Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Refuge of the Heart by Ruth Logan Herne | Review

Title: Refuge of the Heart
Author: Ruth Logan Herne
Pages: 336
Franciscan Media
Goodreads Rating: 4.73 stars
Published: September 25th, 2015
Source: Paperback/from publisher

District Attorney Mitchell Sanderson wanted for nothing and lost everything in a tragic accident. A dogged worker, Mitch’s conviction rate earned him respect and trust. Now up for re-election, Mitch’s law-and-order persona makes him a shoo-in candidate. But when faith, conscience and love of a troubled refugee ripple the smooth waters of his existence, can Mitch risk everything for love?

Magdalena Serida fought her way out of the terrors of a government-quelled insurgent uprising in Chechnya. The church-sponsored refugee knows the horrors of war first-hand. Now in America with her five-year-old sister, Lena is uncertain who to trust. Her Christian faith has maintained her through the loss of her family, but when Mitch Sanderson shows interest, Lena longs to take a chance. Should she open herself up to this man of law and order, a man who imprisons women like her? Or slip quietly back into the shadowed fringe of anonymity?

But choices slip away when Mitch’s friend spews half-truths about Lena, rumors that cost Mitch his new love and possibly the election. Can he find his way to a faith deep enough to love again, and to offer Lena the refuge of his heart.

My Thoughts:

Okay, I'm honestly having a little trouble collecting all my thoughts for this!  So this might be a little more of a bullet review.  Disclaimer: I received this book free from the author for an honest review.  Here I go!

The book follows the story of Lena and her little sister Anna, both refugees from Chechnya who have been in the US for a couple years.  Lena was working towards a nursing degree so she can continue doing what God had called her for and provide for her sister (she had just graduated with her doctorate before her and her mother were taken by a Russian officer).  She had many things happen to both her and her mother that still haunt her, things she just does not want to share with anyone unless absolutely necessary.

Mitch Sanderson was... content with where he was in life.  He was skating by in life, had dove into his work so hard that he had absolutely no time for anything else.  After losing his wife and unborn child in an accident, everything he had truly loved was gone and he didn't want to face it.  Then, one day, he helped a young woman with her flat tire, and he started to see what he was missing.

I love the story of Mitch and Lena (and Anna)!  I was drawn into their world and hoping they would both learn to trust the other and lean on them.  At first it seemed like Lena would have the hardest time trusting Mitch, and that was true.  But Mitch had a difficult time trusting Lena with his heart as well.  At one point he pushed her away so hard, and it was all because he couldn't trust that she would tell him the truth - without even asking her one simple question: "why?"

Ruth Logan Herne is a wonderful story teller, bringing characters to life in a world you will get so engrossed in, you'll feel like you're there.  I actually had my fireplace going one of the days I was reading, because I just felt so cold when she was describing how cold Lena and Anna always were during the cold months where they live!  I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I hope anyone reading this review decides to pick it up and enjoys it too.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Taming Him by Kennedy Fox | Review

Title: Taming Him
Author: Kennedy Fox
Pages: 394
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Goodreads Rating: 4.39 stars
Published: January 30th, 2018
Source: eARC/from author


Alex Bishop is your typical cowboy.
Charming, sexy, and wears a panty-melting smirk. 

Working on the ranch helped build his solid eight-pack and smoking body. He's every girl's wet fantasy, and he knows it too. Alex doesn't follow the rules of your typical playboy bachelor. After wining and dining his dates and giving them the best night of their lives, he always sends flowers and calls the next day—even if it's to say, let's just be friends. His mama taught him manners after all, and his Southern blood knows how to be a gentleman. Still, that isn’t enough to tame the wildest of the Bishop brothers. 

River Lancaster has finally met the man of her dreams. Too bad after six months of romantic bliss, she finds out he's married. With a broken heart and blind rage, she books herself a ticket to Key West, Florida. Tired of cheaters and liars, she’s set on escaping to forget he ever existed. Who needs a man when there's an all-you-can-drink margarita bar, anyway? That's what she tells herself until she bumps into the right guy who can make all those bad memories disappear.

