Thursday, May 30, 2019

Living Lies by Natalie Walters


Living Lies by Natalie Walters
Published by Revell

Synopsis:

In the little town of Walton, Georgia, everybody knows your name--but no one knows your secret. At least that's what Lane Kent is counting on when she returns to her hometown with her five-year-old son. Dangerously depressed after the death of her husband, Lane is looking for hope. What she finds instead is a dead body.

Lane must work with Walton's newest deputy, Charlie Lynch, to uncover the truth behind the murder. But when that truth hits too close to home, she'll have to decide if saving the life of another is worth the cost of revealing her darkest secret.

Debut novelist Natalie Walters pulls you to the edge of your seat on the first page and keeps you there until the last in this riveting story that will have you believing no one is defined by their past.


My Take:

Before I even talk about what’s inside of Living Lies, can I just say how much I appreciate the cover?  The dark greens and low hanging Spanish moss provide the perfect backdrop for the murder/mystery that the writer tells.  I couldn’t help but imagine a very tangible setting due to that cover!   Ok, onto the content!  I haven’t read a ton of inspiration fiction in my short 33 years of life but I can say that Living Lies has passed my expectations.  Where other authors excel with sweet romance (Becky Wade) and action/adventure (Susan May Warren), Natalie Walters weaves both action and romance together so flawlessly that the reader is completely entranced into the story from the very first chapter all the way to the end!

Our two main characters, Charlie and Lane are very well thought out characters.  Which is a good thing, since this story is character driven.  When we meet Lane in the first chapter, I am immediately involved.  I am Lane!  There’s so much of this character in me that I felt one of the most raw and true connections to a character that I’ve ever felt, so thank you Natalie for writing this incredible young lady.  With truths about depression and anxiety spotlighted, this story delivers powerful messages that I feel, we readers not only appreciate but crave!  Oh, did I mention Charlie?

What a swoon worthy character if there ever was one!  Charlie Lynch is my kind of small town hero… dimples and all!  I don’t consider him having dimples a spoiler but if it is, than sorry not sorry!  If I know a hero has dimples, then I am all about that story and I hope you are too.  The chemistry between the two characters was palpable and gratifying to say the least!  I really want more romance from this author; she knows her stuff!

The secondary characters were also very lovely and memorable.  Ms. Byrdie was most favorite but personalities from Lane’s sister and her son added a lot of emotion that made this story so real.  The sheriff and all of his deputies were well written. Even the villain of the story was a well thought out, developed character, so true to the wicked nature of some people out there.  Some parts definitely gave me goosebumps!  I absolutely loved Living Lies and have already pre-ordered Deadly Deceit! 

About the Author: Natalie Walters


 My world revolves around GIJOE and our three adult (or almost adult) children who keep my life anything but predictable. Our boots hit the ground wherever the Army sends us but home is when we’re all together no matter the zip code. My passion is writing stories where adventure meets love and share my belief that life rooted in purpose is a story worth telling. 

Friday, May 24, 2019

Review and Giveaway!! The Boy Next Story (Bookish Boyfriends #2)


The Boy Next Story
 by Tiffany Schmidt

Synopsis:

The second book in a series where your favorite literary characters come to life, inspired by the timeless classic, Little Women!

There’s no one better than the boy next door. At least not according to Aurora Campbell, fourteen, who has been in love with Tobias May since their very first sandbox kiss. The problem is, he’s in love with her older sister, Merrilee. And Merri is already dating one of his best friends.

Rory is learning all about pining as her class reads The Great Gatsby, a book she doesn’t find “great” at all. Also not great—her GPA, something she needs to fix, quickly, if she’d like to apply for the chance to spend a week studying art with her hero in New York City over winter break. But when Ms. Gregoire assigns her to read Little Women for extra credit, Rory discovers more than she expected—both about herself and Toby. Maybe she wasn’t in love with the boy next door. . . but the boy next story.

Love is complicated, and it’s all about to get even trickier for Rory at Reginald R. Hero Prep . . . where with the help of one quirky English teacher, students’ fantasies come true, often with surprising consequences.

My Take:

I knew that I was going to be smitten with this book as soon as I read the Booklist review, "This contemporary rom-com series starter is a fun introduction to classics... wittily making old stories new again".  I probably should have read Little Women first, since the book is loosely based off of this classic, but alas I did not.  So, I may not have been able to get some of the hints, nods or references to the original title, but even still, I was in awe of Rory and her journey. 

