Heather’s Review: Made for Me by Kathryn R. Biel

Made for Me
written by Kathryn R. Biel
published by Kathryn R. Biel, 2016

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks (audiobook), Book Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book? 
Yes! I had a five- or six-hour flight across the country and I read the whole book during the flight. My plan had been to nap, but that went right out the window once I started the book.

I really enjoyed Ms. Biel’s use of the art of sewing. I liked learning about it, and I fancied myself quite the seamstress when I finished the book. That lasted about five minutes.

The interactions between all the characters was fun to read, and I was laughing so hard at some of their antics. The bathroom scene had tears rolling down my face; I’m sure the other passengers thought I was touched in the head. I was so happy with the ending, too!

 

Would I recommend it? Absolutely! This is the first book in the series and you can bet I’ll be picking up the rest of them!

 

Heather

 

About the book – from Goodreads: Michele’s lack of focus in life hasn’t bothered her, until the day she finds herself with mounting credit card debt, unable to afford her rent, and without a job. While her meddling family questions how she can end up in this predicament, at the age of 29, and single to boot, Michele doesn’t want to admit the truth. All she wants to do is sew.

Faced with the prospect of moving back into her parents’ house, Michele throws a Hail Mary pass and applies for a TV design contest, Made for Me. In order to win the contest, Michele will have to compete with nine other contestants to design the new wardrobe for Duchess Maryn Medrovovich, who’s about to marry Prince Stephan of the United Republic of Montabago.

While in the seclusion of the show, Michele starts to realize where her focus in life should be, and what’s truly important to her. However, a dashing competitor might just cause her to lose her focus once and for all. Can Michele keep her eye on the prize while being true to herself?

 

Happy 2

 

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** This post first appeared on Every Free Chance Books (everyfreechance.com) on January 23, 2018.

Jaclyn’s Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen (Red Queen #1)
written by Victoria Aveyard
published by HarperTeen, 2015

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Did I enjoy this book? It took me a bit to warm to this book. I picked this book up because I thought the cover looked really cool. (Isn’t that how everyone selects books to read???) As I read the book, all I could think was that this is just the Hunger Games trilogy set in a slightly different universe. You have a dystopian society and a gifted heroine who suffers unexpected tragedy. This heroine then becomes the reluctant face of a revolution. The similarities were so strong that I honestly started to become irritated.

HOWEVER, once I stopped trying to look for similarities and just read the book for the sake of reading the book, I really did like it! The societal gap is between the Silvers (people with silver-colored blood who have special powers) and Reds (people with red-colored blood who do not have special powers). As you read the book, you find out that there is a THIRD type of person–they have red blood AND special powers that are more powerful than those held by the Silvers. From this point you have all the regular YA drama: Start a war? Don’t start a war? Who do I trust? Which boy do I like? This book is the first of four books, so it “ends”–but not really.

 

Would I recommend it? Yes, I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys YA books. There is violence without gore, romance without erotica, and enough moral dilemmas to really make you think about right and wrong.
 

jaclyn

 

About the book – from Goodreads: This is a world divided by blood – red or silver. The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change. That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart

 

Happy 2

 

 

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** This post first appeared on Every Free Chance Books (everyfreechance.com) on January 22, 2018.

Heather’s Review: Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

Scrappy Little Nobody
written by Anna Kendrick
published by Touchstone Books, 2016

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Did I enjoy this book? I absolutely adored this book! It is one that I will read again. Anna’s essays are hilarious, thought-provoking, touching, and honest. It’s eye-opening to read about her childhood, her struggles, her successes, and all that came in between. As a mother, I certainly wouldn’t want to let my child into that world, but sometimes those dreams are so bright, you can’t help it. And for Anna, it’s amazing that she’s able to keep her down-to-earth self and maybe that’s what helps her succeed.

 

Would I recommend it? YES! Especially for anyone who is interested in that life. But definitely for someone who’d like a little insight into Anna’s life. Fantastic!

 

Heather

 

About the book – from Goodreads: A collection of humorous autobiographical essays by the Academy Award-nominated actress and star of Up in the Air and Pitch Perfect.

Even before she made a name for herself on the silver screen starring in films like Pitch Perfect, Up in the Air, Twilight, and Into the Woods, Anna Kendrick was unusually small, weird, and “10 percent defiant.”

At the ripe age of thirteen, she had already resolved to “keep the crazy inside my head where it belonged. Forever. But here’s the thing about crazy: It. Wants. Out.” In Scrappy Little Nobody, she invites readers inside her brain, sharing extraordinary and charmingly ordinary stories with candor and winningly wry observations.

