Tuesday 30 September 2014

Review: Sister Golden Hair by Darcey Steinke

When Jesse’s family moves to Roanoke, Virginia, in the summer of 1972, she’s 12 years old and already mindful of the schism between innocence and femininity, the gap between childhood and the adult world. Her father, a former pastor, cycles through spiritual disciplines as quickly as he cycles through jobs. Her mother is dissatisfied, glumly fetishizing the Kennedys and anyone else that symbolizes status and wealth. The residents of the Bent Tree housing development may not hold what Jesse is looking for, but they’re all she’s got. Her neighbor speaks of her married lover; her classmate playacts being a Bunny at Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Club; the boy she’s interested in fantasizes about moving to Hollywood and befriending David Soul. In the midst of it all, Jesse finds space to set up her room with her secret treasures: busts of Emily Dickinson and Shakespeare, a Venus flytrap, her Cher 45s, and The Big Book of Burial Rites, which she reads obsessively. But outside awaits all the misleading sexual mores, muddled social customs, and confused spirituality. Girlhood has never been more fraught than in Jesse’s telling, its expectations threatening to turn at any point into delicious risk, or real danger.

Paperback, 336 pages
Expected publication: October 14th 2014 by Tin House Books 
Genre: Coming of Age/Historical Fiction/Young Adult

Kristine's Thoughts:

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

This book is definitely a coming of age story about Jesse from the age of twelve to fifteen. It begins with her family in limbo after her father loses his job as a pastor. After travelling from place to place they end up in a duplex in the Bent Tree housing development. From here Jesse struggles with all different kinds of young problems in an effort to figure out who she is and where she fits in. Through interactions with neighbours and the kids at school, we learn about her struggles. Not only is she at an age of great change while living in a new community but at the same time she is trying to balance her somewhat unbalanced family. Her father doesn't seem to know what he wants to do with his life and her mother is obviously suffering from some sort of mental illness. It does not specifically say that she has an illness but gathering from the fact that Jesse rates her moods by numbers it is easy to infer.

What I enjoyed most about this story is all of the references to trends, music, television and fashion of that time. Although it took place a few years before I was born I could identify with the majority of things mentioned. The only thing that was referenced quite frequently that I wasn't sure on was a jelly cup. What the heck is a jelly cup?? Did I miss out on something great during my childhood?

What I wasn't too fond of was that with all of Jesse's trials and tribulations during this time frame there never seemed to be any resolution or real moment of clarity for her. Perhaps this was intentional with the story ending when she was only fifteen and there is still so much growing to do, but I found it just kind of ended abruptly. There was no real beginning, middle and end.

In the end I did like the book but I was left wishing there was just a little more something to make it great.

About the Author
Darcey Steinke is the author of the memoir Easter Everywhere (a New York Times notable book) and the novels Milk, Jesus Saves, Suicide Blonde, and Up Through the Water (also a New York Times notable book). With Rick Moody, she edited Joyful Noise: The New Testament Revisited. Her books have been translated into ten languages, and her nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, the Boston Review, Vogue, Spin, The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and the Guardian. Her web-story "Blindspot" was a part of the 2000 Whitney Biennial. She has been both a Henry Hoyns and a Stegner Fellow and Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi, and has taught at the Columbia University School of the Arts, Barnard, The American University of Paris, and Princeton. She lives in New York City.

Monday 29 September 2014

Review: This Is How It Ends by Jen Nadol

If you could see the future, would you want to? After the disturbing visions Riley and his friends see turn out to be more than hallucinations, fate takes a dangerous twist in this dark and suspenseful page-turner.

Riley and his friends are gearing up for their senior year by spending one last night hanging out in the woods, drinking a few beers, and playing Truth or Dare. But what starts out as a good time turns sinister when they find a mysterious pair of binoculars. Those who dare to look through them see strange visions, which they brush off as hallucinations. Why else would Riley see himself in bed with his best friend's girlfriend, a girl he's had a secret crush on for years?

In the weeks that follow, the visions begin to come true...including a gruesome murder. One of Riley's closest friends is now the prime suspect. But who is the murderer? Have Riley and his friends really seen the future through those mysterious binoculars? And what if they are powerless to change the course of events?

Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Expected publication: October 7th 2014 by Simon Pulse

Terri's Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher Simon Pulse via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is October 7, 2014.

This was a fun read for me.  While written for the YA genre I found the idea of being able to see snippets of the future an interesting concept for me.  As we watch the fallout when the group of friends realize that their "hallucinations" are coming true this story starts to take off.

While the storyline stems from the found binoculars, it is more the story of friends coming together during a time of crisis and trying to solve the murder.  I could really identify with the rumour and gossip mill of the small town life coming from a small town myself.  It was written exactly as I have experienced it.

