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Tag: "Romance"

Blog Tour: Be With Me by J. Lynn

[ 3 ] February 20, 2014

BE_WITH_ME (1)Please join J. Lynn, author of Be with Me, as she tours the blogosphere with TLC Book Tours!

Reviewed by Sarah Horwath

Be With Me by J. Lynn is the story of Teresa Hamilton and Jase Winstead. Both are from very different worlds and both want different things out of life. Teresa is healing from a torn ACL and is basically at college to pass the time until she can go back to doing what she loves, dancing. Jase has too many secrets and more responsibilities than a college kid should have. Jase and Teresa shared a mind-blowing kiss one night and are not quite sure where to go from that kiss.

It has been a while since I’ve read Wait For You, J. Lynn’s first book, so could not remember some of the things mentioned in Be With Me. However, once the story and characters came into better view I remembered how much I enjoyed Wait For You and was ready to dig into Be With Me. I really loved the story line and the chemistry between Jase and Teresa. I think they had the best chemistry between characters I’ve encountered in a while. Jase was super funny but also very mysterious, keeping something from Teresa, which just added to his appeal.

Be With Me does have more darkness to the story line than I’m accustomed to with Lynn’s other books; abuse and dealing with abuse is part of the story but Teresa’s actions in standing up for herself and her roommate only showcase her strength and bravery.

Lynn peppers the book with a few surprise moments that only kept me wanting more. Be With Me is filled with secrets, love and hot hunky men. What more could a romance lover want in a book? To me, this book was so captivating that I just had to read it in one sitting–I could not help but be addicted to Jase and Teresa’s love story. I have practically read everything by this author and have not been disappointed yet. I think I will always recommend a J. Lynn (penn name for Jennifer Armentrout) to any one I know. To me she is just that good of a writer. I cant wait to read more in this series!

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Sarah is a college student studying English. One day, she hopes to become an author. For her, reading is much more than just a hobby.

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

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Review: While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell

[ 3 ] February 17, 2014

WhileBeautySleptReviewed by Jennifer Jensen

What if the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty, one that many of us probably know so well thanks to the Disney animated version, were real? You’d say that would be impossible; fairies aren’t real, and no evil witch could transform herself into a dragon or cast a spell that would put a princess into a deep sleep. Elizabeth Blackwell’s While Beauty Slept is inspired by the beloved fairy tale, with a few nods to the Disney classic. But in her tale, there are no fairies, magic, or wicked spells.

While Beauty Slept is told from the first-person point of view of Elise Darliss, a working class girl who loses her mother to the pox at the age of fourteen. Elise’s fortune changes when she secures a position in the castle of St. Elsip…or so it seems. Torn between two women, Millicent and Queen Lenore, Elise must decide whether admiration of a woman’s influential presence or love and loyalty are strongest.

Millicent is only a mortal woman, nearly nothing like the Maleficent of the Walt Disney tale. But in many ways, she is even more frightening than Maleficent. Blackwell gives her a convincing connection to the royals of St. Elsip by casting her as the elderly aunt of the king, and a plausible motive for why she later on in the tale sets out to ruin her own flesh and blood.

Queen Lenore is perhaps my favorite character in all of While Beauty Slept; she is a role model for Elise, a shining example of kindness and love. Her fine character made Elise’s small betrayal toward the beginning of the novel all the more painful to read, but Elise is able to redeem herself in the end, and after so many years of hardship and sacrifice makes her own version of a happy ending.

Rose, who is the “sleeping beauty” of the story, is not very prominent because this is Elise’s journey. But Rose’s small presence made a lasting impression on me, of a princess who longs for more and has to give up on her own dreams for the sake of duty.

Although there are happy endings for many of the characters, they are more realistic than that of any fairy tale. I was saddened to see how some of the characters fared, but relieved that they got to know happiness even if it did not last for a full lifetime.

Elizabeth Blackwell is an author to keep an eye on; her stunning prose cast a spell on me and I am eager to see what future contributions she will make to modern day literature.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.

