Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Home by Brenda Kearns


Synopsis:

It’s Allie’s 14th birthday, and she’s in her 17th foster home. “Suck it up,” her mom says. “Play the game and they’ll let you come home.” And Allie’s great at the game—at lying about her mom’s drinking, at hiding the weird things her little brother does that worry social workers, at pretending the counseling is actually helping. Allie is so great at the game that she never has to stay in a foster home more than three months.

Now Allie has a problem: Her newest foster family has caught on to her game. They see right through her lies, and they’re trying to stop her from going back home. Ever. Yet the last place Allie wants to live is on a smelly old farm in the middle of nowhere.

But how do you fight it when everyone around you is saying that where you were born isn’t where you belong?

HOME is a touching tale about a girl struggling to reunite her family, protect her young siblings and gain control of her life—all in the face of family problems that no one believes she can fix.


My Review: 3 Stars

*I received an ARC of Home in exchange for my unbiased opinion*

Home really wasn't what I was expecting. I did not like Allie at all. I totally agreed with Jonathan when he kept calling her a witch and asking where her broom was. But I guess you weren't supposed to like her. She was just doing everything she could to get herself, Madeleine and Luke back to their mom. Her mom is an alcoholic who will do what she wants, when she wants and no one can tell her otherwise. It was all a game to her. She would act the way she was supposed to, get her kids home, revert back to her old ways and then Social Services would come and take the kids away... again. I don't think it was fair to Allie at all. She is 14 years old and should still be able to enjoy her childhood instead of being the parent to her younger siblings.

I really liked JoJo. She was very loving and patient with Allie, Madeleine and Luke. You could tell that she truly wanted the best for them and knew that their mom was not it. I also really liked Arthur and Jonathan. They were great with Madeleine and Luke. And, even though Allie was a brat throughout the entire book, they still went out of their way to help her whether she accepted it or not.

Home is definitely geared towards a younger audience. But, for me, I wish the book was longer. I think there could be so much more to this story. Just when Allie made the right decision and I was starting to like her... BAM! The book ended. I hate that!

All in all it was a good, quick read and I enjoyed it.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

SEALed With Love


Synopsis:

It isn't Sage Parker's fault that she mistakes former Navy SEAL Joel Watts as the stalker who had been sending her disturbing letters--he shows up every time she turns around. Too bad her father doesn’t tell her he sent Joel to protect her. When the stalker tracks Sage from LA to her new job in Colorado, she's glad to have Joel on her side. She didn’t plan to falling in love with him though—now if he would see her as more than just a client.

Joel takes his job as head of resort security seriously, but Sage is his number one priority, and the one woman he can’t get out of his mind. He isn't sure if he believes in her precognition, or some of her other hokey beliefs, but he soon finds he can't live without her. He just has to catch the stalker before he or Sage end up dead.

My Review: 5 Stars

SEALed With Love may be just a little bit better than A Perfect Fit in my opinion.

Book 2 in the DiCarlo Brides series follows Sage Parker and Joel Watts. I loved their story!

Sage has a sixth sense... a precognition that no one believes in. But little things that she either sees or feels always ends up happening. Sage also has a creepy stalker. Her father, the late George DiCarlo, hired Joel to be her personal body guard. Joel is a retired Navy SEAL and his top priority is keeping Sage safe. Joel is also the one that George chose for Sage to marry.

Sage is pretty convinced that Joel only sees her as a "job". She doesn't think that someone like him would ever want to be with someone like her. She thinks that she is plain and weak. Joel sees her as a beautiful, strong, feisty woman who is willing to do anything and everything to make sure the people she cares about are happy and safe.

I do have to say... Joel is a stubborn man! Somewhere along the way he falls in love with Sage but thinks that he is not good enough for her. He was dealt a tough hand growing up and never experienced love. He thinks that as soon as Sage finds out about his past that she'll run far away from him. What he doesn't realize is that Sage loves him for the man that he is... not his past. She sees the real man inside... the strong, amazing, caring man who would do anything and everything to keep her happy and safe.

I loved these two together! They strengthened and brought out the best in each other! I wish their story was just a little bit longer! But I am looking forward to seeing more of them in the rest of the series!

