Haven, Mary Lindsey

ThAVENspolier alertTitle: Haven

Author: Mary Lindsey

Pages: 371

Genre: paranormal, romance.

Is this part of a series?  No.

Published:  November 7th, 2017

 

Summary:

Spending all his life moving from shelter to shelter with his drug addict mother, Rain is as tough as they come- and knows all about survival.  When he is shipped off to New Wurzburg to live with an aunt he never knew he had, his whole life is thrown into disarray.  While it isn’t the skinheads or gangs he’s used to, there is still something going on in the small town- and it revolves around the strongest, most beautiful girl he’s ever met.

Freddie Burkhart is different than any other girl he’s ever met- in so many ways.  As he grows closer to her, he finds that she and everyone he cares about might be in danger.  Can he protect his new family and find a safe haven?

My thoughts:

I know the summary’s a bit vague but I didn’t want to give too much away.  I will say that this book is being likened to Twilight- which other than the paranormal aspect- I don’t really see.  Rain in no Bella- he is strong, opinionated, courageous and wicked smart.  And Freddie is no Edward- save the fact that she wants to protect those she loves.

There were some great characters, and I really liked the dynamics between them.  The plot was interesting , and I felt the book as a whole was well done.  On the other hand, this was an overtly sexual book for one labeled as YA… I have to admit, I don’t care for that as a rule.  Too many books for teens glorify the sexual act, making it not just “cool” but necessary as a part of growth- like you should be doing it at this time.  I just don’t think that is necessary.  For me that drops this down to a four star book.  Four Stars

On the adult content scale, as I said above there is a lot of sexual content, that along with language and violence gives this one a seven.  I would not give this to my niece.  mature audience.

I was lucky enough the receive an eARC of this book from Netgalley and Entangled Publishing.   My thanks.

The book is out now, have you read it?

Link to book:

Amazon

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The Newcomers: Helen Thorpe

the newcomersspolier alertTitle: The Newcomers- Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom

Author: Helen Thorpe

Pages: 416

Genre: nonfiction, memoir

Is this part of a series?  No.

Publish date?  11-14-17

Summary:

In Denver Colorado there is a special group of classes, ELA classes, given to the kids of new refugees.   Teens from all over the world, newly resettled into America from across the globe, come together to learn English, and get caught up in school- some of which have been out for some time.  Thorpe joined the class for a year, getting to know the teachers and students while also researching what each of these families went through before coming to America, and what they dealt with after.  This book takes place in 2015, around the time that Trump started his campaigning in earnest.  While families from Vietnam, Somalia, the DRC, El Salvador and many other areas were trying to acclimate to a very different life and learning how to move through a new society, racism is beginning to run rampant.  Students are worried- both the refugees and regular students.  It brings to light what each family went through, and how hard they work to become self reliant.

It also begs the question- what are we going to do?  Are we, as a country going to accept refugees- truly accept these people and work to help them?  Or do we close our boarders and our hearts?  Can we even make such a decision without knowing what they are going through- not just what they had to go through in their lives, but the trouble they have once here- learning English, getting jobs, racism and misunderstandings?

My thoughts:

I loved this book, but it broke me.  These are teens- children really- who have had their lives threatened.  Some had to hide from soldiers- or witnessed car bombs in their own neighborhood.  Some were born in refugee camps- one family went through the process of trying to get accepted for ten years.  We are talking about a 22 step vetting process in some instances.  So many of us, myself included, feel like we are knowledgeable about these issues- but I knew nothing about what these families went through- and very little about what help is available to refugees when they get here.  While the families stories were painful, and hard to handle; I found myself taking my time and pushing through.  I loved this book.  For me, this is a definite five star.  Five Stars

The adult content scale is hard to be objective about here.  There is so much violence, so much pain, talk of (the threat of ) rape and death…. I would not feel comfortable giving this book to a teen.  Also, you have to think about the fact that in 2015, many of the refugees written about were teens- would I be ready for Juliet to read about someone her own age going through all this?  I don’t think I could, unless there was a lot of discussion time afterward.  I have to give this one an eight.  mature audience.

