Saturday, June 30, 2012

Stacking The Shelves (7)

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by Tynga at Tynga’s Reviews, in which we share the books that we have bought, received, or borrowed from the previous week!

Goodreads | From Netgalley

Goodreads | From Publisher

Goodreads | From Publisher

Goodreads | From Author

Goodreads | From Netgalley

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Follow Me Friday (8)

Q: Birthday Wishes -- Blow out the candles and imagine what character could pop out of your cake...who is it and what book are they from?

My Answer: This one is easy!!

Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games (:

I say this because he is just so sweet and genuine. I mean, seriously…who would not want him to jump out of a huge birthday cake??!

Book Review: Diva

Author: Jillian Larkin
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: July 10, 2012
Series: Flappers #3

Parties, bad boys, speakeasies—life in Manhattan has become a woozy blur for Clara Knowles. If Marcus Eastman truly loved her, how could he have fallen for another girl so quickly? Their romance mustn't have been as magical as Clara thought. And if she has to be unhappy, she's going to drag everyone else down to the depths of despair right along with her.

Being a Barnard girl is the stuff of Lorraine Dyer's dreams. Finding out that Marcus is marrying a gold digger who may or may not be named Anastasia? A nightmare. The old Lorraine would have sat by and let the chips fall where they may, but she's grown up a lot these past few months. She can't bear to see Marcus lose a chance for true love. But will anyone listen to her?

Now that the charges against her have been dropped, Gloria Carmody is spending the last dizzying days of summer on Long Island, yachting on the sound and palling around with socialites at Forrest Hamilton's swanky villa. Beneath her smile, though, Gloria's keeping a secret. One that could have deadly consequences . . .

The Roaring 20’s, oh how I wish I could have been born in that time! I think I would have made a magnificent flapper. This was the first time throughout history that women really started to express themselves within society and if this cover is any indication of how flashy and sheik they really looked, then sign me up! When I think Flappers I think long cigarette holders and multiple strands of pearls, as well as a bobbed hairstyle. These women really introduced style and charisma into their social lives. I am always so intrigued by anything to do with this era and I could listen to the music for hours on end. The cover is so enticing and elegant. I wish I had a time machine and could transport myself straight into this book!

This is the third book in the Flappers series by Jillian Larkin, and let me start off by saying that this is a series well worth submerging yourself in. As stated above, the books are set in the middle of the 1920’s and follow the lives of three extraordinary Flappers who always seem to find trouble and chaos wherever they go. If you follow my blog at all you know that I love stories that follow more than one lead character. Gloria, Lorraine, and Clara’s stories eventually intertwine and only makes for a more interesting story!

Jillian’s writing is the ultimate and her love and interest in the 1920’s really comes through within the pages. The audacity of these three women is equivalent to the styles and attitudes carried by women in the Roaring 20’s. Each woman is outspoken and genuine is her own way. Each chapter is titled with the name of the woman being described and this makes the book so much easier to keep up with! Their stories eventually fuse together and a mystery unfolds that sends the girls on a wild goose chase.

My favorite character was Gloria Carmody, who had just recently gotten out of jail for killing a man who was trying to in turn kill her fiancé. This girl has guts! I loved her and all the gumption that she brought to the pages. Her fiancé was actually an African American man who made his money playing in jazz clubs and trying not to get mauled by angry white mobs. She toured with him as a phenomenal jazz singer. She took a lot of negativity from other people about the man that she chose to associate with, especially during a time such as the 20’s, but she never slowed down and neither did her love for Jerome.

This was actually the first book that I have read in awhile that focused on this era and the realism of it made me want to read more and more. From the jazz music and flutes of champagne to the strands of pearls and the sequined flapper dresses; I was absorbing every word. Larkin provides a well detailed analysis of what life was really like in this decadent time period. The plot along with all the wonderful descriptions only added to the romantic aspects of the book and all the relationships that began to unfold and old loves that were made new. This is definitely an intriguing read that I would suggest for anyone and I hope that Jillian decides to provide us, her readers, with a more inside views on her favorite era!