I had the mystery of who the bad guy was figured out pretty early on. But just like in the 1st book of this series, it didn't bother me. I was too busy enjoying the love story between Sage and Joel!

I can't wait to read the rest of the sisters' stories! I am still looking forward to Rosemary's story the most. Her and Harrison are going to be very entertaining... I just know it! ;)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Prejudice Meets Pride by Rachael Anderson


Synopsis:

After years of pinching pennies and struggling to get through art school, Emma Makie’s hard work finally pays off with the offer of a dream job. But when tragedy strikes, she has no choice but to make a cross-country move to Colorado Springs to take temporary custody of her two nieces. She has no money, no job prospects, and no idea how to be a mother to two little girls, but she isn’t about to let that stop her. Nor is she about to accept the help of Kevin Grantham, her handsome neighbor, who seems to think she’s incapable of doing anything on her own.

Prejudice Meets Pride is the story of a guy who thinks he has it all figured out and a girl who isn't afraid to show him that he doesn't. It’s about learning what it means to trust, figuring out how to give and to take, and realizing that not everyone gets to pick the person they fall in love with. Sometimes, love picks them.


My Rating:

4.5 Stars

Prejudice Meets Pride is an adorable read! I loved it!

Emma is prideful, Kevin is prejudice. What happens when you mix the two?! A fun filled, hilarious story about 2 people from opposite sides of the "social spectrum" finding love in just the right place.

I loved the chemistry between Emma and Kevin! Things didn't start out so great between the two of them... he thought he was "helping" and she didn't like being a "charity case". I couldn't figure out whether I wanted to laugh or grown in anger at these two! And Kajsa and Adelynn were adorable! These two little ones definitely kept them on their toes and helped a little in getting them together. ;)

While I absolutely loved the book I was a bit sad when it just ended! I understand that this is a series but I would have liked a little bit more "closure" for these two. Hence the reason for the .5 deduction on the rating.

As usual Ms. Anderson's books were amazing! Can't wait to read the next book in the series and just more by her in general! :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Perfect Fit by Heather Tullis


Synopsis:

Cami DiCarlo has always known what she wanted and where she belonged, but when her father dies, his will reveals huge secrets—four of them in the form of half sisters she never knew about—and his plans for her future, which aren’t at all what she had in mind.

She finds herself working alongside her sisters as they get ready to open the hotel for business, dealing with personality conflicts, and trying to find out who is trying to destroy the family name and ruin the hotel’s reputation before it even gets started.

Vince Talmadge, local landscape architect, seems miles away from the kind of man she usually dates, but the attraction flares between them from word one. Learning her father picked him out to be her future husband, she is not amused, but neither can she back off the path they’ve begun together. But can two people miles apart in so many ways really make things work?

My Review: 4 Stars

I really enjoyed A Perfect Fit. I thought it was cute and kept my attention from the beginning.

Cami is completely shocked when she goes to the reading of her father's will to find that she has 4 more sisters that she knew nothing about. Her father had been having affairs pretty much his entire marriage to her mother. She is also shocked that he has manipulated all of them to moving to Colorado to open and run his latest hotel. If they do not move there then they do not get an inheritance. They all decide to just give it a shot to see how things will work out. Cami wants to hate the sisters because of her father but over the few months that she has known them, she starts to see how great they really are. She doesn't see herself becoming all buddy, buddy with them but she is willing to get to know them and just see where things go.

She was also shocked but not too surprised that her father had also arranged for her to marry Vince, a local landscape architect. Although she does not like that her father has done this, she can't deny that her feelings for Vince are stronger than they have ever been for anyone. I thought that Vince was an awesome pick for Cami! They did have a bit of trouble but nothing major... which I thoroughly enjoyed! (I needed a break from too much turmoil in a relationship!) Vince was just what Cami needed to get her through the rough patch she hit in her life. As the title states... they were A Perfect Fit! :)

I have to say that I pretty much knew who was behind the attempted sabotage of the hotel from pretty early on but it didn't bother me at all. I was more focused on the growing relationships and seeing all the different personalities in the house. :)

I am looking forward to reading the other sisters stories and to see Cami and Vince's continue. I think I am looking forward to Rosemary's story the most. Not sure why... there is just something about her...

