Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Review: Nashville (Parts 1-4) by Inglath Cooper

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Part One - Ready to Reach 
Ever thought a dream might pass you by? 

Nineteen-year old CeCe Mackenzie is determined to make her dreams come true. She heads for Nashville with not much more to her name than a guitar, a Walker Hound named Hank Junior and an old car she'd inherited from her grandma called Gertrude. But when Gertrude ends up on the side of I-40 in flames, Nashville has never seemed farther away. Help arrives in the form of two Georgia football players headed for the Nashville dream as well. When Holden Ashford and Thomas Franklin stop to offer CeCe and Hank Junior a ride, fate may just give a nod to serendipity and meant to be. Because while CeCe is chasing after her dream, she might find love as well. 

Part Two - Hammer and a Song 
CeCe McKenzie grew up dreaming of a life doing what she loves - singing in Nashville. When she and her Hound dog Hank Junior set out to make her dream come true, life takes some twists she hadn't counted on. Like falling for Holden Ashford, a songwriter with a gift. And also a girlfriend. Can a country music star's hunky son help her forget about Holden? Or is that even possible when her heart insists on writing the song? 

Part Three - What We Feel 
Hunky musicians Holden Ashford and Thomas Franklin rescue Nashville bound CeCe MacKenzie and her Walker Hound Hank Junior from the side of the road when her car catches on fire. A less determined girl might have let her dreams go up in smoke as well, but not CeCe. She’s been singing all her life, and she just wants a chance to do the thing she loves in a place where music is part of the fabric of life. As it turns out, Holden and Thomas want the same thing, and it isn’t long before they’re all chasing after the dream together. 

Falling in love hasn’t figured in to CeCe’s plans, but the moment she sets eyes on Holden, her heart is asking why not? Holden is drawn to her as well, but he already has someone in his life, Sarah who still lives in Atlanta, Sarah who loves him. Who he thought he loved back until CeCe makes him realize he hadn’t really known that love could turn him inside out. 

But an unexpected visit from Sarah brings to light a terrible truth and Holden is faced with a choice between doing the right thing or permanently defining himself as a guy he never thought he would be. 

It is only in letting each other go that both Holden and CeCe will come to understand that in life and love, the part that’s real is what we feel. 

Part Four - Pleasure in the Rain 
Just as Barefoot Outlook begins to hit the big time, tragedy strikes when a rage-filled Nashville musician who hasn’t found the success he’s hoped for crashes an after-concert party and begins shooting. Among the victims are band members CeCe MacKenzie, Holden Ashford, Thomas Franklin, Beck Phillips and his country music star dad, Case. 

With each of them gravely injured, one will not survive, forever changing the lives of everyone involved. Will one man’s hatred and contempt demolish all of their dreams, or will they eventually reach a place where they can even take pleasure in the rain?

My thoughts: 
I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved these book set & all the emotions it invoked.  At first it seemed like CeCe & Holden had nothing but one drama after the next that kept yanking them together or apart like a yo-yo.  But as the story progressed it became clear how connected they were.  Thomas was perfect as the country boy, yoda of the group.  His humor kept the story light in just the right places.  I envisioned Case looking & sounding much like Trace Adkins.  The grief that came through during the darkest parts of the story was heart wrenching.  It's what made the joy on the other side so much better.  I would love to have read an epilogue of what happened to all of the characters months or even years later.  I'm hoping there will be another box set including the last parts of the series.

Recommended for 16 & up. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Review: The Lost Code by Kevin Emerson

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In the year 2086, Camp Eden promises summer “the way things used to be,” back before the oceans rose, the sun became a daily enemy, and modern civilization sank into chaos. Located inside the EdenWest BioDome, the camp is an oasis of pine trees, cool water, and rustic charm.

But all at Camp Eden is not what it seems.

No one will know this better than 15-year-old Owen Parker. A strange underwater vision, even stranger wounds on Owen’s neck, and a cryptic warning from the enchanting lifeguard Lilly hint at a mystery that will take Owen deep beneath Lake Eden and even deeper into the past. What he discovers could give him the chance to save the tattered planet. But first, Owen will have to escape Camp Eden alive…

My Thoughts:
Love the originality of this series.  I think I'd love to read more books about Atlantis mythology.  In The Lost Code the world is in ruin.  The ice caps are all but melted, the ozone is gone and humanity is hanging on by a thread.  Owen is a kid from the Hub; a mostly under ground community.  He's been sent to a "summer camp" called Camp Eden.  Camp is inside one of very few domes created for the rich to live life much like they did before things went to hell in a hand basket.  As Owen begins to experience some weird changes he finds out some strange things are going on at Camp Eden.  I liked Owen.  I liked how he handled the situations hat were thrown at him.  It's weird how humans can seem to adapt even when things seem weird or even unbearable.  I can't wait to read the next book and see where the Atlanteans end up.    The guy on the cover doesn't look like 15 yr. old Owen to me.  He looks more like imagined Evan.  Just a thought...