With her razor-sharp wit, Anna recounts the absurdities she’s experienced on her way to and from the heart of pop culture as only she can—from her unusual path to the performing arts (Vanilla Ice and baggy neon pants may have played a role) to her double life as a middle-school student who also starred on Broadway to her initial “dating experiments” (including only liking boys who didn’t like her back) to reviewing a binder full of butt doubles to her struggle to live like an adult woman instead of a perpetual “man-child.”

Enter Anna’s world and follow her rise from “scrappy little nobody” to somebody who dazzles on the stage, the screen, and now the page—with an electric, singular voice, at once familiar and surprising, sharp and sweet, funny and serious (well, not that serious).

 

Happy 2

 

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** This post first appeared on Every Free Chance Books (everyfreechance.com) on January 18, 2018.

Jaclyn’s Review: Swear On This Life by Renee Carlino

Swear On This Life
written by Renee Carlino
published by Atria Books, 2016

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Target, WalmartBook Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of this book as part of the 2016 Summer Reading Challenge hosted by BookSparks.

Did I enjoy this book? 
O. M. G. You don’t even know. This book is amazing. I read it in one day. I would have read it in one sitting, but I have kids who need to be fed periodically.

Emeline stumbles into reading a best-selling book by a new author. In the first sentence of the book, she realizes that the book is about her and was written by her long-lost childhood love. This book flips you back and forth between Emeline reading the book and actual excerpts from the book (which are essentially flashbacks to Emeline’s childhood). Sounds a bit confusing–it’s not. This book is wonderfully written. The characters are perfect, the plot it perfect, the use of the ‘book in a book’ is perfect. I cannot think of a single negative thing to say about this book.

 

 

Would I recommend it? So Much Yes! Read this book! Clear an afternoon, grab a blanket, and fall in love with this book. You will thank me when you are done with it, I promise.

 

jaclyn

 

About the book – from Goodreads: When a bestselling debut novel from mysterious author J.Colby becomes the literary event of the year, Emiline reads it reluctantly. As an adjunct writing instructor at UC San Diego with her own stalled literary career and a bumpy long-term relationship, Emiline isn’t thrilled to celebrate the accomplishments of a young and gifted writer.

Yet from the very first page, Emiline is entranced by the story of Emerson and Jackson, two childhood best friends who fall in love and dream of a better life beyond the long dirt road that winds through their impoverished town in rural Ohio.

That’s because the novel is patterned on Emiline’s own dark and desperate childhood, which means that “J. Colby” must be Jase: the best friend and first love she hasn’t seen in over a decade. Far from being flattered that he wrote the novel from her perspective, Emiline is furious that he co-opted her painful past and took some dramatic creative liberties with the ending.

The only way she can put her mind at ease is to find and confront “J. Colby,” but is she prepared to learn the truth behind the fiction?

 

Happy 2

 

 

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** This post first appeared on Every Free Chance Books (everyfreechance.com) on January 16, 2018.

Chrissy’s Review: Ice Kissed by Amanda Hocking

Ice Kissed (Kanin Chronicles #2)
written by Amanda Hocking
published by St. Martin’s Griffin, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Target, WalmartBook Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I won this book from a Goodreads giveaway.

Did I enjoy this book? 
I did enjoy Ice Kissed. I read it every free chance I had and finished it quickly.

As I said in my reviewFrostfire was a slow read for me. Frostfire was building to something, but I wasn’t sure what. Well, I have a better idea now. Ice Kissed moved. I liked Bryn more in this book. Her mission to Storvatten had me turning pages. Bryn stepped up more as a tracker and as an aspiring Högdragen, but she also embraced her role as confidant. There’s something treasonous going on, and I was questioning a lot of the characters’ motives. Not just one character, many. I have my theories going into book three, but who knows if I’m right! I can’t wait to find out.

After reading the last page, I didn’t want to stop reading. I opened Crystal Kingdom and jumped right in!

 

Would I recommend it? Yes, it’s a great continuation of Bryn’s story.

 

Have you read Ice Kissed? What do you think of the Kanin Chronicles?

 

Chrissy


About the book – from Goodreads: 
In the majestic halls of a crystal palace lies a secret that could destroy an entire kingdom…

Bryn Aven refuses to give up on her dream of serving the kingdom she loves. It’s a dream that brings her to a whole new realm…and the glittering palace of the Skojare.

The Skojare people need protection from the same brutal enemy that’s been threatening the Kanin, and Bryn is there to help. Being half Skojare herself, it’s also a chance for her to learn more about her lost heritage. Her boss, Ridley Dresden, is overseeing her mission, but as their undeniable attraction heats up, their relationship is about to reach a whole new level—one neither of them is prepared for.