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

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Review: The Whittaker Family Reunion by Shirley Roe

[ 1 ] February 16, 2014

download (2)Reviewed by Alisha Churbe

In 1881, Martha and Jeremy Whittaker’s stepsons come together for a family reunion. It’s been just over two years since Abraham, a doctor from Mississippi, Ezekiel, a professor in England, and Isaac, a free spirit who settled for family life were last together. The family is haunted by a shared past of secrets that are revealed in pieces throughout the story. Some of the secrets are never fully described, adding to the never-fully-developed mystery of the family.

The family reunion is a long one, spanning months, or so it seems. A large cast of characters participate in many occurrences: a miscarriage, a wedding, a stranger, a number of attacks, a gala and other events. It is difficult to know exactly who the main character(s) are, the story fluctuates through the viewpoints of most, if not all, the stepsons, parents, friends, and children of the Whittaker family. The story ends with a new secret revealed and without resolution to the other secrets weaved throughout the story. The ending “disappears into a cloud of dust” following a stranger away from the Whittaker family.

It was difficult to understand the true purpose of the story in The Whittaker Family Reunion or have concern for the fates of any of the many characters. There is potential for a good read, but the plot fell flat and short. Roe weaves a mystery with intricate and not always relevant details. Her writing style is best described just as one of her young characters in this novel, “the girl had guts and independence. All she needed was a little polish.”

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

Part-time fiction writer, Alisha Churbe lives in Portland, Oregon. In the rare instances when you can pry her away from books, Alisha can be found travelling in foreign countries, cooking, or hiking with her husband Michael and dog Euro.

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

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Review: Rome by Jay Crownover

[ 0 ] February 15, 2014

rome3dReviewed by Sarah Horwath

Rome by Jay Crownover is the story of Rome Archer and Cora Lewis. Rome is home from the war and basically has no idea what to do with his life. He feels that he was once a son, a brother and a super soldier but now nightmares plague his mind and all he does is drink. Cora Lewis has a broken heart that she keeps guarded and will only allow the perfect guy in. Both come from very different worlds and both have very different thoughts as to where their lives should be.

I really really loved Rome. It was such a romantic, gutsy, and heart stopping love story. Rule and Rome happen to be my all time favorite brothers out of any book. Rome is your typical guy except his world was turned upside down when his other brother Remy died and out came his secret. Now Rome is not sure if his brother knew how much he loved him since he was not willing to share his secret. After coming home, Rome is very unsure of himself. He is used to his younger brother Rule getting into trouble but now he sees him happy in love and doing good.

This book had me tearing up quite often and I love when reading makes me emotional–to me, that’s a sure sign of a great book. The story line and both of the main characters were very engaging but I will say Cora did tick me off, time and time again. Her version of Mr. Perfect was a little over the top and I felt like her expectations were a little high. But I’m really glad that she eventually came to her senses.

I can’t say enough good things about this series. I definitely think this story will make you heart melt–it has every thing you could ever want in a love story and more. Both Cora and Rome need each other but don’t really realize it or are not willing to admit it initially. Cora wants a perfect man and fails to see that he might be right in front of her. Rome needs something to do with himself to fill the void he has felt since coming home from the war; he doesn’t realize it either but Cora might just be the one to help him fill that void and make him whole again. If you have not picked it up already, what are you waiting for?

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Sarah is a college student studying English. One day, she hopes to become an author. For her, reading is much more than just a hobby.

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

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Review: The Wife, The Maid, and The Mistress by Ariel Lawhon

[ 4 ] February 13, 2014

17618286Reviewed by Colleen Turner

On August 6th, 1930, Judge Joseph Crater – a man with seedy mob ties who was under suspicion for purchasing his seat on the New York State Supreme Court – disappeared without a trace. To this day his disappearance remains a mystery. The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress uses what is known about Judge Crater, his various connections and the people closest to him to present a thrilling and emotional story of what might have brought down this flawed and powerful man.

