Saturday, May 31, 2014

Book Review: Word Play

Title Word Play

Author Amalie Silver

Release Date July 2014

Smut sells.

Michael Rourke learned this the hard way.

Struggling to make ends meet as a mystery writer, he sold his soul - and his pride - as he pedaled sex and lust writing under the pen name Christoph Strong.

No one knew he was the one behind the steamy stories on the bestsellers lists. And he planned to keep it that way.

Until he met her.

Monica Singer, an infamous blogger, is keen to discover the truth of his secret identity.

During a chance meeting at a book convention, Michael and Monica form an instant connection. And soon, an industry rivalry becomes something else entirely.

But as Michael starts to let his guard down, he doesn’t realize that the person he's learning to trust may be hiding secrets of her own.

Secrets that could ultimately destroy everything.

Funny, romantic, sweet, and sexy! Word Play has it all.

As a (small time) blogger, I found myself laughing out loud on numerous occasions. Amalie has absolutely nailed the reading/blogging community. There were even times when I wondered who she possibly pulled her inspiration from (I could think of a blogger or two that fit). While I enjoyed the romantic side of the book, the satire of the community is what stole the show. It made me both grateful I'm not a larger part of the reading/blogging community (ew, drama) and wonder how I could become more involved (who doesn't want to be more well known?).

The romance, while it did take a backseat for me, was fun. It was sweet, fresh, and different than your typical romances. I loved the banter between Michael and Lauren. To top it all off, the sexy scenes were just that... sexy! I didn't roll my eyes a single time throughout the entire book (and that's a total win!).

Of course, I recommend Word Play. Whether you're a blogger, author, or just a reader... if you have a sense of humor, you'll love it.


4 out of 5 stars

* This book was received from the author in exchange for an honest review. *

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Book Review: We Are the Goldens

Title We Are the Goldens

Author Dana Reinhardt

Release Date May 27, 2014

Nell knows a secret about her perfect, beautiful sister Layla. If she tells, it could blow their world apart.

When Nell and Layla were little, Nell used to call them Nellaya. Because to Nell, there was no difference between where she started and her adored big sister ended. They're a unit; divorce made them rely on each other early on, so when one pulls away, what is the other to do? But now, Nell's a freshman in high school and Layla is changing, secretive. And then Nell discovers why. Layla is involved with one of their teachers. And even though Nell tries to support Layla, to understand that she's happy and in love, Nell struggles with her true feelings: it's wrong, and she must do something about it.

I liked the writing in We Are the Goldens. The story is written as if Nell is speaking or writing to Layla. It flows easily, in a conversational tone. The tone combined with it's relative shortness (~200 pages) allowed for a quick and easy read.

I enjoyed the story, although I did expect more than I received.

Overall, it was an okay book and I'm glad I got the opportunity to read it.


3.5 out of 5 stars

* This book was received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. *

Friday, May 23, 2014

Book Review: Loving Mr. Daniels

Title Loving Mr. Daniels

Author Brittainy C. Cherry

Release Date May 11, 2014

To Whom it May Concern,

It was easy to call us forbidden and harder to call us soulmates. Yet I believed we were both. Forbidden soulmates.

When I arrived to Edgewood, Wisconsin I didn’t plan to find him. I didn't plan to stumble into Joe's bar and have Daniel's music stir up my emotions. I had no clue that his voice would make my hurts forget their own sorrow. I had no idea that my happiness would remember its own bliss.

When I started senior year at my new school, I wasn’t prepared to call him Mr. Daniels, but sometimes life happens at the wrong time for all the right reasons.

Our love story wasn’t only about the physical connection.

It was about family. It was about loss. It was about being alive. It was silly. It was painful. It was mourning. It was laughter.

It was ours.

And for those reasons alone, I would never apologize for loving Mr. Daniels.

-Ashlyn Jennings

Every once in a while, you come across a book that is perfection. For me, Loving Mr. Daniels is that book. I love this book in ways that I can't even begin to describe.

Roller coaster of emotions doesn't even begin to describe how I felt when reading this book. I smiled, I swooned, I laughed, and I cried (like, full on crying not just one or two tears). This book made me feel things that I've never felt while reading a book. My heart was broken and mended time and again.

