Review: Seeing Julia – Katherine Owen

Seeing JuliaSeeing Julia by Katherine Owen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review.

I have a really hard time saying that I liked this book – really it was more okay then good. I liked the characters, but really thought Julia needed a swift kick in the butt.

Though it seemed all too wordy at times, the premise of this book wasn’t bad at all; woman loses husband, slips into a near disastrous depression at his funeral, survives near suicide, clings to best friends…excuse me, inner circle…finds love in the end after learning of dead husband’s betrayal.

There were a few unexpected twists, but really Julia’s story seemed to drag on and there were more than a few times when I wanted to grab her by her hair and tell her to cowboy up. Most of all, I despised the type of mother Julia was throughout the majority of the book.

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Review: Not That Kind of Girl – Siobhan Vivian

Not That Kind Of GirlNot That Kind Of Girl by Siobhan Vivian
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I disliked Natalie throughout almost the entire book. She was so full of herself, so egotistical and condescending that I wanted to smack her. And when she finally redeemed herself, the book was over.

This is a novel about powerful women and feminism. Natalie looks down her nose at pretty much everyone and holds her guidance counselor, who is also one of her professors, in high esteem. I knew that relationship was doomed as soon as we met Spencer, who was like a breath of fresh air every few pages.

I felt sorry for Autumn for the longest time. Natalie just didn’t want her to have a life outside of her and kept her down.

I’m all for self-empowerment, but Natalie took it way too far.

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Review: Christmas In Time – Peggy Webb

Christmas in TimeChristmas in Time by Peggy Webb
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you want a short book to read while waiting at an airport or for friends to stop by, then you’ll probably like how fast-paced this romantic time-travel book is.

I love all things Titanic-inspired, but this was a bit…too short. And the jumping around kind of threw me off and made me wonder if I have a corrupt ebook copy, but I don’t…that’s just how it’s written.

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Review: Prada and Prejudice – Mandy Hubbard

Prada and PrejudicePrada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was really looking forward to reading this book after reading You Wish. While it wasn’t as funny as You Wish was, I really liked the storyline – I’m a sucker for time travel romances – and thought it ranked right up there with one of my all-time favorite time travel romances, Remembrance by Jude Deveraux.

Callie is your average girl who just happens to be extremely clumsy and never sticks up for herself. In fact, she feels she has no friends since her best friend moved away over a year ago and she alienated the entire school for saying that cheerleaders are modern day courtesans where the head cheerleader could hear – and look up the definition of on her iPhone.

Callie talks her mom into letting her go to Europe for a school trip and is absolutely miserable; she’s not allowed to wander by herself and her buddy happens to hate her guts. Wanting to impress Angela, Mindy, and Summer, Callie sneaks out of the hotel and goes shopping. She sees a Prada boutique and spends four hundred pounds on a pair of Prada three inch heels. As she’s leaving the store, she trips and falls, bashing her head off of the sidewalk. When she wakes up, she’s in a forest and has no idea where she is. She sees a house – read: manor – as she goes looking for help and is mistaken for a girl named Rebecca who happens to be His Grace’s niece, Emily’s, best friend from America. The year? 1815.

I could probably go on, but then you wouldn’t want to read the book and that would be bad, right? While I found the plot kind of dragging at times and a bit too wordy in some spots, overall I really liked this book. Mandy Hubbard is fast becoming one of my favorite YA authors.

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Review: Stealing Heaven – Elizabeth Scott

Stealing HeavenStealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dani wants to be able to tell people her real name, but her mother won’t allow her to. In fact, Dani would like to do a lot of things that, well, normal people do, but can’t.

See, Dani and her mom are thieves. Silver thieves to be exact and they’re damn good. Except, Dani doesn’t want to steal anymore; not once they get to a little town called Heaven where she meets Allison and Greg. They unintentionally make her think about her life and what she’s done with it and what she’d like to do with it.

I was immediately captivated when I started reading this and then got slightly bored. There wasn’t a single character I didn’t like, including Dani’s mom who has questionable {if non-existent} morals. She may not say she loves Dani, and she puts a lot of guilt trips on her, but in the end, you know as well as Dani that her mother absolutely loved her and only her.

I’m hoping there is a sequel to this book as the ending was just…there. You can guess what happens, but I’d like to know more.

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Review: Plan B – Jenny O’Connell

Plan BPlan B by Jenny O’Connell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Meet Vanessa, normal child of two creative free spirits. She’s about to embark on her senior year at Cabot, a private school that has classes such as Seminar in Women’s Literature. She’s already planned out how her year will go, what she will do, and that she will be accepted at Yale, the college her boyfriend, Patrick – never Pat – , is attending {maybe with some help from Vanessa}. Her best friend, Taylor is slightly {make that madly} obsessed with Hollywood, including Reed Vaughn, bad boy extraordinaire and star of the hit series Wild Dunes.

