A December Bride — Review

I always fall so easily into Denise Hunter’s stories! This is the first in a series called A Year of Weddings. Each novella will be written by a different author. A December Bride focuses on Layla. The story starts with her scramble to find a date for a wedding–but not just any wedding. Her ex is marrying her cousin, and it still stings. She ends up going with her ex’s former best friend, Seth. Things get tricky when Seth offers a lie about his and Layla’s relationship, and that’s when the story really starts to take off. Hunter has created a realistic tale with heart and holiday spirit. An easy read for a cozy evening!

Goodreads Synopsis:

What started as a whim turned into an accidental – and very public – engagement. Can Layla and Seth keep up the facade in Chapel Springs this holiday season – for the sake of her career . . . and his heart?

Under normal circumstances, Seth Murphy, the best friend of Layla O’Reilly’s ex-fiance would be the last person she’d marry. But the news of their upcoming (and phony) nuptials convinces a big client that Layla may be high-society enough to work for his agency, a coup that would put her fledgling home-staging business on the map. Seth has secretly loved Layla for years, even when she was dating his best friend. Maybe she’ll never forgive him for the way he hurt her back then, but he has to try. And Layla is willing to keep up their engagement farce until she’s landed her client. For Layla, it’s the chance to save her career. But for Seth, it’s his last chance to win her heart.

I’m really enjoying this series! The books are standalone novellas, so you can start with any month you choose. Pick up “A March Bride” and come back next month to let me know what you think!

I received a digital copy of this book for review purposes.

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The Princess Wars — Review

I just finished reading The Princess Wars  by Melody Carlson!

The Princess Wars is the first book in a new series from Melody Carlson. It’s actually based on a dream she had! She self published this book, which is always a huge risk for an author. I don’t usually read fairy tale type stories, but I decided to give this one a chance because I love Carlson’s work. I’m so glad she took the risk and released The Princess Wars!!

The story follows twin princesses Heather and Rose. Heather stands to inherit the throne, and Rose is extremely jealous. Heather leaves on a journey before their 18th birthday. She wants to get a closer look at her kingdom, and she decides to go in disguise. Her journey is tumultuous to say the least. Throw in an attractive boy, a vengeful sister, and a race for the crown–this book isn’t short on conflict! The story is resolved in this book, but Carlson also gives us little teasers for the sequel!

I really enjoyed this story, and I’m looking forward to the next in the series. It’s the first book of its type that I’ve read and I was completely surprised by how much I fell into the story! It allowed me to escape into fairy tale land for a few hours. As is usually the case with Carlson’s work, this book was so easy to visualize as I was reading it. If you enjoy fantasy/fairy tales–you’ll love this book. If you don’t usually like that genre, The Princess Wars just may change your mind! I couldn’t be more happily surprised with this book, and I hope you’ll give it a chance!

Goodreads Synopsis:

The twin princesses of Raspen Kingdom have been at odds for their entire lives. Firstborn Heather is a no-frills girl who grew up riding horses, fencing, and dreaming of great adventures. Meanwhile her twin sister Rose loves ornate jewels, silk gowns and being treated like royalty. Because the king is sickly, Heather is due to take the throne on the twins’ eighteenth birthday. But before she is crowned, Princess Heather embarks on an exciting journey throughout the kingdom. And it’s not long before Heather’s adventure goes sideways and threatens to undo the entire kingdom.

The Princess Wars is available on amazon here.

I received a digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Teaser Tuesdays — A February Bride + Review!

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share a few “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser for the week comes from A February Bride by Betsy St. Amant. This book is the third in a series called A Year of Weddings. A different author is writing each book.

“Clearly, feeling alive wasn’t the worst. Visions of Marcus with someone else irked way worse. She dug her fingernails into the shirt she held, lips chattering in the wind, feeling two parts frustrated and one part nostalgic–the dangerous mixture bubbling in her throat like poison.”

