Review: Saving Sara

Saving Sara Book Cover Saving Sara
Redemption #1
Nicola Marsh
Fiction
Lake Union Publishing
August 1, 2016
eARC
Net Galley

From Net Galley:

Initially, I had a hard time connecting with the two main female characters, Sara and Cilla. Sara was very bitter and almost mean in the beginning. While the tragedies that both characters experienced were explained in the beginning, it still took some time for me to warm up to them. Thankfully over time Sara softened and became more welcoming as a character.

Cilla continued to have issues for me in regards to her relationships with Bryce and Tamsin, but her relationships with Jake, Olly, Sara and Rose were more open and warm. Though her relationship with Bryce is changed in the end, it still felt a bit off for me {and not because of the age difference}.

Overall, I struggled with the characters in this story. Jake, Rose and Olly were the most believable characters from the start. Their relationships with each other felt real and ultimately, I think Jake was the greatest influence over Sara and Cilla growing as relatable characters. Tamsin is another bitter character. We only see her interact with Cilla, but she is cold and distant in their shared scene. And I have difficulty believing Bryce in general.

I did enjoy the story itself. While I am normally very character driven, the plot was enough to keep me going until the characters began to open up and grow. I did find the ending hard to believe however. Sara’s reaction to events is not in keeping with her character’s actions throughout the story. While I think that she would have eventually reached the place she held at the end, there would have been a lot more work involved to get her there.

That being said, I am looking forward to the second book in the series which focuses on Rose’s story.

Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC of this book through Net Galley and the publisher {Lake Union Publishing} in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Early Review: A Sure Thing

A Sure Thing Book Cover A Sure Thing
Donnigans #1
Marie Harte
Fiction; Romance
Sourcebooks Casablanca
November 1, 2016
eARC
Net Galley

From Net Galley:

The family dynamics in this story were my favorite part. I love Landon’s interactions with his brothers and sister, as well as all of them with their parents. I also enjoyed Ava’s relationship with her cousins. Even better was the couple interacting with the other’s family.

While the heat between Ava and Landon was intense, and I am all for an opposites attract trope, there were some moments when I felt their interactions were not wholly believable. That being said, overall, I felt their relationship was handled well with a good progression from animosity, to respect, to dating, to relationship, etc.

The secondary characters were fantastic and I look forward to more stories surrounding Gavin, Sadie, Hope, Theo and Elliott. An additional character was added briefly {who apparently plays a part in a series that this one is an off-shoot of} towards the end of the story, but it was unclear how they played a part in the overall plot. In fact, I found the last chapter very confusing because it centered around this character.

I am looking forward to the next book in the Donnigan series and am planning to go back and read some of the earlier work by Ms. Harte

Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC of this book through Net Galley and the publisher {Sourcebooks Casablanca} in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Review: Unlocking Worlds

Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers Book Cover Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers
Sally Allen
Nonfiction
Griffins Wharf
September 2, 2015
eARC
Net Galley

From Net Galley:

"Award-winning writer and teacher Sally Allen knows that good books don’t just draw us in; they talk to us, shape us, and transport us to times, places, and minds different from our own. In Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers, Allen deftly weaves personal stories with fifteen thematized, annotated, and illustrated reading lists for what to read next. By sharing some of the treasures in her library and the secret lives they reveal, she gives us permission to embrace the shameless book lover inside each of us. Unlocking Worlds is a testament to how reading passionately—and compassionately—can unlock the world beyond our back yard. Celebrating books and those who read them, Allen shows how the solitary act of reading can be a powerful thread that creates community and connection. Thought-provoking and eloquent, Unlocking Worlds: A Reading Companion for Book Lovers is a must-have for anyone who can’t leave the house without a book in hand."

I love books and I love reading about books. This was a mostly fun read about books that have touched the author’s life. While many of the categories {chapters} were not necessarily relevant to me, I did find some new titles to explore. I was also able to revisit some old favorites through new eyes.

Thankfully a full bibliography is included at the end of the book as the review copy I received had several formatting errors that eliminated sections of text {including book titles in some cases} throughout the book. I almost did not complete the book due to these formatting issues, but was able to acclimate to them after a few chapters.

Through reading this book, I was reminded of the many ways that books have touched my life. I was also inspired to tackle my own reading projects in the future.

Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC of this book through Net Galley and the publisher {Griffins Wharf} in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Top Ten Tuesday~ Favorite TV Couples

It’s time for another edition of Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the team at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is in honor of all the Fall TV shows that are starting. Since I don’t watch a lot of TV, I decided to pick my favorite TV couples.

Marty Deeks and Kensi Blye from NCIS: Los Angeles. Partners on and off the job, they make it work.

Sheldon Cooper and Amy Fowler from Big Bang Theory. They are a study in themselves.

Chandler Bing and Monica Geller Bing from Friends. Always my favorite Friends couple!