Then a phone call came that changed everything. Come to find out, Reed Vaughn is her half-brother, the product of a short relationship her father had with Academy Award winning actress Marnie Vaughn during her theater days – and while he was separated from Vanessa’s mother. Vanessa is not happy at all that Reed is coming to live with them, thereby wrecking her perfect plan for her senior year.

This book was cute, the characters not only believable, but likable. Certain situations were easy to figure out before they happened, but overall I really enjoyed reading this book.

However, I was not impressed with the ending. Too many loose ends left untied.

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Review: Forever – Judy Blume

This review has also been posted at and contains spoilers.

I remember growing up as a child of the 80’s that Judy Blume was THE author to read about all things you wanted to know that your parents didn’t want to tell you.

Now, I’ll admit that I first read this book when I was fourteen years old. It was hidden in our school library and had a non-descript red cover with absolutely no details as to what it was about. Not knowing in advance that the book was about and then figuring out that it was about losing one’s virginity kind of scarred me at first.

And while I still find it cheesy in some aspects – even in the 80’s teenagers didn’t refer to it as making love no matter how much they were “in love” – the overall storyline still rings true. When you first fall in love and find that person you want to give all of you to, there’s absolutely no other feeling in the world that could compare. And no matter how much your parents think you’re too young to settle down and put up roadblocks, you will rebel just to be with THAT person.

Unfortunately, there was no forever for Kath and Michael, which I actually found to be a great ending for them. Very rarely will teenage love last for eternity, and theirs was no different.

Review: The Bride’s Baby – Liz Fielding

I “purchased” The Bride’s Baby for free from Amazon.

The only reason why I finished this book is because I very seldomly set aside a book and call it a lost cause. This was definitely a lost cause in my opinion. I can’t even call it a romance…more like frustratingly painful to read. I had hopes for it as it was set in London and I adore all things British, but this was just…not good. For about a good 30 pages I was pretty confused as I had no idea what in the world was going on. Both protagonists were annoying beyond belief. I enjoy a good mixed signals read every now and again, but that went on for far too long. I also felt that the ending was a bit hurried.

If this was in a doctor’s office and the only other thing left to read was the sports section of the newspaper…I’d suffer through the sports section. The author rarely completes a sentence properly, overuses the word ‘then’, and just makes you wonder if a chimp was the one who edited it.

Review: The Bridge Club – Patricia Sands

9400532I received a complimentary copy of The Bridge Club in exchange for my review.

The Bridge Club is about eight {nearly} lifelong friends who forge an amazing friendship that withstands the test of time. In addition to playing Bridge once a month – alternating whose home they play at each time – the women share a passion for cooking, drinking, music, dancing, etc.

When I first started to read this, I wasn’t sure I was going to really like it. There is a lot of vagueness in the very beginning {you learn at the end that this was done on purpose}, then all of the sudden you’re transported back in time to an important event that happened in each woman’s life where the fellow members of the Bridge Club, in addition to family and friends, was there in that woman’s particular time of need…or as they refer to it, their SOS.

Each woman’s SOS is well written, if sometimes a little too wordy, and will strike a chord in each person who reads it. You either have gone through something similar or know someone who has.

The last two chapters are…interesting. In the interest of not spoiling the book, the final chapters are worded so carefully that no matter how much you try to figure out whose SOS you are reading, you will never figure it out. I read in the acknowledgments that she did this purposely because it could happen to any one of those eight women. While it aggravated me that there is no name supplied, I found the final two chapters to be the most empowering of the entire book. At times I struggled to get through, not sure if I wanted to finish it or not, but at the end of the day…I’m glad I did.

You walk away wanting to make sure that you’re living your life to the fullest and that you have a core group of friends who will stand by you no matter what…even when your life ceases to be your own. The fact that these eight women had a friendship that lasted forty years touched my heart over and over again.

Review: Summer Camp: A Memoir – Diane Hanks

I received a complimentary copy of Summer Camp: A Memoir in exchange for my review.

This brutally honest account of three children who grow up in abject poverty where both parents are alcoholics and their mother’s fight with mental illness is one of the most powerful memoirs I have ever read. It is written with a grace that not many writers possess. Diane’s recollection of what life was like growing up pulls you in over and over, even when you feel like your heart can’t possibly handle one more sad recollection.

It is a definite “must-read” for anyone. While most readers may not be able to relate, they will, however, feel compassion for Diane and her siblings.

Review: Pink Slipper – Gina Robinson

I received a complimentary copy of Pink Slipper in exchange for my review.

