Archive for May, 2015

Goodreads.com Description: “I fell in love with Liam only to be left shattered into a million pieces. Again. The idea of being without him cripples me but the reality is, he’s gone. He doesn’t understand and I can’t make him. If only he’d see the conviction behind my words—then Liam would still be here.”

My Thoughts:

Of late I’ve been trying to keep my review postings on Tuesdays and Thursdays. But, this book was so good I couldn’t wait until Tuesday!

It’s official–Corinne Michaels writes tear-jerkers! Conviction had me reaching for a tissue box. I held my breath, I laughed, I cried, I even smiled. The story of Natalie and the two men who love her is filled with turmoil and heartache. Once again Michaels delivered palpable emotions from Natalie’s “surprise” at the door to Liam’s tragic goodbye to a loved one. If these moments don’t make you weepy, you must not be human.

The characters in Conviction had such depth. I really wonder if they were not fictionalized representations of people in the author’s life. Of course, Liam is the ultimate book boyfriend. He’s always putting everyone else before himself. He fell so deep in love with Natalie the poor boy nearly lost his mind. And, Natalie became so much stronger in this installment. Her good friend Reanell, everyone should have her in their lives, recognized this strength and helped Nat embrace it. Although Aaron made bad decisions, he wasn’t a bad guy. I actually understand his point of view. He was completely unaware of what happened state side. To him, he was merely MIA therefore nothing had changed in his mind. Nat was his life force. Doesn’t every military person deployed need one?

I can’t stop complimenting Michaels on the books in the Salvation series. They are heartwarming, thought provoking and just plain well-written. Conviction has its humorous moments too. The epilogue had me laughing out loud (good thing my hubby wasn’t home). Michaels can work a description. I got great visuals on everything she put on a page.

You have to read this series–yes, the whole series! If you don’t, it would be like starting The Great Gatsby on page 100. You just wouldn’t do it. So, go out and pick up Beloved, Beholden AND Consolation. You won’t be sorry.

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Goodreads.com Description: “Catherine Pope got a second chance at love, only to have it ripped away—again. She should’ve known better. But she dared to hope. She refuses to let fate take the reins this time. Catherine decides she’s going to fight. Jackson Cole risked it all. He thought this time would be different. With his loyalties pulling him in two directions—it’s time to make a choice…his past or his future. Will they be beholden to their fears or will they both fight against their demons and finally find the love they both long for?”

My Thoughts:

Corinne Michaels’ Beholden was an emotional roller coaster. But, oh, what a wonderful ride!

Once again Michaels wrote a book with palpable emotions. I felt both Catherine’s and Jackson’s pain. At times I wanted to beat the crap out of them. I’d never read a book where I had to stop reading because it was too painful. That’s just how real Catherine’s heartache felt.

Michaels uncovers more about what makes Catherine and Jackson tick. These characters have been broken by life. They need…no, require each other to become whole again. Their romance is the stuff of movies.

Beholden was a tear jerker and a page turner. I read this one in a day and a half because I was racing to find out how this story would end. Well, I wasn’t disappointed.

Thank you Corinne Michaels for such a well-written romance story. Not only did you give us a great couple of characters, but you gave this reader some insight into the life of a military family.

Beholden is the conclusion of Catherine’s and Jackson’s story. You need to read their story to appreciate what happens with Natalie and Aaron Gilcher (Consolation and Conviction).

Goodreads.com Description: “Not enough. Catherine Pope has never been enough. She repeatedly let’s men in—only to be left broken. Then Catherine met Jackson Cole. Jackson makes her feel alive, desirable, and consumes her with a fierceness she’s never known. But Jackson struggles with his own past. His training as a Navy SEAL never prepared him for the battle to win her heart. He’s different, honorable, and worth the chance…but he must prove it. If she gives him what’s left of her heart—will he protect it? Will she get the one thing that has always evaded her – to finally be someone’s beloved?”

My Thoughts:

Let me just start by saying, I LOVE THIS BOOK!! I’d read it again!