Jim Halpert and Pam Beesly Halpert from The Office. Serious couple goals.

Ben Wyatt and Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation. Super supportive and kind of crazy.

Marshall Eriksen and Lily Aldrin from How I Met Your Mother. Both are nuts, but make sense together.

Mike Hannigan and Phoebe Buffay from Friends. So much fun together.

Andy Dwyer and April Ludgate from Parks and Recreation. Dysfunctional on their own, so perfect together.

Chip and Joanna Gains from Fixer Upper. Real life couple who have it figured out.

Eivin and Eve Kilcher from Alaska: The Last Frontier. Another real life couple who have it figured out.

Who are some of your favorite television couples?

Monday Update~ 9/5/16: The Catch Up Edition

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I have a lot to update you on this week. There were several books that I did not get finished that I had to return to the library, so my currently reading stack is very different this week {of course 2 weeks without updates will do that too}. I am hoping to get some of the library books again so that I can complete them. I also got my first audio book from the library this week {it’s one of the physical books that I had to return}, so this is a new experience for me. I will be linking up with The Book Date for It’s Monday! What are you reading?.

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Recently Completed:

Looking for Alaska      This Is Where It Ends      Where'd You Go, Bernadette      The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)      A Sure Thing (The Donnigans, #1)

Looking for Alaska//This is Where it Ends//Where’d You Go Bernadette//The Lightning Thief// A Sure Thing

Saving Sara (Redemption Series, #1)

Saving Sara

Currently Reading:

The Martian      City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)      Summer of Irreverence -- The Rock Star      Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story      Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl, #1)

The Martian//City of Bones//Summer of Irreverence//Never Broken//Artemis Fowl

One Year to a Writing Life: Twelve Lessons to Deepen Every Writer's Art and Craft     A Stolen Life      One with You (Crossfire, #5)

One Year to a Writing Life//A Stolen Life//One With You

Currently Listening to:

Ender's Game

Ender’s Game

Up Next on the TBR:

Letters from Paris      After the Woods      The Form of Things Unknown      One Less Problem Without You: A Novel     Louder Than Words

Letters from Paris//After the Woods//The Form of Things Unknown//One Less Problem Without You//Louder Than Words

 

**All covers link to Goodreads, titles link to Amazon {affiliate}

Sunday Post~ 9/4/16

Sunday Post

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Life Happenings:

Just when you think that everything is falling into place… boom… something happens to completely knock you off course. For me this was my computer crashing right as I had designed a new social media schedule and blocked out all of my current reviews. As I’ve mentioned already, 2 weeks without a computer has set me back big time with my scheduling and I now have a bunch of reviews coming due in the next couple of weeks, plus all of the reviews that I wasn’t able to write and post over the last couple of weeks.
I initially thought that I was going to get a ton of reading done while I was computerless, but this did not prove to be the case. I was really thrown off my rhythm and had a hard time adjusting my schedule {this is where my OCD comes into play}. I did get quite a bit of reading done in the first couple of days, but I ended up having some serious issues with my vision. I have an astigmatism that really doesn’t bother me most of the time, unless my eyes are fatigued. And unfortunately a lot of reading plus a lack of varied focus throughout the day {an iPhone, Kindle & book all have a small focus point}, had my vision really acting up. I have glasses for fatigue, but they are for distance and not reading, so they are not much of a help in this case. I ended up needed to take long breaks from reading each day to change my focus point. My vision is 20/25, so I’m not used to blurry vision and found this really limiting and frustrating.
Other than those issues, the past two weeks have been pretty good. I spent time with Cheshire, went to the movies {The Secret Life of Pets}, and returned a bunch of library books that I didn’t get a chance to finish. I’ve promised myself to wait until I finish the last few that I have now before checking out more. I also want to get caught up on my reviews before I request more books through Net Galley. {I’ve kind of given up on Edelweiss}.

Last Week on the Blog:

Where Have I Been? A Quick Update
Back to Business
Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts~ Artemis Fowl
The Friday 56~ One With You
Review: The Sapphire Heist
Stacking the Shelves~ 9/3/16

This Week on the Blog:

Monday Update~ 9/5/16
Top Ten Tuesday
Stacking the Shelves

This Week’s Reviews:

Unlocking Worlds
A Sure Thing
Saving Sara
Summer of Irreverence
Never Broken

Book of the Week:

The Martian

Quote of the Week:

“It was a ridiculous sequence of events that led to me almost dying, and an even more ridiculous sequence that led to me surviving.”

