Monday, November 17, 2014

Blog Tour | "After the Rain" by Renee Carlino

After the Rain by Renee Carlino
Contemporary Romance published November 11, 2014
Author's website  |  Goodreads  |  Buy the Book on Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

From the USA TODAY bestselling author of Sweet Thing and Nowhere But Here comes a deeply emotional contemporary romance about the second chances waiting beyond the shattered dreams of youth.

Under the bright arena lights of a rodeo show, young Avelina Belo falls for a handsome cowboy with a larger-than-life personality. After a whirlwind courtship, she happily moves away from her family in northern California and settles into married life with her cowboy on a seven-thousand-acre cattle ranch in Montana. One freak accident later, Avelina’s hopes for the future come to an end.

Nate Myers graduated from UCLA medical school at the top of his class, ready to follow in the footsteps of his father, a superstar cardiothoracic surgeon. Six years later, Nate’s career is being ruined by a malpractice suit. Questioning himself for the first time, he retreats to a Montana cattle ranch to visit his uncle and gain perspective. There, he meets a beautiful young woman named Avelina who teaches him more than he ever knew about matters of the heart.
My Thoughts...
Oh my goodness, I loved this book so much!  I think it was my favorite Renee Carlino book and Nate was definitely my favorite of all her characters. There were times that I was upset and wanted to put it down, there were times that I teared up, but I ended up reading most of it in one sitting.  That is one thing about these books that Renee Carlino writes, once I start reading I generally don't stop until I get to the end of the book.

This is a story about loss and learning to let go and love again.  Avelina is only 17 year old when she meets Jake, she marries him after 3 months, and a year and a half later she is a widow.  Nate is a young heart surgeon who loses a young patient and is facing a lawsuit.  He takes some time off and heads to where is uncle lives on a ranch in Montana.  He meets Avelina and his life will never be the same.  She's been withdrawn and blaming herself for the last 5 years.  She lives and works on the ranch still, but her life is empty and has no meaning anymore.  They slowly start to get to know each other and he is able to bring Ava out of the dark place she's been hiding for the last 5 years.  Things aren't easy for them, but Nate is determined to make it work.  He sees what they could have and he's not going to let her get away easily once he's had a taste.

I loved the character development in this story, there is a fair amount of the book that passes before we get to the place where they meet finally.  This is necessary, though and it didn't bother me.  They each have something dark they are dealing with and we have to know this in order to understand them fully.  There were times that I was frustrated with Ava, but I think that Nate was very mature in the way he handled her and the situation she was in.  I liked that he was always honest with her even when he knew that being honest may lead to her leaving.

I didn't care so much for one section toward the end of the book, I realize why it needed to be done, in theory. It made me ache for Nate, but I loved seeing how he dealt with it and that made me love him even more.  I also didn't care much for the epilogue chapter, it was a little out of the blue, unlike the one in Sweet Thing.  I would much rather have seen that play out just like the rest of the story instead of getting that outside view.  

Overall, I loved it.  It was heart breaking and hopeful all at the same times.  A little like getting your heart ripped out and put back together all in the space of a few hours.  It is a romance so there are some steamy love scenes, but they are all tastefully done and not at all crass or vulgar.  I highly recommend it to all you romance lovers out there.

XOXO, Shelly

*Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for my honest review.*

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Review | "Cypher" by Cathy Perkins

Cypher by Cathy Perkins
Romantic Suspense published August 10, 2014
Red Mountain Publishing
Author's website  |  Goodreads  |  Buy the Book on Amazon


Cara Wainwright thinks life can't get tougher when her mother's cancer becomes terminal--until she returns home from the hospital and finds her house guests dead. 

Greenville, SC Detective David Morris, is unsure if Cara is the suspect or the intended murder victim. As he searches for insight into her family, their mounting secrets, and the conflicting evidence from multiple crimes, his attraction to Cara complicates his investigation. Is the lure need, manipulation--or real? 

While David pursues forensic evidence, Cara pushes for answers about her father's possible involvement, for at the center of the mystery stands Cypher--the company her father built and will take any measures to defend.
My Thoughts...
I am going to keep this review pretty short.  The reason being that it's been a couple weeks since I finished the book.  I have been so busy that I'm just now getting a chance to write the review and I don't know that I can do the book proper justice this far removed.

I loved this book, I can tell you that with no hesitation!  In fact I read it relatively quickly.  What I don't love is the cover art.  I received an ARC copy with just a plain red cover and I liked it better that the actual cover.  Pay no heed to the cover, though, the story is excellent.  It's well plotted and the character development is fantastic.

This is a murder/mystery/thriller with romance thrown in, which is always a plus for me.  Cara finds herself the lead suspect when two of her friends are found dead in her apartment.  We know they were killed by a hit man, but who hired the hit man is unknown.  The lead detective is convinced that it was Cara, but his partner David questions what her motive would have been.  He is drawn to her and is convinced of her innocence and plans to prove it while trying to fight his mounting feelings for her.

This story is full of twists and turns that will have you on the edge of your seat as you try to figure out who the real killer is.  There were moments when I was sure I knew who it was only to be proven wrong in the end.  All in all, I loved the story and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes a good romantic thriller!

