Reviewing in Chaos

I absolutely love reading! I read a bit more than I should - sneaking it in between baths, cooking and just the daily chaos of life with 6 kids.
Winters Heat - Cristin Harber I'm sure you can tell by my list of reviews that romantic suspense is not always my first choice. Some days you just want a contemporary romance you can escape into ... But some days, you crave that excitement and adrenaline rush that comes from a well written suspense! Winters Heat filled that need in me!

Cristin Harber wrote the beginning of a new series that will grab you by the throat and not let go. From start to finish, you are strung through the emotions and constantly on the go. If we go only on kidnappings and rescues - Colby & Mia have a lot in common. She manages to get herself kidnapped over and over, yet he is always there to save her. I loved the psych side of Mia - always analyzing people to figure out what makes them tick. Colby- he's your typical ripped former military man, with weapons hidden in various places of his drool-worthy body, yet with a soft spot a mile wide. That the two will hook up is a given, what they will have to go thru to get their happily ever after is the story.

This is one of those well written books that you don't read - you live. Sometimes I didn't even remember turning the pages, I just ended up closer and closer to the end. With a family of misfits (Titan), you grow to love each character for their own quirks and flaws. I am thrilled that this is only the first in a series and I can't wait to read more!!
5 Stars
*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. *
The Rockin' Chair - Steven Manchester This is my first Steven Manchester book but it definitely won't be the last! I am so in love with his writing style, the thought and feeling that he puts behind the words as he builds a story so wonderful you are sucked in deep and left as emotionally drained as the characters.

"Evan, if a fella has a hundred pigeons and loses them and another fella has only ten pigeons and lose them, who do you figure loses more?"

Evan almost laughed at the childish riddle. It was so easy. "The man with the hundred pigeons, of course!" he answered.

Grampa John smiled. Placing the red cap onto his shiny head, he was almost at teh storm door when he looked back. "I ain't ever been big in the brains department, but if you ask me, I'd say the both lost everything they had." With one push on the door, he was gone from the house. The real work had just begun.

Evan paused briefly in front of the mirror where Tara had received her first lesson. Taking a long look at his face, he chuckled. "Wow," he whispered, "the old man's right." Pain was merely relative to one's own experiences.

That was one of my favorite quotes from the book. At the end of our lives, we are left with our memories. When John's wife Alice is robbed of those memories due to Alzheimer's , he is left to remember them for the both of them. As Alice passes away, the family is finally all called home and John realizes that he needs to help each member of the family come to terms with their own memories before he can be at peace to join Alice. He immediately sets to work giving little lessons to each and realizes that perhaps he needs a few lessons himself.

This story is about the love of a family. While many things can tear it apart, love and memories can help heal all. From returning from war with guilt of a decision he can't live with, to losing one's dreams, to alcoholism and drug addiction. John has a hard fight ahead of him to help each member of his family overcome their bad memories and help put them in the past to move on.

Many have described Steven Manchester as another Nicholas Sparks. I can wholeheartedly agree. I thought no one could make me cry like Nicholas Sparks, but I was wrong. Steven pulls you into the story so that their pain is your own. I laughed, I cried and I sighed with contentment. It's a wonderful story that everyone should read and appreciate the lessons taught by Grampa John.

5 + Stars!!

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. *
Til the Last Petal Falls - Elizabeth     Rose 'Til the Last Petal Falls is a twist on a beloved childhood fairy tale - Beauty and the Beast. There are many many similarities -

Jolee's father is an absent minded French inventor who she takes care of much more than he ever has her. She is relentlessly pursued by a handsome playboy whom everyone loves (Gaston- meet Gage). She goes off to work in a mansion cut off from all society where she is to tutor Adam (the Beast) on books and poetry. Naturally he has a wonderful library. I loved imagining all the various staff as each of the ones I know from the movie. I could go on and on having fun pointing out who everyone is and how it is similar to one of my favorite Disney movies..

And then the similarities end.

