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Review – The Changeup – Rhonda Shaw

the changeup The Changeup
Author: Rhonda Shaw
Series:#1 in the Men of the Show series

Description:
After nine years of striking out in the dating department, Maddie Hamlin is throwing in the towel. But just as this mom resolves to remain single, she meets sweet and sexy pitching phenom Chase Patton at a family dinner. He’s perfect for her–aside from the fact he’s only twenty-two.

Chase knows he should be focusing on his rookie year with the Detroit Rockets, but he can’t stop thinking about Maddie. He doesn’t care that the beautiful school counselor is twelve years older, and he’s already lost his heart to her adorable daughter. When an incredible date leads to an incredible night of passion, he knows he never wants to let her go.

But dating in the media spotlight is a whole new ball game. Maddie quickly discovers that not everyone accepts their unconventional relationship and that finding love may mean losing everything else.

Review:
So normally I’m a sucker for sports romances – I mean, hot sweaty guys (or girls) participating in feats of athletic prowess…I mean, who wouldn’t be. And to top it off, it was an older woman/younger man storyline which I am normally a fan of (it isn’t my favorite romance trope, but I often enjoy it). And while the Changeup worked for me on the level of a sports romance, it was how one of the main characters acted and the secondary characters that I had the biggest issue with. But I did love Chase until the very end…

Unfortunately, I don’t think Maddie deserved him – she was too weak-willed and a doormat – I swear, if I had to hear/read about her questioning him or his motives again, or doing her woe is me, my ex dumped me behavior, I was going to reach through my kindle and bitch-slap her. And then there were her daughter, who was supposed to be 9 if you read her description, but I don’t remember the last time I met a 9 year old who acted like her. In fact, the daughter acted much more like a 4/5 year old (grabbing Chase’s hand to go and play toys; wanting to be swung between Maddie and Chase when they were out) – I mean, its been a while since I was 9, or hung out with a 9 year old, but most I know are more likely to be in the pre-teen/sullen phase. Honestly, it just didn’t work for me

And then there were the antagonists – don’t worry, I won’t spoil the story for you by revealing how they are – I’ll just say that for me, it didn’t work – yes, I know this is fiction, but this forced me to suspend disbelief just a little bit too much on how everything played out and how it was just executed perfectly…ugh!

Overall, a disappointing read for a book that seemed intriguing and I could tell when it came to baseball, that the author had done her research because while I know little about baseball, what I did know seemed to show up in the book. A disappointing 2 stars.

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2014 in Book Review

 

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Review – Problems in Paradise – Kelsey Brown

problems in paradiseProblems In Paradise
Author: Kelsey Brown
Series: #3 in the Texas Nights series
Rating: ✩ ✩ ✩ ✩

Review Copy Provided By Author

Description:
Eden Durant hasn’t always been Eden Durant. She’s made a fresh start in Shelbyville, Texas, far from her mother’s notoriety. Running the Paradise Garden Café is as much excitement as Eden wants—or it was, until she meets Beck Childress. Although he’s the one man who could expose her past, she’s willing to open up enough to see if he might be her future.

Chief Deputy Childress is determined to get to know the real Eden, when he isn’t busy cleaning up after the sheriff and running in the election to replace him. When several men fall sick after eating in Eden’s café, he investigates even as her mysterious past raises both his suspicions and his protective instincts.

As their relationship heats up, so do the pressures of Beck’s campaign. When Eden’s secrets are revealed, jeopardizing his dream of becoming sheriff, he’ll need to choose: serve and protect the town he loves or the woman who makes it home.

Review:
I blame Jamie Farrell for my current addiction to Kelsey Brownings books – back when book 2 in the Texas Nights series (Running the Red Light) was released, she was talking about it on her facebook page and like a sucker, I one clicked it on Amazon and was hooked. I will however admit that while I remember Beck from the previous books, I don’t have as strong a recollection of Eden. I vaguely remember the discussions about her organic vegan restaurant – which I found funny, since the series in set in Texas (yeah, I know it was supposed to be) and how most texans I know (although not that many) are red meat lovin’ people. So seeing the interaction between Beck, the self-avowed junk foodie and Eden, the organic, homemade, health food junkie made me squee. (and yes, squee is a word!)

