Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Cinder and Ella by Kelly Oram

Cinder and Ella by Kelly Oram

Summary from Goodreads:
It’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new stepfamily, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her—her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder.

Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement—or his fake fiancĂ©e—but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything.

Read November 2014

4 Stars

Received Free e-book for an honest review

My Review:
This is not what I would call a retelling of Cinderella, but it definitely has references to the fairy tale.  It is contemporary, it has a very current feel with the technology used in the story and the references to modern day popular themes.

I am struck with how Kelly Oram tackles difficult topics.  Her book, V is for Virgin, caused me to really think about some things in a different way, specifically one's sexuality.  In this book, Kelly Oram tackles personal recovery from a very serious accident.  The loss that the main character faces is huge.  Her struggles are at times hard to read about, but at the same time rewarding in seeing how she deals with and in some ways overcomes those challenges.

The romance in this book is complicated, but also sweet.  The two don't meet until later in the book so it is not so much about their physical relationship.  They develop their relationship through email and talking and it is refreshing to see a relationship in another way.  They also have fun banter which at times surprised me.  I will be honest, I'm not a fan of swearing.  The banter does have some swearing, but none of it was very bad.

The secondary characters are a big part of this book.  The relationships that Ella has with family and friends is really important in this book.  Between her new step family and the new school, Ella has a lot to adjust to.  These characters are vital in Ella's struggles and recovery.

My biggest complaint about the book is the cover.  I don't like it.  It doesn't do the book justice.  And sorry to the models, but in my opinion, they don't look like Cinder and Ella.  Oh well...Don't judge a book by its cover.

Warnings: Swearing, mild.  Character references multiple sexual relationships.

I would let my 16 year old read this book.  I would probably not allow my 13 year old to read it at this time.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Longing for Home: Hope Springs by Sarah M. Eden

Longing For Home: Hope Springs by Sarah M. Eden

Summary from Goodreads:
All is not well in Wyoming. Katie Macauley gave up her life-long dream of returning to Ireland in order to make a home for herself in Hope Springs, but her future has never been so uncertain. The town is more divided than ever, with both the Irish and the Reds stealing property, burning buildings, and endangering lives.

Katie’s heart remains sharply divided between her love for playful Tavish and steady Joseph, a decision she feels ill-prepared to make. In the midst of the growing unrest, temperatures drop quickly, too quickly, and Irish nightmares of famine and cold resurface as the little Wyoming town struggles to beat the harsh winter.

Katie makes one sacrifice after another to keep the peace and help see her loved ones through the difficult days ahead, but will it be enough? Can the town make amends before their hatred consumes them all? And will Katie find the love she has been searching for as well as a home to call her own?

Read 2014

5 Stars

Library Book through Inter-Library Loan

My Review:
This is the second book in the Longing for Home series.  It is part of the Proper Romance line from Shadow Mountain Publishing which also included Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson.

The story continues from the first book as Katie adjusts to the idea of staying in Hope Springs instead of returning to Ireland.  I like seeing Katie's relationships with the town grow.  I like seeing her be able to bridge some gaps that no one else is able to bridge, at her own expense.  She is truly a remarkable woman.

The romance in the book continues.  I like seeing how Katie discovers what is important to her and how that influences her relationships with the 2 men vying for her love.  

This is an emotional book.  I don't often read books that make me cry.  I admit that I read to escape and I like "happy" books.  I cry when I read this book.  There is long standing conflict between the two areas of town.  There are wounds that are extremely difficult to heal.  Reading these aspects of the book are rewarding and at the same time make me cry.  Luckily, Sarah M. Eden gives us hope in Hope Springs.  

Warnings: Conflict and injury between the town factions.  Nothing graphic.

I would let my 16 year old read this book.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Timeless Romance Anthology: Silver Bells Collection

A Timeless Romance Anthology: Silver Bells Collection
by Lucinda Brant, Sarah M. Eden, Heather B. Moore, Lu Ann Brobst Staheli, Annette Lyon and Becca Wilhite

Summary from Goodreads:
Six Award-Winning Authors have contributed new stories to A Timeless Romance Anthology: Silver Bells. Readers will love this collection of six historical novellas, all centered around the Christmas season with one thing in common: Romance.

