Tuesday, December 17, 2013

My Favorites 2013

Here are some of my favorite books this year (not in any order).  I like them for different reasons, but all of them stand out in my mind this year.  What were your favorite reads this year?

Longing for Home

Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson


V is for Virgin


Going Vintage

Not My Type

After Hello


Just Ella

My Own Mr. Darcy

The False Prince

A Timeless Romance Anthology-ALL OF THEM !

Monday, December 16, 2013

My Own Mr. Darcy by Karey White

My Own Mr. Darcy by Karey White

Summary from Goodreads:
After being dragged to the 2005 movie Pride and Prejudice by her mother, sixteen-year-old Elizabeth’s life changes when Matthew Macfadyen’s Mr. Darcy appears on the screen. Lizzie falls hard and makes a promise to herself that she will settle for nothing less than her own Mr. Darcy. This ill-advised pledge threatens to ruin any chance of finding true love. During the six intervening years, she has refused to give any interested suitors a chance. They weren’t Mr. Darcy enough. Coerced by her roommate, Elizabeth agrees to give the next interested guy ten dates before she dumps him. That guy is Chad, a kind and thoughtful science teacher and swim coach. While she’s dating Chad, her dream comes true in the form of a wealthy bookstore owner named Matt Dawson, who looks and acts like her Mr. Darcy. Of course she has to follow her dream. But as Elizabeth simultaneously dates a regular guy and the dazzling Mr. Dawson, she’s forced to re-evaluate what it was she loved about Mr. Darcy in the first place.

5 Stars

Read November 2013

Contemporary Clean Romance, ebook on Kindle App

I have been looking forward to this book ever since I heard about it.  I love all things Jane Austen and I liked the premise.  I don't have a Kindle and I rarely buy books.  Sorry to all of my author friends out there, I just don't have the funds to buy all of the books I want to read.  I do most of my reading from library books.  However, I subscribe to a couple of websites that tell me about free ebook or really good deals.  In November, this lovely book was on sale for $1.99!  I decided to splurge and buy it.  Of course, reading on my phone isn't ideal, but I figured it was worth it.

Sadly, October and November have been terrible months for me.  I have had a hard time concentrating on books and you may have noticed that I haven't been doing reviews as regularly.  I have read several books, but just can't seem to be motivated to write the reviews.  The week of Thanksgiving I put down a book I had been trying to read for 2 days and just couldn't get interested.  It was then that I turned on the phone and started to read this little gem, My Own Mr. Darcy.

Thank you, Karey White, for helping me get through a really difficult time.  This book brought a smile to my face and a much needed distraction.  The characters were lovely.  The story was not gritty, but real.  I was totally engrossed and routing for the characters.  This is a happy book.  I need happy books in my life.

Warnings: None that I can remember

I would let my 15 year old read this book.

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Timeless Romance Anthology: European Collection

A Timeless Romance Anthology: European Collection by Annette Lyon, G.G. Vandagriff, Michelle Paige Holmes, Sarah M. Eden, Heather B. Moore and Nancy Campbell Allen

Summary from A Timeless Romance Anthology Blog:
Six Award-Winning Authors have contributed new stories to A Timeless Romance Anthology: European Collection. Readers will love this collection of six historical romance novellas set in Europe, all with one thing in common: Romance.

In War of Hearts, Annette Lyon’s exciting novella, Anna, a journalist, is desperate to escape the magazine where Pete, her now-former boyfriend, also works. Heartbroken and still in love with him, Anna snags an assignment to cover the Winter War in Finland. She arrives at a snowy Finnish battlefront only to discover that Pete is already there—as her photographer. She’s determined to be professional about the situation until a battle breaks out in camp, putting her and Pete in harm’s way and putting their love to the test.

In G.G. Vandagriff’s enchanting novella, The Earl of Oaksey Takes a Wife, Melissa Burroughs is the new Countess of Oaksey. Her whirlwind romance and subsequent elopement was worth every divine moment, even if her parents did disapprove. When Melissa learns about her new husband’s apparently empty pockets, she wonders if the intimacy they’ve shared is only the ruse of a fortune-hunter. Melissa is devastated and determines to live a separate life from her new husband. But the Earl has other plans, which do not include staying away from his wife.

