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Results 1 - 25 of 54
1. Book Review: Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

Title: Best of Me
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Series: None
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Released: October 11, 2011
Website: http://nicholassparks.com/

Book Summary:


THE BEST OF ME is the heart-rending story of two small-town former high school sweethearts from opposite sides of the tracks. Now middle-aged, they've taken wildly divergent paths, but neither has lived the life they imagined . . . and neither can forget the passionate first love that forever altered their world. When they are both called back to their hometown for the funeral of the mentor who once gave them shelter, they will be forced to confront the choices each has made, and ask whether love can truly rewrite the past.

I'm a sucker for Nicholas Sparks. I've read EVERYTHING he has written and enjoyed all of it. I think he is a great writer. However if you haven't read a Nicholas Sparks book don't start with this one, it's not his best. Try A Walk to Remember, The Notebook or The Last Song as an introduction to his work. If you've read his books and enjoy them then read this one too.

Since I've read all of his books I was totally prepared for the emotional manipulation and classic Nicholas Sparks life is not always the happily ever after we may think it should be ending. Good thing I was prepared because he dished it out in droves in this one.  I thought Dawson Cole was a great character but I wasn't as taken with Amanda.  I'm a happily ever after ending person and the ending of this one was not the happily ever after I would have liked to have seen.  I saw it coming but still wish things could have somehow gone differently.

Sidenote: Prior to starting this one I had just finished reading Anna and the French Kiss. As Anna described the books her father writes I couldn't help but think of Nicholas Sparks.





Rating: 4 Stars - Great Book

Content: Language, violence, implied sex and other mature content that wasn't overly graphic however this is definitely a book for "adults".

Source: Library

5 Comments on Book Review: Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks, last added: 3/5/2012
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2. Book Review: Awakened by Ednah Walters

Title: Awakened
Author: Ednah Walter
Series: Guardian Legacy
Publisher: August 22, 2010
Released: Pill Hill Press
Website: http://www.ednahwalters.com/


Book Summary:
Most teens turn sixteen and get the license to drive, but Lil Falcon gets the license to kill demons. Orphaned as a child and raised by an eccentric grandfather, Lil is concerned with surviving high school and is unaware that she's a Guardian-a being with super powers charged with killing demons and protecting humanity. When she meets Bran, a mysterious boy with amazing abilities, his psi energy unlocks her latent powers. But Bran has a secret that can ruin their growing relationship, and the truth she discovers may destroy everything she believes in unless she finds the right balance between love and sacrifice.

When originally given the chance to review this book I turned it down. I took one look at this cover and dismissed the book. I really had no desire to read it thinking it was likely going to have content I'd find objectionable.

However over the past year or so I've had many interactions with author Ednah Walters. A recent plea for me to review the sequel to this book opened a line of discussion in which I was assured there wasn't anything really objectionable in this book so I agreed to read it.

They say don't judge a book by it's cover and for me that applies to Awakened. My initial judgement of this book based on the cover was far from accurate. Other than a couple mild swear words there wasn't anything objectionable in this book. In fact it was far cleaner than most of the young adult books I've read lately.

I found the mythology of the Xenithians and Hermonites to be both unique and intriguing. The glossary of terms, characters and lineage at the beginning of the book came in handy more than once as the story unfolded. I'd expected this book to be more romance than anything else but the romance was just a part of the story line.  This book was a fast paced good verses evil tale that was full of great characters and relationships. I will definitely be picking up the next book Betrayed.




Rating; 4 Stars - Great Book

Content: Cleaner than most YA I've read lately- just a little mild language

Source: From Author for Review

5 Comments on Book Review: Awakened by Ednah Walters, last added: 3/2/2012
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3. Book Review: Reaper by Rachel Vincent

Title: Reaper
Author: Rachel Vincent
Series: Soul Screamers Novella 3.5
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Released: November 16, 2010
Website: http://rachelvincent.com/


Book Summary
Tod Hudson was a typical teenager. He liked girls, sports, food and tolerated his younger brother, Nash. In fact, he had his whole life in front of him--and due to his bean sidhe heritage, it was going to be a very long life indeed. And then the car accident occurred.
Suddenly Tod's future wasn't so sure, and he had to make a choice. Life... Death... or something Between....
An ebook exclusive Soul Screamers series novella.

I started reading the 5th book in The Soul Screamers series (If I Die). About 1/4 of the way in I had to stop and read this book. I had a sudden desire to learn more about Tod. I've always liked Tod but as he started to take a big role in I was compelled to learn more about him.

If you are a Soul Screamers fan this novella is a must read. It's a short read but provides so much vital information within its pages.  This fits in as book 3.5 in the series but I would recommend reading book 4 first and then going back and reading this one. Sabine is mentioned and I liked not knowing anything about her relationship with Nash when I started book 4.




