Tuesday, August 23, 2016

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

3 Star

In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.
On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.
Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.
That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.
Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?
Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.



Kathryn - 3 Star

This novel will get into your head. I read it a few weeks ago now and as I’m sitting down to write the review the title immediately drew me back into the intensely written plot. It's not a long book and yet I feel there was enough time to draw me into the emotional rollercoaster to last a lifetime.

The premise is clearly stated at the very start so I'm not giving anything away by revealing that Emma’s husband goes missing and is found alive several years later. After a long time she finally meets someone else only to discover that her husband had managed to survive and is coming home. She then has to make the impossible decision between two men when she clearly she loves them both.

Taylor Jenkins Reid makes us feel for each relationship equally and the emotional aspect is intense. I had my choice early on though and I never wavere. Perhaps it's up to each reader to choose mentally who they would end up with. You can't help but make a choice as she does, you waver, you second guess, you regret. It's an unfathomable situation and made my heart and head hurt. 

Reid writes simply with an ease that allows you fall into the story- I do with that this one had been a little bit longer in some parts and a little bit shorter in others but it was definitely a novel with intent.


Thank you to Simon & Schuster for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Taylor Jenkins Reid:

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Bridge to Destiny by April Marie Libs

3 Star

Avery Lawson’s life, once so perfect, spins out of control, not once, but twice in twelve months. Not only does she lose the only man she has ever loved, fate threatens to take her next greatest treasure, her four-year-old daughter, Hannah. 

BRIDGE TO DESTINY is a heartwarming story that chronicles the struggles a single mom has to endure with her tenacious, headstrong daughter who is fighting to regain all of her motor skills from a head injury. During her daughter’s recovery, Avery stumbles into an unforeseen relationship with her neurologist, Nathan Banst, first professionally, and then personally, when she sends him an inappropriate text message after a night out drinking. Although mortified, this pushes Avery into a more personal relationship with Nathan, but is it too soon after her husband's death? 




Sabrina-Kate - 3 Star

I wish I could have said I enjoyed this book more but it really seemed a bit unbelievable at times though I suppose some people's lives may have multiple tragedies. But for Avery to go through her own trauma of losing her husband and being injured in a car accident to go to having their only child be seriously injured falling off of a ladder? It seemed like a bit much at times and I didn't find myself buying the story which I found unfortunate.

April Marie Libs seems like a promising author and I enjoyed a lot of her writing but the story wasn't told consistently throughout. What I mean by that is that sometimes there was an abundance of detail and other times, I felt that more could have been better. 

The story was not a bad one but it left me feeling unsatisfied and disappointed. I was expecting more and felt let down but I am sure this story may be very enjoyable for others to read.


Thank you to the author for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.


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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Would you rather...with Karen Halvorsen Schreck

Please welcome Karen Halvorsen Schreck, author of Broken Ground.

Karen Halvorsen Schreck:

 

Karen Halvorsen Schreck is the author of the historical novel Sing For Me (Simon & Schuster), which was praised in a Publishers Weekly starred review. She received her doctorate in English and Creative Writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Schreck teaches writing and literature and lives with her husband, photographer Greg Halvorsen Schreck, and their two children in Wheaton, Illinois.


Connect with Karen:
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Would You Rather... 
with Karen Halvorsen Schreck

Chips, chocolate or cheese?

Chips. Tortilla, to be exact, with my dear friend Janet’s homemade guacamole.

Bridget Jones, Becky Bloomwood or Carrie Bradshaw?

Carrie Bradshaw. I’ll take a pass on the Jimmy Choos, but the clothes the clothes the clothes (in a more forgiving size), count me in. Dress up is fun.


Wine, beer or vodka?

Wine. Lately, Shiraz or Sauvignon Blanc. Hold the oak.

Camping or spa vacation?

SPA VACATION. I tried to love camping. I really did. But as of late, I’ll take nature with a healthy serving of bed. A soupçon of massage is always welcome, too.

Water or mountains?

Water. Big, beautiful, crashing, surging, rushing, flowing, rippling, lapping, calming, still as glass. Water in all its natural  manifestations.


Zombies or vampires?

My kids get a kick out of zombies. So zombies.

Dogs or cats?

With every passing day, I grow more enamored of dogs. I respect cats. But I love dogs.