In Michele Paige Holmes’ charming story, Gift of Love, Ethan Mooreleigh knows he’ll never love another woman after the loss of his beloved wife. Yet he needs a male heir to inherit his vast fortune. Ethan’s best friend, Stuart, has an idea and retrieves his sister, Amelia, who has been living in a convent since the tragic death of her parents. Amelia only agrees to enter into the contract marriage because there’s a child involved, Ethan’s neglected three-year-old daughter. When Amelia meets Ethan for the first time at the altar, she realizes that the last thing she wants her marriage to be is loveless. But winning a man whose heart is still broken may be impossible.

A Lesson in Love, a delightful novella by Sarah M. Eden, captures the uncertainties of newlywed life. Lucy Stanthorpe arrives for the London Season, planning to attend every ball and musicale with her new husband, Reed, only to discover he has no intention of taking part in the social whirl. Spurred on by their family and friends, Lucy and Reed each formulate increasingly outlandish plans to teach the other a lesson in appreciation. Their battle of wills threatens to pull the young couple apart unless they can both soften their stubborn hearts.

In An Ocean Away, Heather B. Moore’s captivating story, Gina Graydon knows the last thing she’ll attract on her holiday in France is an eligible bachelor. Tall, outspoken, and with a weakness for laughing at the wrong moment, not to mention being much too occupied with reading gothic romances, Gina decides she’d rather live in her fictional world. Besides, the only man who pays attention to her at the resort hotel happens to be her father’s worst enemy. And that is far from romantic. Reading in a secluded garden, and dreaming about the perfect kiss, all keep Gina much too busy to consider Mr. Edmund Donaldson any sort of hero.

Nancy Campbell Allen’s entrancing novella, What Happens in Venice, follows Evangeline Stuart as she determines to enjoy her vacation in Venice—her first and likely her last since she lives under the strict confines of her step-father’s control. When she meets the mysterious and romantic Conte Bellini, who happens to be Italy’s most eligible bachelor, she decides he is all part of the dream of visiting Venice. It’s impossible for her to believe that his interest in her is anything more than kindness to a foreign visitor. But when he discovers the true betrayal of her step-father, Evangeline learns the Conte may be the one person with the power to restore her happiness.

4 Stars

Read October 2013

Collection of short stories, received free copy from one of the authors for an honest review

My Review:
This collection of stories is different than the others.  Most of the anthologies so far have had stories where people meet and fall in love.  This collection has more stories of married couples.  There is still so much to learn about love after one is married.  Many of these stories delve into miscommunications that happen in relationships and discovering how to love when everything isn't "perfect".  
I enjoyed these stories as I have the other anthology collections.  However, they did have a different feel to them than the other collections.  Be prepared to have a wider variety of emotions in this collection.  It isn't just the twitterpating of new love.

p.s. I love the cover!

Warnings: None

I would let my 15 year old read these short stories.  However, this particular collection has more stories that she wouldn't understand emotionally since she hasn't had the experience of marriage.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Rearview Mirror by Stephanie Black

Rearview Mirror by Stephanie Black

Summary from Stephanie Black's Website :
On a rainy night eight years ago, Fiona Claridge lost control of her car and crashed, injuring herself and killing her roommate, Mia Hardy. Now, she strives to keep the painful past at bay by staying burrowed beneath the demands of her job as a college professor in a small New England town. But when someone starts leaving her gift-wrapped boxes containing malicious reminders of Mia’s death, Fiona’s guilt and grief come flooding back. 
She assumes her stalker is Kimberly Bailey, a disgruntled student, and enlists the help of fellow professor James Hampton. But when Fiona encounters the angry wife of an old flame, it becomes clear her student isn’t the only one with an eye for revenge. Cruel messages escalate to danger, then murder. As past and present become horribly entangled, Fiona struggles to unravel the truth about a determined killer—before she becomes the next victim. 