Rating: 4 Stars - Great Book

Content: Similar to the others in the series - language, innuendo, crude comments, talk of sex

Source: Bought

3 Comments on Book Review: Reaper by Rachel Vincent, last added: 2/15/2012
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4. Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Series: None but read Anna and the French Kiss first
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Released: September 29, 2011
Website: http://www.stephanieperkins.com/


Book Summary:
Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

First off I should have read Anna and the French Kiss before reading this one. Lola and the Boy Next Door is not a sequel but a "companion" novel. It takes place after Anna and the French Kiss. Anna and St. Clair play a minor role in this story but obviously I now know how their story ended without having read their book.  Having enjoyed Lola I'll be going back and reading Anna and the French Kiss ASAP.

Lola and the Boy Next Door was one of those feel good, make you smile, read in a day kind of books. I loved the quirky characters in this story. Cricket was by far my favorite, he is just so sweet. I'm a succor for the boy next door turns into much more than a friend story line.

I'm not a fan of sex in young adult books. However if it is going to be there I wish it were always written the way it was in this book. It was done without the blow by blow details. Statements such as I lost my virginity on my seventeenth birthday work for me. I know it happened but I don't have to skip paragraphs or pages as every step is detailed. Of course there is still the issue that Lola was just 16/17 and her boyfriend was 22. I wasn't a fan of Max and appreciated Lola's parent's concerns and attempts to monitor and limit Lola's interactions with him.  I don't usually enjoy reading about gay characters but I loved Lola's parents.




Rating: 4 Stars - Great Book

Content: Some language including a couple F words, there is sex but it's never graphic or described in any details, just things like - on my birthday I lost my virginity or I put my shirt back on, a few crude comments and some innuendo, Lola's parents are 2 gay men.

Source: Download from Overdrive

2 Comments on Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, last added: 2/24/2012
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5. Book Review: Targets In Ties by Tristi Pinkston

Title: Targets in Ties
Author: Tristi Pinkston
Series: Secret Sisters Mysteries #4
Publisher: Walnut Springs Press
Released: January 30,2012
Website: http://www.tristipinkston.blogspot.com/

Book Summary:

After two long years, Ren’s mission is finally over, and it’s time for Ida Mae, Arlette, and Tansy to travel to Mexico to pick him up. They have their itinerary all planned out—visiting the ruins in the
Yucatan, shopping, playing in the sand and surf—and then they’ll head to Ren’s mission home and be reunited with that dear boy. But
a wanted antiquities thief crosses their path, and soon the ladies find themselves tangled up in a web of lies, intrigue, and costly jewelry. Held hostage by men desperate for riches, they do what only they
can do—keep their heads about them, plan their escape, and discuss the proper making of tortillas. Will they survive their most harrowing adventure yet?
Tristi Pinkston's Secret Sisters Mysteries make me laugh.  They are lighthearted, clean, humorous books that are perfect for days when you just need a good laugh.  Targets in Ties is the 4th book in the Secret Sisters Series and I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first three books.

Ida Mae, Arlette, and Tansy are once again caught up in an adventure. This time they are travelling through Mexico headed to pick up Ren from his mission when they cross paths with an International jewel thief. What follows is another crazy adventure for this oddball team.  Kidnapping, grand theft auto and a cross country chase are all in a days work for these mystery solving amateur sleuths.

If you are a cozy mystery lover or those just looking for a quick, clean read that will make you smile pick up one of Tristi Pinkston's Secret Sisters Mysteries.




Rating: 4 Stars - Great Book

Content: Clean

Source: From Publisher for Review


Want to win this fun Scrapbook Pack?

As part of the book tour for Target In Ties Tristi is giving away a Scrapbooking Pack. To enter leave a comment on this blog post, then go visit Tristi's blog at http://www.tristipinkston.blogspot.com and become a follower. You will then be entered to win this fun scrapbooking pack, including paper, tags, two decals, and metal tag frames. You have until midnight Mountain time on March 3rd to enter to win.
For all the tour stops: CLICK HERE.

Also by Tristi Pinkston:


6. Book Review: Stork by Wendy Delsol

Title: Stork
Author: Wendy Delsol
Series: Stork #1 of 3
Publisher: Candlewick
Released: October 12, 2010
Website: http://www.wendydelsol.com/

Book Summary:


Family secrets. Lost memories. And the arrival of an ancient magical ability that will reveal everything.

Sixteen-year-old Katla LeBlanc has just moved from Los Angeles to Minnesota. As if it weren’t enough that her trendy fashion sense draws stares, Katla soon finds out that she’s a Stork, a member of a mysterious order of women tasked with a very unique duty. But Katla’s biggest challenge may be finding her flock at a new school. Between being ignored by Wade, the arrogant jock she stupidly fooled around with, and constantly arguing with gorgeous farm boy and editor-in-chief Jack, Katla is relieved when her assignment as the school paper’s fashion columnist brings with it some much-needed friendship. But as Homecoming approaches, Katla uncovers a shocking secret about her past — a secret that binds her fate to Jack’s in a way neither could have ever anticipated. With a nod to Hans Christian Andersen and inspired by Norse lore, Wendy Delsol’s debut novel introduces a hip and witty heroine who finds herself tail-feathers deep in small-town life.

