Thursday, February 19, 2015

Another update...Truth time!

Ok, it's hitting me now that this school thing is just way more than I expected!  I am loving it, but what it means is that my personal reading time has taken a HUGE hit.  It's been several weeks since I have had time to finish a review book.  So....for now I am will be slowly working through the stack of review books that I have and I have one tour for Colleen Hoover's Confess coming sometime in March that I will be posting.  Beyond that I will only be accepting a very limited number of books for review.  This will mostly be reserved for series that I have been reviewing and for authors that I always work with.  I hate that I don't have more time, but it's just the way things work out sometimes.

So, I have about 10 books to review and those will be short, but thorough reviews.  I am not going to commit to a certain number per week, month, etc... since time isn't permitting me to read as quickly as I'd like.  After that I will just have to see how it goes and hopefully I will have more time in the summer, but next school semester is shaping up to be harder than the current one so it looks like this is going to be how things go at least for the next year.

Actually, what I'd really like to do is be a guest blogger on another book blog since I don't really have enough content to keep this one going....  That's something I need to look into when I have an chance.  If any of you have any suggestions on that front leave me a comment!

Thanks for listening and I hope you all understand.

XOXO,
Shelly

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Review | "Stealing Rose" by Monica Murphy

Stealing Rose by Monica Murphy
Adult Romance published March 3, 2015
Published by Bantam
Author's website  |  Goodreads  |  Buy the Book on Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Emma Chase—the second novel in New York Times bestselling author Monica Murphy’s sizzling series about three powerhouse sisters and the men who would have their hearts.

People say the youngest child has it easy, but nothing can be further from the truth. Unlike my two sisters, Violet and Lily, I’m never in the limelight. I just work my butt off for Fleur Cosmetics and get little to no thanks for it. I’ve been pushed too far one too many times, and I’m finally brave enough to do something about it.

Maybe my newfound courage has something to do with the amazing pink and white diamond necklace I wear to the party in Cannes. The instant those dazzling heirloom jewels touch my skin, they excite some deep, aching need inside. And when that guy—that totally gorgeous guy—locks eyes with me, I know this nice girl is going to be naughty.

For once it’s my turn. My turn to say no to my father, to outshine my sisters, to walk away from it all—straight into the arms of a mysterious stranger. But what if Caden is much more than I bargained for? Sure, he makes me feel sexy and free in a way I never have before, but there’s something else I can’t quite place—something dangerous. Maybe our “chance” meeting wasn’t so random. Maybe he was looking for me for a reason. Whatever his motive, there’s no going back now.

And maybe I don’t want to.

my thoughts...

This second book in the Fowler Series centers around the youngest sister, Rose.  When the book starts out the whole family is in Cannes to screen a documentary about the Grandmother's life and how she started Fleur Cosmetics.  Rose finds herself in a sticky situation and a mysterious handsome man comes to her rescue.  They have a pretty hot moment later on during the party and then he quickly disappears.  In the meantime Rose decides she needs a break from Fleur, but more importantly from her father and his girlfriend so she decides to stay in Paris with Violet and Ryder for a few weeks.

After about a week in Paris she meets Caden again when she goes out to dinner with Violet.  The attraction between them is instantly re-ignited and things get hot and heavy pretty quickly.  They have a whirlwind couple of weeks together before reality comes crashing down on them.  Rose is pretty open with Caden, but he has secrets that, once revealed, have the power to tear them apart.  

This story is told in first person with nearly each chapter alternating between Rose and Caden.  I really like when books are done this way so that we have the opportunity to get to know each of the main characters better.  I really liked Caden, I didn't connect with Rose quite as much.  We do get to see Violet and Ryder in this book and Ryder is much the same guy.  He's great with Rose, he cares from her and give her great advice.  Violet on the other hand, I didn't care for in this book.  She was way too judgmental and seemed, almost, to be a different character than she was in the first book.

I did enjoy this book very much and I am looking forward to Lily's book which will be the conclusion of this series.  As always I feel the need to warn you that this is an adult book and there is a fair amount of profanity and some very descriptive love scenes.  

XOXO, Shelly

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

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Review | "Gooseberry Island" by Steven Manchester

Gooseberry Island by Steven Manchester
Contemporary published January 6, 2015
The Story Plant
Author's website  |  Goodreads  |  Buy the Book on Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

They met at the worst possible moment...or maybe it was just in time. David McClain was about to go to war and Lindsey Wood was there at his going-away party, capturing his heart when falling for a woman was the last thing on his mind. While David was serving his country, he stayed in close contact with Lindsey. But war changes a person, and when he came home very little had the same meaning that it had before – including the romance that had sustained him. Was love truly unconquerable, or would it prove to be just another battlefield casualty?

