Saturday, 7 December 2013

Review:: Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally

Title: Racing Savannah
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Pages: 304
Format: ARC Kindle
Source: Provided by Publisher/NetGalley

They’re from two different worlds.

He lives in the estate house, and she spends most of her time in the stables helping her father train horses. In fact, Savannah has always been much more comfortable around horses than boys. Especially boys like Jack Goodwin—cocky, popular and completely out of her league. She knows the rules: no mixing between the staff and the Goodwin family. But Jack has no such boundaries.

With her dream of becoming a horse jockey, Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules either. She’s not going to let someone tell her a girl isn’t tough enough to race. Sure, it’s dangerous. Then again, so is dating Jack…

I've been waiting for this book forever. I just knew this was more my kind of thing than the author's previous sporty books. I just love books about horse farms and all of that.

I really like Savannah. She is hard working, realistic and fun. I think she exemplifies most of us in one way or another. I didn't grow up with money or nice things. I didn't think about college until much later because I didn't know how to pay for it. She loves horses and has a talent with them. She's a good girl who falls for a guy she thinks is out of her league. Jack is a multi-millionaire. Being groomed to take over the family business of breeding and racing horses and he's Savannah's boss. Dun dun dun!!!!!

This is a fun book with some heavy issues. I enjoyed this one the best out of her other books. One big reason is that while sex is implied, it isn't described. This is a book I can recommend to teens and their mothers. I love that. It makes it extra special. Read it. I know you'll love it.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Review:: Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding

Title: Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy
Author: Helen Fielding
Publisher: Random House Audiobooks
Narrator: Samantha Bond
Length: 11 hrs 21 min
Format: Audiobook provided by Audible.

Bridget Jones is back!

Great comic writers are as rare as hen's teeth. And Helen is one of a very select band who have created a character of whom the very thought makes you smile. Bridget Jones' Diary, charting the life of a 30-something singleton in London in the 1990s was a huge international bestseller, published in 40 countries and selling over 15 million copies worldwide. Its sequel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, published soon after was also a major international bestseller. Both were made into films starring Renée Zellweger, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth.

Set in the present, the new novel will explore a different phase in Bridget's life with an entirely new scenario. As Helen Fielding has said: "If people laugh as much reading it as I am while writing it then we'll all be very happy."

Narrators are super important. They can ruin a perfectly good book. Or in this case they can actually MAKE the book. Narrator Samantha Bond is the perfect Bridget Jones. She is such a fantastic narrator that upon finishing the book I went to see what else she has narrated. I need them all! She is my favorite narrator of all time. The story came to life in a way I could have only enjoyed as an audio. I'm so glad I listed to this one instead of read it. It made all the difference. I found myself smiling wide as I was walking down the street and even laughing out loud as I was waiting to cross the street. When people looked, I just had to tell them what I was listening to!

Time has moved on from Bridget's 30 something dating days. She married Mark Darcy {yum!} and they have two kids. Mark sadly passed away {boo!} and Bridget is back in the single game. It's hilarious! Oh so funny. The situations that Bridget gets herself into made me laugh so hard because I've done it too! Bridget Jones is like every other woman out there. Only we don't realize it. The diary style is really fun and it was really easy listening.

 If you haven't read Bridget Jones yet then you are really missing out! This is such a fun book and I only wish it wasn't over.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Review:: The Kiss of a Stranger by Sarah M. Eden

Title: The Kiss of a Stranger
Author: Sarah M. Eden
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Pages: 252
Format: Kindle

When Crispin, Lord Cavratt, thoroughly and scandalously kisses a serving woman in the garden of a country inn, he assumes the encounter will be of no consequence. But he couldn't be more mistaken--the maid is not only a lady of birth, she's the niece of a very large, exceptionally angry gentlemen, who claims Crispin has compromised his niece beyond redemption. The dismayed young lord has no choice but to marry Miss Catherine Thorndale, who lacks both money and refinement and assumes all men are as vicious as her guardian uncle.

Trapped between an unwanted marriage and a hasty annulment, which would leave his reputation tainted and Catherine's utterly ruined, Crispin begins guiding his wife's transformation from a socially petrified country girl to a lady of society. Their unfolding relationship reveals encouraging surprises for both of them, and privately each of them wonders if theirs may become a true marriage of the heart. But their hopes are dashed when forces conspire to split asunder what fate has granted. As a battle of wits escalates into a life-threatening confrontation, will it be possible for Crispin and Catherine to live happily ever after?

I've been eyeing Sarah Eden's books for awhile now and just haven't bitten the bullet and tried one out. They are a little pricey for the size of book you get and wasn't sure if it was worth it. When my sister called to say she'd read one and loved it that was all I needed to know. I snagged this one on sale too! Win win!

I'm in love with this time period. I'm also in love with stories about rich Lord's. Lord Cavratt has a lot going for him! Except for his name. I just can't get behind a name like Crispin {nickname Crispy....}. I kept changing it in my mind to Christopher or Cameron. Then just Lord Cavratt.

I love this kind of plot where two people are forced into a marriage. Possibly incredibly scary to the character's at the time. To me it is so terribly romantic.  What will happen? I just really like the idea that people can be forced into a situation but still make it. It is like destiny really is in control. Fate takes a hand. It has been awhile since I've read a book that has done it this well. All the details just really work so well.

Catherine has had a rough couple of years living with her uncle and Lord Cavratt puts her in a...situation...that then leads to their quicky marriage. She ends up feeling safer than she has is years. She and Lord Cavratt have some decisions to make. Annulment maybe? Or maybe fall in love instead?

What I'm trying to say is that this is a really romantic book and I just loved it. I re-read all my favourite parts before I could close the book. I then wanted to read ALL the books by Sarah Eden. You won't be disappointed. I just want to live inside this book!!

