Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Virginity Mission

The Virginity Mission
Provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Mac is a 20 some year old virgin on a scientific expedition in the Australian rainforest. She's stepping outside of her comfort zone to push herself into opening up more and hoping that she will also find someone with a taste for cherry. Right from the start her lust is fueled by Jason, the Army sergeant that is there with his team to support the expedition. The problem is that everyone has been warned that fraternization between the solders and the students is strictly prohibited. You know what they say about forbidden fruit....

This is a very short and quick read, about 100 pages. It starts out with Mac's sighting of Jason and takes off from there. There is a little push and pull in the beginning but you pretty much get the idea from the start that Jason is as attracted to Mac as she is to him. Jason is in his 30's and much more experienced and Mac comes off quite naive but for being a complete story that's wrapped up as little time as it is, it's a good read. Check it out! 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Letters to Katie

Letters to Katie
Provided by BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review.

Katherine Yoder is at that age where her friends are married and having babies yet she is still single and pining after Johnny Mullet. She doesn't want to marry just for the culture and their expectations; she wants to marry for love. Johnny is who she has loved since childhood however, as far as she knows, he just sees her as his sister's friend. While she goes through her days, working at a local pie shop, a possible, new suitor piques her interest.  Will she give him a chance at her heart?

Johnny Mullet is at a point in his life where he wants to make it on his own, not only to prove that he can but to also feel like he is worthy of Katherine. He's come to realize that he is in love with her but until he makes a go of the horse farm that he is on a mission to get up and running, he doesn't want to let her know how he feels. There are hurdles for him to overcome and compromises he must consider and make but when Katherine becomes ill he reevaluates everything and decides the time has come to make the leap.

The book is a nice and easy read but it just seemed like a lot more could have been done with the love triangle. It was a pretty simple angle really and I just kept thinking that just because the Amish lifestyle is supposed to be simple doesn't mean the books about it have to be also. All in all it's a happy ending type of read. Katherine comes down will an illness where she ends up losing her memory and now she has 2 guys interested in her. Who will she remember and/or choose? It's pretty predictable but it's a happy go lucky type of read if that's what you are into.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Breaking the Rules

Breaking the Rules
Provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Navy officer Joe Figueroa made a decision one afternoon to see a fortune teller and what he was told charted his course in life.

Susana Cigan, a true Romani with the gift of sight, worked in a shop by her Grandmother's side. At the young age of 13 she had one of her first readings and was taken aback by what it was that she saw.

It was during the chance encounter that Susana let Joe know that he'd meet the love of his life that evening. There was some attraction between the 2 of them & while Susana knew who the woman was, she didn't provide that detail. Joe leaves the shop with a renewed sense of his future and taking the reading as his guide; he meets a woman he believes is the love of his life and marries her.

The book jumps ahead to show that the marriage was anything but good & has now ended. The 'love of his life' was caught with another and so now Joe is once again single but rather than mingle, he's in search of the fortune teller that he feels is to blame for what's transpired. Once he finds Susana again however, he quickly learns that her prediction was true and it was his interpretation that was a little off.

This was a quick read and I haven't read a lot of books that get into the Romani/Gypsy culture so it was great to read some of that. It shows the hold that the culture has on their people and the struggles they go through to have their own individuality. At the core is the love story and it's a simple one but sometimes that's really all you need.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Until I Break

Until I Break
Read May 19th-20th, 2013

This book I actually purchased myself and I had to move it up on the reading list because the author was getting so much negative feedback that she actually pulled it from the shelves, so to say.  M. Leighton, writer of some pretty erotic books, pulled this one & why?? The subject matter I guess. I didn't actually take the time to read reviews and such. I follow her on facebook & she posted that it was being pulled and I thought "Hmmmm, I bought that one not too long ago so I should check it out to see what the fuss is about." What did I find? Nothing any more touchy than some other books I've read. I did read some blog posts from the author after reading the book to see what she was thinking and you have to respect her for her view on things but it's sad that she was driven to the point where she felt she needed to pull a story that was pretty close to her heart & the heart of her artistic freedom. Needless to say, those that missed out.... well they missed out because it was a good read!

The main character is Samantha Jansen who is a well-know author that publishes under the alias of Laura Drake. She disguises herself whenever going in public as the author and lives vicariously through that 2nd self that she has created. In her own life she's very private, reserved and haunted. The genre that she chooses to write is romance/erotica and the books are pretty much her fantasies, until....

