Serenity Harbor by RaeAnne Thayne -- Review

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


Title: Serenity Harbor
Author: RaeAnne Thayne
Pages: 384
Publishing: June 27th 2017 by Harlequin Books
ISBN: 037379939X 

Synopsis:

In the town of Haven Point, love can be just a wish—and one magical kiss—away…

Computer-tech millionaire Bowie Callahan is about the last person that schoolteacher Katrina Bailey wants to work for. As far as she can see, he's arrogant, entitled and not up to the task of caring for his young half brother, Milo. But Kat is, especially if it brings her closer to her goal of adopting an orphaned little girl. And as her kindness and patience work wonders with Milo, she realizes there's more to sexy, wary Bo than she'd ever realized.

Bo never imagined he'd be tasked with caring for a sibling he didn't know existed. Then again, he never pictured himself impulsively kissing vibrant, compassionate Katrina in the moonlight. Now he's ready to make her dream of family come true…and hoping there's room in it for him, too…

Review: 

Serenity Harbor was a fun and romantic read. It is the sixth book in the Haven Point series, but it can be read on its own as well. I didn't read the any of the books before Serenity Harbor but I still enjoyed the story just as much and it made me want to go back and read the previous books. I loved the characters and the mix of friendship, romance, and family. There was definitely a lot of romance, but it flowed well with the story and didn't feel too over the top. 

As much as I loved the characters, their dialogue often seemed a little stiff. I felt like Katrina was a know-it-all and I was a little surprised that she and Bowie were attracted to one another. With that said, it was easy to move past the stiff dialogue because the storyline was so cute and touching and the setting was absolutely gorgeous. It made me want to go sit on the back porch and stare out at the lake with Bowie and Kat. 

Serenity Harbor was a fun summer romance read and I look forward to reading more from Thayne in the future. I would highly recommend this novel to readers who enjoy fun and light romance stories. Thank you so much to Harlequin and Little Bird Publicity for sending me this novel in exchange for an honest review!

Rating 3/5

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid -- Review

Monday, June 26, 2017


Title: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo 
Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid 
Pages: 400
Publishing: June 13th 2017 by Atria Books
ISBN: 1501139231 

Synopsis: 

From Taylor Jenkins Reid comes an unforgettable and sweeping novel about one classic film actress’s relentless rise to the top—the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.

Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Filled with emotional insight and written with Reid’s signature talent, this is a fascinating journey through the splendor of Old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it takes—to face the truth.


Review: 

I've heard so much about Taylor Jenkins Reid but I've never read anything she has written until The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I am now a HUGE fan and plan to pick up the rest of Reid's books as soon as possible. Evelyn Hugo was such a brilliant character and I couldn't put this novel down. She was beautiful, rich, and everything Hollywood needed her to be, but what did she have to do to get to that point? Who did she have to hurt to get to the top? The Seven Husbands of  Evelyn Hugo follows Evelyn as  she narrates her fabulous life story and all of the terrible things she had to do to get to that point. 

I absolutely loved the writing style and the characters. Reid's writing was so eloquent and realistic that I felt like I was walking down the red carpet with Evelyn. I was completely drawn into the story and the outcome. I couldn't put the novel down and had to know how it would end. Even though Evelyn did a lot of terrible things to get to the top, I still found myself admiring her ambition. 

All in all, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was a well written and entertaining story about love, friendship and betrayal and the things people do in order to get what they want. It is the perfect summer read and I would highly recommend this novel! A huge thank you to Atria books, NetGalley, and BookSparks for sharing the wonderful world of Evelyn Hugo! 

Rating 4/5 







The Quest to the Uncharted Lands by Jaleigh Johnson

Friday, June 23, 2017





Title: THE QUEST TO THE UNCHARTED LANDS
Author: Jaleigh Johnson
Pub. Date: June 13, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 352
Find it: AmazonB&NiBooksTBDGoodreads