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Mini Review: Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles

Title: Wild Cards
Author: Simone Elkeles
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Pages: 288

After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama.

Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain--people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all?

I'm a huge Simone Elkeles fan. She writes one heck of a great teen romance. I've been waiting for something new forever. Wild Cards didn't disappoint.

At first I thought this had a lot of similarities to Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally. You all know how much we loved that. Girl plays football, someone on team has a dad who plays in the NFL, hot boy plays football too, etc... But, really that is where the similarities end. They are very different stories. The only thing I didn't like was how hot and girly Ashtyn was. I mean, in the interests of reality a girl who plays football would probably be more of a tomboy or at least a little bit more muscle. Ashtyn was skinny and girly. Not that they can't be...but it just didn't fit in my mind. I know I'm being stereotypical but the stereotype is there for a reason! I couldn't wrap my head around it.

I really loved this book. I read it in one sitting. I just devoured it. I loved Derek and Ashtyn's stories and how they came together. If you love Simone Elkeles then you know. She's just good! She'll do you right. Wild Cards is worth it.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Review: Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson

Title: Blackmoore
Author: Julianne Donaldson
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Pages: 320

Kate Worthington knows her heart and she knows she will never marry. Her plan is to travel to India instead—if only to find peace for her restless spirit and to escape the family she abhors. But Kate’s meddlesome mother has other plans. She makes a bargain with Kate: India, yes, but only after Kate has secured—and rejected—three marriage proposals.

Kate journeys to the stately manor of Blackmoore determined to fulfill her end of the bargain and enlists the help of her dearest childhood friend, Henry Delafield. But when it comes to matters of love, bargains are meaningless and plans are changeable. There on the wild lands of Blackmoore, Kate must face the truth that has kept her heart captive. Will the proposal she is determined to reject actually be the one thing that will set her heart free?

Set in Northern England in 1820, Blackmoore is a Regency romance that tells the story of a young woman struggling to learn how to follow her heart. It is Wuthering Heights meets Little Women with a delicious must-read twist.

I loved Edenbrooke so much that I knew I needed to read Blackmoore immediately. I was not disappointed. Not in the least. I loved it so much I re-read it immediately after I finished--unable to continue on to anything else in my life. I needed this story again.

This story is dark and sad. Yet, is filled with hope and the romance is smouldering. There were moments between Kate and Henry that literally look my breath away. Moments that brought tears to my eyes, more like sobs, and moments that made me scream out, "why?!!" I felt it all. I was so invested in the story and the character's that I literally could not stop reading. I tried to set the book down and I just couldn't. I didn't want to. My heart needed to know what happened next.

Kate is such a complex character and she has all these hidden secrets that make up why she is the way she is. Her love is so steadfast and she is selfless. I'm in awe of her character and was full of hope for her the whole book.

Henry Delafield is my kind of man. He is the stuff my dreams are made of. No question. There were moments between he and Kate that actually had me holding my breath. There were moments where my whole body got tingly and my chest felt like it was going to explode. He is a dreamboat and oh so kind. I can't get enough of Henry.

I'm telling you that I've not read a book I liked this much in so long. I've been stuck in a mediocre reading rut for so long. It is as if Blackmoore has thrown me a life vest and I'm hanging on for dear life. I'm entertaining the idea of reading it a third time this week. I don't want to move on from this story. I just can't. I'm not ready. I'm putting it on my all time favourites list. It deserves the spot. If author Julianne Donaldson had any more books, I would buy them all without even knowing what they were about. I totally trust her as an author.

"Kate," he whispered, stepping closer to me, "you are not like your mother. You are a different creature from your sisters. The depths of your soul are fathomless. You are brave and loyal and true. You have such a good heart." he held my hand close to his chest and covered it with his other hand. "It is only afraid. But I would take such good care of it, love, if you would give it to me." He bent his head and pressed his lips to my fingers."                

Monday, 16 September 2013

Review:: Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

Title: Edenbrooke
Author: Julianne Donaldson
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Pages: 264

Marianne Daventry will do anything to escape the boredom of Bath and the amorous attentions of an unwanted suitor. So when an invitation arrives from her twin sister, Cecily, to join her at a sprawling country estate, she jumps at the chance. Thinking she’ll be able to relax and enjoy her beloved English countryside while her sister snags the handsome heir of Edenbrooke, Marianne finds that even the best laid plans can go awry.

From a terrifying run-in with a highwayman to a seemingly harmless flirtation, Marianne finds herself embroiled in an unexpected adventure filled with enough romance and intrigue to keep her mind racing. Will she be able to rein in her traitorous heart, or will a mysterious stranger sweep her off her feet? Fate had something other than a relaxing summer in mind when it sent Marianne to Edenbrooke.

I've had this book on my TBR pile forever. I knew it would be my kind of thing. I don't even know why I didn't read it sooner because I kept going back to it and almost reading it several times. Then my sister called this weekend. She told me she read the same book 3 times this week. It must be good! She told me I had to stop everything and read Edenbrooke. So, I did.

I'm going to tell you that I couldn't have stopped reading if my house was on fire. I would have been reading while I was walking out the door. There were so many moments when my whole body was getting warm and tingly. I felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest! GAH! The romantic tension is unreal. I felt all of the things. This is romance done right. Amen. It is finally here. Loveable character's, interesting plot, fun and romantic. Not to mention the writing is ace.

This romance is of the clean variety and oh so much more romantic than the smutty stuff. I'm telling you, this is how it's done! I love how author Julianne Donaldson was true to the details in the Regency time period but she used a language we could understand. It was magic.

I'm in love with this book and I am literally unable to move on from this story. I need to read it again. I have to read it again. Then when I'm finished I will read Blackmoore, her next book!

