Friday, November 30, 2012

REVIEW REDUX: The Wedding Cake Girl by Anne Pfeffer

Title: The Wedding Cake Girl
Author: Anne Pfeffer
Genre: YA fiction
Rating: 4 stars

(Originally posted 08.21.2012)

 Synopsis from Seventeen year old Alexandra spends so much time helping others realize their dreams that she never has time for her own. An expert ocean diver and reluctant maker of wedding cakes, she longs to leave roses and frosting behind to study oceanography. Alex’s mother won’t have it—needy and dependent, Mom can’t run the family wedding cake business on her own. No matter what Alex does, things only get worse for her. When she risks her life to save a tourist while scuba diving and becomes the local hero, Mom's angry with Alex for going diving at all. Mom also discourages Alex's new friendship with the insanely wealthy Jeremy, a fun boy with a secret.  Then, Alex's best friend, Zack, a hunky island guy, starts to take an interest in her as well. The problem is, he's dating another girl. As Alex struggles to learn where she stands between her two difficult and confusing Prince Charmings, it occurs to her that maybe what she really needs is a Prince Charming for Mom. If she doesn't do something, she will make cakes all her life and die in her "Sue's Wedding Cakery" apron with a spatula in her hand. This story features a colorful island setting, dangerous underwater diving adventures,a family of billionaires, and lots and lots of buttercream. It is Alex's journey toward not only finding love, but learning how to step forward and take control of her own life, a rite of passage that faces all young readers.

My Review: ** I did receive a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. That being said, let's continue to the review. I didn't expect to like this book. I thought it would be too juvenile for my tastes. Instead, I was hooked as soon as I started reading it. I felt the main character Alex was driven, by both her love of oceanography and diving, and her love of her mother. However, as much as I felt conected to Alex, I felt myself questioning my own mothering abilities, as I put myself up against Alex's mother. Would I get rid of the object of my daughter's love if I was afraid she could die from it? Can't you die from anything? Could I trust my daughter's judgement? Would I, could I ever be that dependent on my own daughter, and put that much responsibility on her shoulders as a teenager? And yet, as much as I understand the ending, I don't agree with it as a mother. But that's just me. I won't go into details because I don't want to spoil it. The fact that this book made me question and self-reflect upon my maternal abilities definitely gives it a high rating. Life-changing? No. A great read for an adult? Yes. A great read for a teenager/YA? Definitely.

REVIEW REDUX: Crossed by CJ Graves

Title: Crossed (A Jayden Morrow Mystery)
 Author: CJ Graves
 ISBN: 9781476377179
  Buy it Link (Smashwords) Buy it Link (Amazon)
 Rating: 3 1/2 stars

 Book synopsis from Goodreads: Safe life in a small town just got dangerous. Jayden Morrow moves to Grasshopper Hill, NC and becomes a private investigator expecting life to be safe. After dodging bombs in Iraq as an MP, cheating husbands and insurance fraud seem like a walk in the demilitarized zone. But when a young girl is found murdered at a local Christian rock concert, Jayden's military instincts kick in, and any hope for peace and quiet blows up in her face. The case plunges her into the midst of a powerful church family. Hirshel Lightner, the head pastor, tries to crush her investigation. Even worse, Jayden finds herself attracted to Hirshel’s son-in-law, Adam--a man who could be the killer. If Jayden isn’t careful, she might be the next victim.

My Review: Originally I wanted to read this book because of the main character's first name. Jayden is also my older daughter's name. Tenuous connection to be reading a book on, but I've done worse. Mystery isn't always my favorite genre, but this book was worth reading. I loved the main character, Jayden Morrow. I felt she was well-fleshed out, human and believable. She's a former Army MP with a tour of duty in Iraq under her belt. Instead of being the GI Jane with no heart that I was afraid she would end up being, I found her to be intelligent, sassy, and self-sufficient. Tough but she had her edges smoothed out enough to be believably female. The best part had to be the last fight scene. The side characters that I hope we'll be seeing in next installments are the two neighbors: Miss Mildred, the elderly neighbor, and the young girl Catie Conell. I want to see more of them, and I especially want to see how Jayden's presence helps Catie grow into a stong future woman, which you see hints of in Catie's Halloween costume. Another side character that I'd like to see more of is Max, but he could either stay or go. There wasn't really enough heat between Max and Jayden to make me want hem to start or continue as a possible couple. The story was interesting, with enough twists to keep me guessing up until the end.  The only  downside of it was that there needs to be some slight editting of the wording of the scenes. There's one between Adam and Jayden towards the last 1/3 of the book where the word "you're" is used instead of "your" a number of times. It wasn't enough to throw me off completely from the book, but it would be nice to see that changed.