Even if it's only temporarily. 

Two weeks on the beach is what they both need. No strings attached, no expectations, no broken hearts. Too bad the universe has other plans—one that'll change the entire course of their lives in just nine short months.

My Thoughts:

I have mixed feelings for some of the Kennedy Fox books I've read, but that's not to say I don't enjoy them!  I love how they portray the lead women in the book as strong and not in desperate need of a man, but when finding one that completes them so well they know to hold on to that {or run and get him back!}.  

I love River.  I love that she's a nurse, and her reasons for being a PICU nurse.  I know a lot of nurses, so seeing her finally take some time to herself and go on vacation at the beginning made me do a little sigh for her.  She has such a big heart!  That being said, I"m a little surprised in her choice of best friend, because she seemed to just be wasted the entire trip and wanting River to just find a random hookup to bang her brains out {how is that what someone in their late-20s wants to do for their entire vacation?  I get the strong libido and wanting her to loosen up, but good lord!}.

Alex is a major player, but at least he knows he is and doesn't try to sugar-coat it for any of the woman he uses.  Of course, when him and River meet in Key West, they immediately click and start a bit of a shag-here-bucket-list. They don't spend the entire vacation in bed and do go and see some of the sights, but they do spend a good deal of time between the sheets {or in the water, on the beach, etc}.  I didn't have too much of a problem with that, really.  I mean, this is a sexy book, so I expected it to be, well, sexy.

After parting ways, the story follows Alex more than River, and the player went from shagging any pretty thing who'd let him to being so hung up over the woman he spent a week and a half with that everyone knows who she is and is getting fed up with Alex moping about her.  A few of his brothers straight up tell him that they don't believe she's even real.

The story takes a pleasant turn, when River confronts Alex about being pregnant.  Now, I have a little bit of a frustration with this point.  I understand people make mistakes, condoms aren't 100% effective, and stuff can interfere with birth control pills.  Seeing that River is an intelligent adult and a nurse, she should have known that being on an antibiotic would make her birth control pill ineffective.  She acknowledges that after she's talking to Alex about being pregnant, but I would think a nurse who doesn't want to get pregnant from a fling with a guy she has said she won't even contact after their week together would be hyper aware of how her birth control work and make sure a condom was used no mater what since that would also protect her from STDs.

Another thing that drove me bonkers was how every man in the Bishop family thought they would be responsible for any woman getting pregnant with multiples.  One of them is a flipping doctor, for goodness sake!  He should know the basic biology that a man just provides the sperm, it's all up to either the woman with how many times she ovulates or God and if he decides to split the fertilized egg.  {BTW, if you're wondering the twins in the Bishop family are identical, so it's totally just a random, God decided it would happen kind of thing.}

Overall, two big quirks aside, I did enjoy this book.  Would I recommend it to others?  I think that would really depend on their taste and if I know quirks like the ones in this book would bug them.  I know a lot of bookish friends who wouldn't care and would just enjoy it, and for the most part I really did too.  But between those two things and the overabundance of cussing, I just had a hard time with it.  I know cursing is something pretty common in a lot of these kinds of books, but it just rubs me the wrong way to be used so much and so flippantly.  If that doesn't bother you, you'd probably enjoy this book a lot more than I did!  I found myself mentally replacing some of the unneeded curse words with my "mommy versions" or even just something not so intense/harsh.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Beau & The Belle by R.S. Grey | Review

Title: The Beau & The Belle
Author: R.S. Grey
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Goodreads Rating: 4.44 stars
Published: February 2nd, 2018
Source: eARC/from author

Beau Fortier starred in most of my cringe-worthy teenage fantasies.

I met him when I was a junior in high school, a time that revolved exclusively around bad hair, failed forays into flirting, and scientific inquiries into which brand of toilet paper worked best for stuffing bras.

That is, until Beau moved into the small guest house just beyond my bedroom window. 

A 24-year-old law student at Tulane, Beau was as mysterious to me as second base (both in baseball and in the bedroom). He was older. Intimidating. Hot. Boys my age had chicken legs and chubby cheeks. Beau had calloused hands and a jaw cut from steel. Our interactions were scarce—mostly involving slight stalking on my end—and yet deep down, I desperately hoped he saw me as more of a potential lover than a lovesick loser.

