Saturday, June 28, 2014

Purple Moon: A Review

Summary from Amazon: Selena's life isn't turning out to be the fairy tale she imagined as a kid. 

That hope seemed to vanish long ago when her dad kicked her and her mom out of the house. This summer might finally hold the chance of a new beginning for Selena ... but having to live with her snobby cousin in Lake Lure, NC while waiting for her mom to get out of rehab wasn't how Selena was planning on spending her summer. She soon begins to wonder why she committed to give up her "bad habits" for this.

Things don't seem too bad, though. Especially when Selena gains the attention of the cute neighbor next door. But when her best friend back home in Brooklyn desperately needs her, a secret that's been hidden from Selena for years is revealed, and when she becomes a target for one of her cousin's nasty pranks, she finds herself having to face the scars from her past and the memories that come along with them. Will she follow her mom's example in running away, or trust that God still has a fairy tale life written just for her?
My review:
I liked Selena. For me, the main character makes or breaks a book, and I felt for Selena. Her past--a pastor father who kicks her and her mom out of the house and a mom who is an alcoholic--has shaped her into a girl with a hard shell. But, underneath, she's still wanting her prince to come and save the day like they did in the stories her dad told her grow up.
I loved Austin and the other friends Selena makes at the youth group camp. I really liked that Selena still struggled after her salvation--the point was made that salvation is when you believe with a belief that changes you, not just words you repeat to make someone else feel good or thinking life will be perfect afterwards.
Through the mishaps, the struggles, and the hurts, Austin helps Selena see that the prince is Jesus and He's been there all along. 
I hope there's a second book because some details like Selena's relationship with her dad and her friend Hilarie's problem seemed unresolved.
Fans of Christian YA will enjoy this book.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Confessional Friday

 1. I confess I was a nerd growing up--still am. I was a kid who didn't tell you it was 8:45, I told you it was 8:43. My friend posted this picture for Throwback Thursday, and I had totally forgotten about my calculator necklace!! I was rocking....

2. I confess I would totally move into my grandma's nursing home if I could--delicious meals, cleaning crew, laundry service. What more could you want? We had family night there this week, and they had a line dancing group. Those old people know how to have fun!

3. I confess I took a nap every day this week. 1-4 is my preferred time. I'm not sure how I'm going to adjust when school starts again. Thankfully, I still have a while before then.

A Broken Kind of Beautiful: A Review

Summary from Amazon: Fashion is a fickle industry, a frightening fact for twenty-four year old model Ivy Clark. Ten years in and she’s learned a sacred truth—appearance is everything. Nobody cares about her broken past as long as she looks beautiful for the camera. This is the only life Ivy knows—so when it starts to unravel, she’ll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother’s bridal wear line—an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white. 

There are authors who tell a great story, and there are authors who write beautifully. Then, there are authors who do  both. Katie Ganshert is one of those authors. Her words and light and airy while packing a punch if that makes sense.

Ivy Clark is gorgeous and aloof, but Ganshert makes her likeable even when she's being a brat. Davis is wounded but strong. I enjoyed the journey each character took on themselves, and although I liked Davis and Ivy together, I thought perhaps the best part of the story was the relationship between Ivy and Marilyn as they each found in the other the mother/daughter relationship they'd always wanted.

Ivy's journey is broken and messy and sometimes sad, but it was beautiful.

I was given this book in exchange for my review. My thoughts are my own.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Confessional Friday on a Saturday

Connecting with Leslie at
So, yes, in my summer slump, I didn't get this done Friday. Why, you may ask?
No reason other than I was a lazy bum all week. :)
1. I confess that I would prefer year-round school. I like a schedule, and the idea of going to school a month or 6 weeks and then getting a week or two off is perfect to me.
2. I confess (and celebrate) that I crossed the 31k mark in debt paid off! Woot! My debt snowball is gaining speed. **I was looking through Microsoft's royalty free pictures for a snowball and found this picture. Nothing to do with the point, but it made me trees and cold weather.
3. I confess I do not have a security procedure--at least that's what my sister told me. She came over the other day and set off the alarm. I was still sleeping but apparently came out of my room asking questions of the intruders instead of hiding. It makes for a funny story when she's telling it. I shook all day.
4. I confess I went to the gym four times this week--two BodyPump classes and two sessions on the elliptical--and was a little down that I only lost 1 pound, especially since I tried hard to eat healthy. Like the debt snowball, losing weight is a slow journey. I can do it though!
5. I confess that I bought frownies on Amazon. You can find them here. Has anyone used them? I have little wrinkles between my eyebrows, and these are supposed to help you while you're sleeping. My skin gets crunched up on the pillow, and I wake up with them. We'll see what happens.
6. I confess I stayed up until 2 a.m. reading this book. It was like catching up with old friends. Love Robin Jones Gunn.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Thirty Sunsets: A Review


Forrest can't wait to escape to her family's beach house for the summer--until her brother's girlfriend tags along and secrets unfold left and right.

