Thursday, July 28, 2011

Review: Meant to Be by Tiffany King

Krista Miller feels like she has lived her entire life in a glass box with her every emotion on display. She can’t help feeling like a defect as her sensitivities have made her socially inept. She doesn't even have any friends...except the boy that visits her every night in her dreams.

Krista’s emotions are put to the test when a move to California triggers a devastating change to her fantasy world. The comfort of the boy's presence has now become a recurring nightmare as he is taken from her by an unseen force every night.

Struggling to appear normal, Krista enrolls in a new school and finds it to be nothing like she thought. Her new life is sent spiraling out of control from a strange connection with a boy, Mark, who claims to know all her secrets, as well as finally making a friend. One who understands her better than she though.

As Krista begins to explore the emotions that Mark evokes in her, secrets about their mysterious past and their predestined purpose threatens to separate them just when they have found each other.


I thought this book had a fantastic concept. An awkward teenage girl with strange abilities and a true love she’d never met…except in her dreams. The characters were well-rounded, the climax was awesome, and I couldn’t put the book down. I had to know what was happening! I think I finished it in one day. Maybe two…

Although I was enjoying the story, I felt really confused during most of the book. I felt like I should have known what was happening, but I couldn’t figure it out.

At the end, I was left with a few questions, but I think that was on purpose. I’m excited for the release of the sequel.

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace (March 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • Source: giveaway for review
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Review: Witch Song by Amber Argyle - Traveling ARC

From Goodreads: The world is changing. Once, Witch Song controlled everything from the winds to the shifting of the seasons-but not anymore. All the Witches are gone, taken captive by a traitor. All but Brusenna. As the echo of their songs fades, the traitor grows stronger. Now she is coming for Brusenna. Her guardian has sworn to protect her, but even he can't stop the Dark Witch. Somehow, Brusenna has to succeed where every other Witch has failed. Find the traitor. Fight her. Defeat her. Because if Brusenna doesn't, there won't be anything left to save.


Take what you think you know about witches, and throw it away. In Witch Song, witches, also called Chanters, are singers. They sing to make their magic work, and their gift is with elements. They make plants grow and steady the seasons, making them a friend to all…though not all have eyes to see what a blessing they are. I loved this book. I thought the writing was fantastic. The story was vividly interesting. Brusenna showed real character growth. The love story was perfect. There was almost constant danger and suspense.

There were a few things that were maybe not my favorite though. I hated how no one took Senna seriously, even after she’d proven herself time and time again. The other thing that I didn’t love was the passage of time. I think it was totally realistic for an untrained witch to take as long as Senna did to learn everything she needed. But I felt like it was one page she’d been at it for a week, and the next it’d been six months. Like I said, I think the timeline is realistic, but I felt like the transition could have been smoother.

Like I said, I loved this book! I highly recommend it to all readers.

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 325 pages
  • Publisher: Rhemalda Publishing (September 1, 2011)
  • Source: Publisher for Review
  • Amazon
  • Goodreads
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Review: Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder

From Goodreads: At Penford High School, Britney Taylor is the queen bee. She dates whomever she likes, rules over her inner circle of friends like Genghis Khan, and can ruin anyone's life with a snap of perfectly manicured fingers. Just ask the unfortunate few who have crossed her. For April Bowers, Britney is also the answer to her prayers. April is so unpopular, kids don't even know she exists. But one lunch spent at Britney's table, and April is basking in the glow of popularity. But Britney's friendship comes with a high price tag. How much is April willing to pay?


I have heard this book be compared to the movie Mean Girls. Oh boy, is that a perfect description! April is shy and invisible. When her best, and only, friend moves away before their sophomore year, April is left wondering how her fate will land among the popularity gods. On the first day of school, she is partnered with Britney Taylor, one of the most popular girls in school, in gym class. April thinks the gods have smiled on her.

She soon realizes that to be “friends” with Britney means being socially dominated and frequently thrown into awkward situations. It’s made clear that April isn’t accepted as she is. She, apparently, needs a total personality and physical makeover.

But April continues her journey to be popular by sticking with Britney and her followers. She is constantly put-down and belittled. Why she sticks around, I can’t figure out. Being popular is apparently the only thing these girls think of.

When April falls out of Britney’s social graces, she’s got to figure out who she really is: the mean girl they created, or the gentle April buried deep inside.

The writing was good, the dialogue interesting. I was just so disappointed in April that her redemption came so late in the story. I was constantly frustrated with different characters and felt like I really couldn't relate to any of them. It was like I was stuck in the middle of a teenage cat fight for 240 pages.

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Graphia; First Edition, None edition (April 4, 2011)
  • Source: Publisher (via NetGalley)
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Monday, July 25, 2011

I'm a huge fan!

Last week I got a phone call from my local library. A book I had put on reserve was ready for me to pick up.