Friday, 13 September 2013

Happy Roald Dahl Day!

Happy Roald Dahl Day! My mother used to read me Matilda and it is still one of my favourites. Roald Dahl brings magic to children's book like no one else. How are you celebrating?
"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it."                

"So, please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall."                 

"A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely."                 

"It doesn't matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you."                

"I have a passion for teaching kids to become readers, to become comfortable with a book, not daunted. Books shouldn't be daunting, they should be funny, exciting and wonderful; and learning to be a reader gives a terrific advantage."                

"We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams."

"Matilda said, "Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it's unbelievable..."

"The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village."                

"I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be"                

"I want an Oompa-Loompa!' screamed Veruca."

Monday, 26 August 2013

Mini Review:: The Hero by Robyn Carr

Title: The Hero {Thunder Point #3}
Author: Robyn Carr
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Pages: 384

In a moment of desperation, Devon McAllister takes her daughter and flees a place where they should have been safe and secure. She has no idea what is around the next bend, but she is pretty certain it can't be worse than what they've left behind. Her plan is to escape to somewhere she can be invisible. Instead, an unexpected offer of assistance leads her to Thunder Point, a tiny Oregon town with a willingness to help someone in need.

As the widowed father of a vulnerable young boy, Spencer Lawson knows something about needing friendship. But he's not looking for anything else. Instead, he's thrown his energy into his new role as Thunder Point's high school football coach. Tough and demanding to his team, off the field he's gentle and kind...just the kind of man who could heal Devon's wounded heart.

Devon thought she wanted to hide from the world. But in Thunder Point, you find bravery where you least expect it...and sometimes, you find a hero.

Mini Review::
Author Robyn Carr is on my auto buy list. Always will be. I trust her as a romance writer. She is one of the best! I thought I loved her Virgin River series more than anything but her new Thunder Point series is totally my favourite! There is just something about life at the beach that speaks to me.

I love how these books show real people, real problems and real love. I also love how we are getting several people's story within one book. It is as if we are catching glimpses into the whole town. I get emotionally invested with everyone's stories. They are real to me. Is that weird? The writing is just so good it is as if they are.

If I could, I'd live in thunder Point! I'm so glad that I have several books to look forward to!! This is a series that I don't want to end any time soon.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

{Movie Review} The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

More than 5 yrs ago my sister Becca kept recommending that I read City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. She gives the best book recommendations! I picked it up and I only made it a chapter before I set it down. I did that 3 more times. I couldn't get into it.

I will literally never forget the day when I kept reading past that first chapter. Sebastian was an infant. He was just sleeping, eating, and pooping. I went to bed and decided to give City of Bones another try so Becca would stop hounding me. I read past the first chapter and kept reading. By midnight I'd finished the book and then grabbed the next book on my kindle. By morning I'd finished City of Ashes. I took a nap and then read City of Glass. Three books in 24 hrs. A personal best. The story had my imagination going crazy! It was all so unique.

Last night I went with some friends to the cinema to see The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. This has been a highly anticipated movie for most of us. I'm pleased to say I loved it. They did a good job interpreting the book. While different in many ways they stayed true to the story. The demons were scary, the institute looked exactly like I imagined, and cast did a great job. It was really good.

Jace isn't who I pictured but I do think Jamie Campbell did a great job. He is just too skinny for my taste. Looks like a goblin. They gave away the ending but whatever....I suppose it translates better on screen this way. But, you miss the element of surprise like you have when reading the book! I enjoyed it though.

I'm not a book snob in any way, but I do think it would be easier to understand if you read the book first. The shadowhunter world is one that has a lot of detail. I wouldn't want anyone to miss out. Read the book. Then email me and tell me how shocked you are! Then watch the film. You won't be disappointed.

Have you seen it? What did you think?

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

A Timeless Romance Anthology: Spring Vacation Collection

Title: A Timeless Romance Anthology: Spring Vacation Collection
Authors: Josi Kilpack, Annette Lyon, Heather Justesen, Sarah M. Eden, Heather B. Moore, Aubrey Mace
Publisher: Mirror Press
Pages: 260

Six Award-Winning Authors have contributed new stories to A Timeless Romance Anthology: Spring Vacation Collection. Readers will love this collection of six sweet contemporary romance novellas, centered on a Spring Vacation, all with one thing in common: Romance.

In Moonlight Kiss, a delightful story by Josi S. Kilpack, Sarah is looking forward to the company retreat, namely because she’ll finally meet Clint—the man she’s been Instant Messaging for a few months. As a single mom, Sarah gets out . . . well, never. So adding vacation days onto the retreat so she can spend time with Clint is daring, yet exciting. She just hopes that the suave on-line Clint will live up to the man she hopes to share her heart with.

In Annette Lyon’s charming novella, Chasing Tess, Tess had been patiently waiting through three years of law school for James to pop the question. The night has finally arrived—at his graduation party. But his big announcement turns out to be completely unexpected . . . and devastating. Tess flees the party, promising herself she’ll never let herself waste time on James again. But as she makes a desperate cross-country drive, James makes his own plans on how to win her back.

Dancing at the Flea Market is a sweet romance by Heather Justesen. Mara, fresh out of the cold North Dakota tundra, spends her spring break in Texas with close friend, Anna. When the two women run into Carter, an impatient man with a painful past, it takes hearing Mara’s stunning voice at the local Karaoke club to thaw his heart. But as Mara gets to know Carter, she has to decide if the distance between their lives and homes is worth trying to bridge.

In Sarah M. Eden’s captivating novella, The Best Laid Plans, Madison gives up a vacation to Cancún with her office friends to return home and babysit her mother, who is in another sketchy relationship. The only problem with returning home is running into Derek, her ex-boyfriend who she decided to break up with before he could break up with her—Madison believes in always being one step ahead. When Derek teams up with Madison to investigate whether her mother is dating the right guy, Madison has a hard time ignoring what her heart is telling her about giving Derek another chance.