So this one gets point for originality. I've seen a lot of myths, lore, legends, and folktales tackled but have yet to read a book based on storks, you know the "where babies come from" kind of storks.   I've gone back and forth between giving this book 3 or 4 stars and finally went with 4 simply due to unique spin this book put on the folktales.  Of course this book did contain many of the typical YA fantasy/paranormal story-line elements you'd expect but it had enough inventive differences to make it memorable. I was however a little weirded out by the way the Stork Society called each other to gather for a meeting, it kind of made my skin crawl just thinking about it, perhaps that aspect was a little too original.

This is the first book in a series and I'll likely pick the next book up from the library to see where this story-line goes.  If you enjoy the young adult genre and are looking for something a little different give this one a try.




Rating: 4 Stars - Great Book

Content: Some language, storks deliver babies so sex is implied and a couple of the candidates (including one teenager) are not married.

Source: Library

Also by Wendy Delsol:

2 Comments on Book Review: Stork by Wendy Delsol, last added: 2/25/2012
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7. Book Review: Slayers by C.J. Hill

Title: Slayers
Author: C.J. Hill (AKA Janette Rallison)
Series: Slayers Book 1 of ?
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Tags: Fantasy, Dragons,Young Adult


Dragons exist. They’re ferocious. And they’re smart: Before they were killed off by slayer-knights, they rendered a select group of eggs dormant, so their offspring would survive. Only a handful of people know about this, let alone believe it – these “Slayers” are descended from the original knights, and are now a diverse group of teens that includes Tori, a smart but spoiled senator’s daughter who didn’t sign up to save the world.The dragon eggs have fallen into the wrong hands. The Slayers must work together to stop the eggs from hatching. They will fight; they will fall in love. But will they survive?

Slayers is the first book in a new series by one of my favorite young adult authors. C.J. Hill is a pseudonym for author Janette Rallison. I've loved Janette's young adult romantic comedies and was excited that she has branched out into the fantasy genre.

Slayers is a great book I enjoyed reading.  This is a clean fantasy book that will appeal to a wide audience from tweens through adults.  C.J. Hill has created a unique breed of dragons and dragon slayers and written them into a fun story line.  I'm looking forward to the sequel.


Rating: 4 Stars - Great Book

Content: Clean

Source: Review copy from author & ebook off Netgalley

2 Comments on Book Review: Slayers by C.J. Hill, last added: 11/7/2011
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8. Book Review: Pride & Popularity by Jenni James (The Jane Austen Diaries #1)

Title: Pride & Popularity
Author: Jenni James
Series: #1 of The Jane Austen Diaries but stands alone
Publisher: Inkberry Press
Released: July 13, 2011


***AUTHOR'S DISCLAIMER***
If you are hoping to find a YA book full of paranormal beasts, sex, or teens who act much more like under-aged adults, I suggest you save your money and do not buy this book. In fact don't buy any of The Jane Austen Diaries. However, if you are looking for a clean, lighthearted, sweet romance, where teens are good and happy and normal--like all of the teens I know (including my own!) then read on. You've come to the right place. :) --Jenni

Chloe Elizabeth Hart despises the conceited antics of the popular crowd, or more importantly, one very annoying self-possessed guy, Taylor Anderson, who seems determined to make her the president of his fan club! As if! Every girl in the whole city of Farmington, New Mexico, is in love with him, but he seems to be only interested in Chloe.

This modern high school adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice” is a battle of wits as Chloe desperately tries to remain the only girl who can avoid the inevitable—falling for Taylor.

This books was fun.  I love Jane Austen and I love clean young adult fiction so this was a perfect mix for me.  Pride & Popularity was completely predictable but that didn't keep me from enjoying every minute of it.  It's a cute story that retells Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice in a modern day setting.

If you read for enjoyment you'll likely be taken with this book.  If you read with a more critical eye there are a few things that might detract you from the story.  Since I am one who reads purely for entertainment and enjoyment this book was a hit with me.

There are 6 books planned in this series:
Pride & Popularity 
Northanger Alibi 
Persuaded 
Emmalee 
Mansfield Ranch 
6 Comments on Book Review: Pride & Popularity by Jenni James (The Jane Austen Diaries #1), last added: 12/8/2011
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9. Book Review - Can You Survive: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Ryan Jacobson

Title: Can You Survive? Sir Authur Conan Doyle's Adventure of Sherlock Holmes - A Choose Your Path Book
Author: Ryan Jacobson & Deb Mercier
Publisher: Lake 7 Creative
Released: November 4, 2011

He's the world's most famous detective, and thanks to this brilliantly adapted book, he's you! The cases, the clues, the suspects, they're yours to sort through in this exciting Choose Your Path book. You are Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. You make the choices. But be careful; the wrong decision could lead to your doom.
For all the tour stops please visit: The Teen Book Scene


I remember reading many Choose Your Own Adventure books as a child so I thought it would be fun to review one as an adult.  In this book you are Sherlock Holmes and trying to solve the mysteries.  I learned that I'm a lousy detective!  There are 3 mysteries to solve in this book that have been adapted from the original 12 mysteries in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.  I didn't solve even one of them correctly on the first or even second try.  Although I'm obviously not cut out for detective work I did enjoy reading this book and will be passing it on to my 9 year old son who I am sure will turn out to be a better crime solver than I am.  I'm sure he'll end up on the dreaded page 68 much less often than I did!