Riley was an interesting main character.  I liked the fact that he was geeky and it made him seem all the more real.  Add to that his family struggles and he became extremely likeable.  His fascination with Sarah and his struggles to deny his attraction added to his appeal.  Interesting was the fact that although he himself considered himself an outsider he was actually the glue in the group of friends and the voice of reason except when it came to his own issues.

Altogether this was a good read about a group of teens in their last year of high school who see a glimpse of their futures and try to deal with it.  This was a fast read that I think most will enjoy.  I particularly think the way the story ended was fitting and wrapped the story up nicely.

About the Author

(from her Goodread's profile)

I grew up in Reading, PA, hometown of John Updike, Taylor Swift and fellow YA author A.S. King (nope, didn't know any of them).

I went to college at American University in Washington DC, graduated with a BA in Literature, then spent the next twelve years doing something totally unrelated to pay the bills.

Now I live north of NYC in an old farmhouse with my husband and three young sons. I am thrilled to finally be writing, the thing I always meant to do. 


Sunday 28 September 2014

Review: Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she knows it isn’t love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.

Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.

Hearts get infiltrated.
Promises get broken.
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly.

Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published August 5th 2014 by Atria Books 
Genre: New Adult

Kristine's Thoughts:


Yet again Hoover has written a book that leaves me teary eyed and with that awful lump in  my throat that I hate so much. Three hours after I finished the book I still had the lump. To say that this book is an emotional roller coaster is putting it mildly. It was hot, sexy, sad, gut wrenching, sweet, emotional and at times it made me want to scream. To steal from the title it was UGLY in the best kind of way.

I was glued to the pages...

I experienced every emotion under the sun...

I felt their pain...

I routed for Miles and Tate...

All of the above are things that prove that it was a damn good book. So good that I didn't even notice that my car radio was on my husbands not so good radio station because I was too busy thinking about the book.

Hoover has a way of capturing the emotions of the characters and penning them in a way that connects beautifully with the reader.

Fans of NA and fans of Colleen Hoover will love this book. I am going to leave it at that because I just don't have the words that will do it justice.

About the Author
Colleen Hoover is the #1 bestselling author of Slammed, Point of Retreat, This Girl, Hopeless, Losing Hope, Finding Cinderella and Maybe Someday. She lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys.

Connect with Colleen

Saturday 27 September 2014

Review: The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

In The Silent Sister, Riley MacPherson has spent her entire life believing that her older sister Lisa committed suicide as a teenager.  Now, over twenty years later, her father has passed away and she's in New Bern, North Carolina cleaning out his house when she finds evidence to the contrary.  Lisa is alive.  Alive and living under a new identity.  But why exactly was she on the run all those years ago, and what secrets are being kept now?  As Riley works to uncover the truth, her discoveries will put into question everything she thought she knew about her family.  Riley must decide what the past means for her present, and what she will do with her newfound reality, in this engrossing mystery from international bestselling author Diane Chamberlain.

Hardcover, 352 pages
Expected publication: October 7th 2014 by St. Martin's Press      

Terri's Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher St. Martin's Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  As a huge fan of Diane Chamberlain I am extremely appreciative!  The expected publication date is October 7, 2014.

This was a well written page-turning story of which I have come to expect from Chamberlain.  I loved how the story alternated between Riley and her challenges dealing with the death of her father and the story of Lisa as the "silent sister" and what happened to her after her "death".  I also enjoyed when the two stories started to intertwine as Riley began to learn about the secrets that exposed the fact that Lisa was alive.

Mixed in to the plot were some supporting characters that were both interesting and challenging to add another dynamic to the story.  Riley's brother with his difficult demeanor due to his anger and confusion from Lisa's death and then deployment in Iraq, Charlie with his unconditional love for Lisa and Jeannie who I would have had a difficult time tolerating in real life but brought a little something extra to the story.

Although I was able to figure out what the secrets were before they were exposed I enjoyed watching them unfold as the story progressed.  Chamberlain has a way of always keeping the reader engaged and I was glued to the story.  As someone who has read the majority of her work I have to give kudo's to her for bringing something different to the table and the fact that each of her books is unique and they vary in style from each other.  This is why I am such a fan.  Although I know I will always enjoy her books I also know that I will not be getting the same old, same old every time.  This keeps me anxiously awaiting each new work that she delivers.

I recommend this read!

About the Author

I'm the author of 23 novels published in more than twenty languages. I like to write complex stories about relationships between men and women, parents and children, brothers and sisters, and friends. Although the thematic focus of my books often revolves around family, love, compassion and forgiveness, my stories usually feature a combination of suspense, mystery and intrigue.

I live in North Carolina with my significant other, photographer John Pagliuca, and my shelties, Keeper and Cole--the only non-reading members of the household!