This is the first book I have read by Heather Tullis and I'm looking forward to reading more! :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Working it Out by Rachael Anderson


Synopsis:

A chance encounter . . .
Grace Warren's life is safe and predictable—exactly the way she likes it. But when she gets roped into going to an auction to help out a friend, everything changes. She meets Seth Tuttle—a guy who unexpectedly kisses her then disappears, leaving her flustered and upset. If she never sees him again, it will be too soon.

A chance for love . . .
Weeks later, when Seth limps into Grace's rehab clinic post surgery, he's every bit as frustrating and annoying as she remembered. Yet there's something about him that makes her second-guess her carefully placed boundaries even though he's everything she's sure she doesn't want in a man. But maybe Seth is exactly what Grace has needed all along—assuming she's willing to risk safe and predictable for a chance at love.

My Review: 4.5 STARS

Working it Out is a cute, fun read that I was able to curl up with and just escape for a little while. :)

Grace and Seth... loved them!! Grace is not a risk taker at all and tends to be a little too serious at times. She takes on a lot of responsibility and really doesn't have a life outside of her brother and work. Seth is the complete opposite. The man is crazy adventurous and likes to live life to the fullest! He was exactly what Grace needed and she was exactly what Seth needed. They brought out the best in each other. I loved watching them grow both individually as well as a couple.

A bit of a rant... I did get frustrated with Grace because she did not know how to communicate! Seth is not a mind reader. How is he supposed to know how she truly feels about all the crazy risks he takes if she doesn't tell him?! And, when something bad happens, instead of talking about it she just breaks up with him and walks away. Really?! Don't get me wrong, I CAN see where she was coming from. But how in the world was Seth supposed to know her feelings if she only has the conversations with herself in her head?!

And I know some people won't agree with me but I'm glad that he did not go to her. She was the one that broke up with him without talking to him about her feelings. I think they both had things they needed to figure out. And in my opinion, she showed how much she had really grown by being the one to make things right. In the end, they communicated, worked things out and got their HEA! :)

Now... Alec and Lanna... loved them too!! I am glad that they also got a HEA! I would love their story... all you got were bits and pieces. It would be great to have the full thing... don't you think?! ;)

Rachael Anderson is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors! Can't wait to read more by her! :)

Monday, July 7, 2014

Imperfect Love by Rebecca Talley




Synopsis:

Lauren Wilson is well on her way to her happily-ever-after. She’s passionate about her career as a middle school English teacher, she adores her handsome, hard-working husband, and with a baby finally on the way, her perfect life is within her grasp.

But then a devastating test result changes everything.

Forced to choose between her baby and her husband, Lauren makes the only decision she can live with, and she returns to her small hometown in hopes of rebuilding her shattered life.

Ethan Campbell is a gifted photographer who travels the world and has no desire to settle down. When his mother dies, he must go home to settle her estate. Then it’s back to exciting adventures across the globe.

When Lauren crosses paths with Ethan, her teenage crush, old feelings resurface—feelings she’s not prepared to face. Will Lauren have the courage to trust again or will she spend her life alone?


My Review: 4.5 STARS

Imperfect Love was an emotional roller coaster ride that really makes a person think about what they would do if they were in Lauren's shoes. There were parts of the story that I loved and parts of the story that I wanted to scream and throw my Kindle.

Lauren and Paul have been married for 5 years and over the last year have started to grow apart. Lauren thinks that if she could just get pregnant then things will go back to being normal and life will be great. Little does she know that when she DOES get pregnant she's going to have to make the hard decision of choosing between her husband or her baby. She chooses her baby and does everything she can to be a strong, independent woman. She is determined to do this on her own because if her own husband doesn't want her and their child then who else would?! Cue Ethan who has been a long time family friend and Lauren's high school crush.

