Friday, March 30, 2012

Sabrina's Window

Title: Sabrina's Window
Publisher: Lumis Books
Pub Date:5/01/2012
Author: Al Riske
Received From: Netgalley

Sabrina's Window

On a chilly morning in Taos, New Mexico, a 17-year-old paperboy breaks the window of a 31-year-old hair stylist - an accident that marks the beginning of an instant, inexplicable bond between them. In the course of one high-desert summer, Joshua and Sabrina share confidences, intercede in each other's love lives, go on a date that scandalizes the town, and confront questions of fidelity, desire, and the nature of love.

The story here is a classic one, boy meets girl, boy falls for girl but for some reason they cannot be together. In this case the reason in age. Sabrina is an adult while Joshua is barely a young man. I liked the idea of this story and enjoyed the build up of characters, especially Joshua. Learning about the life of a teenage boy was intriguing, interesting, funny and surprising, who knew boys had so many facets at that age. I only wish this book had been around to read when I was 16. 

What really discouraged me in reading this book was the jumping from character to character, at times it would take me a bit to figure out who's story we were in. There was also a bit of development of character that just kind of dropped off the face of the book. I kept waiting for the return of Tara or some finalization to her story, and relationship with Sabrina.  All in all I would recommend this book to those young adult female readers looking for a bit more insight into the minds of the young men in their lives!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hex Hall

Title: Hex Hall
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Pub Date: Paperback- February 1, 2011
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Received From: Purchased

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It’s gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie’s estranged father—an elusive European warlock—only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it’s her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

On a recommendation from Kate I picked up Hex Hall at the book store a few weeks ago, I read the description, thought it sounded like a cute book and set it aside to finish up some other books. I have no idea what I was waiting for. Once I started this book I was loving it, but not in the I must read it all in 2 days way. I read this book over a week, I took my time and really digested it. I truly enjoyed thinking over all the Prodigium that Sophie was introduced to and imagining life for them. I was probably most taken with the other witches in the book. Although it was pretty amazing to see the interactions between different Prodigium for me the story was really told in the witches and warlocks that Sophie interacted with! 

The mystery in this story kept my mind racing and when one was solved another appeared. I never had any of them right in my mind which really proves to me how amazing this book is. I'll take the shock over the "I knew it all along" anyday! I was also really drawn to the idea of Sophie's father and who he is, the relationship they have with one another and where that is going to go! I cannot wait to pick up the second book in this series Demon Glass, and then the third just came out as well! Nothing is quite as great as a series that already has a few of the books out so I can get hooked in an easy fashion!

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Good Father

Title: The Good Father
Publisher: Harlequin
Pub Date: April 24th, 2012
Author: Diane Chamberlain
Received From: NetGalley
The Good Father

A beloved daughter. A devastating choice. And now there’s no going back.
Four years ago, nineteen-year-old Travis Brown made a choice: to raise his newborn daughter on his own. While most of his friends were out partying and meeting girls, Travis was at home, changing diapers and worrying about keeping food on the table. But he’s never regretted his decision. Bella is the light of his life. The reason behind every move he makes. And so far, she is fed. Cared for. Safe.
But when Travis loses his construction job and his home, the security he’s worked so hard to create for Bella begins to crumble....
Then a miracle. A job in Raleigh has the power to turn their fortunes around. It has to. But when Travis arrives in Raleigh, there is no job, only an offer to participate in a onetime criminal act that promises quick money and no repercussions.
With nowhere else to turn, Travis must make another choice for his daughter’s sake.
Even if it means he might lose her.

HOLY SMOKES! This was a very interesting book, Written from the point of view of three characters, Travis, Robin, and Erin. Each character has a tie in to life as a parent that is different and unique. All three characters have a special place in this story. I was so intrigued with the relationship of Travis and Robin, and the way the each were living their lives after being driven apart. The integration of Erin into this story and the healing she gained from the relationship with Travis and Bella was endearing and heart warming.

 As we traveled through their changes in life, we paralleled into the life of Robin, living separately from Travis and Bella and not even knowing where or how they were. At times I wanted to cry for Travis and his daughter Bella, at times I wanted to scream out in the pain I knew he was feeling over the changes in his life circumstances. But in the end good won out over evil and that is always a happy ending! I consider this book top notch and hope you will enjoy it too!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday (5)

Happy Friday everyone! Time to play along with the Awesome Feature and Follow from Parajunkee and Alison Can Read

This week is a great question that really made me think!