Gooseberry Island is the most nuanced, dramatic, and romantic novel yet from a writer whose ability to plumb the depths of human emotion knows few peers. 
My Thoughts...
I think up to this point I have read all of Steven Manchester's books from Twelve Months on and I have enjoyed each and every one of them.  I know that I can sit down with one and read it in a couple of hours and I know that it's going to be emotional.  This book was no exception, though I will say it wasn't my favorite of Steven's work.  I think that maybe it's just because I didn't quite connect with the characters in this particular story the way I have with some of the other books.  That's not to say that I didn't enjoy the story, though.  This story is largely about PTSD and the ramifications of dealing with life "after the fact", if you will.  I guess this just isn't a subject I know a lot about so it was hard for me to connect with that part of it.

David is an Army Ranger who meets Lindsay the day before he ships out to Afghanistan for a year long tour.  It's an insta-love scenario, where they both kind of know that they want to try the long distance thing even though they don't really know each other.  They stay in pretty close contact over the year that David is gone. David is optimistic at first, but things happen to him in Afghanistan that will haunt him for the rest of his life.  Back home in the States, Lindsay is dealing with her father who is a soldier fighting his own battle with PTSD and having a rough time of it.  She never confides this to David though, not until much later in their relationship.

More than half the book deals with David's return and all the things that follow him back from overseas.  He's not the same person he was when he left and he has a lot of issues to work through before he can be the same man that fell in love with Lindsay.

There were so many things is this book that frustrated me.  I just wanted to smack David and tell him to talk to her about what was going on.  I wanted Lindsay to tell him about her father so he would know that it's something she could handle.  This is where I felt the disconnection with the characters and I know that this comes from not really having any way to quantify PTSD personally.  I have no personal experience with it so it's hard to identify with the actions of a person who has.  I know that there are a lot of people out there who will identify with this book and I think that Steven did a great job writing about this particular subject.  It was a very emotional story and if you enjoy Mr. Manchester's work then this book will be no exception.

XOXO, Shelly

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

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Review | "The Secret of Pembrooke Park" by Julie Klassen

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen
Inspirational 
Regency Romance published December 1, 2014
Published by Bethany House
Author's website  |  Goodreads  |  Buy the Book on Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Abigail Foster fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry to improve her charms and the one man she thought might marry her--a longtime friend--has fallen for her younger, prettier sister. 
When financial problems force her family to sell their London home, a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer: the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left: tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll's house left mid-play . . . 

The handsome local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem to know something about the manor's past, the only information they offer Abigail is a warning: Beware trespassers who may be drawn by rumors that Pembrooke contains a secret room filled with treasure. 
Hoping to improve her family's financial situation, Abigail surreptitiously searches for the hidden room, but the arrival of anonymous letters addressed to her, with clues about the room and the past, bring discoveries even more startling. As secrets come to light, will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks...or very real danger?

my thoughts...

This was my first book by Julie Klassen and I did enjoy it.  It's a fairly long book and it did take me longer to read it than I anticipated. This is a Regency Mystery and while it's classified as romance there was really very little focus on the romance.  This is also a Bethany House published book so there is some aspect of religion throughout the book.  It's not as in your face as some of the books they publish are.  This one is more subtle in that the main male character Will is a curate on the Pembrooke property.  This, for all intents and purposes, means that he's the pastor of the church.  His position is overseen by an elder pastor who travels so Will lives in the rectory and holds the weekly services.

Abigail finds herself in a bit of a quandary when, because of her advice on financial matters, her family finds themselves in trouble.  They can no longer afford to live in the way they have become accustomed so she needs to find them a place to live when they sell their London home.  She is the older sister who feels doomed to remain an "old maid" even though she is not yet 25.  This hits her especially hard when the man she thinks she's in love with, a man she grew up with, appears to be quite taken with her younger sister.  They seem to stumble upon the opportunity of a lifetime when they are offered a year lease on the Pembrooke property.  An offer that comes complete with household staff.  The caveat is, the house has been empty for nearly 20 years.

As Abigail begins to ready the house for the rest of her family, she learns that there is so much more about the house than what was revealed to her initially.  There is a secret in the house and she's not the only one searching for it.  Some say it's a treasure, but just what kind of treasure could there be in a house that was abandoned so suddenly?  Abigail becomes close with Will and his entire family as she uncovers the truth about what really happened all those years ago.

This is a great mystery story, it's full of twists and turns.  Some of them I saw coming, but others hit me out of the blue.  Like I said earlier, it's a long book, but the mystery of it kept me going right on to the end.  There is a little romance that's all very proper for the time in which the book is set.  If you like a nice clean read with a little romance and a lot of mystery then you will probably enjoy this book.  I know I did!

XOXO, Shelly

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