Awesome. I always love getting those calls! Even though they never tell you what book it is you've got coming.

So, I hauled my two-year-old down to the library, stuck him in his stroller, and went to the reserve shelf. (I keep him in a stroller because I'm pregnant with twins, and since I've had complications, I'm not allowed to lift him.)

Imagine my surprise when this is the little gem I picked up:

Woohoo! That's MY book! And I just checked it out from the library!! On my way to the check out desk, I wanted to stop everyone in the library and say, "Have you ever read this book? It's really good. I'm a huge fan of the author." Which is true. I think I can be my biggest fan or my worst critic, depending on the day.

It was surreal walking out of the library with something I had written.

I even have my own call number!...sorta.

I'm not actually going to read it. I'll take it back tomorrow when I drop off my son's Winnie the Pooh VHS. Yes, VHS.

Anyway, if you happen to live in the same area as I do, you may now check out The Gifted from the local library.

I asked my husband if I should sign it before returning it. He told me probably not because they'd charge me for defacing library property.

And just because I thought it was funny that my darling dear took this picture, here is a photo of my pregnant belly...and only my belly. Apparently the rest of me doesn't matter in this whole pregnancy thing.

Can you believe I'm only 14 weeks? Me neither. Pin It

Friday, July 22, 2011

Review: Growing up Gracie by Maggie Fechner

Gracie is a middle child in a big family, trying to find her way and make an impression. She’s painfully plain, or so she thinks, and her crowning jewel is her beautiful eyebrows. Growing up in Cody, Wyoming, Gracie realizes that even in her ordinary life, she can be extraordinary.


I loved this book. It’s pretty relaxed, but not boring. The beginning, with it’s strange timeline, threw me off just a bit, but once I settled in, it was great.

Gracie is a very real character with very real flaws. She has a temper and low tolerance for poor choices. She is LDS, but the religious themes throughout the book are not over-whelming. That is refreshing in an LDS book.

I thought Gracie’s talents were fantastic and I was totally impressed. I have an adopted child, so I sincerely appreciated a tender adoption moment in the book. I felt like Gracie’s ability to be true to herself and do what she felt she needed, even though it went against the norm, was brave and honest.

With a little bit of romance, a splash of heartbreak, and a whole lot of determination, Gracie kept me cheering for her. 

I am now a big fan of Maggie Fechner and can't wait for her next published novel.

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 249 pages
  • Publisher: Bonneville (November 2010)
  • Source: Local Library
  • Amazon
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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Review: Gone with a Handsomer Man by Michael Lee West

Teeny finally has it together. She’s getting married soon to a handsome, well-to-do man. Nothing could go wrong. Except when she finds her fiancé playing badminton with two women. And they’re all forgot to get dressed. How could it get any worse? Well, her ex-fiancé is found dead a few days later. And she’s the prime suspect. But what do they have besides speculation? Try the fact that she was found at the scene of the murder.

What Teeny needs now is an amazing lawyer and a kitchen. Baking is her therapy and she needs it. At least, she’ll need it if she wants to survive what’s next. Her first love, Cooper, turns out to be the lawyer she needs, and they soon realize that the old flame never died.

With many questions swirling around her head, the most important is: Will Teeny survive or will the murderer finish the job and get Teeny?


This is a murder/mystery/comedy/romance/cookbook. Seriously. Complete with (amazing!) recipes in the back. There are a slew of colorful characters that, yes, might be hard to believe, but I think they just add to the spice of the book.

At times it seemed a little slow paced, but it wasn’t so bad I couldn’t just punch through it. I wasn’t totally satisfied with the semi-cliché ending, and I figured out the mystery early on (which I never do!). Overall, I thought the book was well written.

There is heavy language and sexual content.

  • Reading Level: Adult
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (April 12, 2011)
  • Source: Goodreads FirstReads giveaway
  • Amazon
  • Goodreads
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Review: Dread of Night by Joshua D. Boeringa and Robert Forest

From Goodreads: Thirteen stories to keep you up at night.

Check the closet and under the bed. Grab a flashlight and hide out under the covers. In these stories, you will encounter monsters escaped from your nightmares. A helpful stranger is not quite as kind as he seems. An old man has a difficult time letting go. A fisherman's first catch of the day might also be his last.

Read on if you dare.


This book is definitely classified as horror, but it’s not what I imagined it would be. I am NOT an avid avoider of horror, but the author convinced me to give it a try

There was really no blood or guts, and I think that’s the thing that really makes a difference. It leaves it up to your imagination to fill in the blanks.

There are thirteen short, very well written stories. Each has an illustration which I think are the perfect touch. I worried they would be cheesy and distract from the stories, but they were just right. They were well written and quick to get through.

In the end, my gut was all twisted with worry and fright. Like I said, I don’t enjoy scary stories, but this was really well done.