The characters in this book were something special. I wanted to give every single one of them a hug. I adored Ashlyn and her bookiness. I, too, fell in love with Mr. Daniels. Ryan (especially) and Hailey were the type of friends that everyone needs. I loved them and what they added to the story. And I absolutely loved that Gabby was a part of the story in her own unique and special way. Beautifully done.

The story, every single word, was perfect. The ups and downs were crafted in just the right the way. While this book is certainly a romance, it's so much more. It's a story about friendships, siblings, loss, healing, and finding oneself. Cherry has a way with words! There are so many quotable passages in this book that it's too hard to pick a favorite.

To say that I loved this book is an understatement. It's certainly my favorite book of the past few years.


5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Book Review: Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed

Title Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed

Author Michelle Knight with Michelle Burford

Release Date May 6, 2014

Michelle was a young single mother when she was kidnapped by a local school bus driver named Ariel Castro. For more than a decade afterward, she endured unimaginable torture at the hand of her abductor. In 2003 Amanda Berry joined her in captivity, followed by Gina DeJesus in 2004. Their escape on May 6, 2013, made headlines around the world.

Barely out of her own tumultuous childhood, Michelle was estranged from her family and fighting for custody of her young son when she disappeared. Local police believed she had run away, so they removed her from the missing persons lists fifteen months after she vanished. Castro tormented her with these facts, reminding her that no one was looking for her, that the outside world had forgotten her. But Michelle would not be broken.

In Finding Me, Michelle will reveal the heartbreaking details of her story, including the thoughts and prayers that helped her find courage to endure her unimaginable circumstances and now build a life worth living. By sharing both her past and her efforts to create a future, Michelle becomes a voice for the voiceless and a powerful symbol of hope for the thousands of children and young adults who go missing every year.

After watching Michelle Knight on Dr. Phil, both times, I knew I wanted to read her book.

It's no secret that Michelle (along with Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus) endured horrible tragedies at the hands of "the dude." For Michelle, though, her hardships began long before being kidnapped. She has survived so many things that could have easily torn anyone else down. Michelle Knight is one of the most courageous people I've ever heard of. Her story of survival is inspirational and I wish nothing but the best for her in everything she does.

While I always feel strange reviewing/rating a book similar to this, I still feel it's important to spread the word about memoirs that provide healing for their authors. Michelle's voice is strong in this book (I felt like she was talking to me) and I hope that she finds healing by sharing her story.


5 out of 5 stars

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Book Review: Nadia's Tears

Title Nadia's Tears

Series Devya's Children, book 2

Author Julie C. Gilbert

Release Date July 31, 2013

Jillian must enter Nadia's dreams to wake her from a mysterious coma. In Nadia's dreams, Jillian meets several versions of her sister, including the elegant Queen Elena, fierce Naidine, and heartbroken Nadie. Meanwhile, Danielle must save her friend Christy from making choices that could get them both killed.

I enjoyed this book even more than the first one.

In Nadia's Tears, we learn more about Devya's Children, especially Nadia. She's certainly the most interesting of the children, in my opinion. Her gifts vary widely and seem to have little to no limits. And while Nadia is certainly my favorite, Malia (another key character in this book) is a very close second. While I'd like to learn more about all of Devya's Children (they are fascinating to me!), I'm curious to learn more about her especially.

As far as the story goes, I was a bit confused in the beginning about how Danielle and her friend, Christy, would relate to the story. Of course, it all came together perfectly and really added another dynamic to the story. While giving away no spoilers, I enjoyed the heavier, serious issues in the book. Though they weren't delved into too deeply, I enjoyed seeing the topics here. Bringing attention to those things was done well here. Seeing Devya's Children work together to save Danielle and Christy and bring a bit of justice into the world was great. To top it all off, I enjoyed the way the book ended. It allows for future books without a cliffhanger.


5 out of 5 stars

* This book was received from the author in exchange for an honest review. *

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Book Review: Preludes

Title Preludes

Author John Brooks

Release Date March 8, 2014

Illuminating the horrors of child sexual abuse from a child's perspective, "Preludes" is an extended short story chronicling the experiences of a nine-year-old boy as he struggles to survive sexual abuse by his father in a middle class American family in the 1960s. "Preludes" is based in significant part on the experiences of its author, a child sexual abuse survivor.

(Longer description available on Goodreads.)