Recently, I read Corinne Michaels’ Consolation and I was told I needed to go back to the beginning. So, that’s what I did. And, I’m so glad I made that decision. I just love the characters Michaels created especially Jackson “Muffin” Cole! He’s deliciously yummy. He’s the good guy women dream of. I appreciated Catherine’s character. She’s been through so much, but she doesn’t recognize that she’s had a hand in many of her personal woes. Outside of Jackson, my favorite female had to be Ashton, Cat’s roommate. She’s smart and blunt. She doesn’t mince words and will give Cat the kick in her pants she needs…a lot.

I read Michaels’ bio and learned she is the wife of a former SEAL. The details she puts in her writing is evidence of her background. She does a wonderful job of detailing the SEAL experience. I got a new appreciation for what the sailors (not soldiers) and their families go through. Thank you Michaels for that little perk. I’m now explaining to my husband that you can’t refer to all military as being soldiers.

Beloved is Jackson and Catherine’s story. It’s touching. It’s heartbreaking. It’s a moving tale that I couldn’t put down. The book is full of great quotes and some seriously funny one-liners.

Conviction, the final book in this series, comes out tomorrow. If you haven’t read Beloved, be sure to pick up a copy first. You will get a whole new appreciation for Jackson (he appears in Consolation and Conviction).

Goodreads.com Description: “Andy Crowl barely knew his recently deceased cousin, Craig Moore, so he’s especially surprised to be named as the sole beneficiary in Craig’s will. Not that there’s much to inherit: just an empty bank account and a run-down house. Once Andy arrives in the town of Mortom, however, he’s drawn into his puzzle-obsessed cousin’s true legacy: a twisted and ominous treasure hunt. Beckoned by macabre clues of dead rats and cemetery keys, Andy jumps into the game, hoping to discover untold wealth. But unsavory secrets—and unanswered questions about Craig’s untimely demise—arise at every turn, leading Andy to wonder if he’s playing the game…or if the game is playing him. Something’s rotten in Mortom. And this dead man’s game might not be all that Andy is doomed to lose.”

I received an ecopy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts:

Just how far would you go to unearth clues in a scavenger hunt? That’s the prevailing question in Erik Therme’s Mortom. I thoroughly enjoyed this debut novel. It was well-written with clearly developed characters.

The plot was intriguing and had me captivated from page one. Therme’s book revolved around three main living characters and one deceased. Even the dead character was interesting. All of the characters were well-defined and is easily understood. Andy was the obsessive-compulsive type who wouldn’t let anything stop him. Kate, his sister, was a peacemaker. She didn’t want to upset anyone and took it upon herself to constantly make amends. Craig, the deceased, was a misunderstood wannabe master mind. He had a very large chip on his shoulder, and there wasn’t anything anyone could do to remove it. Mary, the crotchety aunt, hoarded objects and secrets. I loved these characters and their personalities.

Therme provided surprise throughout the story right up to the end. I got a little worried when Andy discovered the rat. I was wondering if the rat was a symptom of a bigger issue (maybe a house of dead bodies). I’m glad my concern was for nothing. I enjoyed deciphering the clues right along with Andy.

Mortom did not have a cliffhanger ending, and there wasn’t an obvious hint of a sequel. I was left wondering what was next for Andy. He didn’t seem the type to just let the story end the way it did. But, for everyone else in the book, the story ran a successful course.

Good job Erik Therme! I highly recommend this debut novel to anyone who likes to read suspense. I look forward to reading more from him.

        

    

Read about these books and more at The 15 Most Anticipated YA Books to Read in June.

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For me, my love of YA started with the

 series. I was curious. A news story mentioned the book and how it was being read by adults. I saw the book at Publix, picked it up and read the first page. I was hooked.

I tried reading Hunger Games and just couldn’t do it. Then, I discovered Marie Lu’s Legend series and Lauren Oliver’s Delirium series. The more I read, the more I liked.

I have always wanted to be a writer. As a kid, I wrote a soap opera. I even wrote a Western novel for a contest (never entered it). I thought I was going to be a journalist and wrote for my high school newspaper. When my daughter was born, I started writing another adult themed novel. But, something was missing from each of these manuscripts. Okay, a lot was missing. But, YA set off a spark. I could do YA. In order to write YA, you should read it. I’ve done more than read it. I’ve embraced YA. I’ve read mostly good, well-written stories. I’ve found favorite authors and memorable books.