In walks Alec Brand, right into a book signing and all Samantha's fantasies in the flesh. Alec has his own secrets and haunts which find Laura Drake, aka Samantha, hard to walk away from. There's a darker side to Alec which he's trying to tame and part of him thinks that this woman may just be what the doctor calls for.

There's a twist in the read and if you are one to try to predict, it's pretty easy to predict it in this read. I myself am thinking that may be what got people in an uproar but you know what??  It's a book and it's happened in movies, which I do not believe have ever been threatened to be pulled because of it. Each person is free to voice their opinion of course and what may float one person's boat could sink anothers but really it's all up to you to decide if it's sink or swim. Sink in and enjoy it for what it is or put it down & swim onto another read more in your comfort zone that is;-)

What we have here is a story about 2 damaged souls that find each other and help each other take a path through life that may just find them some comfort and love. If given a chance, it's really a beautiful tale of healing... or the path to it. Sure you'll dislike Alec at times, hell... you'll dislike Laura at times but isn't that the way of most of these reads? There's always that push and pull, it's what helps keep you reading right? Well, if you didn't get a copy of this one before it was pulled then like I said... you missed out. If you did and you haven't read it then what are you waiting for??  

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Pushing the Limits Trifecta

Books marketed as "Young Adult" make me feel a little guilty for loving them.... just saying:-)

I have to say that I do like this series a lot, so much so that I had to read them all as fast as I could. So this review will be on all 3 of them so it's rather long however it's in 3 parts so each section can be read as a stand along. Katie McGarry does an excellent job providing all the teen angst that is mixed in with the troubles and issues of being in the foster care system and dealing with the 'normal' kids who have 'normal' families.  Each book focuses on a couple amongst a core group of characters so that each book is linked in the series.

Dare You To (Pushing the Limits, #2)
Provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

In Dare You To we have the story of Beth and Ryan and the one that I began with and got me hooked into having to read the other 2 out.

Beth Risk struggles between helping her mom & letting it be what could ultimately ruin her chance of a better life for herself. She's grown up with the role of being the mother for someone who should have been looking out for her in life. Time and time again she is let down but continues to be her mother's shield and then escapes to her aunt & uncle's house for refuge. Beth's aunt and uncle aren't the best role models either but they do provide a home to Isaiah and Noah, their foster children and Beth's best friends.  After a particularly bad entanglement with Beth, her mom & her mom's abusive boyfriend Beth ends up being arrested because she takes the blame for her mom to keep her out of trouble. In swoops her uncle Scott, the uncle that once promised to always take care of her but then left to try to make a better life for them... yet he didn't come back for her... until now.

Ryan Stone is the kid from the 'right' side of the tracks. He's the baseball all-star with dreams of going to the majors.... even if they aren't all his dreams. On the outside he appears to have the perfect life but the walls of one's house aren't made of windows for reasons, it's easier to keep things hidden. Ryan and his group of friends like to play games of dare but little did he know that one of those dares would be too hard to let go of. 

It's a story of 2 young people who struggle through the troubles of life and find in each other the strength that they each lack on their own to make it through. It may be a young adult book but there is a young adult in us all that can definitely appreciate it!

This is book 3 in a series but it's actually considered the 2nd. I had to read book 1 & 1.5 and turns out book 1 I liked the best.  I didn't read them in order but it really isn't necessary to. Here's a little on those:

Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1)
Read May 31st-June 5th 2013

This book is my favorite so far in the series. I loved it from start to finish! This book is about Echo Emerson and Noah Hutchins. Katie had some great lines in this book. Right from the start I was loving Echo for her description of her parents;

"My father checked his watch from the chair to my right and, on my left, the Wicked Witch of the West shifted impatiently. I was missing first period calculus, my father was missing some very important meeting, and my stepmother from Oz? I'm sure she was missing her brain."

The tale of Echo is that she is dealing with the aftermath of losing her brother and an entanglement with her mom that scarred her pretty badly, leaving everyone talking of her taking a ride on the crazy train. Now she's dealing with some memory loss and some counseling sessions that are hoping to help bring back some of those memories.

