Review: Young Love by Janelle Stalder

Honor Jacobs has a dream, and she won’t stop until she achieves it. Dancing is her life, which means she has no time for men. Especially not tattoo artists with hard eyes, and a mouth that has her thinking things she shouldn’t be. Staying as far away from Grey Anderson as possible is the solution to all her problems. Except that’s easier said than done. And no matter how much space she puts between them, it’s never enough. He might think she’s too young, and she might think he’s not the one for her, but their hearts think differently. It’ll all come down to will and determination…she just needs to decide which path she’s destined to take.

 

Review

I loved Young Love by Janelle Stalder. This is actually book number four in the Bloomfield series. I thought this book was great as a stand alone, and I didn’t feel the need to read the other books to have a better understanding of this one. The story starts with Honor, a ballet dancer whose focus in life is her dancing career. Grey is the hot tattoo artist who she meets when Grey tattoos her friend. Grey also happens to be her neighbor as well as the uncle of one of Honor’s ballet students. So as you can see, they were destined to meet. The chemistry between these two is undeniable and off-the-charts, however, neither one wants to admit it. Grey is not interested in anything serious and finds Honor way too young. Honor thinks she has no time for men because of her dancing career. Fortunately for us, they do end up together and the result is scorching hot. I really liked the easy flow of Janelle’s writing despite the fact that the characters are a bit stereotypical, good girl/bad boy duet. You need to take this book for what it is–a sexy romance between two gorgeous people who fall in love and the hurdles to stay together. Although the characters are pretty young and the story is geared towards a younger crowd, I would throw a word of caution to readers under age due to the mature subject and language. Overall, a hot and steamy  romance.

***This book is intended for mature audiences due to strong language and sexual situations***

I’d like to thank Word Slinger for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Review: The Bones Will Speak by Carrie Stuart Parks

Forensic artist Gwen Marcey has become the target of a serial killer who believes he’s been appointed God’s executioner. In Copper Creek, Montana, Gwen Marcey is struggling to put together her life after cancer and divorce. When her dog retrieves a skull of a murder victim and leads her to the victim’s grave, Gwen uses her forensic art ability to identify a serial killer. She is horrified to discover all the victims look like her fourteen-year-old daughter. The murderer is a “lone wolf,” a member of the terrorist group Phineas Priesthood-and he has a score to settle with Gwen. Unraveling the tangled Christian Identity movement, where race-not grace-provides salvation, Gwen is in a frantic rush against time. She must use all her skills to uncover the killer before he can carry out his threat to destroy her and everyone she loves.

Review

This is book number two of the Gwen Marcey’s series. Gwen is a forensic artist who’s recovering from a divorce and from cancer. When Gwen’s dog finds a skull of a murder victim, Gwen uses her forensic knowledge and sets out to solve the crime. I really enjoyed this story. The Bones Will Speak is an exciting, fast-paced thriller full of twists and surprises. I didn’t read book one in the series, but I thought this book stood on its own. The parts I really liked about this book was the emphasis on forensic science and the job of forensic artists. At times Gwen came across as a know-it-all sort of person who is part forensic artist part detective. Overall, I enjoyed Parks’ writing style and I think this book will really appeal to fans of CSI and other forensic shows. I recommend it.

I’d like to thank BookLook Bloggers for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 


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Review: First Comes Love by Emily Giffin

 

Growing up, Josie and Meredith Garland shared a loving, if sometimes contentious relationship. Josie was impulsive, spirited, and outgoing; Meredith hardworking, thoughtful, and reserved. When tragedy strikes their family, their different responses to the event splinter their delicate bond. Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late thirties, following very different paths. Josie, a first-grade teacher, is single—and this close to swearing off dating for good. What she wants more than the right guy, however, is to become a mother—a feeling that is heightened when her ex-boyfriend’s daughter ends up in her class. Determined to have the future she’s always wanted, Josie decides to take matters into her own hands. On the outside, Meredith is the model daughter with the perfect life. A successful attorney, she’s married to a wonderful man, and together they’re raising a beautiful four-year-old daughter. Yet lately, Meredith feels dissatisfied and restless, secretly wondering if she chose the life that was expected of her rather than the one she truly desired. As the anniversary of their tragedy looms and painful secrets from the past begin to surface, Josie and Meredith must not only confront the issues that divide them but also come to terms with their own choices.