What books made you fall in love with YA?

Goodreads.com Description: “Even at a camp for supernatural teens, Kylie Galen has never been normal, and the more she discovers about her true identity, the more she wants to know. The truth about who her real family is, the truth about which boy she’s meant to be with—and the truth about what her emerging powers mean. But she’s about to discover that some secrets can change your life forever…and not always for the better. Just when she and Lucas are finally getting close, she learns that his pack has forbidden them from being together. Was it a mistake to pick him over Derek? And it’s not just romance troubling Kylie. An amnesia-stricken ghost is haunting her, delivering the frightful warning, someone lives and someone dies. As Kylie races to unravel the mystery and protect those she loves, she finally unlocks the truth about her supernatural identity, which is far different—and more astonishing—than she ever imagined. ”

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed C.C. Hunter’s Shadow Falls: The Next Chapter. It continued the tale of Kylie Galen and her supernatural misfit friends.

Kylie is no longer a wishy-washy teen. But, she is still trying to figure out which supernatural group she belongs to while navigating a love triangle. The more I read about this character, the more I like her. Although she’s supernatural, she has normal people problems. She’s worried about fitting in, how to choose between guys she likes, managing bickering roommates and dealing with her separated parents.

After reading Taken at Dusk, I wasn’t a fan of Derek. He was guilty of saying one thing and doing another. My opinion changed after reading Whispers at Moonrise. His behavior made sense. I even understood how his emotions overwhelmed him. After all, normal people can get lost in their emotions and be unable to function.

Where Shadow Falls: The Beginning was about friendship, Shadow Falls: The Next Chapter was about relationships in general. I appreciated how Hunter deepened the relationship between Kylie and her mother. The “Ice Queen” really loved her daughter and made a real effort to show that. I enjoyed the blossoming relationship between Burnett and Holiday. It was humorous and heart warming. I even liked the strange relationship Kylie was having with her ‘ghost’ Dad and her stepdad. Kylie’s love for one man didn’t diminish her love for the other.

Kylie’s quest to discovery her true nature intensified the plot in Shadow Falls: The Next Chapter. She learns that the FRU, a supernatural government agency, has secrets and major skeletons in its closet and they may involve her. By the end of Taken at Dusk, Kylie has a better clue of her true nature but it is puzzling. She needs answers and that’s where Shadow Falls: The Next Chapter installment ends.

Hunter did a fantastic job interweaving humor, classic teen issues and a paranormal plot. I had serious laugh out loud moments reading Shadow Falls: The Next Chapter. The characters are well-developed and continue to mature in the series.

I’m looking forward to reading the last installment in this series.

Goodreads.com Description: “Book One in the Consolation Duet Liam wasn’t supposed to be my happily ever after. He wasn’t even on my radar. He was my husband’s best friend—forbidden. But my husband is dead and I’m alone. I ache for him and I reach for Liam. One night with Liam changed everything. Now I have to decide if I truly love him or if he’s just the consolation prize.”

My Thoughts:

I was an emotional basket case after reading Corinne Michaels’ Consolation. This was a well-written story of a Navy SEAL wife.

First, I loved the characters in Consolation. Natalie touched my heart from page one. I felt her pain. I wanted to tell her not to open the door. I rode her emotional roller coaster through the first chapters. And, who wouldn’t love Liam. He is the gorgeous SEAL in Natalie’s life. He’s a good man with only good intentions. He doesn’t even mind being around a small child. Swoon!

Michaels’ story is very well-crafted. It was the first book I’d ever read by her. I was so caught up in it. I read Consolation in one day. Thankfully, I didn’t have book two handy. I needed to take a deep sigh after reading Natalie and Liam’s story. It’s a great love story with a major cliffhanger.

I loved this book. The few sexual scenes were not gratuitous. They were well-written. I swear I heard a soundtrack playing in the background for a few of them.

