Monday, April 15, 2019

Little Do We Know by Tamara Ireland Stone

Little Do We KnowLittle Do We Know by Tamara Ireland Stone
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have heard so many amazing things about this book, so I was so excited when I found it for such a great price. I started it the same night! However; it was not what I was expecting at all.

This took me several weeks to finish where I normally finish books within a day or two. I kept wanting to DNF this, but I was hoping it would get better as it went on. The first half was very slow and boring. I could not get into it. I wanted to know what happened between Hannah and Emory though, so I kept reading.

This does deal with several issues including a student/teacher relationship which was never really addressed. It also deals with sexual abuse. This is a great book to bring up the discussion with your teenagers around when a secret is worth telling someone about. The one thing I did not like is that this was not really brought up until the end of the story when it was revealed. The secret was never made to be such a big deal, but it ended up being huge. This also deals heavily in religion which I did not mind, but again was not expecting.

The second half was much better than the first half though. It was the saving grace for me. Overall, I am happy I finished it. The first half was like a one star and the second half was more of a three to four star. This one is tricky to rate since I could have done without half of the book. I going give it about three stars as I ended up enjoying it for what it was.

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When You Close Your Eyes by Roxanne D. Howard: Audiobook Tour Spotlight with Giveaway

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Put on Your PJs, Piggies! by Laura Neutzling

Put on Your PJs, Piggies!Put on Your PJs, Piggies! by Laura Neutzling
5 out of 5 Stars

My best friend has a one and a half year old and another one on the way. Since I am such a big reader, I love giving books as gifts. I also know her son is loving books. I thought Put on Your PJs, Piggies! was adorable, and would make the prefect gift for anyone with young children.

This is a board book as well, so it is a stronger material to help while in those little hands. I love how this can help learn bedtime routines. The story and illustrations were perfect. I highly recommend this!

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Friday, April 5, 2019

Distant Shores by Kristin Hannah

Distant ShoresDistant Shores by Kristin Hannah
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

2.5 Stars

I was in the mood for a contemporary romance, so I went to the queen of romance hoping for a homerun. Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed with this one.

I really enjoyed this story when it started, but the longer it went out, the longer it dragged out. I enjoyed learning about Elizabeth and Jack: how they met, their marriage, their current struggles. I liked seeing Jack as an ex-football star and trying to find himself. When he broke the story around college athletes and rape, I thought this was going to be amazing. However; it really did not focus on much besides the relationship between Jack and Elizabeth, and it did this over and over again. It dragged on way too long for what it was. I found myself ready for something else to happen or to capture my attention.

Jack was so selfish. I just never was routing for him. I was getting so mad with Elizabeth and wanted to scream at her. It just went back and forth with not being happy, but not making any changes or communicating about it. They never talked about their issues, just knew the both had concerns. It would have been fine if this happened once or twice, but it was the majority of the story. I feel like I could have read the first and last part, skipped the middle, and would not have missed a thing.

Yes, there were still things I enjoyed or I would not have finished it. But, I was forcing myself to finish it towards the end.

This does have triggers for rape and infidelity.

Overall, I just did not connect with this one like I have with other Kristin Hannah reads.

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Thursday, April 4, 2019

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

The Light We LostThe Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Do you ever really move on from your first true love? This is a love story following Lucy and her long love Gabe. They have gone their separate ways, and Lucy has moved on with her life. Or has she? Gabe seems to always be right there or in the back of her mind. This does deal with love, loss, and infidelity. It deals with 9/11 and War (not too much, but mentions things going on around this time and does start off with 9/11) It was pretty slow for me, but I still found myself interested in the story. You can tell something is going to happen as Lucy is telling us this story from the past. I was waiting for the gut-wrenching moment, but it never happened. Was it sad? Yes. But, I was just let down. I never connected with the love story.

Overall, this was only ok.

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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #2)Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed book one, so I was excited to see where the series would go. I was happy to see that the series is following the same characters. I do feel this can be read as a standalone, but since it does follow previous characters, you might enjoy it more already knowing them a little from the previous book.

