Wednesday 30 April 2014

Review: Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

On scholarship at a prestigious East Coast college, ordinary Mabel Dagmar is surprised to befriend her roommate, the beautiful, blue-blooded Genevra Winslow. Ev invites Mabel to spend the summer at Bittersweet, her cottage on the Vermont estate where her family has been holding court for more than a century; it's the kind of place where swimming boldly is required and the children twirl sparklers across the lawn during cocktail hour. Mabel falls in love with the midnight skinny-dips, the wet dog smell lingering in the air, the moneyed laughter carrying across the still lake, and before she knows it, she has everything she's ever wanted: wealth, friendship, a boyfriend, and, most of all, the sense, for the first time in her life, that she belongs.

But as Mabel becomes an insider, she makes a terrible discovery, which leads to shocking violence and the revelation of the true source of the Winslows' fortune. Mabel must choose: either expose the ugliness surrounding her and face expulsion from paradise, or keep the family’s dark secrets and redefine what is good and what is evil, in the interest of what can be hers.

Hardcover, 400 pages
Expected publication: May 13th 2014 by Crown
Terri's Review:
I received an advanced copy of this book from Random House Crown via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is May 13, 2014.
I really don't know where to start with this story.  There were so many characters that I disliked (almost all) yet I kept reading to find out more.
  • The descriptive narrative on the scenery surrounding Winloch was just beautiful.  I could picture myself taking in the lakeside, enjoying the cottages and spending the day just doing nothing there.  The setting for the story was where the strength in the plot came
  • The pure amount of dogs - what can I say I love dogs!
  • The character of Indo - I loved her eccentricity
  • The "bad guys", the played the part well if just a bit predictable  

I had two major problems with the story
  • It took too long to get to the point of what the secrets were.  We knew there were secrets but Mabel was running around chasing something she didn't know until we neared the end.  Yes we knew some of the people were creepy but there was a lack of hints along the way to justify Mabel continuing her quest.  This made the story too long.
  • I simply could not identify with Mabel and in turn did not like her very much.  I get that she wanted the feeling of belonging and that she wanted to be part of something.  Every female has felt like this at some point in their life.  The problem was that she seemed to take it too far.  She was obsessed with the Winslow family and in turn a lot of her decisions and actions seemed selfish and annoying.  Her actions made one think that she felt she deserved a birthright that was not hers.  I really didn't like her.
To sum it up this was an enjoyable yet slightly flawed read for me.  The ending was predictable however satisfying.  The highlight without a doubt is the setting in which the story took place.

About the Author

From Goodreads profile

I write novels. My third, Bittersweet (due out from Crown in May), is set at the home on Lake Champlain where I spent my summers as a little girl. But that’s where the resemblance to life ends—the place, renamed Winloch in the book—is inhabited by a family of bad people. I wrote Bittersweet for people like me, who love The Secret History and The Emperor’s Children; it’s a literary beach read.

My first two novels were published in 2005 and 2007.

Based in some part on my own experience being photographed by two fine arts photographers, Jock Sturges and Mona Kuhn, I started my first novel, The Effects of Light, to answer the question most Americans seemed to ask when I explained this photographic work to them—would I still love it if an innocent died because that work had been made? My second novel, Set Me Free, was based in part on the time I spent on the Crow reservation in highschool, the legacy of my countercultural parents, and the complications of their generation of liberal do-gooders. The book was also an homage to my theater school-aged days and based on The Tempest.

Check out more about me and my work at and Twitter: @MirandaBW. Also, check out my web project about girlhood friendship:


Twitter:  MirandaBW

Tuesday 29 April 2014

Review: The Sound by Sarah Alderson

When aspiring music journalist Ren Kingston takes a job nannying for a wealthy family on the exclusive island of Nantucket, playground for Boston's elite, she's hoping for a low-key summer reading books and blogging about bands. Boys are firmly off the agenda.

What she doesn't count on is falling in with a bunch of party-loving private school kids who are hiding some dark secrets, falling (possibly) in love with the local bad boy, and falling out with a dangerous serial killer...

Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Expected publication: May 13th 2014 by Simon Pulse 
Genre: Young Adult

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Simon Pulse via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. The expected publication date is May 13, 2014. Thank you!

When looking up this book it appears that there are a wide range of opinions when it comes to this book so I was anxious to see for myself what it was all about.

Basically this is a story of a teenage girl who goes to the US to nanny for the summer and finds herself mixed with a bunch of privileged rich kids. Then enters Jesse, the local "bad" boy, who is enemies with this bunch of kids. There is an ongoing feud that Ren cannot get details about but for some reason she is drawn to him. Admittedly, as the reader, I had the mystery behind the feud figured out from the on-set but Ren spends quite a bit of time trying to figure it out. Add to all this teenage drama a serial nanny killer and you have The Sound.