The sexual tension between Beck and Eden was hot enough that I found myself fanning my face a few times while reading – i’m sure red in my skin tone is such an awesome look! But it wasn’t overly done – meaning, there was so much more to the story than sex. Especially, the mystery about who was trying to sabotage both Beck’s campaign for Sheriff (I personally, still don’t get that, shouldn’t the Sheriff be the best at the job, not the person that can lie, whoops, I mean campaign the best). I will admit that I kind of had the mystery figured out before the reveal, but then I quite often do – its rare that I had no idea prior (except with this darn new J.K. Rowling book that STILL has me stumped, but that is a story for another day). I will admit that I did like the underlying, OMG, vegetarian food may kill us vibe that I got from several of the characters who made an appearance – it reminds me very much of my family and how they still react to this day with my sister who is a vegetarian (going on 10 years now). Such an insight, it was like the author is or knows someone who is a vegan and sees the interaction that occurs between us meat eaters (yeah, I’m admittedly one) and the non-meat eaters – haha!

Plus as with her previous books, we got to visit once again the couples from both Personal Assets (bk 1) and Running the Red Light (bk 2), but without their stories taking over, they were just there, in the background, hanging out, like good friends do. So basically, sexy contemporary romance, personal beliefs tension (carnivore vs. vegan), unresolved sexual tension and lite mystery make so a great read from Kelsey Browning. Overall, I gave Problems in Paradise 4 stars.

Kelsey will be giving away 1 copy of Personal Assets (the first book in the series) to one lucky commenter, so make sure you leave some love below (and your email, so I can get a hold of you if you win) and good luck. You have until July 25th (next Friday)

Buy Links:
Problems in Paradise (Texas Nights) – Amazon
Problems in Paradise (Texas Nights) – Barnes and Noble
Problems in Paradise (Texas Nights) – Carina Press
Problems in Paradise (Texas Nights) – Books A Million
Problems in Paradise (Texas Nights) – Kobo

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2014 in Book Review

 

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Review – Enemies on Tap – Avery Flynn

enemies on tapEnemies on Tap
Author: Avery Flynn
Series: #1 in the Sweet Salvation Brewery series
Rating: ✩ ✩ ✩ ✩

Review Copy Donated by Author

Description:
Enemies …After years away, Miranda Sweet returns to Salvation, Virginia to save her family’s brewery, but her fate is in the hands of her lover-turned-enemy, Logan. What’s a girl to do when the only person who can help her is the man who betrayed her?

Lovers …Logan Martin can’t believe his luck when the woman who smashed his heart to smithereens walks into his bank asking for his help. What she doesn’t know is that he needs the land her brewery is on–and he’ll do whatever it takes to get it.

An Irresistible Combination …Their wager becomes a battle between their attraction and their determination to win. But it’s in each other’s arms that they realize there might be more at stake now than their bet. With the town against the Sweet Salvation Brewery’s success, Logan has to choose between what’s expected of him and what he really wants…

Review
Oh Avery, Avery, Avery…lol! Anyone who knows me knows that I am a sucker for an Enemies to Lover story – it is probably one of my favorite romance tropes. So when I saw the description of Enemies on Tap, and then saw the post on facebook that there were going to be ARC’s available, I was on it faster than (insert some kind of inappropriate joke here) – which goes along with the story itself.

To say that I hugely enjoyed EoT (since i’m too lazy to write out Enemies on Tap everytime – sorry Avery!) is an understatement. There were times I was laughing so hard, I’m sure the people around me (I was on the metro heading home from work) probably through that I was having an attack or something. EoT was a short read (only about 160 pgs according to Amazon), so I managed to read it in about 2 metro rides – but I made the drudgery of my day job just fall away as I was sucked into Miranda and Logan’s story.