REVIEW REDUX: The Sweetest Fling by Amber Scott

Title: The Sweetest Fling
Author: Amber Scott
ASIN: B0074A96YU
Rating: Two and a half stars
Buy it link from Amazon

 First I want to say that I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Second I'd like to say that I really tried to like this book. I never read the first in the Stupid Cupid series, and this is the second book, so parts of it were a bit confusing. Ultimately, the story goes that a matchmaking "Cupid" named Millie is trying to match a woman named Claire, and a man named Tyler. Instead, Claire falls for Tyler's twin, Jace. This had the possibility of being a cute, comical romance, but spiraled downwards when Jace was too afraid to betray his brother, and Claire was just too afraid, period. Six years pass, and it finds Claire engaged to someone else, and Jace dating another woman. They find one another (while Claire is wedding dress shopping no less), promptly admit their feelings for one another have never diminished, and begin cheating quite blatantly on their significant others. This book just smacked too much of condoning cheating for me to actually enjoy the book. Yes, they break up with their significant others and everything "works out" in the end, however, cheating is never right in my book, for whatever reason.

(Originally posted 08.15.2012)

#FF: Feature and Follow Friday #1

Welcome to the Feature & Follow
Gain new followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! If this is your first time here, welcome! You are about to make some new friends and gain new followers -- but you have to know -- the point of this hop is to follow other bloggers also. I follow you, you follow me.
The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs! 
How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools -- keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them "hi" in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you! 
What sets this Hop apart from others, is our Feature. Each week we will showcase a Featured Blogger, from all different genres and areas. Who is our Feature today? Find out below. Just remember it is required, if you participate, to follow our Features and you must follow the hosts (Parajunkee & Alison Can Read) as a courtesy. How do you follow someone? Well, if you have a preference, state it in your #FF post. A lot of blogs are transitioning to Wordpress in which they do not have the luxury of GFC, so an RSS subscription is appreciated or if you choose an email subscription. If you don't have GFC please state in your post how you would like to be followed.

Q: Activity! Who is your to-die-for book crush? What do you think they look like? Add an image to make us all happy.

Probably Kerrick from the first of the Guardians of Ascension series from Caris Roane. This is pretty much what I think he looks like:

Um, hot much? Um, YEAH! *goes into a full Southern Swoon* Oh, and this is my first FF on my new blog! Yay!

REVIEW: Prophecy Girl by Faith McKay

Title: Prophecy Girl
Series: Lacuna Valley
Author: Faith McKay
Published Date: Nov 20, 2012
Publisher: Self-published by author
Format: ebook
Pages: 211
ASIN: B00A801I2Q
Copy provided by: author
Genre: fantasy, YA
Add to: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon
Rating: 3 stars

Goodreads synopsisEver since Samantha Winthrop's mother moved them to Lacuna Valley, supposedly in search of better weather, the list of strange questions she has no answers for has been growing out of control.
Does her little sister, Violet, have the ability to make things happen just by "praying" for them? Are Sam's dreams really predicting the future? Is she destined to marry the boy she just met, and what is the mysterious orb that he's guarding? Why does she get the impression that there are dangerous creatures watching from the woods?
While Sam should be focusing on answering those questions, there is one other that makes them seem almost irrelevant: Is her mother planning on killing her and Violet?

