3 1/2 Stars, Low Language, Low Violence, Moderate Romance, Sariah Wilson

It’s called Chemistry

Sariah Wilson is an expert at chemistry. And while the chemistry is well done and definitely spicy, it is a little on pg-13 side. I like my chemistry used as an inconspicuous thread subtly enhancing the story. In both #Starstruck and #Moonstruck the chemistry is more of a front row focus in the narrative than an indirect subplot. And yet it works, and I’ll tell you why.

#Moonstruck (A #Lovestruck Novel) by [Wilson, Sariah]

“After pop star Ryan De Luna praises Maisy Harrison’s YouTube cover of his classic hit, he offers Maisy and her fledgling band the opportunity of a lifetime: to be his opening act.

Music may be Maisy’s life, but she has one ground rule: never date a musician. That goes double for a heartbreaker like Ryan. If only she didn’t feel so vulnerable to his larger-than-life charm. And maybe now more than ever, when he asks for her help to shake off his playboy image. How can she resist playing the part of his fake girlfriend for the duration of the tour?

Ryan’s never met anyone like Maisy. She sees past all the star-studded fame and treats him like any other guy. And the more time they spend together, the more he finds himself falling for her. Now he’d like to make their imaginary fling an IRL thing. But can he convince her to take a chance and trust him with her heart?”

The story is sweet with hints of a rags to riches idea. Sariah Wilson gave the character’s enough back story to help you empathize with their decisions and be invested in their future.

The thing that makes me appreciate her story telling is her creation of a beautifully moral character that balances the intense chemistry. This line in particular was something every single person needs to hear and do, “I loved myself and the decisions I’d made about how far I would take things physically.” Nestled up quite nicely next to the heat is the idea that it’s ok to have boundaries, to curb the heat and exercise self control. I love that she does that in these novels.

I appreciated not only the balance between chemistry and control, but the balance in Maisy’s character between strength and vulnerability. Both Maisy and Ryan were beautifully flawed characters, that became even more through out the progress of the novel. I will applaud any book that can simultaneously entertain me, move me and defend the beauty of virtue.

Advertisements
Four Stars, Kasie West, Low Language, Low Romance, Low Violence

Listen to your heart

I don’t necessarily have a checklist when it comes to books I read, but if I did it would look something like this:

Clean  Image result for check marked box

Adorable Romance Image result for check marked box

Witty Dialogue Image result for check marked box

Believable Image result for check marked box

The latest book from Kasie West, Listen To Your Heart, has all of those and more.

Talking to other people isn’t Kate Bailey’s favorite activity. She’d much rather be out on the lake, soaking up the solitude and sunshine. So when her best friend, Alana, convinces Kate to join their high school’s podcast, Kate is not expecting to be chosen as the host. Now she’ll have to answer calls and give advice on the air? Impossible.

But to Kate’s surprise, she turns out to be pretty good at the hosting gig. Then the podcast gets in a call from an anonymous guy, asking for advice about his unnamed crush. Kate is pretty sure that the caller is gorgeous Diego Martinez, and even surer that the girl in question is Alana. Kate is excited for her friend . . . until Kate herself starts to develop feelings for Diego. Suddenly, Kate finds that while doling out wisdom to others may be easy, asking for help is tougher than it looks, and following your own advice is even harder.

The thing I loved about this book is it’s a book that I would actually feel comfortable letting my teenage daughter read. She’s not at that age yet, but I can see the glimpses of it. I want her to be strong and confident, and kind, and listen to her heart.

Some books are listed as young adult,  9th grade and up. Then I read it thinking, sure it wasn’t a ‘won’t read’, but it wasn’t exactly something I’d feel comfortable handing to my daughter. This book was clean, and so much fun. Kasie delivered the perfect summer read.

The witty banter, the adorable chemistry, the honest way she dealt with coming of age and figuring life out. Kate is exactly the type of character I’d encourage any age to read about over and over. –M.V.

 

 

 

3 1/2 Stars, Low Language, Low Romance, Low Violence, Sarah M. Eden, Timeless Romance Anthologies

Something Old, Something New

I have to confess the first time I saw the cover for the newest Timeless Western Collection, Calico Ball, I had no idea what one was.

Now that I’ve learned something new about something old, I keep thinking, why don’t we do stuff like this anymore? It sounds charitable and delightful, and something I would definitely attend.Calico Ball (Timeless Western Collection Book 1) by [Kelly, Carla, Eden, Sarah M., Holt, Kristin]

This collection contains three short stories set in The West and each about a Calico Ball.

