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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Review: The Mistletoe Promise by Richard Paul Evans

The Mistletoe Promise by Richard Paul Evans, AF, 2014, Hardcover, 251p, My Rating=5
Source: library

Elise Dutton dreads the arrival of another holiday season. Three years earlier, her husband cheated on her with her best friend, resulting in a bitter divorce that left her alone, broken, and distrustful.
Then, one November day, a stranger approaches Elise in the mall food court. Though she recognizes the man from her building, Elise has never formally met him. Tired of spending the holidays alone, the man offers her a proposition. For the next eight weeks—until the evening of December 24—he suggests that they pretend to be a couple. He draws up a contract with four rules:
1. No deep, probing personal questions
2. No drama
3. No telling anyone the truth about the relationship
4. The contract is void on Christmas Day
The lonely Elise surprises herself by agreeing to the idea. As the charade progresses, the safety of her fake relationship begins to mend her badly broken heart. But just as she begins to find joy again, her long-held secret threatens to unravel the emerging relationship. But she might not be the only one with secrets.

Tragedy, struggle, hope, forgiveness, and love ...ingredients that can be found in most of Mr. Evans's romance books. For me, it doesn't get old and works each time! This one was particularly heartrending and with an eye opening perspective that it invoked quite a bit of empathy from me. Truly, this author has a gift with words in relating tender messages of humanity's stretch in dealing with life's difficult circumstances.

I suspect that one reason many take to Mr. Evans's books is because the fictional characters can very well be me or you. Since his fictional characters always find light at the end of the tunnel, therefore, so shall we. It's an inspiring and comforting report.

An excellent sweep you off your feet romance even to the most seemingly unbefitting individuals.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Review: Walk On Water by Richard Paul Evans

Walk On Water (The Walk #5) by Richard Paul Evans, AF, 2014, Hardcover, 320p, My Rating=3.5
Source: library
In this fifth New York Times bestseller in the Walk series, Richard Paul Evans’s hero Alan Christoffersen must say some painful goodbyes and learn some important lessons as he comes to the end of his cross-country walk to Key West.

After the death of his beloved wife, after the loss of his advertising business to his once-trusted partner, after bankruptcy forced him from his home, Alan Christoffersen’s daring cross-country journey—a walk across America, from Seattle to Key West, with only the pack on his back—has taught him lessons about love, forgiveness and, most of all, hope.

Now Alan must again return west to face yet another crisis, one that threatens to upend his world just as he had begun to heal from so much loss, leaving him unsure of whether he can reach the end his journey. It will take the love of a new friend, and the wisdom of an old friend, to help him to finally leave the past behind and find the strength and hope to live again.

This has been an eventful series. Many sights, food, and people. This final installment concluded the 3,000+ mile walk (from Seattle, Washington to Key West, Florida) that Alan undertook. No incredibly memorable people stories along the walk in this book but I did appreciate the time spent with the key characters of the series. There was a sad and poignant moment here but finished with a satisfying ending.

Generally the entire series was entertaining and a breeze to read. One for the file for good comfort reads.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Review: Adultery by Paulo Coelho

Adultery by Paulo Coelho, AF, 2014, Hardcover, 272p, My Rating=2
Source: library

Linda knows she's lucky.

Yet every morning when she opens her eyes to a so-called new day, she feels like closing them again.
Her friends recommend medication.
But Linda wants to feel more, not less.
And so she embarks on an adventure as unexpected as it is daring, and which reawakens a side of her that she - respectable wife, loving mother, ambitious journalist - thought had disappeared.
Even she can't predict what will happen next...

