Thursday, February 11, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Always by Lyndsay Sands

Author: Lynsay Sands
First published in 2000 by Leisure books  Reissue by Avon in 2015.

Bastard daughter to the king, Rosamunde was raised in a convent and wholly prepared to take the veil . . . until King Henry declared she would wed Aric, one of his most valiant knights. Suddenly she found herself promising to love, honor, and obey.

Rosamunde's education had not covered a wedding night, but the handsome warrior she was now bound to seemed intent on giving her a lesson in the art of pleasure. In no time, Aric was certain she would surrender to the irresistible passion he promised.

And while Rosamunde's spirited nature often put her at odds with her new husband, his mastery in seduction was quickly melting her resolve—and capturing her heart.

I thoroughly enjoyed Always.  I am a big fan of Lynsay Sands vampire series, but I also love her historical romances.  When I pick up one of her books, I know I'm going to get lots of humor, mayhem and steamy bedroom scenes.  In Always, Rosamunde and Aric are forced to marry after meeting for like 5 minutes.  She thought she was going to become a nun, but her father had other plans for her.  Aric has been burned by love in the past and has no desire to marry ever.  

It was a lot of fun watching these two fall in love.  While the story was a bit longer than it needed to be, I almost didn't mind so much since their interactions made it worth while.  I even liked the mystery. All along,  I had my suspicions as to who was trying to kill Rosamunde and Aric. I was right, but I was wrong about the why,  The book has some wonderful peripheral characters that really enrich the story.  I highly recommend this throwback!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Blog Tour: The Evening Spider by Emily Arsenault

Author: Emily Arsenault
Publisher: William Morrow
Date of publication: January 2016

1885: Frances Barnett is in the Northampton Lunatic Hospital, telling her story to a visitor. She has come to distrust her own memories, and believes that her pregnancy, birth, and early days of motherhood may have impaired her sanity.

During the earliest months of her baby’s life, Frances eagerly followed the famous murder trial of Mary Stannard—that captivated New Englanders with its salacious details and expert forensic testimony. Following—and even attending—this trial, Frances found an escape from the monotony of new motherhood. But as her story unfolds, Frances must admit that her obsession with the details of the murder were not entirely innocent.

Present day: Abby has been adjusting to motherhood smoothly—until recently, when odd sensations and dreams have begun to unsettle her while home alone with her baby. When she starts to question the house’s history, she is given the diary of Frances Barnett, who lived in the house 125 years earlier. Abby finds the diary disturbing, and researches the Barnett family’s history. The more Abby learns, the more she wonders about a negative—possibly supernatural—influence in her house. She becomes convinced that when she sleeps, she leaves her daughter vulnerable—and then vows not to sleep until she can determine the cause of her eerie experiences.

Frances Barnett might not be the only new mother to lose her mind in this house. And like Frances, Abby discovers that by trying to uncover another’s secrets, she risks awakening some of her own.

The Evening Spider is told in alternating time-lines.  We have Abby in the present.  She has a 5 MO daughter, Lucy.  She is convinced she is hearing sounds coming from her daughter's room at night.  As she investigates, she finds out about the first owner, Frances and sets out to see if she is haunting the house.  The second time-line is Frances telling her brother the truth about how she ended up in the insane asylum,  

I thought this book was very engaging and kept me reading late into the night.  I'm still not convinced that it is a real ghost story.  It was hard to figure out if Abby was suffering from delusions or if the house really was haunted.  I won't give away too much of the plot, you'll have to decide for yourself.  Frances's story was the more interesting and surprising of the two. I really felt badly for her. The only thing I didn't really like about the story was the ending.  It was a little abrupt and I was still left with some questions.  Still, I do recommend giving this one a shot.  If you like creepy mysteries, this one will satisfy your craving.

About the author:

Emily Arsenault is also the author of The Broken TeaglassIn Search of the Rose Notes, and Miss Me When I’m Gone. She lives in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, with her husband and daughter.
Find out more about Emily at her website and connect with her on Facebook.