As they delve deeper into the Skojare world, they begin to unravel a long-hidden secret. The dark truth about her own beloved Kanin kingdom is about to come to light, and it will change her place in it forever…and threaten everyone she loves.

 

Happy 2

 

 

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** This post first appeared on Every Free Chance Books (everyfreechance.com) on January 15, 2018.

Jaclyn’s Review: The Half-Life of Remorse by Grant Jarrett

The Half-Life of Remorse
written by Grant Jarrett
published by SparkPress, 2017

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Book Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book as part of the 2017 Summer Reading Challenge hosted by BookSparks.

Did I enjoy this book? 
My goodness this one was hard to read. The blurb on the back of the book was SO interesting! I was really excited to start this one . . . and then I opened it. The beginning of this book was SO SLOW, and it had absolutely NO PLOT. At one point, I actually stopped and did the math–then I told myself that if a plot didn’t appear after I’d read 25% of the book, I would have to put it down. The plot showed up 1 page shy of 25% (whew!). There are a lot of things that the author got right with this book: the story is told through multiple character viewpoints (you know how much I love this!); the writing is actually very good–word selection, sentence structure, etc; the ending is PERFECT. There are a lot of things that aren’t so good too: why did it take so long to get to the plot? The first 25% didn’t add anything of value to the book. The first chapter was flat-out confusing. The behavior of the characters was pretty unrealistic. It was hard to focus on what time period the book was set in (is it present day? 1970? It was hard to tell.). Overall, I’m glad I finished it–but oof, it was through determination.

Would I recommend it? Honestly, probably not. The ending was definitely worth the effort to get there, but there are a lot of good books out there that don’t require such determination and still have a good ending.

jaclyn

 

About the book – from Goodreads: When two vagrants meet on the streets of Muncie, Indiana, they are both unaware that their paths crossed years before. Chic, crude and uneducated, is convinced that Sam is nothing more than a harmless lunatic, and Sam, emotionally scarred and psychologically traumatized by events long past, regards Chic as just another denizen of the street. But Chic has spent his adult life trying to purge his soul of the brutal crime he committed as a teenager―the same botched burglary that resulted in the deaths of Sam’s wife and son. Meanwhile, Sam’s daughter Claire is still unable to give up hope that her father might someday reappear. When these three lives converge, the puzzle of the past gradually falls together, but redemption commands a high price, and what is revealed will test the limits of love and challenge the human capacity for forgiveness.

 

Happy 2

 

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** This post first appeared on Every Free Chance Books (everyfreechance.com) on January 11, 2018.

Chrissy’s Review: Frostfire by Amanda Hocking

Frostfire (Kanin Chronicles #1)
written by Amanda Hocking
published by St. Martin’s Griffin, 2015

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Target, WalmartBook Depository, Goodreads

Did I enjoy this book? I did, but not as much as the Trylle trilogy.

Bryn is a pretty good character. She is determined and she works hard. She’s good at what she does, but she is young and naive and more often than not it shows . . . especially in the end. I’m not going to tell you what happened, but the ending does not strike me as something a tracker who wants to be a member of the royal guard would do. I’m just saying.

While I loved being be back in the Trylle world, I didn’t love the pace of this book. It was slow. The kind of slow where I put this book down, read other books, and then decided to pick it up again. It wasn’t a book that I had to read beginning to end in one sitting. However, I will continue with the series. I do want to know what happens next.

Would I recommend it? Yes, but not if this is your first Amanda Hocking book. I would definitely start with the Trylle trilogy.

 

Have you read Frostfire? What about the Trylle trilogy

 

Chrissy

 

About the book – from Goodreads: Bryn Aven is an outcast among the Kanin, the most powerful of the troll tribes.

Set apart by her heritage and her past, Bryn is a tracker who’s determined to become a respected part of her world. She has just one goal: become a member of the elite King’s Guard to protect the royal family. She’s not going to let anything stand in her way, not even a forbidden romance with her boss Ridley Dresden.

But all her plans for the future are put on hold when Konstantin– a fallen hero she once loved – begins kidnapping changelings. Bryn is sent in to help stop him, but will she lose her heart in the process?

 

 

Happy 2

 

 

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** This post first appeared on Every Free Chance Books (everyfreechance.com) on January 9, 2018.

Heather’s Review: The Plantagenets by Dan Jones

The Plantagenets
written by Dan Jones
published by Viking, 2013

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Did I enjoy this book? I did, but I am a huge fan and very interested in British history. I devour any book written in regard to British royalty, British history, and that time period. This book is huge, as are the rest in the series, and it is full of details and information.

Dan Jones writes in a way, though, that makes it relatively easy to follow and interesting. He tells it as a story, rather than outlining the events in history.