From the acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller The Mark of the Dragonfly comes another magical and thrilling story that takes readers on an exciting new adventure. 
Stella Glass dreams of exploring worlds beyond her home of Solace, but when her famous parents are sent on a historic mission to the Uncharted Lands, it's simply too dangerous for her to join them. By order of the king, she is left behind.
Missing out on the excitement is one thing, but Stella is devastated at the thought of her parents flying into the unknown. So she takes matters into her own hands. Instead of staying with family as planned, she steals away and--right before takeoff--sneaks aboard the airship.
But Stella isn't the only stowaway. In the cargo bay is a boy who is also desperate to get to the Uncharted Lands. And someone else who's determined to keep the ship from making it there at all. . .
Review:
There is nothing better than a fun, fast paced, and well written middle grade fantasy book, and Jaleigh Johnson delivered everything I was hoping for with The Quest to the Uncharted Lands. The world-building was engaging, the characters were fun and unique, and the action never stopped. I loved each of the characters and found myself relating to each of them on some level.
The reader joined the crew on their way to the Uncharted Lands and we found two young and innocent stowaways as well as one that was not so innocent. The story followed Stella and her new friend as they attempted to protect the air ship as well as everyone aboard. I absolutely loved this novel and I thoroughly enjoyed the setting and how a majority of the story was aboard the air ship. So much action took place in such a short period of time in a small setting, but Jaleigh Johnson took full advantage of the setting and really made the ship come alive for the reader! 
I am a HUGE fan of Jaleigh Johnson and I highly recommend all three books in The World of Solace Series, but The Quest to the Uncharted Lands was by far my favorite. Readers of all ages will enjoy the action packed pages inside The Quest to the Uncharted Lands, so go out and grab your copy today! And be sure to enter the giveaway hosted by Rockstar Book Tours
*Rating 4/5 
-- More from the World of Solace --

Title: THE MARK OF THE DRAGONFLY
Author: Jaleigh Johnson
Pub. Date: March 25, 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook, audiobook
Pages: 400
Find it: AmazonB&NiBooksTBD, Audible,  Goodreads

Piper has never seen the Mark of the Dragonfly until she finds the girl amid the wreckage of a caravan in the Meteor Fields. The girl doesn't remember a thing about her life, but the intricate tattoo on her arm is proof that she's from the Dragonfly Territories and that she's protected by the king. Which means a reward for Piper if she can get the girl home. The one sure way to the Territories is the 401, a great old beauty of a train. But a ticket costs more coin than Piper could make in a year. And stowing away is a difficult prospect--everyone knows that getting past the peculiar green-eyed boy who stands guard is nearly impossible. Life for Piper just turned dangerous. A little bit magical. And very exciting, if she can manage to survive the journey.


Title: THE SECRETS OF SOLACE
Author: Jaleigh Johnson
Pub. Date: March 8, 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook, audibook
Pages: 384
Find it: AmazonB&NiBooksTBDAudible, Goodreads

From Jaleigh Johnson, the acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller The Mark of the Dragonfly, comes another thrilling adventure in the magical world of Solace.   
Lina Winterbock lives in the mountain strongholds of Solace. She’s an apprentice to the archivists, the wise men and women whose lives are dedicated to cataloging, studying, and preserving the objects that mysteriously fall from the sky in the scrap towns.   
Lina should be spending her days with books, but the Iron War has changed everything. The strongholds are now a refuge, and the people Lina once counted on no longer have time for her, so she spends her days exploring the hidden tunnels and passages of her home. The strongholds are vast and old, with twisting paths, forgotten rooms, and collapsed chambers, some of them containing objects that have been lost and forgotten even by the archivists.
And in one of the forgotten chambers, Lina discovers a secret.
Hidden deep in a cavern is a half-buried airship like nothing she has ever seen before. She’s determined to dig it out and restore it. But Lina needs help, and she doesn’t know anyone she can trust with her secret. 
Then she meets Ozben, a mysterious boy who has a secret of his own—a secret that’s so dangerous it could change the course of the Iron War and the world of Solace forever. 

Praise for The Secrets of Solace: 

"An engaging world rich in detail, mayhem, and adventure...All aboard for fantasy lovers with a dual penchant for girl power and keeping up with the Indiana Joneses."—Kirkus Reviews

Praise for The Mark of the Dragonfly: 
 
[STAR] “This magnetic middle-grade debut . . . [is] a page-turner that defies easy categorization and ought to have broad appeal.”—Publishers Weekly, Starred
 
[STAR] “Heart, brains, and courage find a home in a steampunk fantasy worthy of a nod from Baum.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred
 
[STAR] “A fantastic and original tale of adventure and magic. . . . Piper is a heroine to fall in love with: smart, brave, kind, and mechanically inclined to boot.”—School Library Journal, Starred
 
