Saturday, November 25, 2017

GAME CHANGE by Joseph Monninger

Can one game really change everything?

Seventeen-year-old Zeb Holloway works in his uncle’s auto repair shop and spends his weekends deer hunting in New Hampshire’s backwoords. He’s a quarterback on his high school’s undefeated football team, but he never plays. Why would he when T.T. Munroe—a walking, talking highlight real—is around? That is, until T.T.’s injured a week before the state championship game.

Now Zeb’s tapped to start. As he assumes the role of QB and team leader, it feels like the entire town is watching. Girls want to talk to him and adults want to shake his hand. When a college recruiter says Zeb could have a future beyond his small New Hampshire town, he realizes there’s a bigger life out there for him…if he can play his heart out.

  Opening line:
"Later, in the week that followed, Zeb Holloway watched the injury form again and again."

A coming-of-age story told from a second string football players perspective.
Zeb Holloway doesn't plan on playing much on his high school football team, thanks to the awesome QB who is bring the team to state. Until the QB is hurt. Zeb is thrust in the spotlight and he's not too sure what to think about the instant notoriety.
The story follows Zeb through the week leading up to the state game. He wrestles with who he is, where he's from and what he really expects out of life. Each day leading up to the game seem to solidify and center him in what he wants. Things move a little fast compared to what it might move in real life but I liked the day-to-day decisions and effects.

There are a few "F" bombs and a bit of swearing.
There is kissing.
There is "boy" humor.

Thanks to netgalley for the early read!

Friday, November 24, 2017

IF MY MOON WAS YOUR SUN by Georges Bizet, Sergei Prokofiev, Nele Palmtag

Did you hear the story about Max, the boy who kidnapped his grandfather from a nursing home ? You didn't see it on the news? Well, let me tell you about it.

Max lives in a small town, much smaller than yours. His grandpa is losing his memory, but still remembers quite a bit. You can imagine how they hurried, Max and his grandpa, followed by old Miss Schneider, who insisted on coming along. Why were they in a hurry? Because everyone was after them. Max had skipped school to rescue his grandpa, and they were just starting out on what promised to be one of the best days of their entire lives.

A touching story about dementia and the special relationship between grandparents and grandchildren, with full-color illustrations and a read-along CD audiobook featuring twelve classical pieces for children by Georges Bizet and Sergei Prokofiev.

 Opening line:
"Early one morning--just a week after his ninth birthday--Max woke up filled with a feeling that something was missing."

Max misses his grandfather, who is in a nursing home with the early onset of dementia. He visits his grandpa often and one day comes up with a plan to break his grandpa out of the home and take him on an adventure. Max is afraid of losing his grandpa because of the loss of memory; he doesn't want grandpa to forget him.

This was beautifully told and illustrated. I didn't get the audiobook and music, only the book to review. I want to listen to it now. The only teeniest part that bothered me: I hope no grand children try to kidnap their forgetful grandparents! :)

Thanks to netgalley for the early read!!

Friday, November 17, 2017

HAVENCROSS by Julie Daines

When a shocking scandal involving her father spreads through London society, Elaine Cardinham and her parents are forced to retreat to their country home in Cornwall for refuge. But Havencross is no sanctuary for Elaine. She is haunted by the mysterious disappearance of her brother—and the heartbreak she left in her wake all those years ago. It has been five long years since Gareth Kemp last saw Elaine—when she rejected his marriage proposal. Her reappearance convinces him of one thing: he has never stopped loving her. To put his feelings for her aside, he focuses his attention on the dangerous smuggling plaguing the Cornish coast. As Elaine attempts to run from her past, she ventures ever closer to a dangerous truth—and Gareth may be the only one who can save her from a deadly finish.

 Opening line:

"Two hundred fifty miles into this journey and not a word spoken."

Deception, lies, romance, unrequited love and smugglers all roll along in Ms. Daines newest, delightful book.

Elaine's family is still reeling from the death of her brother and now from the scandal of something her father did. They move from London, and the wagging tongues of gossips, back to Havencross, their little country home. Elaine has no hope of marriage prospects now. How she wishes she would have accepted the marriage proposal of Gareth now.
Gareth's family is always reeling from a death. His father was killed by smugglers and he wants them brought to justice. But the local authorities don't seem to make any progress on finding the killers. When he sees Elaine again, he tries to stay away from her; she did break his heart, after all.

This story is set in Cornwall, England, in the era when there were smugglers. The story is woven masterfully to include tension, romance and suspense. There were tender moments between different characters. I really enjoyed the interchange between Elaine and her Aunt Rose and creating your own Camelot.

If you like regency romance, a well-written story and characters you can love, this book is for you! 


Friday, November 10, 2017

ROYAL BASTARDS by Andrew Shvarts

Being a bastard blows. Tilla would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had trueborn children.

At sixteen, Tilla spends her days exploring long-forgotten tunnels beneath the castle with her stablehand half brother, Jax, and her nights drinking with the servants, passing out on Jax’s floor while her castle bedroom collects dust. Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children.

Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade. Along with Jax, Miles, and fellow bastard Zell, a Zitochi warrior from the north, they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness.

Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana’s uncle, the Royal Archmagus, dead—with Lyriana next on the list. The group flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries; their own parents have put a price on their heads to prevent the king and his powerful Royal Mages from discovering their treachery.

The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart—if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey...

 Opening line:
"Princess Lyriana came to Castle Waverly two months after I turned sixteen."

I have to admit the title threw me off when I first got the book. But as I read I totally understood the title. The story is full of adventure, tension and a plot to stop a war.
Tilla is the main character, or bastard. Placed to the side so her father king can produce legitimate heirs, she longs for his approval and love. She's never invited to go places with him or sit at his elbow at dinners. She's relegated to the 'bastard' table in the back, far away from others. Her best friend is her half brother, another bastard, Jax. Miles is from a royal house but is also a bastard BUT his mom said she would make him legit soon. He hopes to marry Tilla. One fateful evening, two more bastards join the table: Zell, a son from a warrior clan, and Lyriana, a visiting princess who rules over all the lands. She's not so much a bastard, but we learn through the story that being a bastard isn't always from a illegitimate marriage.
These five are thrown together in a mission of survival after they witness a horrific murder. Their faces are plastered throughout the land so they are on their own to get to the country of Lyriana's cousin who she vows will protect them. The tension is taut, thanks to all who are hunting them down to kill them, including Zell's crazy brother.
There is magic and romance and great characters. They all grew as their quest moved along. The bad guys are real, the twists are surprising but then again, not, and the fights are great. Their is a bit of a love triangle, some generic tropes but there is also funny dialogue, world building and character growth.
There is a scene with talking about their "conquests," a make-out scene that turned into something more (while not graphic still...) and plenty of swearing.

I look forward to reading the next book!

Thanks to netgalley for the early read.

Friday, November 3, 2017

AN OCEAN AWAY by Heather B. Moore

Gina Graydon knows the last thing she’ll attract on her holiday in France is an eligible bachelor. Tall, outspoken, and with a weakness for laughing at the wrong moment, not to mention being much too occupied with reading gothic romances, Gina decides she’d rather live in her fictional world. Besides, the only man who pays attention to her at the resort hotel happens to be her father’s worst enemy. And that is far from romantic. Reading in a secluded garden, and dreaming about the perfect kiss, all keep Gina much too busy to consider Mr. Edmund Donaldson any sort of hero.

AN OCEAN AWAY was originally published in the Timeless Romance Anthology: European Collection, and it's a companion novella to the USA Today bestselling romance HEART OF THE OCEAN.

 Opening line:
"Gina Graydon tucked a deliciously romantic gothic novel under her arm and stepped onto the hotel balcony of her second-floor room."

Gina is fun and spunky and adventurous. And the swoon-y Edmund was delicious. Because this was a quick read, their romance blossomed quickly which I don't always think is a bad thing. Especially when the reader gets to the kissing soon. :)

Another great story from the amazing Heather B. Moore!

There is kissing and hugging and blushing in the story.

Friday, October 27, 2017

THICK AS THIEVES by Megan Whalen Turner

Deep within the palace of the Mede emperor, in an alcove off the main room of his master’s apartments,. Kamet minds his master’s business and his own. Carefully keeping the accounts, and his own counsel, Kamet has accumulated a few possessions, a little money stored in the household’s cashbox, and a significant amount of personal power. As a slave, his fate is tied to his master’s. If Nahuseresh’s fortunes improve, so will Kamet’s, and Nahuseresh has been working diligently to promote his fortunes since the debacle in Attolia.

A soldier in the shadows offers escape, but Kamet won’t sacrifice his ambition for a meager and unreliable freedom; not until a whispered warning of poison and murder destroys all of his carefully laid plans. When Kamet flees for his life, he leaves behind everything—his past, his identity, his meticulously crafted defenses—and finds himself woefully unprepared for the journey that lies ahead.

Pursued across rivers, wastelands, salt plains, snowcapped mountains, and storm-tossed seas, Kamet is dead set on regaining control of his future and protecting himself at any cost. Friendships—new and long-forgotten—beckon, lethal enemies circle, secrets accumulate, and the fragile hopes of the little kingdoms of Attolia, Eddis, and Sounis hang in the balance.

  Opening line:
"It was midday and the passageway quiet and cool."

I LOVE the Queen's Thief series (most the King of Attolia) and I looked forward to holding this book baby in my wee hands and take my time reading it. When it came in the mail, I settled myself on my comfy-reading couch near a sunny window and began. I didn't get far, maybe 2 chapters before I had to set the book down do adulting things like fix dinner for my hungry family (seriously! Couldn't they just pour some cereal and milk?)(JK)
But I didn't make it back to the book and it languished on the side table, calling out to me, wanting me to caress its pages again. For some reason, I was able to resist it's siren call. Probably because I didn't care about Kamet or the Attolian who "steals" him. I ended up buying the audio book so I could listen to it while I did house and yard work and it only took a few hours to finish.
I did enjoy the story and the characters. BUT the biggest disappointment for me was so little of the king and queen of Attolia. So little! And then the author threw in something that made me think they wouldn't make it into the next books, how many that will be. AND I thought this book wrapped up the series. NOT.
I probably will read more only because I LOVE this series.

4 1/2 STARS

Friday, October 20, 2017


Ever since Emma read Pride and Prejudice, she's been in love with Mr. Darcy and has regarded Jane Austen as the expert on all things romantic. So naturally when Emma falls for Blake Hampton and he invites her home to meet his parents, she is positive an engagement is in her future. After all, Blake is a single man in possession of a good fortune, and thus must be in want of a wife.

But when it turns out that what Blake actually wants is more of a hook-up than a honeymoon, Emma is hurt, betrayed, and furious. She throws herself deeper into her work as CMO of Kinetics, the fastest growing gym franchise in the nation. She loves her work, and she's good at it, which is why she bristles when her boss brings in a consultant to help her spearhead the new facilities on the East Coast. Her frustration turns to shock when that consultant turns out to be Blake's younger brother, Lucas.

Emma is determined not to fall for Lucas, but as she gets to know him, she realizes that Lucas is nothing like his brother. He is kind and attentive and spends his time and money caring for the less fortunate.

What she can't understand is why Lucas continues to try to push her back into Blake's arms when he so clearly has fallen as hard for her as she has fallen for him. It isn't until Lucas reveals to Emma that he was adopted into the Hampton family that she begins to understand his loyalty to Blake as well as his devotion to the child April-she is Lucas's biological niece.

Emma opens up to Lucas about the feelings of abandonment she has harbored ever since she was a child and her mother left the family. As she helps Lucas deal with his past demons, she is able to exorcise some of her own.

Realizing that her love life is as complicated as anything Jane Austen could have dreamed up, Emma must find a way to let Blake know that it's time for him to let her go and to let Lucas know it's time for him to love her back.

 Opening line:
"Jane Austen is a horrific liar."

That is a great opening line. And for Emma Pierce, the sum of her romantic relationship.
Emma is a Marketing guru in a successful health club company. Her boyfriend is hot and rich. Her BFF is supportive and funny. Emma's got a great life! Until she breaks up with said boyfriend because he was having dinner with another girl. Not wanting to hear his excuses, she stomps off only to be approached by the younger brother, Lucas.
They rest, as someone likes to say, is history. Lucas is hired as a temporary consultant to Emma's company and they are thrown together as partners. Of course, this leads to thoughts and ideas and both fighting the attraction because Emma is his older brother's girlfriend and Emma because she's on the rebound. But they push each other away more because they both feel inadequate with all the baggage they emotionally carry.
The Emma comes through her tough times is beautiful and she learns to trust and let someone close to her. It's a fun, romantic story with ups and downs and a bit of kissing.
This is a great read for anyone wanting a good, clean romance!

Thanks to netgalley for the early read!


PS I LOVE the cover!