Recommended for 13 & up.  Mild language & sexual content.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Review: (Mis)Fortune by Melissa Haag

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Michelle, another young woman with an unexplainable gift, finds herself surrounded by the previously undiscovered werewolf society. Kept prisoner for the predictions that torment her, she meekly follows orders waiting for her opportunity to run. When her stepfather dies, she takes a chance and escapes.

After witnessing Blake, her captor, grow canines, she knows he will do anything to find her. She needs a place to hide and someone to listen to her predictions so her head doesn’t explode, but knows there’s nowhere she can hide forever, and no one who can protect her… unless she can find someone just like him.

Part of the fur wearing faction wants to use her, another part strives to keep her safe. The second book of the Judgement of the Six series will raise more questions about the purpose of these gifted few and Michelle will need to fight for answers. Will what she discovers be enough to help her keep those she loves safe from an emerging evil?

My Thoughts:
I love how the books in this series are weaving together!  And the covers are BEAUTIFUL!  Michelle is special like Gabby from Hope(Less).  Sadly she's been forced to use her gift to benefit a cruel man with very little hope of a better life.  Blake is one mean SOB!  You'd think if he was so smart he would have tried using kindness to persuade Michelle to help him rather than abuse.  I think we'll be seeing more of him as the series progresses.  This book really opened up some questions about the werewolves and the possibility of more than one type of that could exist.  Like Gabby, Michelle has had to deal with much grief in her young life.  The only complaint I have is the same as the last book.  The lack of background story for the main character leaves the story open for too many holes.  I have so many questions.  Who are their fathers?  Where are their extended family members?  What was their life like before tragedy struck.  I hope much of it gets explained later on.  Emmit is YUM-MEH!  Unlike Clay he plants himself in the very middle of Michelle's life without a single apology.  He gives her the security she's been missing for so long.  I can't wait to move on to the next book.  I highly recommend this series to anyone looking for a unique paranormal story to dive into.  

Recommended for 14 & up.

I got this book from Amazon and received no compensation for my review.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Review: Hope(Less) by Melissa Haag

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Gabby's brain is like a human fish finder. It comes in handy when she wants to avoid people. Mostly men. They seem to like her a bit too much. It's lonely being different, but she's adapted to it. Really. She just wishes she knew why she is different, though.
In her search for answers, she discovers a hidden community of werewolves. She immerses herself in their culture, learning about their world until she meets Clay. He's unkempt, prone to mood swings, intense without saying a word, and he thinks Gabby is his.
It's going to take every trick she knows to convince Clay to go away, and every bit of willpower not to fall for him when she discovers the man beneath the rough exterior.
Judgement has begun...

My Thoughts:
I love books about werewolves and this book was unlike any I've read before.  There a few things I didn't prefer so let me get those out of the way.  I didn't like the lack of background or history for Gabby.  In the end we find out some stuff, but I would have liked to know more & a bit earlier in the book.  It helps me understand the meaning behind her actions & reactions.  The same lack of information on Sam & the wolves bothered me as well.  I hope in the following books of the series we learn more about the wolves & the special humans like Gabby.  None of that kept me from reading this book in less than 2 days though.  The way Clay inserted himself into Gabby's life was hilarious & I loved the way their relationship progressed.  I like that Gabby's character stayed true to herself & never changed her core personality or goals.  I do think that she should have a stronger connection to Sam than it appears in the book.  I hope in the end he ends up being the "grandpa" she missed out on.  Over all, the pace of the book was good.  The story is unique and kept me interested all the way through.  
Recommended for ages 14 & up.  

I bought this book on Amazon & received no compensation for my review.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Review: Fairy, Texas by Margo Bond Collins

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Laney Harris didn't want to live there. When her mother remarried and moved them to a town where a date meant hanging out at the Sonic, Laney figured that "boring" would have a whole new meaning. A new stepsister who despised her and a high school where she was the only topic of gossip were bad enough. But when she met the school counselor (and his terminal bad breath), she grew suspicious. Especially since he had wings that only she could see. And then there were Josh and Mason, two gorgeous glimmering-eyed classmates whose interest in her might not be for the reasons she hoped. Not to mention that dead guy she nearly tripped over in gym class. 

She was right. Boring took on an entirely new dimension in Fairy, Texas.

