Saturday, September 13, 2014

Review: In Your Dreams by Kristan Higgins

Title: In Your Dreams
Author: Kristan Higgins
Series: Book Four in the Blue Heron Series
Published By: Harlequin (September 30, 2014)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
Emmaline Neal needs a date. Just a date—someone to help her get through her ex-fiancé's wedding without losing her mind. But pickings are slim in Manningsport, New York, population 715. In fact, there's really only one option: local heartthrob Jack Holland. Everyone loves Jack, and he won't get the wrong idea…. After all, Jack Holland would never actually be interested in a woman like Em. Especially not with his beautiful ex-wife creeping around, angling to reunite ever since he rescued a group of teens and became a local hero. 

But when the wedding festivities take an unexpectedly passionate turn, Em figures it was just one crazy night. Jack is too gorgeous, too popular, to ever end up with her. So why is she the one he can talk to about his deep, dark feelings? If Em is going to get her dream man, she'll have to start by believing in him…

Memorable Characters.
Small Town Setting.

These are the things I can count on getting whenever I pick up one of Higgin's books.

I absolutely adore this series and it feels like I have been waiting an awfully long time to get Jack's story. Who doesn't love Jack? In fact, who doesn't love all the Hollands? 

I LOVE the Hollands. Every single one of them but Jack has always been the charming witty brother (prince, heir, you name it) of the bunch and I was so eager to dive into his story. I knew it would be a good one and I wasn't wrong. It was in fact maybe even my most favorite of the Hollands.

Here is what you need to know about Higgin's books, they are all hilarious with real people. People that make mistakes and do crazy insane things and people who aren't perfect, in short, people like you and me and that is what makes them so darn wonderful. They feel tangible. They feel like people you already know and love and if you don't, you sure as heck want to know them. 

All of Higgin's stories end with a happily ever after but not all of them cover some very real issues, in this case PTSD. I love that Higgin's tackled something that you rarely read about but something that is all too real none the less. She did it beautifully and realistically and I loved her all the more for it.

This book was...well, I was going to say perfect but no book is perfect but this came pretty close. I loved every single thing about it and I can't wait to see who she will write about next. Maybe a certain twin that has been alluding the pages recently? I would love his story to be next. 

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Friday, September 12, 2014

Review: What If by Rebecca Donovan

Title: What If
Author: Rebecca Donovan
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Grand Central Publishing (September 16, 2014)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Contemporary
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
What if you had a second chance to meet someone for the first time?

Cal Logan is shocked to see Nicole Bentley sitting across from him at a coffee shop thousands of miles from their hometown. After all, no one has seen or heard from her since they graduated over a year ago.

Except this girl isn't Nicole.

She looks exactly like Cal's shy childhood crush, but her name is Nyelle Preston and she has no idea who he is. This girl is impulsive and daring, her passion for life infectious. The complete opposite of Nicole. Cal finds himself utterly fascinated-and falling hard. But Nyelle is also extremely secretive. And the closer he comes to finding out what she's hiding, the less he wants to know.

When the secrets from the past and present collide, one thing becomes clear: Nothing is what it seems.

The NA genre is a hard one for me. I use to love it and read every single thing released and then I think I got burned out on it and I found it harder and harder to really love what I was finding.

Very rarely (and sadly) do I pick one up anymore and expect to get a truly unique story and to be blown away by not only my love for the characters but the intricately woven plot line as well. Donovan managed to do just that. She blew me away. Not only was this well written by the mystery behind everything was so well played out. So well concealed until that final moment it was unveiled. 

Take in to account that Cal, (A BOY! ) is the main narrator of this story and right there you have something original. Not only that, but the boy rocked. So darn sweet and swoon worthy. The flash backs from childhood memories to the now were so tender and emotional. I adored Nicole and Richelle and my heart went out to both of them. They were adorable and it was heartwarming to see them grow up through each other's eyes. 

All of the characters were extremely fleshed out which is also quite rare these days. I felt like I truly knew each one and got to be in their head (of sorts) with each new thing revealed about them. 

Even though I guessed early on what was happening and had happened it didn't matter. This was still such a great well written story that I was completely caught up in it until the very end.

This will not be my last Donovan book, not by a long shot. 

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Teaser Tour: The Forsaken Heart by Brenda Gayle

I'm excited to announce the release of The Forsaken Heart by Brenda Gayle. This is the third book in The Heart's Desire series. Each book is stand-alone, although there is a story arc that runs through them and culminates in this book.