Turns out, I was fooling myself. My fragile ego learned that lesson the hard way.

Now, ten years later, we’re both back in New Orleans, and guess who suddenly can’t take his eyes off little ol’ me.

My old friend, Mr. Fortier.

But things have changed. I’m older now—poised and confident. My ego wears a bulletproof vest. The butterflies that once filled my stomach have all perished.

When I was a teenager, Beau warned me to guard my heart.

Let’s hope he knows how to guard his.

My Thoughts:

You've read the blurb, so I'm not going to tell you what The Beau & The Belle is about.  I will tell you it'll rock your socks off, and possibly make you cringe as you remember any embarrassing teenage crushes you had in the past {oh lord, I'm just glad none of mine ever lived with my family, even in a guest house out back!}.

I love Lauren, both the past version and the present one.  In the beginning she has the upbringing many people could only wish for, and even though she resents some of it {cotillion}, she knows its ridiculous to slap a gift horse in the face {this mainly pertains to her schooling, which she almost wants to toss for her crush}.  Thankfully she doesn't, she goes to school and becomes an amazing career woman, who uses her knowledge and a lot of trust money to start a new business after working for a very prestigious company for a few years out of college.

And Beau... poor, handsome, thoughtful Beau.  First falling for her innocence and trying to protect it from stupid high school boys, their paths cross again 10 years later and he's struck with the woman she's become, as well as how much of Lauren's younger self he still sees in her.

The romance between the two is sizzling, so much so that I think my tablet got a little on the hot side.  I might have had to fan myself off a bit.  I love that this can't be classified quite as friends-to-lovers, but at the same time its not enemies-to-lovers.  I think Lauren would call it the later and Beau would call it the former!  Maybe it's more of a made-for-each-other romance?  They both compliment each other so well, as soon as they come back into each other's lives after 10 years apart.

I love a good comedy and a slow burn romance, and TB&TB brings both.  After being immersed in the world of New Orleans, I have now put it on my bucket list {much to my husband's chagrin}.  Rachel is so detailed in her writing, I felt like I was actually there.  It's currently about 55 degrees or cooler where I live, but I found myself sipping lemonade while reading {and thankful it wasn't Mrs. LeBlanc's acid-like lemonade!}.
Rachel has done it again. As far as I'm concerned, she is the queen of Rom-Com, and I'm not sure she will ever be replaced.  I've read 4 {or 5?} of her books, and each one has been at least a solid 4 star read for me, more often then not landing in the 5 star rating.  The Beau & The Belle might be my favorite so far, though The Foxe & The Hound is a very close second!

Monday, January 22, 2018

The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber | Review

Title: The Evaporation of Sofi Snow
Author: Mary Weber
Pages: 352
Thomas Nelson
Goodreads Rating: 3.51 stars
Published: June 6th, 2017
Source: Hardcover//Bought


Ever since the Delonese ice-planet arrived eleven years ago, Sofi's dreams have been vivid. Alien. In a system where Earth's corporations rule in place of governments and the humanoid race orbiting the moon are allies, her only constant has been her younger brother, Shilo. As an online gamer, Sofi battles behind the scenes of Earth's Fantasy Fighting arena where Shilo is forced to compete in a mix of real and virtual blood sport. But when a bomb takes out a quarter of the arena, Sofi's the only one who believes Shilo survived. She has dreams of him. And she's convinced he's been taken to the ice-planet.

Except no one but ambassadors are allowed there.

For Miguel, Earth's charming young playboy, the games are of a different sort. As Ambassador to the Delonese, his career has been built on trading secrets and seduction. Until the Fantasy Fight's bomb goes off. Now the tables have turned and he's a target for blackmail. The game is simple: Help the blackmailers, or lose more than anyone can fathom, or Earth can afford.

My Thoughts:

Set in the future after the Earth has gone through two more World Wars and all but destroyed itself, The Evaporation of Sofi Snow begins with the sudden arrival of an alien planet next to the moon at the end of the fourth World War.  People called it Planet Delon, The Delonese Death, and Sofi called it as "the blasted planet from the pit of you know where".