I received an eARC of this book from Netgalley and Scribner Publishing for the price of an honest review.  Many thanks- I loved it so much that I preordered a hard-copy from Amazon and will receive it Tuesday.

The book comes out 11-14-17…. I cannot stress the importance of this book at this time, when refugees are so numerous, and their acceptance into new countries so uncertain.

Link to book:

Amazon

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The Secret Mother, Shalini Boland

The secret motherspolier alertTitle:  The Secret Mother

Author: Shalini Boland

Pages:  241

Genre: mystery, thriller

Is this part of a series?  No.

Publish date:  November 9th, 2017

Summary:

“Are you my Mummy?”

Tessa Markham hears these words from the little boy in her kitchen.  Thing is, she isn’t anyone’s mom…. not anymore.  Her family life detonated long ago and she has been trying to pull the pieces together.  So who is this little boy?  How did he get there?  And why does he think she’s his new mummy?  Under suspicion of abduction, Tessa must prove her innocence when even her ex husband doesn’t believe her?

My thoughts:

I loved this story.  It pulls you in from the start with Tessa and her fears, pains and insecurities.  The characters are fantastic, though I had some issues with Ben, the boss/love interest.  I understand that he likes her and wants to believe her…. but to just swallow everything whole?  I think she could tell him she killed people and he’d drive a company van to help her move bodies.  It just seemed a tad unbelievable to me.

There were times where I thought I knew where this was going, but I was never quite sure and the story kept me guessing.  It’s definitely an interesting premise, and one that was well done.  For me, this is a four star book (and another Christmas gift idea for a friend).  Four Stars

On the adult content scale, there is some language, light violence and light sexual content, though nothing over the top.  I give it a five.  Parental Guidance

I received an eARC of this book from Netgalley and Bookouture in exchange for an honest review.   I was given no other form of incentive to review this book, and received no incentive to give a biased review.  My thanks.

The book comes out Thursday 11-09-17.

Link to book:

Amazon

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Lies Jane Austen Told Me, Julie Wright

lies jane austen told mespolier alertTitle: Lies Jane Austen Told Me

Author: Julie Wright

Pages: 320

Genre: Contemporary romance

Is this part of a series?  No.

Publish Date: November 7th, 2017

Summary:

Since she was little Emma has loved Pride and Prejudice and has regarded  Austen as the romantic expert.  The issue?  With this admiration comes huge expectations- such that are never met.  Could her guru be leading her astray?  Was it possibly time for the hardest breakup of her life- with Jane?  When boyfriend Blake invites her to the family home she expects meeting the parents, an engagement and all the trappings of happy ever after.  Instead she shows up late, having told him she had to work, only to find not family but one woman, Trish, enjoying a fish dinner with Emma’s guy.  While Blake swears it is innocent, Emma’s having none of it.

Caught leaving the home on foot, Emma is stopped and offered a ride by Blake’s brother Lucas.  A ride to her destination is derailed and she sees more of Lucas’ personal life than is normal for a first meeting, but whatever.  It isn’t like they will ever meet again.  Except, they do, when Lucas is hired to consult for her company’s expansion.  Forced to work side by side with this man, she finds more and more to admire in him.  He on the other hand, is determined to get her and Blake back together because he loves his brother.  When sparks fly between these two, it’s complicated.  When a misunderstanding gets between the two, it could be the death of their connection.  Do these two really stand a chance? Could this be Emma’s happy ever after?

