Tuesday, April 25, 2017

2017 Series Enders Reading Challenge: April Wrap Up

Time for our fourth Monthly Wrap Up for the 2017 Series Enders Reading Challenge hosted by Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know and Holly @ Words Fueled by Love!

Since the March Wrap Up, Holly hasn't finished any series enders. Sandy finished one: All In (Full Tilt, # 2) by Emma Scott.

Which series enders did you finish? Link up below. Don't forget to include the title, your name, & your blog name (Ex: Requiem - Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know) Also, the April giveaway runs from April 25th - May 25th. On May 25th we will use random.org and the linky entries to pull a winner.




Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday Post #111

Sunday Post is a weekly post hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
Each week bloggers participate to share any books received and news from their week.

Click on the book cover to be taken to its Goodreads page.

~NO NEW BOOKS~

RECAP OF WEEK:
THURSDAY:

I've been MIA from Sunday Post for over a month. March 12th was my last post. Mostly my absence has been due to the fact that I was in a severe reading slump, plugging away at the book mentioned in my recap above, and not doing any other blogging or receiving any new books. So it seemed pretty pointless to recap nothing every week. We have been fairly busy with end of the school year activities and we are now officially in countdown mode. My kids have 22 school days left and then I will be the mom of 10th and 8th graders!! YIKES! Time slows down for no one. While I was MIA my oldest turned 15!!! Thankfully he said he wanted to wait till summer to study for his driver's permit test so we haven't started teaching him to drive yet. But the time is coming more quickly than I think I'm ready for. Both of my kids have various extracurricular tryouts before the end of school. Two sports for my daughter and jazz chorus and drumline for my son. Spring chorus and band concerts, end of year band banquet and then finally semester exams. Here's the hoping over the summer that I'll zoom through some great books! My list of those books waiting on me to read is a mile long!

2017 SERIES ENDERS READING CHALLENGE SIGN UP:
You can now join us for our 4th annual Series Enders Reading Challenge for 2017! Join anytime until December 15, 2017. We give away a gift card EVERY month to one lucky participant and we award a GRAND PRIZE at the end of the year. The more series enders book reviews you link up - the more entries you have to win. Come join us!



Enjoy your week!
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

*ARC* Troll Cries - Review

Troll Cries

By: Ashley C. Harris

Published: January 31, 2017

Source: ebook, Netgalley ARC from publisher

(Goodreads / Amazon)

Summary:
Abby and Wilhelm's adventure continues in a game of deadly secrets and magical warfare. Who will remain human and who will escape alive becomes anybody's guess when trolls and knights are involved.


TROLL CRIES, the sequel to Ashley C. Harris's international bestselling novel TROLL, will leave her readers gasping for more.
 
MY REVIEW:
It's not you....it's me? I'm not completely sure, but whatever the reason/s, it took me entirely too long to finish this book. From March 2nd to April 13th to be exact. Blame it on my kids busy schedule...blame it on my attention being elsewhere, blame it on the book not keeping me fully invested. There was a lot of reasons really why I just didn't feel like picking this one back up but I didn't really want to DNF it either. So I pushed on....and on....and on. For 42 stinkin days! I thought the story would wrap up and I would be happy I stuck with it. But no, that wasn't the case and it ended in a cliffhanger.

Unfortunately this is one of those stories that I just don't have much to say about. It was okay. I enjoyed parts of it. Mostly from the prequel what I enjoyed most was the interaction between Wilhelm and Abby. Sadly, that's missng for the majority of this book. That left me feeling meh overall.

Basically in this part of the book human kids are turning into trolls and Abby is trying to stop their transformation, all while also battling evil knights (who hunt and kill trolls) who want her dead too, and trying to figure out her own destiny in all of this new crazy world.

The biggest accomplishment I can say is that I finished it. If you want to know more about the series check out my review for the prequel, which should be read first, called Troll.

Language Rating: 1 (light)
Mature Content Rating: 1 (light)
Final Rating: 3 stars

Saturday, March 25, 2017

2017 Series Enders Reading Challenge: March Wrap Up

Time for our third Monthly Wrap Up for the 2017 Series Enders Reading Challenge hosted by Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know and Holly @ Words Fueled by Love!