I loved Lauren for making the decision that she did but I got so frustrated with her at times. I really wanted to shake her and tell her that she does NOT need to be the martyr. She CAN accept help and not everyone is like Paul! I also got frustrated with her because she would always refer to her child as being defective or imperfect or not normal. I can see why some people would think that but over the years I've had the opportunity to work with special needs children and they are the most amazing individuals you will ever meet! And hearing things like "defective", "imperfect" or "not normal" just breaks my heart! Who are we to decide what is or isn't defective, imperfect or normal?! In the end Lauren realized that it didn't matter if her baby was special needs or not... she was going to love him just the way he was. :)

And I just have to say that Ethan was the most patient and amazing man!! I absolutely LOVED him!! Even though Lauren pushed him away and ignored him at times, he never gave up. He knew what he wanted and he was determined to be apart of her life. He loved her and her son and was willing to sacrifice whatever he had to just to be with them. He was a river, a constant, exactly what Lauren and her baby needed in their lives. He totally made my heart smile! :) 

Imperfect Love is the first book of Rebecca Talley's that I have read and I can say that I'll definitely be checking out more by this author.


Friday, July 4, 2014

The Lost Art by Jennifer Griffith



Synopsis:

Dowdy art exhibit coordinator Ava Young is happy with her man-suits and sensible clogs. She likes the way they clip-clop on the museum’s tile floor. But they don’t win her any lovelorn looks from her office crush. In fact, the handsome new guy calls her “sir” when they first meet. Oh, well. She’s always known the only way a guy would take a second look at her was if she was the only person in the room. And on fire.

But after her workplace crush devastates her by, frankly, calling her something super-duper mean, Ava is ready to make some drastic changes inside and out, even if it means giving up chocolate, or taking hilariously out-of-date but strangely wise-sounding advice on femininity from a 1959 book on “How to Snare a Modern Man.”

Either way, she’d better hurry because when a priceless art exhibit gets a theft threat on Ava’s watch, a billionaire bachelor and a handsome FBI agent will be taking a good, long look at the art.

And at Ava.

My Review: 3.5 STARS

The Lost Art was definitely a rough book to get through for me. I am not sure if it was my mood or the craziness of real life or just what it was.

The first 55% of the book is kind of blah for me. We have Ava, who is a plain Jane, by the book kind of gal. She over hears a few comments from co-workers that are just mean. She gets a really bad flu and during her recovery time she decides that she is going to give herself a massive makeover. And with this massive makeover she decides that she has to "play the part" of the new and improved Ava. I personally did NOT like all the fakeness and the lies... they really got on my nerves. She wasn't being true to herself and became the ditzy blond that needed help from men all the time.

Enter in the "love interests". We have Kellen McMullen... the billionaire playboy... Riccardo Ford... the FBI agent assigned the the art theft... and Enzio Valente... the jerky co-worker. She is pretty much acting like a teenager when it comes to all the guys. With Kellen she has to keep him happy because he funded the whole exhibit... with Agent Ford she is instantly thinking of him as her future husband every chance she gets... and with Enzio she just wants to throw in his face that she is now a knock out and he can't have her. Childish and totally degrading herself in my opinion. By the end of the book she does figure out the balance between the old Ava and the new one. She ends up with exactly the right guy for her. I can't really give it away though. You'll just have to read it to find out who gets the girl! ;)

Anyway... things started looking up towards the end of the book. I'm not going to give anything away but lets just say I was not expecting what actually happened and I was completely wrong in guessing the "who done it".

I was really starting to like the book and was considering bumping up the rating to 4 stars... and then I got to the ending. And yes folks... another book that just ended!! Ugh!! I hate that!! And because of that ending it stayed at 3.5 stars. One word... EPILOGUE!! No matter how rough of a time I had with a book an amazing epilogue can change everything for me!!

All in all it was a good read... just wasn't the great read I was looking for! But I will definitely give this author another chance... who knows... maybe the next book I read will sweep me off my feet!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Stolen Breaths by Pamela Sparkman


Synopsis:

“I have dents, bruises, scars, and cracks so deep that it’s a wonder I’m not in a million pieces…”

Sometimes things aren't always what they seem. Sometimes pain lies underneath, buried so deep that for a moment you let yourself forget – until you can’t.

I didn't realize how numb I was until I started feeling again, and he made me feel – everything. Cooper Hudson came into my life when I needed him the most – twice.