Review

I feel the need to start this review by explaining how I managed to give this novel 4-stars when I completely disliked every character in this book. I am usually drawn to a good family drama, especially stories about siblings. So, the premise of this book was a huge selling point. Another reason that brought me to this novel was the author. I really enjoyed Emily Giffin’s Something Borrowed and Something Blue, and I was already familiar with her style of writing. Indeed, I think Giffin really shines in family drama and the description of everyday life in a way that’s interesting and smart.

This book surrounds the story of this family, the Garlands, who after losing their oldest son in a car accident become extremely dysfunctional. There is something to be said about grief and tragedy. It either brings out the best out of people, or it brings the absolute worst out of them. In the case of the Garlands, it certainly brought out the worst.

Although this story does not really have a plot, Giffin still manages to make the narrative engaging and the dialogues dynamic. The format of the novel is set up with alternating chapters between Josie’s accounts and Meredith’s accounts of their life. Josie is reaching her late 30s. She is an elementary school teacher, self-absorbed, and selfish. Meredith’s not much better either.  She is an OCD type lawyer who, although she doesn’t see it, is also extremely selfish. Both sisters, together with the father and the mother have never truly processed the death of Daniel fifteen years earlier and somehow those scars have dictated their lives, their choices, and the relationship (or the lack of) they have with each other.

I really tried to sympathize with these sisters, but I just couldn’t. I believe Meredith’s complete ungratefulness and inability to see anything beyond her belly button had me brace myself not to slap her in the face a couple of times. And that is one of the reasons this novel deserves 4-stars. Although parts of the story are predictable and even impossible, Giffin’s character development was so good that I had a very clear idea of the voice and mannerisms of these characters by the time I was done with the book. This is an emotional and well-written novel with themes of grievance, forgiveness, friendship, and love.

I received an early copy of this book for free from Penguin Random House First To Read in exchange for my honest review.


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Review: Titanborn by Rhett C. Bruno

 

Malcolm Graves lives by two rules: finish the job, and get paid. After thirty years as a collector, chasing bounties and extinguishing rebellions throughout the solar system, Malcolm does what he’s told, takes what he’s earned, and leaves the questions to someone else—especially when it comes to the affairs of offworlders. But his latest mission doesn’t afford him that luxury. After a high-profile bombing on Earth, the men who sign Malcolm’s paychecks are clamoring for answers. Before he can object, the corporation teams him up with a strange new partner who’s more interested in statistics than instinct and ships them both off to Titan, the disputed moon where humans have been living for centuries. Their assignment is to hunt down a group of extremists: Titanborn dissidents who will go to any length to free their home from the tyranny of Earth.Heading into hostile territory, Malcolm will have to use everything he’s learned to stay alive. But he soon realizes that the situation on the ground is much more complex than he anticipated . . . and much more personal

Review

Wow! Rhett Bruno’s Titanborn was a real breath of fresh air for me. After having gone through a series of fiction and mystery books, I had forgotten how much I love a good Sci-Fi book. Titanborn begins with a post-apocalyptic future where long ago a meteorite hit Earth leaving humans nearly extinct and forcing them to colonize other planets and solar systems. Malcolm Graves is a bounty-hunter, or collector, who spends his days collecting bounties and controlling rebellious activities throughout the solar system. Most of the plot surrounds a rebellious group from Titan, one of Saturn’s moons and one of the places humans (earthers) colonized after the meteorite hit. This rebellious group is made up of decedents of the original settlers, or Titanborn, who seek independence from human control of Titan.

“Titan, the orange moon of Saturn… the most promising celestial body in all of Sol for human expansion due to the resources offered…a pale-orange orb dappled with pockets of shadow that gave it the appearance of a windswept skull. I found it fitting for a place where the locals were as icy as the temperature.”