Since the February Wrap Up, neither Sandy nor Holly finished any series enders. Serious slackers!! Hopefully some of ya'll were more productive.

Which series enders did you finish? Link up below. Don't forget to include the title, your name, & your blog name (Ex: Requiem - Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know) Also, the February giveaway runs from February 25th - March 25th. On March 25th we will use random.org and the linky entries to pull a winner.



Thursday, March 23, 2017

*ARC* Losing Kyler - Review

Losing Kyler (The Kennedy Boys #2)

By: Siobhan Davis

Published: March 27, 2016

458 pages

Source: ebook, ARC from author

(Goodreads / Amazon)

Summary:
Condemned to repeat the sins of the past...

Faye thought losing her parents was the most devastating thing to happen to her, but she was wrong. Her uncle’s scandalous revelation has sent her into a tailspin, leaving her questioning her entire existence.

Everything she believed is built on a lie. 

And the one person she shares a passionate, soul-deep connection with can’t be there for her.

Faye and Ky can’t be together. It’s forbidden. Though they are determined to avoid replicating their parents’ mistakes, caving to their feelings is as tempting as the apple in the Garden of Eden.

Ky had sworn off girls until Faye bulldozed her way into his life. Now, she’s his whole world, and their forced separation is crushing him. Once his manipulative ex resurfaces—hell-bent on ruining the Kennedys—he’ll do whatever it takes to protect his loved ones including turning his back on the one person he can’t live without. 

Then tragedy strikes and all bets are off.

But is it too late?

When Faye needs him and he isn’t there for her, guilt and hurt threaten to obliterate their love. As they start to rebuild their fractured hearts, another sordid family secret is uncovered, and Faye worries Ky may be lost to her forever. 

But can you truly lose someone if they don’t want to be found?

Exclusively available on Amazon and free to read in Kindle Unlimited. Pre-order available now.
MY REVIEW:
This series has seriuosly stretched my comfort zone! But yet I am addicted to it! The payoff to follow through with these characters has been huge and I was excited to keep going. In book one and a lot of book two I was struggling with how I felt on one hand, because as in my first review, this is a love story that involves a cousin relation (granted cousins that don't know the other exists till they are 17), and then I found myself rooting for the characters. Talk about whiplash in my brain! I felt very bipolar in my feelings. Like any great love story though, their connection and chemistry is incredible and I found myself becoming more acceptable towards them. Book two ups the "forbidden romance" by a thousand percent.

The side characters, ALL of the Kennedy brothers, and Kyler's best friend Brad are equally addicting and their hotness oozes off the pages trapping you in their crazy lifestyles. The major plot in book two involves Kalvin Kennedy but the secrets that are in this family knows no end and everybody has drama! Just when they think they are rebuilding relationships and working through mistakes of their past, another secret blows up in their faces and they are reeling from another revelation. Talk about twisted pasts and damaging secrets! This family is seriously dysfunctional but yet you'll love them to the very end....despite their issues.

And one of the stories antagonists, Addison, that chick needs to seriously be put in her place! But money in this town talks more than the law. If you can pay your way out, then whoever has the bigger checkbook seems to walk away scotfree! Poor Faye is stuck in the middle of the insanity, trying her best to keep her new family together.

Another big cliffhanger ends this book and of course I'm sitting her begging for the final installment! For all the emotions this series brings out, from the "ewww" to the "gasp" to the "awww" moments, it gets a 4 star rating. Check out my review for book one, Finding Kyler. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book.

Top 5 Favorite Quotes:
You don't lie to the people you profess to love, no matter how painful the truth is.

"When everything else is shattering, you feel like the one true constant."

That's the thing with grief - it jumps out and waylays you when you least expect it.

The heart wants what the heart wants, and no amount of logic makes a blind difference.

"Nothing good comes from hiding behind the truth."

Language Rating: 2 (medium)
Mature Content Rating: 2 (medium)
Final Rating: 4 stars

Monday, March 20, 2017

Troll - Review

Troll

By: Ashely C. Harris

Published: October 6, 2015 by Kindle Press

299 pages

Source: Personal Kindle Library

(Goodreads / Amazon $1.00)

Summary:
At the age of sixteen, Abby is undergoing major household changes. Her mom is getting ready to remarry and her new step-brother is driving her insane. She is just trying to keep herself busy with school and her part-time job when a most deliciously handsome stranger moves to her little seaside town and won't leave her alone.

