Monday, September 1, 2014

The Secret Place by Tana French

Dublin Murder Squad #5

The photo on the card shows a boy who was found murdered, a year ago, on the grounds of a girls’ boarding school in the leafy suburbs of Dublin. The caption says, I KNOW WHO KILLED HIM.

Detective Stephen Moran has been waiting for his chance to get a foot in the door of Dublin’s Murder Squad—and one morning, sixteen-year-old Holly Mackey brings him this photo. The Secret Place, a board where the girls at St. Kilda’s School can pin up their secrets anonymously, is normally a mishmash of gossip and covert cruelty, but today someone has used it to reignite the stalled investigation into the murder of handsome, popular Chris Harper. Stephen joins forces with the abrasive Detective Antoinette Conway to find out who and why.

But everything they discover leads them back to Holly’s close-knit group of friends and their fierce enemies, a rival clique—and to the tangled web of relationships that bound all the girls to Chris Harper. Every step in their direction turns up the pressure. Antoinette Conway is already suspicious of Stephen’s links to the Mackey family. St. Kilda’s will go a long way to keep murder outside their walls. Holly’s father, Detective Frank Mackey, is circling, ready to pounce if any of the new evidence points toward his daughter. And the private underworld of teenage girls can be more mysterious and more dangerous than either of the detectives imagined.

My Thoughts…

I found it interesting to hear the teenage girl side of the story.    The way they told the tale and how their conversations went made me think back to my days in school.   How I thought I knew my friends so well and that we told each other everything, then the rumors and gossip would start.    I enjoyed that there were two groups, the popular better than everyone else and the wierdo’s.    It was entertaining watching them place the blame on each other all while not really knowing who the actual killer was.  

Throughout the story I had many theories as to who the actual killer was.   Tana French did an excellent job at keeping me guessing and not truly giving away the real killer until last part of the story.   As my first Dublin Murder Squad book I was not familiar with the characters, but this did not slow down my reading and hinder my enjoyment of the story.  It was nice that I could just pick up the book and read without having to learn the background of every character and the history of their relationships.  

I will be looking for more of this series and certainly checking out the past books.   A good mystery is hard to find and I believe this is one of the best I have read in  quite a while.   

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Beautiful Ashes by Jeaniene Frost

Broken Destiny #1
Publish date August 26, 2014

In a world of shadows, anything is possible. Except escaping your fate.

Ever since she was a child, Ivy has been gripped by visions of strange realms just beyond her own. But when her sister goes missing, Ivy discovers the truth is far worse—her hallucinations are real, and her sister is trapped in a parallel realm. And the one person who believes her is the dangerously attractive guy who's bound by an ancient legacy to betray her.

Adrian might have turned his back on those who raised him, but that doesn't mean he can change his fate…no matter how strong a pull he feels toward Ivy. Together they search for the powerful relic that can save her sister, but Adrian knows what Ivy doesn't: that every step brings Ivy closer to the truth about her own destiny and a war that could doom the world. Sooner or later, it will be Ivy on one side and Adrian on the other. And nothing but ashes in between…

My Thoughts…

I love YA paranormal.   This book is no exception.   Once I started, I started the day after it arrived on my front step, I could not stop.  I wanted to stay up all night and finish but forced myself to put it down and rest my eyes.   Yet, I woke up bright and early and first thing I did was pick it up and finish it!   Now I am left needing more.

Ivy and Adrian had chemistry.  I was not sure from the beginning if this was a good thing or a bad thing.   I wanted it to turn out to be a good thing, but were they meant to be?   Can Adrian overcome his fate and be the guy that Ivy needs?    All these were questions that I knew I had to have the answer to.   I loved both these characters and knew that I had to find the answers to the questions I have and hope that the answers went the way I wanted them to.   

Although Ivy was searching for her sister throughout the entire book, I enjoyed the storyline of Ivy and Adrian more.   I wanted Ivy to find her sister safely, but I wanted more of Ivy and Adrian.    As Ivy was searching for her sister in the different realms, I could picture the creatures they encountered and the worlds they were visiting.   The descriptions and graphics were absolutely perfect.  I love when a book plays like a movie in my mind as I am reading.

 Jeaniene Frost did an excellent job writing The Beautiful Ashes.  This is a series that I will be keeping an eye out for the rest of.   Anyone who loves the paranormal world should check this book out.  

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Friday, August 29, 2014


Return to the golden beauty of Minnesota’s Butternut Lake in this emotional story that vividly captures the joy and pain of first love, as a mother and daughter each come to terms with the desires of her heart.

Summer at Butternut Lake—a season full of surprises . . . and life-changing choices.

Preparing for her final year of college, Daisy is crazy busy now that she’s back at Butternut Lake. She’s helping her mother, Caroline, run their coffee shop and trying to build a relationship with the absentee father who’s suddenly reappeared. She never expected to fall in love with Will, the bad-boy from high school who works at the local garage. With every passing day she and Will grow closer to each other . . . and closer to the day they will have to say goodbye. As summer’s end looms, Will and Daisy face heartbreaking choices that might tear them apart.

Caroline already has her hands full trying to make ends meet at the coffee shop without having her no-good ex suddenly show up. Now that Jack is back, he’s determined to reconnect with the family he walked out on twenty years ago. But with the bank pounding on her door and Jack’s presence reminding her of the passion they once shared, Caroline’s resolve begins to crumble. As Daisy’s departure looms and her financial worries grow, Caroline just may discover the support she needs . . . in the last place she ever imagined.

My thoughts. I absolutely loved the first book in the Butternut Lake Trilogy, Up At Butternut Lake. I was so disappointed when the book ended and had thought this would make a good series, so I was thrilled when I found out it was going to be. Now that is a lot of excitement for a book to live up too. That said, I'm sure you wanna know what I thought of book two! Well two fold. I was disappointed when didn't I read more about Allie and Jax. I loved these two characters and in the second book there was a bit of a cameo, but that was it. I really felt they easily could have made a few more appearances to help us with what Caroline was going through. It wasn't like they were needed to move the story, but I think girlfriends being there for her would have been nice. Plus they were such a part of book one.

I overall enjoyed Butternut Summer, but not nearly as much as Up At Butternut Lake. I want to add the book really pulled me in near the end. I felt the story moved at a believable speed and loved getting to know Caroline and her daughter Daisy more. I feel the book was very good, but like I said I loved the first one so much, the second one had almost too much to live up to. On the positive, you could read this as a stand alone, but don't! These are really wonderful characters I really recommend you read them in order! Now I will say I am hopeful the third book will really come back and focus on all four ladies! I'm a fan of Mary McNear and this series (I'm actually bummed it is only a trilogy)! I could see how you could add more characters and stories making a number of books, hint hint to the author! I am recommending Butternut Summer! Make sure to grab a copy for a great read this Labor Day weekend!

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Someone to Love by Riley Rhea

Someone to Love by Riley Rhea
Spencer Jacobs thought his life was pretty damn perfect. He had a good job, a long-time girlfriend, and a bright happy future ahead. That is, until that fateful night when he walked in and saw the ultimate betrayal between the woman he loved and his own twin brother. After having his heart ripped open by the two people he trusted most, Spencer fled his hometown in search for a new life. 

Lexi Allen has never been in love. She has always held out for that special person, that special someone that she can give her whole heart to. The day hunky Spencer Jacobs walks in her life, she quickly realizes that he just may be that person. The only problem is, he’s broken and he can’t offer her anything more than a good time.

Will Lexi and Spencer ever find someone to love?

My Thoughts…

How to describe Lexi?  Spunky, trusting, and the perfect woman for Spencer.   Although she doesn’t know what love feels like, she knows that when she meets Spencer he is her forever.   Lexi understands that Spencer needs time to come to grips with that fact and is very patient in giving it to him.  I loved how understanding she was of his history, even when he wouldn’t share it with her.    She knew when to push, more like tease, him and when to let him step back.   

Now let me tell you about Spencer.    He is amazing.  Although heartbroken he meets Lexi and knows that he can open his heart to her and let himself finally heal.    He supports Lexi in her art and in her schooling, he takes care of her when she needs it, and lets her be strong as often as she likes.    He is hot, steamy, and so compassionate.    I know, he sounds too good to be true or part of a dream. Let me share that he made an appearance in my dreams the night I was reading this book before going to bed.  

Riley Rhea caught my attention with this the first book in this series, Remember Love, Tucker and Brenna’s story.  I never dreamed it would get better, but it sure did.  I cannot wait to read Missy and Drew’s story and Vance’s story.    I certainly recommend this series to everyone looking for a light, fun and easy romance book.   

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Here is the information for the first book in this series, Remember Love. 

They say you can never go home again. Brenna James is about to finish her final year of college when a visit home could change everything. Fate was pushing her towards her childhood best friend, Tucker, leaving Brenna no other option than to remember memories from a time once forgotten. Can Tucker slip himself into her heart? Will he be able to show her his feelings? The biggest question is, can Tucker help Brenna remember love?