Picture Perfect, an exciting story by Heather B. Moore, follows Gemma who has never done anything out of the ordinary, until her boyfriend Randy starts to ignore her. But even cutting and dyeing her hair doesn’t get his attention. She decides to join her old high school friends for spring vacation, only to be faced with Drew, her best friend who suddenly seems interested in her as more than a friend. Gemma must determine if her heart is on the rebound or if it’s finally met its true match.

In Aubrey Mace’s enchanting romance, The Science of Sentiment, Rosie will do anything to forget Kevin, his completely perfect kisses, and the fact that he dumped her. When she arrives at her grandfather’s mountain cabin for a spring getaway, she discovers her worst nightmare—Kevin has been invited to stay the weekend too. Since there is only room for one in such a small space, Rosie is determined to kick Kevin out. But Kevin has other plans . . . which might include a reminder of why he’s the perfect kisser.

Mini Review::
I'm going to keep this short because the summary is so long. I loved it. I am all about these anthologies. These stories are just enough romance to get you by. Got a road trip? An hour at the beach? Killing time at the doctor's office? These novellas are the perfect length to do any one of those things. You can read one feel satisfied. You can also feel like you are getting somewhere. My favorites were Chasing Tess and The Best Laid Plans. But, they were all so good. I'll be re-reading this one sooner rather than later.

The best part is that there are 3 other seasonal collections to enjoy!!

Friday, 26 July 2013

Review:: A Timeless Romance Anthology: Summer Wedding Collection

Title: A Timeless Romance Anthology: Summer Wedding Collection
Authors: Melanie Jacobson, Sarah M. Eden, Heather B. Moore, Annette Lyon, Julie Wright and  Rachael Anderson
Publisher: Mirror Press
Pages: 330

Six Award-Winning Authors have contributed new stories to A Timeless Romance Anthology: Summer Wedding Collection. Readers will love this collection of six sweet contemporary romance novellas, centered on a Summer Wedding, all with one thing in common: Romance.

In Melanie Jacobson’s charming novella, Love Bytes, Bree is the maid-of-honor and Dallen is the best-man. Living across the country from each other, they commiserate over their prospective best friends’ unrealistic wedding demands. While they plan and plot over email and texting, Bree realizes that the best part about the Maui wedding might be meeting Dallen. She just hopes that he’ll feel the same way.

Romeo and Julie-ex is a sweet romance by Julie Wright. “Romeo” turns out to be a two-timing jerk, and when Juliet Moore’s pre-ordered wedding dress arrives from UPS, Juliet curses everything male. In a stubborn streak, she decides to keep the bridal photography appointment—if only because the money isn’t refundable and it was the one thing that her ex-fiance actually paid for. Plus, she has the perfect wedding dress. When Juliet shows up for the appointment and meets photographer Jack Montague, she might have to take back some of her curses on men.

In Rachael Anderson’s enchanting novella, The Meltdown Match, Courtney spends each summer in her hometown of Heimel, Alaska, to find inspiration for her next novel. Her writing method has become a pattern—outline a novel in Heimel, then move to the place her novel is set to finish writing it. But when she runs into former high school friend, Mitch Winters, and they both win the Meltdown Match—a traditional dating contest—Courtney discovers that leaving her hometown at the end of the summer might not be so easy this time.

In Golden Sunrise, an engaging romance by Annette Lyon, Natalie takes time out of her crazy schedule to fly to Vegas for her best friend’s wedding. Sierra and Jason, high-school sweethearts, are finally getting married. Fortunately for Natalie, her old high-school flame, Adam, has a work commitment and can’t be there as best man. But when she arrives at the wedding rehearsal—late and ragged—Adam is there. Memories from the past—and all her old feelings—come flooding back. When Adam makes a wild suggestion, Natalie just may take him up on it, even though she knows he’s moved on. A single choice may mean Natalie is taking a shot at reclaiming the past—or that she's putting her heart in harm’s way a second time.

Tide Pools is a captivating story by Heather B. Moore. When Lexi makes a quick trip to Hawaii to attend her friend’s wedding, she discovers that the engaged couple, Sydney and Apelu, are still trying to match-make for her. Lexi laughs because not only does their friend David have a serious girlfriend, but he owns a restaurant on the island. Lexi has too many plans that don’t include a long-distance relationship or coming between a guy and his girlfriend. But when Lexi meets David, she has a hard time remembering why all of her plans were so important.

In Sarah M. Eden’s delightful novella, A Regular Bloke from Stanmore, Abby is helping her sister, Caroline, plan her British wedding. That’s right, Caroline is obsessed with all things British and insists on an authentic wedding in . . . Oregon. When they arrive at Sainsbury House reception hall, it has everything Caroline loves, and the host, Matthew Carlton, even has a British accent. Yet Abby isn’t buying the whole good-looking-British man with impeccable manners thing; she’s determined to expose him as a fake. But the more Abby gets to know Matthew, the more she realizes how wrong she really is.
Mini Review::
I'm going to make this short since that summary above is so long. I loved it. The first and last novellas by Melanie Jacobson and Sarah Eden are clearly the best. Which is why I'm guessing they are placed that way. I love how clean these little romances are; yet they aren't based on an LDS relationship. They are just good and clean.
I've been so busy this summer that reading hasn't been making itself a priority yet these little novellas are perfect! I can read one during my son's nap or while we're outside playing. I read one before I go to bed too. They are just enough to wet my appetite.
Melanie Jacobson is on my auto buy list. I will read anything she writes. I've never read Sarah M Eden but because of her novella I'm so going to read her books. I'm not familiar with a few of the other author's here and I'm intrigued about their books as well. I love that a novella can just wet my appetite and get me to try a new author with no risk. Now, I know I want to invest more of my time into a bigger book of theirs. I loved it so much I grabbed the Spring Vacation Collection immediately after I finished this!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Review:: Tomorrow Land by Mari Mancusi

Title: Tomorrow Land
Author: Mari Mancusi
Publisher: NLA Digital
Pages: 281

Can true love survive the end of the world?