Here is what I think...

There is a huge focus on the girl/boy dynamic and the characters are preoccupied with the opposite sex and hooking up and bashing each other to make themselves feel better. Did I take offence to this? No. Will younger readers take offence to this? Possibly. As a reader who is beyond the age of the characters in this book I see a lot of truth in the way the players in this book act. Teenagers (not all so don't hate) can be preoccupied and obsessed with the opposite sex and many young people say nasty things about others in order to make themselves feel better. Having teenagers myself and having been one myself, I see first hand how mean young people can be to each other. The way the characters act and the things they say may be a little over the top but it is not uncommon within the teenage population. It is by no means appropriate or acceptable behaviour but it is unfortunately how some teens act. Having said that, I truly hope that the terrible competition between the boys in this story is not common!

Ultimately this story is a love story between Ren and Jesse with the nanny killer as a secondary story. I enjoyed how the relationship progressed and I adored Jesse. I was in his corner from the start. The actual murder story was a little weak but an entertaining piece to the puzzle nonetheless.

In the end it is what it is...a story. It entertained me for a few hours and I am glad that I had the opportunity to read it.


About the Author

Having spent most of her life in London, Sarah quit her job in the non profit sector in 2009 and took off on a round the world trip with her husband and princess-obsessed daughter on a mission to find a new place to call home. After several months in India, Singapore, Australia and the US, they settled in Bali where Sarah now spends her days writing by the pool and trying to machete open coconuts without severing a limb.

She finished her first novel, Hunting Lila, just before they left the UK, wrote the sequel on the beach in India and had signed a two book deal with Simon & Schuster by the time they had reached Bali.

A third book, Fated, about a teenage demon slayer, was published in January 2012.

The Sound, a thriller romance set in Nantucket, was originally published in August 2013. She has a further three thrillers due for release in the next few years.

Monday 28 April 2014

Review: We Are The Goldens by Dana Reinhardt

Nell knows a secret about her perfect, beautiful sister Layla. If she tells, it could blow their world apart.

When Nell and Layla were little, Nell used to call them Nellaya. Because to Nell, there was no difference between where she started and her adored big sister ended. They're a unit; divorce made them rely on each other early on, so when one pulls away, what is the other to do? But now, Nell's a freshman in high school and Layla is changing, secretive. And then Nell discovers why. Layla is involved with one of their teachers. And even though Nell tries to support Layla, to understand that she's happy and in love, Nell struggles with her true feelings: it's wrong, and she must do something about it.

Hardcover, 208 pages
Expected publication: May 27th 2014 by Wendy Lamb Books
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 May 27, 2014.
At the core of this book it is the story about Nell as she learns the struggles of being a highschool girl with the added burden of knowing a secret about her sister.  It is about learning about those who are truly important in your life and muddling your way through the difference between right and wrong.
The story is written almost as if it a journal or letter to Nell's sister which is a unique approach to take with the story.  It is a way to see the thoughts that Nell is experiencing as she struggled between devotion to her sister and her knowledge of what the right thing to do would be.  I liked this approach.
Although the end is left somewhat open it allows the reader to determine the outcome on their own.  A light YA read about a not so light topic which gives a little lesson on growing up.
About the Author


Sunday 27 April 2014

Review: Pulled Under by Michelle Dalton

A shy teen befriends an attractive beach town tourist in this refreshing summertime romance, in the tradition of Sixteenth Summer and Seventeenth Summer.

In the small town of Pearl Beach, Florida, Izzy Lucas needs only her surfboard and the water to be completely happy. She wants nothing to do with parties, popularity contests, or showing her face around the clichéd touristy hangouts. Izzy’s tight group of coworkers at the local surf shop have tried relentlessly to break shy Izzy out of her (sea)shell. But Izzy isn’t interested…until the day Ben Barker walks into the store.

Ben’s from the city. He’s cute, charming, and wants her help adjusting to beach town culture. As the weeks of surfing lessons and pizza shack visits fly by, Izzy and Ben realize their attraction goes beyond mere friendship. But Ben is only in town for three months, and Izzy wonders if this amazing guy is worth stepping out of her comfort zone for what might be the perfect summer romance—or her first heartbreak.

Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Expected publication: May 6th 2014 by Simon Pulse 
Genre: Young Adult/ Romance

Kristine's Thoughts:

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

I thought that this book was super cute. I am by no means a young adult but I found myself thinking back to my summers as a teenager and found myself relating to the characters in the book.