Coke or Pepsi?

Can I say seltzer water? I’m known for navigating the world with a can of Klarbrunn or La Croix in my hand. But Coke, I guess, especially if I need a mid-afternoon kick.

Coffee or tea?

Coffee in the morning before noon. Herbal tea after that. A gal’s gotta sleep.

Dine out or take away?

These days, as long as I don’t have to cook and clean up, it’s your call.

High heels, sneakers or flip flops?

Sneakers. Sigh. A botched foot surgery has put me off the other two for good.

Physical Book or ebook?

Let’s get physical, physical! (Unless I’m traveling, in which case digital better serves.)

Paperback or Hardcover?

I want to say hardcover because hard cover books are such gorgeous objects. But because I do so much reading in bed, I’ve come to prefer beefy paperbacks.

Pen or pencil?

Wow, this is the hardest question yet. I use both for different reasons. It’s like asking a general contractor if she prefers a hammer or a screwdriver. I must decline; I need both in my tool belt.

Mad Men, Downton Abbey or Breaking Bad?

Once upon a time it was Mad Men—what a gorgeous creation it is. But then I got brave and watched Breaking Bad, and . . . well, let’s put it this way. I learned as much from that show about crafting story as I’ve ever learned from any book on writing.

Drama or comedy?

Comedy is sosososo hard, and it’s frequently sosososo bad. So, though what the world needs now is a lot more healthy laughter, I put my trust in drama.

Twilight or Hunger Games?

OMG, Hunger Games. Don’t even get me started on Twilight.

Lipstick, lipgloss or chapstick?

Lipstick is my armor.

Facebook or Twiter?

I’m on Twitter and I try really hard but with rare exceptions, it leaves me a bit empty. So Facebook, with all the pretty pictures and relative space. (Can I put in a plug for Instagram? Ok: Instagram.)

Plot your entire novel or fly by the seat of your pants?
I start out flying by the seat of my pants, trying to figure out what the book’s about, writing this way and that, hither and yon. But there’s comes a point when I have to map it. Then more writing, and remapping. And so it goes.
Broken Ground

Newly married to her childhood sweetheart, twenty-one-year-old Ruth Warren is settling into life in a Depression-era, East Texas oil town. She’s making a home when she learns that her young husband, Charlie, has been killed in an oil rig accident. Ruth is devastated, but then gets a chance for a fresh start: a scholarship from a college in Pasadena, CA. Ruth decides to take a risk and travel west, to pursue her one remaining dream to become a teacher.

At college Ruth tries to fit into campus life, but her grief holds her back. When she spends Christmas with some old family friends, she meets the striking and compelling Thomas Everly, whose own losses and struggles have instilled in him a commitment to social justice, and led him to work with Mexican migrant farmworkers in a camp just east of Los Angeles. With Thomas, Ruth sees another side of town, and another side of current events: the forced deportation of Mexican migrant workers due to the Repatriation Act put into place during President Herbert Hoover’s administration.

After Ruth is forced to leave school, she goes to visit Thomas and sees that he has cobbled together a night school for the farmworkers’ children. Ruth begins to work with the children, and establishes deep friendships with people in the camp. When the camp is raided and the workers and their families are rounded up and shipped back to Mexico, Ruth and Thomas decide to take a stand for the workers’ rights—all while promising to love and cherish one another.
Available at:

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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Truth or Date by Portia MacIntosh

3 Star

Ruby Wood is perfectly happy playing the dating game – until she has a red-hot dream about her very attractive flatmate, Nick. He might spend every day saving lives as a junior doctor, but he’s absolutely the last man on earth that fun-loving Ruby would ever date!

The solution? Focus on all of Nick’s bad points. And if that fails, up her dating antics and find herself a man! So what if she manages to make disapproving, goody two-shoes Nick jealous in the process…

Only, after a series of nightmare first dates, there’s still just one man on Ruby’s mind. Maybe it’s time to admit the truth and dare to ask Nick to be her next date?


Kindle  Nook  


Kathryn - 3 Star

I do like Portia MacIntosh’s novels. They are always fun and lighthearted with some hilarious moments to keep you laughing out loud. This novel is no different. Truth or Date has a certain “expectedness” to it which I don’t always find in MacIntosh's writings though– this was disappointing. I don’t think I’d be giving anything away to say that you’re very soon aware of how the novel will end.