Elizabeth has delved deeper and showed us the darker side of man. Adam is a tortured soul who survived horrific child abuse, the death of his mother and being sent to seclusion in the mountains with only people paid to be there as friends and family. Jolee is determined to save Adam with her love. To bring him out of his self-mutilation and violent mood swings. Surely love can save anything! Instead, as the reader, you are drawn into this abusive relationship so deeply that you feel like you are in sync with Jolee- you are the victim wanting to make excuses and defend Adam. If you just do one more thing , or change a little something- everything will be fine.

I personally was amazed at how drawn in I was. How I missed some of the signs and symptoms until the very end. Even I didn't realize how deeply disturbed Adam will turn out to be and how dangerous the world Jolee has placed herself in really is. This is definitely not a light read. It will pull you in and force you to face the hidden side of humanity. The dark side that we chose to turn away from and pretend it's not there.

A story of child abuse, self-mutilation, and domestic violence that will wrap it's tentacles so tightly around you, you will be left gasping for breath. I highly recommend this story and personally can't wait to read more as Elizabeth takes on other fairy tales and brings new things to light for us to see.

* 10% of all author royalties for this book will be donated to battered women's shelters in Colorado where the author resides. This is an impressive dedication the author has made! I hope you'll take the chance and read this amazing book !

** I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. *
The Photo Traveler (The Photo Traveler Series) - Arthur J. Gonzalez Gavin has had a miserable life. Losing his parents at a young age, he ends up in foster care and then adopted. He was loved in that family until the day he received yet another loss- his adoptive mom was murdered and his adoptive father becomes even worse - drinking and beatings. One day he discovers he has living grandparents and strikes out to find them.

One would think that life can only go uphill from here for Gavin. He does find his grandparents and now has a loving family but also now knows the secret of his legacy- he is a photo traveler. Gavin will endure even more loss, along with more love than he's known.

I really enjoyed reading The Photo Traveler. The ability to go into a photo and go back to that exact time is amazing. This book will pull you in. There were plenty of twists and turns happening all the time. As I was finishing the book, I had maybe 20 pages left and had to stop for the evening. I assumed the last 20 pages would just be wrapping things up but when I picked it up the next morning I was shocked at how many new twists happened -leading us into a second book in the series! Just when you think it's over - BOOM! some new twist happens and you're going in a different direction! I love these kinds of books that keep you thinking and constantly reassessing everything! One particular idea that I loved was the fact that although Gavin's parents "died" when he was 4years old, he is now able to go visit them and build a relationship with them thru photos. Now some might feel it's cheating to do this, but I loved it. He has been through so much, it's nice of the author to allow him this little concession!

All in all, I felt this was a well written Young Adult book. Plenty of action abounds with a splash of romance thrown in to keep us girls happy! Check it out and let me know what you think!!

4.5 Stars

* I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. *
imperfect - Tina Chan Imperfect takes us into a utopian society where children are planned and perfected down to their eye & hair color. No more diseases. Advanced academics. Perfection has been met. Yet still, there are Accidents. The unplanned children that happen naturally. These babies are whisked away by the government shortly after birth. No one seems to know where they are taken or what is done with them, but it's accepted. Kristi is one of the few Accidents that was adopted and has survived into adulthood.. In a world with droid pets vs real ones , for pete sake's, Kristi definitely doesn't fit in.

I absolutely loved the thought process that this book takes you on. Initially, Perfects sound... well perfect, right? No more diseases ! Yay! And then you realize that the Perfects are constantly upgrading. Who exactly decides what "Perfect" is? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that.. We are taken on a journey with Kristi and several others who join her. The realization that there are more "Naturals" like Kristi sends them on a voyage to figure out what has happened to all of the Accidents that are taken at birth? Who should they trust?

I really enjoyed the characters as we learned more and more background into them. I felt the book was well written with only a few editing errors. Imperfect is an evenly paced story with no drag to it! My only disappointment was upon realizing that I now have to wait for the next in this new series to find out what happens next!