4 Stars

Read October 2013

Thriller/LDS Fiction, Inter-Library Loan

My Review:
This book had me guessing the entire time!  I don't usually read thriller/suspense novels, but this won a Whitney Award in 2011 so I thought I would give it a try.

I liked the main character.  I liked the setting of the story; in the northeast in a college town.  I liked that there were many characters that could have been "the bad guy".  And I liked that there was a hint of romance.  

As a side note, the LDS aspect of this book was very slight.  The religion didn't play a major role in my opinion.

Warnings: Stalking, murder, attempted murder

I would let my 15 year old read this story.  I would not let my 12 year old read this story. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sarah M. Eden's Next 2 Books and A Proper Romance Tour

You know how I love Sarah M. Eden's books.  I can't wait for these next two.

First off, in January 2014, Sarah M. Eden is releasing As You Are which is Corbin Jonquil's story (if you have read Friends and Foes or Drops of Gold then you know who Corbin is.  Totally love these brothers!)

Second, in March 2014, she is releasing Hope Springs which is the sequel to Longing for Home in the Proper Romance Line of Shadow Mountain Books.  Other books include Edenbrooke and Blackmoore both by Julianne Donaldson.

Also, Sarah M. Eden and Julianne Donaldson are doing a tour together of their Proper Romance Books.  See if they are coming to a city near you!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

United We Spy by Ally Carter

United We Spy by Ally Carter

Summary from Goodreads:
Cammie Morgan has lost her father and her memory, but in the heart-pounding conclusion to the best-selling Gallagher Girls series, she finds her greatest mission yet. Cammie and her friends finally know why the terrorist organization called the Circle of Cavan has been hunting her. Now the spy girls and Zach must track down the Circle’s elite members to stop them before they implement a master plan that will change Cammie—and her country—forever.

5 Stars

Read October 2013

Teen/Young Adult, Library Book

My Review:
This is the last book in the Gallagher Girls Series.  And it is another great one.  There is lots of action, kidnappings, interrogations, attempted murders, and all kinds of other things that you would expect in a Gallagher Girls book.  I like that Ally Carter still keeps some secrets from us.  Even after so many books, I am surprised.  

Thank you Ally Carter for giving the world the Gallagher Girls.  What a fun book series.  

Now, on to the next Heist Society book!

Warnings: All the regular ones that go with the Gallagher Girls books (see above).

I would let my 12 and 15 year olds read this series.  They read the book before me, I was the last of the 3 of us to get to read it.  I waited patiently, really I did.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen

The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Summary from Goodreads:
A kingdom teetering on the brink of destruction. A king gone missing. Who will survive? Find out in the highly anticipated sequel to Jennifer A. Nielsen's blockbuster THE FALSE PRINCE!

Just weeks after Jaron has taken the throne, an assassination attempt forces him into a deadly situation. Rumors of a coming war are winding their way between the castle walls, and Jaron feels the pressure quietly mounting within Carthya. Soon, it becomes clear that deserting the kingdom may be his only hope of saving it. But the further Jaron is forced to run from his identity, the more he wonders if it is possible to go too far. Will he ever be able to return home again? Or will he have to sacrifice his own life in order to save his kingdom?

The stunning second installment of The Ascendance Trilogy takes readers on a roller-coaster ride of treason and murder, thrills and peril, as they journey with the Runaway King!

5 Stars

Read/Listened to October 2013

Fantasy, Book on CD from library and paperback bought at the school Scholastic Book Fair

My Review:
Well, as soon as I finished The False Prince, I requested The Runaway King at the library.  I figured I would do the same as I did with the first book and listen to it on the way to work.  This worked well: my commute was faster and more interesting.  However, this time around was a bit different than with The False Prince.

Julia, my 12 year old, read these books this summer.  She was so excited I was listening to them and asked if we could listen when we were running errands.  She would also often ask me where I was in the story.  Last week was the Scholastic Book Fair at her school.  All she wanted was The False Prince and The Runaway King.  What deal!  They were paperback and on sale.  