My Review: First, I'd like to thank the author for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest and fair review.
This was a book I really wanted to like. The first chapter though was horrifying and  heartbreaking to me as a parent. Where the heck is DSS when you need them?! And what is up with the dad? Is he so frigging blind?! I never got his character or why his character was even there. Maybe it would have made more sense to me if he was one of those "dead before the story" dads. Unless there is more to his story. 
I didn't find the ending to be all that well-explained. I understood the basic gist of it, but again....where's the dad? 
Nick and Sam were cute together. They make good friends, but I'm still on the fence about them romantically, which is probably how Sam feels too. 
While it was a nice read, I'm still pondering whether I care enough about the characters to read the next book in the series.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

REVIEW REDUX: Orbit Beach by Jane Etarie

  Title: Orbit Beach
  Author: Jane Etarie
  ISBN: 9780988051508
  Publish date: April 29th 2012 by Murder Island Press
 Rating: 3 1/2 stars

  Synopsis from Goodreads: After losing her car and boyfriend on the same day, the disturbed young narrator sets into motion a plot to better her life. Conceive, believe, achieve— no matter what the method.

 Haven't you just had one of those days where nothing goes right? Your car gets stolen and your boyfriend of five months breaks up with you via text message. What does a normal, sane person do? Call the cops and break out the Ben and Jerry's. Not this girl (the main character), instead she breaks out the vodka and becomes convinced that she and her "Boo" are cosmologically meant to be together. How does she keep him? She pulls out the old "I'm pregnant" card. The author is brilliant, and I truly mean brilliant, in making me hate the main character. And not just a litle hate, a real bone-deep hate, making me want to throw my e-reader against the wall, get into the book and slap her, shake her, smack her! She has to be one of the most self-centered, shallow, adolescent IDIOTS that I've ever have the experience of meeting through a book. And if I had to read "like" one more time, I really was going to dive into my e-reader and smack her. But I'm constantly questioning, after her rather interesting methods of trying to become pregnant, if indeed she was successful in her endeavors. That question isn't really answered until the very end, and I'm not going to ruin it for you. I have to say, I was hoping with every flip of the page, that the pregnancy would change the main character. Evolve her from something we would see on Maury Povich or Jerry Springer, to something we could see on, say, Lifechangers with Dr. Drew. So, thank you to the author for making such a memorable character. Every time I think my life is screwed up, I can sit back and sigh in relief that I really am a normal person.

REVIEW REDUX: Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

 Title: Girl, Interrupted
 Author: Susanna Kaysen
 ISBN: 0679746048
 Pages: 192
 Rating: 3 1/2 stars

This book is the accounting of the two year stay at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts by the author, Susanna Kaysen, after she suffers a mental breakdown at the age of 18. And, yes, there is a movie rendering of the book with a young Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder. I have it somewhere in my large DVD collection. The one thing I liked so much about this book was the copies of the official documents of her stay at McLean. I felt it lent an air of credibility to a book that could be considered fiction at times. At times, the book seemed to be too disjointed. Yes, it covered a span of time that was relatively short (18 months or so), but the chapters covered the people and times during the hospitalization in no particular order, or so it seemed to me. Maybe it was purposefully, but the editor could have put them in chronological order at least. The most heart wrenching part of it was the ending: seeing how hard it is to go from a hospitalized seting back to the real world and the stigmatism that a mental illness has even now 40 years after the events happened.

Redemption Tour kicks off!

Redemption (Legends of Graham Mansion)

Be careful what you wish for. When the breakup of her family forces Grae White’s mother to move her two children from their privileged city life to her hometown in the mountains of Virginia, all Grae wants is to be invisible in her new life. But that’s rather hard when everyone knows that her father is the latest headline-grabbing white collar criminal, the most popular boy in school wants to take Grae to the prom, and then there’s that she lives in a haunted mansion. It would make anyone want to get away. Grae soon learns that a simple wish can reveal an unknown ability. Something more than curiosity spirals Grae back in time to seek the truth in the tragedy of a 200 -year-old murder. Along the way, she learns about history, happiness, and heartache in the lives of those who have lived on the property, including her own family. Her first journey reveals secrets that will lead Grae to further explore the legends of Graham Mansion. REDEMPTION is Book One in the Legends of Graham Mansion series. Look for the second story in the series, AMBITION, in spring 2013.