Emily’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, January 26th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, January 27th: Kahakai Kitchen
Thursday, January 28th: A Bookworm’s World
Friday, January 29th: JulzReads
Monday, February 1st: A Literary Vacation
Tuesday, February 2nd: FictionZeal
Thursday, February 4th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Friday, February 5th: Kritters Ramblings
Monday, February 8th: bookchickdi
Wednesday, February 10th: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, February 11th: Book Hooked Blog
Friday, February 12th: Peeking Between the Pages

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Blog Tour: Review & Excerpt of Leaving Yesterday by Zoe Dawson

Author: Zoe Dawson
Publisher: Loveswept ( Random House)
Date of publication: February 9, 2016

Rafferty Hamilton doesn’t plan on putting down roots anytime soon. With her divorce final, the hotel heiress has left Manhattan behind to scout new locations for her family’s chain of resorts. Which is why it’s so frustrating to be stranded in Laurel Falls while a good-looking, slow-talking, Stetson-wearing mechanic takes his sweet time with her overheated coupe.

A decorated vet who paid his dues in Afghanistan, Trace Black can fix anything with an engine and get it revving—even Rafferty’s ridiculous sports car. He’s couldn’t say the same for the knockout driver, who looks like she’s never gripped a gear shaft in her life. Women like Rafferty don’t usually stick around in Laurel Falls, but Trace finds himself showing her everything his hometown has to offer before she cruises on down the road.

As the days pass, Rafferty finds herself charmed by the pace of life and the openhearted warmth of the residents. She’s even tempted to trust again—and it’s all thanks to Trace. He’s not the kind of guy she’s used to falling for, but he just might be the man she needs.

My thoughts:

Have you ever wanted to just pick up and drive across the country and see what happens?  That is exactly what Rafferty does in Leaving Yesterday.  Still raw from her recent divorce, she decides she is tired of seeing the country from a plane and chooses to drive to California for business instead of fly.  What she didn't count on was breaking down in Laurel Falls or falling for the town and Trace.

Leaving Yesterday was a sweet book filled with entertaining characters.  I really liked Trace and his devotion to his siblings.  Even though he isn't the oldest, he has taken on the most burden in helping to raise his youngest siblings.  I loved the interactions with his brothers and sister. The brothers' attempts to work through teenage girl angst often made for some humorous scenes.  (check out the excerpt below to see what I mean).  Rafferty was a pleasant surprise.  She comes from a privileged background, but she is pretty well grounded and actually relates well with the people in the town.  It was refreshing not having to watch a spoiled rich kid learn about real life.

My only disappointment with the story was I felt like there were too many story lines going on.  I have a feeling that a couple of them are setups for future books in the series, but it did make the story less focused on Rafferty and Trace.  Having said that, I did enjoy Leaving Yesterday.  I look forward to seeing what is next in store for the town of Laurel Falls!