I truly enjoyed Coelho's Alchemist so when I saw this book with his name in big letters, it caught my eye. But, the title caused me pause. I was curious so I picked it up. Well, it was intriguing at first but overall I didn't feel I got anything substantial out of it. Comprehensively it was raw and honest, however, it bordered into the erotica genre. Not what I was expecting from Coelho! So clearly, I was disappointed.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Review: The Butterfly and The Violin by Kristy Cambron

The Butterfly and The Violin (Hidden Masterpiece #1) by Kristy Cambron; 2014; AF -Historical, Christian, Romance; Paperback; 330p; My Rating=5
Source: library

A Mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest corners of Auschwitz--and the loneliest hearts of Manhattan.
Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire for distraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl--a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.
In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William Hanover--the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul--who may be the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together Sera and William slowly unravel the story behind the painting's subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von Bron.
A darling of the Austrian aristocracy of 1942, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.
As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of places: the grim camps of Auschwitz and the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.

I find books based on the holocaust to be a magnet because I anticipate being moved. But unlike ones I've read before this one didn't make me cry. Not because it wasn't stirring but rather intriguing.

This novel was a two for one love story between Adele and Vladimir of World War II and Sera and William of today.  I was especially mesmerized with the developing and mysterious tale of Adele's life.  A daughter of a high ranking member of the Third Reich caught in the midst of the Auschwitz community because her innocent and decent heart found way to participate in smuggling Jews out of Vienna.  And it was in her life story that Sera hoped to find meaning in her own life and for readers, the report of a happy ending.

The alternating stories flowed well and so the read was easy on the eyes.  But more than that, the beauty of the read was in the connection of how both women learned courage to believe in a God amid darkest or heartbreaking times.  Hence, you will clearly see Christian influence within the narrative, heavily towards the end.  Reasonable exploration because at such hours, one might question the existence or allowance of a God when seemingly forsaken.

I liked that this book did not end with a cliffhanger.  That makes for a less stressful anticipation for the sequel.  Well done, Ms. Cambron!

Exquisite novel with remarkable main and supporting characters.  I definitely will read the next installment.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Book Tour with $25 Giveaway: Forget Me Not and Remember Me by Stacey Nash

Forget Me Not

Forget Me Not

Anamae is drawn into a world which shatters everything she knew to be true.
Since her mother vanished nine years ago, Anamae and her father have shared a quiet life. But when Anamae discovers a brooch identical to her mother's favorite pendant, she unknowingly invites a slew of trouble into their world. They're not just jewellery, they're part of a highly developed technology capable of cloaking the human form. Triggering the jewellery's power attracts the attention of a secret society determined to confiscate the device - and silence everyone who is aware of its existence. Anamae knows too much, and now she's Enemy Number One. She's forced to leave her father behind when she's taken in by a group determined to keep her safe. Here Anamae searches for answers about this hidden world. With her father kidnapped and her own life on the line, Anamae must decide if saving her dad is worth risking her new friends' lives. No matter what she does, somebody is going to get hurt.
Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Kobo