This is my story. This is the story of us.

“It was funny how you never really realized how lifeless you were until someone came along and gave you that shock to the chest that forced your heart to start beating again.”

My Review : 5 STARS

Absolutely LOVED Stolen Breaths!! I think it was AMAZING!!

I have been thinking about this book all day trying to figure out how to express my thoughts and feelings about Stolen Breaths. And then I remembered a paragraph in the last chapter that pretty much sums it up. :o)

"The smile he wore while saying it told the story. The story of him, the story of me, the story of us. It is our story, the one we get to tell people when they ask how we met or when we fell in love. It is a story of sadness and heartbreak; of losing yourself in the shadows but finding yourself in the light. It is a story of losing what you wish you had never lost, but accepting that you did and allowing yourself to feel it. Even the parts you want to forget. Maybe even especially the parts you want to forget, because pain is something you have to go through in order to get to the other side. There are no secret doors, hidden passages, or trick walls. All you can do is bust through the middle and keep going. You'll come out with some bruises and maybe even a few scars, but it's the bruises and the scars that lets you know that you not only survived, but that you actually lived. And that's a story worth telling."

In the end Lily and Cooper did get their HEA, which I LOVED! But it was not with out trials and tribulations. My heart literally broke for both of them! What they had to endure was horrible! I found myself laughing and crying while reading their story. It is definitely one that I'll be reading over and over again! And I'll definitely be keeping my eye out for more books by Pamela Sparkman! She did an AMAZING job in my opinion!

Content-
Romance: Clean! Just kisses.
Language: Moderate. It wasn't in there that often but there are two scenes where the F-bomb is dropped. Given the intensity of those scenes I actually kind of expected that and just read it as "freaking" instead.
Violence: Mild to Moderate depending on the individual reading.

Making Faces by Amy Harmon


Synopsis: 

Ambrose Young was beautiful. He was tall and muscular, with hair that touched his shoulders and eyes that burned right through you. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She'd been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have...until he wasn't beautiful anymore.

Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl's love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior's love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast, where we discover that there is a little beauty and a little beast in all of us.

My Review: 5 STARS

WOW! Just... WOW! Making Faces is absolutely PHENOMENAL! I LOVE it! I have no words to express how amazing this book is! I quickly got sucked in and held on for dear life as I traveled for a short period of time in Fern, Ambrose and Bailey's lives. This story is so real that I literally felt every single emotion that they felt... Love... happiness... scared... hurt... angry... I laughed and I cried and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of the emotional roller coaster that I went on! This book is addictive so make sure you have the time to read it or you'll find yourself cancelling all plans until you finish it! ;) Oh! And make sure you have a box of tissues close... you're going to need it!

Making Faces is the first book of Amy Harmon's that I have read and she has definitely made me a fan for life! :)

I truly wish that I could give this book more than 5 stars! It is the BEST book I have read in a LONG time!! <3

Summer Book Trek 2014



A friend of mine, Kathy (over at Bookworm Nation), suggested I do the Summer Book Trek hosted by New LDSFiction. And seems how I LOVE to read I thought what the heck! Let's do it! The challenge is to read LDS authors in the month of July and the good news?! You don't have to be LDS to participate! Prizes will be given throughout the month.I'm really looking forward to this challenge!

After going through all the books on my Kindle I have compiled a list of some of the books that I own but have not yet read. I am going to be ambitious and put a bunch of them down here but I am not sure how many of them I will actually read in the month of July. Some may be removed and others may be added... we shall see!

The books are:

Dreaming Of Ivy by Shannon Guymon
Prejudice Meets Pride by Rachael Anderson
Working It Out by Rachael Anderson
Imperfect Love by Rebecca Talley
The Lost Art by Jennifer Griffith
Werewolf Rage by Katie Lee O'Guinn
Werewolf Revenge by Katie Lee O'Guinn
Werewolf Betrayal by Katie Lee O'Guinn
A Perfect Fit by Heather Tullis
SEALed With Love by Heather Tullis
Hunted by Katie Lee O'Guinn
Shadows in the Curtains by Cami Checketts

Wish me luck!! :o)