Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Ana of California







A modern take on the classic coming-of-age novel, inspired by Anne of Green Gables

In the grand tradition of Anne of Green Gables, Bridget Jones’s Diary, and The Three Weissmanns of Westport, Andi Teran’s captivating debut novel offers a contemporary twist on a beloved classic. Fifteen-year-old orphan Ana Cortez has just blown her last chance with a foster family. It’s a group home next—unless she agrees to leave East Los Angeles for a farm trainee program in Northern California.

When she first arrives, Ana can’t tell a tomato plant from a blackberry bush, and Emmett Garber is skeptical that this slight city girl can be any help on his farm. His sister Abbie, however, thinks Ana might be just what they need. Ana comes to love Garber Farm, and even Emmett has to admit that her hard work is an asset. But when she inadvertently stirs up trouble in town, Ana is afraid she might have ruined her last chance at finding a place to belong.


My Review

I was looking for something to read on a hot, summer day and this book sounded like the perfect read. It just so happened that is what this book turned out to be...the perfect read! I read it in only a few short hours.

I fell in love with Ana from the first moment that I met her. She was genuine and had a big heart. Also, she spoke her mind and owned up to any mistakes that she made. She at times acted older than her age of fifteen. I have to agree with Emmett's sister, Abbie that Emmett is like a "bulldog in a baby basket".

Everyone else in this book are great as well. After a while they became more like family then characters in a story. A nice summer read.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Price of Vengeance + Giveaway





"Liam! What have you done?" Marcus demanded. "You know our teachings on revenge."

Suddenly, irrationally angry, Liam straightened. "How can you defend him after what he did? To you, to Mom, to my birth parents, to everyone we cared about?"

With a howl of despair and emotional agony, Liam dashed forward, through the shade of his father, blindly running into the sewers.

What is the Price of Vengeance? One could understand why Liam is angry. Orphaned at the age of two by a group of giant carnivorous insects called the chitin, he was adopted by High Councilor Marcus and his wife, Lidia, and raised with their older son, Randolf, in New Olympia, the last remaining city on the planet Etrusci.

As an adult, Liam becomes a soldier. After being cut off from the city, he finds that there is an alien intelligence behind the chitin. To defeat it, he must discover who he is and how to use his powers. When Liam discovers that a traitor responsible for his birth parents' deaths has also murdered his beloved foster parents, he might find that the price he has to pay in his quest for vengeance will prove to be an even more unbeatable foe.


My Review

When I first picked up this book to read it I was unsure about it. I like sci-fi/fantasy type books but the prospect of killer bugs/chitin being the enemy was a little far fetched for me. My first thought after starting to read this book was Starship Troopers featuring Casper Van Dien. Yet, this book was so much better than this movie. Liam exceeds Casper's performance and is a great leader. I also liked Liam's older brother, Randolf. They knew the true meaning of blood is thicker than water.

This book had a really good storyline with strong characters and lots of action to keep it moving at a steady pace. I was flying through the book. Mr. Springs has a good talent for storytelling. Instantly I was transported to this world as if I was one of the residents experiencing everything that was happening. I can't wait to read book two. 

Where to buy the book:



Kurt D. Springs is presently an adjunct professor teaching anthropology, archaeology, and geography in New Hampshire. He holds a PhD. in anthropology from the State University of New York at Buffalo, as well as a Master of Literature in archaeology from the National University of Ireland, Galway, and a Master of Liberal Arts in anthropology and archaeology from the Harvard University Extension School. His main area of interest is megalithic landscapes in prehistoric Ireland.  

Connect with Kurt:    Website  ~   Twitter  ~   Facebook


 

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

From Where I Watch You



Sixteen-year-old Kara McKinley is about to realize her dream of becoming a professional baker. Beautifully designed and piped, her cookies are masterpieces, but also her ticket out of rainy Seattle—if she wins the upcoming national baking competition and its scholarship prize to culinary school in California. Kara can no longer stand the home where her family lived, laughed, and ultimately imploded after her mean-spirited big sister Kellen died in a drowning accident. Kara’s dad has since fled, and her mom has turned from a high-powered attorney into a nutty holy-rolling Christian fundamentalist peddling “Soul Soup” in the family café. All Kara has left are memories of better times.

But the past holds many secrets, and they come to light as Kara faces a secret terror. Someone is leaving her handwritten notes. Someone who knows exactly where she is and what’s she’s doing. As they lead her to piece together the events that preceded Kellen’s terrible, life-changing betrayal years before, she starts to catch glimpses of her dead sister: an unwelcome ghost in filthy Ugg boots. If Kara doesn’t figure out who her stalker is, and soon, she could lose everything. Her chance of escape. The boy she’s beginning to love and trust. Even her life.
    