  • Reading Level: Young Adult
  • Publisher: Sissy Fist Press (March 4, 2011)
  • Source: Author for review
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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Review: A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban

Ten-year-old Zoe is going to be a concert pianist. She can feel it in her bones. All she needs is piano, preferably a baby grand, and some piano lessons.

When her agoraphobic father risks life and limb to get her a piano, he comes home, triumphant, with a wheeze bag. That is, he buys Zoe an organ.

Disappointed, but not deterred, Zoe begins her lessons. She soon discovers a few things: she does have a talent for making music, lasting friendships can come from unexpected places, and her life really is perfect…as long as she tilts her head to the side and smiles.


I think we each have a bit of Zoe in us. We have a dream, and life tries it’s hardest to give us that dream. But sometimes our baby grand comes in the form of a wheeze bag organ. It would be easy enough to give up, but Zoe presses on. She is so sweet and tries so hard. There were a few times I just wanted to wrap my arms around her and squeeze. There were a few times I wanted to roll my eyes at her.

Written in first person, present tense, this book has short, charming chapters. It was a fun read that easily had me laughing. Zoe has that witty sarcasm we all wish we had.

  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Sandpiper; 1 edition (April 6, 2009)
  • Source: A gift
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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Review: Cinderella: Ninja Warrior by Maureen McGowan

From Goodreads: In this fast-paced story full of adventure and romance, Cinderella is more than just a servant girl waiting for her prince—she's a tough, fearless girl who is capable of taking charge of a dangerous situation. Seeking to escape the clutches of her evil stepmother, Cinderella perfects her ninja skills and magic talents in secret, waiting for the day when she can break free and live happily ever after. In a special twist, readers have the opportunity to make key decisions for Cinderella and decide where she goes next—but no matter the choice; the result is a story unlike any fairy tale you've ever read!


Take two things that you never thought would ever go together, and you have Cinderella: Ninja Warrior. I am a huge fan of fairytale retellings, so I had to give this book a go. It was definitely well written and very intriguing. It is a choose your destiny story where you get to pick how you want the story to go. Warning: This is not exactly convenient on a Kindle.

I thought some of the outcomes were better than others. I loved Cinderella’s “I’m not a damsel in distress” attitude. The love story was very sweet, and I thought Ty was perfect. He knew that Cinderella didn't need saving as much as she just needed aiding.

There was plenty of suspense, twists and turns, and an unlikely "fairy godmother."

I thought the word “Ninja” could have been replaced with “Acrobat,” so I would have preferred a little more combat training or something to make it seem more realistic to call her a ninja.

All in all, it was a very well written book that I thoroughly enjoyed. It's a fun, quick, easy read when you don’t want to devote a lot of energy to a book.

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books; Reprint edition (April 1, 2011)
  • Source: The Publisher for review (via Netgalley)
  • Goodreads
  • Amazon
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Sunday, July 17, 2011

Love...what is it?

I love a good love story. I adore getting my heart racing wondering if two people will finally realize the universe has conspired to bring them together. I need to have my heart melted every now and again, and nothing does that like reading about a good, sweet first kiss.

But let's be frank for a moment.

My genre of choice is YA. I read a lot of paranormal, and that usually means paranormal romance.

Is love - passionate, all consuming, ache in your chest love - reserved for only the young? And when the hero is more handsome that a Greek god, and the Heroine embodies beauty herself, and the two cannot keep their eyes (or their hands) off each that love?

To me it sounds like a heavy case of lust. Or hormones.

If a teenager tells her boyfriend that he is her entire world, her only reason for existing, that when they are apart she feels physical ache, and that she would cease to exist if he ever left or that love?

To me, that sounds like she has separation anxiety.

Do I think the young have no concept of love? Absolutely not. I think they are as much capable of loving as the rest of us. We just have more experience and know that there is life after a break-up, even if he is more handsome than Edward Cullen.

And why is it that when I read "love" stories in adult books, or romance, as they're called, the books are mostly about sex? There is usually a deeper thread of understanding and appreciation and real, genuine love between the characters. But there is also sex, and a bunch of other things I'm not comfortable blogging about.

A relationship that focuses around physical that love?

I don't know. To each their own. I think we all have a different way of viewing love, expressing love, and desiring to be loved.

To me, love is having my husband in the kitchen baking banana bread because he knows I'm not allowed to be on my feet for long. Or having my husband get his work clothes ready the night before so he doesn't wake me up in the morning. Or sleeping in on a Sunday and waking up to the smell of French toast.

To an impressionable and passionate teen, my sense of love might make her think of one word: boring. And that's totally fine. I just worry sometimes the message we send when we write love stories are love is all good looks and heroic acts. Maybe that's why we write them. Real life isn't as fun to read about.

To me, love is not sex or lust. Love is not good looks and social standing. Love is not...well, you get the picture. To me, love is reliable. Honest. Enduring. It starts as a seed of friendship and attraction, and it grows over time.