A complex and impeccably developed plot—there is plenty to recommend in this novel.”—The Bulletin
 
Appealing characters and lots of action make it a good choice for young adventure readers.”—Booklist  



About Jaleigh:
Jaleigh Johnson is a fantasy novelist living and writing in the wilds of the Midwest.  Her middle grade debut novel The Mark of the Dragonfly is a New York Times bestseller, was chosen for the ABA 2014 Spring Indie Next list, and was named one of Amazon’s Top 20 Children’s Books of 2014.  Her other books in the Solace series from Delacorte Press include The Secrets of Solace and The Quest to the Uncharted Lands.  She has also written several novels and short stories for the Dungeons and Dragons Forgotten Realms fiction line published by Wizards of the Coast.  Johnson is an avid gamer and lifelong geek, and in her spare time she also enjoys traveling, reading, baking, and going to movies with her husband.  Visit her online at www.jaleighjohnson.com.  Photo credit: Mark Jones.  


Giveaway Details:

3 winners will receive a finished copy of THE QUEST TO THE UNCHARTED LANDS, US Only. Enter HERE.
  
Tour Schedule:

Week One:
6/22/2017- La La in the LibraryExcerpt
6/23/2017- The Blonde BookwormReview

Week Two:
6/26/2017- YA Book MadnessExcerpt
6/27/2017- Book-KeepingReview
6/28/2017- Bibliobakes- Review

Week Three:
7/3/2017- The Desert BibliophileReview
7/4/2017- Savings in SecondsReview
7/5/2017- JrsbookreviewsReview
7/6/2017- Two Chicks on Books- Interview

7/7/2017- Seraphina ReadsExcerpt

The Summer House by Hannah McKinnon -- Review

Thursday, June 22, 2017



Title: The Summer House
Author: Hannah McKinnon
Pages: 336
Publishing: June 6th 2017 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books
ISBN: 1501162802

Synopsis:

When Flossy Merrill summons her children to the beloved family beach house to celebrate their father’s eightieth birthday, both cherished memories and long-kept secrets come to light in this charming and lyrical novel from the author of The Lake Season and Mystic Summer. 

Flossy Merrill has managed to—somewhat begrudgingly—gather her three ungrateful grown children from their dysfunctional lives for a summer reunion at the family’s Rhode Island beach house. Clementine, her youngest child and a young mother of two small children, has caused Flossy the most worry after enduring a tragically life-altering year. But Samuel and his partner Evan are not far behind in their ability to alarm: their prospective adoption search has just taken a heart-wrenching turn. Only Paige, the eldest of the headstrong Merrill clan, is her usual self: arriving precisely on time with her well-adapted teens. Little does her family know that she, too, is facing personal struggles of her own.

No matter. With her family finally congregated under one seaside roof, Flossy is determined to steer her family back on course even as she prepares to reveal the fate of the summer house that everyone has thus far taken for granted: she’s selling it. The Merrill children are both shocked and outraged and each returns to memories of their childhoods at their once beloved summer house—the house where they have not only grown up, but from which they have grown away. With each lost in their respective heartaches, Clementine, Samuel, and Paige will be forced to reconsider what really matters before they all say goodbye to a house that not only defined their summers, but, ultimately, the ways in which they define themselves. Featuring McKinnon’s “sharp and evocative” (Kirkus Reviews) voice, this warm-hearted novel is perfect for fans of Elin Hilderbrand and Mary Alice Monroe.
 

Review: 

The Summer House was my first Hannah McKinnon book, and I think it's safe to say it will not be my last. It was filled with love, heartbreak, plenty of drama, and a real family. I always love books that deal with real life situations instead of perfect cookie cutter families with no issues whatsoever. The characters were unique and I found myself relating to each of them in one way or another.

McKinnon's writing style was engaging and kept me entertained from start to finish. I loved the setting and I was constantly wishing I was sitting on the beach with the whole Merrill family. Each of the characters had their own drama and they were trying to hold it all in instead of leaning on each other. The bottled emotions caused some extremely intense scenes throughout the novel and made me flip the pages faster and faster. I kept wanting to scream at them to communicate, but we all know the lack of communication often adds to the intrigue and buildup of a novel. 

All in all, The Summer House was an entertaining beach read and I would recommend it to readers who enjoy a little romance, a lot of family drama, and even a few tears here and there. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and look forward to reading more from McKinnon in the future. A huge thank you to Atria Books for sending along a review copy! Head to your nearest bookstore today and pick up your copy of The Summer House! 