I admit I couldn't fully relate to Rory because of her being only 14, and I'm well, not 14, but I could totally relate to the feelings of not being seen or heard and for those reasons, I imagined myself as Rory.  I also love her relationship with art.  Though I never really appreciated it as a kid, as I've gotten older, I find it so powerful for so many different reasons and I think that also helped me to relate to Rory a bit more.  

Tobias was a wonderful character though.  One of the best young males I've read of in a long time.  I prefer my guys a little on the shy side and I totally got that with Toby.  I couldn't have asked for a better male lead.

I wasn't quite expecting so much of the sisterly bonding though that is on me, because I know Little Women and also that was explained more in the first book, which admittedly I did not read, the good news is that you don't have to read the first book to get this one!  Just that like me, you might be a bit surprised to find a lot more than what's on the back cover, and that is totally a badass quality by the way!  I thoroughly enjoyed The Boy Next Story and can't wait to see what else Tiffany has up her literary sleeves!


Favorite Quotes:

"His hand squeezed mine before he pulled away to flag down our waitress. "Could I have the check?"

"If I stayed stuck in the past, it would destroy me.  It was time to move on. It was time to let go."

"Don't decide you can't before you discover you can."

"It was an accidental declaration in all its messy glory."

"And maybe families weren't a game of balancing a seesaw but of playing Red Rover.  You held on as tight as you could and protected that bond from the forces that flew against you and tried to tear you apart."

About the Author 
Tiffany Schmidt 



Tiffany Schmidt is the author of Send Me a Sign, Bright Before Sunrise, and Hold Me Like a Breath (Once Upon a Crime Family book 1).  She’s found her happily ever after in Pennsylvania with her saintly husband, impish twin boys, and a pair of mischievous puggles. You can find out more about her and her books at: TiffanySchmidt.com, TiffanySchmidtWrites.Tumblr.com or by following her on Twitter @TiffanySchmidt.


Tour Schedule

Givewaway

Prize: Win a copy of BOOKISH BOYFRIENDS: THE BOY NEXT STORY by Tiffany Schmidt (US Only)

 Start Date: 21st May 2019
End Date: 4th June 2019


Monday, May 6, 2019

Where the Crawdads Sing



Where the Crawdads Sing
By: Delia Owens

I haven’t read many coming of age novels, but Where the Crawdads Sing was the pick for our book club for May and I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  Your heart goes out to the main character Kya right from the beginning.  Her family in disarray, her living conditions also completely pitiful but this story doesn’t focus on that.  Rather it talks about resilience.  The need to keep going to live, to thrive.  A young girl growing into adult hood and not by the help of her mother or sisters or aunts, but by nature.  You find everything from gulls to lightening bugs, fishing and digging for mussels.  The reader truly feels enveloped by the marsh and its inhabitants throughout this story. 


Kya goes on one emotional ride after the other and you can’t help but stay with her through her journeys of isolation.  How can one young person be so isolated but still have so much love in their heart?  We meet Tate early on and though we initially love him, he all people, makes his own mistakes.  I found it hard to forgive him but in the end found no other alternative.  Chase Andrews was the other guy we meet in this story, and I feel that we all have met a real life Chase at one time or another.  I absolutely hated him from the beginning to the end but loved that he was a character in this story because it needed him.  Our lives need a Chase Andrews so we can learn from them.  Most of us don’t find a perfect romance in the first love of our lives and instead we must be dealt a broken heart and learn how to put the pieces back together again and do our best to move on. 


So many other side characters in this novel, made this story so heartwarming and gut-wrenching all at the same time. Jumpin’ and Mabel are protectors I think we all wish we could have had and I don’t think I realized just how big Jumpin’s impact on Kya was until later in the story.  With touches on abandonment, isolation, survival, science, and love, Where the Crawdads Sing touched my heart in many different ways, with Kya taking a little piece of my heart along the way.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Middle Grade Review: REW-Q Tyler Stop and Giveaway!


Res-Q Tyler Stop
By: June McCrary Jacobs
Published by: JMJ Story Stitcher Books
Release Date: April 22, 2019

Synopsis:

It's the summer of 1968 in Sonoma County, California, and eleven-year-old Weston Gregg and his nine-year-old sister, Wendy, are looking for fun things to do during their summer break from school. When they discover some abandoned rabbits, they hatch an idea to make a positive difference for animals and people in their small town of Tyler Stop.