Where I really enjoyed book one, I did not love this one as much. I cannot really pinpoint why though. There was just so much going on that I never cared about. I still enjoyed the romance between our two characters, and wanted a little more within that. I also loved the murder aspect, but also wanted more around that too. I was just waiting for this to catch my attention like the first book, and it never took me there. It was very similar to the first story but just a different setting and way people were being found murdered. I still enjoyed it though.

Overall, this was still pretty good though and I plan to continue with the next book in the series.

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Tethered Trust by Jade Royal: Book Tour Spotlight

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

One Summer in Paris by Sarah Morgan

One Summer in ParisOne Summer in Paris by Sarah Morgan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was sent this book from the publisher. My ratings and reviews will be my own personal opinions and are in no way influenced by publishers or authors who may have sent me books to review.

This story started off from two perspectives: Grace and Audrey. Our characters will not actually meet one another until almost 130 pages into the story. However; I loved their individual stories. I flew through the first half of this story. This does deal with some series issues including cheating, alcoholism, and dyslexia. I could not get enough of either story and could not wait to see what would happen when they finally did meet.

The story itself did slow down a little for me once both Grace and Audrey get to Paris. This went from the individual stories to an unlikely friendship. I loved how they both took on a role in the others life in just the way they needed. Both were missing something, and their friendship began to repair these missing pieces.

A few things to mention that I am not sure where to throw into my thoughts. I loved Mimi! She was so funny. I would love to see a book around her life. I also wish there was more information around Grace and her childhood as there was a mystery around what happened to her. I would have liked to know more about that.

Overall, I really enjoyed this. I have already went out and bought another book by the author to explore more of her work.

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Mamma's Moon by Jerome Mark Antil: Book Tour Spotlight with Giveaway

Sunday, March 31, 2019

To Best the Boys by Mary Weber

To Best the BoysTo Best the Boys by Mary Weber

I was sent an early copy of this through Booklook Bloggers. I look to be the unpopular opinion on this one. I was really in the mood for a fantasy, so I decided to pick this up. I really liked that this was a standalone, so I could jump in without feeling overwhelmed with so many more books to the story. Unfortuntely, I could not get into this one. I read about 50 percent and decided to DNF. I really hope an audiobook will be coming out though, as I would like to try to finish this that way.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Little Lovely Things by Maureen Joyce Connolly

Little Lovely ThingsLittle Lovely Things by Maureen Joyce Connolly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was sent an early copy from the publisher.

What a ride! I had heard great things about Little Lovely Things, but I was not prepared for this one. Within the first 20 pages, my heart was pounding with what was going to happen to Lily and Andrea. When the girls are kidnapped, I thought that was the end of their story (from their POV). I was wrong. The author was genius as you continue to following the children as they were with the kidnappers. There is even the perspective through the eyes of Andrea at four years old.

This story is told in three parts. Part one was so intense and a non-stop ride. The author was not scared to take different directions with the story. It will leave you shocked. If I had to rate this off of part one, it would be five out of five stars. It was amazing. However; the intensity of the story does calm down in part two and three.

Part two took a different turn than the first, and did not live up to the exceptional first part. I was starting to lose interest and I wanted to skip ahead. There was a lot of details that really were not needed. Same with part three. I wish there was more around the ending. I feel it could have been just as intense and impactful as part one, but I was left feeling underwhelmed.

Again, I give part one 5 stars. I give part two and three, three stars. I am giving this 4 stars overall.

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Monday, March 25, 2019

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

All the Ugly and Wonderful ThingsAll the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was very hesitant to pick this up as it has been a very controversial read within the book community. People either tend to love it or hate it. I ended up finding it for $2, so I decided to give it a try. This does have triggers for child abuse, substance abuse, and pedophilia.