Please visit my website and blog. I look forward to seeing you there!

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Diane.Chamberlain.Readers.Page

Friday 26 September 2014

Feature and Follow Friday #47

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 weeks question is...

Book character(s) you'd like to see with their own Twitter page - Suggested by A Great Read


 I may be in the minority here but I don't think I'd like to see any book characters with their own Twitter page. The characters that I love, I love for how they are portrayed in the story and I wouldn't want that to change. I'm afraid that if any had their own page that it could or would ruin what I loved about them in the first place or alter it.

Who would you like to see?

That is our Feature and Follow Friday for this week! Comment down below if you're a new follower of ours with a link to your blog and we will make sure to follow you back. You can follow us via gfc, bloglovin, email, facebook and/or twitter. 

Thursday 25 September 2014

Review: The Night Garden by Lisa Van Allen

Nestled in the bucolic town of Green Valley in upstate New York, the Pennywort farm appears ordinary, yet at its center lies something remarkable: a wild maze of colorful gardens that reaches beyond the imagination. Local legend says that a visitor can gain answers to life’s most difficult problems simply by walking through its lush corridors.

Yet the labyrinth has never helped Olivia Pennywort, the garden’s beautiful and enigmatic caretaker. She has spent her entire life on her family’s land, harboring a secret that forces her to keep everyone at arm’s length. But when her childhood best friend, Sam Van Winkle, returns to the valley, Olivia begins to question her safe, isolated world and wonders if she at last has the courage to let someone in. As she and Sam reconnect, Olivia faces a difficult question: Is the garden maze that she has nurtured all of her life a safe haven or a prison?

ebook, 352 pages
Expected publication: October 7th 2014 by Ballantine Books 
Genre: Magical Realism

Kristine's Thoughts:

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

I was intrigued when I read the synopsis for this book but it did not fully describe what this book is about. When I discovered what Olivia's secret was I became excited and prepared myself for a truly great read.

Although the premise of the book was outstanding, the story fell a little flat making it an average to good read when I felt it could have been spectacular. I'm not sure if I can pin point exactly why I felt this way but I'll try.

I found the first half of the book a little slow and hard to get into. It did improve and the second half held my attention and interest significantly more. If I were rating this book on the first half alone it would be lower and on the second half it would be slightly higher. I think the biggest problem I had was in connecting with Olivia and Sam as well as the conflict resolution. Their issues were so profound that I wanted to feel their struggle and attraction for each other but I just didn't. I wanted to feel the emotion, the love, the passion and the heartache that their problem caused. It just wasn't quite there. In fact, their first moment in the water should have given me goosebumps and instead I felt nothing.

I don't want to give the impression that I hated the book because I didn't but I was hoping for a little more. It was an average read that I enjoyed but I probably won't remember it in a couple of months time. I truly did like what the story was about and feel that with a little more work it could have been amazing.

I will be sure to read more from Lisa Van Allen because I do enjoy a little magical realism once in a while and I think that she shows some great potential.

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Review: Less Than Nothing by R.E. Blake

Sage’s life as a teenage runaway in San Francisco is simple: Snatch a few hours of sleep on park benches and bus stops; dodge perverts, predators, and cops; and make enough as a street musician to eat. But her world flips upside down when she meets Derek – hot, tattooed, and charming, a singer from Seattle whose looks and talent take her breath away.

What begins as a reluctant partnership quickly develops into a cross-country race against time - and awakens a hunger in Sage that’s unfamiliar and exciting.

As they travel from coast to coast, Sage and Derek pursue their dream, only to discover that they can never run far enough to escape the demons from their pasts.

ebook, 249 pages
Expected publication:  October 7th 2014 by Reprobatio, Ltd

Terri's Thoughts 

**I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher Reprobation via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is October 7, 2014**

This was a YA/NA read that has broken the mold from the other stories I have read.  While there is the typical loved story it puts the romance on the back burner and focuses on the actual story of the characters lives and the demons and obstacles they need to overcome.  I thought this was brilliant and added a layer of depth that is sometimes missing in the YA/NA genre. 

Both characters are homeless and struggling to get by.  Both are used to counting on only themselves.  The reader is taken on the journey as they learn to team up and rely on each other to chase a dream.  While it was a dream Derek knew he had, it was one Sage never knew she had nor dared to even have a dream.

I found it interesting how the two of them made it across the country, with highs and lows, to make it on time to enter a singing contest.  Also entertaining was the descriptions of the actual contest which reminded me of the numerous musical contests we see everyday on television right up to the cranky judge.