Imagine finding your first love, only to be ripped apart by the apocalypse. Peyton Anderson will never forget the day she was forced to make a choice--between her family--and Chris Parker, the boy she'd given her heart. Now, four years later, as she steps from the fallout shelter and into a dead and broken world, he's the only thing on her mind.

All Chris "Chase" Parker wanted was to take Peyton away and keep her safe from harm. But he waited for hours in the rain on judgment day and she never showed--breaking his heart without ever telling him why.

Now the two of them have been thrown together once again, reluctant chaperones to a group of orphan children in a post-apocalyptic world where the dead still walk...and feed. As they begin their pilgramage to the last human outpost on Earth, can they find a way to let go of old hurts and find the love they lost--all while attempting to save what's left of the human race?

Christy's Review:

I’m not a huge fan of zombie thrillers, but I do like dystopian and YA fiction, and like they say, 2 outta three ain't bad! I'm glad I picked this one up. I love all of the details put into this story and into the interpersonal relationships.

The story is told by juxtaposing the past and present and this device works extremely well.  Peyton and Chris/Chase were great, well-rounded characters who I came to care for, and that really drove the story.

The happenings in the plot fell a bit on the rote/predictable side, and the pacing was sometimes odd, especially toward the end of the story. Some of the other characters ought to have been developed a bit more and the journey and trials along the way seemed a bit too easy/glassed over. And then, it seemed to end very, very suddenly. Also, with all of the Disney references and Peyton’s goal, I really expected more of a payoff/integration that was given.

All in all, great, fun read and a much lighter dystopian/zombie book than what most people would expect.

Note: There is a lot of talk about teen sex. There aren’t any sex scenes, but the story is originally based in a society where teen sex is a norm, and that is a catalyst for the dystopian segment of the story.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Mini Review:: Wedding Dress For Sale by Natale Stenzel

Title: Wedding Dress For Sale
Author: Natale Stenzel
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Pages: 286

Not even the bride could deny a certain punch-line quality to her current situation: hard-nosed divorce attorney dumps her fiancé and her career to take a job selling wedding gowns.

Sydney Garfield has always approached relationships rationally—none of this emotional head-over-heels or opposites-attract business. Marrying Jack Kaiser is the smart thing to do—after all, he’ll be the “perfect” husband. But after a life-changing shake-up at work, Sydney abandons logic—and her fiancé—to chase the fairy tale.

Real-estate mogul Jack can’t believe the woman he’s head-over-heels for is ditching her hard-won success—and him—to work as a small-town shop clerk. That’s her idea of a fairy tale? Hoping she's merely in need of time, Jack follows Sydney to Smizer Mill, where he invests in the quaint coffee shop next door. Now, he’s got a few new challenges: make a failing coffee shop a success and convince Sydney that theirs is a romance worthy of a true happily ever after.

I love wedding stories. There is something about a couple who is already in love that gets me. I mean, I'm already married so it is nice to read about people who are already in committed relationships and that have bumps in the road. I like to see how they overcome problems and fall in love all over again.

Sydney is running scared. But my favourite thing is that Jack is coming for her and he won't leave without her. I think every girl wants to feel like she's worth the fight. Jack made this story for me. This was a quick and easy read. Just enough romance to wet your appetite.

I am looking forward to more. I'm hoping  we'll see a story with Drusilla and the Chief of Police!

Monday, 15 July 2013

Review:: Just My Luck by Kelley Vitollo

Title: Just My Luck
Author: Kelley Vitollo
Publisher: Entangled
Pages: 185

Her friend. Her boss. Her husband?

Betsy Harris has always known Jace Macnamara was off-limits. Not only is he a close friend, he also happens to be her boss—making him doubly forbidden. Betsy’s too timid to ever admit her crush, nor ‘fess up to the fact that she’s secretly drowning in her mother’s medical bills.

Jace just found out he needs a wife and needs one now. His childhood home—the last reminder he has of his deceased parents—can only become his if he gets married, but Jace, ever the playboy, never dreamed of settling down for real. Neither Betsy nor Jace wants to ruin their friendship when their fake marriage inevitably ends, so they vow to keep things light, professional, easy. But as Betsy comes out of her shell, Jace begins to see his “wife” for the beautiful, caring woman she is. Can he risk their past for a future together?
I'm such a huge fan of this series. If you haven't read Lucky Break or Luck of the Draw then you should get on that pronto. I don't want you to miss anything before you read Just My Luck. Although these are companion novels and can be read on their own, you will get such an enjoyable experience if you read them all together.
From the first book in this series I have loved Jace and Betsy. I guess I kind of feel like a Betsy myself. She stays in the background and wants to not be seen. She is usually looked over in the guy department. She loves long and hard but can't do anything about it. Until now...
At first I wasn't a fan of Betsy and Jace having a pretend marriage. I wanted Jace to see who Betsy was on his own. No ploy or weird situation needed. But as the story progressed he did just that. It took me by surprise. None of it felt fake or contrived. It just worked. It made me feel like this could actually happen.
I really love Jace and Betsy together. Gosh, this is my favourite book in the series! They just feel so real. Their conversations feel real. This book was everything I was hoping for and more. I just want more!! I don't want this series to end and I sincerely hope it will go on and on.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Author Interview:: Elaine Cook