If you enjoy a good romance with a military slant, pick up a copy of Consolation. The sequel to this story comes out May 27th. You can pre-order Conviction on Amazon.

Goodreads.com Description: ““Everyone trusted me back then. Good old, fdependable Diana. Which is why most people didn’t notice at first.” “Your shirt is yellow.” “Your eyes are blue.” “You have to stop running away from your problems.” “You’re too skinny.” Fifteen-year-old Diana Keller accidentally begins teaching The Obvious Game to new kid Jesse on his sixteenth birthday. As their relationship deepens, Diana avoids Jesse’s past with her own secrets — which she’ll protect at any cost.”

My Thoughts:

Rita Arens’ debut novel, The Obvious Game, is a well-written poignant coming of age tale. I was so moved after this book I couldn’t read anything else that day.

Arens crafted a memorable story about one teen’s overwhelming struggle. Diana should have been the average high school sophomore dealing with popularity issues, getting good grades and having crushes. Instead, she was challenged with a mom battling cancer, a boy magnet best friend and a few extra pounds on her body.

The Obvious Game masterfully addressed the issue of body image. It is common knowledge that many people struggle with real weight issues daily. And, unfortunately, teens suffer the most. They are busy trying to figure out who they are in the world and then someone makes the comment that they look “pudgy” or a particular guy likes girls with a certain body type. Poor Diana got caught on this horrible roller coaster.

Arens did a fantastic job with character development. I got a vivid picture and understanding of each person in The Obvious Game. I felt their pain, their struggles and their sorrow. It’s been a long time since I read a book that just had me wrung out. Diana’s story stayed with me for a couple of days. It was so real that it hurt.

Fortunately, there was a happily ever after for Diana. I cheered her progress. Arens’ The Obvious Game should be a must read for any one in high school. And, if you just want a good, heart felt story, add it to your to read list. You won’t be disappointed.

Goodreads.com Description: “Will love conquer all? Nora and Patch thought their troubles were behind them. Hank is gone and they should be able to put his ugly vendetta to rest. But in Hank’s absence, Nora has become the unwitting head of the Nephilim and must finish what Hank began. Which ultimately means destroying the fallen angels – destroying Patch. Nora will never let that happen, so she and Patch make a plan: lead everyone to believe they have broken up, and work the system from the inside. Nora will convince the Nephilim that they are making a mistake in fighting the fallen angels, and Patch will find out everything he can from the opposing side. They will end this war before it can even begin. But the best-laid plans often go awry. Nora is put through the paces in her new role and finds herself drawn to an addictive power she never anticipated. As the battle lines are drawn, Nora and Patch must confront the differences that have always been between them and either choose to ignore them or let them destroy the love they have always fought for.”

My Thoughts:

Finale was a thrilling conclusion to Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush Hush saga. It was intriguing with action and great twists.

I was not a fan of Nora Grey’s when I started this series. I found her irritating and wishy-washy. With each installment my opinion improved. In Fitzpatrick’s last installment, Nora matured and became a strong protagonist with firm beliefs. She became more open-minded and accepting. She grew into the leader she needed to be.

I loved Patch from the first book. He was mysterious with a dark past that could easily be overlooked. By the last book, I could forgive his wrongdoings. Loving Nora made him a better angel.

Even Scott and Vee were characters that grew on me. Fitzpatrick did a great job developing all her characters. I was disappointed, though, in the choice of villain in Finale. I really wanted him to be a good guy.

The last installment had plenty of surprises–villains, alliances and secrets. The alliances, for me, were the best surprises. Marcie and Nora were forced together. If circumstances had been different for them, I think they would have made great friends.

There were plenty of secrets in Finale. Everyone had one–Nora, Patch, Marcie, Vee. All the secrecy kept the plot moving along and me turning pages. I finished this book in a day and a half.

Thankfully, there is a Happily Ever After in this tale. The Epilogue really tied up all the lose ends for me except for one. What happened to the ring Patch had inscribed ‘Nora and Jev’?

Overall, Fitzpatrick did a fabulous job of showing that the biggest evil in the world is the greed. The reckless, greedy pursuit of ultimate power can derail a person, or an angel, from more heavenly endeavors.