Here’s the book description:

In A February Bride by Betsy St. Amant, history repeats itself when this bride runs out of the church on her wedding day—in the same dress that had been passed down for generations and worn by her mom, grandma and great-grandmother who also ran out of their weddings. The heroine struggles to break destructive cycles of the past. Can this bride shuck expectation and discover who SHE is as a bride and in the Bride of Christ? And if she finally walks down the aisle, what dress will she be wearing? Readers will enjoy this novel of redemption centered on a winter wedding.

My Review:

I enjoyed this novella. I give it 3.5 stars. I think it’s hard to fully develop characters and tell a deep story in a novella because of the short length. However, St. Amant did a great job of it. I felt like I really got to know Marcus and Allie, while Hannah and Julie were strong supporting characters. The story was a little predictable, but it was still enjoyable. A February Bride is a short, sweet, easy read. When the story begins, Allie has just left Marcus at the altar. The women in her family have terrible track records when it comes to marriage, and Allie thinks she will ruin Marcus’ life by marrying him. Marcus’ sister, Hannah, gets engaged a few months later and asks Allie to be her maid of honor. Of course this leads to all kinds of awkward situations for Allie and Marcus. I’d recommend reading this on a lazy afternoon when you’re yearning for a good story. Don’t forget to check out the other books in the A Year of Weddings series!

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

Please leave a comment with the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). I’d love to hear what you’re reading!

My Life Next Door — Review

I happened upon this book when it was on a daily deal. I really liked the cover, but I wasn’t sure if the book would be worth my time. I’ve read several GREAT books this year so I knew it’d be tough for another to live up to my increasing standards. I tried a sample of the book and thought it was worth a shot. I’M SO GLAD I PURCHASED IT!!

‘My Life Next Door’ was a pleasant surprise. The story revolves around Samantha, who lives with her sister and Senator mom. Next door are the Garretts–a family her mom looks down on because the couple has so many kids and their yard is not up to her standards. Samantha has been secretly spying on the Garretts for years from her roof. She finds their life interesting and completely opposite hers. The irony is evident where Samantha’s family is rich and broken, but the Garretts are struggling financially yet remain strong as a family. One day, Samantha finds herself face-to-face with Jase Garrett, who has been watching her watch his family for years. What follows is a believable tale of shocking realizations, broken friendships, family woes, and above all–first love.

The only thing I wish had been different about this book is the use of strong language. One character uses the f-word quite a bit. It helps us understand him and see his growth, but it’s still annoying to try to ignore those words.

I highly recommend this book. Every time I thought the story was getting predictable, something unexpected would happen. I seriously enjoyed ‘My Life Next Door.’ I’m looking forward to Fitzpatrick’s future work!

Goodreads Synopsis:

A gorgeous debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another
“”One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts. All the time.””
The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase’s family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?
A dreamy summer read, full of characters who stay with you long after the story is over.

Have you read any good books lately? Leave me your recommendations in the comments!

Prime of Life by P.D. Bekendam – Blog Tour & Review

“Follow Ben on a journey from a thriving cardiac surgeon to his unexpected decision to become a retirement home janitor, where he lives a much less stressful life – until his past catches up with him and his new world unravels.”

If you told me one of my favorite books of the year would take place in a nursing home, I probably wouldn’t believe you. And I’d be wrong.

Prime of Life is the story of Ben–a retirement home janitor and former heart surgeon. It’s P.D. Bekendam’s debut novel and winner of Worthy Publishing’s Operation First Novel 2013 Contest. I honestly didn’t know how much I would like Prime of Life, but I’m SO glad I read it! My mom actually picked it up first when it arrived, and she tore through it. [She even wrote her own review, which I’ve included in this post!] She couldn’t stop talking about it, but I was still a bit skeptical. When I finally picked up the book, I read until I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore. I finished it the next morning, and I’ve been recommending it to people left and right.