I am pretty critical when a story deals with child abuse, as I work within the field. However; the beginning of this story was heartbreaking due to how accurate it was to other stories I have seen/worked. The conditions described how Wavy was living and watching out for her younger brother was very accurate with how children live today in some drug exposed homes.

There are several different perspectives. I am glad I listed to this on audiobook, as it was easier to look at the chapter name to understand who’s point of view we were on. I normally am not a huge fan of this, but the story continued on with each perspective and did not take on a different story. It was easy to follow and it worked better than I thought it would.

I understand where others feel the relationship with Wavy and Kellan was inappropriate. I think the first half of the story was just an older man who was taking care of an abused child. He was there for her when no one else was. As the story continued and Wavy got older, there were things that happened which were inappropriate. Wavy was a vulnerable child and Kellan was a grown man. He should still have known better. Other adults do acknowledge their relationship is inappropriate as well. As their romance grew, your anger will grow. I was hoping the ending would be Wavy moving on in life. I would have liked a different ending.

I do disagree with others that saying you liked this story means that you were ok with what happened with Wavy and Kellan. I really enjoyed this story, but it does not mean AT ALL that I agree with what happened. It was a great story. It was heartbreaking. It makes you angry. It makes you think about what is happening. That is what makes this a great story; not what happened.

Overall, this was really good and I think it is an important story to tell. I saw some other reviews saying this would never happen in real life; unfortunately it does.

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The Certain Hope by EC Jackson: Book Tour with Review

Friday, March 22, 2019

The Atlas of Love by Laurie Frankel

The Atlas of LoveThe Atlas of Love by Laurie Frankel

I went into this not really knowing what it was going to be about. I was not expecting this to take the turns it did. There are triggers for abortion and pregnancy.

This started off strong with finding a newborn baby at a shopping center. I thought this was going to be such a strong read, but once the story started it lost me. This deals with college age (master level) friends in which one ends up pregnant. There are trigger warnings around abortion discussions. This had everything I would normally love in a story, but I was just bored. I felt there was no movement or development within the characters to have me care about their story. I ended up DNF this one.

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Neliem by Clare Di Liscia: Cover Reveal

Trudy Hicks Ghost Hunter: Lori Zaremba: Book Tour Spotlight

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West

Love, Life, and the ListLove, Life, and the List by Kasie West
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I tend to really enjoy Kasie West books, but I have been holding off on this one for some reason. There was so much hype around this release, and I did not want to be disappointed. I was starting to get into a reading slump though, and I needed something fun and light so I thought I would try this.

This is probably my favorite Kasie West book yet. It was just such a cute and fun romance, but with a little more depth to the story than most of the other books of hers (that I have read). This one deals with family and a romance. It is about facing your fears, looking into things at a deeper level, and personal growth. I loved seeing Abby grow as a character. I also really enjoyed her friendship with Cooper.

This also deals with family and mental illness. I loved the email communication with Abby’s father (he is deployed), and her banter with her grandfather. The scene at the end with her father and the rock and making up with her grandfather…melt my heart! Her mother is dealing with a mental illness as well. I wish the story would have went into a little more detail around her diagnoses, but I still liked what it brought to the story.

Over all, this ended up being exactly what I needed right now, and I loved it.

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Monday, March 18, 2019

What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

What to Say NextWhat to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had previously read Julie Buxbaum’s Tell Me Three Things and loved it. One of my favorite BookTubers raves about What to Say Next and since I really enjoyed the other book, I knew I wanted to pick it up. The beginning was a little slow and I was not really sure if this was going to be for me though. However; I was wrong.

This story does follow the story of two teenagers: Kit and David. Kit is grieving the loss of her father. David is a high school student with Asperger’s and dealing with being different and bullied in school. Their stories collide as you witness the beginning of their friendship/romance.

This had some twists and turns along the way. It was so real in many ways, but others was a little unbelievable. It made me smile and it made me sad. There are things that happen that were unexpected. I ended up loving this.

Overall, I think this was another amazing read from the author.