It was more than just a story about young love and summer time crushes. It was about finding yourself and pushing yourself to be your best you. Izzy was a fade into the background kind of girl until Ben came along and gave her the confidence to achieve more than she ever thought possible. Throughout the highs and lows of their summer romance Izzy discovered who she was and where she belonged.

The romance itself was adorable to read. The way Izzy and Ben interacted was sweet, innocent and heartwarming. They were both etremely likeable and quirky and I enjoyed how the relationship developed. I would have loved Ben as a teenager even with the white socks! Mostly I think I enjoyed the fact that their romance was healthy and clean. It was a refreshing change from a lot of what is out there right now.

I would reccommend this book to anyone who is looking for a sweet, wholesome story about young love and growing as a person. Besides a few little kisses the book is squeaky clean and appropriate for the youngest of the young adults and those of us that are young at heart.

About the Author
Michelle Dalton is the author of Fifteenth Summer, Sixteenth Summer, and the Sixteenth Summer series. Married to her high school sweetheart, Michelle loves baking, walking her dog, Lola, and reading on the beach.  

Saturday 26 April 2014

Review: Girl In Reverse by Barbara Stuber

When Lily was three, her mother put her up for adoption, then disappeared without a trace. Or so Lily was told. Lily grew up in her new family and tried to forget her past. But with the Korean War raging and fear of “commies” everywhere, Lily’s Asian heritage makes her a target. She is sick of the racism she faces, a fact her adoptive parents won’t take seriously. For Lily, war is everywhere—the dinner table, the halls at school, and especially within her own skin.

Then her brainy little brother, Ralph, finds a box hidden in the attic. In it are a baffling jumble of broken antiques—clues to her past left by her “Gone Mom.” Lily and Ralph attempt to match these fragments with rare Chinese artifacts at the art museum. She encounters the artistic genius Elliot James, who attracts and infuriates Lily as he tries to draw out the beauty of her golden heritage. Will Lily summon the courage to confront her own remarkable creation story? The real story, and one she can know only by coming face-to-face with the truth long buried within the people she thought she knew best.

Paperback, 336 pages
Expected publication: May 13th 2014 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Terri's Thoughts:
I received an advanced copy of this novel from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is May 13 2014.
This was a story about finding identity and your place in the world.  Told through the eyes of a Chinese girl who was adopted in to a non Chinese family during the time of the Korean war it captured the theme of social tolerance perfectly.  Not only did Lily struggle with her identity because she had nobody to teach her about her heritage she also had to deal with being a social outcast simply because of her heritage.
Although not an overly exciting read it does teach a very good lesson.  One about accepting who you are, knowing what you stand for and accepting the things that make you different.  This is a good message to give the YA audience.  Although I found Lily was a little too easily brought to tears I am saying this as someone who has not had to deal with her issues.  I also remember my teen angst years and perhaps should be a little more forgiving.  Anyone who has ever felt a little lost can appreciate this story.
There is also a nice clean "first love" story within the pages.  Although not the main focus of the story it added an element of interest to it for me.  The highlight of the story is Lily's brother Ralph.  I had to keep reminding myself that he was only eleven as at times he seemed so much older and more mature than that.  If all little brothers were like him then I would wish that I had one.
All in all this was a good story with a good message about tolerance and discovering ones identity.  It was a fast and easy read and teaches a few lessons along the way.

About the Author

In the fourth grade Barbara Stuber co-authored her first book – a "Diotionary" (sic)of nonsense words. Early spelling challenges resolved she now weaves those words into short stories and novels. When not writing, Barbara is an art museum docent, drawing inspiration for her characters and honing details of setting and plot from the museum’s vast resource of portraits, landscapes and sculpture.

Barbara lives in Kansas City with her family, about two hours from the good folks of Wellsford, Missouri. Crossing the Tracks is her first novel.



Thursday 24 April 2014

Feature and Follow Friday #25

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

This week's question is...

 Have any pets? Tell us or show us

Kristine's answer...

Meet Dolce, our beloved 4 yr old goldie
  That is her on the day that we brought her home from the breeder's and this is her now...
We just love her to pieces!

Terri's answer...
Introducing Dolce's cousin Maya my 2.5 year old golden retriever
This was the day we brought her home
This was the first time she broke the no pets on the furniture rule.  She is now allowed on the couch

Maya posing with her toys.  She is my world!

Do you have any pets?

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.

BROKEN by Lauren Layne Teaser Reveal and Cover Spotlight!