This book would likely be a hit with reluctant readers especially middle grade boys.

Rating: 4 Stars

Source: From Author for Review

Content: Clean

3 Comments on Book Review - Can You Survive: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Ryan Jacobson, last added: 12/8/2011
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10. Book Review: Crossed by Ally Condie

Title: Crossed
Author: Ally Condie
Series: Matched book 2 of 3
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Released: November 1, 2011
The hotly awaited second book in the dystopian Matched trilogy.

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series (Matched) and have been looking forward to reading this sequel. I was not disappointed with Crossed but I do think Matched was better. I've read really mixed reviews on this sequel and I can see why. Personally I enjoyed this story and am looking forward to the final book in the trilogy.

Crossed was definitely more character driven instead of plot driven. The writing is very poetic and beautiful but that also makes it slow in places. There just really is not a lot that happens in this story. My husband asked me about one of the books I read recently and there was no way I could have even begun to summarize it unless he has 10 or 15 minutes to listen to me. By contrast I could sum up what happened in this book in about a minute. Yes I'd be leave out a lot of back-story and details about characters but as far as plot-line for this book there just isn't much that happens. That said I really did enjoyed this book. I liked learning more about the characters and the society.

Usually in a book that has a love triangle I have a strong opinion on who the main characters should end up with. I don't have that with this book. I'm open to Cassia ending up with either Ky or Xander.

I really think the third book has potential to be the best in the series. My fingers are crossed.

Content: Clean

Rating: 4 Stars - Great Book

Source: I bought a copy but I ended up listening to the audio version which I downloaded from Audible.com

5 Comments on Book Review: Crossed by Ally Condie, last added: 12/13/2011
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11. Book Review: Bitter Blessings by Christine Mehring

Title: Bitter Blessings
Author: Christine Mehring
Series: None
Publisher: Cedar Fort
Released: July 8, 2011

Book Summary:

Megan has the perfect life, but when her mother dies in an accident, everything spins out of control. With the rest of her family falling apart, Megan must confront her past to uncover the truths that will keep everyone together. Thought-provoking and heartfelt, this book shows that even in times of trial, you can often find blessings.

I hadn't read the summary for this book prior to reading it so I had no clue what to expect. In all honesty I had a hard time getting into this story until I hit the half way point. Then I was hooked and flew through it, reading the second half in one sitting.

This is a book by an LDS author but the first half of the book there is no mention of religion. The book's focus is Megan and how her life is thrown upside down with the unexpected death of her mother. Life is not easy for Megan or her sisters and grandmother and nothing seems to go their way. As her life starts unraveling secrets from the past are revealed and this is where the book hooked me.

This short book dealt with prejudice, lies & deceptions, death, teen drinking & drug use and friendship & faith. From the start I suspected that Megan's best friend Adam was Mormon but until the last few chapters of the book this didn't feel like a typical LDS fiction novel.

If you are looking for a clean LDS fiction book that deals with facing life's challenges without being overly preachy or sappy give this one a try.




Rating: 4 Stars - ended up being a great book

Content: Clean

Source: Review copy

0 Comments on Book Review: Bitter Blessings by Christine Mehring as of 1/1/1900
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12. Book Review: Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder

Title: Inside Out
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Series: #1 of 2 in the Insider Duet
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Released: April 1, 2010
Website: http://mariavsnyder.com


Book Summary:


Keep Your Head Down.
Don't Get Noticed.
Or Else.

I'm Trella. I'm a scrub. A nobody. One of thousands who work the lower levels, keeping Inside clean for the Uppers. I've got one friend, do my job and try to avoid the Pop Cops. So what if I occasionally use the pipes to sneak around the Upper levels? The only neck at risk is my own…until I accidentally start a rebellion and become the go-to girl to lead a revolution.

Maria Snyder's Study Series has been one of my long time favorites so I was excited to finally get around to reading Inside Out. This book ended up being far different from the Study series but I still enjoyed it.

It's hard to say much about this one that isn't a spoiler.  Inside Out is a dystopian story with a science fiction twist. There were many things that were similar to several other dystopian books I've read recently, it helped to remind myself that this one was written prior to those books.

Maria Snyder proves once again that she is a great writer.  Great characters and lots of twists and turns made for a fun read. There was romance in this book but it wasn't the main focus, more of a side story.

Although I definitely enjoyed the Study series more than this one I can't complain because this was a great young adult book.  As soon as I finished I started in on the sequel.