I will admit that for a good portion of the first half I wanted to go and find a baseball bat, reach into my kindle and boing Logan over the head. He was such a stick in the mud – and yet at the same time, I could kind of understand with the history that he shared with Miranda and the small town prejudices (having grown up in one myself, it was almost like a reoccurring nightmare). The whole Sweet and Martin dynamic (think Hatfield and McCoy’s without the shooting at each other – although I’m surprised it hadn’t gone that far) was funny and it was like Ms Flynn had grown up in a town where stuff like that occurred. The romance wasn’t as hot as some, but there was a reasonable amount of UST between Miranda and Logan, as well as some seriously hot moments – it just wasn’t all wham, bam, thank you ma’am type stuff (which is a pet peeve of mine).

But it wasn’t just Miranda and Logan who I loved – there was a colorful cast of secondary characters that made up the town of Salvation, Virginia. I think my favorite secondary character, aside from the curmudgeon of a Brewmaster (who rumor has it is going to get his own book in the future) was Ruby Sue and her pie (yes, the pie is a secondary character in my mind!) and with quotes like this:

“I’ll be damned. Miranda Sweet, is it you or is my glaucoma acting up again?” Ruby Sue sat her glass down on the Formica countertop with a clank. “You always did know how to make an entrance. Who do you think you are, the Queen of England?”

I can’t wait to see more of her in the later books.

I am kind of bummed that I failed to write down some of the awesome quotes that I found while reading – I always think about it and then forget. Thankfully people on Goodreads do a much better job than me (yes!).

I can’t wait for the next book in the series, to see where it goes (and of course, to see what Miranda and Logan get up to in the future). In fact, I was even tweeting the author, almost as soon as I was done, asking her when the next book was going to be out. This book has firmly put Avery Flynn on my current autobuy pile. 4 stars.

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2014 in Book Review

 

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Review – Hard Hats and Doormats – Laura Chapman

hard hats doormatsHard Hats and Doormats
Author: Laura Chapman
Rating: ✩ ✩ ✩ ✩

Review Copy Provided by Author via RABT

Description:
Lexi Burke has always been a stickler for following rules and procedures. As a human resources manager for a leading Gulf Coast chemical company, it’s her job to make sure everyone else falls in line, too.

But after losing out on a big promotion–-because her boss sees her as too much of a yes-woman––Lexi adopts a new policy of following her heart instead of the fine print. And her heart knows what it wants: Jason Beaumont, a workplace crush who is off limits based on her previous protocol.

While navigating a new romance and interoffice politics, Lexi must find the confidence to stand on her own or face a lifetime of following someone else’s orders.

Who says nice girls have to finish last?

Review:
When I read the description of Hard Hats and Doormats, I was intrigued – having worked in a male dominated capacity for a few years, it is an environment that I know and can appreciate (while also getting exceptional frustrated with). Although, I will admit that I know little about the oil business – so reading about that was introducing me to a whole new world. I sat down on Thursday night intending to only read a chapter or so on my kindle, but I was soon sucked in and before I knew it, I had read about 50% of the book (not complaining because it was the great way to start a holiday weekend). Ms Chapman has a very smooth writing style, that isn’t overly flowery, but just works well.

The relationship between Jason and Lexi made me giggle because it reminded me so much of workplace relationships that I have seen – not that I agree with them – but sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t – I liked how they tried to keep theirs on the DL, even though everyone “knew” about it. Because that is just how it always seems to be, the more something is tried to be kept quiet, the more people actually seem to know about it (I wonder if there is a psychological theory in there somewhere..)

I will admit that I was kind of disappointed in the fact that while she worked in a male-dominated world, Lexi was still in what could be seen as a more female-centric position (human resources/training). I would have loved to have seen her more in the environment, or actually doing a job on one of the oil platforms. I was also kind of disappointed in how little she seemed to know about the company she worked for – yeah, she could spout all the various rules/regulations – but when it came to the actual functioning of the company – it seemed like she had never really bothered to learn (and I can kind of see where the Doormat label could be applied). I don’t know, maybe it is just me, but if I was working for a company where I was a complete newb, I’d be down on the deckplates, trying to learn as much as I could.

However, even with those issues, Hard Hats and Doormats was a solid read. It wasn’t overly romance/spicy, but rather toned down (at least to me – others may disagree). I know I’ll be looking forward to reading more by Ms Chapman in the future. Overall, I gave Hard Hats and Doormats 4 stars for a lite contemporary romance/chick lit read.