Lauren Layne, the author of the hit New Adult romance Isn’t She Lovely, and Random House’s Flirt imprint, are thrilled to share a first look at BROKEN, Lauren’s upcoming New Adult romance, and spotlight her gorgeous new cover!

BROKEN by Lauren Layne
Flirt New Adult Romance
On sale: September 2, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-553-39035-3

About the book:

Lauren Layne’s heart-wrenching novel tells the story of a girl with secrets, a guy with scars, and a love that could save them both . . . or destroy them.

When Olivia Middleton abandons the glamour of Park Avenue for a remote, coastal town in Maine, everyone assumes she’s being the kind do-gooder she’s always been. But Olivia has a secret: helping an injured war veteran reenter society isn’t about charity—it’s about penance. Only, Olivia’s client isn’t the grateful elderly man she’s expecting. Instead, he’s a brooding twenty-four-year-old who has no intention of being Olivia’s path to redemption . . . and whose smoldering gaze and forbidden touch might be her undoing.

Paul Langdon doesn’t need a mirror to show him he’s no longer the hotshot quarterback he was before the war. He knows he’s ugly—inside and out. He’ll do anything to stay in self-imposed exile, even accept his father’s ultimatum that Paul tolerate the newest caretaker for three months or lose his inheritance. But Paul doesn’t count on the beautiful twenty-two-year-old who makes him long for things that he can never have. And the more she slips past his defenses, the more keeping his distance is impossible.

Now Paul and Olivia have to decide: Will they help each other heal? Or are they forever broken?

** Teaser Reveal!**

Olivia squirms. "Why are you looking at me like that?"
"I've never known a female to acquiesce that easily without a catch. How about you hit me with it now and get it over with?”
Olivia shrugs. "Fine. I was going to say that I won't run alone, if you promise to go with me."
"No," I say, almost before she's finished her sentence.
"Why not?"
I rap my cane once against the ground. "Well, for starters, despite the fact that there are tortoises that could surpass your sorry excuse for a jog, I'm in no shape to accompany even the most pathetic of runners."
"What a handy skill you have of overloading a sentence with insults," she says as she reaches up to adjust her ponytail. "That must be helpful what with your thriving social life and all."
I thump my cane against the ground again, studying her. "Must be nice, picking on the cripple."
Olivia rolls her eyes. "Please. Your soul's more crippled than your leg."
She has no idea how right she is, and I have no intention of letting her anywhere close enough to find out. I've gotten good at shutting people out by pushing them away . . . being as nasty as possible until they reach their breaking point. But with her? It's different.

We hope you enjoyed this sneak peek of BROKEN by Lauren Layne! Love everything Lauren Layne? Her newest adult contemporary romance in the Sex, Love and Stiletto series, JUST ONE NIGHT, is on sale now!

 Connect with Lauren
I can't wait! It looks and sounds awsome. I read Isn't She Lovely last fall and you can find my review here.

Review: Killer Instinct by S. E. Green

She’s not evil, but she has certain... urges.

Lane is a typical teenager. Loving family. Good grades. After school job at the local animal hospital. Martial arts enthusiast. But her secret obsession is studying serial killers. She understands them, knows what makes them tick.


Because she might be one herself.

Lane channels her dark impulses by hunting criminals—delivering justice when the law fails. The vigilantism stops shy of murder. But with each visceral rush the line of self-control blurs.
And then a young preschool teacher goes missing. Only to return... in parts.
When Lane excitedly gets involved in the hunt for “the Decapitator,” the vicious serial murderer that has come to her hometown, she gets dangerously caught up in a web of lies about her birth dad and her own dark past. And once the Decapitator contacts Lane directly, Lane knows she is no longer invisible or safe. Now she needs to use her unique talents to find the true killer’s identity before she—or someone she loves—becomes the next victim...

Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Expected publication: May 6th 2014 by Simon Pulse 
Genre: Young Adult/ Mystery

Kristine's Thoughts:

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

Killer Instinct was an odd, dark and kind of weird book for me. I've read a lot of reviews saying that it is too much like Dexter and that fans will not like the book. Having never seen Dexter I went into the story with an open and unbiased mind. Did that help me enjoy the book more?? I don't know...

Lane showed all kinds of signs of turning into a serial killer with her fascination with them, her "itch" and anti-social behaviour. I was hoping the story would dig deeper into her behaviours and give us a little more insight. Yes, things come to light that could explain why she is the way she is but it is more assumed than explained. I guess I was hoping for more definitive answers.