Q: What is the longest book you’ve read? What are your favorite 600+ page reads?

A: I was totally ready to say I've never read anything that long. I have ADD how could I cope with a book that long if I can't sit still through a whole movie, but Parajunkee mentioned the last 4 of the Harry Potter books. So score one for me!  I would say my favorite 600+ read is Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince!


The Wishing Pearl

Title: The Wishing Pearl
Publisher: Barbour
Pub Date: October 1, 2011
Author: Nicole O'Dell
Received From: Publisher

The Wishing Pearl

Join conflicted sixteen-year-old Olivia Mansfield on her journey to hope and healing as she leaves her messed-up life behind and moves into Diamond Estates, a home for troubled teens. This brand-new novel for teen girls will not only entertain, but also promises to capture your heart and challenge your faith.

Last month I reviewed The Embittered Ruby, which is book 2 in the Diamond Estates series, if you recall I was really taken with it so I had to go back and read book 1. Quite honestly I am glad I hadn't found this before because it would have made the wait for book 2 so much harder! This is one honest, and raw book. I love the main character Olivia and I so understand what she is going through at home. Details about her fathers death and her home life lead her on a path of destruction. Reading this book now as a parent I really understand how important the lines of communication with our kids are!

Olivia lives with her mother and her for lack of a better term monster of a step father. She makes some choices in her life that lead up to a tragedy, and thankfully she turns that tragedy into so many great things by taking that all important first step in bettering her life and turning it over to God. We are introduced to some of the teens at Diamond Estates and pay close attention because you may see them again! I just found myself so wrapped up in Olivia and pulling for her that I couldn't put this book down. Now if only I can keep myself busy until Dec 1st when the third and final book, Shadowed Onyx comes out! I know something you can do while you wait, check out my interview with author Nicole O'Dell


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Meet Holly Durst- Author of Chocolate Socks

Cassie and I had the opportunity today to chat with Holly Durst, she is just one of the sweetest ladies ever and Cassie was so excited. Before our interview she came up with her questions. I was explaining to her father who we were interviewing, and Cassie overheard the Bachelor run down so I had to limit her to just one wedding related question. My girl may just love weddings more than books!

Without further ado, here is our interview with Holly!

Why did you call it Chocolate Socks? 
I call it Chocolate Socks because my two favorite things are Chocolate and Socks and I combined them in a book that encourages kids to take their two favorite things and make something of them.

What are your favorite socks?
 I wish you could see my sock draw, I have socks in every color and pattern  in there, but my favorite pair are a  really soft fuzzy pair that are pink!

What is your favorite chocolate treat?
 Ice cream. Chocolate ice cream. I love Ice Cream and I have to have chocolate every day

Are you going to have chocolate at your wedding?
 Of course! One of my cakes is chocolate.

What made you want to write Children’s Books? 
I went to college to be a school teacher, worked at daycare for 5 years. All my life I've been told that I am good with children. After a year and a half of college I decided I didn't want to be a teacher, but I still wanted to do something with kids, so I started writing children s books!

What were your favorite books as a young girl?
 Chicka Chicka Boom Boom was my favorite book. I read it in first grade and memorized it then read it aloud to my whole class.  Blake read it to me this week and was amazed that I could recite it all back.

You have another book, can you give us some idea what it is about?
 It's called I Miss You, When I moved from Ohio to California I had to leave behind my Nephew and the kids I worked with, so this book was written for them. 

Do you have any other books in the works?  
I have written some other books but at this time no production has started on them  One I’d really like to publish is called Dear Tooth Fairy, pretty perfect in my opinion since I am marrying a Dentist. 

You can find out more about Chocolate Socks and Holly here:

You can also purchase your own copy here!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Chocolate Socks

Title: Chocolate Socks
Publisher: Ambassador International
Pub Date: March 2012
Author: Holly Durst
Received From: Publisher

What two things do you like best in the whole world? Close your eyes. Dream of putting those two things together. Dream of inventing something new! What will it be? Maybe it will be something as crazy as Chocolate Socks!