Years after the arrival of Planet Delon and Earth has received helped in more ways than one: the aliens, being eons ahead of Earth and humanity, gave them medical and technological assistance in return for a safe place to keep their planet. Humanity itself divided up into Corporations instead of countries, totalling 30 in all, with Sofi's mother as the CEO of Corp 30.

Sofi and her brother Shilo are both part of a gamer team who represent their Corp at the FanFight III games, a fast ticket to fame.  Or to lost freedom.  Sofi and her coding team are the best of the best, and on track to win the third FanFight games when the games are targeted and attacked by forces unknown.  With Sofi barely escaping with her life and Shilo who knows where, the games are replaced with a quest for answers and finding her brother as Sofi must also ask for help from the one person on all of earth so loathes the most: Miguel, the young Ambassador to the Delonese.

Miguel plays the part of a playboy very well, but he also has bigger fish to fry than those offering one night stands.  Being blackmailed by some unknowns, he has to figure out who's trying to use him and why they need Corp 24 to go down in flames.

Sofi and Miguel are an unlikely pairing, but they work so well together in this book.  Sofi has all the tech knowledge Miguel needs to figure out what's going on, and Miguel has access to the Delonese, which Sofi is in desperate need of.  The speed at which things happen in this book will leave your mind reeling and have your heart hammering along with the characters as they discover twist upon twist involving the Corps and the Delonese.  I was shocked and stunned with where this story went, and am dying to read the next book to see what happens {seriously, that was a huge cliffhanger!}.

Mary Weber has quickly become one of my favorite authors, and this book did not disappoint.  While her Storm Siren trilogy was amazing, The Evaporation of Sofi Snow sheds light on something that is going on in our world today: human trafficking.  While we don't have to face off with aliens, we still have humans who are being kidnapped and sold into slavery, here in our very cities, towns, states.  There are over 25,000 people enslaved, and we need to protect ourselves and others against this and help fight for the freedom of those being oppressed.  I'm so grateful for authors who bring to light different causes and needs that we're facing in our own world through their writing.  Mary proves that it doesn't matter what you write about, you can always share your other passions and the world's needs through your stories.  Without being preachy or pushy; with compassion and a heart on fire.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Wrath and The Dawn by by Renee Ahdieh | Review

Title: The Wrath and The Dawn
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Pages: 404
 G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Goodreads Rating: 4.18 stars
Published: May 12th, 2015
Source: Hardcover//Bought


One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

My Thoughts:

I'd seen this book floating around the blogsphere for a while, and then a few people had posted photos of the new covers on their Instagram pages.  But the real push to get this book and read it was when I saw my bookish soulmate gave it a 5 star review on Goodreads.  I've yet to read a book recommended by her that wasn't at least a 4 star read, and this did not disappoint.

Shahrzad is such a well written character - she has courage and guts; courage to do what she knows she needs to do and guts to actually get it done.  Although, she learns after a while that what she thought needed to be done isn't actually the case anymore.  She begins to have feelings for Khalid, and, while she doesn't let that blind her {well, not too much}, she does let it make her hesitate just enough {for what you'll have to read and find out!}.

There is so much to Khalid, and I feel like he didn't get much of the story he deserved.  Yes, I realize he's a secondary character, but, as Ariel in The Little Mermaid says "I want more!"  Maybe I'll get that in the second book; I guess I'll just have to wait and see.  His character was well written, and we as readers do get a great insight into him and his struggle with what he's been cursed to do {as well as those around him who know of the curse and are trying to make sure the worse of it does not come to pass}.

The setting of a desert land in need of water to keep the people healthy and thriving is just perfect, and I love diving into a bit of a different culture {even if a good deal of it is fictional}.  For her first novel, Renee Ahdieh did a subperb job bringing these characters to life and creating a world so alive you get sucked into it every time you open the pages!  I'm excited to read the sequel and see what happens to my beloved Shazi and Khalid!

Friday, November 3, 2017

October Recap!