 
Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: August 4th 2015 by Soho Teen


My Review

There was just something about this book that captured my attention and won't let go. I could not stop reading this book. There was nothing too suspenseful about the story but the mystery surrounding Kara's stalker and her sister's death had me intrigued. Plus, everyone in this book was refreshing and interesting. From Kara to Charlie to Noelle and Kara's mother.

The author did keep me guessing as to the identity of Kara's stalker. Which I really liked because it kept me on my toes with excitement. Not going to say anymore on this as I don't want to give anything away. I can not wait to see what Shannon comes out with next. From Where I Watch You it looks like a best seller!

Monday, June 22, 2015

EXILE: Part 3 of Guy Erma and the Son of Empire


13-year-old Teodor has found a way to escape from kidnap, how long before he is safely home?
13-year-old Guy Erma has run away from everything he has even known and no longer knows what the future holds.

They escaped through dark tunnels and back alleys but they also discovered a hidden terror that now threatens their entire planet.

Two boys as different as two boys might be. Their adventure has forged an unexpected friendship, but do they really trust each other?

Dare they share their darkest, deepest secrets?

My Review

I thought that part two, Hunter was really good but part three is just as grand. The action never stopped. The story kept going from start to end. Again I could not get enough of Guy and Teodor. They were evenly matched.

I have talked about the characters but not too much about the world that this story took place in. It felt like a real world. What I mean by this is that it was very believable as a place to could really exist. For a sci-fi fan like me, this was a great thing. Sci-fi stories can take liberties to stretch the truth of reality but at the same time if the story is too far fetched or unrealistic, then I can not relate. This can lead to a turn off. Not to worry as none of this happened to me reading this book. Also, the illustrations in this book just added and helped bring the story to life. This helped me get a good image in my head. It was like I was playing a mini movie in my head while reading this book. I look forward to seeing what the author comes out with next.


Where to buy the book:




 
Author's Bio:

The author was born in Wallasey, England, in 1964, and moved to the South of France when she was eleven. She spent her teenage years living in the cosmopolitan city state of Monaco and became immersed in its many languages and cultures. An English girl in a French school, for three hours each week she would sit at the back of the class as her colleagues learnt English. To pass the time, she wrote stories. This led to a lifetime of writing novels, scripts, stories and articles.

In her working life, Sally writes marketing communications and manages large international websites.

In 2010, Sally joined the Hogs Back Writers, a club located on the outskirts of Guildford, and she set about turning an old manuscript into this novel: Guy Erma and the Son of Empire. Sally currently lives in Farnham, and she is married with two children.

Connect with Sally:  Website  ~  Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Pinterest

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Alive

Stella Cross's heart is poisoned.

After years on the transplant waiting list, she's running out of hope that she'll ever see her eighteenth birthday. Then, miraculously, Stella receives the transplant she needs to survive.

Determined to embrace everything she came so close to losing, Stella throws herself into her new life. But her recovery is marred by strange side effects: Nightmares. Hallucinations. A recurring pain that flares every day at the exact same moment. Then Stella meets Levi Zin, the new boy on everyone's radar at her Seattle prep school. Stella has never felt more drawn to anyone in her life, and soon she and Levi are inseparable.

Stella is convinced that Levi is her soul mate. Why else would she literally ache for him when they are apart?

After all, the heart never lies...does it?


My Review

I thought this was a good book. I was expecting for it to be darker than it turned out to be. I did not really find what was happening to Stella to be that scary. The moments were quick flashes without real explanation behind the images that things happening to Stella. I did want some more detail.

Then there is the romance between Stella and Henry. It was sweet but I did not find it added anything to the story as a whole. I thought that it was nice that Stella had Henry by her side as a friend, which if they had stayed this way would have been fine with me.  
 
I found that the whole story really came together in the last eleven chapters of the book. This is where the action and the intensity built up and got exciting. Also this is where my details of everything that was happening to Stella was explained.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

A Head Full of Ghosts


A chilling thriller that brilliantly blends domestic drama, psychological suspense, and a touch of modern horror, reminiscent of Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves, John Ajvide Lindqvist's Let the Right One In, and Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House.

The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.

To her parents' despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie's descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts' plight. With John, Marjorie's father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend.

Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie's younger sister, Merry. As she recalls those long ago events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories that clash with what was broadcast on television begin to surface--and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed, raising vexing questions about memory and reality, science and religion, and the very nature of evil.



My Review

This book is told from the first person perspective of Merry. She is grown up and being interviewed about the events that led up to the present. I liked that this story was told from the first person voice of Merry but the younger version. Seeing everything through Merry's eyes helped me really get the full experience of what she and her family went through including Marjorie.