Ultimately this was a story of learning to rely on others and accepting who they are ghosts and all.  Also a story about family and forgiveness and the search for a better life.  Altogether it results in an entertaining read that is slightly more emotional and with more impact than the average.  Although I felt the ending was a little glossed over and "easy" I thought it was an excellent read.

I will be sure to check out other work by Blake.  While writing this review I realized that there are two more instalments of this book to follow.  I must, must, must get my hands on them.  There are so many directions the story can go from here and I want to see how the relationship between Sage and Derek grows! 

About the Author

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Review: Burying Water by K.A. Tucker

Left for dead in the fields of rural Oregon, a young woman defies all odds and survives—but she awakens with no idea who she is, or what happened to her. Refusing to answer to “Jane Doe” for another day, the woman renames herself “Water” for the tiny, hidden marking on her body—the only clue to her past. Taken in by old Ginny Fitzgerald, a crotchety but kind lady living on a nearby horse farm, Water slowly begins building a new life. But as she attempts to piece together the fleeting slivers of her memory, more questions emerge: Who is the next-door neighbor, quietly toiling under the hood of his Barracuda? Why won’t Ginny let him step foot on her property? And why does Water feel she recognizes him?

Twenty-four-year-old Jesse Welles doesn’t know how long it will be before Water gets her memory back. For her sake, Jesse hopes the answer is never. He knows that she’ll stay so much safer—and happier—that way. And that’s why, as hard as it is, he needs to keep his distance. Because getting too close could flood her with realities better left buried.

The trouble is, water always seems to find its way to the surface.

Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Expected publication: October 7th 2014 by Atria Books 
Genre: New Adult

Kristine's Thoughts:

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

I don't know what to say other than Wow!! This book captured me and swept me away to the point that my reality was lost until I finished the last page. I've always considered this genre my guilty pleasure reading but this book exceeded my expectations. The story pulled me in from the very first page and kept me emotionally glued throughout the entire journey.

Tucker weaves between Jesse (then) and Jane Doe/Water (now) to tell an absolutely beautiful story of love, lies, deceit and the consequences of the choices that people make. I adored the way the story went back and forth between time and points of view because it made it more emotionally charged and as the reader I became more invested. It left me anxious and excited for the two stories to connect so that I could find out how it all played out. Job well done!

There is such a wonderful cast of characters in this story that I don't even know where to begin...

Let me start off with Jesse. I loved, loved, loved him! From his sexy good looks to his caring and empathic personality, he had me wishing he was real, that I was younger and that he had eyes for me. He was definitely drool worthy and book boyfriend material. He was equally loveable in both the "now" and "then" parts of the story.

Water was a wonderful character to get to know. Having no memory but understanding that something most horrific happened to her was a roller coaster of emotions that I was happy to ride. I particularly liked her relationship with Ginny and her unexplainable draw to Jesse. The way that her character grew from the time she woke up in the hospital to the end of the book was beautiful.

Ginny was an extremely important part of the story in my opinion. Although she was grumpy, set in her ways and hard to take, her relationship with Water was of great value in the growth of both characters and the plot.

I can't forget about Jesse's family. Each one of them brought an important depth to the book that I feel would not have been the same without them.

I won't re-tell the story...you have to read it to find out what happens. All I can say is that you have to read it and you won't be disappointed. The synopsis gives enough of a glimpse into what the story is about but it is so much more. Tucker pens an outstanding story with wonderful characters in a spectacular setting. The connection I felt to this story was truly unexplainable. I loved it and will be reading all of her work from here on out. This story is going to stay with me for a very long time.

About the Author
Born in small-town Ontario, Kathleen published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons.

She is a voracious reader and the farthest thing from a genre-snob, loving everything from High Fantasy to Chick Lit.

Kathleen currently resides in a quaint small town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures.  

Connect with K.A. Tucker

Monday 22 September 2014

Review: A Sudden Light by Garth Stein

When a boy tries to save his parents’ marriage, he uncovers a legacy of family secrets in a coming-of-age ghost story by the author of the internationally bestselling phenomenon, The Art of Racing in the Rain.

In the summer of 1990, fourteen-year-old Trevor Riddell gets his first glimpse of Riddell House. Built from the spoils of a massive timber fortune, the legendary family mansion is constructed of giant, whole trees, and is set on a huge estate overlooking Puget Sound. Trevor’s bankrupt parents have begun a trial separation, and his father, Jones Riddell, has brought Trevor to Riddell House with a goal: to join forces with his sister, Serena, dispatch Grandpa Samuel—who is flickering in and out of dementia—to a graduated living facility, sell off the house and property for development into “tract housing for millionaires,” divide up the profits, and live happily ever after.