I like this book for the most part. I read it on my kindle and had to check on Amazon to see it's 240 pages because it felt very short, probably because there were so many major things going on the last half of the book like huge life-changing events.

But, overall, it's a good YA read. I thought the main event that happens to Forrest was handled well, and although she was frustrating at times, I liked her.

It's a fast summer read. I recommend it to fans of contemporary YA authors like Sarah Dessen.

I was given this book in exchange for my review. My thoughts are my own.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Claiming Mariah: A Review

I've never read anything by Pam Hillman before, but I enjoyed this book. I read it in one day because the plot trotted along and the characters were great.

Mariah works tirelessly to run the ranch her dad left her, but when Slade shows up with a deed showing his father as the owner of the ranch, she's at his mercy for a place to live.

Even though I knew the outcome from the first page, it was a fun ride. Slade is a strong but wounded hero, and I liked him from the start--defending his family from an abuse, drunk father. Mariah was strong too, but they didn't seem to overpower each other.

The minor characters of Buck and Mariah's grandmother add to the story, and I loved little Jim, who is going through the same things Slade endured.

I hope the author has a sequel to this book because I'd love to see Buck find a sweet girl to love him for him. (And, I hope it's Amanda.)

Fans of Christian historical fiction will enjoy this book.

The Divorce Papers: A Review

When criminal lawyer Sophie steps in to cover an interview for a client seeking a divorce, she's soon involved in her first divorce case.
Told through emails and court documents, readers take a journey as Sophie deals with her own feelings growing up as the child of divorced parents and learns the ropes of handling a divorce case.
I like this idea for telling a story, and I really liked Sophie, Mia, and Mia's daughter Jane. I loved the different point of views and found them unique and entertaining. I wanted the two women to find love and happiness, and while the end of the book had a satisfying conclusion, it left me wanting more.
I guess it's because the heart of the story often got lost in the shuffle of paperwork--literal paperwork. Like pages of court document that I finally just skimmed because I wanted to enjoy the story.
I'm not sure what to rate this book because while I enjoyed it, it was hard to overlook the tedious interruptions to the story.
Overall, I do recommend it to readers who don't mind some legal jargon in the middle of their story.
Sophie and Mia are great characters and worth the effort.
I received this book in exchange for my review. My thoughts are my own.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Harder the Second Time?

I wrote Worth the Wait in just a few months. I sat down for National Novel Writing Month and just wrote...over 50,000 words in one month.                                                                                              So, when I sat down to write book two, which releases in January, I figured it would be the same.
It took almost a year of sitting and thinking, writing a few words, going back and changing things.
I'm finishing the edits to turn in the rough draft to my editor by the 15th, but I'm just exhausted from this book. But it's worth it because I love Lindsey and think she's got a good story. She's the wounded character who strikes out to keep from getting hurt, and it was fun peeling back the layers to her heart.
Have you had something harder the second time you did it? Shouldn't practice make perfect?
Not always. Don't give up because something didn't come as easily as it did before.
Sometimes we appreciate things more when we work harder for them. (Not that I didn't work hard on WTW--the revisions/edits were brutal.)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Just 18 Summers: A Review

I don't have kids, but I enjoyed this book's message of soaking up every moment you have with those you love. Following four families dealing with change--a new baby, the death of a spouse, children going off to college/getting married, and the busyness of a career, Just 18 Summers shows the realness of parenting.
All of the characters were realistic and interesting. I loved Martin, the groom-to-be who isn't the one his bride's parents would have chosen until they see his heart. Helen, who grew up poor and spends all her time focusing on giving her kids what she doesn't have to point of having no relationship with her kids, reminds me of a lot of parents I see.
My favorite character was Ava, the eight-year-old girl whose mom passed away. I loved seeing her and her father figure out their way together.
I love how all four families' stories weave together to tell the story of family.