Genre, Age: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Description/Blurb: When Anna Graham marries Callum Hart she'll get both the man she loves and her uncles' agreement to take over the family ranch. Will the return of Jackson, her long-lost first love–and Cal's brother–throw it all in jeopardy?

Cal has been in love with Anna for as long as he can remember. It was he who picked up the pieces of her broken heart when Jackson disappeared years ago. His brother’s sudden reappearance, just when it seems Anna is ready to love again, is mysterious–as is his father’s casual acceptance of the prodigal son’s return.

But is something more sinister going on? Someone seems determined to prove Anna incompetent to her uncles and insincere to Cal. With an arsonist on the loose and cattle dying, old secrets are exposed, and Anna and Cal face a challenge that will test their love far more than Jackson's unexpected homecoming. 

About the Author:

Brenda_1 I've been a writer all my life but returned to my love of fiction after more than 20 years in the world of corporate communications--although some might argue there is plenty of opportunity for fiction-writing there, too. I have a Master's degree in journalism and an undergraduate degree in psychology. A fan of many genres, I am drawn to contemporary romance and enjoy creating deeply emotional stories with elements of mystery and suspense.

I live in eastern Ontario with my wonderful husband, two fabulous children, a rescued cat, two Siberian Huskies, and assorted aquatic wildlife.


ebook of The Hungry Heart by Brenda Gayle, the first book in the Heart's Desire series (INT)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Review: Made For You by Melissa Marr

Title: Made For You
Author: Melissa Marr
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: HarperTeen (September 16, 2014)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Thriller/Mystery
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
Bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely books Melissa Marr’s first contemporary YA novel is a twisted southern gothic tale of obsession, romance, and murder. A killer is obsessed with Eva Tilling. Can she stop him, or will he claim her?

When Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital, she’s confused—who in her sleepy little North Carolina town could have hit her with their car? And why? But before she can consider the question, she finds that she’s awoken with a strange new skill: the ability to foresee people’s deaths when they touch her. While she is recovering from the hit-and-run, Nate, an old flame, reappears, and the two must traverse their rocky past as they figure out how to use Eva’s power to keep her friends—and themselves—alive. But while Eva and Nate grow closer, the killer grows increasingly frantic in his attempt to get to Eva.

For the first time, New York Times bestselling author Melissa Marr has applied her extraordinary talent to contemporary realism. Chilling twists, unrequited obsession, and high-stakes romance drive this Gothic, racy thriller—a story of small-town oppression and salvation. Melissa’s fans, and every YA reader, will find its wild ride enthralling.

Melissa Marr has always been one to take something ordinary and making it truly extraordinary, her latest foray into the mystery thriller department isn't anything less than what we have come to expect from her.

She managed to not only stump her readers with the whole whodunit conspiracy but also with the inner ramblings into the mind of the “Judge” our renowned serial killer and the slight paranormal aspect that adds that little bit of something to the story. 

And while the visions were never fully explained, the rest of the story was and it was done nicely and brilliantly. 

I truly enjoyed this and would go so far as to say that it is one of the best YA mysteries I have ever encountered. I really hope Marr continues to write in this genre because I really do want more. 

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Review: Dire by Alyssa Rose Ivy

Title: Dire
Author: Alyssa Rose Ivy
Series: Book One in the Dire Wolves Chronicles
Published: September 15, 2014
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Author (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: NA Fantasy
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Book Description:
Gage was the first guy I ever wanted. He was my first crush and my first fantasy, but he wasn't my first in any other way because he never saw me as anything more than a friend— at least not until the night that changed everything.

It was all Gage's fault. He insisted we drive through the storm and take the back roads. By the time the storm hit full force we had no chance. One night of snowbound sex changed our relationship forever. The problem was at the same time I caught another guy’s attention. This other guy happened to be the alpha of a pack of shifter wolves. I thought the wolves were the worst of my problems, but I was wrong. When things went from bad to worse I had to make a lifelong sacrifice to save Gage, but what price is too much to save the one you love?

I have loved every single thing I have read by Ivy, so of course I went into this expecting something great and unique and that, thankfully,  is exactly what I got. 

I admit, even though by the end I loved this, it took me awhile to warm up to some of the characters and even now, knowing that Ivy will throw some twist on us in the next book that will completely make me change my mind again about my thoughts on the characters, I am hesitant to say that I liked Hunter.

Once again Ivy has managed to create a rather unique take on weres and of course her ability to blend them with the world she has already created in her other NA series the Crescent Chronicles really does make this a stand out read that was so much fun. Non stop guessing, action, and of course romance made this a read I didn't want to end.