His sister Cadence’s voice carried all the way out to the garage bay where Trace Black was currently installing a new muffler. He rolled himself out from under the car and rose, grabbing a clean rag and wiping his hands. He headed to the ranch house that was to the back and side of Black’s Garage, their family business. Situated on a tree-lined street with other houses, some looking a bit worse for wear and some empty and foreclosed, the worn-clapboard green house with the covered front porch was in pretty good shape. Trace and Reese handled most of the upkeep, the original wood floors and woodwork intact and refinished. The garage in the back filled with car parts and a couple of vintage cars lying unfinished since their father’s death.
Black’s Garage was now really his business, although he supported his sister with the income. Trace liked working with his hands. When he hadn’t been killing insurgents in the desert, he had been fixing the engines of the Humvees his unit traveled in. His skills had kept his platoon mobile, and when they were mobile, they were just a tiny bit safer.
He looked at his watch and was surprised to find how early it still was. He was usually up at six in the morning—old marine habits were hard to break. The military taught him that sleep was optional. But Harley, his younger brother, was restless ever since he got home from the VA hospital, so he’d been up and down throughout the night, giving up on sleep at about four that morning. Trace entered through the back door, where his brother Reese was in the kitchen making his breakfast. He shot his older brother a withering look. “Can’t you—”
Reese held up his hands with a knife slathered in peanut butter in one and a slice of toast in the other. “This involves teenage angst and girly things.”
“Aw, kee-rist, and you’re leaving it to me?”
“I’m in the kitchen.” He managed not to bellow, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Can you keep your voice down?” he said when she came into the kitchen still in her PJs. “Harley is probably still sleeping.”
“He’s probably not now,” Reese said, arching a brow at his brother. He was fully shaved and dressed in a blue polo shirt and a pair of jeans, brown-tooled Western boots on his feet. Reese did like his boots fancy. His tall, muscled brother was a veteran firefighter in Kalispell, about thirty minutes away from Laurel Falls, but was currently off shift.
“You, big brother, are being such a big help.” Actually, Reese was a big help. Ever since their flaky mom had left—twice—Trace and Reese had taken responsibility for household chores and their younger brother and sister. That responsibility increased even more once their dad hit the bottle after the loss of his wife. Trace had been ten when his mother left the first time and his dad went after her. She came back, seemed to settle down, got pregnant with Cadie, and then disappeared when Cadie was only two. This time for good. He had no idea where she was.
Reese shrugged.
“What is it, Cadie?” Trace cocked his hip at his sister’s my-teenaged-problem-is-now-your-problem look.
“Have you seen my mango bra and panty set?”
He cut a look to Reese, but he quickly looked down and finished slathering his toast with peanut butter.
Trace rubbed at his tired eyes and ran both hands through his hair. “Why would I know where that is?”
“You did the wash. It was in the last load.” She shot at him like an accusation. Like a mango bra and panty set could be stolen and sold on the black unmentionables market.
He tried to remember the wash and the clothes that were part of the loads he’d done, but it all blurred together. “Does it have black lace on it?”
“No,” she said with a long-suffering teenaged sigh. “That is my orange set.”
“Wait. What is the difference between mango and orange?” he said, winning him another contemptuous look.
“Well, for one thing they’re different fruits,” Reese piped up.
Trace gave his brother his best sergeant-I’m-going-to-kick-your-ass glare, but Reese just smirked.
“Trace, really. Mango is much lighter than orange,” Cadie said as if he were the village idiot.
“Yeah, Trace, any moron would know that.” Reese nudged him as he walked past toward the counter and settled on one of the stools.
“Shut up,” Trace said, giving his brother a nudge back, then turning his attention back to Cadie. “Can’t you wear some other . . . ah . . . set?”
Her chin lifted and her eyes squinted. “No. I can’t,” she said, placing her hands on the counter. “I have cheerleader practice and I can’t wear a different set.”
Somehow that was supposed to make sense to him.
“Cadie.” He stepped to the island, his lips pinching together. He set his hands down on the counter, too, his fingers tapping. Speaking through his clenched teeth, he said, “You are going to be late for school.” He gestured with his thumb. “Now, get your butt in your room and get dressed.”
Cadie’s face set into a determined mask. She marched up to Trace and thrust out her chin. “It’s the only bra I have that holds—”
“For the love of God, do not finish that sentence. My ears will bleed.” He walked away, his shoulders hunched, cringing.

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About the author:

Zoe Dawson had always dreamed of becoming a full-time romance writer, and with determination, persistence, and a little luck that wish came true. Her other passions include traveling the world, owning a beach house (she believes she was a mermaid in another life), and seeing her books in movies. When she’s not writing, she’s painting or killing virtual MMORPG monsters in World of Warcraft. She lives in North Carolina with her two grown children and one small, furry gray cat.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

Buy Links:  Amazon | B & N |Google PlayiTunes | Kobo

Blog Tour: Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson

Author: Julia Claiborne Johnson
Publisher: William Morrow
Date of publication: February 2016

Reclusive literary legend M. M. “Mimi” Banning has been holed up in her Bel Air mansion for years. But after falling prey to a Bernie Madoff-style ponzi scheme, she’s flat broke. Now Mimi must write a new book for the first time in decades, and to ensure the timely delivery of her manuscript, her New York publisher sends an assistant to monitor her progress. The prickly Mimi reluctantly complies—with a few stipulations: No Ivy-Leaguers or English majors. Must drive, cook, tidy. Computer whiz. Good with kids. Quiet, discreet, sane.