Well, one day after we bought them she said, "Where are you in the story?"  I had been listening to the story and told her where I was.  As I made dinner, she read aloud to me.  She was just so excited for me to keep going.

The story was very exciting.  I never knew where the author was going to go with it.  I couldn't figure out how this story was going to end.  There were twists and turns and sometimes it made my stomach hurt with anxiety.  There were times that I thought the author made some pretty big leaps, but at the same time, that is why this is a fantasy.

When it got down to the last couple of chapters, I couldn't wait until I was driving to work.  So instead, I pulled out my daughter's new copy of the book and read the last few chapters instead of listening to them.  This was another great story and I can't wait for the third book, The Shadow Throne.

Warnings: Stabbings, murder, sword fighting, thieving

I would let my 12 year old read this book.  She read it before I did!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Just Ella by Annette K. Larsen

Just Ella by Annette K. Larsen

Summary from Goodreads:
A proper, clean Romance

Ariella was only looking for a distraction, something to break up the monotony of palace life. What she found was a young man willing to overlook her title and show her a new and vibrant way of life. But when her growing feelings for Gavin spiral out of control and clash with the expectations of her station, she will discover that the consequences of her curiosity are far more severe than she'd imagined.

"I watched in helpless horror as two guards hauled Gavin to his feet and dragged him from the room. My voice was frozen, unable to protest as another guard took hold of my arm, leading me upstairs. From the confines of my room, I stared into the darkness beyond my window, hoping to catch one more glimpse of Gavin. He was gone, and I wondered if he would have been better off if he had never met me."

5 Stars

Read September 2013

Historical romance, Free e-book on Kindle (read it on my phone)

My Review:
This book was recommended to me by I am a Reader not a Writer.  I am so glad I took her recommendation and read the book!

I love this book.  Like many clean romances, this book starts with the meeting of two characters and the developing of their relationship.  Unlike many romances, this book does not end when the two characters discover their feelings for each other.  This book covers more time and more issues than just these two falling in love.

One of the things I really like about this book is the journey that the main character goes through.  She starts the book as a 15 year old girl who is bored and looking for something to do.  By the end of the book, she has found a way to feel fulfilled and of use.  

This book has romance (of course), small adventures, kidnappings, unwanted suitors, and so much more.  I highly recommend this book.

Warnings: None

I would let my 12 year old and my 15 year old daughters read this book.  I think they would love it.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Summary from Goodreads:
THE FALSE PRINCE is the thrilling first book in a brand-new trilogy filled with danger and deceit and hidden identities that will have readers rushing breathlessly to the end.

In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king's long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner's motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword's point -- he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage's rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner's sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats.

4 Stars

Listened to September 2013

Young Adult/Fantasy, Book on CD in the car on the way to and from work (new thing for me)

My Review:
I have started a new job.  The commute is about 20 minutes one way.  What better time to start listening to a book on CD?!!!

My 12 year old daughter read The False Prince this summer and loved it.  So I started with it.  The beginning was a little hard, I found it a bit slow.  However, once the story got going it was exciting and I wanted to take extra drives so I could listen to the book.  

The story was new to me.  I didn't know what was going to come next.  I liked the plot twists.  I admit I was not a fan of the main character.  I have a hard time understanding him and why he behaves the way he does.  He makes me anxious.  Although somehow I am still routing for him.

There is a sequel to this book called The Runaway King.  I plan on listening to it next.  Bring on the commute!

Warnings: Murder, torture

I would let both my 12 and 15 year old daughters read this book.  As stated before, my 12 year old recommended the book to me.  