October was a really good month for me, reading wise!  And also for books, as I discovered Book Outlet {seriously... amazing prices on some great books!} and ordered my first set of books from Book Depository {totally didn't realize they offered free shipping to the States!}.

This month was one of the firsts where I was able to listen to a few audiobooks along with what I was reading {either on my Kindle app or physical books}.  Maybe because its been colder, so we've done more inside then the last few months {which means I can occasionally read a book while the kids play legos, My Little Pony, Star Wars or watch a cartoon}, or maybe its just because this month I've made it more of a priority for any "me time" to be reading or away somewhere that I can listen to my current audiobook, but whatever the case, I read so many more books this month than normal!  My little bookworm heart was so happy.  I started up a couple series that I've been meaning to either start or finish over the past... well, is time really important with that one? Ha ha!  I also finished a series that, frankly, I have mixed feelings about.  I'm not entirely sure what to say about that one, but I did review it.  So I kind of knew what to say.  Moving on.

The last few months I've also joined in on some Instagram book challenges, and I've really enjoyed taking the photos for them.  Plus that's also been a reason I've read more: to see how many books at the end of each month I can complete!  It's been nice getting closure on some series and discovering new amazing authors.

The last few months have been great for me with reading; how have they been for you?  Next goal: start reviewing more books!!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

My Week with the Bad Boy by Brooke Cumberland and Lyla Parish | Review

Title: My Week with the Bad Boy
Author: Brooke Cumberland and Lyra Parish
Pages: 262
Publisher: CreateSpace Independ Publishing Platform
Goodreads Rating: 4.62 stars
Published: November 2nd, 2017
Source: eBook/From Authors


Never trust a man who answers the front door wearing nothing more than a pair of low-cut jeans and a panty-melting smirk.

That should’ve been my first sign.

I write about guys just like him for a living—sexy and charming, yet reluctant to get into a serious relationship. His body screams sex appeal, but his condescending personality makes him a classic f*ckboy. 

And I want nothing to do with that.

Writing romance novels comes with its perks—traveling, meeting new people, creating characters from the voices in my head—but Ethan Rochester enters my life and rearranges all my preconceived notions about writing what inspires you. 

One week is all it took. One week to realize that not everything is as it seems.

One week with the bad boy, and I wanted more.

My Thoughts:

Gah.  I wanted to like this.  Like, a lot.  I really enjoyed most of the Checkmate series, although by the time I got through book 6 I found myself frustrated with all of the unnecessary foul language.  I get it, some people curse a lot.  My husband says I have the mouth of a sailor at times, but I definitely don't drop F bombs in everyday talk... or really any curse words.  Tiny ears in my house with tiny mouths that like to repeat what I saw and ask me what it means.

Vada is a writer in a slump, and Ethan is an artist trying to shake his sad past by keeping everyone {except his Mom and Aunt Millie} at arms length.  That includes only ever having one-night-stands with women he is attracted to.  Until Vada rents the cottage behind his house to cure her writer's block.  Ethan comes on to her strong, and when she discovers that he can help release her tension and make the words for her next novel flow, she's all for a purely physical relationship while she's there for the week.

Like most women, she starts to have feelings for the man she's sleeping with.  Ethan had built mental walls to shield from any emotional attachments, but he finds that Vada seems to fit in his life just perfectly.  Like, despite what happened in his past, she was there and made to be his other half right when he needed it.

I would like to say that, despite the language, I did enjoy the back story to Ethan a lot.  I mean, not how sad it was, but the depth it gave him as a character.  Vada has an interesting history, but Ethan definitely is the one I was drawn to more out of the two {which is funny, because his cocky attitude and cursing kind of rubbed me the wrong way}.  In real life I'm generally not a fan of the bad boys, because they aren't like fictional bad boys - no heart of gold.  Ethan, despite his crass language and rough edges, really does have a heart of gold.

Honestly, if it weren't for the language {and an unnecessary sex scene or two}, I probably would have rated this higher.  But those are just my personal preferences.  If you don't mind the language and lots a wild sex scenes are your thing, then you would probably really like this book!