Rating: 4 Stars - Great Book

Content: Clean - there may have been a mild swear word or two but I can't remember anything else

Source: Download from Audible.com

Also by Maria Snyder:

Outside In - Sequel to Inside Out


Study Series (One of my favorites - although this is adult not YA)


Glass Series


Touch of Power

2 Comments on Book Review: Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder, last added: 1/28/2012
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13. Book Review: Girls Don't Fly by Kristen Chandler

Title: Girls Don't Fly
Author: Kristen Chandler
Series: None
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Released: October 13, 2011
Website: http://www.krischandlerstories.com/

Book Summary:


Myra is used to keeping her feet firmly on the ground. She's got four younger brothers, overworked parents, and a pregnant older sister, and if Myra wasn't there to take care of everyone, they'd probably fall apart. But when her boyfriend unceremoniously dumps her, Myra feels like she's lost her footing. Suddenly she's doing things she never would've a few months earlier: quitting her job, applying for a scholarship to study birds in the Galapogos, and falling for a guy who's encouraging her to leap from her old life . . . and fly.

Set in the Salt Lake City area, Girls Don't Fly is full of intelligence, humor, and is a refreshing change of pace for teen readers.

I thought Myra was a character who was easy to relate to. Her story rang true and reminded me of many of the feelings, doubts and insecurities I remember having in high school. The story was a cute, quirky coming of age, contemporary family drama.

Set outside Salt Lake City, UT and written by an LDS author I expected this to be LDS fiction but it was not. This could have been a book set in any town, anywhere. Other than a mention or two of the religious kids who went to church on Sunday there was no mention of anything about Mormons in this book.

Each chapter begins with a tidbit of knowledge about birds that ties into that chapter.  Very clever.

Girls Don't Fly was an enjoyable, quick read.



Rating: 4 Stars - Great Book

Content: Some language

Source: Review Copy

Also by Kristen Chandler:

1 Comments on Book Review: Girls Don't Fly by Kristen Chandler, last added: 1/29/2012
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14. Book Review: Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale

Title: Midnight in Austenland
Author: Shannon Hale
Series: Austenland was a stand alone, this is a follow-up novel
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Released: January 31, 2012
Website: http://www.squeetus.com/stage/main.html


Book Summary:
When Charlotte Kinder treats herself to a two-week vacation at Austenland, she happily leaves behind her ex-husband and his delightful new wife, her ever-grateful children, and all the rest of her real life in America. She dons a bonnet and stays at a country manor house that provides an immersive Austen experience, complete with gentleman actors who cater to the guests' Austen fantasies.

Everyone at Pembrook Park is playing a role, but increasingly, Charlotte isn't sure where roles end and reality begins. And as the parlor games turn a little bit menacing, she finds she needs more than a good corset to keep herself safe. Is the brooding Mr. Mallery as sinister as he seems? What is Miss Gardenside's mysterious ailment? Was that an actual dead body in the secret attic room? And-perhaps of the most lasting importance-could the stirrings in Charlotte's heart be a sign of real-life love?

The follow-up to reader favorite Austenland provides the same perfectly plotted pleasures, with a feisty new heroine, plenty of fresh and frightening twists, and the possibility of a romance that might just go beyond the proper bounds of Austen's world. How could it not turn out right in the end?

I'm a huge Shannon Hale fan.
I love Jane Austen.
Cross the two and inevitably you will come up with something I will love.

I got a kick out of reading Austenland and am looking forward to the upcoming movie. Austenland was a stand alone book so I was both surprised and excited when I heard there was a sequel coming out.

Shannon Hale entertains me. Her books draw me in and make me laugh. There is no denying I had high expectations for this book. In all honestly, through the first half of this book I was a little disappointed. I wasn't relating to the characters, I wasn't falling for the love interest, I wasn't laughing... But this was Shannon Hale so there was no way I was going to put the book down so I kept reading. It took me until nearly the half way point of this book to really start loving it. Don't get me wrong, it was a good book but my expectations were really high. By the half way point I finally started laughing and relating to the characters and falling for the love interest. I'm not sure why there was a delay for me, but I'm glad I stuck with it because it was worth it.

Midnight in Austenland is based upon Austen's Northanger Abbey which is not one of my favorite Austen novels. Like the book it's based on, Midnight in Austenland is a little more mystery and wild run away imaginings than some of Austen's other book. Not a bad thing but I would obviously prefer more swooning Mr. Darcy moments instead of over-active imagination ramblings.

Midnight in Austenland is a fun, lighthearted read that fans of Austen & Hale should definitely read!





Content:

3 Comments on Book Review: Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale, last added: 1/31/2012
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15. Blog Tour: Book Review - Depth of Deceit by Betty Briggs


How does an intelligent woman find herself mired in a web of deception, abuse, and danger? In Depth of Deceit, author Betty Briggs pulls her readers into the life of Stephanie Saunders, a lovely young attorney with a big heart, keen mind, and a trust in others that nearly proves disastrous. Her handsome and wealthy boyfriend strikes her as perfect, but is he too good to be true? Her boss hovers around her like a protector and friend, but is he? Stephanie’s work focuses on defending the indigent, and one client earns her trust and friendship, but why is he showing up at the oddest places? It seems that she can trust only the horses she trains and loves, magnificent beasts who remind her of life’s purposes and meaning. In a dramatic turn of events, Stephanie must make a decision that will affect her life forever. While fans of the author’s earlier novels will be thrilled to discover a familiar character, this novel stands alone in plot and dramatic impact.

