin and HarperCollins. Her novels include six traditional Regency romances, one time travel romance and eight historical romances, most set in Regency England, as well as one humorous mystery and a new young adult series. She has indie published her backlist and is currently writing more books in her young adult SF romance STARSTRUCK series. In addition to writing, Brenda is passionate about embracing life to the fullest, to include scuba diving (she has over 60 dives to her credit), Taekwondo (where she recently achieved her 3rd degree black belt), hiking, traveling, and pursuing new experiences and skills. She is an active member of Romance Writers of America, the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and Novelists, Inc, an international organization of multipublished novelists, where she served as President in 2006. For the past dozen years, Brenda has also collected data on writers' earnings, which she shares at her website.

Connect with Brenda
 


Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Review: Getting Down to Business (An on the Job Romance) by Allison B Hanson


Some jobs come with unexpected benefits . . .

Alyssa runs her personal life just like her professional one: smoothly and efficiently. She learned in the worst way possible that investing her heart in a relationship only leads to disaster, and she won’t take that risk again. Pleasure is still on the table though—as long as there are no feelings involved. Until a one-night stand leaves a lasting impression.

When after-work drinks lead to an after-hours hookup, Grayson finds himself playing by Alyssa’s rules—but she leaves him wanting more. Even when they discover they work for the same company, Alyssa is all business—on the outside, at least. As far as she’s concerned, keeping Grayson at a safe distance is now part of her job description, even if it’s her most challenging task. But when her living situation falls apart, Grayson makes her an offer she can’t refuse . . .

The terms of their new merger are strict: roommates only; hands off. But every contract can be broken—and every heart can be melted—if the deal is sweet enough

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: December 12th 2017 by Lyrical Press

Terri's Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  I am just getting around to my review even though the story was released last week.

This is the second in the On the Job Romance series however can easily be read as a stand alone.  Although I had read the first story as well, these two are not linked other than one character who makes a cameo periodically via text/telephone.

For those who did read the first story, you will recognize the same pattern in this one.  While the plot focuses on Alyssa and Grayson, there is a secondary storyline about one of Graysons co-workers.  This time around, the amount of time spent on the secondary plot is not as much as I believe my feedback last time was that it should have been two stories.  In this case, it provided a nice diversion from the angst that was Alyssa and Grayson.

Let me tell you this, I loved Grayson.  He has easily made my list of book boyfriends.  The fact that he was a hot guy who was not totally comfortable with a one night stand?  Talk about fiction but I lapped it all up.  The way he clearly felt about Alyssa had me swooning even though he had to hide those feelings.

It was kind of funny how their non - relationship was perhaps the most normal and comfortable relationship, until it wasn't.  I loved reading about these two falling in to their patterns and having their banter.  Really what a great way for two people to fall for each other.  Of course, enter the complications and it is just enough to keep you entertained.

For those that have read both stories, I liked this one better than the first one.  If this is your first journey in to the series, don't worry, pick it up and enjoy!



About the Author




Monday, 18 December 2017

Review: Fatal Evidence (Love on the Line #3) by Kari Lemor


What you don’t know can get you killed . . .

Construction company owner Scott Holland doesn’t go looking for trouble, but he’s just stumbled on plenty. The rundown mill he’s bought is plagued with mysterious incidents, and his investment partner, heiress Heather Silva, is as stubborn as she is intriguing. Dumped by his ex because of his blue-collar job, Scott is wary of Heather’s privileged background. Yet he’s drawn to her independence and strength, especially as the “accidents” grow more terrifying.

Determined to succeed without anyone’s help—especially her wealthy parents—Heather clashes with Scott again and again. But a grisly discovery makes them both targets. Someone wants Heather and Scott silenced for good. And as a killer closes in, the only option is to trust each other—or become the next victims…

Kindle Edition, 248 pages
Published December 5th 2017 by Lyrical Underground

Terri's Thoughts

I had received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  Due to a hectic work schedule, I am finally getting around to writing my review.

This story is the third in a series however I have not had the opportunity to read the first two.  Luckily this story can easily be read as a stand alone although I am now curious what happened before this story as I think that both Scott and Heather were supporting characters in at least one of the previous stories.