Mark Whatney; The Martian by Andy Weir {2%, Kindle location 134}

Last Week’s Goals:

My only goal for the last 2 weeks was to get my computer fixed, and that happened! 🙂

This Week’s Goals:

Start new social media plan
Catch up on blog reading
Catch up on reviews

Notable Posts from the Blog World:

None this week {I’m a bit behind on my blog reading}

Stacking the Shelves~ 9/3/16

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The lack of a computer over the last couple of weeks did not keep me from getting some new books for review. Right before my system crashed I had requested some books on Net Galley, plus I heard back on titles that I had previously requested. So of course I had to link up with the team at Tynga’s Reviews for some Stacking the Shelves.

eARCs for Review:

Saving Sara (Redemption Series, #1)     Necessary Madness      The Perfect Kiss (Kissed by the Bay #2)      Cupcake Overload (Cupcakes, #2)      Summer of Irreverence -- The Rock Star

Saving Sara//Necessary Madness//The Perfect Kiss//Cupcake Overload//Summer of Irreverance

Kisses On A Paper Airplane      The Future Tense of Joy: A Memoir      Kit Kat and Lucy: The Country Cats Who Changed a City Girl's World      Hostile Takeover: A Love Story      Something I Need (xoxo Nashville, #1)

Kisses on a Paper Airplane//The Future Tense of Joy//Kit Kat and Lucy//Hostile Takeover//Something I Need

Louder Than Words      In Ruins

Louder Than Words//In Ruins

Thank you to:
Net Galley
Lake Union Publishing
Carnelian Press
Hatco Publishing
Bethany Lopez
The Wild Rose Press
Inkspell Publishing
Perseus Books
Seal Press
Revell
Spark Press
Lena Lowe
Spencer Imaginarium
Forever

**All covers link to Goodreads; all titles link to Amazon {affiliate}

Review: The Sapphire Heist

The Sapphire Heist Book Cover The Sapphire Heist
The Jewel Novel #2
Lauren Blakely
Fiction; Romance
Montlake Romance
August 16, 2006
eARC
Net Galley

From Net Galley:

"Keep your lover close and your enemy closer.…

After giving in to a fiery night of passion, island adventurer Steph Anderson and bounty hunter Jake Harlowe are back to square one. With millions in stolen jewels at stake, it’s hard for Steph not to question her new partner’s true motives—no matter how sexy he might be. Jake is hungry for more of Steph, but he can sense her growing mistrust, which only fuels his own doubts. Worse, there’s undeniable evidence that someone else is now after the jewels—and that they are both in real danger.

Fighting against their magnetic attraction is a distraction these two can’t afford. In order to survive, they’ll have to pull off one more heist—and trust each other with something even more precious than jewels: their hearts."

This story picks up exactly where The Sapphire Affair leaves off and should not be read as a stand alone.

Steph and Jake continue to provide lots of humor and heat in the second half of the Jewel series, continuing to build their relationship and working together to solve Jake’s case, though their relationship continues to be plagued by mistrust.

Steph is dealing with issues from her past, as well as her conflicted feelings for her stepfather, which make it harder for her to participate in the case. Though she wants to find a resolution that benefits her mother and to help Jake, she wants to believe the best.

Jake wants to close the case, but also respects Steph’s issues and conflicts. He wants to both solve the case and be with Steph.

There is plenty of action and lots of sex, making this another fun, quick read.

Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC of this book through Net Galley and the publisher {Montlake Romance} in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Friday 56~ One With You

It’s time for another edition of The Friday 56, a weekly meme hosted by Freda’s Voice.

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.

This week I chose to feature One With You by Sylvia Day, the final book in the Crossfire series featuring Eva Tramell and Gideon Cross.

“I gave an exaggerated sigh. ‘You still just want me for my body.’
‘Totally. Who cares about your billions? You’ve got better assets.’
I trapped her wandering leg between my ankles. ‘Like my wife. She’s the most valuable thing I own.’
Her brows rose with amusement. ‘Own, huh?'”

One with You (Crossfire, #5)

Thirsty Thursdays and Hungry Hearts~ Artemis Fowl

Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts - (un)Conventional Bookviews

Welcome to Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts, an original weekly meme hosted by Lexxie at (un)Conventional Bookviews. The idea of this feature is to share a quote with food or drinks that showed up in a recent read, as well as if it’s something you think you’d like or not.

This week I am featuring Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer {pg 141-142}. There is honestly not a lot of food or drink discussed in this book, but I found the following scene interesting. Holly is an LEP (Lower Elements Police)officer {and an elf} captured by Artemis Fowl, a 12 year-old criminal mastermind. Juliet works for Artemis and is the younger sister of his bodyguard/butler. In the scene below Holly has been complaining that she is hungry and asking whether or not they feed their prisoners.

“‘No need to get your pant… or whatever in a twist. So what do you fairies eat?’
‘Got any dolphin?’ Holly asked sarcastically.
Juliet shuddered.  ‘No, I don’t, you beast!’
‘Fruit then. Or vegetables. Make sure they’re washed. I don’t want any of your chemical poisons in my blood.'”

Do you purchase organic fruits and vegetables, or stick with the commercially grown varieties?