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Emerge by Tobie Easton: Book Tour Spotlight

Risking Forever by Tara Gallina: Book Tour Spotlight

Friday, March 15, 2019

To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin

To Be HonestTo Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I saw Chelseadolling Reads talking about this a while back, but I never heard much from anyone else. I really wanted to read based on what she had to say, and I am glad I did.

Was this a mind-blowing story? No. But, it is a story with a fat character which is very rare in stories today. I tried reading some others in the past, and felt they were still putting fat representation in such a negative light. I really enjoyed this one though. It was realistic in so many ways. I also really related to Savannah in so many ways especially when it comes to her love life, or her lack of confidence in herself when it comes to boys/relationships.

Overall, I really enjoyed this.

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Blood Lust by LM Mountford: Book Tour Spotlight

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Hate ListHate List by Jennifer Brown
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 Stars

This was one of the older books on my shelf, so I decided it was time to pick it up. I knew going into this that it was going to deal with a sensitive subject: school shootings. I was not expecting this to be as impactful as it was.

This is a book that I think everyone should read, especially school aged children. This story really shows how your words can kill. Valerie started a Hate List with her boyfriend Nick. She never took it at face value, and made comments and talked about these people dying. Imagine her horror when Nick opened fire at school to take out the list of people. This story was very emotional and had me in tears more than once. There were times I was crying, mad, shocked, and happy. You see villains turn into hero’s and friends.

Overall, I loved this.

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Saturday, March 9, 2019

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #1)Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 Stars

I was very hesitant to jump into this series, as people either seem to love it or hate it. I went into it with low expectations and knowing that this does not actually deal with Jack the Ripper. I actually really enjoyed this and read it in one sitting.

After hearing so many people talk about this, I was not really sure what it was going to be about. I was not expecting this to actually follow murders, but it does. I am not sure why I have heard others say it does not, as that is the main mystery following our characters. I thought it was fast paced and addicting. I wanted to know what happened with the murders and the romance within the story. It was nothing mind blowing, and it was predictable but still worth reading.

Overall, this surprised me and I am happy that I own book two as well. I will be starting that one next.

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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer: Upcoming Release March 19, 2019

The Things We Cannot SayThe Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Have you ever picked up a book not really sure if it was going to be something you would love, but then ended up loving it?! That is exactly what happened for me while reading The Things We Cannot Say. I am going to try to sum up my feelings around this story, but all I can really say is that it was beautiful; beautiful writing and beautiful story.

This story follows two different voices, but they are connected. I do not want to give away too much. Kelly Rimmer does an excellent job looking into Autism and the social stigmas/misunderstandings around it. It tells an important story around understanding what others may be facing and not to judge or assume you know what a child needs (a child just needs discipline). I teared up within the first chapter and that is not where the tears ended.

This also follows WWII in 1942. I have read several other books in this time frame, but Kelly Rimmer did an amazing job bringing the emotions to the scenes with the Nazis. Everything happening was so heartbreaking and I found myself tearing up at almost every chapter. Characters will survive, face heartbreak, and characters will die. The author was not afraid to take the story to the scary realism of the times back then.

There were a few points where I did feel like the story was dragging on and a little repetitive. However; this did not take away from the story or the emotions I was feeling the more I read.

I could go on and on around this story, but the main takeaway is go read it! Even if you do not love historical fiction, go read this (it has modern times as well). Overall, I loved this and I need more from Kelly Rimmer!

I was sent a copy of this book from the publisher; however this did not influence my review.

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Phoenix Falling by Laura Bickle: Book Tour Spotlight

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

The One Real Thing by Samantha Young

The One Real Thing (Hart's Boardwalk, #1)The One Real Thing by Samantha Young
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 Stars

I know! I know! How is this my first Samantha Young read? I really wanted to read On Dublin Street as so many people rave about that series. However; I accidently purchased a copy in Spanish. So, I started with The One Real Thing since I ownded the first two books in the series.