4 Stars !

**Note- I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review *
The Posse - Tawdra Kandle The Posse is about a widow named Jude. It's been a year since her husband's passing and "The Posse" has decided that they need to step in and take care of her. Heaven forbid she fall in love and move away from them. The Posse is a group of guys who have been friends since grade school. They are more than friends, they are family. Daniel, Jude's late husband, was a member of The Posse. Although they all mourn his death, the reality that they could lose another of their group (should Jude move away) is frightening. They come up with the plan that the three single members of the group should step up and woo her. Surely one of them can win her heart and they will all be content to have kept her there with them all forever.

I'm not used to reading romance with the main characters being in their 40's. Yes, I am in my mid 30's but I still think I'm in my 20's most time. So I wondered if I would like it of if I would have the 'ick' factor by still irrationally thinking of my parent's age. I'm glad to report- no ick factor! Tawdra has created characters that drew me in and touched my heart. I felt like I knew who Jude would end up with rather quickly in the book, as Tawdra left little clues here and there. It was amusing to watch each man step up and make their play for her. Some were awkward, some were just funny as heck and one... One was enough to make anyone fall in love again.

The Posse is a close knit family and I loved them all! I loved how each of the men seems set up with a partner by the end of the book. There were some surprises that that threw Jude (and me) for a loop. Her family went thru more stress in the past two years, I couldn't help but want to cry with her when more is piled on top.

This was a remarkable romance with just the right twists and turns. It was refreshing to go thru falling in love all over again. With seamless writing, a nice paced plot and characters you will love, The Posse is highly recommended !
Fiance by Friday - Catherine Bybee ooh la la. I fell in love with Catherine Bybee and her "Not Quite" series. When I was asked to review Fiance by Friday, I naturally agreed even though at the time I had not read the first two in the Weekday Bride series. Knowing my love for Catherine was deep and true, I did something I rarely do anymore. I went to Amazon and purchased Wife by Wednesday & Married by Monday in paperback so I could read them all in order. This is what a great author is. Buying two books in paperback immediately, without question, knowing you'll love them! And love them I did (reviews coming whenever I have a moment to get them up..). Now I am stuck in a viscous cycle of waiting for the next book to come out- but hey at least there are two series that I"m addicted to now!

I fell a little in love with Gwen in the first book. Naive little rich girl who lived a sheltered life and has a great English accent. What more can you ask for? Pair her up with a hardened former Marine who has enough experience and baggage for the both of them and they make the perfect team. In each book, Gwen has slowly grown a little more confident and I loved watching her finally step up to take what she's been drooling after. Just the romance of Gwen & Neil getting together would have been enough, but Catherine likes to outdo each book she writes and so we also get a stalker/murderer who will leave you guessing until the end to figure out who's really behind it all. With appearances from the rest of the crew, I loved getting updates on each previous couple and a preview of the couple to come (hint: Single by Saturday is Karen's story!).

*Disclosure - I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. *
Dark Waters - Toni Anderson I don't read a ton of romantic suspense. I read a lot of romance, I just don't need the killing and guns in my reading. That said, every once in a while I lean out there and give it a try. I am rarely disappointed, I'm not really sure why I don't go right for it to begin with! Toni Anderson definitely did NOT disappoint!

Dark Waters was a fast paced, chill inducing, heart pounding, suspense book with the added bliss of a romance brewing. There are so many twists and turns that it's hard to even sum it up!

I'm going to start with Brent because ex-con or not, he's my favorite! How can you not love this dark, dangerous and seriously HOT guy? While a 'lifer' in prison, he met Davis Silver (Anna's dad) and became best friends. Now that he's out, he keeps himself secluded in his own private prison- airy and spacious as it may be. He paints and keeps to himself. A damaged man who carries guilt for more things than he should, he's afraid to let himself out and connect with other people. It's heartbreaking to see.

Anna, poor Anna.. She is just as broken as Brent. Her father was arrested when she was young for stealing money. Her life went promptly downhill from there. The loss of all her friends, the stigma of being the daughter of a thief, along with a very horrific experience that she tells no one about- all builds to her suicide attempt as a teenager. She immediately realizes that she doesn't want to die and from that point forward begins building a 'safe' life. She has a job, a few friends and even dates 'safe' guys. But she's really hiding.