Friday, October 4, 2013

Kiss in the Dark by Marcia Lynn McClure

Kiss in the Dark by Marcia Lynn McClure

Excerpt from Goodreads:
“Boston,” he mumbled.
“I mean…Logan…he’s like the man of my dreams! Why would I blow it? What if…” Boston continued to babble.
“Boston,” he said. The commanding sound of his voice caused Boston to cease in her prattling and look to him.
“What?” she asked, somewhat grateful he’d interrupted her panic attack.
He frowned and shook his head. 
“Shut up,” he said. “You’re all worked up about nothing.” He reached out, slipping one hand beneath her hair to the back of her neck. 
Boston was so startled by his touch, she couldn’t speak—she could only stare up into his mesmerizing green eyes. His hand was strong and warm, powerful and reassuring. 
“If it freaks you out so much…just kiss in the dark,” he said.
Boston watched as Vance put the heel of his free hand to the light switch. In an instant the room went black.

4.5 Stars

Read September 2013

Contemporary Romance, free e-book for Kindle (read on my phone app, anyone wanna get me a Kindle?)

My Review:
I loved all of the relationships in this book.  There were great friendships, bad friendships, casual dating relationships and great chemistry in a new romance.

I gave it a high rating for being a fulfilling story that I didn't want to put down.

Warnings: Personal assault

I would let my 15 year old read this story.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson

Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson

Summary from Goodreads:
Kate Worthington knows her heart and she knows she will never marry. Her plan is to travel to India instead—if only to find peace for her restless spirit and to escape the family she abhors. But Kate’s meddlesome mother has other plans. She makes a bargain with Kate: India, yes, but only after Kate has secured—and rejected—three marriage proposals.

Kate journeys to the stately manor of Blackmoore determined to fulfill her end of the bargain and enlists the help of her dearest childhood friend, Henry Delafield. But when it comes to matters of love, bargains are meaningless and plans are changeable. There on the wild lands of Blackmoore, Kate must face the truth that has kept her heart captive. Will the proposal she is determined to reject actually be the one thing that will set her heart free?

Set in Northern England in 1820, Blackmoore is a Regency romance that tells the story of a young woman struggling to learn how to follow her heart. It is Wuthering Heights meets Little Women with a delicious must-read twist.

5 Stars

Read September 2013

Historical Fiction, e-book on Nook

My Review:
I loved this book.  It had more sadness in it than Edenbrooke, but the emotions up and down were very fulfilling.  This is another must-read for those that like clean, historical romance.

I read this book a couple of weeks ago and was so sucked up in the story and emotions that I had to take a break from reading for a few days.  I wanted to linger with this story and these characters.  And, I feel that I can't do justice to this book in my review.  I can't say enough good things about it and I can't find the words anyway.

Warnings: None

I would let my 15 year old read this book.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Guest Review by Jules: Sky Jumpers by Peggy Eddleman

Sky Jumpers by Peggy Eddleman

Summary from Goodreads:
What happens when you can’t do the one thing that matters most?

12-year-old Hope lives in White Rock, a town struggling to recover from the green bombs of World War III. The bombs destroyed almost everything that came before, so the skill that matters most in White Rock—sometimes it feels like the only thing that matters—is the ability to invent so that the world can regain some of what it’s lost.

But Hope is terrible at inventing and would much rather sneak off to cliff dive into the Bomb’s Breath—the deadly band of air that covers the crater the town lives in—than fail at yet another invention.

When bandits discover that White Rock has invented priceless antibiotics, they invade. The town must choose whether to hand over the medicine and die from disease in the coming months or to die fighting the bandits now. Hope and her friends, Aaren and Brock, might be the only ones who can escape through the Bomb’s Breath and make the dangerous trek over the snow-covered mountain to get help.

For once, inventing isn’t the answer, but the daring and risk-taking that usually gets Hope into trouble might just save them all.

Review by Jules

4.5 stars: Loved it - enthusiastically recommend (A)

YA Post-Apocalyptic, ARC (Advanced Reader's Copy) from Publisher

This book will be released September 24, 2013.