They decide to form 'Rescue Each Species-Quickly', or RES-Q Tyler Stop.

There are challenges to face as they move forward into their new venture, including standing up to someone who is targeting Weston's friends for being different and a painfully bad decision.
Will Weston have to handle these issues on his own or will he learn to accept the advice and wisdom shared by some important people in his life? Join Weston and his family and friends as they share some adventures and learn and grow together in RES-Q Tyler Stop.

My Take: 

I don’t read a lot of middle-grade novels but when I came across RES-Q Tyler Stop by June McCrary Jacobs, it was a book that caught my attention, given that my 11-year-old son loves animals just as much as the main characters do.  So, I wanted to give this middle grade animal loving book a chance to see if it would be something my son would enjoy.

I thoroughly enjoyed the historical elements in this book and feel that it is a bonus when I pass it on to my son.  I do think the main characters are very “goody goody” and that might prohibit my son from being able to relate to them as much.  Though some of the real-life issues like the bullying were still spot on for today’s generation.

The most important element of this book for was the love for animals our main characters have and I think that makes this well-paced story a must read for our young middle-grade students.  In a world full of digital technology, our young people need more books like this to bring them back to what matters most. Friendship, love and our furry friends!

I have voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from JustRead Tours.  All opinions are my own.

About the Author:


'RES-Q Tyler Stop' is June McCrary Jacobs's first middle-grade book. June is a retired elementary school teacher and literacy mentor who is fond of California history and children's literature. She especially loves to write, read, and blog about middle-grade fiction and non-fiction on her 'Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic' blog.
In addition to writing inspirational romance books and stories for adults {A Holiday Miracle in Apple Blossom, 2013; Robin's Reward, 2015; Handmade Hearts, 2019}, June's original sewing, quilting, and stitchery designs have been published in over one hundred books, magazines, and on sewing industry blogs in the past decade.
When she's not writing, reading, blogging, or sewing, June enjoys cooking, walking, visiting art and history museums, and touring historic homes and gardens.
One of her most memorable and thrilling childhood adventures was her ride in the Goodyear blimp as it floated over Long Beach, California. She can still remember the people on the beach waving to her as she zoomed past them.

       Purchase Links: Goodreads | AmazonBook Depository
       Author links:  Blog | Facebook | Goodreads | Goodreads Blog | Amazon


(1) winner will win
  • $20 Amazon gift card (US/International)
  • Signed Paperback Copy of RES-Q Tyler Stop (US only) or Digital Copy (International)
RAFFLECOPTER:

·        http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2b09c62e446/?

Giveaway will begin at midnight April 22, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm April 29, 2019. US only. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

Follow the Tour: 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Review: Call it What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer


By Brigid Kemmerer
Hardcover384 pages
Expected publication: June 25th 2019 by Bloomsbury YA

I am still thinking about these characters and their stories!  Call it What You Want was a delightful young adult contemporary that drew me in from the first page.  Brigid has this way of writing a story that completely captivates you and makes it terrifically painful to put her books down.  Like, legit I was cringing with a tightened chest because I NEEDED to know what was going to happen!

The two main characters, Maegan and Rob each have their own secrets to bare throughout this book and, of course, each secret unravels slowly and deliciously **Insert bite of cake here**.  The word delicious always makes me hungry for sweets. Regardless of my sweet tooth, the way these characters stand on their own and have their own voices, but also connect on so many different levels and become entangled in each other's lives, is mind blowing.  A story weaver, Brigid Kemmerer is... Was that Yoda like?  I really adored Maeagan's character because I related to her so much.  In fact, I felt like I was reading about my past high school self multiple times.  But Rob was my favorite by far.  His voice was powerful and raw and he had emotional layers of a character that I have never before experienced. 

My most favorite thing about this book?  Lesson, after lesson, after lesson.  Life shattering, world altering, eye opening lessons! Just when I thought one real life issue was tackled and overcome, she would come up with another one!  Leaving me in awe of how authentic this author is in her writing.  In all honesty, I don't read a lot of contemporaries.  I've read a handful and now I don't know if that's a good thing or not because I think Brigid has set the bar so remarkably high, that I'm not sure if I will like anyone else's contemporaries compared to hers.  A far stretch?  Hmmm... I think not.  You'll just have to read this and find out for yourself!