I can't wait for book two. It felt like just when I was warming up to everything and starting to really like the idea of where this book was headed and all the characters,  it was over too soon and I was left wanting the next book.

I can really see this series being another huge hit with fans of her Crescent Chronicles and all Ivy fans in general. 

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by an outside source, I was not compensated for this review.*

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Release Day Review: Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

Title: Illusions of Fate
Author: Kiersten White
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: HarperTeen (September 9, 2014)
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Publisher (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Fantasy
My Rating: 4 Stars!

Book Description:
Downton Abbey meets Cassandra Clare in this lush, romantic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White.

“I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.”

Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.

Kiersten White captured readers’ hearts with her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy and its effortless mix of magic and real-world teenage humor. She returns to that winning combination of wit, charm, and enchantment in Illusions of Fate, a sparkling and romantic new novel perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, The Madman’s Daughter, and Libba Bray.

I think the description for this one is actually pretty fitting. A rare time when other authors and books being compared are actually quite right.

This was a lot of like Downton Abbey meets Casandra Claire.

I don't know how to express how very much this book took me by surprise. I was all prepared for being thrown into a world that wouldn't make sense or to be trapped in another awful love triangle or any other common tropes that seem to be riddling the YA genre right now and you know what? None of them happened. Not a single one of them. Or at least if they did, I was so enchanted with the writing that I didn't even notice them happening. 

I love White's work. She hooked me after her stunning duology that is Mind Games so I really shouldn't have been shocked or surprised that I loved this every bit as much as I did it. 

This had the perfect blend of historic with the magical. With secondary characters I loved and adored (Sir Bird, I love you!) ever bit as much as I loved the Finn and Jessa.

And even though not all of the mysteries were uncovered (like where magic came from exactly) it didn't matter because this book was so alluring, so enthralling that anything left undone just added to the appeal of it. 

Even though I would absolutely adore a sequel, I don't need one because this ended so nicely and lets face it, it is so refreshing to get a good solid stand alone these days.

White exceeded my expectations with this and I was sad to see it end. I loved the world, the characters and the fast paced plot every bit as much as I have loved all of her other work. 

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*

Monday, September 8, 2014

Review: Phobic by Cortney Pearson

Title: Phobic
Author: Cortney Pearson
Series: Book One in the Forbidden Doors Series
Published: September 8, 2014
Source: ARC Copy Provided by the Author (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: YA Thriller/Mystery
My Rating: 2.5 to 3 Stars

Book Description:
Fifteen-year-old Piper Crenshaw knows her house is strange. It’s never needed repairs since it was built in the 1800s, and the lights flicker in response to things she says. As if those things aren’t creepy enough, it’s also the place where her mother committed murder.

To prove she’s not afraid of where she lives, Piper opens a forbidden door, which hides a staircase that leads to the ceiling. That’s when the flashbacks of the original residents from 1875 start, including a love affair between two young servants. Each vision pulls Piper deeper into not only their story, but also her house. Piper confides in her best friend, Todd, whom she's gradually falling for, but even he doesn't believe her. At least, not until her house gets axed during a prank, and the act injures Piper instead, cutting a gash the size of Texas into her stomach.

Piper realizes her house isn’t haunted—it’s alive. To sever her link to it, she must unravel the clues in the flashbacks and uncover the truth about her mother’s crime, before she becomes part of her house for good.

I couldn't resist this one after seeing the creeptastic cover and reading the synopsis. I was hoping this would be the perfect read to freak me out without scaring me too much. I pretty much got what I was hoping for took awhile to get there.

Even though I knew the author needed to set up not only the atmosphere and characters for this story, but give the house that Piper resided in a personality of it's own, it felt like it took forever to get there. In fact I wasn't even sure after around 45% if would even get there. 

I would love to say that I loved this from the moment that I opened it and began reading but the truth is, I didn't. It had to grow on me and what kept me reading more than anything, was the anticipation that things would really start moving and I would get the horror and thrill I was hoping for when I first laid eyes on the cover. And it did get there, to an extent but still it wasn't all I was hoping it would be but it was good. It did have that creep factor to it with the house having it's own personality and all the ghosts and factors that came with it but it still didn't make me want to look over my shoulder or sleep with the lights on. Overall though it was a pretty solid read even with the very slow start. 

There is just enough weirdness and a slight touch of romance that it made the story interesting and different. 

*All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by the author or publisher. I was not compensated for this review.*