This story was interesting in how it mixed in a couple of different genres to create something a little bit unique.  Not normally a fan of books that have mob or gang elements to it, this book nicely ties blended pieces of both in a way that was subtle yet relevant to the plot.  I can't be sure but I believe if I had read the first two stories, I would have understood more how each fit in to the picture.  This book does a good job of explaining the back story of the mob but not so much the gangs.  I would be curious to see if they featured in the other books as well.

While I was able to guess the mystery of who was behind the accidents pretty easily and early on, I was still along for the ride.  I enjoyed the chemistry between Scott and Heather and how their relationship developed without them really even knowing it.  Add a little suspense and this story made my commute to work an easy one!




About the Author




Sunday, 17 December 2017

The Heartbreak Cure by Amanda Ashby

How to get over a heartbreak:

Step one: Eat your body weight in brownies.

Step two: Throw yourself into your dreams of becoming a famous writer.

Step three: Beg your (hottie) ex-neighbor to act as your fake boyfriend.

Step four: Skip step three unless you’re ready for some serious fallout.

After being dumped and humiliated over the summer, Cat Turner does what any sane girl would do. She asks bad boy Alex Locke to be her fake boyfriend and show the world (and her editor at the school newspaper) that she's fine. Problem is, the more time she spends with Alex, the more she risks getting her heart broken. For real this time. 



ebook
Published December 4th 2017 by Entangled: Crush 
Genre: Young Adult

Kristine's Thoughts:

** I received an advanced readers copy from Entangled Teen in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!**

The Heartbreak Cure was the story of friends who pretend to be in a relationship. It followed the typical formula for this type of story and the journey was pretty much what you would expect.

Young people will probably find this story cute but I found it lacked a lot of depth. There wasn't enough character or plot development for me to become emotionally invested in the main characters. I couldn't feel any chemistry between the two friends to make me want them to be anything more than fake boyfriend and girlfriend.

I didn't dislike the story but it didn't provide me with anything that would make it stand out. It was an average story that I will likely forget quickly.


 
About the Author
Amanda Ashby was born in Australia but now lives in New Zealand where she writes romance, young adult and middle grade books. She also works in a library, owns far too many vintage tablecloths and likes to delight her family by constantly rearranging the furniture.

She has a degree in English and Journalism from the University of Queensland and is married with two children. Her debut book was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award, and her first young adult book was listed by the New York Public Libraryʼs Stuff for the Teen Age. Because she’s mysterious she also writes middle grade books under the name, Catherine Holt and hopes that all this writing won’t interfere with her Netflix schedule.

She also runs writing workshops and loves to speak to people about Buffy (er, she means writing). See her Website for more information.
Connect with Amanda

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Review: A Crazy Kind of Love by Mary Ann Marlowe


Celebrities hold zero interest for photographer Jo Wilder. That's a problem, since snapping pics of the stars is how the pretty paparazza pays the rent. So when Jo attempts to catch a money shot atop the broad shoulders of a helpful bystander, the only thing she notices about the stranger she straddles is that he's seriously hot. Only later does Jo learn that he's also Micah Sinclair--one of rock's notorious bad boys...

Soon Jo is on the verge of getting fired for missing a Micah Sinclair exclusive. Until she's suddenly being pursued by the heartthrob himself. But how can she be sure the musician's mind-blowing kisses are the real deal? Her colleagues claim he's a media whore, gambling on some free PR. But something has Jo hoping Micah's feeling the same powerful pull that she does. A pull so strong, she can't resist becoming his latest love, even if it means she might become the media's latest victim . . .

Paperback
Published November 28th 2017 by Kensington Publishing Corporation

Terri's Thoughts

I had received this as an advanced copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  As the busy holiday season has taken me away from my reviews, I am just getting around to writing this now.

Although not advertised as a series, this story seems to be a follow up to Marlowe's previous story Some Kind of Magic.  I had not read that story and was able to read this as a stand alone however I do warn there were a couple of moments when I wish I knew the backstory of Eden who the first book featured.

I won't spend a lot of time on the plot as I feel the synopsis does a good assessment of what the story is about.  I liked the idea behind Jo and Micah.  It made me think, in reality, would a paparazzi and a star really find their way in to each others lives?  Not very likely however this was fiction and provides us with a fantasy.  I also liked that Jo was clearly not cut out for her line of business.  From my admittedly limited knowledge, the paparazzi are ruthless and it would take a certain personality and drive to be successful on that career path and Jo did not possess these qualities.

