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Review: Torn by Kim Karr

[ 1 ] June 22, 2014

687689Reviewed by Rebecca Donatelli

Torn is the second book in the Connection series. If you have not read it yet, I definitely recommend doing so. I absolutely loved the first book of the series, so my excitement to read Torn was heightened even before I got my hands on it. I have a great love for trilogies and even though this one only had two books in the series, I wanted to see how it would wrap itself up without having a third. The difference between this book and others I have read like it, is that it did not draw out the initial love story for the entire length of the first book. We have all seen it before: First book is about the love story and typically a fight to be together. Second book is about falling in love and getting married and the third book is usually a twist, murder, girl-gone-missing and in the hospital story that ends in a marriage. With this second book, it mainly focused on Dahlia and River getting through hard times, a lie of omission if you will.

Dahlia and River are a lovely couple who literally fell in love at first sight. It wasn’t until years later that they actually found each other again and since reconnecting, their love only grew stronger. Torn starts out exactly where the first book ended, with River and Dahlia on their way to get married until Dahlia gets a phone call that Ben is still alive. Ben, a character I wanted to like but really felt no sympathy for by this point, has been hiding out in witness protection while Dahlia fell apart, along with the rest of his family. Ben did it all for her, which is a major problem I have with his character. He is that person that believes they are selfless while doing the most selfish thing. Had he not come back into the picture, I may have believed him to be a hero, but since he had to come back, had to try and pick up where things left off before he “died,” he was inconsequential to me from that moment on.

Kim Karr explores true love in this book, while showing us the roller coaster ride that every couple goes through to get to their happy place. She throws out a few curve balls and defines what it means to unconditionally love someone. Dahlia is just like every woman in the world, believing she has one once-in-a-lifetime love and to her surprise, realizes that there is more than one person out there for everyone. This book is a beautiful capture of what it means to forgive, forget and let go of the past.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Rebecca is passionate and insane, empathetic and aggressive, loud and predictable. She loves reading, writing, shopping and creating. She is what she is and it may not be what the world wants but it is what it is. Love.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by InterMix. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Review: Tales from My Closet by Jennifer Anne Moses

[ 2 ] June 22, 2014

18114547Reviewed by Melanie Kline

Justine moves a lot. Her father’s job keeps them going from place to place and she hates being the new kid at school. She is also into fashion and wants to be a designer some day. She loves vintage clothing and has huge issues with spending way too much money on purchasing said clothes. Her mother is very unhappy with this as she went so far as to run up her mother’s credit card and had to work to pay it back.

Justine finds herself in West Falls, NJ and is nervous about her first day of school so she picks one of her favorite dresses to wear – an authentic Scott Paper Caper – in hopes that it helps her fit in. She fails miserably. Not only does she get ink splattered all over her irreplaceable dress, but she gets teased, the dress gets torn and she pretty much has the worst day of her life.

Tales From My Closet is about coming of age for teenage girls–making friends, losing friends, fitting in, fashion, feelings, love, holding tightly to your dreams, cruelty and despair. It is also about marriages breaking up, losing sight of your dreams until it is too late and trying to save your children from the same fate.

I recommend this book very highly to any and all teenage girls and even their parents. There is valuable information to be found lingering between the pages of the story. Life can be harsh for teenage girls and Tales From My Closet focuses on this while keeping with the title and Justine’s dream of being a designer.

I found the book to have a bit too much of foreshadowing as I pretty much knew what was going to happen during most events. However, given that I was once a teenage girl it was probably just learned from experience. Overall, this was a very enjoyable read. The author flows from one girl to another and all the dilemmas they face smoothly. She works all five of the girls’ feelings together by separating each chapter to focus on one girl at a time so you get to experience the feelings generated by ongoing events from all perspectives.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Scholastic Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Review: Wake by Dana Faletti

[ 0 ] June 22, 2014

20331953Reviewed by Jessa Larsen

The day Callie Evans realized she was more than your typical teenage girl, her entire world turned upside down. One day she was a typical high school student, the next a demon-slayer tasked with saving the human race. Callie is a newly discovered Arc angel from heaven and it is her destiny to fight the demons – or Darks as Arcs call them – that constantly prey on human teens. And just as Callie is getting used to her new calling in life, she meets Romuel, one of the most powerful angels of them all, and her life gets even more chaotic.