I am currently reading the second book in the series: The Wars of the Roses.

 

Would I recommend it? Yes, for anyone interested in the subject matter. Do not pick up this book if you have no interest in history or the history of the British royalty.

 

Heather

 

About the book – from Goodreads: The first Plantagenet king inherited a blood-soaked kingdom from the Normans and transformed it into an empire stretched at its peak from Scotland to Jerusalem. In this epic history, Dan Jones vividly resurrects this fierce and seductive royal dynasty and its mythic world.

We meet the captivating Eleanor of Aquitaine, twice queen and the most famous woman in Christendom; her son, Richard the Lionheart, who fought Saladin in the Third Crusade; and King John, a tyrant who was forced to sign Magna Carta, which formed the basis of our own Bill of Rights.

This is the era of chivalry, of Robin Hood and the Knights Templar, the Black Death, the founding of Parliament, the Black Prince, and the Hundred Year’s War. It will appeal as much to readers of Tudor history as to fans of ‘Game of Thrones.

 

Happy 2

 

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** This post first appeared on Every Free Chance Books (everyfreechance.com) on January 8, 2018.

Chrissy’s Review: Everless by Sara Holland

Everless
written by Sara Holland
published by HarperTeen, 2018

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, Amazon, iBooks, Target, WalmartBook Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book? 
I really did! I read it every free chance I had and probably would have finished it in a few hours if I didn’t have children, work, or other such obligations. 😉

For me, the premise of this story is new. I haven’t read anything like it. Time is currency . . . and that currency is made from your blood. Jules Ember once lived in Everless, but she was forced to leave with her father. But because her father was running out of time, she had to go back. For me, Everless wasn’t action-packed, but it moved and kept me questioning. I kept wondering why Jules wasn’t supposed to go back, why she was warned, why things happened around her. I loved how some characters were pretty straightforward and others were not who I thought they were. I love it when books do that, when they make a character different than they first appeared. Everless had a few characters who surprised me.

Everless was a wonderful read. I didn’t want to put it down, and it left me with a serious book hangover. Even though I have some answers, I still have some questions. Mainly, when will the next book be released???

 

 

Would I recommend it? Yes, I would! Definitely.

 

Have you read Everless? Have you ever had a book hangover?

 

Chrissy

 

About the book – from Goodreads: In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.

 

Happy 2

 

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** This post first appeared on Every Free Chance Books (everyfreechance.com) on January 6, 2018.

Jaclyn’s Review: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
written by John Berendt
published by Vintage, 2010

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Did I enjoy this book? This is a tough call! This book was recommended to me–I was told it was about a murder that happened in Savannah in the 1980s. I assumed that meant it was a murder mystery type book. It is NOT. The author spends the first half of the book giving a history and color to Savannah. The murder doesn’t happen until halfway through the book, and it almost comes through as an afterthought. The second half of the book covers the murder trial. Again, this is not the focus of the book–just an event happening in the background.

I think I would have liked this better if no one had told me what it was about. That being said, the writing in this book is OUTSTANDING. If you want to read a book that makes your brain happy, this is definitely it. The author won awards for this book and I totally understand why. The word choice, sentence construction, paragraph structure, chapter layout–everything is so well done!

I liked the writing; I didn’t like the story. I blame this on my own preconceived expectations.

Would I recommend it? If you want to read a well-written but slow-moving book, absolutely! If you are expecting a high-stakes story about a murder, this isn’t it.

 

jaclyn

About the book – from Goodreads: A sublime and seductive reading experience. Brilliantly conceived and masterfully written, this enormously engaging portrait of a most beguiling Southern city has become a modern classic.

Shots rang out in Savannah’s grandest mansion in the misty, early morning hours of May 2, 1981. Was it murder or self-defense? For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares. John Berendt’s sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction. Berendt skillfully interweaves a hugely entertaining first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of the Old South with the unpredictable twists and turns of a landmark murder case.

It is a spellbinding story peopled by a gallery of remarkable characters: the well-bred society ladies of the Married Woman’s Card Club; the turbulent young redneck gigolo; the hapless recluse who owns a bottle of poison so powerful it could kill every man, woman, and child in Savannah; the aging and profane Southern belle who is the “soul of pampered self-absorption”; the uproariously funny black drag queen; the acerbic and arrogant antiques dealer; the sweet-talking, piano-playing con artist; young blacks dancing the minuet at the black debutante ball; and Minerva, the voodoo priestess who works her magic in the graveyard at midnight. These and other Savannahians act as a Greek chorus, with Berendt revealing the alliances, hostilities, and intrigues that thrive in a town where everyone knows everyone else.

 

Happy 2

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