Overall, a good story





About the Author




Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Review: Raging Winter by Colleen Gleason

A stand-alone, short novel in the international best-selling Gardella Vampire Hunter series.



When vampire hunter Max Denton goes undercover at an English estate over the Christmas holidays, the last person he wants to find there is the lovely Savina Eleiasa. But present she is--and on the arm of her new fiancé.

This is the second short Max Denton novel and can be read as a standalone. 


Kindle Edition, 82 pages
Published December 15th 2015 by Avid Press 
Series: The Gardella Vampire Hunters #9
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Kristine's Thoughts:

Raging Winter is a stand alone novella that is part of the Gardella Vampire Hunter series. I won't say a lot about it or sugar coat it but I wasn't a fan.

Max had issues to put it mildly and there was no covering them to my satisfaction in the 82 pages that it took to get through the novella. On top of that, the plot in this little story fell short of interesting for a lack of better words. Lastly, it didn't even begin to scratch the Christmas itch that I was hoping it would when I picked it up.

I truly feel that you have to be familiar with this series and have read it to enjoy this novella. It is marketed as a stand alone but there was too much left unsaid from before and after. Without a history of these characters this novella is just a lack luster story that is truly forgettable.



About the Author
Award-winning, NEW YORK TIMES and USA Today bestselling author Colleen Gleason has written more than twenty books for major publishers such as Penguin Group, Harlequin Enterprises, Chronicle Books, and HarperCollins (as Joss Ware). Her books have been translated into seven different languages.

Colleen lives in the Midwest United States where she is fortunate enough to be working on her next book.  

Connect with Colleen

Monday, 11 December 2017

Review: The Map to You (A Least Likely Romance) by Lindy Zart


They both had secrets that could drive people apart—or bring them together forever . . .
Keeping his inner demons at bay means Blake Malone has more than enough trouble on his plate. He doesn’t need any extra complications. But that’s exactly what he gets when, on his way to North Dakota, he leaves his truck unattended—and returns to find a beautiful woman sleeping in the front seat.

Opal Allen seems to have a knack for attracting trouble. Which is why she isn’t about to tell her new road trip companion the real reason she needs to hightail it out of town. But Blake has a way of seeing right through her, which is both terrifying and exhilarating. Now her biggest problem is figuring out how to resist their undeniable attraction. Because once this road trip is over, she plans on never seeing Blake again.

But the best adventures don’t go according to plan. 

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: November 28th 2017 by Lyrical Shine

Terri's Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  I am a little late getting this review out as it was released in November.

This story delivered exactly what I expected from it.  Both characters came in to their "relationship" with their own baggage that prevented them from a healthy relationship.  The two were attracted to each other however the previously mentioned baggage was an obstacle.  When they succumb to their physical attraction, it is fireworks.

Essentially the typical formula that one would expect from a story in this genre.  Those seeking their fix will be satisfied with this story.

An added element that I enjoyed was the road trip part.  There are so many places a story can take you when on the road and this did not disappoint.

This seems to be part of a series of some sort in which Blake was previously featured.  I had not read the other story and it in no way impacted my ability to enjoy this one.

Overall a good read!

About the Author


Lindy Zart is a USA TODAY bestselling author that has been writing since she was a child. Luckily for readers, her writing has improved since then. She lives in Wisconsin with her family. Lindy loves hearing from people who enjoy her work. She also has a completely natural obsession with wine, coffee, peanut butter, bloody marys, and pizza.


Sunday, 10 December 2017

Review: The Handfasting by Glynnis Campbell

THE HANDFASTING – Prequel novella to The Knights of de Ware
When Sir Noёl de Ware comes from France to claim his betrothed—the most beautiful heiress in the Highlands—he's sure he's been given the best holiday gift ever…until he discovers the spirited lass he's wedded and bedded is not the right sister. Ysenda of Rivenloch never intended to be a counterfeit bride, and when she begins to fall in love with her handsome husband, she becomes trapped in her own deception. Only true love and a Yuletide wish can set things straight and grant them a happily ever after.


Kindle Edition, 114 pages
Published December 8th 2015 by Glynnis Campbell 
Genre: Historical Romance


Kristine's Thoughts:

With this being such a short tale I won't re-tell the story and give away any of the plot. The synopsis gives you a good idea of what the story was about. I will say that it was filled with misunderstandings, confusion, deception, lust. lies and a whole lot of inta-love. Set during the holiday season this story had a hint of magic within the snow covered Highlands that added to the charm and festive atmosphere. Yes it was a little far fetched and unbelievable but it was cute and entertaining all the same. I think this genre is starting to grow on me.