Given the title of this book I was on alert from page one and had trouble trusting any of the characters assuming they were all deceiving the main character Stephanie. I was pulled in to a web of lies and deceit in this well told mystery. Although I guessed from the start who could be trusted, the book kept me turning the pages to the end to figure out just how deep the deceit went and how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together.

Although I would classify some of the subject matter in this book as "adult" in nature, I would still consider it to be a clean read with nothing graphic, no language, no sex scene.

There were a couple plot points I had trouble buying... such as a lawyer not knowing how to use the Internet to do a background check... but those implausibilities didn't deter me from enjoying the storyline. I enjoyed the ending of this book. So many books end too quickly. There were still 50 pages left to wrap everything up after the book hit the climax which left plenty of time to answer all the questions I had and left me satisfied with the story. I'll definitely be adding another one of Betty Briggs' books to my to read list.


Content: Clean

Rating: 4 Stars

Source: From Author for Review

Thanks to Tristi Pinkston for asking me to be part of this blog tour:

3 Comments on Blog Tour: Book Review - Depth of Deceit by Betty Briggs, last added: 4/27/2011
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16. Blog Tour: Book Review - I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler

I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler:
“For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel envy…”

Tess is the exact opposite of her beautiful, athletic sister. And that’s okay. Kristina is the sporty one, Tess is the smart one, and they each have their place. Until Kristina is diagnosed with cancer. Suddenly Tess is the center of the popular crowd, everyone eager for updates. There are senior boys flirting with her. Yet the smiles of her picture-perfect family are cracking and her sister could be dying. Now Tess has to fill a new role: the strong one. Because if she doesn’t hold it together, who will?

Janet Gurtler tests the bonds of sisterhood in this moving debut that readers of Jodi Picoult and Sarah Dessen will savor.

I'm Not Her is a touching, emotional story that I enjoyed.  It seemed like a realistic portrayal of how cancer can effect not only the person who has it but their family and friends as well.

There is a great cast of complex characters in this story, all of whom I cared about.  This was not a depressing book to read but it was emotional.  Just when it seemed like things were looking up for Kristina were thrown a devastating twist that I didn't see coming.

A book I would recommend to those who enjoy contemporary young adult fiction.



Rating: 4 Stars

Content: language, teen sex is mentioned but there is no sex scene

Source: Blog Tour

2 Comments on Blog Tour: Book Review - I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler, last added: 5/5/2011
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17. Book Review: Dearly Departed by Tristi Pinkston


Ida Mae Babbit has done her community service and is a reformed woman-no more law-breaking for her. But when Arlette's granddaughter Eden discovers a mystery in a fancy nursing home, Ida Mae-with the perfect excuse of a broken wrist and a broken ankle-checks herself into the place. After all, it is for the greater good. Soon she's buzzing around in her motorized wheelchair, questioning the residents and swiping files from the office. She's bound and determined to get to the bottom of this case. But can she solve the mystery before she becomes the next victim?

Dearly Departed is the 2nd Secret Sisters Mystery by author Tristi Pinkston. I recommend reading the first book Secret Sisters before reading this one because there are several references to characters and events that took place in the first book. Although this book could be read as a stand alone you'd be missing out on all the fun antics from the first adventure.

Like the first book, Dearly Departed is a fun, lighthearted read. Quirky characters and lots of humor make for an entertaining story. This is the kind of book you can curl up with at bedtime and finish in one sitting.

I'm typically not a huge fan of "mysteries" but I've really enjoyed this series. The 3rd book comes out soon and I'm looking forward to curling up with another of Tristi's "cozy" mysteries.


Content: Clean

Rating: 4 Stars

Source: From Publisher for Review

1 Comments on Book Review: Dearly Departed by Tristi Pinkston, last added: 7/31/2011
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18. Book Review: The Golden Pathway by Donna McDine


Raised in a hostile environment where abuse occurs daily, David attempts to break the mold and befriends the slave, Jenkins, owned by his Pa. Fighting against extraordinary times and beliefs, David leads Jenkins to freedom with no regard for his own safety and possible consequences dealt out by his Pa. Suggested age for readers: 8-12

The Golden Pathway is a well done book that would make a great addition to a classroom or home-school library or to be used by any parent who wants to help teach their child about compassion, prejudice and right verses wrong.

Slavery is not an enjoyable subject to read about but this book shows that one person can make a difference by choosing to help instead of turning a blind eye. The lesson of this book can easily be applies to situations facing our children today where it takes courage to help others who are struggling or suffering.


Rating: 4 Stars

Source: From Author For Review

1 Comments on Book Review: The Golden Pathway by Donna McDine, last added: 8/4/2011
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19. Book Review: Wellness on a Shoestring by Michelle Robin


Whatever your financial resources the power to improve your health is within you. It's in every choice you make, in every moment. Michelle Robin shows you how to harness your inner voice as you practice seven essential habits for complete well-being. Read stories from real people, at all income levels, who've adopted these practices—using little money—and seen their health dramatically improve. Better yet, follow the tips at the end of each chapter to create a lifestyle that leads to a phenomenal experience of body, mind and spirit.