I enjoyed the mystery of the Decapitator but couldn't quite understand the relevance of some of the side stories and characters that were mixed in with it. Also, why was it so easy for Lane to find clues and answers when the FBI couldn't. It was a little too convenient. Having said that, the book is a YA book and geared to that audience. In my younger years I probably wouldn't have questioned so much and just went along for the ride.

If you are looking for a quick and easy YA mystery this one fits the bill. There are twists and turns that keep you guessing. If you want a book that ties everything up neatly at the end, this book will not do that. I actually had more questions than answers by the time I was done.

In the end I didn't love it and didn't hate it and it entertained me for a few short hours.

About the Author
S. E. Green was raised in Tennessee but now calls North Florida home. KILLER INSTINCT is her debut young adult thriller.

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Review: Call Me by My Name by John Ed Bradley

From former football star and bestselling author John Ed Bradley comes a searing look at love, life, and football in the face of racial adversity. Heartbreaking says Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Speak.

Growing up in Louisiana in the late 1960s, Tater Henry has experienced a lot of prejudice. His town is slow to desegregate and slower still to leave behind deep-seated prejudice.

Despite the town's sensibilities, Rodney Boulett and his twin sister Angie befriend Tater, and as their friendship grows stronger, Tater and Rodney become an unstoppable force on the football field. That is, until Rodney sees Tater and Angie growing closer, too, and Rodney's world is turned upside down. Teammates, best friends Rodney's world is threatened by a hate he did not know was inside of him.

As the town learns to accept notions like a black quarterback, some changes may be too difficult to accept

Paperback, 288 pages
Expected publication: May 6th 2014 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Terri's Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is May 6 2014.

I will start by saying that it appears this story is marketed for the YA audience however I feel that this is a story that has appeal to a much greater audience.  I am someone who is beyond the YA age yet I found this story beautiful and haunting to an extent and I feel that there is success for this story in the adult audience as well.

This is a coming of age/love story that takes place during the 1960's when there was still a racial divide in the south.  Centralizing around sport, mainly football, it tells the story of best friends whose only difference is the colour of their skin.  Add in a twin sister who both boys love and it results in a wonderfully tragic story.

While I am not a fan of football, I detest the sport, I was glued to the games described within the pages of this story.  I could visualize the games and feel the excitement in the air for each game.  I say this as you do not need to be a fan of the sport to enjoy this book. 

It was Taters story that won me over in this story.  His journey as he tried to succeed in a white dominated society had me from the start.  The way he overcame the hurdles placed in front of him was inspirational.  Bradley clearly created a character that you were cheering for.  Although I could find no evidence to support it makes me wonder if there could be some truth behind this story and character, if he was based on a real person from his past. 

This story made me think.  Highschool is supposed to be your glory days and in many ways this story shows that.  I also shows that events from your youth can mold you in to the adult you become and how certain people have a way of leaving a mark on you forever.  I predicted the outcome of this story and in no way did it change the impact of it.

I would recommend this story to any reader who enjoys a good heartbreaking story that take place during a significant part of our history.  Thank you Bradley for making football a little more enjoyable for me.

About the Author

Tuesday 22 April 2014

Review: Searching for Perfect by Jennifer Probst

The up-and-coming matchmaking agency Kinnections is the hottest thing to hit Verily, New York—just like Kennedy Ashe, social director for the service she owns with her two best girlfriends. A coach, consultant, and cheerleader rolled into one super-sizzling package, Kennedy creates dream dates, encourages singles to shine, and never refuses a challenge—not even Nate Ellison Raymond Dunkle, rocket scientist, nerd extraordinaire, and Kennedy’s newest client.

Kennedy vows to work her magic and transform this hot mess in a lab coat with a disastrous relationship track record into the most wanted man on the Verily dating scene. If only she could turn the wand on herself . . .

Though she radiates confidence and sex appeal, Kennedy harbors deep-seated insecurities from a tormented past and lifelong struggle with weight issues. When she realizes she and Nate are cut from the same cloth and might be perfect together, can Kennedy learn to let her heart lead the way? Or will her fears sentence her to the sidelines as Nate finds love—with someone else?

ebook, 352 pages
Expected publication: April 29th 2014 by Gallery Books 
Genre: Romance

Kristine's Thoughts:

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

Searching for Perfect is the second book in the Searching series by Probst. Having read the first book I was excited to get the opportunity to read this one in advance of its publication date.

Both books centre around the girls of Kinnections and their matchmaking business. The first book centred around Kate whereas this one centres around Kennedy.