My thoughts:

I loved these characters with their loyalties and idiosyncrasies.  Emma, still traumatized a bit from her mother leaving them long ago, finds it hard to be in relationships.  She gives too much to work a lot of the times even though she wants the committed, forever relationship.  Meeting Lucas is eye opening as he blows down every idea she ever had about him and his family, laying her prejudices bare and setting them aside.  I loved him as a character, but there were times where I was also angry with these two. So often things were overwrought- they assumed and never discussed forcing misconceptions like we were…. well, like we were in an Austen romantic drama.  Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed it and found it perfectly written for the style of book that it is.  I give it four stars.  Four Stars

My thanks to Netgalley and Shadow Mountain publishing for allowing me an eARC of this book.  I have not been given any form of monetary compensation and the views in this review are wholly my own.

On the adult content scale, there was some mild language and talk of drug addiction, but that is it.  It was more about their emotional relationship than anything physical making it my favorite type of sweet romance.  At worst I would give it a three.  General.svg

The book comes out tomorrow!  Be ready!

Link to book:

Amazon

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City Of Lies, Victoria Thompson

 

city of lies.jpgspolier alertTitle:  City of Lies

Author: Victoria Thompson

Pages:  304

Genre:  Historical fiction, YA

Is this part of a series?  Yes, book one of the Counterfeit Lady series.

Publish date: November 7th, 2017

 

Summary:

After a con goes very badly, grifter Elizabeth watches her brother Jake beaten, then has to escape the same fate if not worse.  Running for her life, she slips into the picket line of women’s suffragists in order to evade the men chasing her and shares their fate- jail.  Pulled into the women’s stories and lives, she finds the one thing she never knew she wanted- friendship, admiration and trust.  One girl especially, Anna, brings out warm and protective feelings she never knew she had.

Upon release, Elizabeth wants to get away in order to find her brother and evade her last mark…. but how can she leave Anna?  Then there’s Gideon Bates, the far too honest lawyer that makes her crazy and intrigues her like no other.  Can she protect herself from her past and create a new future?  Or is she just conning herself?

My thoughts:

    Shout out to First to Read for allowing me an advanced copy of this book- it’s one I would have been on the fence on for far too long and I fear I would have missed out on a fantastic read.  I adored the story, and seeing Elizabeth transform and grow.  Each of the characters were interesting and well developed, easy to love.  The plot was fairly believable, and I like that the author took tiny bits of real history and wove them into the dilemma.   The only pet peeve I really have is the cover.  Who is the girl?  Elizabeth is described as having black hair and light blue eyes and Anna as being blonde.  I know it’s odd, but I hate when covers don’t match characters.  Still, this was a great, fast paced read that I loved and I can’t wait to see where this goes from here.   Five stars!  Five Stars

On the adult content scale, there’s violence and coarse language, but not much else.  I already have  a list of teens that need this in their stockings.  I give this one a three.

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The book comes out 11/07/17.  Who’s ready?

Link to book:

Amazon

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Mini Reviews- Magical Cats Series #’s 4-7, Sofie Kelly

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Cat Trick (book 4):  A group of business people have convinced Legacy Tours to consider Maryville Heights as one of their stops.  Mike, who lived there once, has come to set up a tasting in order to show what they can offer.  Argumentative and  over opinionated, Mike’s a bit of a nightmare to work with- and has gathered the wrath of several people.  When Mike turns up dead, there’s no shortage of suspects.  Kathleen and the cats are on the trail to find the real killer.

Final Catcall (book 5): When a theatre troop comes to town, they seem to bring their bad luck with them.  Marcus has ended their semi-relationship and ex-fiancé, Andrew is in town to win back his girl.  There’s more than enough drama between the boys and the troop to keep this librarian busy.  When director Hugh Davis is found dead, Kathleen and her furry team are caught in the middle again, trying to solve the mystery to keep someone they care about safe.

A Midwinter’s Tail (book 6): Winter in Maryville Heights is busy with all sorts of things to do.  The benefit for Reading Buddies has come up and Kathleen has to be sure everything goes well.  Dayna Chapman enters town after forever and old rumors and feelings are coming back up.  When she dies at the benefit after eating a chocolate it seems pretty cut and dried- but things don’t add up for Kathleen.