The Wife, The Maid, and The Mistress is told from the point of view of the three women closest to Joseph Crater: his wife Stella, their maid Maria Simon and Crater’s mistress Sally Lou Ritz. Ariel Lawhon does an excellent job of bringing these three women to life, flaws and all. Each woman has gotten herself wrapped tightly into a spot that could prove quite dangerous if they try to break away on their own terms. In a world of dark and seedy speakeasies where powerful and violent men hold all the cards, the women will have to keep level heads and beat the men at their own games to survive.

The pacing is perfect, starting the story 39 years after the judge’s disappearance with Stella coming back to one of her husband’s favorite hangouts, Club Abbey, on the day of Crater’s disappearance for her annual vigil and meeting with Maria’s husband, Jude Simon, one of the detectives assigned to investigate the judge’s disappearance. From there the story goes back and forth, releasing little tidbits and details from each woman until the truth is revealed to Jude in a letter from Stella given to him before she leaves the club for the last time. The excitement and emotion is really in the details, however, with the reader being pulled along on a thrilling mystery that leaves you guessing but one that also forces you to become emotionally invested in the plights of the players with good hearts who are pushed into doing things they wouldn’t do in a different time and place. But don’t be fooled for a moment into thinking that every person involved is good or innocent. There are some vicious characters sprinkled throughout, namely Judge Crater himself and Owney Madden, the mobster who seems to be pulling all the strings. There are a number of bright lights and kind hearts to be seen, but there is just as much vice, lust and greed and that keeps the story moving at an exhilarating pace.

I was not aware of Judge Crater’s disappearance or the mystery and legend surrounding it before reading The Wife, The Maid, and The Mistress but this captivating novel has me very excited to read more details and theories which, to me, is the hallmark of a great story and an equaling talented author. I’m very excited to see what Ariel Lawhon presents next.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Colleen lives in Tampa, Florida with her husband, son, their dog Oliver and their fish Finn. When not working or taking care of her family she has her nose stuck in a book (and, let’s face it, often when she is working or taking care of her family as well). Nothing excites her more than discovering a new author to obsess over or a hidden jewel of a book to worship.

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

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Review: More Than a Touch by Alexis Morgan

[ 1 ] February 12, 2014

18079814Reviewed by Amanda Schafer

Corporal Leif Brevik is spending his recuperation time in Snowberry Creek, a quaint town of love and friendship. After being injured in Afghanistan, where a fellow comrade was killed, Leif needs time to not only heal physically but emotionally too. Leif’s sergeant, Nick, had to make a choice between Leif and Spencer Lang and ended up pulling Leif out of harm’s way first, leaving Spence vulnerable. Now, they are fixing up Spence’s old house to be a bed and breakfast since he left the house and all its contents to Callie. Leif and Nick are trying to put the past behind them but know that they also want to honor Spence’s memory and sacrifice. First and foremost, however, Leif has to work on his physical therapy to get his severely injured ankle back to par.

While at a potluck to kick off the renovations, Zoe Phillips meets Leif for the first time and is intrigued by him and his wit. Little does she know that he will be her patient when his physical therapy starts a few days later. She has to separate the whole relationship and not allow herself to get caught up in a romance with a patient, let alone a soldier who has every intention of going back into action. Zoe can’t force herself to go back down that road again, not when the flashbacks catch her unaware as it is. She left that life behind her and she doesn’t want to let it in her life again. But can she really resist this man who keeps trying to be a friend to her?

Alexis Morgan really drew me into this quaint life in Snowberry Creek, more so than I thought possible when I first picked up More Than a Touch. At first glance it seems to be a typical romance book, but then it surprises you with in-depth characters and a really nice plot. What caught my attention most was the teaser (for the next book) at the end of the book…*now* I really want to continue with this story line to find out what happens next!

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Amanda lives in Missouri with her engineering husband, two sons, and one daughter. In between homeschooling and keeping up with church activities she loves to read Christian Fiction, Women’s Fiction, and any Chick-Lit. She never goes anywhere without a book to read!

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

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