That being said I don’t think the delivery was disappointing. There’s still a touch of the outlandish about Ruby- she’s just on the right side of mayhem in her dating game and truly I believed she was trying her very best to find the right one. She just wasn’t having any luck and her roommate Nick just kept creeping into her periphery and making himself known until she had to tackle the situation once and for all.

While in her most intense denial stage though we are treated to several incomprehensible men presented to her for dating. She’s faced with some bizarre and horrible dinners and dates. Truly, you can see why her energy is zapped and she’s inclined to lean towards something that may be a lot better…

All in all a fun and sweet novel!


Thank you to the author for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Portia MacIntosh:


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Would you rather...with Caroline Fardig

Please welcome Caroline Fardig, author of Wedding Bell Blues.

Caroline Fardig:

 

CAROLINE FARDIG is the USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR of the Java Jive Mysteries series and the Lizzie Hart Mysteries series. Fardig's BAD MEDICINE was named one of the "Best Books of 2015" by Suspense Magazine. She worked as a schoolteacher, church organist, insurance agent, funeral parlor associate, and stay-at-home mom before she realized that she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Born and raised in a small town in Indiana, Fardig still lives in that same town with an understanding husband, two sweet kids, two energetic dogs, and one malevolent cat.


Connect with Caroline:
Website    Facebook     Twitter   Goodreads


Would You Rather... 
with Caroline Fardig

Chips, chocolate or cheese?

Chocolate, always.

Bridget Jones, Becky Bloomwood or Carrie Bradshaw?

That's a tough one, because I love all these ladies for different reasons.  Bridget is my favorite, though, but that might be because of Mark Darcy!  (I always thought Mr. Big was a big jerk.)

Wine, beer or vodka?

Also a tough one.  I'm going with white Moscato, but only because blackberry moonshine didn't make the list!

Camping or spa vacation?

Definitely spa.  I don't like bugs or critters.

Water or mountains?

Water, specifically Hilton Head, SC.

Zombies or vampires?

Wow, these questions are really hard!  I'm going to have to go with vampires.  But not the new hipster vampires--I'm into old school vamps like those in Lost Boys and Buffy.

Dogs or cats?

Definitely dogs.  I hate cats.

Coke or Pepsi?

Coke, always.  The only exception I make is for Wild Cherry Pepsi.

Coffee or tea?

Coffee, especially espresso drinks.  I make my own espresso and have learned how to do latte art!

Dine out or take away?

Depends on my mood and the type of food.  Chinese food seems to stay hot and fresh, and I like to eat that at home, but if you take out tacos, for example, they get gross and soggy.

High heels, sneakers or flip flops?

Flip flops!  I lost a big toe toenail in a tragic breadmaker-dropping accident, so my piggies are a little too tender to cram into heels right now.

Physical Book or ebook?

Again, it depends on my mood.  I switched over to ebooks a couple of years ago, but I'm slowly going back to print.

Paperback or Hardcover?

I'll read either, but hardcover books are prettier because the spines don't get creased.

Pen or pencil?

Pen.  I'm always smudging pencil.

Mad Men, Downton Abbey or Breaking Bad?

I don't watch any of those.  My latest bingewatching has been of old episodes of Parks and Rec with my son.  We love Ron Swanson!

Drama or comedy?

Always comedy.  I have enough drama in my life.

Twilight or Hunger Games?

Hunger Games, although I hated how Book 3 ended.  Sparkly vampires do nothing for me.  (See question #6.)

Lipstick, lipgloss or chapstick?

EOS chapstick.  I've got them stashed everywhere.

Facebook or Twiter?

Facebook.  As a writer, I'm uncomfortably confined by only 140 characters.

Plot your entire novel or fly by the seat of your pants?

Yes.  I plot, but if my characters decide to go in a different direction, I go with them.