C's Review Chocolate Socks is a awesome book, I want chocolate socks for real and I bet they would be so good. In the book a little girl invented chocolate socks, this book is about doing two different things and combine together to make them real. If I could combine any two things I would combine two of my favorite things which is Lollipops and my Ipod Touch. I could lick it while I listen to it. 

Mom's Review- This has got to be one of the cutest children's books I have ever read, and trust me I read a ton of them! This book really has it all, a fun story line that keeps the kids entertained. A great message, one that really resonated with my girls, and the cutest little illustrations. I am not always a fan of rhyming books but in this story it is really the icing on the cake! I've now read this book at least 20 times and it is still just as cute as it was the first round!


Friday, March 16, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday (4)

I am always game to play in the Feature and Follow Friday hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. I have found myself some great new blogs from here!

This weeks question is:

Q: What is the best book you’ve read in the last month? What is the worst book you’ve read in the last month?

Best book in the last month = Cinder by Marissa Meyer ( I finally got it and man was it worth the wait)

Worst book in the last month = Caring is Creepy by David Zimmerman (in all honestly it wasn't horrid just a bit to much for me)
Caring Is Creepy

So head over, and join the fun!


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Gilly Salt Sisters

Title:The Gilly Salt Sisters
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pub Date: March 14th, 2012
Author: Tiffany Baker
Received From: NetGalley  

The Gilly Salt Sisters

In the isolated Cape Cod village of Prospect, the Gilly sisters are as different as can be.  Jo, a fierce and quiet loner, is devoted to the mysteries of her family's salt farm, while Claire is popular, pretty, and yearns to flee the salt at any cost.  But the Gilly land hides a dark legacy that proves impossible to escape.  Although the community half-suspects the Gilly sisters might be witches, it doesn't stop Whit Turner, the town's wealthiest bachelor, from forcing his way into their lives.  It's Jo who first steals Whit's heart, but it is Claire--heartbroken over her high school sweetheart--who marries him.  

Years later, estranged from her family, Claire finds herself thrust back onto the farm with the last person she would have chosen: her husband's pregnant mistress.  Suddenly, alliances change, old loves return, and new battle lines are drawn.  What the Gilly sisters learn about each other, the land around them, and the power of the salt, will not only change each of their lives forever, it will also alter Gilly history for good.

The Gilly sisters have a place in the town of Prospect that they don't really want. Being the keepers of the salt, but really what is so important about salt? This is not your typical, my family farms something story, the salt isn't a necessary item for livelihood to the town, but it is a necessity in that it holds power. The salt that the  Gilly sisters tend, and sell has a power over them, and quite honestly the town as well.

This book has a focus on the lives of three women, Claire, Jo and Dee  It has ups and downs for each of the women and ways that their lives intertwine with one another. I was pleased to find although in the beginning the character Claire was not one I really cared for, she grew as a woman found a passion and took on some amazing roles in the book. Jo was a solid rock, through hardship and heartache, Her character is one I love to see in a book. Young Dee was innocent and naive while also being a bit of a fire-starter. I have to say though I hate the way her story played out in the end.  I really enjoyed this book but I found the last bit to be hard to follow and disappointing. I would have preferred to have left some of the ending to the imagination!Photobucket

Monday, March 12, 2012

Yellow Crocus

Title: Yellow Crocus
Publisher: Flaming Chalice Press
Pub Date: December 17, 2010
Author: Laila Ibrahim
Received From: NetGalley

Yellow Crocus

Mattie was never truly mine. That knowledge must have filled me as
quickly and surely as the milk from her breasts. Although my family
‘owned' her, although she occupied the center of my universe, her
deepest affections lay elsewhere. So along with the comfort of her
came the fear that I would lose her some day. This is our story...