Although I would classify this book more of a psychological thriller than horror. Yes, the events that transpired to the Barretts was creepy, it did not make the hairs on my arms stand up or keep me from being afraid of the dark. I would say it was more like the Amityville Horror type of scary. The ending however was mild and a little disappointing. For all of the things that transpired to lead up to the ending was sad. However this was a quick read. I did like what I read and would check out more books by this author.

Friday, June 19, 2015

It Ain't Nothing but a Cowboy Thing.


My Review

I can see why author, Vicki was excited to present this new series. The brotherhood of Cade, Damon, and Finn is a great one. Of course, they are not bad looking either. I really liked Cade and Lexi's story. They were meant for each other. I thought that Vicki did a nice job of portraying how they had both matured in the five years of separation. Lexi became independent and Cade matured into a good man. Their relationship was better for it.

Although I do have to say that the sex between them was smoking hot. My favorite part was when it was raining and they were doing the deed in the back of Cade's pickup. I laughed at the description that the author used so much so that I had to read it to me husband and I started laughing again. It was "The rain dribbled between his thighs and mingled with her juices until they were both slippery as otters."  

I am looking forward to reading Damon and Finn's stories. 





My Review


I thought this was a sweet and charming read. I could not really find a 100% connection to either Nina or Alex. Well if I have to be honest, it was more Nina that I found to be a 60% likability. I understood that she came from a damaged marriage but I found it annoying quickly when Nina would not let her walls down as easily when it came to her heart and feelings for Alex. One moment Nina was guarded and the next moment she would start to open up just to quickly shut down again.

For example, when things were starting to heat up with Alex; Nina was stuck in her head thinking "She was actually doing this. Having her first official fling." "She bit her lip to hold back her cries of completion as he caressed every last aftershock from her"

Yet, despite my lack of warm towards Nina, I did like the story and found Nina's autistic son, Cody adorable. 





Q&A with Catherine Mann author of PURSUED BY THE RICH RANCHER

You have more than 60 books released in more than 20 countries. What’s it like to have fans all over the world?

What a thrill to have the opportunity to touch readers around the globe. I’m not only an author, but also an avid reader myself. I treasure the escape of a great read and am honored to offer that entertainment to others.

What inspired you to make the move from theater school director to romance author?

The two actually share many similarities – the world building, characterization, plotting, staging, creating tension. I’m building a world with words rather than on a stage. My theater background also has a heavy emphasis in directing and literature.

Can you tell us about your animal rescue work?

Ah, my heart and passion – I’ve been an animal rescuer for over a decade through fostering and serving on a shelter board of directors. Recently, I took a big leap of faith with some close friends and started our own rescue – The Sunshine State Animal Rescue. We’re a 501c3, non profit, no-kill rescue, all foster-home based. While we do traditional adoption placements, we also specialize in identifying animals at shelters that have working dog potential and partnering them into service/therapy/search and rescue placements. It’s been a life changing experience. FMI check out our facebook page:

If PURSUED BY THE RICH RANCHER were made into a movie, who would you cast in the starring roles?

Timothy Olyphant as Alex McNair – definitely! And Emma Stone as single mom Nina Lowery.

What are you working on next?

Exciting news! I’m starting a new series for Harlequin Desire called the "Bayou Billionaires" - a football family dynasty that gives the books a sports industry setting. I’m writing the launch book, award winning author Joanne Rock is writing the second. She and I will continue to alternate writing books in the series so readers can have a book a month in the series. The series begins in early 2016 with HIS PREGNANT PRINCESS BRIDE.





Bon Appétit & a Book:

Catherine Mann’s Sweet Tea

 
What’s your favorite recipe?

Sweet tea! I’m Southern, after all. And the recipe is so simple.

–Catherine

Ingredients:

6-8 large tea bags

3-4 cups sugar (or your low calorie sweetener of choice)

Lemon (optional)

Mint leaves (optional)

 

Directions:

Get a gallon drink dispenser. Place 6-8 large tea bags in the container. Place the lid on top with the tags dangling out. Set the container in the window sill all day. At the end of the day, pull out the tea bags. Add 3-4 cups or sugar (or your low calorie sweetener of choice) and refrigerate. Especially yummy if add lemon slices or mint leaves.




My Review

 This book is a nice start to this series. I did feel a little sorry for Jack getting ganged up on by his family. However it was all in good nature ribbing. I absolutely loved Jack's son, Seth. He is so adorable and polite. Then there is Tracy. She is no wilting flower. She can hold her own around the Colton family clan.


Due to Jack getting his heart broken before, he is more guarded when it comes to romance and love. So there is not a lot of hot passion and moments shared between him and Tracy. Yet, the moments they shared were real and heart felt.

Also the suspense in this book was good but mild. I would say this was a good mix of romance and suspense to be a romantic suspense story.