Will she really be able to handle the fate that God has chosen for her? Is she truly strong enough? If things aren’t already too much to handle, Callie has noticed that the Dark population seems to be multiplying at an alarming rate. The world is waking up to a war that has been raging since the beginning of time and it’s up to Callie and her crew to make sure the humans survive.

Wake is the second book in the Whisper Trilogy and I had not read the first book before picking this one up. Fortunately, even for a storyline that is obviously a decently continuous time-line, the story stands alone well enough. The main ideas you miss out on are the micro angel back stories and the ongoing chemistry between Callie and her fellow Arc angel, Joshua.

As far as the story goes, it was written well enough. I think this book is better suited to a younger audience due to a mix of the writing style, reading level difficulty, and the average age of the characters. I also believe this book is better suited to a Christian reader. I love a good story about an individual author’s take on the war in heaven, but the story line and dialogue made me think it was better suited to a stricter Christian audience category than I personally fall into.

Overall, it was a good book and I’m curious as to how the story will progress as we reach the final chapter of the trilogy. I would like to see how Dana Faletti chooses to end this war.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Jessa lives in Utah with her husband, 2 sons, 2 dogs and a cat called Number One Boots Kitten. She is a full time mom and enjoys writing short stories in her spare time. She also likes watching anime, reading books, and playing video games.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by BookSparksPR. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Review: The Widow Waltz by Sally Koslow

[ 3 ] June 21, 2014

51voYV8iIwL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Reviewed by Meg Massey

Georgia Waltz was living a charmed life in a Manhattan apartment with two beautiful children and her husband, Ben Silver. But when her husband dies suddenly, Georgia is shocked to discover that her once-successful lawyer husband left her and their daughters virtually penniless.

While Georgia must find a way to support herself and her daughters, she learns more devastating truths about him that would leave any woman reeling. But Georgia somehow finds the strength to let herself move on, in life and in love.

Sally Koslow’s The Widow Waltz is an endearing tale about love, loss and life. The author approaches Georgia’s difficult situation with just the right amount of humor, thanks to characters like Georgia’s brother Stephan. Despite Georgia’s once lavish lifestyle, she’s a relatable character you’ll find yourself rooting for as she works to find herself and support her daughters. Her daughters, Nicola and Luey, experience tremendous growth inside the pages of this novel. Once spoiled and accustomed to their own separate lives, the two sisters grow into well-rounded young women, and also experience a newfound closeness with their mother.

And in the novel’s final line, “I am choosing happiness”, I was inspired to find hope and happiness in my own experiences, as tragic as they sometimes seem. In short, this novel is one that will make an impression, with characters you won’t soon forget.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Meg lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Ryan. Library professional by day, freelance writer by night, Meg writes about life, entertainment and everything in between on her blog.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Plume. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Review: Four Seconds to Lose by K.A. Tucker

[ 2 ] June 21, 2014

foursecondstolosekatucker_zpsc5a27f4dReviewed by Lindsay Yocum

Trying to escape a life that you don’t want doesn’t seem to be as easy as one would think. Getting a new lease on life – new identification, name, credit cards, car, basically anything you would need to restart somewhere new – seemed like a safe bet to Charlie Rourke. Only that it wasn’t when the time came to do a simple favor for her father, Sam because she was under the impression that was over and in the past. After fulfilling Sam’s request, Charlie is bound and determined to make a life for herself, away from Sam under this new identity that he offered her.