Serpent’s Treasure is your publishing debut novel. How does it feel to now be a published author?
It is still surreal. It is not everyday that you hear of an author receiving a contract offer four days after the contract was sent to the first publishing company. I had prepared to hunt out an agent. I expected a hundred or two rejections, but when I received the call from the acquisitions editor saying that she couldn't put my manuscript down, I kept thinking, "This is coming from someone who reads thousands of manuscripts a year." Everything regarding this adventure has fallen into place bit by bit. Things have not been perfect on this journey, but compared to what I imagined the publishing expedition would be, it has been simple and conquerable. Perhaps I simply prepared myself to climb mountains, only to find that they were hills. Whatever the reason for the ease of the journey thus far, it is hard for me to believe I am here. When I was young I dreamed that I would be an author, and now I am.
What was the inspiration behind your book?
Now that is a tough question. It is not like there is any one thing that I patterned the story after. I wrote this novel for me and for my children. If anything, they were my inspiration. When I sat down and wrote that first night, my goal was to see if I could still write an enjoyable chapter. It had three characters and a computer. At the time, I didn't know who the protagonists and antagonists were. However, it was the encouragement and positive feedback that I received from that scene, which propelled me forward. After a few more chapters, the characters revealed more of themselves. Soon, I found it was time to write their histories. Who were they? How did they become what they were? This tied hand in hand with writing out the plot and I suddenly realized that the single, stand-alone novel that I intended to write for myself and my children, would be a six-book series.
What does a typical writing day look like for you?

I'm not certain there is a typical. My writing was confined to Monday through Saturday, sometimes it was only Monday through Friday. I would write from 6:30 am to 9 am, most mornings. Then 9 pm to midnight most evenings. Although, I do remember several evenings that I was up until 2 am and at least once when I wrote until 4 am. When I was in the middle of a scene or chapter that was flowing, I simply couldn't stop. I found it was the characters and the story that woke me in the morning, not my alarm clock. I took a few months off from November to January in 2010-11 because of the holidays and there was so many other commitments at the time that drew me away, but as soon as I could I returned to complete what I had started. It took me exactly one year and two weeks to complete the first draft, including the winter hiatus.
What are some of your favorite books?
I like books and movies where the ending is unpredictable. When I wrote The Ancestral Key, I wanted a book that I would enjoy reading, so the intent is to find the ending entirely unpredictable. You will find as you progress through the series that this will continue to apply. The characters you think you know by the end of Book One will surprise you in Book Two. If you think you know the ending, I promise that you do not. Just as we cannot always predict how friends or family we know will react to certain circumstances, so it is with the characters in Serpent's Treasure. The Ancestral Key is merely the beginning of the adventure, so we have quite a journey still ahead of us.
I’m dying to know a little about book two. Give us a glimpse?
In Book Two, you will get to know some of the existing characters in a whole new light. My current title planned for Book Two is Leoni Secrets. Unless this is changed in editing, which did happen to Book One's title, it just might give you a small clue. New characters and places will be introduced as you learn more and more about this clan and the secrets that exist within. More twists, turns, and danger await as the original characters form new alliances, travel closer and closer to the heart of the ancient prophecy, and attempt how they see fit to prevent the destruction of their homeland.
Where and when are some of your upcoming events, so we can get our books signed?
I have held dozens of pre-release events in multiple states over the last three months. Now that the book is officially released, I expect that the number of events will increase. Events, both public and private, are kept current on my website at If you want an event brought to your area, please contact me or my marketing team via email links on my website. Events are not typically difficult to arrange. We simply need to know is that someone wants an event in their area for the process to begin. Then the coordinating begins.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Review:: The Newcomer by Robyn Carr

Title: The Newcomer
Author: Robyn Carr
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Pages: 368
Format: Kindle
Disclosure: via NetGalley

Single dad and Thunder Point's deputy sheriff "Mac" McCain has worked hard to keep everyone safe and happy. Now he's found his own happiness with Gina James. The longtime friends have always shared the challenges and rewards of raising their adolescent daughters. With an unexpected romance growing between them, they're feeling like teenagers themselves-suddenly they can't get enough of one another. 

And just when things are really taking off, their lives are suddenly thrown into chaos. When Mac's long-lost-and not missed-ex-wife shows up in town, drama takes on a whole new meaning. They're wondering if their new feelings for each other can withstand the pressure...but they are not going down without a fight. 

I'm crazy over Robyn Carr's new series Thunder Point. It has everything I need for a good romance story. Yet, so much more. She's not just telling one story here. There are several all woven together. Usually with stories like this I'm left hating when it turns away from my favorite couple to talk about a different couple/story but not here. I am invested in every single character and their stories. That is good writing folks! 

The setting takes place just as the cover suggests. On the beach. I love beach towns. They are so quaint and the locals are so chill. It is the same in Thunder Point. I can picture it all and I just want to go there. 

Mac and Gina have finally got their relationship going when Mac's ex wife shows up after 10 years and starts some trouble. There is a lot going on in this story with all the character's. Everyone has some big news or some huge event happen to them. Yet, they are probably something we've all gone through or can at least sympathize with. It's life. I enjoyed seeing how they all overcame their trials. 

If you enjoy adult romance then look no further. Author Robyn Carr is the real deal. This new series is everything I love about romance. The Newcomer is fantastic! I'm just dying for the next book!

Monday, 10 June 2013

Firmoo Eyeglasses! is the world's most popular online eyeglasses store. Years of expertise in optical industry enable to offer varieties of prescription eyewear to the consuming public in high quality yet at extremely affordable prices. offers their customers the cheapest prices at the fraction of what optical store charges.

*I received a pair of Firmoo sunglasses for free in return for an honest review. And I LOVE 'EM

I used to wear a pair of plastic glasses in high school. I was on the speech and debate team and I felt they gave me an edge. I looked studious. I don't need glasses but I've always loved them! My inner geek is shining through. 