A knock on the door will change both their lives. When Anna finds out her father was murdered and the killers may be after her, she flees to Brent- her father's best friend. Brent is beyond loyal and although it means letting someone into his life, he vows to protect her. Two damaged souls, drawn together by tragedy and a passion unknown before. As they flee the bad guys, they draw closer and closer to each other.

Since this is a suspense book, I feel I need to mention the bad guys.. O.M.G. Toni has come up with some seriously demented, crazy ass , mutilate people for the fun of it bad asses. My heart was pounding every time Brent & Anna got close to Rand (IMO, the worst of the worst). I just wanted that man caught or killed..Anything to stop him!

This was definitely a page turner as you sigh at the romance unfolding between Brent and Anna, while you also cringe and hide behind your fingers (is that only me?) at the gruesome Rand. It was well written with characters that drew you in. Even the side characters (Brent's brother & his fiance , Anna's mother & friend) had stories that made you want more. I was thrilled with the outcome and can't wait to read more from this great author!!

*I received an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. *
Thursday Nights - Lisa N. Paul Lisa has managed to do what I love in Erotic romance. Thursday Nights is not just another 'smut' book. In fact, the story in itself is such a good one that if you wiped all the steamy sex scenes out- it would still be a great book! I think in an erotic romance, that says enough right there.

We come into this book with Janie & Lylia's Thursday night tradition of going to Danny's on Main where they drink and make guys nervous. From boob grabbing to very vocal discussions of sex, all the guys are in various stages of embarrassment & arousal. Not only has the bar become a tradition of fun for the girls, they have also found a family within. One night, Janie & Max take it to the next step which is perfect and horrible all in one. I loved so much the family that they have built. Everyone has their own secrets and problems yet they accept one another for who they are and love each other no matter what.

While this book focuses mainly on Janie & Max, we are also introduced to many other characters and are given small windows into their lives that make you yearning for the next in the series so you can find out more. I, personally, am waiting for Lylia & Gage's story.. This is a top-notch beginning to a series! I think you'll love it, whether you are an erotic fan or just a romance fan! Give it a chance! :)
True Love's First Kiss (Queen of the Realm of Faerie Books 1-3) - Heidi Garrett True Love's First Kiss is a combination of Books 1-3 in the Queen of The Realm of Fairies books. Rather than trying to break it down into each book, I'm going to give my review on the whole of the three books as if it were one. Reading it like this, it really felt like one big story. I am fairly sure if I had read each book separately, I would have been peeved when one ended and I had to wait for the next one to be released! Oh the joys of coming into an already formed series!

I had a hard time getting into the beginning. It wasn't until Chapter three that I was hooked and ready for some serious reading time! I haven't been able to pinpoint what took so long to get me into it, but believe me when I say that it is worth it in the end.

We follow Melia (a half-faerie living in the Enchanted World) who has had a pretty rough life so far. When her mortal father broke his troth (a vow he made upon wedding her mother) Melia , her sisters & her mother return to the Enchanted World leaving behind the Mortal World and her father. In the Enchanted World, everyone knows secrets but no one will tell them. Melia and her family are shunned. Melia is made fun of and would be completely miserable if not for her friend Tatou (a pixie).

Due to some unfortunate turn of events, Melia's mother curses all three of her daughters and the only cure will be True Love's First Kiss. Determined to save her younger sister (who in my opinion is a spoiled brat), who's curse is to fade away into nothing- Melia sets out on a journey that becomes one of self-discovery. She learns more and more about herself and with the help of some unlikely allies, she manages to let go of some of her guilt and find inner peace with things she has struggled with for years. Her own 'curse' is to become a bird at every sundown. She has always longed to fly- being a half- faerie, she had no wings. She will struggle with the freedom that her curse gives her and the pull of true love. Over and over, you want to point her along the way but are always reminded that this choice is one she must make on her own, in her own time. I enjoyed the friends made along the way, especially the most unlikely ones!

Struggling with evil that wants to overtake her and discovering the power she holds within, we sit and wonder how this series will end....