I am excited about middle-grade author Peggy Eddleman’s debut book Sky Jumpers.  Due out on September 24th, this post-apocalyptic story is refreshing among a sea of vampires and werewolves. 
There was a clear theme to this story of playing to your strengths, a theme with which every tween out there can definitely identify.  In this post World War III environment, there are no power plants or electricity and properties of metal have changed, so much of the technology current teens take for granted no longer exists.  The community of White Rock that Sky Jumpers focuses our attention on thrives on human ingenuity and invention.  In so doing, Eddleman spotlights humanity’s resiliency rather than dwelling on the struggle to survive. This is great in theory, but main character Hope is not a great inventor, it is not one of her strengths.  When her invention doesn’t even qualify for entry into the annual Harvest Festival, she feels defeated in every way possible.
  I would put Sky Jumpers squarely in the league of childhood favorites like Hatch, My Side of the Mountain, and A Wrinkle in Time.  It’s perfect for the fifth or sixth grade reader.  The vocabulary and tension are appropriate; there is no swearing or sexual innuendo of any kind.  Hope is a strong female lead without drawing attention to the fact that she’s a twelve year old girl.  Her character could have just as easily been male which I think makes her casting all the stronger. 
I liked that while the drama wasn’t unnecessarily frightening, it was still authentic.  The good guys were clearly good and the bad guys were clearly bad; the lines of demarcation were easy to identify.  The pacing was also excellent.  The story surged forward and paused in a natural flow which kept the story moving while still giving us time to invest.  Probably most significant to me is that it has a strong ending, pulling us full circle, as Hope learns what her strengths are and is recognized for her unique contributions to her community.

Warnings: None that aren't mentioned in the review above.

Jules recommends this for 5th or 6th grade and up.  Brooke will definitely recommend it to her 12 year old daughter.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt

Mistress of Mellyn by Victoria Holt

Summary from Goodreads:
Mount Mellyn stood as proud and magnificent as she had envisioned...But what about its master--Connan TreMellyn? Was Martha Leigh's new employer as romantic as his name sounded? As she approached the sprawling mansion towering above the cliffs of Cornwall, an odd chill of apprehension overcame her. TreMellyn's young daugher, Alvean, proved as spoiled and difficult as the three governesses before Martha had discovered. But it was the girl's father whose cool, arrogant demeanor unleashed unfamiliar sensations and turmoil--even as whispers of past tragedy and present danger begin to insinuate themselves into Martha's life. Powerless against her growing desire for the enigmatic Connan, she is drawn deeper into family secrets--as passion overpowers reason, sending her head and heart spinning. But though evil lurks in the shadows, so does love--and the freedom to find a golden promise forever...

4 Stars

Read September 2013

Romantic Suspense/Historical, Library book

My Review:
When the cover says "The Classic Novel of Romantic Suspense", that is what it means!  Wow!  

The romantic side of this story reminded me a bit of Jane Eyre.  You have a governess in charge of a spoiled girl who has a brooding father that the governess falls in love with.  However, the mystery/suspense side of this story was very new to me.  I did not know who could be trusted throughout the entire book.  And, the ending was fantastic.  The suspense was definitely the star in this story.  

I found the romantic story line lacking.  I didn't believe the male lead when he said he was in love with the governess.  I didn't see their relationship grow.  And, I didn't understand why the governess loved him.  What did she see in this philandering, non-present father?

The setting of this book was a character as well.  It took place in Cornwall (I had to look it up on a map).  There were cliffs and waves crashing.  There were different customs and ways of speaking as well.  The setting added to the mystery and feel of the book.

Warnings: Philandering, murder, illegitimate children

I would let my 15 year old read this book.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Untethered by Marcia Lynn McClure

Untethered by Marcia Lynn McClure

Summary from Goodreads:
A man tethered by pain and guilt borne of past tragedy,
A young woman with the soul of a guardian angel,
And an unspeakable evil about to be unleashed.

As Cricket lay in the soft comfort of her bed, continuing to let her mind nest on thoughts of how truly wonderfully attractive Texas Ranger Thibodaux was, she giggled, thinking that looking at him was more refreshing than swimming naked on a summer Sunday afternoon. He was a tall drink of water—far taller than most of the other men in town—and his shoulders were as broad as the state of Texas itself. Sky-blue eyes, bronze skin, square jaw, and dark hair—and that smile! In truth, Cricket had only seen Heathro Thibodaux smile three or four times, but each incidence was something she’d never forget. His smile was bright and white, and the gold tooth he owned on the upper-right incisor of his smile only embellished the richness of it.