About the Author
Glynnis Campbell is a USA Today bestselling author of swashbuckling "medieval action-adventure romance," mostly set in Scotland, with over a dozen books published in six languages. A member of the Jewels of Historical Romance, she was once in an all-girl band on CBS Records, has done voiceovers for an MTV series, Diablo and Starcraft videogames, and various audiobooks, and is married to a rock star. She loves to transport readers to a place where the bold heroes have endearing flaws, the women are stronger than they look, the land is lush and untamed, and chivalry is alive and well.

Connect with Glynnis
 
 


Thursday, 7 December 2017

Review: Daniel and the Angel by Jill Barnett

When wealthy financier D. L. Stewart's finds an injured woman in the snow in front of his New York City mansion, he has no idea she is Lillian, a big-hearted and somewhat inept fallen angel, sent back to teach him what Christmas is all about. But Lilli has her work cut out for her. D.L. is a wounded and cynical soul, a man who is an expert at not feeling anything, and who believes he can buy anything...and anyone. Can one loving, soft-hearted angel really change this damaged man who has a heart of solid stone?

Originally published in the 1994 anthology A Holiday of Love.



Kindle Edition, 138 pages
Published December 2015 by Amazon Digital Services (first published November 1st 1994)  
Genre: Historical Romance

Kristine's Thoughts:

Daniel and the Angel was a quick story about an angel who got kicked out of heaven and lands as a fallen angel in New York City during the holiday season. She was hit by D.L Stewart's carriage and taken to his house to recover. A cold man who knew how to do nothing but work was most concerned about getting sued. Little did he know that Lillian's one chance to go back to heaven was him.

What did I think?

The beginning with Lillian up in heaven was super cheesy, I mean roll your eyes cheesy. I was questioning what exactly I was reading. Hang in there... Once she fell it got much better. It was still cheesy but in the holiday, Christmasy, romantic kind of way. Yes it was kind of insta-love but what can you expect at 138 pages. I was looking for something with some holiday magic to put me in the Christmas spirit and this novella did exactly that. If you dig deep enough there were plenty of things that could be picked apart but it did exactly what I was hoping it would do at the time I wanted it to. It was a cute and entertaining little read.

FYI... Christmas in NYC is my favourite and perhaps that added to my enjoyment of this story.



About the Author
New York Times Bestselling Author Jill Barnett is master storyteller known for her beautifully-written love stories rich with humor, emotion, and poignancy. She is the winner of Lifetime Achievement Awards for Love and Laughter and Historical Romance and is a six-time Romance Writers of America RITA nominee and winner of both a Persie Award for Literature and a Waldenbooks Award. Her books have been named Best of the Year by Dallas Morning News, Detroit Free Press, and Kirkus Review and she was the first historical romance author to ever receive a starred review from Publishers Weekly. She stands alongside Judith McNaught as one of only two authors to ever receive a six-star review from Affaire de Coeur Magazine and her work has been published in 23 languages and appeared on numerous bestseller lists. She lives in the PNW with her family.

Connect with Jill
 

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Review: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.


Kindle Edition, 316 pages
Published February 14th 2012 by Alfred A. Knopf 
Series: Wonder #1
Genre: Young Adult/Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

I plan on seeing this movie so I had to pick up the book and read it before hand. It is against the law (my law) to watch a movie before reading the book. I managed to get the book done before it was released but this post won't go up until much after. Hopefully I will have seen the movie by the time this post goes up and I can check back to compare the two.

There are a gazillion reviews for this book and I noticed that a large number of my Goodreads friends had rated it very high so my expectations were high as well. It is more than safe to say that I was not disappointed. Why did I wait so long to read this?

First off, I have to say that this book was very easy to read. I managed to read the entire book in one sitting. It started with August telling the story and then it alternated between many other people that were a part of his life in one way or another. I am a huge fan of alternating perspectives because I feel you get a better picture of the entire story from all sides.