Then there is Noah. He's a foster kid that is in the system due to losing his parents in a fire. He has 2 brothers that he is fighting to get back into his life. He's got his friendship with Beth & Isaiah that help him make it through his daily struggles but he's looking for more. If it weren't for the loss of his parents and being in the foster system he would have been on the path to becoming a baseball star or more. Now the anger of being in the system & torn away from his brothers is something he's got to fight through so that he can become something the system will see as a good home to get his brothers back.

Noah and Echo meet as they cross paths during seeing the counselor and they are then thrown together for more. It's starts out as tutoring, then to help each other uncover some secrets that the counselor's files hold, but ultimately to become each other's savior. They've both encountered loss of someone they loved dearly and struggle with the way their lives have gone since. In their pain they find the calm that each of them need to find their ways back to some sort of happiness. 

This was pretty emotional and enduring. My favorite passage, or the one that hit me on a personal level I guess, was;

"The worst type of crying wasn't the kind everyone could see--the wailing on street corners, the tearing at clothes. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it. A section withered and became a scar on the part of your soul that survived. For people like me and Echo, our souls contained more scar tissue than life."

There are definitely some little surprises here & there throughout this read and I was just too entrenched to even try to guess some of them but others you can figure are coming.  You'll want some tissues for this read but do read it, don't let that be something that stops you!

Crossing the Line (Pushing the Limits, #1.5)
Read May 28th, 2013

This is a quick read, coming in at under 100 pages but Katie McGarry packs a lot in those pages. This one is the story of Lila Mccormick and Lincoln Turner.

Lila is the best friend of Echo Emerson (from book 1) and Lincoln is the brother of Josh Turner. As we know from book 1, Echo's brother has died and along with him so did Lincoln's brother so the 2 here are brought together through that tragedy.

Lila and Lincoln meet during the funeral of Aries Emerson. Lila is there for her friend Echo & Lincoln is there because his family felt it would help get through their loss. The 2 of them bond during the quiet moments each of them take and then carry on a 2 year relationship through letter writing. The old tried and true art of letter writing that is... until things get out of hand and letter writing isn't quite fast enough.

Through their letters they have fallen for one another and make plans to go to college together. For Lila it's a big step out of her comfort zone to leave home and be on her own so she's looking to Lincoln to be her home away from home to help her. She soon finds out that he's been keeping some things from her that can change everything and that then threatens their blossoming relationship. Lincoln isn't willing to sit back and let that happen so he takes matters into his own hands and helps Lila see the light. 

I would have loved to read this in a fuller version. I guess with it being 1.5 it's got that little "stuck in the middle" sort of feel to it that the 1/2 books can sometimes have. It would have been great to have a little more of the back story around the funeral and such since book 1 takes up after all of that. Don't skip it though, it's a great read and sweet that they fall in love through their letters to one another.

Overall I say check the series out!  I can't wait for the next book, Crash Into You. This one will focus on Isaiah Walker, who will finally have his day. Isaiah we meet in book 1 and hear more about in book 2 but basically he is, or was, in love with Beth Risk.... or so he thought.... 

Gotta wait until Nov of this one....

Crash Into You (Pushing the Limits, #3)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Birds of a Feather

Birds of a Feather: A Book of Idioms and Silly Pictures
Provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Ever hear the little idioms people say and wonder how they came to be? You know, the cute little things line "ants in your pants" or "like two peas in a pod"? Well, this is a kid's book so it doesn't really get into all that detail but it does provide a cute look at the idioms and what they really mean.

The pictures shown for each one depict little animals in different scenarios that fit the literal meaning of each.  Then if you look closer at the bottom, upside down, you'll see some tiny writing that gives the the figurative meaning of the the phrase. It's a cute way to introduce these common idioms to your child and hey, you may even find one or two that are explained a little better to you also:-)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Peek-a-boo Monsters

Peek-A-Boo Monsters
Provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is a very short but cute read for kids. It was purple with a polk-a-dot monster in the window so I couldn't pass up a free review to check it out... you know, for the inner child in me:-)

The monster pictures throughout are more on the adorable side than the scary, it's about 10 pages long and very short on the words so it makes for a great book for the very young kids. I think they'd get a kick out of pointing out the various monsters and getting their own creative juices flowing on drawing up some of their own. If you have a child that is afraid of the boogy monster under the bed or in their closets, this fun read may help nip that in the bud and show them that they are just goofy creations of the imagination.

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