But Trevor soon discovers there’s someone else living in Riddell House: a ghost with an agenda of his own. For while the land holds tremendous value, it is also burdened by the final wishes of the family patriarch, Elijah, who mandated it be allowed to return to untamed forestland as a penance for the millions of trees harvested over the decades by the Riddell Timber company. The ghost will not rest until Elijah’s wish is fulfilled, and Trevor’s willingness to face the past holds the key to his family’s future.

A Sudden Light is a rich, atmospheric work that is at once a multigenerational family saga, a historical novel, a ghost story, and the story of a contemporary family’s struggle to connect with each other. A tribute to the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, it reflects Garth Stein’s outsized capacity for empathy and keen understanding of human motivation, and his rare ability to see the unseen: the universal threads that connect us all.

Hardcover, 416 pages
Expected publication: September 30th 2014 by Simon & Schuster

Terri's Thoughts

**I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher Simon & Schuster via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  the expected publication date is September 30, 2014**

I was highly anticipating this story as it promised to be full of all of the stuff I enjoy in a great novel.  A story that transitions between the past and today, secrets from the past and present, and the bonus aspect of a ghost story.  This story was almost a no brainer to be a winner.  Sadly this was not the case for me and I finished it a little disappointed.

This story too descriptive for me.  When the description of a house or a tree drags on for more than a page then my attention starts to drift which it did throughout this book.  This may sound harsh but I actually fell asleep (numerous times) trying to pick my way through it.  It made for a very long read.

While the bones of the story was a good one I felt that the pieces just didn't come together.  Trevor was too smart for a fourteen year old boy, the dad didn't add any substance to the story, and Serena's character and storyline was obvious from the get go.  Add in Elijah and Ben and they didn't get any more interesting nor did their story.

I appreciated the ghost story aspect of the novel and how it was used to intertwine the two stories.  I actually wish the book focused more on this as opposed to the craziness of Trevor's family.  It would have been more interesting and left more of an impact.

While I always try to profile the positive in a story this one was simply not for me and therefore I am struggling.  I urge people to form their own opinion on this one as I can see this being the type of story you love or hate.  For me there just wasn't enough substance.  My favorite part of this review is Stein's Goodreads profile picture which I must admit is awesome!

About the Author

Garth Stein is the author of three novels: The Art of Racing in the Rain (Harper, 2008); How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets (Soho Press, 2005), which won a 2006 Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Book Award, and was a Book Sense Pick in both hardcover and paperback; and Raven Stole the Moon (Pocket, 1998). He has also written a full-length play, Brother Jones, which received its first production in Los Angeles, in February, 2005, and was described as "brimming with intensity," by the L.A. Weekly.

After receiving his B.A. from Columbia College (1987), and his M.F.A. in film from Columbia University, School of the Arts (1990), Garth worked as a documentary film maker for several years, and directed, produced or co-produced several award winning films.

Born in Los Angeles and raised in Seattle, Garth's ancestry is diverse: his mother, a native of Alaska, is of Tlingit Indian and Irish descent; his father, a Brooklyn native, is the child of Jewish emigrants from Austria. After spending his childhood in Seattle and then living in New York City for 18 years, Garth returned to Seattle, where he currently lives with his family and his dog, Comet.

Sunday 21 September 2014

Review: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she's made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings…

Told in alternating chapters is Darcy's novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the 'Afterworld' to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved - and terrifying - stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.

Hardcover, 608 pages
Expected publication: September 23rd 2014 by Simon Pulse 
Genre: Young Adult/ Paranormal

Kristine's Thoughts:

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

This book tells two stories. First is Darcy's story as she begins the process of getting her book published and second is the the actual book that she wrote. I thought that this was a neat concept and was excited to get lost in the stories. Unfortunately I was a little underwhelmed with the whole thing and here are some of the reasons why...

Darcy got on my nerves a little bit. Who am I kidding, she got on my nerves a lot! She was whiny, naive and very immature. She continuously said that she felt like an impostor to the point that I began feeling like she was. At first, I found the story of her book getting published extremely interesting but the character herself ruined it for me. The book repeats over and over how she wrote the book in the month of November. Why not just say that she wrote it for NaNoWriMo? That way readers who don't know what it is could look it up and understand the significance of the month of November. I understand the self doubt, hard work and worry that Darcy must have been feeling but she took it to extreme. At no time did the character realise or appreciate how lucky she was to be in her position. Even her love interest continuously told her how lucky she was. Hundreds of thousands of people would love to be in her shoes and it almost felt like a slap in the face to those people. Thank goodness Darcy was fictional because she wasn't very likeable.