Every year I buy some cheapo sunglasses and they always break. Always. I got some Firmoo sunglasses and I have been converted. Seriously. I've never owned a nicer pair. They came with 2 cases ya'll. Plus a cleaning cloth. They also have UV protection and they look fabulous on me. I feel like Edna from Mr. IncredibleI also want these. They are so very Harry Potter.

Now my husband wants Firmoo sunglasses!

I am super satisfied and I love the quality. I'll never buy cheap sunglasses again. Ever. They don't even compare. 

I love that Firmoo ships internationally. They have SO many deals going on all the time that it is easy to get yourself a pair of glasses or sunglasses for a reasonable price.

Just do it! Summer has begun! You deserve a new pair.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Review:: Serpent's Treasure by Elaine T. Cook

Serpent's Treasure: The Ancestral Key
Author: Elaine T. Cook
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Pages: 340

A two-thousand-year-old prophecy lingers at the threshold of fulfillment. Sworn to slaughter anyone they suspect could fulfill it, the Leoni family has nearly succeeded in wiping out the family they consider their greatest threat. Meanwhile, Nicolai Cavallo, eccentric heir to the vast Cavallo fortune, has hunted his entire life for his family’s long-lost treasure and is positive his search is paying off when he stumbles across what he believes is the missing key to his encoded map. In Serpent’s Treasure: The Ancestral Key a race against time begins when the computer system designed to help solve Nick’s family riddles is hacked. Elaine T. Cook expertly weaves this thrilling narrative of betrayal and daring. Nick must relocate the system’s unwilling programmer, Juliana Matthews, and convince her to aid him once more. Even so, can she fix the system before the Leonis learn Nick is attempting to fulfill the prophecy or, more importantly, before they discover he has found the key to do so?

Wow!  Within the first few chapters of reading this book I thought it was a mix of Romeo and Juliet (without the tragedy) and The Divinci Code.  By the end of the book I added Indiana Jones adventures to the mix.  What a fun book to read.  It had everything you want, adventure, romance, and a bit of fantasy mixed in.  Reading this book was a breath of fresh air.  It’s not a YA book, which was nice because none of the drama and erratic behaviors from characters are present.  That being said, the book can be enjoyed by young and old.   The characters were well developed and easy to like, or hate in some cases.  The story is also well developed with bits of excitement and adventure tucked in.  The romance is clean and exciting at the same time. I have been immersed in the world that Elaine T. Cook has presented and I am hooked!   I am eagerly awaiting the release of book two. 

Monday, 20 May 2013

Connecting on Facebook

I don't know anyone without a Facebook account. Well, that's not really true. I'm sure I know a few. Or I've always got some friend who swears they are leaving and deletes their account. But a few days later they are back on.

I have a love/hate relationship with it. I love staying connected. I love that all my friends, family, favorite blogs, products, publisher's, author's, etc are all on one place. I can stay up to date with them all every morning as I scroll through my News Feed. I hate it because it is such a time suck. Why do I need to check it a million times per day?

The Sweet Bookshelf is on Facebook. Did you know? I also don't just have my content auto posted from my blog. I enjoy interacting with my "friends" and I post little things here and there that you won't find on my blog.

So, come see my on Facebook.I'm always there!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Review:: The Truth About You and Me by Amanda Grace

Title: The Truth About You and Me
Author: Amanda Grace
Publisher: Flux
Pub Date: Sept 2013
Pages: 264
Format: Kindle
Disclosure: via NetGalley

Smart girls aren't supposed to do stupid things.
Madelyn Hawkins is super smart. At sixteen, she's so gifted that she can attend college through a special program at her high school. On her first day, she meets Bennet. He's cute, funny, and kind. He understands Madelyn and what she's endured - and missed out on - in order to excel academically and please her parents. Now, for the first time in her life, she's falling in love.
There's only one problem. Bennet is Madelyn's college professor, and he thinks she's eighteen - because she hasn't told him the truth.
The story of their forbidden romance is told in letters that Madelyn writes to Bennet - both a heart-searing ode to their ill-fated love and an apology.
This is one of those books that you hope the ending is different than it is but you also know it can't be any other way. Which is both good and not so good. I got myself fully invested in this story and was hoping with all hope the ending wouldn't be sad--but it was. It was real. I was left wanting in the end and yet knowing there was no other possible outcome. 
Madelyn is a college student. Who just happens to still be a sixteen year old. She gets a little close with her college professor Bennet. You can guess where the story goes from there. Everything is not as it would seem from the outside. It's really sad. I want them to be together. How sick is that?! 
I really enjoyed this story. I was glued to it and I wanted what I wanted. But, I didn't get it. So the ending just ruined the story for me. I read for the happy ending. This didn't have one. It was realistic but just not what I enjoy. 

Monday, 13 May 2013

8 Ways to Read More Books

I am all about tips and tricks. Especially when they have to do with reading. It is amazing how much time I can waste. Sitting on the internet doing nothing of importance seems to be a regular thing are here. I have found that I read more when I do these things. 
Check it out::

01. Cut down on the internet/social media time. Hey, I'm all for social media but sometime's I'll catch myself on it for an obscene amount of time. Doing nothing of importance! Set yourself a timer. Or only allow it during certain times of the way. You'll be surprised how much more time you have!

02. Give yourself a bedtime. Not to go to sleep but to be in bed reading. I do this and it is my favorite way to read. No matter how busy my day is I always get into bed around 10 pm and read until I'm ready to go to sleep. I have a toddler and he's an early riser! If I didn't get any time to read during the day I know I'll always have time before bed.