I really didn't know what to expect going into this story after just finishing A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Brigid's fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast because that literally became my most favorite book of 2019 and yes, I know I'm only in April but I couldn't have imagined anything else coming close to how much I loved that story and those characters.  Well, this one has.  This "So real it hurts" contemporary of Maegan and Rob and their individual journey's along with some very well developed side characters, I mean, I just wanted to jump through the pages so many times and bear hug or arm punch Owen (He has that affect on you), is a must read for 2019!  Kemmerer is an auto buy author for me indefinitely!

Though I usually don't add purchase links to all of the reviews I write, I wanted to share these below because one, I think you all should read this book.  There is something in here for everyone. Also, I know there is an amazing pre-order campaign and with a copy of your receipt you will receive a signed bookplate, bonus content featuring Matthew, set in the world of Letters to the Lost and More Than We Can Tell and also.... A chance in having a character named after you in a future book! Whaaaat?!?!  Ok, I wonder if I buy 100 copies, if I would have a hundred chances of winning? Hehe (Insert evil grin here).  In closing, I don't know if any of this even made sense to you guys, but I couldn't put it in words any differently.  My heart still aches for these characters in both good and bad ways.  Oh! and the librarian <3 You will find so much love for each and every one of these characters, well, except for one of them which I hoped would get hit by a mac truck but alas, that hasn't happened yet....

Pre-order Here:
Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/Call-What-Want-Brigid-Kemmerer/dp/1681198096/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=Call+it+what+you+want&qid=1554682717&s=gateway&sr=8-2

Barnes & Noble - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/call-it-what-you-want-brigid-kemmerer/1128956987;jsessionid=A317F5F9AE7225D40C92EDA17CE2F48C.prodny_store01-atgap08?ean=9781681198095#/

Book Depository - https://www.bookdepository.com/Call-It-What-You-Want-Brigid-Kemmerer/9781681198095?ref=grid-view&qid=1554682378707&sr=1-2



Brigid Kemmerer is the author of dark, contemporary Young Adult romances like MORE THAN WE CAN TELL and LETTERS TO THE LOST (Bloomsbury), as well as paranormal YA novels like THE ELEMENTAL SERIES and THICKER THAN WATER (Kensington). Her next book will be her first foray into YA Fantasy, with A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY, available January 2019 wherever books are sold. Brigid lives in the Baltimore area with her husband and four sons.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Review - Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa


I was immediately immersed into an exquisite story of Japanese mythology with well-developed characters and with my more recent experiences of reading from multiple POV’s I was ready and excited to see the story develop from different perspectives. 


With a setting in Japan I had high hopes for the world building and of course it was fantastic; I was not disappointed.  The description of the landscapes and architecture were descriptive and true and I could see everything clearly in my mind. 



What I liked most though was the blending of the characters and each of their individual personalities.  They complimented and contrasted each other so well which made every dialogue interesting and engaging.  I didn’t want to miss a thing!




This fantasy has it all with mythical creatures, demons, kami-touched humans and samurai.  This quest and its companions offer a magical story that discovers new friends and reveals secrets all the way to the ending… that you will not be expecting!  I loved this and can’t wait for the sequel!






                      Julie Kagawa: Author of Iron Fey series, Blood of Eden series and Talon Saga

Review - Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman


            How can I start this review other than saying that this story of survival was completely addictive!  Just knowing that this fictional drought is not that farfetched from our reality grabbed my attention and shook me to the core and I live on the east coast.  This story shows you that even while resources are dwindling and people become acclimated, the thought of completely depleted resources will send anyone and everyone into a panic, and they what do you do? 

            What do you do when you’re faced with dehydration?  What do you do when you’re forced to watch your family and friends slowly dry up into nothing?  You pull every ounce of energy you possibly can (though without water, energy is hardly there) and try to make it to the end.

This action packed science fiction/dystopian novel will take any reader for an exhilarating ride! As the story follow Alyssa a teenager that is forced to make life or death decisions in order to survive, but we also follow her neighbors, and each one of them have a voice in this horrific turn of events.  It’s engaging and exciting and heart wrenching to hear how they think in these situations, and all the while you wonder, would I think these things too if this happened to me?

            There are well developed characters, a seemingly climate induced apocalypse and awe-inspiring ending!  I highly recommend this read to lovers of dystopian, adventure, young adult contemporary and science fiction fans.

Please note there are quite a few scenes of violence, death, murder.

Living Lies by Natalie Walters

Living Lies by Natalie Walters Published by Revell Synopsis: In the little town of Walton, Georgia, everybody knows your name...