Lizzie's story (Darcy's character in her book) started out strong. This was a very good thing because in Darcy's story it was stated numerous times about how good her first chapter was. I was excited to see where the story would go. Unfortunately the rest of the story did not live up to the first chapter and fell a little flat. The love interest aspect of the story was even more flat. I couldn't feel any kind of connection and was indifferent to the whole thing. The whole "shiny" thing was a little too Twilightish. I was however very curious as to how the story would end because in Darcy's story there was an issue with the ending and the publisher wanted it changed. A large part of her story was in her struggle to come up with an ending that she could live with and that the publishers would love. Boy was I disappointed. It was so anti-climatic that there was no desire on my part to read an "Untitled Patel" sequel.

I didn't hate the book but I didn't love it either. It was just a little boring for my taste. I guess with all the hype that was surrounding it, I was expecting a little bit more. I'm thinking that the really young fans of this genre may like it a little more than I did.


About the Author
Scott Westerfeld is a New York Times bestselling author of YA. He was born in the Texas and now lives in Sydney and New York City. In 2001, Westerfeld married fellow author Justine Larbalestier.

He is best know for the Uglies and Leviathan series, and his next book, Afterworlds, comes out September 23, 2014.

His book Evolution's Darling was a New York Times Notable Book, and won a Special Citation for the 2000 Philip K. Dick Award. So Yesterday won a Victorian Premier's Award and both Leviathan and Midnighters 1: The Secret Hour won Aurealis Awards. Peeps and Uglies were both named as Best Books for Young Adults 2006 by the American Library Association. 

Connect with Scott

Saturday 20 September 2014

Review: The Groom Says Yes by Cathy Maxwell

He had a noose around his neck and a price on his head...

Sabrina Davidson, dutiful daughter, avowed spinster, thought she'd secured a place for herself in Aberfeldy society—until her hard-earned acceptance of her fate is challenged by the arrival of Cormac Enright, Earl of Ballin, trained physician, soldier of fortune, and convicted felon.

A prim and proper miss was the last thing he needed...

Mac is determined to clear his name, but first he has to find the man whose testimony sentenced him to a hangman's noose. Of course, Robert Davidson is missing and protecting Mac is Davidson's daughter, the most entrancing, frustrating, beguiling, stubborn woman Mac has ever met.

And it doesn't help that he has already tasted her kisses. Or that he has found in her a passion for life and adventure to rival his own.

Mac has turned Sabrina's world inside out—but what will happen when he leaves?

ebook, 384 pages
Expected publication: September 30th 2014 by Avon

Terri's Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher Avon via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is September 30, 2014.
Every so often a book comes along that I have to remind myself that I promised that I would give my 100% honest feedback.  This is one of those stories and unfortunately I was not very fond of it but I must be true to my promise and say so.

It was not the writing that fell short for me, it was fine, but the story that did.  The concept of an attraction between an escaped convict and a "proper" lady should have been a good one.  A period love story is something I usually enjoy however this story was somewhat lacking from the beginning.

There seemed to lack some character development with the characters of both Mac and Sabrina.  I simply could not find myself invested in either one and as a result the entire story.  Little was known about Mac aside some brief narrations about his family and past and Sabrina was simply annoying.  Instead of a strong personality with conflicting emotions she more seemed to be a snob. 

The physical aspect that occurred between Mac and Sabrina in my mind was completely unrealistic.  I can't think of a single female out there would be in the situation that Sabrina found herself in without so much as a conversation with Mac.  I so want to rant about this however that would require giving spoilers which I do not do.  Anyone who reads this will know what I mean.  In all honesty this is where the story lost me.

There you go.  I gave a truthful review.  It is only my opinion however it is what it is.  Although it was not for me it could very well be someone else's cup of tea.  I almost wish I knew others who read this so I would have the opportunity to discuss.

About the Author

CATHY MAXWELL spends hours in front of her computer pondering the question, "Why do people fall in love?" It remains for her the mystery of life and the secret to happiness.

She lives in beautiful Virginia with her children, horses, dogs, and cats.


Thursday 18 September 2014

Feature and Follow Friday #46 Pet Peeves

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 weeks question is...

Blogger pet peeves? (Like when I've drafted an entire post, ready to publish it, and I see somewhere I've left out a html code... When I didn't even do my post in html) - Suggested by Take Me Away…

Kristine's Answer:

That's a great question! I don't have many pet peeves because I just love my books so only one thing comes to mind. I usually figure out what books I am going to read a month at a time. I have a planner that shows the whole month on one page and then has each individual day on a page of its own. On the monthly calendar I will mark in the book that I will be reading to post on that day and then when I read it I will put it in on the individual day and check it off on the monthly calendar. This way I can keep track of what I've read, when it will be posting and what book I will be reading next. My pet peeve is when I accidentally mark a book in on a certain day and it is wrong or I decide to leave my list and read something that I hadn't planned. This messes my entire calendar and I have to go back and move everything on both the monthly calendar and on the individual days. I have nobody to blame but myself when this happens but it is still frustrating!