I won't re-tell the story but I will talk about how relevant and timeless the messages within the pages of this book were. It showcased how someone who was different from everyone else was treated and how it impacted his life and the people around him. It also showed how mean kids can be to each other and the hurt they can cause. It was powerful and very realistic. I think all fifth graders (the grade the kids in this book were) would benefit from reading Wonder because there is a lot that they can learn from it at that impressionable age. Older children, teenagers and even some adults could learn a thing or two from it as well.

I enjoyed every second of it and I can't wait to see if the movie can live up to it.



About the Author
R.J. Palacio lives in NYC with her husband, two sons, and two dogs. For more than twenty years, she was an art director and graphic designer, designing book jackets for other people while waiting for the perfect time in her life to start writing her own novel. But one day several years ago, a chance encounter with an extraordinary child in front of an ice cream store made R. J. realize that the perfect time to write that novel had finally come. Wonder is her first novel. She did not design the cover, but she sure does love it.

Raquel J. Palacio / R. J. Palacio is a pseudonym of: Raquel Jaramillo

Connect
 

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Review: The Black Falcon's Christmas by Kimberly Cates

The Black Falcon rides again... An English Heiress lost... A Devil's Bargain struck...

When English heiress Maryssa Wylder defied her father to wed an Irish patriot raider known as the Black Falcon, she thought she was ready for life as Tade Kilcannon’s wife and the mother of their son. But nothing her governesses taught her prepared her for tending a baby or being part of his large, boisterous family—a family that can’t forget she is the daughter of their greatest enemy.

Tade Kilcannon knows Maryssa is struggling after sacrificing a life of wealth and privilege for their great love. When he learns that her joyless father forbade celebrating Christmas, he dons the Black Falcon’s mask one last time to fight for their happily ever after. Can he give Maryssa a Christmas miracle?



Kindle Edition, 237 pages
Published December 5th 2016 by Kimberly Cates Books 
Series: Celtic Rogues
Genre: Holiday/Historical Romance

Kristine's Thoughts:

I started reading this book because I wanted a nice festive story to help get me in the holiday spirit. I have just recently began trying out the historical romance genre.

The Black Falcon's Christmas is part of the Celtic Rogues series and is the continuation of Tade and Maryssa's story. You don't need to read the first book in the series in order to follow along. With that being said, I found myself more interested in the story that had already happened in the first book than the one that was happening on the pages in front of me. A lot of time was spent filling in the blanks as to how the two ended up where they were and I found that part, the back story, most intriguing. The plot within this book was, if I'm being honest, a little boring and slow. I felt like the same story could have been told with half as many pages and then I may have enjoyed it a little more. It wasn't horrible just terribly long winded.

This book did not really satisfy my Christmas craving however it did make me quite curious about Tade and Maryssa's original story. Although this can be read as a stand alone I think if I had followed their story from the beginning I might have enjoyed it more. It was just way too slow for my liking.



About the Author
Kimberly Cates lives in Illinois with her family.
Pseudonyms: Kimberleigh Caitlin and Kim Cates.
 

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Review: Mischief & Mistletoe by Tanya Anne Crosby

'Twas the Week Before Christmas...

Suspecting he can never be the man Emma Peters wishes him to be, Lucien Morgen, the fifth duke of Willyngham, decides to break off their long-standing engagement...only to discover the innocent fiancé he set aside for years has unexpectedly blossomed into a passionate, irresistible woman.

When All Through the House...

As the family counts down to Christmas, everyone else seems to realize Lucien and Emma are truly meant to be--except the oblivious couple. With the help of some very mischievous children, Emma and Lucien are about to discover that a little mischief beneath the mistletoe might just open their hearts to love.


Kindle Edition, 78 pages
Genre: Romance/Historical Romance/Holiday/Novella
Kristine's Thoughts:

In my hunt for some Christmas cheer to get me in the Christmas spirit I decided to pick this novella up and give it a try. In the interest of full disclosure I will admit that I have never really been drawn to historical romance. I love historical fiction but tend to stay away from these types of books. I don't know why.

I have to admit that I enjoyed this novella more than I thought I would. At only 78 pages I can't really say too much about it but it succeeded in giving me some holiday feels. Who doesn't smile at love discovered during the holiday season.

If I had to dissect the story I would say that the characters were a little weak especially Lucien. A broken betrothal because he didn't feel worthy but with no explanation was a little unbecoming. Also the fact that his feelings changed three years later when Emma was more mature, beautiful and self confident was a little slimy. However, I adored Emma's family and their closeness and holiday traditions.