Dr. Michelle Robin is chief wellness officer and founder of Your Wellness Connection, one of the nation's most successful healing centers, focusing on integrative healing disciplines such as chiropractic, Chinese medicine, massage therapy, functional medicine, counseling, nutrition and wellness coaching, and movement arts.

This was a well done book. I didn't come across anything "new" in this book but surprisingly I did agree with everything the author suggested. Nothing really controversial in this book unless you think all alternative health providers are quacks.
The ideas were simple and things most everyone could easily do to improve their health: get more sleep, drink more water, exercise, eat more greens, etc. If you a looking for a book that won't overwhelm you but will get you on the right track to living a more healthy life this is a good place to start.


Content: Clean

Rating: 4 Stars

Source: Netgalley

1 Comments on Book Review: Wellness on a Shoestring by Michelle Robin, last added: 8/7/2011
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20. Book Review: Wild Rose's Weaving by Ginger Churchill

Rose’s grandmother wants to teach Rose how to weave, but Rose is enjoying the beautiful day outside far too much to come in and learn. It is not until Grandma shows Rose how she has woven the elements of nature into her rug, that Rose wants to create a rug of her own. But now Grandma has spied a rainbow. Hand in hand, she and Rose head outside, and the next day, that rainbow reappears in Rosie's own rug.

Just as the grandmother teaches Rose to weave the beauty of nature into her rugs, so the author weaves into this story the themes of creativity, the interplay of art and life, and the important gifts that are handed down through generations of women.

I downloaded this picture book to my Kindle to see what it would be like to read a picture book. My 5 year old thought it was fun for me to read to her from the Kindle.  I then downloaded it to Adobe to see what the pictures looked like in color.  I would highly recommend this book be read on something other than a small black and white screen so the beautiful pictures can be enjoyed.

At first this book reminded me of The Little Red Hen - the grandma was working while the granddaughter played instead of learning to weave. When the granddaughter sees the beautiful rug her grandmother made she decides it's time for her to learn.

This is a great book about passing skills from one generation to another and enjoying the beauty of life.

Rating: 4 Stars

Source: Netgalley

2 Comments on Book Review: Wild Rose's Weaving by Ginger Churchill, last added: 8/8/2011
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21. Book Review: Back When You Were Easier to Love by Emily Wing Smith

What's worse than getting dumped? Not even knowing if you've been dumped. Joy got no goodbye, and certainly no explanation when Zan - the love of her life and the only good thing about stifling, backward Haven, Utah - unceremoniously and unexpectedly left for college a year early. Joy needs closure almost as much as she needs Zan, so she heads for California, and Zan, riding shotgun beside Zan's former-best-friend Noah.

Original and insightful, quirky and crushing, Joy's story is told in surprising and artfully shifting flashbacks between her life then and now. Exquisite craft and wry, relatable humor signal the arrival of Emily Wing Smith as a breakout talent.
 
This was a book right up my alley. I definitely fit within the target audience for this book. I've read the mixed reviews on this book and can understand them but for me this book was a hit. I could totally relate to the main character Joy. I'm a good mormon girl who grew up in California and now lives in Utah. All the references to Mormon culture, expectations & rules made me laugh out loud more than once.

I loved the way this was written with flashbacks and short chapters full of humor.  I admit this is not a book that will appeal to everyone but it is one that I really enjoyed reading.  I'm adding Emily's other book to my to read list.


Content: Clean

Rating: 4 Stars

Source: The Teen Book Scene Tour

Back When You Were Easier to Love by Emily Wing Smith was released on April 28, 2011 by Dutton Juvenile.

5 Comments on Book Review: Back When You Were Easier to Love by Emily Wing Smith, last added: 8/9/2011
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22. Book Review: The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies by Ammi-Joan Paquette

What better way to celebrate the wonderful world of nature all around us than a hunt for local fairies? Children learn to spot the tell-tale signs of fairies in residence in this delightful mix of photos and illustrations. Then children can take their tracking skills outside to discover the magic in their own backyard. A perfect book for spring or summer!
My daughter loves fairies so this was a book perfect for her.  Real photographs have illustrations of fairies added to them.  The fairies were playing hide and seek, sleeping, making treats and riding on the back of a chipmunk.  By far our favorite pictures were those that had the chipmunk in them.

This is a great book for any fairy loving young girl who has a great imagination.


Rating: 4 Stars

Source: Netgalley

The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies by Ammi-Joan Paquette was released by Tanglewood Press on April 16,2009.

0 Comments on Book Review: The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies by Ammi-Joan Paquette as of 1/1/1900
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23. Book Review: Illusions by Aprilynne Pike



Laurel hasn't seen Tamani since she begged him to let her go last year. Though her heart still aches, Laurel is confident that David was the right choice.