When Alice Whitley arrives at the Banning mansion, she’s put to work right away—as a full-time companion to Frank, the writer’s eccentric nine-year-old, a boy with the wit of Noel Coward, the wardrobe of a 1930s movie star, and very little in common with his fellow fourth-graders.

As she slowly gets to know Frank, Alice becomes consumed with finding out who Frank’s father is, how his gorgeous “piano teacher and itinerant male role model” Xander fits into the Banning family equation—and whether Mimi will ever finish that book.

I always go into a book with the best of intentions.  I never really want to abandon a book halfway through, but I'll be frank with you, this book really didn't work for me.  I had a hard time getting into Be Frank With Me.  The premise is that author M.M. Banning once wrote a best seller and hasn't written anything since.  She now wants to write a new book because she needs money.  Her publisher sends his assistant to help her get the book written.  Alice soon finds out that her job is actually as a babysitter for Mimi's 9 YO son.

The problem that I had with the book is that everyone was a bit too quirky for me. It was all a little over the top.  I found Mimi rude and unlikable.  If she called Alice "Penny" on more time, I think I was going to scream.  One of my biggest questions was about Frank.  Was he on the autism spectrum or was he just a spoiled and over-indulged child?  It was all a bit strange to me. I had a hard time buying that a recluse would allow a complete stranger into her home and on top of that let said stranger to take care of her child. I know that sometimes you have to suspend disbelief, but I couldn't in this case.  

I know I am totally in the minority on this point.  Check out what others are saying in the list below.

About the author:

Julia Claiborne Johnson worked at Mademoiselle and Glamour magazines before marrying and moving to Los Angeles, where she lives with her comedy-writer husband and their two children.

Connect with Julia on Facebook and Twitter.

Julia’s Tour Stops
Tuesday, February 2nd: A Bookish Way of Life
Wednesday, February 3rd: Walking With Nora
Thursday, February 4th: Doing Dewey
Friday, February 5th: Book Hooked Blog
Monday, February 8th: Lesa’s Book Critiques
Tuesday, February 9th: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, February 11th: A Bookworm’s World
Monday, February 15th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Tuesday, February 16th: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Wednesday, February 17th: girlichef
Thursday, February 18th: Thoughts On This ‘n That

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young

by:  Hester Young
published by:  G.P. Putnam's Sons
publish date:  September 1, 2015

When New York journalist and recently bereaved mother Charlotte “Charlie” Cates begins to experience vivid dreams about children she’s sure that she’s lost her mind. Yet these are not the nightmares of a grieving parent, she soon realizes. They are messages and warnings that will help Charlie and the children she sees, if only she can make sense of them.

After a little boy in a boat appears in Charlie’s dreams asking for her help, Charlie finds herself entangled in a thirty-year-old missing-child case that has never ceased to haunt Louisiana’s prestigious Deveau family. Armed with an invitation to Evangeline, the family’s sprawling estate, Charlie heads south, where new friendships and an unlikely romance bring healing. But as she uncovers long-buried secrets of love, money, betrayal, and murder, the facts begin to implicate those she most wants to trust—and her visions reveal an evil closer than she could’ve imagined.

First, I had some issues.  I listened to the audiobook.  Evangeline in Louisiana is pronounced Evange-Lynn or in some rare cases Evange-Line (with a long I).  I've never heard anyone pronouncing it Evange-LEEN.  It was aggravating me.  The author also apparently had some kind of idea that people in Louisiana/Texas are just toting around guns all willy-nilly.  It was a really frustrating bias.  However, if I didn't live here, I probably wouldn't have picked up on.

The story is about Charlie who begins to experience psychic visions after she tragically loses her son.  She is presented with an opportunity to write a true crime novel about the infamous disappearance of the son of a wealthy Louisiana couple.  She decides to take the job when she begins to have dreams about a little boy asking her for help.  She moves onto the family estate and begins investigating the family and turns up more than she bargained for.