Terri is out of town and can't answer this weeks question but I know that she has scheduled posts for the wrong days and has scrambled to fix her mistakes. I think this may be one of her pet peeves.

What are your pet peeves?

That is our Feature and Follow Friday for this week! Comment down below if you're a new follower of ours with a link to your blog and we will make sure to follow you back. You can follow us via gfc, bloglovin, email, facebook and/or twitter. 

Review: Two Loves Lost by Sandy Graham

A scrawny child, Delbert Pillage, hides his intelligence to minimize harassment. Only Sylvia Cairns sides with him and a love between them is born. Delbert's true ability is discovered in high school and early entry into university separates them.

While he is a summer air force training program, a tragedy drives Sylvia to become a nun. Unable to contact her, he must carry on alone. He matures into Canada's youngest test pilot in time to live through the Avro Arrow cancellation which marks the end of Canada's blossoming aviation industry.

Paperback 317 pages
Published March 4th 2013 by CreateSpace

Kristine's Thoughts:

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

The synopsis for this book really caught my attention so I was thrilled to win a copy of this book. It sounded like a story that I would really enjoy reading. Unfortunately I was somewhat disappointed and here are the reasons why...

First, from reading the synopsis, I thought I was in for a really great love story. There is a love story but it was extremely under developed making it hard to connect with. In fact, I felt like it was a secondary story compared to the rest of it. I wanted to feel the emotion but I just didn't.  Delbert's time in University, his research projects and how he became a test pilot are extremely detailed and I felt like this was more of the focal point of the plot. A lot of it was quite technical, showing the authors knowledge on the subjects, but I found myself getting a little bored at times. Although this may interest a great number of people it was a little too much for me. I wanted more of an equal balance between Delbert's time with and away from Sylvia.

People who have an interest in the air force and the aviation industry may find this book quite interesting because it is quite detailed but those looking for an epic love story will probably find that it falls short. This book was OK but not my cup of tea.

About the Author

Sandy was born and raised in British Columbia, where he obtained an engineering degree before emigrating to the U.S.A.

After 35 years earning an honest living in the aviation industry, Sandy succumbed to an inherited writing bug after retirement.

Connect with Sandy

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Review: The Night Belongs to Fireman by Jennifer Bernard

When fireman Fred Breen rescues a bachelorette party after a construction crane collapses onto their limo, the media labels him the "Bachelor Hero." But all Fred can think about is the petite brunette with the sexy mane of dark curls who bolted away from him faster than a wildfire after he carried her to safety. And when he discovers she's none other than Rachel Kessler, the daughter of a tech billionaire, the girl whose kidnapping riveted the nation, he intends to learn every intimate detail about this intriguing woman who sets his pulse on fire.

Rachel can't deny the lean-muscled firefighter is smokin' hot. But after having one too many drinks at the bar where she first meets him, Rachel knows she's made a fool of herself. Yet when he rescues her from the limo, she feels safe for the first time since she was held for ransom as a child. Then her overprotective father insists Fred be her bodyguard—and his close presence kindles a burning desire that only he can extinguish.

Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Expected publication: September 30th 2014 by Avon

Terri's Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher Avon via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is September 30, 2014.

I did not realize when I requested this book that it is part of a series.  While previous characters were mentioned and it is apparent there were back stories about them that had unfolded in previous instalments this book can be read as a stand alone novel.  While it would have been interesting to know these stories they did not impact the ability to enjoy this one.

Bernard did a great job creating the perfect swoon worthy male character.  A physically smoldering guy with the personality of a genuine nice guy.  I liked the fact that he did not have the arrogance that sometimes dominates this genre of read.  The fact that he was always there in a sticky situation made me hope that there are men like this in real life (I was lucky I found one of them!).

This story follows the typical formula where there is instant chemistry between the two characters and they deny themselves succumbing to it for their own various reasons until it becomes too much.  An interesting plot is woven between the romance with the story of the kidnapper and overall it blends well.  I managed to finish the story in less than a day.

For those who like a romance with some steam and a plot then I would recommend this read.  I will be going back to read the rest of the series as it appears there are quite a few books in it.  Who doesn't want to read about a firehouse full of hot men???

About the Author

Jennifer Bernard is the USA Today bestselling author of the Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel series. A graduate of Harvard and a former news promo producer. The child of academics, she confounded her family by preferring romance novels to any other books. She left big city life for true love in Alaska, where she now lives with her husband and stepdaughters. She’s no stranger to book success, as she also writes erotic novellas under a naughty secret name not to be mentioned at family gatherings.

Besides reading, writing and living romance, another passion is Ashtanga yoga. She practices daily, and has traveled to Thailand, India and Hawaii to learn from the best teachers on the planet. Other than that, she love hiking, meditating, hazelnut chocolate, the children she is graced to have in her life.