Sexual abuse of children is one of those taboo subjects that everyone is appalled by. Instead of discussing these tragedies or fighting against them, it seems easier to sweep them under the rug and turn a blind eye to those that need support We, as a society, are leaving survivors of these abuses to heal and progress through life on their own. Preludes is a short memoir that exposes the truth for one survivor.

This was tough to read as one would certainly expect from a book dealing with subject matter such as this. I feel the importance of this book, though, surpasses that toughness. I know, without a doubt, that getting a survivor's story out there is worth it. By sharing his story, I believe John Brooks is helping to pave the way for other survivors to not only share their own story (if they so wish), but to seek the healing that they all deserve.

Kudos to not only John, but to everyone that shares their story and helps not only themselves find healing, but others too.


4 out of 5 stars

* This book was received from the author in exchange for an honest review. *

Book Review: Ashlynn's Dreams

Title Ashlynn's Dreams

Series Devya's Children, book 1

Author Julie C. Gilbert

Release Date February 18, 2013

Before she was kidnapped, Jillian Marie Antel Blairington was just an average bright, brave, headstrong child. She was excited for life in a new house with her Momma and new Daddy. Afterward, she's all that ... and so much more. Held in a scientific facility, Jillian discovers her past-a family she never knew and a power she doesn't understand. With her ability now activated, she can enter and even shape a person's dreams. Jillian's been kidnapped, and her Gift has been triggered, so she can locate and save Benjamin Connelly, a brother she never even knew she had. She'd better master this strange ability quickly, though, because her life isn't the only one at stake. Her babysitter, Danielle Matheson, is being held as a hostage to ensure Jillian's full cooperation. Slowly, Jillian begins to learn more about her captor and the other genetically altered children held at the facility.

Join Jillian as she tries to survive the training being forced upon her, find her unknown brother, escape with Danielle, and work her way back to a normal life once more.

Told in letters and journal entries from different people, Ashlynn's Dreams is an interesting book. It's the first book about kidnapping that I've read in this unique format. While I'm not sure every author could pull off this way of telling the story, it works well here.

I really enjoyed the characters. They are certainly what made the story for me. First, there's Jillian. Immediately, she captured my heart with her Southern drawl (which was done well) and humor. I loved learning more about her and her siblings. Speaking of siblings, I was fascinated with them and their different "gifts." Danielle was an interesting addition to the story and I liked the insight she provided on the things that happened.

Overall, the story captured my attention easily and this was an enjoyable read. The story flowed steadily without lulls or drags, but the majority of the action happened in the second half of the book. This is a pretty good example of the type of sci-fi books I enjoy and it was done very well.


4 out of 5 stars

* This book was received in exchange for an honest review. *

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Book Review: The Treatment

Title The Treatment

Series The Program, book 2

Author Suzanne Young

Release Date April 29, 2014

Can Sloane and James survive the lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end? Find out in this sequel to The Program, which Publishers Weekly called “chilling and suspenseful.”

How do you stop an epidemic?

Sloane and James are on the run after barely surviving the suicide epidemic and The Program. But they’re not out of danger. Huge pieces of their memories are still missing, and although Sloane and James have found their way back to each other, The Program isn’t ready to let them go.

Escaping with a group of troubled rebels, Sloane and James will have to figure out who they can trust, and how to take down The Program. But for as far as they’ve come, there’s still a lot Sloane and James can’t remember. The key to unlocking their past lies with the Treatment—a pill that can bring back forgotten memories, but at a high cost. And there’s only one dose.

Ultimately when the stakes are at their highest, can Sloane and James survive the many lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end?

The Treatment is a decent follow-up to The Program, but certainly not as strong.

I felt more disjointed from the characters this time around. I understand that Sloane doesn't have her memories and she's certainly not the same person as a result. It just made it harder for me to feel anything towards her. As per the first book, I had very mixed feelings about James. I hoped to find out more about Realm, but was left disappointed. As for the new characters, I'm not sure about them. Dallas was okay and I felt like she helped the story along. Cas was pretty useless and his role could have been fulfilled by Realm. The reporter, Kellan, was useful.

I felt unsatisfied with the majority of the book. I wanted answers to the questions I had at the end of the first book (namely, how did the epidemic start?), but was left with half-answers. I didn't care for the love triangle. It made more sense in the first book, but here it was more of a distraction than anything. I was satisfied with the ending, though. While pretty rushed, it ended fully and without the need for another book.


3.5 out of 5 stars