What I really liked about this book was that the characters were not perfect. Both Kennedy and Nate were smart but kind of nerdy. Nate on the outside and Kennedy on the inside. It was nice to read about an attraction between two people that was not skin deep. I loved Nate with his socially awkward comments and food stains on his clothes. He felt a little more real and believable because he wasn't picture perfect. Kennedy on the other hand was picture perfect but carried a lot of baggage from her younger years that made any kind of commitment too hard for her to handle. It was easy to see that there was going to be all kinds of issues between the two as they tried to deny their feelings. Let me just tell you that when they do give in the pages are smoking hot. For a man who lacks confidence in public, Nate sure makes up for it in the bedroom. He had all kinds of tricks up his sleeve!

This book follows the same formula as the first book and the stories are very similar. I enjoyed catching up with the girls of Kinnections. If you liked the first book or if you like a nice romance than this book will be sure to please. It is not necessary to read the first one before Searching for Perfect to follow along but I would highly recommend it to get a better feel for all the players.

About the Author

Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at twelve years old. She bound it in a folder, read it to her classmates, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She took a short hiatus to get married, get pregnant, buy a house, get pregnant again, pursue a master’s in English Literature, and rescue two shelter dogs. Now she is writing again.

She is the NYT and USA Today bestselling author of The Marriage Bargain. She is published both erotic and sexy contemporary romance with Entangled, Decadent, Red Sage and TWRP. She has also written a children's book, Buffy and the Carrot, co-written with her twelve year old niece, along with a short story, "A Life Worth Living." Visit her website for more info!



Monday 21 April 2014

Review: The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi

Afghan-American Nadia Hashimi's literary debut novel, The Pearl that Broke Its Shell, is a searing tale of powerlessness, fate, and the freedom to control one's own fate that combines the cultural flavor and emotional resonance of the works of Khaled Hosseini, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Lisa See

In Kabul, 2007, with a drug-addicted father and no brothers, Rahima and her sisters can only sporadically attend school, and can rarely leave the house. Their only hope lies in the ancient custom of bacha posh, which allows young Rahima to dress and be treated as a boy until she is of marriageable age. As a son, she can attend school, go to the market, and chaperone her older sisters.

But Rahima is not the first in her family to adopt this unusual custom. A century earlier, her great-aunt, Shekiba, left orphaned by an epidemic, saved herself and built a new life the same way.

Crisscrossing in time, The Pearl the Broke Its Shell interweaves the tales of these two women separated by a century who share similar destinies. But what will happen once Rahima is of marriageable age? Will Shekiba always live as a man? And if Rahima cannot adapt to life as a bride, how will she survive?

Hardcover, 464 pages
Expected publication: May 6th 2014 by William Morrow & Company              

Terri's Thoughts:

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher William Morrow via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is May 6 2014.

It is not too often that a book will render me speechless.  Many times I may find the wrong words but never speechless.  This book has done that to me.  I don't know where to start!  To top it off, this is Hashimi's debut novel?  You have to be kidding me!  She really nailed it her first time out of the gate.

This story was haunting, tragic and infuriating all in one shot.  Hashimi weaves a tail of two different women years apart who suffered from the oppression experienced towards woman in Afghanistan.  Many times I had to remind myself that this was just a story however sadly I feel that the way these woman were treated is not purely fiction.  I will be honest and say I do not know a whole lot about Afghanistan aside from the current events of the last years and I know nothing of their culture.  This story did not shed a positive light on that.

To think that there are woman out there that have to endure what Rahima and Shekiba went through is the part that angered me.  To know that this occurs while I am living the life of luxury also humbled me and made me thankful for what I have.  This story opened my eyes to some of the "ugly" things out there in the world.  To think that you have no real value because you are a daughter instead of a son.  In my reality that would have made my father a failure as he had three daughters - who have all gone on to successful and fulfilling endeavours I might add.

In my opinion the mark of a truly great read has two criteria.  The first is it evokes emotion and the second is that it makes me think.  This did just that.  I was sad and angry throughout this read.  More importantly is the thoughts that it put in my head.  The majority of this review has been made up of my reaction to the story and less about the plot.  That my friends means this is a winner.

This was an emotional and moving read (I would say poignant however I never use the most overused word in the literary review world).  I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a serious yet entertaining read.  This is not for the light hearted however you are rewarded ten times over.  I still cannot believe this is Hashimi's first novel.  I wish a had a quarter of her talent.  I truly hope she releases more work in her future.

About the Author


Sunday 20 April 2014

Review: Wake to Darkness by Maggie Shayne

Stranded with a murderer...