In the end this novella did entertained me for a short time and succeeded in putting me in the holiday spirit.


About the Author
Put a menu in front of me and I immediately don't know what I want. Fried green tomatoes with grits? Yep, OK. Fish? Sounds good, too. OK, so what are you having? I'll do that too. When it comes to shoes--forget it. I end up buying nothing because I can't make up my mind. Thank God I have a husband who has great tastes, or my closet might be empty. I'm one of those people who suffers from acute ambivalence given too many choices, but when it comes to what I wanted to do with my life, I've known that decidedly since the age of 12--and probably long before that. It all began once upon a time after a tonsillectomy, when the doc advised mom and dad they should reward me with anything I wanted (the key word here being anything). All I wanted was dad's typewriter. I got it, of course--a black, sporty Olympia I immediately set out to wearing the letters off the keys. So here I am all these years later, with sixteen books under my belt and a new one on the way ... still wearing the letters off keyboards ... and loving every minute.

Connect with Tanya
 

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Review: Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. 


Hardcover, 286 pages
Published October 10th 2017 by Dutton Books for Young Readers 
Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary




Kristine's Thoughts:

This book has been reviewed thousands of times so I'm not going to re-tell the story. If I'm being honest, I'm not sure I could anyway. Instead I am just going to write down my thoughts on Turtles All the Way Down.

I thought the way John Green captured Aza's anxieties and compulsions were spectacular. The way he penned her thought process and lack of control over those thoughts really showcased how difficult it is for someone living with those ailments to cope. Early on I thought that I was in for a deeply moving and serious story about mental illness.

However...

I was completely underwhelmed with the rest of the story. Perhaps it was because this book came on the heals of The Fault in our Stars which was amazing but it felt more like Green was trying too hard. Reviews are great for this book so I am definitely in the minority but I can't help but wonder if  readers were blinded by who the author is and their loyalty to his much loved novels of the past.

Why did I feel this way?.

The story line was crappy. The entire billionaire disappearing story was boring and odd. The only good thing about Aza's interactions with Davis was the showcasing of her OCD about germs when they kissed. There was no emotion to be felt otherwise.

The story was also all over the map. Aza's difficulties, her relationship with Davis, his disappearing dad, a best friends fan fiction, and a moms never ending worry left me questioning what exactly was going on. Not to mention that there was endless quoting throughout the entire book that irritated me tremendously. First of all, no teenager talks like the characters in this book or goes around quoting people all of the time. No adult does either. It was seriously never ending in this book.

It made me so sad that I was so underwhelmed but I am just being honest. I truly feel like the ratings for this book are simple because of Green's past work and not fully on the merit of this particular work.


 
 

About the Author
John Green's first novel, Looking for Alaska, won the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award presented by the American Library Association. His second novel, An Abundance of Katherines, was a 2007 Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His next novel, Paper Towns, is a New York Times bestseller and won the Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best YA Mystery. In January 2012, his most recent novel, The Fault in Our Stars, was met with wide critical acclaim, unprecedented in Green's career. The praise included rave reviews in Time Magazine and The New York Times, on NPR, and from award-winning author Markus Zusak. The book also topped the New York Times Children's Paperback Bestseller list for several weeks. Green has also coauthored a book with David Levithan called Will Grayson, Will Grayson, published in 2010. The film rights for all his books, with the exception of Will Grayson Will Grayson, have been optioned to major Hollywood Studios.

Connect with John
 

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Review: The Sisters of Glass Ferry by Kim Michele Richardson


Spanning several decades and written in an authentic voice both lyrical and wise, The Sisters of Glass Ferry is a haunting novel about small-town Southern secrets, loss and atonement, and the unbreakable bond between siblings.

Glass Ferry, Kentucky, is bourbon country. Whiskey has been a way of life for generations, enabling families to provide and survive even in the darkest times. Flannery Butler's daddy, Beauregard "Honey Bee" Butler, was known for making some of the best whiskey in the state, aged in barrels he'd take by boat up and down the Kentucky River until the rocking waters turned the spirits smooth and golden. Flannery is the only person Honey Bee ever entrusted with his recipes before he passed on, swearing her to secrecy as he did so.

But Flannery is harboring other secrets too, about her twin sister Patsy, older by eight minutes and pretty in a way Flannery knows she'll never be.