“The Keeper of the Western Door” by Carla Kelly has a slow but budding tender relationship. The be true to your roots message was sweet. However I felt like the conversations were a little stilted.

“A Convenient Arrangement” by Sarah Eden like most of her writing is an emotionally driven story. It’s one of the reasons people connect to her stories and her characters. Her descriptions of the characters and their reactions to each other made an already delightful tale, adorable.

“Isabella’s Calico Groom” by Kristin Holt was probably my favorite of the three stories. It took me a few pages to place the other characters in the book as stories I’d already read. The characters from Sophia’s Leap Year Courtship a Timeless Romance Single and “Wanted: Midwife Bride” from the Mail Order Bride Collection appear briefly in this story. Kristin Holt combined a story of independence and being who you are with a heart warming romance. I particularly appreciated that she created in Isabella a woman not afraid to speak up and communicate through misunderstandings, it was refreshing.

Overall I really enjoyed this Collection, I love learning about new things and felt pulled right into the excitement of the Calico Ball. The next time someone wants ideas for a fundraiser, a Calico Ball will be on the top of my list…but then I might actually have to learn how to sew…

 

Uncategorized

Lazy Days of Summer

Lazy Days of Summer

$250 Cash Giveaway

July 6th to 26th

Hopefully, you are having a fabulous summer and enjoying some time in the sun with a good book. To celebrate lazy summer days we are giving away $250 to one lucky winner!

A HUGE thank you to this fabulous group of sponsors who made this giveaway possible. Be sure to stop by and show them some love!

Sponsor List

I Am A Reader
Clean Wholesome Romance
Lori’s Reading Corner
Donna K. Weaver
All the Ups and Downs
Dawn Malone, Author
Our Book Confessions
Bookish Reviews
Krysten Lindsay Hager author
Kimber’s Life
Win Book Money
Tinthia Clemant
Simple Wyrdings
Bound 4 Escape
Rockin’ Book Reviews
Glistering: B’s Blog
Rebecca Talley
YA Author Tia Souders
Helen Smith
JeanBookNerd
M.A. George
Elizabeth Parkinson Bellows
Claudia Burgoa
B. Kristin McMichael
Every Free Chance Books
Tica House Publishing
Mylissa Demeyere, Author
Jody’s Free Books
Laurisa White Reyes, Author

Giveaway Details

$250 in Paypal Cash or a $250 Amazon.com eGift Card

Ends 7/26/18

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal or gift codes via Amazon.com. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. This giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the authors, bloggers, and publishers on the sponsor list. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

3 1/2 Stars, Low Language, Low Violence, Moderate Romance

Razzle Dazzle

When I was a little girl my dad had season tickets to the football games of the local college. I loved it when it was my turn to go to the games, not just because I got quality time with one of my favorite people, but because I grew to love football! When I went to the same college years later, I made sure I took advantage of students discounts and got my own season tickets. I confess it’s one of the reasons fall is my favorite season. Probably also why I’m loving the influx of football romances lately.

Lindzee Armstrong just released a new novel in her “No Match For Love Series”  called Match Me If You Can.

Match Me if You Can (No Match for Love Book 7) by [Armstrong, Lindzee]

“Football lineman Wyatt James is convinced relationships aren’t worth the trouble. The last time he fell in love, his girlfriend secretly dated the quarterback, who blamed Wyatt for a career-ending injury. Now he’s been traded from his dream team to the b-list Los Angeles Coyotes and is praying the scandal doesn’t get picked up by the press. 

Tamera never believed her sister would steal her boyfriend, but it’s not all bad. Their secret affair led to Tamera’s public heartbreak, which has propelled her to reality TV star fame. Now she’s got a big-time Hollywood talent agent, famous quarterback best friend, and a determination to never again let a man derail her life.

When Tamera becomes Wyatt’s real estate agent, sparks fly—until they realize her best friend is also his nemesis. As things heat up in the press, vicious lies spread like wildfire and test their fragile bond. Can their hearts heal from past hurts and trust in a future together?”

Tamera is a character we met briefly in the first book of the series “Miss Match”. Unfortunately she didn’t leave a very good impression on us then. However, that seemed to be the fascinating theme Lindzee Armstrong wove through this story, things aren’t always what they seem.

I’m always impressed when an author uses a story to make us believe one thing about a character then is able to subtly pull you in the opposite direction turning a friend into a villian and a nemesis into a confidant. Lindzee did this really well making you feel one way about many of the characters, then just like a trick play in football, with sometimes only a single scene you see them in a whole new light.