Other than the few issues I had, I did enjoy the story.  It was a well written mystery that had me engaged until the very end.  It looks like there will be more books featuring Charlie Cates in the future.  I will be looking forward to them.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Breaking Wild by Diane Les Becquets

by:  Diane Les Becquets
published by:  Berkley
publish date:  February 9, 2016

It is the last weekend of the season for Amy Raye Latour to get away. Driven to spend days alone in the wilderness, Amy Raye, mother of two, is compelled by the quiet and the rush of nature. But this time, her venture into a remote area presents a different set of dangers than Amy Raye has planned for and she finds herself on the verge of the precarious edge that she’s flirted with her entire life.
When Amy Raye doesn’t return to camp, ranger Pru Hathaway and her dog respond to the missing person’s call. After an unexpected snowfall and few leads, the operation turns into a search and recovery. Pru, though, is not resigned to that. The more she learns about the woman for whom she is searching, and about Amy Raye’s past, the more she suspects that Amy Raye might yet be alive. Pru’s own search becomes an obsession for a woman whose life is just as mysterious as the clues she has left behind.

I say it here often:  I love survival stories.  This was a great one!

Amy Raye is a hunter.  She leaves her hunting party to go on a solo hunt and she doesn't return.  As Amy Raye's story unfolds what may have happened becomes less obvious.  Her marriage was in trouble.  She was having an affair with one of the members of the hunting party.  Pru Hathaway has to deal with all these questions as she is out in the treacherous weather looking for Amy.

Breaking Wild is told from alternating view points.  Pru and Amy both tell their stories throughout the book.  Both are remarkable women.  They will leave you anticipating what will happen next.

This is an excellent book to read while it's still cold outside!  It's very atmospheric.  I highly recommend it!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Blog Tour: Guest Post & Giveway - To Catch a Rake by Sally Orr

Author: Sally Orr
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release date: February 2, 2016

No Good Rake Goes Unpunished

When George Drexel used his vast experience with women to write and publish The Rake’s Handbook: Including Field Guide, little did he realize the havoc it would cause. Now years later, the rumor of a second edition has London’s naughtiest widows pounding on his door, begging to be included. But George has given up his roguish ways and wants nothing more than to be left alone with his architectural pursuits…until beautiful Meta Russell tempts him from his work and leaves him contemplating an altogether different sort of plan.

The handbook may be years out of print, but it still has the power to ruin lives. Desperate to save her sister—whose inclusion has left her jilted—Meta tracks down the rake responsible, only to find a man who steals her breath and leaves her reeling.  Banding together to put things to rights, George and Meta find themselves drawn inexorably together…but can Meta truly trust her heart to a man who wrote the book on being a rake?

Message from Sally Orr

Dear Readers,

I’m deeply grateful that you have stopped by today.

If you have never read my books before, you are probably wondering what type of stories I write. Basically, you’ll discover a light-hearted story about two people falling in love. Expect some wit, a good laugh, and a joy-filled journey on the path to romance. So if you are in the mood to escape to the past and read about two people overcoming obstacles to find true love, then you have the right book in your hand.

The heroine of TO CATCH A RAKE, Meta, is a young widow who is a caregiver for her family. From her elderly father who suffers from dementia, to a young boy in need of discipline, she sacrifices her own needs for those of her family. She believes that if she ever falls in love again, she could never abandon her family, even for the man of her dreams.

Now we come to the importance of the hero—the man who will always be my favorite character. What is more exciting than a strong, masculine hero recognizing, and ultimately giving in to his passion for the heroine? I expect most of us would love to be in the heroine’s pointy-toed shoes.

Also you may discover that some of my heroes have non-typical occupations other than aristocrat. Personally, I don’t prefer heroes that are gentlemen who inherited their titles. Historically, the first person to hold the title was a man of accomplishment—a man that served his monarch well and was aptly rewarded. For me, later holders of the title are not usually as heroic as the gentlemen who combined intelligence, drive, and creativity and achieved groundbreaking discoveries. For example, the men who invented the first electric motor, or a machine that turned water power into electricity, or built an iron bridge, ship, or building that still functions in our modern world.