Then comes the prom night when Patsy--wearing a yellow chiffon dress and the family pearls--disappears along with her date. Every succeeding year on the twins' birthday, Flannery's mother bakes a strawberry cake, convinced that this is the day Patsy will finally come home. But it will be two tumultuous decades until the muddy river yields a clue about what happened that night, compelling Flannery to confront the truth about her sleepy town, her family's past, and the choices she and those closest to her have made in the name of love and retribution . .

Paperback, 272 pages
Expected publication: November 28th 2017 by Kensington Publishing Corporation

Terri's Thoughts

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

I was drawn in to this story as I wanted to find out more about Patsy's story and what happened to her.  The story slowly unfolds as it goes between the past and the present (although the present is still in the past).  The reader finds out about the dynamic of each member of the Butler family while waiting to find out what Patsy's fate was.

Although I found the story overly descriptive at times in my need to find out what happened, it was told in a way that allows the reader to really know each of the characters, the town, and the era in which the story takes place.

To be honest, at first I thought Patsy's fate was revealed too soon.  I wondered how there could be so much book left once the secret was revealed.  I didn't think there would be enough to hold my interest.  Then....bam, something else happened and more secrets were revealed.  I then began invested again.

While overall I was conflicted with the character of Flannery, finding her perhaps not as strong as she was intended to be portrayed, I still enjoyed the story.  As a twin myself, any story revolving around twins tends to be of interest to me.  While not an overly fast moving story, this was an enjoyable read to me.


About the Author


Kim Michele Richardson resides in Kentucky mostly, and part time in Western NC. She is a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and an advocate for the prevention of child abuse and domestic violence, and has also partnered with the U.S. Navy globally for domestic violence abuse awareness and education.

Liar’s Bench is her first novel. She is also the author of the bestselling memoir The Unbreakable Child. Kim Michele is a contributor to the Huffington Post. Her second novel, GodPretty in the Tobacco Field is out in stores Spring 2016. Her third novel, The Sisters of Glass Ferry arrives in bookstores November 28, 2017.




Thursday, 23 November 2017

Review: The Secret Child by Kerry Fisher

Just for a moment, I was young and invincible again, back before I made the decision that changed the rest of my life…
 
Susie did something that she knows she will always regret: giving her baby son up for adoption, to keep her infidelity secret from her family.  

Louise, Susie’s daughter, feels the effects of that decision echoing down through the years – her mother has always been difficult, too strict with her but not strict enough with her sister Grace, who is wild and out-of-control. And Danny, Susie’s husband, adores her, but has always sensed something wrong at the heart of their marriage. 
 
When tragedy strikes the family, and a chance discovery threatens to bring the truth to light, the sisters’ relationship is put to the test as they are faced with an impossible choice…


Kindle Edition, 354 pages
Expected publication: November 29th 2017 by Bookouture 

Kristine's Thoughts:

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

I literally just finished this book and I am at a loss for words. The Secret Child is the perfect example of how a traumatic event can shape and follow a person throughout the rest of their days. It is about how one moment in time can change every single part of who someone is and who they want to be. It is about family, it is about sacrifice and above all it is about love in its many shapes and forms.

The Secret Child began with Susie in a Mother and Baby home with her newborn son Edward. It showcased her struggle and her unconditional love for the boy that she would be giving away. From the very beginning it gutted me. I was emotional drawn to the story and desperate to know more. Why was she giving him away? How was it possible that her husband didn't know she was pregnant? What brought her to that point? I was mesmerised and hooked after just a few pages.

This book literally followed Susie's life from the time she gave her baby up for adoption into her golden years. It detailed her family life and the impact that her decision and lies had on her life. Every emotion was on display both within the pages and with myself as the reader. There was sadness, anger, frustration, depression as well as love, guilt and indecision.  I was a roller coaster of emotions as I turned each page but I couldn't put it down. I felt like I was an invisible part of her family and as if I was going through everything with them. For me, it is a sign of a really great book if it really makes me feel and it certainly did.

The Secret Child was a beautifully written family drama that swept from the 1960's when things were much different to present day. I don't want to say much more because I feel the less you know the better with this story. All I know is that it is going to stay with me for a very long time. It was a very emotional and thought provoking story. I would highly recommend it. This was the first book by Kerry Fisher for me but it won't be the last.






About the Author



Connect with Kerry