So begins Lisbeth Wainwright's compelling tale of coming-of-age in
antebellum Virginia. Born to white plantation owners but raised by her
enslaved black wet nurse, Mattie, Lisbeth's childhood unfolds on the
line between two very different worlds. Growing up under the watchful
eye of Mattie, the child adopts her surrogate mother's deep-seated
faith in God, her love of music and black-eyed peas, and the tradition
of hunting for yellow crocuses in the early days of spring. Yet
Lisbeth has freedoms and opportunities that Mattie does not have,
though the color of the girl's skin cannot protect her from the
societal expectations placed on women born to privilege. As Lisbeth
grows up, she struggles to reconcile her love for her caregiver with
her parent's expectations, a task made all the more difficult as she
becomes increasingly aware of the ugly realities of the American
slavery system. When the inequality of her two worlds comes to a head
during an act of shocking brutality, Lisbeth realizes she must make a
choice, one that will require every ounce of the courage she learned
from her beloved Mattie. This compelling historical novel is a richly
evocative tale of love and redemption set during one of the darkest
chapters of American history.

The Yellow Crocus opened my heart in a way that few books ever have! I was instantly intrigued by the life of Mattie, a slave in the south, who was to be a wet nurse for the babies in the promenant Wainwright family. From the moment young Elizabeth, called Lisbeth by her wet nurse, was born these two developed an unbreakable bond. A bond that you will see withstand some tough tests and really bring the beginning and the end together so nicely in this book. 

I was instantly a fan of Lisbeth, from her early days of being tied to wanting Mattie, to her kindness and love shown to those enslaved. To the way she carried herself with grace, while trying to uphold the things she must as a young woman in her family and also stand her very own ground for the beliefs that she had. I am sure there was a slight cheer coming from my mouth with some of the decisions that she made. I felt proud of her and pleased that this book really brought out a tough subject with a ray of sunshine! 

Kudos to Laila Ibrahim for writing such a great  book!Photobucket

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Chai Tea Sunday

Title: Chai Tea Sunday
Publisher: ECW Press
Pub Date: April  1st 2012
Author: Heather Clark
Received From: NetGalley
Chai Tea Sunday

explore the true resilience of the heart and our raw determination to find goodness in a world fraught with adversity

One Woman’s Courage in the face of personal tragedy is at the heart of Heather A. Clark’s debut novel. Thirty–three–year–old Nicky Fowler thought her whole life was mapped out — a rewarding career as a third grade teacher, an adoring husband, and the perfect house in the suburbs — but complicated fertility issues lead to a devastating tragedy. Nicky’s marriage crumbles and she’s left unable to cope with her now–changed life.
When Nicky accepts a volunteer teaching position at an orphanage in Kenya, she finds that life there is unlike the world she’s known. Drought has brought famine, violence is everywhere, and the jaded orphanage director takes out her hatred on the parentless children.
But Nicky finds strength in Mama Bu, her host mother, who provides wisdom and perspective over cups of chai, Kenya’s signature drink. Nicky comes to realize that she must do much more than teach the orphans — she must save them.

As I started reading this book I could not put it down. I was originally drawn to learning about the relationship of Nicky and her husband, then I was torn as they battled difficulty. As Nicky moved her life accross the country to try to regain a sense of herself I packed my bag to join her. 

The life lead in Kenya was one I haven't had the opportunity to glimpse into often and I truly enjoyed the Historical aspects, the understanding of life there and the development of some amazing characters. I was really drawn to Mama Bu and how she leads her life and treads so lightly around the issues of the orphanage. All the while she is really planting the seeds in Nicky for her future and making sure to right the wrongs and better the lives for the children at the orphanage! This was a fantastic book and one I am so glad I got the opportunity to read and review! 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Title: Cinder
Pub Date: January 3rd  2012
Author: Marissa Meyer
Received From: Purchased

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . 

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Cinder is an amazing book, I've heard that time and again but I finally got the chance to read it this week. Well ok, really I got the day to read it, because I was so intrigued by the story once I started it I could not put this book down. 
A futuristic Cinderella story, a woman even more abandoned than the original Cinderella, a Prince with a life we finally get to glimpse. What here is not to love!

I give major kudos to Marissa Meyer as the author who made the Step-Sisters, not the typical drones, Each had a different personality and I loved it. Really all of the characters were amazing and detailed and I felt like I really knew something of their lives. When you add in threats of war from another planet. Ruling leaders who quite honestly scare me before I even meet them and a new emperor who is just not quite sure how to balance on the beam of his new life you have a fantastically spun tale. I am thrilled that this book is a series and cannot wait for book two! Until I can get my hands in it I'll spend my time dreaming of the future I want to see for Cinder!