I absolutely loved the way Bruno constructed this world. The narrative is fast-paced, action-packed and smart. Malcolm is a character that reminded me of a cross between Hans Solo and Dick Deckard. He is sarcastic, smart, and believable. I also liked his side-kick, Zhaff. This is a high-speed, thrilling novel that is really going to appeal to fans of the genre as well as people who don’t necessarily read Sci-Fi novels. I felt the ending left me hanging a bit and that might be due to a possible sequel. If that is the case, I’ll be anxiously waiting for book number two.

The author has provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


About The Author

Rhett Bruno grew up in Hauppauge, New York, and studied at the Syracuse University School of Architecture where he graduated cum laude. He has been writing since he can remember, scribbling down what he thought were epic short stories when he was young to show to his parents. When he reached high school he decided to take that a step further and write the “Isinda Trilogy”. After the encouragement of his favorite English teacher he decided to self-publish the “Isinda Trilogy” so that the people closest to him could enjoy his early work. While studying architecture Rhett continued to write as much as he could, but finding the time during the brutal curriculum proved difficult. It wasn’t until he was a senior that he decided to finally pursue his passion for Science Fiction. After rededicating himself to reading works of the Science Fiction author’s he always loved, (Frank Herbert, Timothy Zahn, Heinlein, etc.) he began writing “The Circuit: Executor Rising”, The first part of what he hopes will be a successful Adult Science Fiction Series. Since then Rhett has been hired by an Architecture firm in Mount Kisco, NY. But that hasn’t stopped him from continuing to work on “The Circuit” and all of the other stories bouncing around in his head. He is also currently studying at the New School to earn a Certificate in Screenwriting in the hopes of one day writing for TV or Video Games.

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WWW Wednesday

www-wednesday

This weekly meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. All you have to do is answer the following three questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading

The Blurb 

When her father falls into a coma, Indian American photographer Sonya reluctantly returns to the family she’d fled years before. Since she left home, Sonya has lived on the run, free of any ties, while her soft-spoken sister, Trisha, has created a perfect suburban life, and her ambitious sister, Marin, has built her own successful career. But as these women come together, their various methods of coping with a terrifying history can no longer hold their memories at bay. Buried secrets rise to the surface as their father—the victim of humiliating racism and perpetrator of horrible violence—remains unconscious. As his condition worsens, the daughters and their mother wrestle with private hopes for his survival or death, as well as their own demons and buried secrets.Told with forceful honesty, Trail of Broken Wings reveals the burden of shame and secrets, the toxicity of cruelty and aggression, and the exquisite, liberating power of speaking and owning truth.

 

Recently Finished

Review here.

The Blurb

Synthia (Syn) Wade is a teenage girl who struggles with cystic fibrosis, an incurable life-threatening disease. One day she is pushed into a pond by an unseen figure and wakes up in a new world – a mysterious garden where illness and death don’t exist. Welcomed by the garden’s residents and now free of her symptoms, Syn decides to stay. But, before long, she realizes that this apparent utopia holds many dangers and dark secrets. Surrounding the garden is a fog that Syn is warned never to enter. She encounters bizarre creatures that defy reason. And always lurking in the shadows is a masked woman – a woman who may have a connection to the disappearance of Syn’s parents many years ago. A woman whom no one will speak of, but whom everyone fears. While No One Dies in the Garden of Syn, She will soon discover that some fates are worse than death.

Reading Next

The Blurb

Golden peonies bowing their heads beneath blue delphinium bells. Delicate pink anemones threaded between freckled green orchids. Soft apricot roses woven together with velvety purple irises. Every bouquet tells a story. And every story begins at Blossom & Grow, a tiny jewel-like flower shop in the heart of Dublin. Here, among the buckets of fragrant blooms, beneath the flickering candles and lanterns, Lara works her magic. Translating feelings into flower arrangements that change hearts and lives. But what about her own heart? Has she really healed since she lost her chance to be a mother? What will happen when her own story takes a sudden turn? Can the flowers that heal the customers work their magic on the florist? Drawing together a delightful cast of characters, Ella Griffin brings her warmth, wit and wisdom to a captivating tale woven around a Dublin florist.