Easing the door closed, I climb out of the attic and head to the bathroom to clean my dust-covered hands. Water rushes from the spout and splashes against the sides as the basin fills. A reflection of me staresback at me from the mirror, my dirty hand clutching my aching chest. Today everything feels so raw, open, andfresh, like it only just happened. She should still be here.
Rubbing my hands clean, I delve into my pocket for the jewelry. Bringing it to my collar, I pin the brooch into my blouse. The hard edges prick my skin. My thumb brushes over the smooth, round sides of the pendant and when I pull it over my head, the chain catches on my hair. After I twist it through the tangle so it finally falls cool against my skin, it nestles in the hollow of my throat. I pick it up between my fingers and with reverent slow strokes, rub my thumb over the shiny yellow center—the pendant Mom never took off.
A shiver shoots up my spine and out through my limbs like an electric current, zapping every cell, everyfiber, every part of my being. Walking on graves, that’s what Mom would have said. Maybe it’s an omen abouther.
I plant my palms on either side of the full basin and peer into the still water, taking a moment to collect my thoughts. The water reflects only the cream ceiling. That can’t be right. I do a double take.
My chest tightens. I hold my hand up, but I can’t see it—not my arm, not my chewed fingernails, not my leather watch on my wrist. Where am I? Mouth gaping, I look into the mirror again, but I see nothing.
Not even my face.
I dip my finger into the warm, reflection-free water. Circles ripple in ever growing rings, but there’s no image. My gaze flits to the mirror, but I see only the open door. I have no reflection.
My stomach flutters like a thousand butterflies are trying to escape it. I slap my palm onto my chest, and I can still feel me. I must be here. When I slide the pendant over my head, my reflection blinks onto the mirror. Huh? Pulling it back on, my hand brushes the cool metal. The ripple goes through me again. I look into themirror, and once more my reflection’s gone.
I grab my hairbrush from the drawer and wave it around in the air, but its image isn’t cast in the mirroreither. It has to be magic, but that’s only in fairytales. Will’s not going to believe this, not in a million years. I pull the pendant over my head and my reflection returns. No way. It can’t be, but it is. I’m almost certain it’smaking me invisible, but how?
I put it on—invisible. Take it off—visible.
It doesn’t make any sense. How can something like this—like those video games Will plays—even exist? It must be a magical artifact or some kind of prank. My shoulders shake with a chuckle while I stare atmyself in the mirror. This is unreal. I bet he’s gone right back to working on his car. He’ll love this. Ha! Now let’s see who found the weirdest treasure. I slide it back on and wipe my damp hands on my jeans. Watch outWill, I’m going to sneak up and scare the life right out of you.

Praise for the Book

"Forget Me Not is a tension-fueled, adventurous and brilliantly written novel that shows the dangers and powers of a controlling environment . If you are a fan of George Orwell’s classic “1984″ you will LOVE this book." ~ Heidi, Amazon
"I thoroughly enjoyed this debut novel by Aussie author Stacey Nash. The tension, the twists and turns throughout, the web of intrigue – all had me glued to the pages." ~ Brenda Telford, Goodreads
"Find a comfy spot to read Forget Me Not by Stacey Nash, I devoured this story in one sitting. I’m not sure what I was expecting when I picked up the novel, however, I did enjoy the story. Technology, betrayal, and battle all shared equal parts in this debut novel." ~ Amazon customer
“I love the new world Stacey has created here which is right up with any other speculative fiction I have read. If you love a good conspiracy theory story, you will love this.” ~ Emmaly, Mundie Moms blog.

Remember Me

Remember Me

An exciting new adventure from Stacey Nash, set in the world of The Collective.
When all is lost, she must remember...
Anamae Gilbert managed to thwart The Collective and rescue her father, even though his mind is now a shell. Determined to stop Councilor Manvyke hurting her family again, she's training to become an active resistance member and falling hard for resistance fighter Jax Belfry. But things never sail along smoothly - Manvyke wants retribution and Anamae's name is high on his list.
After a blow to the head, she awakes in an unfamiliar location unable to remember the last few weeks. She can't believe the fascinating new technology she's seeing. She's the new kid at school, and although weapons training comes with ease, something feels off. Why does the other new kid's smile make her heart ache?
And why does her gut tell her to run?
Amazon * Barnes & Noble * Kobo

Stacey Nash
Author Stacey Nash

Stacey Nash writes adventure filled stories for Young Adults in the Science Fiction and Fantasy genres. She loves to read and write books that have a lot of adventure, a good dose of danger, a smattering of romance, and KISSING! Hailing from the Hunter Valley in New South Wales, she loves nothing more than immersing herself in the beauty and culture of the local area.
Website * Facebook * Pinterest * Twitter

Forget Me Not and Remember Me

Monday, November 3, 2014

Book Spotlight w/ $25 Giveaway: My Name is Bryan by Stacy Lynn Carroll

My Name is BryanMy Name is Bryan by Stacy Lynn Carroll

If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you jump too? Bryan chose to dive. Moments later, as he lay on the beach, unable to move his arms or legs, two questions ran through his mind: Would he walk again? And would he ever have kids? Based on the incredible true story of life, love, and never giving up.