In NY Times & USA Today’s bestselling author Lucinda Brant’s delightful novella, FAIRY CHRISTMAS, Kitty Aldershot is orphaned and forced to live on others’ charity. Offered a home under the generous roof of her relatives, the Earl of Salt Hendon and his countess, Kitty wants for nothing, not even the affections of Mr. Tom Allenby. But when Kitty stumbles across a letter written by Lady Caroline that reveals how Mr. Allenby would be ruined should he marry the likes of Kitty, she realizes she has been fooling herself all along. Kitty’s world crumbles around her as she recognizes she will forever be alone with no prospects at all.

Sarah M. Eden’s charming romance novella A CHRISTMAS PROMISE, Sean Kirkpatrick is trying to get to his new place of employment, Kilkenny Castle, in order to start as the new stablehand. His only requirement is to drive a team of high-spirited nags from Dublin to Kilkenny in a certain amount of time. Unfortunately he winds up in a muddy field, stuck, lost, and running out of time. He’s about to lose the job before he can prove himself capable of finishing his first assignment. When Maeve Butler arrives on the scene, Sean isn’t sure if she’s intent on rescuing him or bent on torturing him with her fiery wit and lovely dark eyes.

In Heather B. Moore’s enchanting novella, TWELVE MONTHS, Lucien Baxter’s best and most incorrigible friend, Will, dies unexpectedly, leaving behind his new bride and unborn child the week before Christmas. Will’s last request is that Lucien watches over Cora, not just as a benefactor, but as a husband. When Lucien does his duty and proposes to Cora, he’s turned down flat. But over the course of the next few days, Lucien discovers that marrying Cora wouldn’t be any sort of duty after all, but a matter of following his heart.

In Lu Ann Staheli’s sweet romance novella, A FEZZIWIG CHRISTMAS, Dick Wilkins and his best friend Ebenezer Scrooge have been looking forward to the annual Fezziwig Christmas dance for weeks. Ebenezer is practically engaged to Annabelle Fezziwig, and Dick hopes to start courting her younger sister, Pricilla. Once the dance starts, and Pricilla arrives, as pretty and charming as ever, Dick discovers that he’s not the only man vying for her attention. His best friend advises Dick that he has to win Pricilla’s heart, as well as her mother’s favor. Losing his heart has suddenly become very complicated.

A TASTE OF HOME, a captivating romance by Annette Lyon, we meet Claire Jennings, who’s on her way to spend Christmas with her family. As she rides the train with William Rhodes, who grew up across the street, memories of Christmases past flood her mind. He may be twenty-one now, but she can’t forget his torturous teasing from their school years. At the rail station, Claire discovers that her home is under quarantine because her little brother has measles. She's stuck in town, away from her family, on her favorite holiday. William stays behind with her, and as Christmas Day approaches and her homesickness deepens, she discovers that perhaps he has changed in more ways than one.

Becca Wilhite’s entrancing novella, MY MODERN GIRL, follows Margie, who lands her dream job as a clerk at Macy’s department store in New York City. Margie might be new in town, but she’s determined to succeed and prove to Henry that moving to the city was the right decision. As the Christmas season approaches, Margie realizes that being a “modern girl” might not be all she had dreamed of and Henry might have more to offer than she ever imagined.

Read October 2014

4 Stars

Free ebook from author for an honest review

My Review:
Another anthology!  I love these anthologies.  Even though there is conflict, I always know there will be some sort of satisfying ending.  Sometimes I need to be swept away and know that everything will work out.  

This particular collection has nice conclusions.  However, I found the conflict in the stories more angsty than I usually find in the stories.  At times I wanted to get to the conclusion so that I would know everything would work out alright.  I don't usually have that feeling as I read the anthologies.  Even with that feeling, I still enjoyed this collection and would recommend it to those that like clean romance.

My favorites in this collection were A Christmas Promise and Twelve Months.  

Warnings: None

This is a clean read and my 16 year old would be able to read it.  However, the subject matter is a little grown up and I don't think she would enjoy it at this time in her life.