03. Audiobooks are where it's at people! I feel like I'm totally cheating. I'm a sucker for an audiobook while I clean. I can't do the dishes without one. How long is your commute to work? You could probably get at least one more book in during the week by listening while you drive. It's effortless. My library has a meager selection but I can always find something that interests me.

04. Set reading goals. When I set a yearly/monthly reading goal I tend to read more. It keeps me on my toes and even if I fall behind I am still checking the books off my list instead of going weeks/months without reading.

05. Throw in a few novellas! Seriously. There is nothing wrong with a novella. It is just a shorter novel. They are really enjoyable too. I love to gorge myself on novellas at Christmas time. It is just enough to wet my appetite for something holiday.

06. Use an e-reader. I don't want to offend any of you hard core traditional only bookish people but I  do read faster on my Kindle. I can take my books with me where ever I am without losing my place. The click click click makes it easy to read during my gym time or unexpected waiting areas at the post office and Dr's office.

07. Read this article "How to Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks." It is packed with information to get you going.

08. Get yourself a library card. Books can be expensive and we tend to not read if we don't have anything on hand. The library is stocked with books to choose from. You can even request the library to buy a book for their selection that you want to read.

Tell me your tips and tricks to reading more books!

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Review:: Love With a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche

Title: Love With a Chance of Drowning
Author: Torre DeRoche
Publisher: Hyperion
Pages: 304
Format: Kindle
Disclosure: sent from Author for review

Love can make a person do crazy things. . .

A city girl with a morbid fear of deep water, Torre DeRoche is not someone you would ordinarily find adrift in the middle of the stormy Pacific aboard a leaky sailboat – total crew of two – struggling to keep an old boat, a new relationship and her floundering sanity afloat.

But when she meets Ivan, a handsome Argentinean man with a humble sailboat and a dream to set off exploring the world, Torre has to face a hard decision: watch the man she's in love with sail away forever, or head off on the watery journey with him. Suddenly the choice seems simple. She gives up her sophisticated city life, faces her fear of water (and tendency towards seasickness) and joins her lover on a year-long voyage across the Pacific. 

Set against a backdrop of the world's most beautiful and remote destinations, Love with a Chance of Drowning is a sometimes hilarious, often moving and always breathtakingly brave memoir that proves there are some risks worth taking.

I am so excited to share this book with you all! You may think it sounds a bit familiar to a review I wrote two years ago, and you'd be right! Two years ago, my first review for The Sweet Bookshelf was for a self-published memoir called Swept: Love with a Chance of Drowning. I loved and adored that book and now follow the author's (hilarious!) blog and her continued adventures ( Shortly after I reviewed Swept..., it was pulled from availability because the author sold her book to several publishers world-wide, and also sold the movie option. Talk about an author's dream come true! After two long years, the book is finally being released on May 16, 2013! 

Put this book on your must-read list, everyone. It's fabulous. Who could resist a smart, funny, sassy story about someone with a fear of water who gets up the gumption to sail across the Pacific in an aged sailboat with a guy she met in a bar?

I’m a sucker for travel and the ocean and quickly fell in love with Torre’s beautiful, relaxed writing style, blunt humor, biting wit and great descriptions of life at sea. Her fear of deep water both cracked me up and hit close to home for me – I have a fear of dark water and all things that I can’t see in said dark water. But at the same time I long for and LOVE the ocean and would live in it despite that fear, if I could.

If you like travel, romance, humor, sailing or if you’re just looking for a great tale about overcoming one’s fears and bettering life in the process, you’ll LOVE this book. I laughed, I longed for the sea, I dreamed of the destinations in this story and lived out the adventures as I inhaled this book; It swept me away.

A favorite line: “Some people die of old age without ever having lived their dreams. Some people die without ever having loved. That’s tragic. We’ll both die someday, that’s a guarantee. If something happens on the ocean, we’ll die as two people in love who are living a remarkable adventure…”

Original Review

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Anatomy of a Book Club

I’m currently working with the youth at my church. Young Women ages 12-17 yrs old. I love it. I love everything about it. I’m enjoying myself so much.
All the girls love to read. I love to read. We’re a match made in heaven! We knew we wanted to start a book club or a literary guild. We just had to! Last night was our first meeting.

I had a couple of weeks to prepare and I was on the hunt for some fun printables. I used these and I can’t wait to use these this summer! I wanted to make a cute little goody bag for the girls to take home. I chose a book I thought each of the girls would like and I made a summer reading log so they could keep track of what they read. I threw in a bookmark, pen, and a chocolate bar for good measure. Reading and chocolate. Need I say more?

We thought for our first meeting we’d all share our favorite books. A few of us even came dressed as our favorite characters! Each of us took a few minutes to talk about a book we really enjoyed and why. We wrote down all the recommendations in our new Summer Reading Logs. We ate some birthday cake {I’m wishing I took a piece home…} and had the most fun talking about books!

Here are the books that the girls shared:: 

Here are a few tips to start your own Book Club:

1. Get together a core group. This can be just a group of friends, neighbors, co-workers, people you go to church with. It can be anyone who likes to read and some who don't yet! You might find enough people immediately for your club, but sometimes it can take a little persuasion to get your group started. 

2. Set a regular meeting time. There can be conflicts in time, but the best thing to do is find the best time for your core group and set a time in advance. This gives your members time to plan for the evening. Not everyone will be able to make it every month and this is OK. 

3. Advertise your book club. If you have a core group of 3-4 then word of mouth is the best way to get your club members. 

4. Set ground rules. These can be how books are chosen, who leads discussions and where the meetings are held, etc. 

5. Meet. If your group is small at first this is OK. Just keep inviting and holding your club meetings. More will join as time passes. 

6. Food. Always have food at your book club! Need I say more?

Do you have any Book Club tips? 
Share them in the comments below!
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