A light hearted read, with a little bit of angst, but mostly just sweetness.

 

Five Stars, Low Language, Moderate Romance, Moderate Violence, Nancy Campbell Allen

One More

I’ve always loved the Sleeping Beauty story because of it’s underlying symbols of good verses evil and truth defeating darkness. I must confess however, Aurora is more damsel in distress than fearless heroine. She’s kind of a wuss. In Nancy Campbell Allen‘s spin of Sleeping Beauty that was released today, Kiss of the Spindle, Isla Cooper her resident Briar Rose, is anything but a wuss.

Kiss of the Spindle (Proper Romance Steampunk) by [Allen, Nancy Campbell]

Doctor Isla Cooper is cursed. Literally. Each night, at the stroke of midnight she falls into a death-like sleep from which she cannot be awakened for six hours. To make it worse, the curse has an expiration date–after a year, it becomes permanent. And the year is almost up.

In a desperate attempt to find Malette–the witch who cursed her–Isla blackmails her way onto Daniel Pickett’s private airship bound for the Caribbean, only to discover she’s traveling with three illegal shapeshifters and the despicable Nigel Crowe, a government official determined to hunt down and exterminate every shapeshifter in England. Isla and Daniel must work together to keep the identities of the shapeshifters hidden while coming to terms with their own hidden secrets, and their blossoming attraction to each other.”

As a fan of the Sleeping Beauty story I have to give Nancy props for how expertly she gave subtle nods to the original story. Crow and the dragon were too of my favorite, genius!

Isla is not just an internally strong character, she literally carries multiple weapons and fights evil. Nancy has a gift for writing two personalities that are paired so well that you  are thrilled to watch the couple come together. The romance in her stories are always a perfect blend of tenderness and passion.

This novel wasn’t just a romance though, it had mystery, suspense and the perfect comic relief. Samson really made this story amazing for me. Nancy perfectly timed his comments at just the right time to make me bust a gut on multiple occasions.

Balance that with the fact that I really couldn’t figure out who the enemy exactly was until she spelled it out for me, made for superb writing.

She also threaded through her story deeper emotions. With Daniel’s PTSD and Isla’s realization that “everybody on board dealt with hard things…it’s what defines us” made for a truly fascinating story. I am now completely on board with the steampunk fairy tale world she’s created and am secretly trying to figure out how I can come up with an opportunity to wear a steampunk costume, Halloween is just too far away…

Low Language, Low Romance, Moderate Religion, Moderate Violence, Three Stars

Do You Trust Me?

I confess though I am a Christian, I don’t love all Christian writing. Some of it feels too preachy, some of it feels like the religion is the plot, instead of the religion supporting and enhancing the plot. Melanie Dickerson does a good job of balancing the adventure, the romance and the faith in her Hagenheim series. The Orphan’s Wish comes out tomorrow and is book 8 in the series.

The Orphan's Wish by [Dickerson, Melanie]

“Orphaned and alone, Aladdin travels from the streets of his Arab homeland to a strange, faraway place. Growing up in an orphanage, he meets young Lady Kirstyn, whose father is the powerful Duke of Hagenheim. Despite the difference in their stations, Aladdin quickly becomes Kirstyn’s favorite companion, and their childhood friendship grows into a bond that time and opposition cannot break.

If he ever wants to feel equal to his beautiful and generous friend Kirstyn, he must leave Hagenheim and seek his fortune. Yet once Aladdin departs, Lady Kirstyn becomes a pawn in a terrible plot. Now, Aladdin and Kirstyn must rely on their bond to save Kirstyn from unexpected danger.”

Most of Melanie Dickerson’s books are based on fairy tales. This one I felt though it had elements of the Aladdin story, was the one that most loosely followed the original. That said, it was a unique twist to the story with Christian themes that many young adults can connect with.

Kirstyn and Aladdin’s love story is a cute friendships to more development. I found that as they met when they were both quite young the writing style fit quite well, but as they grew I would have liked to see the writing voice grow a little bit more with them.

There was one plot point that seemed in-congruent with the rest of the character. The wealthy merchant Herr Kaufmann seems to have made his way in the world and established his wealth quite well before Aladdin, but then flounders without him. It seemed inconsistent with the character she introduced us to, for him to face financial difficulty without Aladdin. His illness addressed this somewhat, but not enough to explain financial ruin.