***A copy of this book was provided to me by Netgalley in return for an honest review***

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Blog Tour and Review: Glamorous Illusions

Author: Lisa Bergren
Publication Date: June 1, 2012
Publisher: David C. Cook
Series: Grand Tour Series #1

It was the summer of 1913, and Cora Kensington's life on the family farm has taken a dark turn. Not only are the crops failing, so is her father's health. Cora is carrying on, helping her mother run their Montana farm until a stranger comes to call, and everything changes. Cora then learns a secret that will radically change her future: she is the illegitimate daughter of a copper king who has come to claim her.
Cora is invited to take the "Grand Tour" of Europe, a journey intended to finish a person's education, to solidify an understanding of ancient culture and contemporary refinement. As she travels from England to France with half-siblings she's never known, Cora encounters the blessings of the Kensington family name, as well as the curses. But when an unbidden love begins to form, she realizes the journey is only beginning.

Faced with the challenge of accepting her father, new family, and the identity that comes with it, Cora also struggles to accept that she is also the daughter of the one true King-a Father who is the only One who can truly heal.

As soon as I saw the Eiffel Tower pictured in the background I was so willing to read this book! I am all about some Paris. The cover is just beautiful and when you see the dress that Cora is wearing on the front cover it will just mesmerize you. The tan and pink colors add a vintage feel and it appears as if the sun is about to set. I honestly do not think I have view a more beautiful cover all year.  

Cora Kensington is a small town girl from Montana whose life changes in one swift moment and she is whisked away on a Grand Tour of Europe. This is truly a rags to riches story and Cora has a hard time believing it herself. At times she dreams of having nice things and pretty gowns, but she never actually thinks that all of that could ever possibly be hers. She is introduced to family that she has never known and journeys into a world that is far different from her own. She leaves her mother and father behind and becomes a beautiful and admirable young woman.

The whole premise of being whisked away to Europe in order to finish one’s education is quite intriguing. I found myself being rather envious of Cora at times. The talk of ballrooms, elegant gowns, and royal princes has Cora’s mind spinning and at the same time she cannot wait to grab her own little taste of adventure. This book only added to my appreciation to the European continent; so refined and picturesque. I was delighted to take this trip with Cora because at first she did not think that she deserved something as wonderful as a Grand Tour education and as her character developed she came to find that she was just as worth as anyone else.

I absolutely loved Cora as a character because once she reached past her hesitations she was quite adventurous. She thrived on it actually. Here is one of my favorite quotes by her, “In the last year, I’d decided I loved learning. It fed me. Expanded me. Shaped me” (14). Cora wanted to become a teacher and she had a deep passion that continued to instill a strong drive within her. She knew that there was more outside of her little sleepy hometown just waiting for her to seek it out. I could really connect with Cora and appreciate everything that she stood for.

Cora was up against many obstacles in this book, and one of those being her newly discovered siblings. They were not all as welcoming as she would have hoped they would be. Some, such as Vivian, saw Cora as unrefined and often feared that Cora would ruin their good name. Her siblings never had a worry in the world while she was raised in poverty and prayed every day for enough food and money for her parents to get by. She almost envied them at times and definitely had a very hard time connecting with them. She tried her best to reason with them and even to make them like her. Her oldest sibling Vivian spouted out, “She is not family to me. She is a stray dog my father brought home” (187). Cora had many barriers to break through and at times it was so heart wrenching to see the way she was treated.

My favorite part of this book was Cora’s relationship with their tour guide, Will McCabe. His job was to make sure that the Kensington children make the most of their trip to Europe and that they retain the historical importance of such a journey. His feelings, however, began to lie with Cora. Will was never pushy with Cora, but he made it clear from the start that he would do whatever he had to in order to protect her. He was charming and very sensitive. I admired Will so much because he never gave up on his feelings for Cora even when he was told that it would not be appropriate in the least to romanticize with her.

Did I mention that this is a series? Well, it is and I am so excited for the next book! Lisa Bergren wrote an amazing novel that can make anyone appreciate the grand beauty and elegance of Europe. I cannot compliment this book enough and I did not want to put it down. I am so very proud to add it to my forever growing collection. If you love historical romance and have any desire to see or have seen the marvelous European continent, then you should pick up a copy of this book as soon as possible!