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2014 in Book Review

 

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Review – This Year’s Black – Avery Flynn

this years blackThis Year’s Black
Author: Avery Flynn
Series: #2 in the Killer Style series

Review Copy Provided by The Author

Description:
A fighter since birth, Allegra “Ryder” Falcon would rather trade in her all-black wardrobe for head-to-toe hot pink than let anyone ever see the cracks in her tough exterior. But one night with a stranger changes everything.

Devin Harris may have given up his MMA fighting dreams for high fashion, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t always in control. So when someone embezzles millions under his watch, he isn’t going to let the private investigator working the case go it alone—even if she is the woman who blew him away in bed and then blew him off.

Just when it seems like it couldn’t get any hotter between Ryder and Devin, the case takes them to a tropical paradise where the danger increases. From the catwalk to the pineapple fields, they have to work together to track down the missing millions before the thief finds—and kills—them.

Review:
Oh where to begin, after i finished up High-Heeled Wonder a few weeks ago, I wasn’t sure if Ms Flynn’s second book in the series could be more enjoyable, since I seriously enjoyed it (I mean, mystery featuring a fashion blogger), but when I saw the Allegra “Ryder” (sister of the hero in the first book) was going to be the heroine in the second book I was intrigued – she was the kind of female who reminds me, of, well me…haha! well, not really, but a kick-ass, no excuses, get the job done kind of chick, who also isn’t dumb, like so many heroines in romsus/mystery type books (you know, the ones who are TSTL – for lack of a better word). But at the same time, she isn’t afraid to ask for help (holy crap – a character that actually realized they aren’t invincible…shock gasp). And then there is Devin – the bad boy to the core, trying to hide who he really is under dress shirts and ties – listening to what society/his family think he should do. There was something about him that made me just want to give him a huge (and do other dirty things to him – hehe).

I will admit that I’m kind of conflicted over whether I liked the mystery more in the first one or this one – although I will admit this one had less mystery (since I figured out the who-dun-it before the reveal) than the first one, but more suspense in the resolution of the storyline. Plus the vivid images that Ms Flynn painted of the island just sucked me in (I really could have booked a ticket then and there).

I will say my one gripe is the dress that Ryder is wearing on the cover, it just soo wasn’t sexy in any way shape or form, at first i thought she might have been pregnant and trying to hide the evidence, but no, it was just really loose and gathered in weird places – yeah, I know probably pedantic, but it soo wasn’t sexy to me.

All I can say, is that she needs to hurry up and write more books! 4 stars overall and a recommendation for anything who likes hot romance with a touch of mystery.

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2014 in Book Review

 

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Review – Asking for Trouble – Rosalind James

asking for troubleAsking for Trouble
Author: Rosalind James
Series: #3 in the Kincaids series

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
Sometimes you go looking for trouble. And sometimes, trouble finds you.

Alyssa Kincaid knows she needs to make some big changes. A move to San Francisco is the first step, and now it’s time to get serious, and to get the rest of her life on track. If only her messy life would cooperate. And if only it had Joe Hartman in it.

Joe knows one thing for sure: Making a move on his best friend’s little sister, the beloved youngest sibling in the closest thing to a family he’s got, would just be asking for trouble. Unfortunately, Alyssa always does seem to be asking for trouble. And it’s getting harder and harder for Joe to resist answering.

Review:
Ok, i’ll admit to being a huge Rosalind James fan – I stalk her on Twitter to find out what new stuff she has coming out, so when I saw Asking for Trouble mentioned, I jumped on it and asked her oh so nicely, if she would let me review a copy. Thankfully, she agreed (although, I would have bought it if she had said no). But as things go, sooo many books, too little time – so it started at me from my kindle for a good couple of weeks before I managed to get to it (but if you ask me, I was saving it for when I needed a pick me up!)