Twitter:  Jen_Bernard


Tuesday 16 September 2014

Review: Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

At twenty-two years old, aspiring musician Sydney Blake has a great life: She’s in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her good friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers Hunter cheating on her with Tori—and she is left trying to decide what to do next.

Sydney becomes captivated by her mysterious neighbor, Ridge Lawson. She can’t take her eyes off him or stop listening to the daily guitar playing he does out on his balcony. She can feel the harmony and vibrations in his music. And there’s something about Sydney that Ridge can’t ignore, either: He seems to have finally found his muse. When their inevitable encounter happens, they soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one…

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover, a passionate tale of friendship, betrayal, and romance—and the enchanting music that inspires one young woman to put her life back together.

Kindle Edition, 367 pages
Published March 18th 2014 by Atria Books 
Genre: New Adult

Kristine's Thoughts:

Colleen Hoover does it again! I have always been a big fan so I find it crazy that it has taken me this long to read Maybe Someday. I bought it when it was released and it has been sitting on my kindle ever since. As I hang my head in shame I can finally say that I read it and loved every minute of it.

Without re-telling the story I can say that this book is filled with so much emotional turmoil that I had a lump in my throat for more than 3/4 of it. Do you know that ugly, painful lump that is only relieved by crying? Yes, that's the one. Hoover pens such a beautifully raw, emotional and sexy connection between Sydney and Ridge that it is just crazy. The chemistry between the two is off the charts and she does this with only one little kiss. In fact, it was there and would have been there even without the kiss.To be able to connect the characters to the reader the way that she does is incredible. I think that in some ways it was her beautiful story telling in the way that Sydney and Ridge communicated through music and text that did it for me.

Both Sydney and Ridge were wonderful characters that I enjoyed getting to know with each turn of the page. I loved, loved, loved Ridge! If I could special order one of him for my daughters I would! In fact, most of the characters were great. None of them were perfect, they all made mistakes and that's what made it easy to empathise and connect with them.

This is truly a beautiful story. How Hoover can continuously come up with such amazing NA stories is beyond me. I sure would like to get inside her head to find out. If you are a fan of this genre, don't wait as long as I did to pick up this book or any of her books like I did. You won't regret it.

About the Author

Colleen Hoover is the New York Times bestselling author of Slammed, Point of Retreat, Hopeless, This Girl, and Losing Hope. Colleen lives in Texas with her husband and their three boys.

Connect with Colleen

Monday 15 September 2014

Review: Her Best Shot by Shannyn Schroeder

With college graduation looming, three childhood friends vow to make spring break their last blast of pure fun. But at least one of them didn’t count on such incredible heat… 

Layla Sharpe is definitely more math ninja than bikini babe, and her future has been calculated with razor precision. Convinced to let loose over spring break, Layla is finally ready to party—until her car breaks down halfway to her destination, leaving her stranded in Georgia with a mouthwateringly hot pool shark. She knows more than enough about angles to learn the game, but this week she wants him to appreciate her curves… 

Phin Marks has never met a girl like Layla. She’s more Star Wars geek than seductress, and when he offers her a place to stay while her car is in the shop, he’s counting on the attraction between them to set the nights ablaze, no strings attached. But every moment he spends with Layla makes it harder to let her go. Can he persuade her to gamble in the most dangerous way possible…on forever?

ebook, 130 pages
Expected publication:  September 29th by eKensingtion

Terri's Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher eKensington via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is September 29th 2014.

This was a short read with only 130 pages in which to put a steamy plot in to play.  For those who are looking for a sexy bedroom read with a little bit of plot and no time commitment this would be an ideal read.

I think the focus of this story is the physical chemistry and subsequent succumbing to the attraction.  With very little lead up to the bedroom scenes this story is not meant for anything deeper than pure entertainment.  Luckily this is as advertised and therefore expectations are set from the get go.

I only have two minor complaints about the story.  The first is superficial.  I could not associate Phin with the dream boat he was supposed to be due to the fact that he had long hair.  It may just be a personal preference but I associate men with long hair with the 1990's and that era is behind us.  Very few men can pull the look off and therefore I had difficulty visualizing him.  The second was the ending.  It seemed to come very quickly for me and I was left thinking...oh, its over.

On the positive end I like the fact that for the most part Layla was a strong female character.  She went after what she wanted and she was not a pushover.  It is not the typical behavior of someone who is supposed to be a "nerd".  The chemistry worked between Layla and Phin and the fact that Phin was an ex gypsy added an original element.

If you are looking for a sexy read with no commitment then this is the story for you.

About The Author

 Twitter:  SSchroeder_