The hero of TO CATCH A RAKE, George, is a gentleman who spent his youth in the reckless manner of a young man about town—gaming, wenching, and sports. He used his vast expertise with women to pen the Field Guide section of the Rake’s Handbook. Now in his thirties, he finds himself jaded and pained to discover that London considers him merely a rake who wrote a vulgar book. He yearns to escape this nonsense and find an occupation that will define his life—be a man everyone will speak of differently—a man of accomplishment. He becomes an engineer working on the most famous structure of the Regency-era—the Thames Tunnel. This tunnel was the first tunnel under a navigable river. When it opened, it was considered the eighth wonder of the world, so the hero’s story intertwines with one of the greatest achievements of the era.

So I hope you take a few hours, sit back, and enjoy a little bit of history mixed with a tender love story.

Thank you and happy reading!
Sally Orr

Exclusive Snippet from TO CATCH A RAKE

“Happy then, married to a lady of science?”
His emerald eyes flashed with delight. “Never happier. Do you know what she did the other day? She organized all of my waistcoats according to the color, or rather the color in relation to what she calls ‘the visible spectrum.’ Not quite sure myself what that is, but I’m sure it’s a bang-up thing to do with a fellow’s waistcoats.”

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About the Author

Sally Orr worked for 30 years in academic research, when one day a friend challenged her to write a novel. Since she is a hopeless Anglophile, her books are by default Regency romances. She lives with her husband surrounded by books, modernist mid-century dishes, and English cars in San Diego, California.

Connect with Sally Orr

Friday, February 5, 2016

Blog Tour: Night Hawk by Lindsay McKenna

Author: Lindsay McKenna
Publisher: Harlequin
Date of publication: December 2015


After losing his comrade, Sergeant Gil Hanford thought a visit to the man’s widow would be the decent way to honor his late friend. But Gil found more than comfort in Kai Tiernan—he had always secretly desired beautiful Kai, but a sudden, mutual passion helped assuage their grief…until duty reared its head, removing him from her arms, seemingly forever.

Four years later, Kai is starting over at the Triple H Ranch in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Born a rancher, she is looking for a new beginning—but her new boss is unforgivably familiar. Kai has tried to move past the memory of what happened between her and Gil, even though she’s never forgiven him for leaving her. But even as they begin their journey toward something new and oh-so-uncertain, a shadow emerges, determined to claim Kai for itself.

Night Hawk is the 10th book in the Jackson Hole series, but it's the first book that I have read.  A good sign of a successful series is when they say a book can be read as a stand alone, they really mean it. I like that I can pick up any book in the series and never feel lost. While references were made to previous books, I never felt out of the loop reading Night Hawk.  It is a good second chance story.  By coincidence, Gil and Kai end up working at the same ranch, years after Gil left Kai without a word.  Now that they are together, can Kai find forgiveness and a happy future?

For the most part, I enjoyed the story,  I think had it been a straight romance, I would have liked it a lot more.  I loved watching Gil and Kai find their way back to each other.  I also liked the peripheral characters in the book.  There was a real sense of family among them that came across as genuine.

As for the suspense part of the book, for me, it was almost like an after thought and really could have been left out. Not enough time was spent on the "suspense" part. the attack toward the end of the book was a bit out of the blue.  I was also confused as to why Gil and Talon wouldn't tell Kai the real reasons for them wanting her to stay away from the bad guy.  If they truly thought she was in danger, why keep it to themselves?  That was just silly.  I also thought that there was a little too much repetition in the book.  How many times did the characters have to speculate on whether or not Sandy and Cass were falling in love?  I would have like to see more of that fall into love instead of hearing about it.

The next book int he series, Out Rider, comes out later this year.  I look forward to checking it out.