The undertones of feeling not good enough, broken or unloved, were woven into the story quite well. There are so many young adults that can connect with those feelings of inadequacy that it’s beautiful to see stories that are willing to address such emotional driven topics for youth, and do it well.

Four Stars, Low Language, Low Romance, Moderate Violence

Who You Are

I must confess there are times when I am terrified for my children. Absolutely petrified of having to watch them stumble and fall while they’re trying to figure out who they are and what they want to stand for in this crazy world. Maybe that’s why I enjoy young adult novel’s where the main character faces their fears and isn’t afraid to be who they are. That is what I want for my children. Cassie Shiels  creates such a story in “Lady A”.

Lady A (A Princess Tale Book 2) by [Shiels, Cassie M.]

Lady A is in terrible danger, an annoying side effect of her brother’s latest scheme. Forced to run for her life from a madman she must return to the one place she vowed never to go again or die. After a failed attempt on her life leaves her without a name and her memories. Lady A must fight to regain them in order to help the handsome prince defeat the madman, who is threatening their kingdom. But will she remember in time? Or will she lose everyone and everything she loves?

This is a sweet young adult novel with just the right mix of adventure and tenderness. Cassie Shiels built both the back story and the intrigue so well to make it a fascinating read keeping you interested in the outcome till the very end.

The characters are a delight to read. The little sisters in particular brought life and fun to an already endearing story.

With a few surprises thrown in I would definitely recommend more of her, and would love to see additional stories from other character’s points of view!

 

Four Stars, Low Language, Low Violence, Moderate Romance

A Word, A Look

The letter Captain Wentworth writes to Anne Elliot near the end of Jane Austen’s Persuasion is perhaps the most beautiful love letter penned.  The half agony, half hope tension through out that story is one of the things that makes it so stirring. Amberlee Day has replicated that enticing tension in her re-telling “The Scientist, The Sea & The Billionaire.

The Scientist, the Sea & the Billionaire (A Vintage Romance) by [Day, Amberlee]

“Marie Frye has only one regret, and it’s a big one: letting her father convince her that she couldn’t be a successful scientist and have the love of her life, too.

Tagg Berger is always busy playing tennis, or surfing, or skiing…or running the multibillion-dollar company he started in the pursuit of perfect sports equipment. The one thing that slows Tagg down is the tug at his heart, the girl who chose her career over him, the girl he never stopped loving.

After years apart, the remarriage of mutual friends brings Marie and Tagg to the beautiful north Caribbean islands of Turks and Caicos. While the memory of lost dreams keeps them apart, sparks still fly when they’re together. But, if they’re going to find true love, they’re going to have to learn to trust one another again, and trust is harder to build than a billionaire-dollar company.”

Amberlee Day has created characters that adorably resemble the unique qualities of the original characters, each with their individual modern twist. They were well written and entertaining in their own right, but you also knew and enjoyed the character they were mirroring from Jane Austen’s initial story.

The angst of lingering love between Marie and Tagg is written so well you instantly connect with their feelings and their longing. The whole thing was a sweet rendition of a classic with all the right plot points and hope of rekindled love.

The only thing I didn’t love was the title, it’s a bit of a tongue twister, especially when the original was so sweet and to the point, but then again I’m not a publisher…

 

Low Language, Low Violence, Moderate Romance, Three Stars

Decisions, Decisions

I have to confess I’m a very indecisive person. Me and my husband can on a frequent bases be heard having the following conversation “Well what do you want?” “I don’t know” “how about x” “no” “how about y” “no” “how about z” “no” “well then what do you want” “I don’t know” however when it comes to books I know! I know I loved it or I know I hated, usually. But this time I honestly don’t know!

Everneath by [Ashton, Brodi]

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she’s returned—to her old life, her family, her boyfriend—before she’s banished back to the underworld . . . this time forever. She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the person most devastated by her disappearance—and the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back, this time as his queen.

I really enjoy Greek mythology. Everneath is a retelling of the story of Persephone. However, I felt as though it was so far from Greek mythology while trying to include it it had me confused.

The story begins in the middle giving you flash backs which were hard for me to follow (but maybe that’s just the pregnant brain talking). When I took the story out of the idea I had envisioned it to be I enjoyed it more.

It had my ever favorite love triangle. Brodi Ashton did really well in making you feel for the bad guy and sometimes get real mad at the good guy. She has a good twist at the end that though I did guess at, I wasn’t 100% sure was happening till it did; which is always a plus in my book.

With all that said I’m left at, I loved it but I didn’t… –A.B..