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed this book.  I liked Laney, Josh & Mason; Kimberly, Natalie & Ally... not so much.  I still have some questions that I'd like answered in the next book.  I'd like to know more about Laney's parentage & if her mom knows more than she's letting on.  It would seem that she would if she grew up in Fairy Texas her whole life.  The story was well paced & I never found myself rushing through sections to get to the next part.  I hope eventually Laney & Kimberly can find some common ground.  I'm from TX so that parts about football were right on point.  I laughed at how accurate they were.  I can't wait to read the next book in the series and find out if Josh can return to what he once was & to know more about Laney's new situation.  

Recommended for readers 15 & up.  Mild to moderate language & sexual content.  

I bought this book on Amazon.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Review: Nirvana by J.R. Stewart

When the real world is emptied of all that you love, how can you keep yourself from dependence on the virtual? 

Larissa Kenders lives in a world where the real and the virtual intermingle daily. After the supposed death of her soulmate, Andrew, Larissa is able to find solace by escaping to Nirvana, a virtual world where anything is possible – even visits with Andrew. Although Larissa is told that these meetings are not real, she cannot shake her suspicion that Andrew is indeed alive. When she begins an investigation of Hexagon, the very institution that she has been taught to trust, Larissa uncovers much more than she ever expected and places herself in serious danger. Her biggest challenge, however, remains determining what is real – and what is virtual. 

Nirvana is the first instalment in the three-part “Nirvana” series, a fast-paced, page-turning young adult trilogy that combines elements of the romance, mystery, and science fiction genres. This first novel introduces readers to a heroine who refuses to give up on the man she loves, even if it means taking on an entire government to do so.

My Thoughts:
This book was both compelling & frustrating.  I'll admit, after reading some of the reviews from my fellow "bookies" I was a little worried.  I agree with some of their points.  I did find the switch between POVs confusing since it happened in the middle of chapters and sometimes in the middle of a paragraph.  I didn't really like Kenders but I understood her.  I rooted for her because she had suffered so much in her childhood & then again at the hands of Hexagon.  I don't really know how much searching she actually did inside Hexagon.  There were hints that she took some papers out of Andrew's file but it never talked about her getting them to her room to study them.  Little inconsistencies such as that were common throughout the book.  Getting the history of why the Earth is in such harsh conditions was like looking through scratched glass.  I could see it, but it wasn't really clear.  The pace of the story was good & the mystery of it was what kept me intrigued.  I'm still a little unclear as to whether the "enemy" that people need protecting from is alien or on Earth.  I thought the cliff hanger at the end was brilliant and I can't wait to see what happens.  Over all I'd give this book a 3.5 star rating.  I hope the next book in the series is a bit more polished and the POVs are more defined.  Character development could also use improvement.  I didn't understand who really started the extinction of the bees or their continued motivation behind it.  After so long, even money becomes meaningless when so few are around to need it.  

Recommended for 15 & up.  Moderate sexual content.

I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Review: I Wish by Elizabeth Langston

What Lacey needs is a miracle. What she gets is a genie with rules.

Lacey Linden is hiding the truth of her life—a depressed mom, a crumbling house, and bills too big to pay. While her high school classmates see a girl with a ready smile and good grades, Lacey spends her evenings seeking ways to save her family. On a get-cash-quick trip to the flea market, Lacey stumbles over a music box that seemingly begs her to take it home. She does, only to find it is inhabited by a gorgeous "genie." He offers her a month of wishes, one per day, but there's a catch. Each wish must behumanly possible.

Grant belongs to a league of supernatural beings, dedicated to serving humans in need. After two years of fulfilling the boring wishes of conventional teens, he is one assignment away from promotion to a challenging new role with more daring cases. Yet his month with Lacey is everything that he expects and nothing like he imagines. Lacey and Grant soon discover that the most difficult task of all might be saying goodbye.

My Thoughts:
I read this book in less than 24 hours!  That is how awesome it is.  Lacey has experienced more grief in her short life than most adults do the entirety of theirs. She is over whelmed with responsibilities no teenager should have to face.  The two things that hurt Lacey most are her stubbornness and her fear.  She's to prideful to admit when she needs help and too stubborn to take it when it's offered.  Enter Grant.  At first you think he's the answer to all of Lacey's problems. But soon it turns out that while he can do as many handyman jobs as she wishes, it's what they both learn from each other that's the true gift.  You can't put a value on learning to open you heart to love.  The ending was a bit unexpected and I can't wait to read the next one.  I think there's more to Lacey's story & I hope we get to see what happens.  I'd like to know where she ends up going to college and if her mom ever makes the progress she needs to.  I'm also dying to know what will become of Grant and his aspiring career goals.  

Recommended for readers 13 & up.

I received this book from the author via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.  
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