But just as life is returning to normal, Laurel discovers that a hidden enemy lies in wait. Once again, Laurel must turn to Tamani to protect and guide her, for the danger that now threatens Avalon is one that no faerie thought would ever be possible. And for the first time, Laurel cannot be sure that her side will prevail.

I thought this was a trilogy. I really enjoyed this but obviously there is a 4th book since it ended on a cliff hanger.  I was thinking I'd have a series crossed off my to read list but looks like I'll be waiting another year for the 4th book.

There were several plot points that surprised me and Aprilynne did a great job of keeping me guessing where the story was heading.  Although I must admit the love triangle is starting to annoy me - it's past time to decide.  I certainly hope Laurel makes a choice at the beginning of the book instead of waffling back and forth through the entire book.

I'm looking forward to the next and I assume final book in the series.  Although I hate cliffhanger endings, Illusions definitely set the stage for what I hope will be a great ending to the series.



Content: Clean

Rating: 4 Stars

Source: Audible.com


Illusions was released on May 3, 2011 by HarperTeen.

5 Comments on Book Review: Illusions by Aprilynne Pike, last added: 8/22/2011
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24. Book Review - Author Interview & Ebook Giveaway - First Spring by Margaret Rose

Welcome to Author Margaret Rose!

Bio:

I'm married and have two children who keep us very busy. I think my car keys are permanently attached to my hand!

I've been professional writer for a really long time and became a published author in 2009.





Interview:

If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose? 
James Scott, President Bill Clinton, Tiger Woods, Barbra Walters, Hillary Clinton


If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
I'd like to be able to fly.

If you could meet one person who has died who would you choose?
Pope John Paul II

What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? 
I love crispy hash browns with eggs over hard. If that isn't available, Belgian waffles with toasted pecans are a close second.

Night owl, or early bird? 
Early bird, except on the days I have to get up, then I could sleep 'til noon. LOL

One food you would never eat? 
Snake. Anything snake-related makes me shudder. I've already eaten quite a few things I never thought I would, but none of them gave me the willies the way snake does.

Pet Peeves? 
People who don't think for themselves. Elbow grease isn't just for elbows, you know.

Skittles or M&Ms?
Peanut butter M&Ms to be precise.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book. 
It'll melt your heart on a trip down memory lane.

Any other books in the works? 
I'm writing a beautiful, romantic ghost story and then I'm starting a young adult piece about living your dream.

What inspired you to want to become a writer?
I'm hardwired to write. If I'm not writing, I'm thinking about writing. I work as a writer and I write novels in my spare time.

What's one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? 
Take the time to learn the craft of writing. There's nothing worse than having your manuscript rejected because technically you aren't a capable writer. Seek beta readers and others who know the craft instead of family and friends who love you and everything you write.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters? 
I'm the mom in First Spring. This story is about me and my youngest son.

Favorite Food? 
Frosting with a side order of cake. LOL

How do you react to a bad review? 
I say thank you and move on. They hurt, but no author should risk their reputation by getting into a public battle with a reviewer. This business is very subjective and well connected. Bad behavior gets around quickly.

If you were a bird, which one would you be? 
A black capped chickadee.

What's your favorite season/weather?
Autumn. I love the colors, the anticipation of the back-to-back holidays, and the cooler temperatures.

Who or what inspired you to become an author? 
Unemployment. Sounds sad, but I suddenly had time on my hands—lots of it. I've been a professional writer for over 25 years, but I've only written fiction for about four. Almost everything I'd previously written was advertising or business-t

13 Comments on Book Review - Author Interview & Ebook Giveaway - First Spring by Margaret Rose, last added: 9/8/2011
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25. Book Review: If I Tell by Janet Gurtler

Title: If I Tell
Author: Janet Gurtler
Release Date: October 1, 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Jasmine Evans knows one thing for sure... people make mistakes. After all, she is one. Jaz is the result of a onenight stand between a black football player and a blonde princess. Having a young mother who didn't raise her, a father who wants nothing to do with her and living in a small-minded town where she's never fit in hasn't been easy. But she's been surviving. Until she sees her mom's new boyfriend making out with her own best friend. When do you forgive people for being human or give up on them forever?


Janet Gurtler is a phenomenal writer of Young Adult contemporary fiction.  Her book I'm Not Her was a very realistic portrayal of life with cancer.  If I Tell delves into so many topics it almost sounds like a soap opera: teen pregnancy, homosexuality, biracial issues, depression, betrayal, teen drinking & drugs, romance, secrets... However the novel is not soap opera like at all, it has a very realistic feel to it.

The characters are quirky, likable and easy to relate to in this coming of age story. Valuable lessons about trust, choices and rising above difficulties are taught. The subjects dealt with in this book are not light and fluffy but I didn't find anything to be over descriptive.


Source: Netgalley

Rating: 4 Stars - Great Book

Content: a little bit of just about everything but not enough of anything to make me quit reading.

2 Comments on Book Review: If I Tell by Janet Gurtler, last added: 10/19/2011
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