Anyways, back to the book – this was Alyssa and Joe’s story. Alyssa is the youngest sister of Gabe and Alec who feature in the first two books in the series and Joe is Alec’s best friend and business partner who we met in the second book – although, there is some history to the pairing. I will admit that the brothers best friend/little sister story line often gives me some squick moments because it always seems like there are huge age differences between the two, but thankfully, there is only 4 years between Joe and Alyssa – that made it seem much more believable/workable to me.

I loved Joe – there is something about the tough guy that I love, especially a tough guy with a shaved head – its totally sexy. I will admit that there were a few times that Alyssa drove me a bit nuts, but it was kind of nice seeing her come into her own – especially seeing her tell her brother off – that whole scene made me laugh out loud – i’m sure the people at the bus stop were looking at me like I was nuts. But don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t your mom’s sweet romance – it was hot and sexy and there were a couple of scenes with some lite bondage (since I know not everyone is a fan of that, so this is a warning).

At the end of the book, I that feeling feeling of book depression – you know, when you finish a good book and not sure what you are going to read next. Of course, as soon as I was done, I was bugging the author on what she was going to be releasing next – what can I say…lol! Overall, I gave Asking for Trouble 4 stars and it is probably one of my favorite books by her so far.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2014 in Book Review

 

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Review – Running the Red Light – Kelsey Browning

running the red lightRunning the Red Light
Author: Kelsey Browning
Series: #2 in the Texas Nights series (but can be read as a stand-alone)

Description:
After wearing a “Least Likely to Succeed” label all her life, Roxanne Eberly is hell-bent on making her Red Light Lingerie store successful. Although the residents of small-town Shelbyville, Texas, are a little…lingerie-resistant, she’ll win them over eventually. So when a former employer sues her, putting a major wrinkle in her careful plans, she reluctantly accepts help from hot-stuff Houston attorney Jamie Wright.

Jamie’s on track to become his firm’s youngest partner, but discovers an unwritten prerequisite—marriage. Turns out, the only woman he wants is Roxanne, but peddling thongs and sex toys isn’t a suitable career for the spouse of an up-and-coming attorney.

Jamie’s tangled up in Roxanne’s lawsuit, her life and her lingerie. But if they’re ever going to make it work, Roxanne’s big-city boy will have to decide what he values more: the career he always thought he wanted or the woman he never thought he’d fall for.

Review:
Kelsey Browning’s Running the Red Light was released right as I was craving a romance that didn’t feature any of the current trends (think 50 shades of grey…) – all I wanted was a nice, mostly angst free contemporary romance and she totally served it up. I’d like to thank Jamie Farrell (who wrote Southern Fried Blues that I LOVED) for promo’ing this book on her facebook (and telling me that it could be read as a stand-alone). If you are currently in a bit of a slump and need a new author to try, I highly recommend Kelsey Browning.

I loved the fact that the heroine owned an adult store, but that the story itself wasn’t an erotic romance – which it could haven’t easily been. Rather, I found that Ms Browning walked a nice line between sweet and sensual, without every actually crossing it. Add to that a smexy lawyer, who has been friends with the heroine for several years, so it wasn’t a “wham bam thank-you ma’am” romance as well (i’m personally not a fan of insta-love – I like my characters to have a bit of history).

The whole labeling the heroine as “least likely to succeed” was an interesting approach because I think it says something about our society and how people perceive those labels. In particular, I liked how even though she had been labelled that way, that Roxanne didn’t let it stop her from reaching her goals in life and didn’t have an woe is me type attitude. I also appreciated how Jamie (the H), didn’t patronize her either when her issues became apparent – that is a personal pet peeve of mine.

I know that I will be going back and reading the first book in the series (Personal Assets – which is about Roxanne’s friend Allie – who appears in this book) and can’t wait to see how the rest of the series turns out. Overall, I gave Running the Red Light 3.5 stars, but rounded up to 4 stars. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a cute contemporary romance with sexy lawyers and adult fun and games.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2014 in Book Review

 

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Review – Perfect Timing – Laura Spinella

Perfect TimingPerfect Timing
Author: Laura Spinella

Review Copy Provided by Author via Sisterhood of the Traveling Book on Goodreads

Description:
What’s a Jersey Girl to do when she moves to Catswallow, Alabama? Isabel Lang finds the answer in an unlikely bond with the musically gifted Aidan Roycroft. The two share everything from a first kiss to startling family secrets. But when Aidan is accused of a violent crime, the two flee to Las Vegas where Isabel’s future comes tumbling down.