**A copy of this book was provided to me by the Publisher for an honest review**

Lisa Tawn Bergren is the best-selling, award-winning author of over 30 books, with more than 1.5 million copies sold. She just finished writing a Colorado historical trilogy (the first book, Breathe, Sing and Claim), and has begun a teen series called River of Time.

Lisa's time is split between managing home base, writing (including a fair amount of travel writing), consulting and freelance editing (with a little speaking here and there). She's married to Tim, a liturgical sculptor, graphic designer and musician. They have three kids-Olivia (15), Emma (12) and Jack (7).
All five of the Bergrens make their home in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

For more information on Lisa and to view other books written, please visit her website:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Midsummer's Eve Giveaway Winners

I am so happy to announce my two wonderful winners today! This giveaway was definitely a success and has made me want to participate in many more. I have already signed up for two more so be sure to keep an eye out for those! Thank you to everyone who entered and followed (:

My two lucky winners are:

  • Rebecca C.

  • Stephanie L.

I have already contacted both of my winners and they have made their selections! Rebecca chose Darkness Before Dawn and Stephanie chose Enchanted. Thank you so much, again, to everyone who participated. Don’t be strangers!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Book Review: Arise

Author: Tara Hudson
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Harper Collins
Series: Hereafter #2

Amelia—still caught between life and death—must fight for every moment of her relationship with the human boy Joshua. They can hardly even kiss without Amelia accidentally dematerializing. Looking for answers, they go to visit some of Joshua’s Seer relatives in New Orleans. But even in a city so famously steeped in the supernatural, Amelia ends up with more questions than answers…and becomes increasingly convinced that she and Joshua can never have a future together. Wandering through the French Quarter, Amelia meets other in-between ghosts, and begins to seriously consider joining them. And then she meets Gabrielle. Somehow, against impossible odds, Gaby has found a way to live a sort of half-life...a half-life for which Amelia would pay any price. Torn between two worlds, Amelia must choose carefully, before the evil spirits of the netherworld choose for her.

I have read so many reviews on this book and have seen so much buzz about it on Twitter that I decided that I had to have a copy of it for myself. I read the first book in the series awhile ago and honestly I did not even realize that this one was being released. A ghost story is definitely a change of scenery from the norm of vampires, werewolves, and zombies; although each of those is wonderful. A ghostly love story just carries a creepy yet cozy premise to it. The cover of the book is gorgeous! I love the white dress and how it stands out against a dreary, gloomy background. There is, what seems to be, a sort of fog that is drifting behind and all around the character on the front cover whom I am assuming is Amelia herself. This gives the book the added eerie feel that it needs to kick off a great ghost story.

The whole idea of a ghost story is fascinating because it is something that I, at least, do not read often. Amelia Ashley is a ghost, and she is a ghost that is in love with a Seer and a mortal. A Seer is someone who works to exorcise ghosts.  Joshua is very much in love with Amelia even if every time he touches her she is magically transported somewhere out of his reach. Amelia is trying to cope with her feelings about this and she is constantly considering how much better off Joshua would be without her. Their love story was enough to keep me reading for more.

The first chapter immediately catches the reader’s attention. I was instantly transported to Amelia’s life and at times it is a sad and miserable one. She is caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to her life with Joshua and her destiny as a ghost and her future as one. I knew immediately that her situation was too good to be true. She could not forever stay attached to Josh and follow him everywhere that he went throughout his day. It is nice to think about but I knew that it would never last as peacefully as it started out to be.

My favorite part of this book was when Amelia accompanied Josh’s family to New Orleans for a mini vacation to celebrate something like a family reunion. It was very interesting to meet Josh’s family and to find out how interested they were in Amelia. Not to mention, I love New Orleans!! There is so much history and culture that is gathered there and it is the perfect place to write a ghost story. I did not know what to expect when meeting Josh’s family especially knowing that many of them are in fact Seers. Each character had a unique spin and I loved seeing them all react in their own individual way to Josh’s lover being a ghost.