This book is to dang good to not pass on, so that I will do!

Enter below for a chance to win my copy of Cinder. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Nicole O'Dell- Author Interview

I had the privileged of getting to interview Nicole O'Dell the author of one of my favorite new books, which is actually the second book in The Diamond Estates Series. You may recall my review of The Embittered Ruby. I think you'll find both Nicole and her stories unbelievably real and amazing!

Tell me a little bit about yourself?

I’m a mom of six—three of the kids are three years old. They’re triplets! I’m also a student working toward my degree to teach English or writing at the college level. I’m married to Wil—he’s an amazing artist and singer and just an all-around good guy. J

How did you come up with the idea for the Diamond Estates Series? 

When I was a young teen, I started making some really bad choices in response to some things that happened to me. My life spiraled out of control and I got to the point where I didn’t think I’d get it together unless I got out of my circumstances. I went to live at a residential home for girls called Teen Challenge. I lived there for about eight months and so much of what you read about Diamond Estates is how it was at Teen Challenge in many ways.

Olivia’s story, in book one, The Wishing Pearl, is not completely my own, but her life and the lives of the girls she meets at Diamond Estates (and the ones in books two (The Embittered Ruby) and three (The Shadowed Onyx) are all sort of a conglomeration of all I saw and experienced.

In The Embittered Ruby Carmen makes a significant choice to lie to her loved ones to try to better her life, What in your life gave you inspiration to build her character?

Our enemy is so good at telling us the lies we’re programmed to believe.
When they crop up, it’s often hard to recognize them as lies because they’re the things we’re most afraid we’ll see in ourselves. Inadequacy, inability, insecurity, etc. All things that are the exact opposite of what God says about us and what He wants us to see in ourselves.

When there’s a disconnect between the truth of how God sees us, and what we really believe, lies are at the heart of it. It starts with those we hear and believe, and then becomes those we tell. It’s in desperation for love and acceptance that people (in this case, teenage girls) pretend to be someone they aren’t or lie to make circumstances what they wish they were.

Did you grow up in a home like Carmen's New York life, or her New Jersey life? 

I’d say it was a cross between the two. I never wanted for anything. I was pretty privileged, but it wasn’t to the extreme and there were times of cutbacks for one reason or another. I think I personally identify more with the New York life than I do with the New Jersey one. And, spiritually, my home was kind of divided sometimes, like Carmen’s was.

You seem to have a good knowledge of the mind of a teenager, can you describe yourself as a teenager in 20 words or less? 

Confused. Wise.
Dependent. Independent.
Victim. Villian.
Faithful. Faithless.

I felt pulled to extremes and couldn’t find myself in the balance.

What books have been an influence to you in your writing? 

There are so many! I love books. Fiction has been a big part of my past and my personal growth, but studying the Bible has been the biggest influence on me. As far as my writing, James Scott Bell wrote a book called Plot and Structure that really did me a lot of good.

Connect with Nicole

Thank you Nicole for being willing to chat with me! I can't wait to read the next book!


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Caring is Creepy

Title: Caring is Creepy
Publisher: Soho Press
Pub Date: April 3rd  2012
Author: David Zimmerman
Received From: NetGalley
Caring Is Creepy

I was tossing and turning trying to finish this book, It was so real and honestly scary that I felt it got into my brain! Really that is pry a sign of a very good author. But all I could feel reading this book was sadness. I started out with sadness for the relationship Lynn had with her mother, then the add in of the druggy boyfriend of her mothers. The uncertainty of her mothers role in the current issues! When Lynn met Logan I felt like I'd soon be reading a fairy tale ending. How far from that thought was I? OH Man! The character of Logan was an interesting one and the ways that Lynn interacted and in a sense controlled him were not what I was expecting but I found them interesting to read. Dani as Lynn's good friend I thought was sort of dropped from the story but for one or two small tie ins. I would have appreciated to see more of her and more of that relationship. I am not a true fan of bombs that drop at the tail end of a book, so I think that may have made me frustrated with the ending. All in all it was a interesting read and for someone who loves a little mystery it is pry a top notch book. I am glad I stuck it out and finished the book, while a bit out of my comfort level it was a good story and one that could be happening right next door to you!