Rachel de Luca's uncanny sense of perception is the key to her success as a self-help celebrity. Even before she regained her sight, she had a gift for seeing people's most carefully hidden secrets. But the secret she shares with Detective Mason Brown is one she has promised to keep. As for Mason, he sees Rachel more clearly than she'd like to admit...

After a single night of adrenaline-fueled passion, they have agreed to keep their distance—until a string of murders brings them together again. Mason thinks that he can protect everyone he loves, including Rachel, by taking them to a winter hideaway, but danger follows them up the mountain.

As guests disappear from the snowbound resort, the race to find the murderer intensifies. Rachel knows she's a target. Will acknowledging her feelings for Mason destroy her...or save them both and stop a killer?

Paperback, 368 pages
Published November 26th 2013 by Harlequin MIRA 
Genre: Romantic Suspense/ Mystery

Kristine's Thoughts:

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

I want to start out by saying that I did not read the first book in this series and I was still able to follow along easily. I do however wish that I had because I enjoyed Rachel and Mason's story tremendously.

I loved the chemistry between the two characters and the bantering throughout. Both of them were strong and likeable with enjoyable personalities. I especially enjoyed Rachel with her quick mouth and say it like it is attitude. The talking she did with herself in her head and her "inner bitch" had me giggling on more than one occasion. It would be impossible to say anything negative about Mason with his sexy good looks and his love for his family. Who wouldn't want a man around who was willing to do anything to protect the people that he loves?

The mystery itself was a joy to read. It was fast paced and unique and most importantly it kept me guessing with each twist and turn. All too often I have the "bad guy" figured out way too early but with this book I didn't guess who it was until right before they were revealed. I easily finished the book in a day because I just had to know what was going to happen and who the murderer was.

If you are looking for a quick, easy and interesting murder mystery with a large cast of likeable character (including a dog that I wanted for myself) I would highly recommend Wake to Darkness. I enjoyed it so much that I will be going back to read the first book in the series.

About the Author

Buy Wake to Darkness here

Saturday 19 April 2014

Review: The Black Butterfly by Shirley Reva Vernick

Penny is furious, and who can blame her? She has to spend Christmas break alone at the Black Butterfly, an old inn at the coldest, bleakest edge of America—the coast of Maine. This "vacation" is the brainchild of Penny's flaky mother, who's on the other side of the country hunting ghosts. Penny most definitely does not believe in spirits. Or love. Or family. Until, that is, she discovers two very real apparitions which only she can see…and meets George, the handsome son of the inn's owner…and crashes into some staggering family secrets. If only Ghost Girl didn't want Penny dead. If only George were the tiniest bit open to believing. If only she could tell her mother. Then maybe this could still be a vacation. But it's not. It's a race for her life, her first love, and her sanity.

Hardcover, 226 pages
Expected publication: May 6th 2014 by Cinco Puntos Press
Terri's Thoughts:
I received an advanced copy of this novel from the publisher Cinco Puntos Press via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is May 6 2014.
This was a cute story geared towards the YA audience that was a quick and easy read.  In the dominating paranormal market this story kept it simple and it literally was a ghost story.  I don't know what it is but there is something that always captures my attention with a ghost story.  Perhaps it is because there do not seem to be too many out there at least that I am aware of?
While this story could have delved deeper in to the stories of the ghosts it still had enough depth to keep the reader interested.  The story of Blue was interesting and tragic in the same sense and he was instantly a likeable "ghost".  I feel the story could have explored a little more his attraction to Penny and perhaps taken a love triangle angle however for the purpose of this story his presence made sense.  There was also the "bad" ghost that was out to harm Penny and perhaps her story was the most interesting.  Without giving any spoilers her presence was the most relevant to the storyline with an interesting twist.
For fans of teen romance the story of Penny and George was likeable.  The young and first love of two strangers thrown together.  George was a likable character whose way of looking after Penny was sweet and enough to make a teen reader stay interested.
My only criticism of this story is that I felt the storylines could have been developed a little further and the story a little longer.  The story of Penny's mother was only touched on and I felt there were many interesting aspects of her story that could have added another layer.  Also the plot involving the ghosts wrapped up a little to neatly for my liking.  It could have been dragged out a little longer.  Perhaps there is an opening for a sequel?  Who knows?
Overall this was a cute story geared to the YA audience.  I most likely would not recommend it to my age group however I would not hesitate to recommend it to a younger audience.  This was a pleasant read.
About the Author

Shirley Reva Vernick is rapidly becoming the new hot item in young adult fiction. Her first novel, The Blood Lie, won the Simon Wiesenthal Children's Book Award, was silver medalist for the Sydney Taylor Book Award, and was an ALA 2012 Best Book for Young Adults. Her second novel, Remember Dippy—a feel good adventure about a fourteen-year-old boy shepherding his older autistic cousin through his summer vacation—was released in spring 2013 and won the Dolly Gray Literature Award from the Council For Exceptional Children. This time around, Shirley wanted to let loose with a page-turning coming-of-age romance mixed with ghosts and adventure. Shirley is the creator of the much visited storytelling website She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.