As a ghost and a character, Amelia is fantastic. She is sweet and has a truly genuine spirit. She really has a heart for everyone and tries her best to do what she feels is necessary and best for everyone around her. Plus she takes the whole being dead thing pretty well, not that she has a choice. I really do love her affection for Josh and the true concern that she has for his future. Tara Hudson’s Arise is one that no one should miss. It changes the typical supernatural world for a bit and gives readers a story that is unique when compared to any other.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Blog Tour: Loving Summer

Author: Kailin Gow
Publication Date: May 28, 2012
Publisher: EDGE books
Series: Loving Summer Series

Summer has always looked forward to spending her summers at her Aunt's beach house with the Donovan’s. To her, summers at Aunt Sookie's beach house was magical, especially getting to spend time with the Donovan’s - her best friend Rachel and Rachel's brothers Nathaniel, and Drew. Here at Aunt Sookie's beach house, they can be anyone and anything they dreamed. For Summer, she had always wished to become as pretty as Rachel and for her brothers to think of her as more than Rachel's friend. For Nat and Drew, summers at Aunt Sookie's beach house meant fun and escape, a place where they go to with their mom and sister for the summer, away from city life. They never thought this summer would be different. They never thought things would change as much as they did...and it all began with them falling for and loving Summer.

I am on this contemporary reading kick this summer so I think that this book fit in really well. I could obviously tell that I was going to be reading a romance after seeing the couple on the cover. I think the colors really popped out from the background, which of course always makes me pick up a book. The slight hint of the ocean in the background is always alluring when reading, especially when I found out that the book is taking place in Malibu!! The only thing that I do not like about the cover is that is looks so posed. I think they should have tried to look more natural.

I am torn between how to feel about this book. I would not say that I completely hated it, but I did really love it either. I feel like I have read this book a million times over. Summer is our main character and she is caught up in a love situation with feelings for 3 different boys who all have feelings for her. I just felt like three boys were a little much. If you are going to write a book like this with 3 different romantic connections then it needs to be a lot stronger than this attempt. It was just so generic; they kiss, they hug, they share their deepest darkest secrets with one another, and then they fight about something very immature.

Summer was not the best leading character either. She was a bit naïve and at times I felt like she was only thinking about herself. All she thinks or talks about is debating which guy she should be with and for what reasons. She reminds me a lot of Bella in the Twilight movies because she is constantly whining about the situation she is in caught up between guys. I mean really who complains about that? Summer is just your typical beach girl with perfect hair and skin and really she gets no more depth than just that.

I was pleased with the male characters in this book! All 3 of them were so different from each other! They had different personalities, aspirations, faults, and even reasons for liking Summer. These characters had depth! They all approached their feelings for Summer differently and that made it even more interesting to read as well. My favorite guy was definitely Drew. You could say that I am a bit of a “Team Drew” fan! I like him the best just because he is so real and is not afraid to put himself out there for Summer. He knows that he is not perfect, but he is willing to try his hardest for Summer’s affection.

The whole storyline caught my attention as well and I really enjoyed that part too. These four kids are whisked out to Malibu to spend their summer with their “Aunt Sookie,” who used to babysit them all as children. They have not seen each other in three years, so that makes the story that much more interesting just to see how each one has changed and how they remembered the others. The four of them really do have a lot of fun together. Even if Summer gets on my nerves; altogether they make a great cast to read about.  I will more than likely read the next installment in this series even though I am not too crazy about Gow’s writing style. Her storylines are good and this was overall a fast and easy read!