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Review: No One Dies In The Garden Of Syn

 

Synthia (Syn) Wade is a teenage girl who struggles with cystic fibrosis, an incurable life-threatening disease. One day she is pushed into a pond by an unseen figure and wakes up in a new world – a mysterious garden where illness and death don’t exist. Welcomed by the garden’s residents and now free of her symptoms, Syn decides to stay. But, before long, she realizes that this apparent utopia holds many dangers and dark secrets. Surrounding the garden is a fog that Syn is warned never to enter. She encounters bizarre creatures that defy reason. And always lurking in the shadows is a masked woman – a woman who may have a connection to the disappearance of Syn’s parents many years ago. A woman whom no one will speak of, but whom everyone fears. While No One Dies in the Garden of Syn, She will soon discover that some fates are worse than death.

Review

Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is a very serious and somehow personal topic for me. My beloved cousin died at the age of 24 of this incurable disease, and I remember her struggles from diagnosis until her death. When I was offered this title, I jumped right away at the opportunity to read and review this book. I felt that the premise of the book was great, and I was really curious about how the author was going to develop this story. I have to say that I was quite disappointed with this book.

The Novel starts with Syn (for Synthia) Wade, a teenage girl struggling with CF who one day is looking at this pond in her backyard when she is suddenly pushed in the pond by an unseen figure and wakes up in this alternate world–a mysterious garden where no one is sick and illness and death do not exist. One of the things I felt that worked for me in this novel was Syn’s character development. I think the author did a great job at depicting her struggles with the disease. The story itself is confusing and a bit slow moving for me. I love fantasy books, and I have no problem with the concept of alternate worlds, parallel universes, and so on, however, this is a concept that can be tricky and not always works well. Most of the book is extremely vague and you get the sense that questions will be provided by the end of the book. In fact, the reader does get some of these questions answered, but overall it remains a confusing story.

I’d like to thank YA Bound Book Tours for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


About The Author

When Michael was growing up, his passions were reading, watching movies, enjoying nature and creative writing. Not much has changed since then. Working in Online Marketing for over ten years, Michael felt it was time to pursue his passion as a career and wrote the first book in The Garden of Syn trilogy.Getting up every morning and sitting down to create new characters and bring new worlds to life is the most fulfilling job he’s have ever had. He is currently writing the second book in The Garden of Syn series and, beyond the trilogy, has many ideas plotted out that he looks forward to sharing with the world!

Michael was born in Vancouver, BC Canada where he continues to reside.

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YA Bound Book Tours

Review: The Invoice by Jonas Karlsson

A passionate film buff, our hero’s life revolves around his part-time job at a video store, the company of a few precious friends, and a daily routine that more often than not concludes with pizza and movie in his treasured small space in Stockholm. When he receives an astronomical invoice from a random national bureaucratic agency, everything will tumble into madness as he calls the hotline night and day to find out why he is the recipient of the largest bill in the entire country. What is the price of a cherished memory? How much would you pay for a beautiful summer day? How will our carefree idealist, who is content with so little and has no chance of paying it back, find a way out of this mess? All these questions pull you through The Invoice and prove once again that Jonas Karlsson is simply a master of entertaining, intelligent, and life-affirming work.

Review

What a cute little book! I devoured this book in a few hours. I found the premise absolutely fantastic. The cost of happiness! Great satire, sweet and quirky little book. Very philosophical and one of those books that gets you thinking about it long after you’re done with it. I’m not sure if this book is for everyone, but if you enjoy deep, philosophical satires, you will certainly enjoy this one.

I’d like to thank First To Read for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 


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AudioBook Review: A Sudden Crush by Camilla Isley