That one tooth. Cricket’s smile faded as she thought of it. Oh, no doubt the flash only added to the splendor of his smile. Yet it also served as a reminder to anyone who had ever read or heard of what had happened in Texas one year before. No doubt it was a powerful remembrance to Heathro Thibodaux himself—a visual indication of true barbarity, pain, and loss. 

In that moment, Cricket wondered—when Heathro looked in the mirror each morning and saw that tooth, did he think of eight dead girls buried in the bottom of a bleak and barren canyon? Did he think of the eight dead girls that he, for no fault of his own, had been unable to save?

4 Stars

Read September 2013

Historical Romance, Free e-book on Kindle (read on phone and tablet)

My Review:
This historical romance has some really wonderful aspects.  I loved the main character and her friends.  They were a great group of girls that would be fun to know.  

Between the conflict and the romance, there were situations in this book that were intense.  I would consider this book clean, but it had heavy kissing and discussion of "how babies are made" and white slavery.

Warnings: Heavy kissing, white slavery

I would not let my 15 year old daughter read this book at this time.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

V is for Virgin by Kelly Oram

V is for Virgin by Kelly Oram

Summary from Goodreads:
When Val Jensen gets dumped for her decision to stay a virgin until marriage, the nasty breakup goes viral on YouTube, making her the latest internet sensation. 

After days of ridicule from her peers, Val starts a school-wide campaign to rally support for her cause. She meant to make a statement, but she never dreamed the entire nation would get caught up in the controversy. 

As if becoming nationally recognized as “Virgin Val” isn’t enough, Val’s already hectic life starts to spin wildly out of control when bad boy Kyle Hamilton, lead singer for the hit rock band Tralse, decides to take her abstinence as a personal challenge.

How can a girl stay true to herself when this year’s Sexiest Man Alive is doing everything in his power to win her over?

5 Stars

Read September 2013

Teen/Young Adult, e-book on Nook

My Review:
I have been thinking about this book for days.  It was not at all what I expected, and that is a good thing. 

What I was expecting:
A cute teen read about a girl who stays true to her decision to remain a virgin until marriage.  

What I got:
An in depth look at the decisions we each make, why we make them, and how we stay true to them.  

And, a look at standing up for something we truly believe in, not just for ourselves, but in front of the community, and for the people that live in it.

And, so much more.

I can't put in to words the thoughts I have had about this book.  But I'll try to put some of them down.  The characters felt real to me.  If I agreed or disagreed with their opinions, they still brought up valid questions.  The main decision questioned in this book is Val's decision to remain a virgin until marriage.  However, I was most struck by how that decision brought up questions about so many other topics.  One of the characters identifies with Val because he wants to make his own decision about a completely different issue.  I found myself questioning decisions I have made in my life and why I made them.  So many things to think about!

There were so many characters in this book which each had vital roles in the story.  They were each different and brought different perspectives to the situations in the book.  I appreciated getting all opinions and views on the subjects that were brought up.

Some issues I had with the writing/story...I wish Val's parents were more involved.  She has an adult "mentor" in the book, but she expresses a need to discuss things with her parents, but those scenes aren't in the book.  I think parents are MOST important and I wish we could have seen that relationship more.  There was too much eye rolling.  Pet peeve of mine. 

Warnings: Virginity/Sex is the main topic of this book.  So there is a lot of mature talk.  There is a lot of kissing (some fairly intense) and some attempted petting.

I would not allow my 15 year old daughter to read this book at this time.  However, that is because she is not even allowed to date at this time.  She is fairly innocent in this subject matter.  At this point in her life, she hasn't been on a date or kissed a boy, let alone explored her feelings and decisions about sex.  

I think this book would be appropriate for teens who are actively dating and potentially sexually active.  It brings up valid questions for teens and adults alike.