Purchase on Kindle / Paperback / Smashwords

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REVIEW REDUX: Cat Daddy by Jackson Galaxy

(Originally posted July 28, 2012)
 Title: Cat Daddy: How One Very Special Cat Fixed One Very Broken Man 
Author: Jackson Galaxy 
 ISBN: 1585429376 
 Rating: 3 1/2 stars 

 This book is basically the story of how a struggling musician addicted to legal and illegal drugs as well as alcohol became a cat behaviorist. Its a good story. It has some really good tidbits thrown in there about cat behavior, some things which I shared with my mother in law who has her very own cat from hell. The author shares his fight to become clean and stay clean. I'm not sure what I was expecting when I took out this book from the library. More cat behavior stuff, less detail about his relationships with girls and drugs. You can tell the author is definitely not a writer, but the story comes across with an honesty that is admirable. And yes, the end had me bawling like a baby.

#MistakenBookTour starts today!

Tyler Karras is an honest man, a transplanted Brit living the American dream, but his charmed life takes an unexpected turn when his brother, Nick, is coerced into joining ranks with San Francisco’s Russian mafia. Ty intervenes to secure Nick’s freedom, yet only succeeds in incurring their wrath. With no choice but to accept Nick’s new life, Ty returns to his own, but his dreams are dashed when his wife—pregnant with their first child—is killed, the victim of a reckless crime. Despondent and bitter, Ty macerates his grief in alcohol. From the depths of the bottle screams a voice, howling for vengeance. His target is a stranger, the woman who drew his wife toward her death. He doesn’t know her, but he’ll find her, and when he does, he will make her pay, for a deal has been struck with Nick’s Russian associates, enslaving her into a life of bondage. But as Ty moves forward in a cloud of alcohol, he mistakes the wrong woman for his intended victim and now all his plans have gone straight to hell. With his eyes made clear by the stark reality of his mistake, Ty is driven, compelled by remorse and a relentless sense of guilt to make amends and protect Hannah Maguire, the innocent woman whose life he has derailed. He vows to keep her safe and out of the Russians’ hands, but they’re holding Nick as leverage to force Ty to complete their deal and turn over the girl. Once again, he must fight to free his brother, miring all three lives in further jeopardy. But Ty can’t do it all: Save the girl, his brother and his own soul. One of them must make the ultimate sacrifice. 

About The Author: Nancy started writing fiction rather suddenly one day in 2010. Inspired by a song, she was struck with an idea she couldn’t shake and just had to write it down. It was while working on this, her first novel, that she discovered just how much she loved writing. She only wishes she had known how much years earlier. 
Find Nancy S. Thompson Website | Twitter | Facebook | Publisher 

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chasing The Witch Book Tour starts today!

Chasing the Witch

After the events of Mark of the Witch, Jilly at last begins to breathe easier though her powers are still growing. But can she harness them in time to confront a new chain of events that threatens to change everything? Caroline has finally accepted her life as a witch, but when a stranger comes into her life she's forced to question her family loyalty. The sisters are thrown together to protect a young girl from the enemy determined to hunt her down. Can they save her -- and themselves?
 Purchase on Kindle / Barnes & Noble
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Twitter Party December 4 RSVP HERE

 Jessica Gibson is offering up a signed set of her books (US), an ebook set of her books (INT), and a $10 Amazon GC (INT) The Blast starts 11/28 and ends 12/16.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Happy Birthday to me! What are you reading?

Yes, today is my birthday. Happy birthday to all my birthday brothers and sisters out there! And since I wasn’t feeling all that good yesterday, I didn't get to write my What Are You Reading?? post.
A day late, and possibly a dollar short (especially since I have to pay for the new tire to replace my flat tire I found this morning…. bestest. birthday. present. evah. </end sarcasm>
But here is my list of books for this week! I am surprised I actually got all 4 of last week’s books read (and reviewed). I've had a lot of people email me for reviews of their books and interview/tour requests, so if you've emailed me, please be patient.
This week’s list of books I’m reading are:
  1. The Last of the Bird People by John Hanson Mitchell
  2. Prophecy Girl by Faith McKay
  3. The King of Winter by Andy Monk
  4. The Advance Guard by Don A. Martinez
I’m hoping to get all four read this week, but I will get at least 2 of them read.