Written by: Camilla Isley

Narrated by: Tami Leah Lacy

Length: 7 hrs and 25 min

Release date: 06/23/16

Publisher: Pink Bloom Press

Joanna Price is a city girl with the perfect life. She loves her job as a book editor, she just married Liam, high-profile, best-selling author and the man of her dreams, and she’s headed to the Caribbean to enjoy two weeks of paradise for her luxurious honeymoon. Connor Duffield is a gruff, grumpy rancher from the Midwest. He is a country boy who has a no-nonsense approach to life, more scars than he’d like to admit, and he hates city girls. So it’s just a misfortune they have to sit next to each other for a six-hour plane ride. Even more so when their flight is caught in the perfect storm and Joanna wakes up stranded on a desert island with Connor, the very man she hoped she would never have to see again. Why are they alone on this forsaken island? What happened to Joanna’s husband? When her dream honeymoon turns into a hilarious tropical nightmare, Joanna’s first thought is survival. However, she and Connor will quickly discover just how boring paradise can be. As the days turn to weeks, and then months, this mismatched pair will have to learn how to coexist and how to resist the sparkles of an attraction they weren’t prepared to feel. When they are finally rescued, will Joanna’s marriage be saved as well, or will the life she knew and loved be in ruins?


Review

Joanna Price is this sassy, book editor from Chicago who just married Liam, a best-selling author. Wow! A match made in heaven, right? Unfortunately, fate has a whole different plan for this couple and when Joanna experiences a plane accident and is left stranded on a deserted island with a grumpy rancher, Connor, the fun is about to start. One of the things I really liked about this novel was the fact that this book was not as predictable as I thought, nor was a book just about a couple stranded on an island. I really loved the narration by Tami Leah Lacy. Her interpretation of Joanna was perfect and really helped to bring that character to life. I loved grumpy Connor! The scenes on the island were fun, and Isley kept the suspense going. I really enjoyed listening to this book on my way to work. This is a lovely, romantic, witty, and funny summer read. I highly recommend it.

I received a free copy of this audiobook from the author in exchange for my honest review.


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Stacking The Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Review. This is a weekly post, usually on Sundays, where I’ll share the books that I’m adding to my shelves. I’ll include books I purchase, books from my local library, e-books, audiobooks, and books for review.

 

PURCHASED

 

ARCs FOR REVIEW

Truth or Dare by Barbara Dee (Author)

Barefoot Beach by Toby Devens (First to Read)

The Mark of Noba by G.L. Tomas (YA Bound Tours)

These are all the books I added to my shelves. How about you guys? Have you read any of these titles? Happy Reading!


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Review: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë

Gilbert Markham is deeply intrigued by Helen Graham, a beautiful and secretive young widow who has moved into nearby Wildfell Hall with her young son. He is quick to offer Helen his friendship, but when her reclusive behavior becomes the subject of local gossip and speculation, Gilbert begins to wonder whether his trust in her has been misplaced. It is only when she allows Gilbert to read her diary that the truth is revealed and the shocking details of her past.

Review

When a mysterious tenant, Helen Graham, moves into Wildfell Hall, it immediately sparks an interest in Gilbert Markham. Helen’s desire for seclusion and privacy ends up arousing suspicion and curiosity among her neighbors. Gilbert, in particular, is extremely interested in Helen and one day pays a visit to Wildfell Hall. As time goes on and their friendship deepens, Helen gives Gilbert a copy of her journal to read. The journal is an account of Helen’s life in the past six years.

The book starts with Gilbert writing a letter to his brother-in-law and the first chapters of the book are written in Gilbert’s voice. After Helen gives Gilbert her journal, Brontë starts to write in Helen’s voice. This is an interesting technique and one that worked really well in this book. The main theme of this novel is without a doubt the criticism to alcoholism and its destructive effects on the lives of people affected by it. What makes this book a classic is first and foremost Brontë’s courage to tackle the issue of alcoholism, divorce, domestic, and child abuse in an era where those topics were a huge taboo, if not altogether forbidden. Does this novel compare to the quality and ranking of Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights? Probably not! The prose of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is a little less embellished than the prose found in her sisters’ books.

When I tell you not to marry without love, I do not advise you to marry for love alone: there are many, many other things to be considered. Keep both heart and hand in your own possession, till you see good reason to part with them; and if such an occasion should never present itself, comfort your mind with this reflection, that though in single life your joys may not be very many, your sorrows, at least, will not be more than you can bear. Marriage may change your circumstances for the better, but, in my private opinion, it is far more likely to produce a contrary result.

Once considered the lesser of the Brontë’s sisters (Emily and Charlotte), Anne Brontë did a fantastic job in this way-ahead-of-its-time almost feminist novel.

This book is part of my list of books in The Classics Club Challenge.

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