Seven years later, the past is buried, including any relationship with Aidan. Isabel is busy running a radio station and closing in on commitment with Nate Potter, a guy who defines ideal. Life seems cozy until new station management demands a sudden-death ratings grabber, putting everyone’s future on the line. What should be a simple solution leads to a stunning revelation as Isabel is forced to call on the past and the only rock star she knows.

Review:
If there is something that Laura Spinella does good, its bad boy heros and honestly, i’m a sucker for them. Her first book was a 5 star read for me, and i was eagerly waiting (ok, stalking her website for updates on new books…) – so I jumped on the opportunity to read Perfect Timing when she offered it up to one of my goodreads groups. The book arrived on a Friday and man was I glad that I didn’t have anything planned for the weekend, because I was sucked in. Admittedly, I actually finished it by Saturday afternoon with minimal interruptions but yeah. Although, I will say, it wasn’t quite as good as Beautiful Disaster, but only minutely different.

Plus along with the bad boy storyline, it also was one of second chances and I’m also a sucker for a second chance romance. Although, I did want to bitch slap Isabel because I thought she was rather selfish in her actions – yeah, I know she was only a teenager, but it still irked me. But its really hard to review this part without spoilers, suffice to say, I wasn’t a fan of her mother or other characters in her previous life. I did, however, like her friends in her new life – her father and his partner, and her co-workers at the radio station. I think the author nailed the diverse personalities that people experience in their lives.

I did feel that overall, I liked the ending in Perfect Timing better than Beautiful Disaster – it felt more complete and fulfilling. Overall, I gave Perfect Timing 4.5 stars and would recommend it to anyone who likes contemporary romances with bad-boy rock stars and second chances.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2014 in Book Review

 

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Review – Take Me Home For Christmas – Brenda Novak

Take Me Home for ChristmasTake Me Home For Christmas
Author: Brenda Novak
Series: #5 in the Whiskey Creek series

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
Too bad all memories aren’t pleasant. Everyone in Whiskey Creek remembers Sophia DeBussi as the town’s Mean Girl. Especially Ted Dixon, whose love she once scorned.

But Sophia has paid the price for her youthful transgressions. The man she did marry was rich and powerful but abusive. So when he goes missing, she secretly hopes he’ll never come back—until she learns that he died running from an FBI probe of his investment firm. Not only has he left Sophia penniless, he’s left her to face all the townspeople he cheated….

Sophia is reduced to looking for any kind of work to pay the bills and support her daughter. With no other options, she becomes housekeeper for none other than Ted, now a successful suspense writer. He can’t bring himself to turn his back on her, not at Christmas, but he refuses to get emotionally involved. He learned his lesson the last time.

Or will the season of love and forgiveness give them both another chance at happiness?

Review:
So I don’t know if i’m the only blogger out there that does a happy dance when popular/well-known authors ask me to review their books, but I was totally doing that when the email from Ms Novak showed up a few weeks ago (yes, i’m a dork and I admit it!). But I will admit to being kind of concerned that this was book 5 in a series that I hadn’t read yet – although the author assumed me it could be read as a stand-alone (which I both agree and disagree with – but more of that later). Anyways, after I read the description and also the novella that kicked the series off (you can see that review on the blog also), I decided to take a chance on the book.

My initial thoughts with the opening of the book was that it reminded me of the Ashley Judd movie, Double Jeopardy – where the husband disappears and no one knows what happens – what is planned/foul play etc. But more so, the story focused on the after effects…how the “golden boy” of the town deceived everyone and how, as is human nature, people want to find someone to blame, even if the person is innocent. I really felt bad for Sophia for about 70% of the book. Although, it was nice seeing her change and become stronger through-out.