Rating 3/5 

Gone to Dust by Liliana Hart -- Review

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Title: Gone to Dust
Author: Liliana Hart
Pages: 384
Publishing: June 20th 2017 by Pocket Books
ISBN: 1501150057

Synopsis:

The Gravediggers aren’t exactly what they seem. They’re the most elite of the world’s fighting forces—and all they have in common is that they’ve been betrayed by the countries they’ve died for. Because they are dead. To their country, their military, and their families.

Sometimes the dead do rise....

Miller Darling is one of the most popular romance novelists of her time. Not bad for a woman who doesn’t believe in romance. She’s as logical as they come, and she doesn’t believe in happily-ever-afters. What she does believe in is family, so when her brother disappears, she doesn’t think twice about packing her bag and her laptop and heading out to find him.

Elias Cole lived and breathed the life of a Navy SEAL. Now he’s “dead” and his hero’s honor tarnished. The only thing keeping him sane are the men who are like him—The Gravediggers—and the woman who makes his head spin. He’s never met anyone like Miller Darling. Her smart mouth and quick wit keep him on his toes, and damned if he doesn’t find that appealing.

When Miller receives a package from the brother who abandoned her asking for help, it’s clear she’s in over her head with the mess he’s gotten himself into. She needs a professional, and Elias is just the man for the job. Only her brother is a former SEAL—the man who left his team to die—and Elias is more interested in vengeance than saving his life.

Review: 

Gone to Dust is the second book in the Gravediggers series, and it was even more action packed than the first novel. I was instantly sucked in by romance, sexual tension, and the smokin' hot Elias Cole. Hart's writing is fast paced and kept me entertained from start to finish. 

The first novel in the series was good, but Gone to Dust was even better. Hart had me laughing, crying, blushing, and on the edge of my seat from page to page. I typically read a book in about a week, but I couldn't put this one down and I finished it in 2 days! I loved Elias and Miller and I think their exciting relationship really pulled me into the story. Miller's wit and Elias' sex appeal were enough to engage any reader! 

Gone to Dust was sexy, exciting, and hilarious! I loved how Hart mixes romance, comedy and action all into one. I am super excited for book 3 (Say No More). I would highly recommend this action packed novel to readers who enjoy Janet Evanovich! 

Rating 5/5

*I received this novel in exchange for an honest review. 


Be True To Me by Adele Griffin -- Review

Monday, June 12, 2017


Title: Be True To Me 
Author: Adele Griffin 
Pages: 352
Publishing: June 13th 2017 by Algonquin Young Readers
ISBN: 1616206756

Synopsis: 

It's the summer of 1976 on Fire Island, where feathered hair and the Bicentennial celebration reign. Jean, a sometimes cruel, often insecure, and always envious rich girl, is accustomed to living in her glamorous older sister’s shadow. So when Gil Burke, a handsome newcomer with uncertain ties to one of the most powerful families in the exclusive enclave of Sunken Haven, notices Jean—not her sister—Jean is smitten. 

Then Fritz, a girl from outside the gilded gates who humiliated Jean in the Island’s tennis championship last year, falls for Gil herself. Soon the girls are competing for much more than a tennis trophy, with higher stakes than either of them can imagine.

Told through the alternating perspectives of Jean and Fritz, as they experience feeling like an outsider and first love.


Review:

Be True To Me is the story of two young women and a summer that will change their lives forever. There was romance, drama, fierce competition, and enough juicy gossip to keep me turning page after page. The characters were intriguing and the setting was perfect. I loved the gorgeous beach imagery mixed with days from the past. 

As much as I enjoyed the setting, there were a few things that bugged me a little bit as well. I don't particularly love it when there is unnecessary female drama or competition over a guy. It makes females look like we just fight over men all the time. I especially wasn't a huge fan of that portion of the story because I didn't really like the guy they were fighting over. 

Even though I was a little bit iffy on the characters, I thoroughly enjoyed the plot, and the twist at the very end had me going crazy. I never saw it coming and it totally surprised me! All in all, Be True To Me is a fun summer read about love, betrayal, and rivalry. I would highly recommend this novel to readers who enjoyed We Were Liars and other YA contemporary novels. 

Rating 3/5 

*A huge thank you to Algonquin Young Readers for sending this ARC in exchange for an honest review! 
 
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