I am so happy to be a part of my first blog tour today and I encourage you all to head over to Supa Girl Blog Tours and see what she has coming up next!!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Midsummer's Eve Giveaway

Again, this giveaway will be for an Ebook copy compatiable with a Nook or Kindle. I just feel like Ebooks do not get enough credit. So let's put them to use. I love my e-readers and use them often (: I will purchase copies of the books that both winners choose and then will send the files to them! Seeing as how this is for an Ebook copy I am so happy to make this giveaway International.
  • There will be 2 winners and each gets to choose ONE E-book!
  • The winners will have 48 hours to respond with their choice before I pick someone else.
  • Title are listed below.
  • Make sure you go and check out all the other great giveaways!
  • You may now enter my giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter below!
  • Good luck and I am so excited to be hosting my first giveaway hop!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 18, 2012

Book Review: Short-Straw Bride

Author: Karen Witemeyer
Publication Date: June 1, 2012
Publisher: Bethany House

No one steps on Archer land. Not if they value their life. But when Meredith Hayes overhears a lethal plot to burn the Archer brothers off their ranch, a twelve-year-old debt compels her to take the risk.

Fourteen years of constant vigilance hardens a man. Yet when Travis Archer confronts a female trespasser with the same vivid blue eyes as the courageous young girl he once aided, he can't bring himself to send her away. And when an act of sacrifice leaves her injured and her reputation in shreds, gratitude and guilt send him riding to her rescue once again.

Four brothers. Four straws. One bride. Despite the fact that Travis is no longer the gallant youth Meredith once dreamed about, she determines to stand by his side against the enemy that threatens them both. But will love ever be hers? Or will Travis always see her merely as a short-straw bride?

I have always said that I was born in the wrong era or time period. I believe that the Wild West would have suited me just fine. I was made for corsets and huge skirts as crazy as that sounds. I have so much respect for women of that time and place and that is one thing that drew me to this book. I love western stories. The man and woman on the front cover just look so cozy and sweet and I love how the name of the book is tied into the picture on the cover! I think it is so eye-catching when that happens!

Our story starts in Palestine, Texas with a lovely character named Meredith Hayes. Her story immediately drops us into her life and allows us to unravel one of her most cherished secrets; her love for Travis Archer. We soon learn that Meredith is being compromised for marriage to a man who only wants her for her inherited land. Meredith also hears the dreaded man discussing a plan to burn Archer land in order to try and “convince” the four Archer brothers to sell. She immediately takes off for the Archer’s farm in order to warn Travis and his brothers about the dangers to come.

Meredith’s life takes a whole different turn here. She has stained her reputation by putting herself in this situation and it does not look good to the inner community that Meredith was found in the company of four grown men. In order to protect her purity, Meredith must marry one of them. From here I do not want to spoil anymore of the story for you all.

Meredith is at first portrayed to be young and caught up in her feelings for Travis Archer. Meredith proves everyone wrong, even I, who did have hesitations and worries about her at first. In a time of distress and animosity Meredith proves herself in coming to the Archers’ aid. She even thinks such thoughts to herself as this one, “She was smart and strong and capable, and any man who thought different needed his opinion adjusted” (58). I love it! She completely surprised me with all the sass she brought to the table. This is a Christian Historical fiction book and the references to the Bible and to God are very personable and enduring. Some of Meredith’s trials and tribulations become very heart wrenching, but her comfort in God is something that she depends on daily.   

The four Archer brothers could, by themselves, make a fabulous story. I love stories that include different numbers on siblings because each one is different and they each bring a different spice to the spice rack. The Archer’s are described by Meredith here, “Watching the Archer brothers eat was like watching a twister blow thorough the room. Meredith sat with her elbows tucked close to her side, afraid to do more than occasionally raise her fork to her mouth for fear of being rammed by a reaching arm or thumped by a tossed biscuit” (56). The brothers are a little less refined when it comes to how to act in front of a lady and it takes them time to adjust to a new woman being in their midst. I love seeing each of them open up to here and accept her in a way that is so acknowledgeable, especially on the part of four grown men!

This book was so brilliantly written because there is not just one conflict but another conflict will spin off of the first and so on. The characters faced many obstacles and I believe that this is great way to see each of them grow. The book was action packed and never let you sit still in the Archer home for long. They were constantly avoiding some type of threatening danger and together they faced anything. By the end of the book their bond as a family is truly the strongest and they are more trusting and understanding of one another. I wish that Karen would write a story for each of the four brothers! Maybe I should suggest that (:

***A copy of this book was provided to me by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion***