Wednesday, April 24, 2013

SMART MOVE by Melanie Jacobson

The spark was undeniable the night Sandy Burke met the devastatingly handsome Jake. Conversation flowed easily, so after they parted, she waited eagerly for his call. It never came. A high-powered career woman at the ripe old age of twenty-seven, Sandy feels she has had her heart broken one too many times, and now the redheaded trendsetter is facing a major quarter-life crisis. After some introspection, Sandy determines that helping others may be the key to helping herself. When she's presented with a job offer in Washington DC as the director of New Horizons, a nonprofit organization benefiting women in poverty, it seems providential.

But now that she's moved, two major obstacles threaten the success of her first assignment: The first is her mother and her constant fog of less-than-helpful New Age advice. Secondly, plans to build another New Horizons outreach center have come to a screeching halt, thanks to the interference of a pesky lawyer and his attempts to reverse zoning approval for the building project.

After weeks of verbal sparring over the phone, Sandy is in for a shock when she comes face-to-face with her foe. The smooth voice at the other end of the line is a heart-wrenching blast from the past. In this twist of fate, Sandy sees the perfect opportunity to ensure the success of the outreach center — and to enact a little payback on this man she thought she'd left behind. And so the battle of wits begins. Will Sandy's "flirt-to-convert" plot sway her nemesis' determination to block the center, or will his charming and undeniably attractive ways convince the sassy redhead to give love a second chance?


First line:
"Sandy tapped the toe of her high-heeled boot as she considered its sharp point and where it would do the most damage to Jake Manning."

Sandy Burke has her heart in the right place. She wants to help women who need a hand up and she's passionate about saving the place she works that helps those women.
Jake Manning is a lawyer with a good, honest work ethic. He's been hired to stop the place where Sandy works from building an annex.
Unbeknownst to either party, they met, and connected a year ago. But now they are on opposite sides of a good fight.
Ms. Jacobson is a good writer and does a good job at keeping romantic tension in the story. This is a good, clean story that I was able to read in one sitting.
I have to admit though that I was annoyed with Sandy's character. While she was passionate about her side, she never listened to Jake's side. She'd rant and rave about evil corporations and how if Jake liked her he'd back off. Jake tried to explain his side several times but she always cut him off or walk away. It got old. I felt sorry for Jake and wondered WHY! he kept coming back to her. I know he felt a strong connection but why?
Finally, they called a truce and dated (against their better judgement) and something happened at court where Sandy decided she hated Jake...again. Then finally, in the last few pages of the book, Sandy really listened to Jake and they resolved their differences. I couldn't help wonder if they married what their relationship would be. Would Sandy ever listen to Jake? Would he feel he had to constantly defend himself? Not a great start I think.
And don't even get me started on how she treated her mother. Once again, Sandy didn't listen, only judged. They did make amends towards to the end, which was good!


Rating: PG
S: No
V: No
L: No

Liked:
Sandy's real name was Sand Dollar
Jake
Clean, romantic book
Book cover

Disliked:
Sandy not changing until the very end
Relationship issues

3 1/2 STARS

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

ESTHER THE QUEEN by H.B. Moore

She is a beautiful young Jewess, content in her life of anonymity... He is the most powerful king in the world... When chance brings the two together, the course of history is forever altered.

The glittering court of the Persian Empire serves as the backdrop for one of the most poignant tales of courage in the Bible, brought vividly to life in the pages of bestselling author H.B. Moore’s sweeping saga. And it begins on a dusty road in the Jewish Quarter . . .

An unexpected meeting between Esther and King Xerxes results in an immediate and unmistakable connection. When Esther is summoned to enter the king’s harem—the first step toward becoming his wife—Esther is torn between her desire to be with Xerxes and the knowledge that they will forever be divided by the secret of her Jewish heritage. Encouraged by her family to do what she must to help her people, she deftly navigates her new position in the palace, quickly becoming beloved by all—including Xerxes.

But when a treacherous plan threatens to engulf the kingdom in violence, Esther must choose between love and duty.



First line:
“You will be the bride today,” Abigail said, tugging on Esther’s hand.

I read Esther the Queen in one weekend. Another good story from H.B. Moore, full of intrigue and romantic tension and, as always, historically accrurate. I enjoy learning history without knowing I am.
Esther is a good, strong character. Kind, gentle and strong in her faith. She inspired me to be better. That's good writing. I had no idea how long a woman had to be 'cleansed' before meeting the king. That's a long time to think and wonder if the king is still thinking about you. Even during this part of the story, Esther was kind to those around her and made many friends and allies.
King Xerxes is cute (at least in my head) and also kind. I liked watching him change into a better/moral person. And the drive to make his kingdom and people better also.
Haman is a fantastically written villain. Vile is a good word to use for him. I hated him throughout the whole book.
There were several intense places too: the plot to kill the king, Haman making the edict and Esther going to the king.
Then came the scene with Esther going before the king and then telling him the truth a few days later--very moving. I even got teary-eyed and that's hard to do with this reader.


Rating: PG
S:Kissing
V: No
L: No

Liked:
Ms. Moore's writing
Esther
King Xerxes

Disliked:
Nothing

5 STARS

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

THE DAY BEFORE by Lisa Schroeder

One moment can change everything. Amber’s life is spinning out of control. All she wants is to turn up the volume on her iPod until all of the demands of family and friends fade away. So she sneaks off to the beach to spend a day by herself.

Then Amber meets Cade. Their attraction is instant, and Amber can tell he’s also looking for an escape. Together they decide to share a perfect day: no pasts, no fears, no regrets.

The more time that Amber spends with Cade, the more she’s drawn to him.  And the more she’s troubled by his darkness. Because Cade’s not just living in the now—he’s living each moment like it’s his last.


First line:
"Some mornings,
it's hard to get
out of bed."

I love books in verse for a change up in my reading. I love how quickly they read and yet they relay a story in fewer words. It's the same with THE DAY BEFORE. And just when I thought I had the plot twists figured out, I didn't.
Amber is dealing with hard news in their life. She decides to take the day off from life and enjoy her last one before she has to face some major changes and upheaval. She goes to the aquarium where she meets Cade, who is also taking the day to adjust to the changes happening in his life the next day.
The story follows how the two spend their day together with the vow not to talk about tomorrow. 
 I almost read the whole book in one sitting. It's pulled me along and wouldn't let me rest. I wanted to know Amber and Cade's secrets and how they would end their day.
There were a things that didn't make sense to me or were unrealistic but I don't want to give anything away.


Rating: PG 13
V:No
S: kissing
L: some

Liked:
reading in verse

Disliked:
some unrealistic ideals/situations/problems

4 STARS

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A BLIND EYE book trailer! by Julie Daines

If you think this book trailer is awesome, you should read the book! Go over to my writing blog and enter to win!





Buy the book: amazon.com; seagullbook.com; deseretbook.com
Visit Julie's web site: www.juliedaines.com

When Christian Morris finds a blind girl hiding in his car, his attempt to run away becomes a race to save her from death by scientific experimentation.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

INSURGENT by Veronica Roth


One choice can transform you--or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves--and herself--while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable--and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

"New York Times" bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian "Divergent" series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.


First line:
"I wake with his name in my mouth."
I wasn't sure I wanted to start this series. With all the factions I thought I might get lost and that would frustrate me so I didn't want to read any of these books. But I'm glad I did. Well, from the first page I got sucked right in. And I HAD to read the second book and now I'm annoyed with myself because if I had shown a little restraint and waited until the fall to read this series, I wouldn't have to wait for the third book!
Enough ranting. 
INSURGENT is what happens when the people fight against a corrupt government. A government that wants totally control over it's people. Or a faction that wants control and is willing to kill an entire faction to achieve that goal. 
But then you find out there are secrets that a few people know and are willing to kill to keep them secret so the whole world is topsy-turvy now and what is up and who is really in charge and can they be trusted.
Tris and Four go about trying to make things right the entire book. Sometimes they go together but most times they go separately to save each other. And boy does Tris get beat up! Emotionally and physically. I can't believe this girl keeps going through the whole story. But Ms. Roth plays it well and reminds us often, through Tris, how hurt she is and how she's fighting the inner demons.
Now the factions: they all have their strengths, which can turn to weaknesses...
The ending was WOW! Reall? Come one! Now I have to wait for October to finish!


Rating: PG 14 

V: Yes
S: Alluded to?
L: No

Liked:
Plot
Four trying to protect Tris

Disliked:
So much fighting and pain
Tris constantly putting herself in the middle of the fighting
 Waiting for the next book!

4 1/2 STARS