I will admit that i had issues with Ted though – I thought that he came across as an arrogant jerk for a good part of the book (and now that i’ve read previous ones in the series, that belief has solidified a bit more). I really wanted Sophia to bitch-slap him a few times (what can I say…lol). He did get better – but you could still see that there was quite a bit of baggage between them. I don’t know if, ultimately, I fully believed their HEA – it seemed more of a HFN (happy for now) – but i’ll be interested to check up on them in future books.

As to my comment about being read as a stand-alone or not – it is book 5 in the series and while Ms Novak does a good job of filling in the back-story (and I didn’t feel really lost during the reading), now that I’ve gone back and read the previous four books, this would have been a much more richer experience. Having gotten to know all of the characters – many of whom were only really cameo’s in this book, came to life in previous ones.

Overall, I gave Take Me Home for Christmas 3.5 stars, but I have gone back and read previous books in the series. Personally, I would recommend people read the other books (or at the very least book 1) before this one, just to get more of a feel of Whiskey Falls – you find out so much more about the town and the people.

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2013 in Book Review

 

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Review – The Pieces We Keep – Kristina McMorris

the pieces we keepThe Pieces We Keep
Author: Kristina McMorris

Review Copy Provided by the Author via Sisterhood of the Traveling Book on Goodreads

Description:
Two years have done little to ease veterinarian Audra Hughes’s grief over her husband’s untimely death. Eager for a fresh start, Audra plans to leave Portland for a new job in Philadelphia. Her seven-year-old son, Jack, seems apprehensive about flying—but it’s just the beginning of an anxiety that grows to consume him.

As Jack’s fears continue to surface in recurring and violent nightmares, Audra hardly recognizes the introverted boy he has become. Desperate, she traces snippets of information unearthed in Jack’s dreams, leading her to Sean Malloy, a struggling US Army veteran wounded in Afghanistan. Together they unravel a mystery dating back to World War II, and uncover old family secrets that still have the strength to wound—and perhaps, at last, to heal.

Review:
To say words have defied me once i finished reading Kristina McMorris’ latest book is an understatement. I was literally jumping with joy when it showed up in the mail but I forced myself to wait to read it on the metro the next week. And I devoured it – in fact, I realized about 20 seconds prior to the train leaving the station that I needed to get off if I wanted to make my connection…(and I totally tweeted that to Kristina). But I had to ponder my review – not because there were many negatives, but rather because I had so many strong emotions during the reading, that words can’t really describe how it made me feel. She made me laugh, she made me cry, she made me suffer from a severe book depression when I realized that it was over and I wouldn’t visit with the characters again.

While all of her previous books have been set in the past, Kristina took a different route with this story, using an alternating POV with one set in contemporary US and the other WW2 U.S. (which is the setting of her previous books). I will admit that sometimes I find this type of writing style hard to read because it doesn’t always flow well, and the voices of the POV’s sound the same. But that wasn’t the case. Both the voices of Audra (present) and Vivian (past) were unique. I think it also helped that the publisher used two different type-faces for the POV’s. So not only did they sound different, but they also looked different (to geek out a bit, it potentially got rid of the cognitive dissonance from the same format writing but different POV’s).

I could probably go on and continue gushing about the story and how it blew my mind, but I’ll save that for others. But before I close out this review, I wanted to tell a story that reading this reminded me off. When I was in high school, the Holocaust was a major subject of interest for me. In fact, if I had ever decided to pursue graduate education in history, the Holocaust probably would have been my main focus. Anyways, when I was doing my senior English project, I spent time interviewing survivors and talking about how their survival had impacted their lives. One of the survivors I had talked to, survived the Auschwitz Death Marches. In fact, the only reason he survived the initial arrival at Auschwitz was because he was wearing long pants and was put to work, the rest of his family died that day. Post war, he never really talked about his experiences until he started having nightmares several decades later. Then he talked about his experiences to his family and to others, he even started traveling and talking to school groups. When he did this, he found that his nightmares went away.

Reading The Pieces We Keep reminded me of his story and the idea of how dreams and nightmares can tell the story of our experiences, or if you believe in the idea of reincarnation, others. Gushing aside, a solid 5 stars for this book and now begins the torture of waiting for her next book (and its going to be a very long wait)…

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2013 in Book Review

 

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