I think I could probably go on forever talking about my favorite topic. So, while I enjoy good love stories, I get a little tired of reading about teenagers who border on unhealthy obsession and call it love.

I guess the point is, if you have teens (or you are a teen), make sure they have a healthy sense of reality. Pin It

Friday, July 15, 2011

Feelin' Popular

Since I usually strive to be honest, I'm going to take a crack at it now. I have been deliberately neglectful of my blog for the last few months.


Well, most of you don't know me personally, so I'll just give you a quick synopsis. My almost two-year-old son is adopted. Recently, I underwent some extensive medical...uh..."stuff" and hip-hip-hooray! We're pregnant! With twins. No joke.

So, needless to say, I spend a lot of time curled around the toilet (or feeling like I need to be curled around the toilet). The other part of my time is spent taking care of my little guy.

With so little promotion of my blog and my writing, my Goodreads page and blog have become stagnant.

Until this morning.

I woke up to three friend requests and two followers on Goodreads and a few more blog followers.

Although I was pleased with my sudden increase in popularity, I was suspicious. "Something is up," I thought. I finally discovered what it was a few minutes later when I saw my picture on I Am a Reader Not a Writer.

For an interview and a chance to win a book from yours truly, CLICK HERE to read all about my awesomeness.

(Besides being honest, I'm also quite humble.)

And to my new readers, Welcome! I'm sorry it seems kind of boring around here. I'm trying to ease back into it. If I'd known you would all be coming so soon, I would have tried to pretend like I'm more entertaining. Pin It

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Review: Ashfall by Mike Mullin

From Goodreads: Ashfall is the story of Alex, a teenage boy left alone for the weekend while his parents visit relatives. When the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts unexpectedly, Alex is determined to reach his parents. He must travel over a hundred miles in a landscape transformed by a foot of ash and the destruction of every modern convenience that he has ever known, and through a new world in which disaster has brought out both the best and worst in people desperate for food, water, and warmth. With a combination of nonstop action, a little romance, and very real science, this is a story that is difficult to stop reading and even more difficult to forget.


I live near Yellowstone National Park, so I was instantly, and morbidly, intrigued when I started reading this book. I’m not sure what I was expecting…but this was not it. I think I was expecting a middle grade read, but this book was on the upper levels of YA.

Alex must instantly grow up, surpassing his fifteen years over night, and learn to defend, protect, and save himself. With ingenuity and common sense, he begins the nearly impossible journey of traversing the unknown terrain between him and his parents 140 miles away.

There’s no food. There’s no water. There’s no help. Until he meets Darla: an all sass, no nonsense girl . After tragedy and mortal danger strike them, Alex and Darla set off together to face the unknowns.

There is some violence, gore, swearing, and mild sexual content. Like I said, this is on the upper level of YA. It made my stomach bunch up in knots. It’s a complete twist on dystopia. I thought about it for days after I finished and realized I need to work on emergency preparedness.

The ending was a major cliffhanger, and I am excited to read the other books in the series.

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 476 pages
  • Publisher: Tanglewood Press (October 11, 2011)
  • Source: The Publisher (via NetGalley)
  • Amazon
  • Goodreads
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Review: All About Daisy by O'Dell Hutchison

Daisy would love nothing more than to forget the past three years spent in middle school being tortured, and start high school as a popular girl who has it all. The problem is, Daisy doesn’t have it all. She’s off to a nightmarish start, but that doesn’t deter her from reaching for her dreams of popularity, via a spot on the cheerleading squad.

When Daisy meets up with an old crush and is unexpectedly befriended by some popular girls, she thinks her luck has finally changed.

When a shattering betrayal shakes her world, Daisy is close to giving up. With a renewed sense of determination, Daisy reaches for the stars and finds that even though her world isn’t perfect, she doesn’t have to pretend to be someone else. She can be happy as Daisy Rose Brown.


There is such a raw sense of honest emotion that courses through this book, it’s sometimes very difficult to read (in a good way). Daisy is constantly bullied. Her mother died years before, just when she started to need her most. Her best friend, Margaret, is a 23-year-old woman with a mental disability. Her brother has a shocking family secret. Her father works hard to provide for the family, and in doing so, plays absent most days and nights. All of these things equal a brave girl trying to find her way into the vicious jungle of teenage-hood.

I sincerely loved the messages of this book. I loved the significance of loving one’s self no matter what. I also loved the moral of accepting others and their differences. I was so rooting for Daisy the whole book!

Daisy has some naivety about a lot of things, and it was sometimes hard to believe. There are some crass parts that I think are inappropriate for the book and readers, but my copy is an older version. I think the author was revising some of those parts. There is also some language content as well.

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 378 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace (April 19, 2011)
  • Source: Author for Review
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