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

This is How I’d Love You by Hazel Woods and GIVEAWAY

Publish August 26, 2014 by Plume

As the Great War rages, an independent young woman struggles to sustain love—and life—through the power of words.

It’s 1917 and America is on the brink of World War I. After Hensley Dench’s father is forced to resign from the New York Times for his anti-war writings, she finds herself expelled from the life she loves and the future she thought she would have. Instead, Hensley is transplanted to New Mexico, where her father has taken a job overseeing a gold mine. Driven by loneliness, Hensley hijacks her father’s correspondence with Charles Reid, a young American medic with whom her father plays chess via post. Hensley secretly begins her own exchange with Charles, but looming tragedy threatens them both, and—when everything turns against them—will their words be enough to beat the odds?

My Thoughts…

Being an 18 year old heading to a whole new world with her father during WWI, Henley’s life is turned upside down.    Henley is a character I loved.  I could relate to her on so many levels.    The fact that she was uprooted from the life she knew was the first thing that I related to, I moved when I was 16 to a new town.    From there her life just reflected so many things that I went through; I cannot share them as it will ruin the story for you.   Hazel Woods did an amazing job portraying how an 18 year old would talk and react to the things thrown her way.  

I found that this is a true romance story with a twist of history thrown into the pages.    WWI is a great era to read about and this book seemed true to the war and how life was on the front lines and how life was at home.   I would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves to write and receive letters, enjoys a great romance story, and enjoys the WWI era.

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Seaside Dreams by Melissa Foster & GIVEAWAY

The newest addition to the LOVE IN BLOOM series, featuring a group of fun, sexy, and emotional friends who gather each summer at their Cape Cod cottages. They’re funny, flawed, and will have you begging to enter their circle of friends. You met them in READ, WRITE, LOVE, (The Remingtons, Book 5), follow these friends on their search for forever love in the Seaside Summers series.

Bella Abbascia has returned to Seaside Cottages in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, as she does every summer. Only this year, Bella has more on her mind than sunbathing and skinny-dipping with her girlfriends. She’s quit her job, put her house on the market, and sworn off relationships while she builds a new life in her favorite place on earth. That is, until good-time Bella’s prank takes a bad turn and a sinfully sexy police officer appears on the scene.

Single father and police officer Caden Grant left Boston with his fourteen-year-old son, Evan, after his partner was killed in the line of duty. He hopes to find a safer life in the small resort town of Wellfleet, and when he meets Bella during a night patrol shift, he realizes he’s found the one thing he’d never allowed himself to hope for—or even realized he was missing.

After fourteen years of focusing solely on his son, Caden cannot resist the intense attraction he feels toward beautiful Bella, and Bella’s powerless to fight the heat of their budding romance. But starting over proves more difficult than either of them imagined, and when Evan gets mixed up with the wrong kids, Caden’s loyalty is put to the test. Will he give up everything to protect his son—even Bella?

SEASIDE SUMMERS are the newest addition to the LOVE IN BLOOM series
**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

My Thoughts….

How can I not love this book?  It has my crush from the last Melissa Foster book in it, Kurt from Read, Write, Love, and it has new hunky police officer Caden.   I loved that Seaside Dreams was about a man who was also a father.   He had responsibilities that other characters in Melissa’s books did not.   He was a good dad, not just a dad when convenient.  When Bella never questioned taking Caden and Evan in her life it won me over.    It is not easy to accept a child into your life, much less a teenager. 

This is a new part of the Love in Bloom Series and I cannot wait for more.  I would love to hear about the rest of the ladies in this book.   These ladies might become my favorite characters.  Of course, I recommend this series and cannot wait to get my hands on the rest of the books.    

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About the Author
Melissa Foster is the award-winning author of a number of International bestselling novels. Her books have been recommended by USA Today's book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the Women's Nest, a social and support community for women, the World Literary Cafe. When she's not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success.

Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children, she's written for Calgary's Child Magazine and Women Business Owners Magazine, and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa's interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping others see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.

Melissa is available to chat with book clubs and welcomes comments and emails from her readers. Visit Melissa on The Women's Nest or her personal website.

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I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.

Books 1 - 3 Snow Sisters, Love in Bloom Series #1 - 3

Books 1 - 6 The Bradens, Love in Bloom Series #4 - 9

Books 1 - 5 The Remingtons, Love in Bloom Series #10 - 14 

Books 7 - 12 The Bradens, Love in Bloom Series #15 - 20

Books 1 - 4 Seaside Summers, Love in Bloom Series #21 - 24


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the 1st book from the Braden cousins series
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