Faux Paws (book 7):  An art exhibit has decided to come to Maryville Heights- the library.   An overbearing curator and high tech security system are the down sides of having the exhibit- but they are adding local art and it would be good for businesses in town not to mention the artists.  Kathleen can handle a bit of disruption…. but when the curator is found dead and a piece of the exhibit missing, well, it’s time to find out what’s going on.

Paws and Effects (book 8)  A proposed development plan has the citizens divided and Kathleen’s new family just a little crazier than normal.  When the environmentalists that arrive in town to stop the project turn out to be old friends of Marcus’s, Kathleen feels like she might get to know more about her beau’s past- something she doesn’t have a lot of information about.  It seems one of them has a romantic past with Marcus, and that there’s some angry feelings around that- but not from Danni and Marcus. When Danni is found dead all evidence points to Marcus.  To protect the man they care about, his partner Hope and his father Elliot join with Kathleen to find out what’s really going on.

 

My thoughts:

   First, there’s a heck of a lot of deaths in this town.  I love this series with it’s quirky characters and warm friendships.  The descriptions of the town, and the plots are great.  These make for fantastic quick reads.  I loved getting to know the characters better, especially Marcus.  I also enjoyed meeting Andrew, who is a great character but not for Kathleen.  Elliot Gordon was an interesting Character  (Marcus’ father), though is it awful that my favorite parts were where he was drunk?  It is much easier to love Burtis’s buddy “Ellie May” than the arrogant lawyer he usually shows the world.   These stories give you cozy mysteries and some heartfelt stories.  I loved the cats, full of attitude and charm.  These books have actually gotten me to want more such cozy mysteries and furry sidekicks.  I have started her other series now that I have read all these (I accidently read the newest book first and that’s how I found the series).    For me these were five star books!  Five Stars

On the adult content scale, there’s violence, light language and some off color jokes.  I don’t think any of it is too questionable and would still let my niece read this.  I give it a three.  Parental Guidance

The books are out  now- have you read them?

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The Whole Cat and Caboodle, Sofie Ryan

the whole cat and caboodlespolier alertTitle: The Whole Cat and Caboodle

Author: Sofie Ryan

Pages: 336

Genre:  cozy mystery, contemporary

Is this part of a series?  Yes, book #1 of the Second Chance Mysteries.

Published:  April 1st, 2014

Summary:

After loosing her radio talk show  Sarah Grayson has returned to North Harbor, Maine to be with her Grandma and her friends.  She started Second Chance, a shop for refurbished/ repurposed items that she mans with two of her grandmother’s eccentric friends, Avery, Mac and her furry sidekick Elvis.

When Maddie’s gentleman-friend winds up dead in her backyard, all signs point to her as the culprit-especially since she may have had motive.  The other women aren’t having it, and join forces to become the geriatric Charlie’s Angels in order to investigate the crime along with the oldest hacker in history and an unwilling Sarah.

My thoughts:

This series is from the same author as the Magical Cats series.  I enjoyed getting to know Elvis, the Black beat-up stray that chose Sarah as his human.  The friends of her grandmother’s: Liz, Charlotte, Rose and Maddie were great and I liked the guys in Sarah’s life- no boyfriend but one that everyone says likes Sarah (Nick), a lawyer with a past friendship with Sarah (Josh), and Second Chance’s handy man Mac.  Personally, I am team Mac at this point as he seems to have the best connection to Sarah.    The characters are charming and well developed, and I loved the description of the area.  As with all her other books, this was a fun light read that left me feeling refreshed.  I enjoyed Elvis’ little habits (Jeopardy!), and attitude.  For me, this was a five star book.  Five Stars

On the adult content scale, there is a brief (and mild) nudity incident- more funny than anything.  There is also mild violence and very mild language.  I would let anyone read this.  I give it a one.

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The book is out- have you read it?

Link to book:

Amazon

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