Praise for the book:
"I plowed through his story, amazed at how he could so easily accept something that would destroy anyone else and just move forward with such a positive attitude. I don't give many 5 stars, but it's well-earned. This book really touched me. It's the kind of story that stays with you for a long time."
--Amazon customer

"I actually love stories like this. Ones that show the power of the human spirit and what love and determination can achieve. I cried multiple times while reading this but they were a happy sort of hopeful tears. If you are looking for something uplifting and motivational read this heart-felt story of love and hope."
--Inspired Kathy ;)

"You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wring your hands in frustration, and you won't be able to put it down to go to sleep as you keep waiting to read about Bryan's happily ever after. This is one of those books that stick with you long after you've finished reading it."

"Each chapter begins with an inspirational quote to lead the reader into the goodness, hardship, unconditional love, and humor that is Bryan's life. The 30 year journey the reader takes runs smoothly page after page. You will cry and you will laugh. You will want to hug Nedra and Bryan when you are finished."
--Kriss A.
My Name is Bryan (1)
Follow the Blog Tour hosted by I Am A Reader
October 29th to November 14th

Book Excerpt:

Nedra stood in the open doorway of Room 213, studying the new patient. Born and raised in California, she could only assume she was staring at a fellow Californian. Everything from his shaggy, sandy-blonde hair to his tanned skin screamed surfer boy. She hadn’t meant to stare, but his good looks caught her off guard. Now she realized she had been staring too long, but thankfully he hadn’t seemed to notice.
“You gonna come in, or you helping hold up that door frame?”
Or not. Nedra straightened up and brushed off her shirt before approaching his bed and that playboy smile. “So what are you in for?” she asked, leaning against the metal frame of his bed.
“I was cliff diving. It was the best swan dive of my entire life! Unfortunately, I didn’t have the best landing.” Bryan made a loud popping sound with his mouth. “Then a short six weeks later and I am here. So, what do we need to do to get this party started?”
“Just a minute, superman, you may be out of traction now, but that doesn’t mean you can dive straight into physical therapy.

Book Trailer:

Stacy Lynn CarrollAuthor Stacy Lynn Carroll

Stacy Lynn Carroll has always loved telling stories. She started out at Utah State University where she pursued a degree in English. Go Aggies! She then finished her BA at the University of Utah (to be closer to her then boyfriend, now hubby) where she got an emphasis in creative writing. After college she worked as an administrative assistant, where she continued to write stories for the amusement of her co-workers. When her first daughter was born, and with the encouragement of a fortune cookie, she quit her job and became a full-time mommy and writer. It seemed like fate when Matt and Stacy married. She was a writer, and her father-in-law had a story that demanded to be written. She and her husband have three children, two Corgis, and a fish named Don.

Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
Ends 11/21/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Little Lumpen Novelita by Roberto Bolaño

A Little Lumpen Novelita by Roberto Bolaño, Translated by Natasha Wimmer, AF, 2014, Hardcover, 109p, My Rating=3.5
Source: library

"Now I am a mother and a married woman, but not long ago I led a life of crime": so Bianca begins her tale of growing up the hard way in Rome. Orphaned overnight as a teenager - "our parents died in a car crash on their first vacation without us" - she drops out of school, gets a crappy job, and drifts into bad company. Her little brother brings home two petty criminals who need a place to stay. As the four of them share the family apartment and plot a strange crime, Bianca learns how low she can fall.

Electric, tense with foreboding, and written in jagged, propulsive short chapters, A Little Lumpen Novelita delivers a surprising, fractured fable of seizing control of one's fate.

I knew I was in for a read when the epigraph read, "All writing is garbage. People who come out of nowhere to try and put into words any part of what goes on in their minds are pigs. All writers are pigs. Especially writers today." (Antonin Artaud). Yep, this novella turned out to be strange with despondent characters. But I think the peculiarity was well told. It was easy to turn the pages and I felt satisfied by books end. Looks like Mr. Bolaño's a gifted and enticing storyteller.

Content: sexual reference

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