I am looking forward to continuing this series when the next book comes out. If you enjoy epic fantasy books with lots of action , some romance and tons of fantasy creatures I think you'll like this one!

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. *
A Ranger's Tale - Mysti Parker Among the many things I loved about A Ranger's Tale, front and foremost was that Mysti didn't waste a ton of time creating her world for us. I have read a few fantasy books lately that spent 1/4 of the book describing the world while I groaned in frustration. Thankfully, Mysti went right into creating wonderful characters for us to love and hate. She did a wonderful job of creating a world around the characters and filled it with seamless knowledge that it was like stepping thru the mirror into Tallenmere. I didn't have to struggle with names (again, pet peeve of mine in some fantasy books) or what terms meant. Instead I could focus on the story. A story that had it's ups and downs. There was a point mid-way thru the book that I was sooo tempted to sneak a peek at the end to make sure things would end without me screaming at everyone in the book.. Ha!

A Ranger's Tale is a story of love and loss, of war and forgiveness, of fighting to have the freedom to be what you choose and then accepting the consequences of your choices. With many characters to love, a few to loathe and even one that you grow to love over time- I'm thankfully that this is only the first in the series. The story itself switches between three main characters. At times, I've found this type of storytelling to be distracting and hard to understand when constantly switching POVs. Mysti did a great job making the transitions smoothly and I didn't feel any distraction from the story at all!

If you like fantasy with a great romance thrown in, you'll love this one !

* I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. *
Adela Arthur and the Creator's Clock - Judyann McCole If you read the author's bio, you'll see that she began this book when she was a senior in high school. Let me just say DAMN GIRL! I am beyond impressed to read the writing ability of someone so young.

Like some other fantasy greats (Harry Potter or the Iron Fey series), Adela Arthur & the Creator's Clock captures you from the beginning and pulls your right in. We begin in the human world with Adela & Hector, both just trying not to stick out so much and get thru high school. When a series of strange events occur, they both discover that they were born in Cielieu (the world behind the mirror). Making a series of brave steps, they find themselves in the midst of Cielieu amongst all the fairytale creatures - ogres, dragons, elves, mermaids... In fact, they are a different sort of human called a Volsin - who can use 100% of their brains, resulting in the ability to project lights that they can make into flying discs to ride (no more stairs!), lighting bolts, ropes, anything they can imagine.

They are both thrust into school (a hogwarts like castle, complete with 4 different groups) and again Adela is left feeling an outcast. From one of the strongest families, she knows nothing about casting her light or any of the history that others have grown up with. She quickly makes friends, even the untouchable Jeremy (a Red Diamond who rarely speaks to anyone). I admit when they first traveled together, I wondered if Adela & Hector were going to become closer, but the minute Jeremy was introduced my attention went to him. I feel a love triangle coming!

The book was fast paced and enjoyable. There isn't a lot of romance at this point, which honestly didn't bother me a bit. ME, a self proclaimed romance addict! There was so much going on, so much to learn about , mysteries to unravel and just a hint of romance that left me on the edge, waiting for the next book in the series!

I'm giving it a solid 5 stars.
Dark Corners - Liz Schulte I am more than a little bit in love with Liz Schulte right now. She write scary really well!

So, Ella moves to this little town with her husband. It's an old family house that her husband has inherited and has all these happy family memories in. Ella feels anything but welcome.. Alas, she does what many do- tries to make it work. I was impressed with how long she stuck it out because honestly, I'd have been the heck out of dodge.. Sorry hubby, we ain't staying here- this crap is CRAZY.

Alas, things get worse when Ella's husband is brutally murdered. She writes horror books for a living and is naturally the prime suspect in the small town's eyes. Ella, on the other hand, thinks the ghosts.. the house.. has killed her husband.