It’s how she meets Cain, the super gorgeous and rich owner of Penny’s, a strip club located in Miami. Yes, she decides to become a stripper. It is fast and easy money–she will be able to get out from this new identity and on her own in no time with that kind of money. According to her new found friend, Ginger, she can make more money working at Penny’s than any other strip club in town.

Will her past catch up to her before she has a chance to get away? Cain himself has a dark past, but has completely managed to turn his once dismal life around for the better, and help women better themselves. He’s not a typical sleazy strip club owner; he’s more of a life coach to the women that work for him. After doing a background check on Charlie, he finds some things out that make him feel as though he has to help. But Charlie isn’t really Charlie, and what happens when fake Charlie is found out or gets caught in her web of lies?

I did not think that I would enjoy Four Seconds to Lose at first because I am not really a “boxing” or “street fighting” kind of person, but I have to say that I really enjoyed it. I loved how the characters fit so well together and the readers really get to know and understand them and their stories. They had some pretty incredible and sad lives. It really changed my initial reaction towards the book. It was really well written. K.A Tucker has never disappointed me with any of her novels so I am not quite sure how I ever could have doubted her with this one. I give this book a rating of 4, and recommend this to anyone who loves a good romance/thriller type of book.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Lindsay Yocum resides in California with her 5 year old firecracker daughter, Bear, and her hilarious husband. She spends her free time traveling, baking, ruining DIY crafts she finds on Pinterest, and running, when she isn’t nose deep in a book.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Atria Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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Review: TimelessYou Siminar: Changing Perceptions by Deepak Chopra, MD

[ 1 ] June 20, 2014

What if you could change the way your body ages without surgery or medication? What if you could actually make yourself younger?

deepak-chopra-siminar-timeless-you

Dr. Deepak Chopra has facilitated a series of Siminars called TimelessYou in conjunction with Grandparents.com. These five courses, available for $29.99, are designed to help users adapt the way they think about their body, time, and the aging process, and to apply new understanding to developing the mind, body, and relationships to stay healthy and vibrant long into “old age”.

There are six courses that each take approximately an hour to complete and tackle the individual components of embracing the timeless self:

  • Changing Perceptions
  • A Youthful Mind
  • Healthy Relationships
  • The Mind-Body Connection
  • Mindful Eating
  • Joyful Exercise

This review covers the first course, “Changing Perceptions”.

Though it may seem like a large chunk of time, 85 minutes moves quickly in the “Changing Perceptions” Siminar. The course is divided into five 15-minute sections, which are then further divided into related sub-sections that introduce and build on Chopra’s points.

As the course title indicates, the first course is devoted to understanding and changing the perceptions we have about our bodies and the way they age. The foundation of the course is the Ayurvedic principle that “what you see, you will become”. Therefore, how we age is a reflection of how we perceive aging and our bodies.

Another key component of the course is differentiating between “chronological” age, or the number of years we have been alive, and the “biological” age, or the physical condition of our bodies. Chopra encourages users to create their Biostat – a biological age within 15 years of their current age that they want to be – and to condition their minds to make their Biostat a reality.

The segments of each lesson were a combination of polls, short quizzes, written passages and video clips of Dr. Chopra himself expounding on the concepts in the section. Zoomable images illustrated such ideas as the “subtle body” and reinforced the mantras that Chopra prescribes throughout the course. Mixed media made the entire course easier to follow and will serve a variety of learning styles.

While I realized rather quickly that I am not the target audience for this series of Siminars (the youngest biological age range presented was 30-39 and I am 27 chronologically), “Changing Perceptions” was nonetheless full of valuable information that is applicable to adults of all ages. We can all benefit from realizing the control we have over our own physical and mental health simply by virtue of how we see the world around us. I am going to complete the remaining five courses for my own benefit, and I highly recommend the series to anybody looking to take greater ownership of his or her well-being.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Shannon lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her husband, son, and two cats. When she isn’t reading, getting paid to play on social media, or running her own business she enjoys playing with her baby, cooking, and blogging at www.shannontrenton.com.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Deepak Chopra Siminars. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.

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