Wedding Bell Blues

Lizzie Hart’s crazy love life has been leading up this moment…when she finally gets to marry Blake Morgan. But with their luck, will they make it to “til death do us part” before the wedding even starts?
It’s June in the small town of Liberty, and that means it’s wedding season. Faster than you can say “I do,” the social height of the year turns deadly as a sadistic killer begins targeting couples on what should be their happiest day.
The terror begins as a groom keels over before he can get through his vows. The clever killer frames Bethany McCool, the dead groom’s ex, for the murder. Lizzie knows her friend Bethany is innocent, so she enlists the help of her fiancé, Blake, and sets out to find the real killer. But as the mayhem intensifies, the duo realizes they’re going to have to partner up with the police this time instead of trying to do all the sleuthing on their own.
As if they don’t have enough to do, Lizzie and Blake’s big day is fast approaching, and neither of them can wait to tie the knot. Lizzie’s domineering mother has taken over the planning for the wedding, but even she can’t hold everything together as one by one the florist, the baker, and the caterer start pulling out over safety concerns. With the string of violence threatening to ruin their happily ever after, Lizzie and Blake must rush to find the killer before they become the next victims.

Available at:

Amazon Barnes & Noble Kindle Nook Kobo 


Sunday, August 7, 2016

The Next Breath by Laurel Osterkamp

5 Star

I kiss him, choosing love over honesty, which is a choice nobody should ever have to make…" 

Robin loves sweet, responsible Nick, with his penchant for Beethoven and Ben Folds Five. But she also still loves her college boyfriend Jed, an irreverent playwright plagued with cystic fibrosis. Now Robin is struggling to reveal her secrets and confront her past, as she finally performs in the play that Jed wrote for her, eleven years ago. Will Robin have the strength to keep her promise and stay true to her heart?



Sabrina-Kate - 5 Star

I always enjoy books by Laurel Osterkamp and this was no exception. Her books make me feel like they are talking about what could be my life or at least about someone I know very well. This story rang true with the fumbling obsessive realistic way that Robin acted over her loves, past and present.

Who hasn't wondered about the one who may have gotten away? I know I certainly have at times and I suspect that if many of us were honest, we may admit to the same as well. 

The book really transported me into the story, and made me laugh out loud at times while making me so utterly melancholy others. The book alternates from current day to Robin's college days and makes you feel everything she does, and intensely! Even though I finished reading this book awhile ago, the story has stuck with me and makes me nostalgic in a way that only something that captured my heart would do.


Thank you to the author for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

Connect with Laurel Osterkamp:


Thursday, August 4, 2016

Mothers, sisters and other lovers by Simone Mondesir

4 Star

Mother-daughter relationships can be difficult enough, but what would you do if your mother fell in love with a woman young enough to be your sister? 

That’s the dilemma facing dutiful daughter, Grace Hamilton, who risks her own relationship to go to Greece to rescue her mother, only to be caught up in a heady mix of sexual politics and village rivalries, richly spiced with ancient myth and some very contemporary “goddesses”. Seduced by the heat and languor of a Greek summer, Grace sheds her inhibitions and discovers the truth about herself as well as about the father she has never known.






Rebecca - 4 Star

I really enjoyed this book. Many moons ago in my youth I spent a summer on a Greek island discovering boys, beaches and the amazingly ridiculous things ouzo tells you to do. This book took me right back there and really captured that remote sun baked other worldliness of the Greek islands, and it's even set in a similar pre smart phone, pre social media world.

Grace is cruising for a fall when we first meet her; whilst we can admire her self assuredness, she borders on the intolerant and smug side of being sassy, but there is enough to like and root for her. But she evolves throughout the book and I was really quite fond of her by the end. I loved the way I was fooled into thinking I was reading a common and garden girl-meets-handsome-foreigner-who-rescues-her-from-her-conventional-life saga when in fact the plot is full of surprises and twists. It is set in a pre smart phone and pre social media era which is amazingly refreshing and actually allows for a much better development both in terms of plot and characterisation; we and the characters in the book don't instantly know everything that is going on around them, nor are they exposed to the constant stream of consciousness of all and sundry.

My main criticism relates to the character Roger, Grace's stick in the mud wanna be politician boyfriend. I thought he was over done, ridiculously dull and tied to his mothers apron strings. I think it would have made more of an interesting dilemma for Grace if he at least had some charm. But with the gorgeous sun kissed Greek backdrop I could overlook this and think this makes great summer beach reading.


All opinions are our own.


Connect with Simone Mondesir:



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