About Lindsay McKenna

A U.S. Navy veteran, she was a meteorologist while serving her country. She pioneered the military romance in 1993 with Captive of Fate, Silhouette Special edition.  Her heart and focus is on honoring and showing our military men and women.  Creator of the Wyoming Series and Shadow Warriors series for HQN, she writes emotionally and romantically intense suspense stories. Visit her online at

Connect with Lindsay

Purchase Links

Lindsay McKenna’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, January 4th: Majorly Delicious
Monday, January 4th: The Sassy Bookster
Wednesday, January 6th: Reading Reality
Friday, January 8th: A Chick Who Reads
Monday, January 11th: Worth Getting in Bed For
Tuesday, January 12th: Bewitched Bookworms
Wednesday, January 13th: Mignon Mykel Reviews
Friday, January 15th: Read Love Blog
Monday, January 18th: Romantic Reads and Such
Wednesday, January 20th: Book Reviews & More by Kathy
Thursday, January 21st: Life is Story
Friday, January 22nd: Raven Haired Girl
Monday, January 25th: What I’m Reading
Wednesday, January 27th: Bibliotica
Thursday, January 28th: Books a la Mode
Friday, January 29th: Black ‘n Gold Girls Book Spot
Tuesday, February 2nd: It’s A Reading Thing – Cover breakdown
Friday, February 5th: From the TBR Pile

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Stealing Home by Sherryl Woods

Author: Sherryl Woods
First published on 2007 by Mira

Maddie Townsend might live in a town called Serenity, but there's been nothing calm or peaceful about her life since her marriage broke up. This stay-at-home mom has no job skills, an out-of-control sixteen-year-old son, a talkative fourteen-year-old who's suddenly gone silent, a six-year-old daughter whose heart is broken, an ex-husband whose younger girlfriend is expecting their baby and two best friends who think she's somehow qualified to help them open a fitness spa for women. But if Maddie is a tad on edge with all that on her plate, it's nothing compared to the chaos that ensues when she discovers that her son's baseball coach has feelings for her and the whole town disapproves. Maddie's faced a lot of challenges lately with strength and resolve, but Cal Maddox may turn out to be more than she can handle.

Then again, he could just be the one man in all of South Carolina who can help her find serenity.

Stealing Home is the first book in the Sweet Magnolia series.  It's months after Maddie's husband tells her that he wants a divorce and that he is having a baby with his girlfriend.  She is now trying to figure out how to move on with her life and take care of her three kids.  With a little help from her friends she may find herself and a little love along the way.

This story was just an OK read for me.  I did enjoy watching Maddie come out of her shell and start sticking up for herself.    I also thought that her budding relationship with Cal was very sweet and fun to watch.  From a romance point of view, it was pretty clean and tame.  What I had a hard time with was the ridiculousness of the town's reaction to Maddie and Cal dating.  Yes, there is a 10 year difference. But really, the guy is in his mid 30s and she is in her mid 40s.  It's not like either of them are underage.  The principal threatening to get Cal fired from his teaching position was just over the top and unbelievable.  I think that whole story line could have been left out.  It made me almost make this a DNF.

I am curious to read the next book in the series, so stay tuned.  I'm sure it will show up here at some point in the future.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Infinite in Between by Carolyn Mackler

by:  Carolyn Mackler
published by:  HarperTeen
publish date:  September 1, 2015

Zoe, Jake, Mia, Gregor, and Whitney meet at freshman orientation. At the end of that first day, they make a promise to reunite after graduation. So much can happen in those in-between years….

Zoe feels like she will live forever in her famous mother’s shadow. Jake struggles to find the right connections in friendship and in love. Mia keeps trying on new identities, looking for one that actually fits. Gregor thought he wanted to be more than just a band geek. And Whitney seems to have it all, until it’s all falling apart around her.

I think if you only read one YA book this year, this should be it.  It's the perfect high school book.

The story starts right before Freshman year.  Zoe, Jake, Mia, Gregor, and Whitney are five completely different people but they're grouped up for a Freshman orientation project.  They decide to write letters to their future selves and hide them away and they will open them on graduation.  The rest of the book tells their stories of how their lives intertwine over the next 4 years.

I was skeptical that 4 years of high school could fit into one book.  Especially 4 years of high school for 5 different people.  It worked though.  It was a very well written book and the stories were told in such a perfect way.  I would definitely recommend this book to all the YA lovers.  Even if you aren't a YA reader, this story just might help you find your love of YA books.