XOXO, Shelly

*Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for my honest review.*

Monday, November 10, 2014

Review | "Tears of a Heart" by Chase Blackwood

Tears of a Heart by Chase Blackwood
Fantasy published September 7, 2014
Author's website  |  Goodreads  |  Buy the Book on Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads

A continent on the verge of war. 
A boy who is destined to become a legend. 
A truth waiting to be uncovered. 

A powerful coming-of-age tale of a young man destined to become one of the most powerful men Verold has ever known. 
It’s a unique tale of adventure, adversity, and strength. Written with the hand of a poet and the heart of a warrior. The book’s action and depth will astound as the reader delves deeper into the masterful world painted in detailed strokes.

My Thoughts...
I just finished this book this morning and I really, really enjoyed it.  I would have to say that fantasy is one of my favorite genres and this fits in well with some of my favorite books.  This has the makings of a great epic fantasy series based on this first book.

This is the story of a young boy, his name is Kirin when we first meet him close to the age of 13, but he does seem to be older than we know him to be.  He is the Kovor's son, in line to be the next kovor of his village, but before he can do this he must complete the trials.  These are trials that the young men must go through at a certain age.  He completes the first 2 trials and is sent out for the 3rd, which is much harder and longer than the others.  Upon his completion of this trail he will be give his new name Aeden, which is what he is know by through the remainder of the book.  Aeden returns from this last trial to find this his world has been shattered and this is really where his journey begins.  This is just the beginning of the trials that he will endure.

The world building in this book is fantastic and very descriptive.  They characters are just as well built/developed over the course of the book.  We are in the midst of a foreign world in what seems to be a long ago time, but it feels very real and complex in it's diversity.  The book is told in 3rd person mostly from Aeden's point of view, but we get a couple of chapters from the POV of a man known only as the Annalist.  I took him to be someone who uncovers and records history.  We don't know much about him other than that he is looking for something in Aeden's past or trying to uncover something about him.  It's not until the end that we find out who has hired him, but it's still not clear where he is in the timeline.  He knows more about Aeden than we do so he's further along in time than we are.

The writing is excellently done, it has almost a lyrical quality to it at times and it's just beautiful to read.  I am not sure exactly where the story is going or what Aeden's quest is.  At this point we are going along with him as he is becoming a man, but it's clear that he has a greater purpose even if he doesn't know what it it quite yet.  I think he has a ways to go still and even though he seems to have faced so much already I feel like things are going to get worse for him before they get better.

I quite enjoyed this book and I am looking forward to the next book, I just hope we don't have to wait too long!  If you enjoy fantasy then I recommend this book for sure.  

XOXO, Shelly

*Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book courtesy of the author in exchange for my honest review.*

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Review | "Unteachable" by Leah Raeder

Unteachable by Leah Raeder
New Adult Romance published March 24, 2014
Atria Books
Author's website  |  Goodreads  |  Buy the Book on Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads

Maise O’Malley just turned eighteen, but she’s felt like a grown-up her entire life. The summer before senior year, she has plans: get into a great film school, convince her mom to go into rehab, and absolutely do not, under any circumstances, screw up her own future.

But life has a way of throwing her plans into free-fall.

When Maise meets Evan at a carnival one night, their chemistry is immediate, intense, and short-lived. Which is exactly how she likes it: no strings. But afterward, she can’t get Evan out of her head. He’s taught her that a hookup can be something more. It can be an unexpected connection with someone who truly understands her. Someone who sees beyond her bravado to the scared but strong girl inside.

That someone turns out to be her new film class teacher, Mr. Evan Wilke.

Maise and Evan resolve to keep their hands off each other, but the attraction is too much to bear. Together, they’re real and genuine; apart, they’re just actors playing their parts for everyone else. And their masks are slipping. People start to notice. Rumors fly. When the truth comes to light in a shocking way, they may learn they were just playing parts for each other, too.

Smart, sexy, and provocative, Unteachable is about what happens when a love story goes off-script.
My Thoughts...
I am going to keep this review pretty short.  The reason being that I still have no idea how to really review this book.  I finished it yesterday and I have mixed feelings about it for sure.  On one hand the writing is really beautiful.  Leah Raeder has a wonderful way with words, there is no doubt about that.  On the other hand, while I like a well done teacher/student romance, this one was a little weird for me.  

For me, personally, there are ways to handle this type of relationship without it being yucky.  She hit it right with them meeting before, similar to Slammed and Pretty Little Liars.  The part that bothered me most was his age, he was way too old for me to be comfortable with what they were doing.  I think that maybe if he'd been just out of school or even in his mid 20's, I wouldn't have minded so much.  I was also put off by Maise's attitude and her nasty mouth.  She was very grown up for her age, but her constant swearing was a little much for my.  Maise is technically "of age", but that doesn't matter in most states.  

I don't really know how to feel about this story.  There were things that worked and things that were totally weird for me.  I like a good steamy romance novel, to be sure, but there is way more descriptive sex in this book than what was needed and maybe that's why I didn't like it like as much as I thought I would.

So, while I did enjoy the writing style immensely, I did have some iffy feelings about the overall story line.  If you have issues with teacher/student relationships then you will not want to read this book. 

XOXO, Shelly

*Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for my honest review.*