The story is told from Ben’s point of view. We’re introduced to several residents of the retirement home who become major characters in Ben’s life. The title, Pr1me of Life, is two-fold in describing the story. Ben is in the prime of his life, but he also has some neuroses, including an affinity for prime numbers. I was especially intrigued with Ben’s quirks and anxieties, and they are numerous! I felt the book was very believable. I was worried at one point that everything was going to be resolved too easily, but Bekendam stuck to the story and gave us a completely realistic conclusion. Prime of Life shows how one incident, or your feelings about it, can derail your entire life. One of my favorite things about the story actually drove me crazy when I was reading it! I had to keep myself from flipping to the end to see how things turned out. Bekendam ends the story abruptly and picks up years later in the epilogue. You’re left wondering about something for awhile, but the story ends (in my opinion) in the perfect way. I know this review is a bit vague, but I’m trying really hard to avoid giving spoilers! I want you to read this book. Prime of Life is interesting, emotional, smart, believable, and well written. I look forward to Bekendam’s future work!

Info from the Publisher:

PRIME OF LIFE

by P. D. Bekendam

A Novel

Operation First Novel 2013 contest winner, Prime of Life was released in Kindle edition only and has garnered in excess of 200 positive reviews with over 6,000 paid downloads.

Ben used to be a cardiothoracic surgeon before he suddenly abandoned his career and became a janitor at a retirement facility. Now, other than dealing with minor problems such as an unhealthy obsession with prime numbers, an inept boss, and a feud between two cantankerous retirees, he lives a relatively stress-free life. There is even hope for romance when an attractive podiatrist shows an interest in him. But it is not long before his past catches up with him and his carefully protected world begins to unravel. Filled with humor and quirky characters, Prime of Life delivers a satisfying and entertaining read.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author and practicing eye surgeon, Dr. Bekendam is happily married and the proud father of two boys. Proceeds from his writing go to help fund his activities in developing countries as he works to bring cataract surgery to the needlessly blind. Prime of Life is his debut novel.

My mom’s review:

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Prime of Life. This is one of those books that you hate to sit down. I used every spare moment and even ‘created’ spare time to read until I finished this book in 3 evenings. Dr. Bekendam keeps your attention with superb writing that keeps you coming back for more. He gives just enough so you want to know what comes next. Bekendam describes real individuals, each with their very own personalities, so lifelike, making his story so undeniably believable. The difficulties faced, the day to day living, the happy times, the questions of the mind and calls of the heart–all are addressed here in such a unique and captivating method. Hats off to the author…can’t wait for more.

Prime of Life is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBook.com, and in book stores across the country. I hope you’ll check it out!

*Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday Social — 2/9/2014

Sunday Social

Linking up for today’s Sunday Social!

This week’s questions are all about tv shows & movies!

1. What is your favorite thing to watch on a girls night?

500 Days of Summer, Step Up, She’s the Man, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, The Proposal

2. What is your favorite thing to watch on your day off?

When I’m not working on school work, I catch up on all my shows. Lately though, I’ve been watching reruns of Sports Night, Happy Endings, Rules of Engagement, and Men at Work!

rules of menatwork

3. What is your favorite thing to watch when you’re sick?

Marathons of old favorites. Dawson’s Creek, The Office, Friends

4. What is the last movie you saw in the theater?

I’m not really sure. I remember seeing The Great Gatsby, but I know I’ve been back since then. I just can’t remember!

gatsby

5. What are your top 3 favorite movies or tv shows?

I know I can’t narrow it down, so let’s do movies and tv shows! Movies: ELF, You’ve Got Mail, When Harry Met Sally…

elf

Current TV Shows: White Collar, The Mindy Project, How I Met Your Mother

af233-white-collar-season-3-480x641

Old TV Shows: Dawson’s Creek, The Office, Friends

Next Weeks Questions:

1. What are your favorite things to do on a lazy day?
2. What is your TV guilty pleasure?
3. What is your favorite road trip music?
4. What are your favorite magazines or books to read by the pool or laying around?
5. What is your favorite snack?

I’d love to hear your answers! Leave a comment with your replies or a link to your Sunday Social post!