I really enjoyed how this story started off with Jessica working in the prison. I was not expecting this to take the road it did, but I ended up enjoying it much more than I thought I would. I did not understand how she gave up her whole career as she figured out she was not happy. I did not get that from the beginning of her story. I wish she would have gotten offered the medical job as that would have worked better than just giving up her whole world after only a few weeks.

I was not a fan of some of the plot devices thrown into the story. There are triggers for suicide and abuse. I thought these were thrown into the story as an afterthought and did not really mesh or go with the story. I would have preferred the story to stick to the letters, the romance, and Cooper's past.

I liked some of the side characters, so I look forward to reading more in this world.

Overall, I enjoyed this and I will continue on with the series.

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Palace of Ghosts by Thomas S. Flowers: Book Tour Spotlight

Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Secrets of Paper and Ink by Lindsay Harrel

The Secrets of Paper and InkThe Secrets of Paper and Ink by Lindsay Harrel

DNF-No Rating

This cover is gorgeous, and the synopsis was intriguing. I was excited to jump into this one day when I was on a long car ride for work. Chapter one starts off with the story around Sophie. I was instantly brought into the story and thought this was going to be something I devoured. However; the more the story went out, the less I was engaged with what was going on.

I was just bored. I found myself dazed as I was driving. I did not care about what was going on at all. I ended up DNFing this one.

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Low Country Hero by Lee Tobin McClain

Low Country HeroLow Country Hero by Lee Tobin McClain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Low County Hero is the first book in the Safe Haven series. After reading this, I am happy to know there will be more books following in the series. This was a romantic suspense that focuses on domestic violence. Even though I knew some of the things that would happen I still really enjoyed this.

This follows two different stories, but they are intertwined. I do not want to give too much away, but I loved both stories around Anna and Rita. This opens up with an intense prologue which caught my attention. I never lost interest as the story continued to progress.

There were a few things that I was not a fan of like saying the twins had special needs for having selective mutism. This was most likely from the trauma they witnessed from their parents. However; this was just something that I would have liked described as something different but it did not take away from my enjoyment of the story itself.

This also leaves so many unanswered questions around Rita and her story. I need book two now to know what happens!

Overall, I really enjoyed this and hope to continue on with the series in the future. I was sent a copy from the publisher.

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Child of Mine by Jana Richards: Book Tour Spotlight with Giveaway

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Gracie's Secret by Jill Childs

Gracie's SecretGracie's Secret by Jill Childs

No Rating-DNF

What would you do if you got a phone call saying your three old child was in a car accident and is now in a coma? Right from the start, this story had me guessing. Was this a romance? A thriller? I did go into this blind and as I was reading I was caught off guard a little. This read more like a Christian suspense than anything else (however; I did not finish this so I am not sure if that changed).

I have to agree with others though. I just never could get into this story. It had so much potential, but it just feel flat. It was repetitive at times, and I wanted more. I feel the characters and the plot were all service level. There was never really much development around either. I kept reading as I was hoping something would happen to capture my attention, but I found myself trying to force myself through it. I did want to know what happens at the end, so I skimmed to find out.

Overall, this one just did not connect with me. I ended up DNF and skipping to the end. I was sent a copy from the publisher.

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Friday, February 22, 2019

What He Never Knew (What He Doesn't Know #3) by Kandi Steiner

Until It Fades by K.A. Tucker

Until It FadesUntil It Fades by K.A. Tucker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I love KA Tucker and have no clue why I put off reading this for so long. Unfortunately, this one did not blow me away. It was still good but did not rise to the level that I expect from the author.

I am not a fan of insta-love at all, so I appreciated that Cate and Brett do not actually meet until after 100 pages. However; it moved so slow even after they meet and I found the story dragging. I enjoyed the beginning, but from there not much happens. I do feel this would make a great made for TV movie though.

Overall, this was not her best work and I was a little disappointed. Still a solid three star read, but I expect more from one of my favorite authors.

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Sudden Frost by Viviam Frost: Release Day Blitz