Thursday 17 April 2014

Feature and Follow Friday #24

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

This week's question is...

 Spring Break. Where would be your favorite destination spot if you could join the Spring Break festivities? 

Kristine's Answer...

It has been a very long winter with lots of snow and Spring is taking its slow time coming. I don't know if I can pick a favourite destination. My family has taken a lot of Caribbean Cruises and have had the pleasure of spending time on quite a few Caribbean Islands. Can I pick them all??? We cruised on Spring Break once and I have to say that I don't think I would do that again. It made me feel old and I'm only in my thirties! My next destination (hopefully) is the Mediterranean.

Terri's Answer...

Without a doubt it would be anywhere that meets the following criteria....ocean, sand, palm trees, swim-up bar and flowing fruity beverages that look better than they taste.  For the last few years this criteria has been met in Mexico however I am not picky.  I will take any island or tropical destination. On second thought I think my own private bungalow on stilts over the ocean in Bora Bora curled up on the deck with a great book sounds like a good plan right now.  Husband is optional ;-)

Where would you go?

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, facebook and/or twitter.

Review: Tangled Thing Called Love by Juliet Rosetti

Mazie’s boyfriend—photojournalist and sex god Ben Labeck—might be trouble on two very strong, very sexy legs, but he’s got no idea what he’s signing up for when he invites himself along to the family farm in Quail Hollow to meet the Maguires. Mazie knows that bringing a guy home is a recipe for disaster, especially when she’s not sure whether their relationship is serious or just seriously steamy. That goes double when she finds herself reluctantly squeezing back into a bikini and sash for the anniversary of a supposedly cursed local beauty pageant.

All this is wreaking havoc on Mazie’s love life. Suddenly Ben’s too busy playing gentleman farmer on the Maguire estate to indulge in a more discreet kind of play in Mazie’s bed. And when he’s not tilling the soil, he’s digging up dirt on the Curse of Miss Quail Hollow. Maybe that swimsuit competition isn’t such a bad way to get Ben’s attention back where it belongs—and get him to admit that he’s head-over-heels in love with her.

ebook, 280 pages
Expected publication: April 29th 2014 by Loveswept 
Genre: Romance/mystery

Kristine's Thoughts:

* I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Random House Publishing Group- Loveswept via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!*

I have to start out by saying that this is book 3 in the Life and Love on the Lam series which I did not know when I first received the book. I was worried that I would not be able to follow along and that it would affect my enjoyment but that was not the case. There were plenty of references and explanations about Mazie's history that it did not interfere with the story. It did however make me curious and want to go back and read the first two books in the series.

This book was a fun, easy read with plenty of hilarious moments that had me laughing out loud. Mazie was a strong, quirky personality that trouble seemed to follow around every corner. I adored her and her thought process and somewhat questionable actions throughout the story. I also adored hunky Ben and his fun loving and sweet ways. Although I could feel their connection I do feel like it would have been stronger if I had read the first two books first. Having said that, I was routing for them the whole way. One minor thing that slightly irritated me was that almost every time Ben was mentioned in the book he was mentioned as Ben Labeck. After the first couple of times I felt like the last name could have been dropped.

I have to give props for the way Rosetti pens the beauty pageant and the actions and behaviours of all of the women. She was spot on with her interpretation of how girls in competition act and how the women regressed to caddy teenage antics was hilarious. It was so reminiscent of high school which is what I think she was trying to accomplish.

As far as the mystery surrounding the curse of Miss Quail Hollow and the disappearance of Fawn years early, it wasn't very hard to figure out. I guessed fairly early in the story who was involved and what had happened. It in no way took away from my enjoyment because the characters more than made up for it.

I rated this book on the pure entertainment I got from reading it. It is not very often that a book makes me laugh out loud and this one did. I loved the characters and the authors style of writing and will be checking out her other work as well as the rest of the books in this series.

About the Author

Juliet Rosetti grew up on a Wisconsin farm with four brothers and a dozen cats. She has managed a bookstore, taught school, and coached an Australian criket team. Currently she lives in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with her husband and sons, eats way too much dark chocolate, and is plotting new escapades for Mazie Maquire.

Twitter- @JulietRosetti