New arrival Wilhelm is unlike any other student at Abby’s school. His emerald eyes and tattooed body don’t truly reveal what he really is: a creature emerged from thousands of miles underground, seeking revenge, treasure, and a key that once belonged to an old enemy – a key Abby wears suspended from a chain around her neck. Why she has it is a mystery that Wilhelm will need to solve, and fast, in order to defeat a powerful mortal adversary.

As an attraction between Abby and Wilhelm develops, more creatures like Wilhelm are drawn from beneath the ground to Abby’s town; wreaking havoc as they offer Abby’s classmates the fulfillment of their deepest desires. Will Abby and her new family survive as a game of magical warfare is unleashed? Her ability to reverse Wilhelm’s bargain depends on it.
MY REVIEW:
I first requested the sequel to this book, Troll Cries, and was approved for it so I went ahead and purchased this so that I could read it first. I'm not gonna lie....the covers for these two books were very eye catching and because I love pretty covers I gave them a second glance. The story sounded interesting enough so I took a chance on them.

Does anyone else have the image of the troll from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in mind? Extremely large, strong, stupid and ugly? Haha! This is NOT what these trolls look like. Undoutedly, their true troll form is quite scary, being 7 feet or more tall. Skin like rock, eyes like gem stones. But the magic they use to shield their true form makes them beautiful in human form. These trolls feed off of the emotions of others. They entice humans with their hearts desires and when a bargain is made the human is under the control of the troll.

The story is about a 16 year old girl who experienced tragedy close to her when she was younger. Her cousin Ashlynn and best friend Leo both went missing around age 12. Having been picked on by her classmates for much of her education, she's just trying to get by and get out of high school.

Then there is the underground world of the trolls. A world where there is royalty and there are those who serve the royals. Wilhelm is the child of a royal, however can not be claimed as one, so he is what is considered a mining troll. He and others like him do the grunt work. He is stronger in his abilities than most trolls and as such, is more dangerous to those who are royal. His path crosses Abby's after the death of his mother by the hands of a knight, the trolls biggest enemy, and his search to discover what she had started trying to learn. Trolls bring about chaos and destruction. They take what they want from weak humans. Wilhelm is captivated by Abby in a way that makes no sense to him and he continues to battle what he should be feeling as a troll.

The ultimate storyline is that Abby has to learn about her destiny and how Wilhelm fits in to that.

There are several POV's throughout the story including Abby, Wilhelm, Sophia, Liz, Klaus and perhaps one or two more. I caught on to some surprise twists a little earlier than they became confirmed in the story.

I had some irritations with this book. First were all the grammatical errors. Lots of typos in the Kindle version I read.  I also felt like specific details weren't fleshed out until very late in the story. Once they were touched on, I suppose I could understand the need to keep it secret. The reader experiences the truth on matters such as how trolls are created at the same time the characters begin seeing the truth on the same things. My second irritation was that there seemed to be some inconsistencies. A troll can be controlled when its real name is used. This occurs when Wilhelm learns the first name of one of the royals. He uses the first name to exact control. However, later in the story the first and last name is used to control a troll, which would have been fine except for the fact that the same first name had been spoken to him before and no control was exacted.

Overall due to my irritations this fell in my average book rating. I will be picking up immediately with book two to see the ending of Abby and Wilhelm.

Top Favorite Quotes:
Revenge is an illusion like that: it always seems like it will make things finally feel right, but it's never truly satisfying, and the pain just increases until it boils over.

You are mine, I'm with you, and I've made you more than enough...

Language: 1 (light)
Mature Content: 1 (light)
Final Rating: 3 stars

Thursday, March 16, 2017

*ARC* Making Faces - Review

Making Faces

By: Amy Harmon

Published: February 21, 2017 by Spencer Hill Press

405 pages

Source: 

(Goodreads / Amazon)

Summary:
Ambrose Young was beautiful. He was tall and muscular, with hair that touched his shoulders and eyes that burned right through you. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She'd been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have...until he wasn't beautiful anymore.

Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl's love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior's love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast where we discover that there is little beauty and a little beast in all of us.
MY REVIEW:
This is my third Amy Harmon book. Her style of writing is one I have found to be easy to get swept up in and her stories captivate me. From fantasy to contemporary romance, I'm definitely a fan of hers!

I think one of the books themes that will be more relatable to a lot of females, is the fact that our MC is a girl who grows up with red curly hair, lots of freckles, braces for nearly all of high school, short and petite to the point of looking like a little girl and mostly unnoticed by most...especially guys. Despite her physical beauty not being one that necessarily draws the masses, this girl has a heart of gold! She's caring and genuine and honest. She's funny and witty and smart. She's the kind of girl that I definitely would've valued as a friend both in high school and as an adult. Her best friend is her cousin who has a disease that after the age of 14 took his ability to walk and to stand on his own. From then on he is wheelchair bound and he eventually looses most of the use of his arms as well and has to depend on others to take care of him. Knowing he will succumb in death at some point sooner rather than later because of this disease, his character is not one of bitterness, but rather of seizing every moment and living with joy as much as he can. For all that Fern and Bailey go through together, they are really quite incredible characters.

Ambrose is the male MC, all 6 ft 3 inches of muscle of him. He is known as being extremely beautiful, incredibly gifted in wrestling and in singing. Everyone loves him, including Fern. His interest in Fern though is nearly nonexistent. Unfortunately after years of trying to meet everyone's expectations for him, he's exhausted and lonely. The story briefly touches on the events of 9/11 in the US, and since the story takes place in Pennsylvania where one of the three planes crashed, Ambrose finds himself strongly drawn to wanting to serve his country after high school. He, along with his four best friends, join the Army and are immediately sent to Iraq after basic training.

The story goes back and forth between present time and flashbacks to various ages covering somewhere around age 11/12 through their early 20's. It also goes back and forth between main characters, Fern and Ambrose and Bailey who is a strong side character.

So far in the three books I've read, Harmon always finds a way to weave in Biblical stories or quotes from the Bible. These books are not at all considered Christian Fiction given their content and language, but I have enjoyed the addition of Bible related things to her books. For this one, Fern's parents are described as being like Zacharias and Elizabeth, who in their old age gave birth to John, who would later be called John the Baptist. Fern's mom was 45 when she had her and her Dad was in his 50's. Fern's father is a preacher and Fern herself has faith in God and this is mentioned throughout the book, both in her prayers and also in thoughts and speech.

Though pretty clean in mature content, the language to me was heavier than I would give a for light rating, so I went with a medium rating for this one. No "f" bombs, so I was pleased with that. But there's definitely a good bit of language.

The thought/saying "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and other similar thoughts come to mind regarding these characters. There is more to beauty than physical attributes. There is more to being beautiful than what the world typically sees as outward beauty. Each of the three main characters have a certain beauty to them that is appealing and will draw you to them.

Another well done story from Amy Harmon! Fans of contemporary romance, fans of stories about war and the sacrifice and pain that often comes with it, fans of stories about hope and love - if you find yourself in any of those categories then this book is for you!

Top 5 Favorite Quotes (and a bonus):
"Thank you for making even ugly things beautiful."

"But that's the cool thing about friendship. It's not about being perfect, or even being deserving."

"Good friends are very hard to find. They take care of each other and watch out for each other, and sometimes, they even die for their friends, the way Jesus died for all of us."

"I guess it means we don't understand everything, and we're not going to. Maybe the whys aren't answered here. Not because there aren't answers, but because we wouldn't understand the answers if we had them."

"Scripture comforts me, and romance novels give me hope."

"I don't think we get answers to every question. We don't get to know all the whys. But I think we will look back at the end of our lives, if we do the best we can, and we will see that the things that we begged God to take from us, the things we cursed him for, the things that made us turn our backs on him or any belief in him, are the things that were the biggest blessings, the biggest opportunities for growth."

Language Rating: 2 (medium)
Mature Content Rating: 1 (light)
Final Rating: 4.5 stars

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