Leesa Winsom is not having a good life. First she gets pink slipped, then her kitchen goes up in flames during a home renovation, and she’s forced to move in with her father and older sister. Her godmother, Alice, talks her into going to a “Breakthrough to Greatness” seminar where she meets Roger and Bud, head of the Job Camp Group {JCG for short}, and Ryne…who invented the BtG seminar and happened to save her at a Starbucks moments before – where Leesa happened to say she wasn’t buying into the whole “greatness” thing, not knowing who he was. Oops.

Through Roger and Bud she meets Candy, Hank, Jean, Sean, and several others who become dear friends. There’s also the Street Guy who makes random appearances and is quite the character. Throughout the book Leesa keeps goals for her Unemployment requirements and applies for numerous jobs.

I loved this book…it was a light, enjoyable read that had a lot of funny moments included. Ms. Robinson definitely knows how to hold a reader’s attention and keep them coming back for more. I’d definitely recommend this as a beach read, or sitting on the porch enjoying the peaceful breeze nights when you just want to relax with a good, lighthearted book.

Review: Past Imperfect – J.M. Cornwell

I received a complimentary copy of Past Imperfect in exchange for my review.

First and foremost, this is NOT really a romance novel; it reads more like a mystery or suspense.

Diana was in a nasty car crash that disfigured her face. After having surgery, she buys a cabin in the mountains of Pennsylvania and spends several years there recovering. Diana is an avid aviator and writes horror novels for a living. She’s obsessed with her former boyfriend {if you can really call him that} and sets out to win his heart by entrapment. Diana also suffers from horrifying nightmares, whom her best friend, Logan, always seems to come rescue her from.

The plot was satisfying, but not great. At times you could pretty much tell what was going to happen next; other times you’re a bit creeped out by how…stalkerish Diana seems to be. Towards the end it gets a bit frustrating because there was a lot of mystery without any real clues as to what was really going on. While that’s not a bad thing, it can be a bit frustrating when you have no idea what’s really happening.

However, it was a good read and easy to finish in a few hours or a day. I would definitely recommend it.

Review: Dating My Vibrator – Suzanne Tyrpak

I received a complimentary copy of Dating My Vibrator in exchange for my review.

I won’t lie, I asked to be a reviewer based on the name of this book alone – it made me giggle! The short stories in this book are amusing, yet sometimes very confusing. Ms. Tyrpak’s foray back into the dating scene after her husband tells her that their marriage is over due to a part of her anatomy – I swear I spit sweet tea reading that – and consequent divorce made me glad that my own marriage is secure and in no jeopardy of breaking up.

I didn’t really see all of the stories as being stories, some of them read more like essays. The Christmas one – I think it’s the third – had me laughing so hard I cried. But there’s one towards the end that is so out of place, it just doesn’t belong. Although, to be honest, I wanted to keep reading and find out who the people were and what their story was.

I definitely recommend this book if you’re having a bad day and want a good laugh. I was able to get through it in two hours, making it one of the lightest stories – and probably most humorous – I’ve read in a long time.

Review: My Sister’s Keeper – Edna Curry

I received a complimentary copy of My Sister’s Keeper in exchange for my review.

Overall this book was cute. You could pretty much figure out the entire plot and subplot from the very beginning. Heck, even from just the name and description you could figure out what this was going to be like.

I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t excited about it. The writing style was not my favorite {incomplete sentences, sentences that just didn’t make sense or could have been joined with the previous, and even some word choices made me…giggle} by any means, but I did appreciate the fact that Ms. Curry does her best to keep you reading by giving you just a hint of what was to come…even if you already knew it was coming.

I would recommend this for light reading or something to occupy your time while waiting in a doctor’s office or elsewhere.

Review: Sleight – Jennifer Sommersby

I received a complimentary copy of Sleight in exchange for my review.

I wasn’t very keen on reading this at first – it just didn’t sound like something that I’d really like; but in the interest of fairness and being open-minded, I decided to give it a try.

Oh how happy I am that I did!

I absolutely adored Gemma as a main character. She wasn’t overly brave or annoyingly cowardly…she was just the perfect balance between strong and weak, in my opinion. In fact, I liked all of the characters that are introduced in this book, even the ones you’re not sure you should like because there’s just something about them that doesn’t sit right.

I was drawn in nearly immediately as Ms. Sommersby knows how to capture your attention just by picking a quote that tugs at your heart or maybe just makes you think. Yes, there were parts of the book that were rather wordy and made me slightly anxious as I was holding my breath to find out what happened next, but overall I just really loved this book and can’t wait to read the follow-up. She tugs at your heartstrings, she makes you think and wonder and hold your breath in anticipation.

Especially with the end. Oh, I totally did not see that coming, but was happy all the same.

Also, I wonder why no publishing house wanted to take a chance with this book; as noted above, it’s cleverly written and isn’t your run of the mill young adult fantasy book. No matter, I’m glad Ms. Sommersby published this book on her own.