This is one of those books that you won't be able to put down because you just need to know who did it. Was it truly the house? Is there a murderer on the loose? Is Ella just crazy and did she really do it? I went back and forth repeatedly and while I correctly predicted some parts, I was wayyyy off on other aspects! If you need a good scary story, give Dark Corners a try!
Barbie World (Baby Doll, #2) - Heidi Acosta Barbie World picks up where Barbie Girl left off. Barbie's trust in Dylan is shattered and forgiveness is not something she is good at. She is now living with the Knights (Dylan's family) in a foster type situation. While all her instincts tell her to run and get away, she has to stay for her little brother. Turning over control and not being completely in charge is very hard for her. We delve more into Barbie's mind and get to see how scared and confused she really is. The brave tough girl front that she had in book 1 has been tore away to reveal a struggling young woman. Dylan has come to realize how much he loves Barbie and is determined to find a way to win her back no matter what. Dylan did a lot of maturing in this book which made me glad to see. He's not a little better matched to Barbie than before. Throw in Third crushing on Roxie (who has her own little bit of messed up) and we have a great book you'll be dying to read. My emotions were all over the place on this one. Acosta did a great job showing true friendship and what it means. Love from several different places and a little heartbreak that makes you ache a bit inside.
As with any good series, I'm left wanting more...

*I received a copy of this book for my honest review *
Barbie Girl - Heidi Acosta I love Barbie. Might as well get that out of the way ahead of time. From her pink streaked hair, to her over the top personality. She puts herself out there not caring what anyone else thinks. Although she definitely has reasons behind the way she acts, it's refreshing to see her strong personality. Barbie Girl is not your typical teenage romance fluff. Acosta deals with some deeper subjects and really gives thought to Barbie's personality and reasons behind it. Barbie comes from a damaged and broken home. While she struggles to hold things together for her little autistic brother Everett, she hides her pain behind super short skirts, pink hair streaks & makeup. She is really a good girl hiding in a bad girl body & reputation. She's had to grow up fast due to her home life and couldn't care less what the teenagers at school think about her.

Dylan is a typical teenage boy. A bit immature (especially compared to Barbie) with lots of room for growth. If he would just get his head out of his daydreams of his "perfect girl" , he would realize that he's falling for Barbie despite his wishes.

While Barbie is always going to be my favorite character, Acosta also brings some great secondary characters in the form of Third (Dylan's best friend) and Roxie (goth girl who really likes pink and Taylor Swift). I love both of their relationships with Barbie - Third sees her for who she really is not the rumors circulating around her, and Roxie becomes her first real girlfriend.

The story is strong and deeper than I would have expected with a YA romance. Ending with a cliffhanger, I was dying to find out more in the next book.
Embracing the Wolf (Anna Avery, #2) - Stephanie   Nelson It's been a while since I've read Taming the Wolf so I went back to re-read it before tackling Embracing the Wolf. Werewolves are not my chosen paranormal creature if I'm going to pick, but I do love how Stephanie portrays them. I love how she talks about the pain and practice it takes to make the change into werewolf.. It makes it seem more believable to me.

Book 1 left off right when Anna and her Alpha Adam have finally overcome all the obstacles keeping them apart. They are a couple at last. Book 2 shows us that maybe it's not quite that easy... Anna is a 'made' wolf and in the eyes of the wolf world, "made" wolves are only good for mistress, never an Alpha. She will face prejudice from his family (werewolf royalty) and a bit of hero worship from other "made" wolves who see her going places they never imagined they could. With new visions that bring scary possibilities, Anna must figure out if the only way to save Adam is to leave her soul mate behind.

Again, Stephanie brings mystery (who is trying to kill Adam?), romance (Anna, Adam... wait, Anthony?) and more paranormal activity (vampires!! ooohh!). Naturally, we are left with a cliffhanger and will end up sitting here biting our nails until book 3 comes out so we can find out what happens between Adam & Anna.. :sigh: Good books always end too soon!

It was well written with no editing errors that I noticed. My only con would be the sex scenes. While they were well written, the use of "dick" had me skimming thru them. To me, dick is something we call someone when they're being a jerk- I don't prefer that term in an intimate scene.. Ha.. I could see it more if it were a YA book and a teenage boy is using the word but as adults, I just don't feel it.. That is just me and my own weird quirks :) Other than that they were great ! lol! And now you know something new about me.. HA!

*I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review *

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