Friday, May 28, 2021

On My Radar: Titles I Can't Wait To Get My Hands On

On My Radar

Title: The Wish
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
ISBN: 9781538728628
Release Date: September 28, 2021

Description from Nicholas Spark's website:

From the author of The Longest Ride and The Return comes a novel about the enduring legacy of first love, and the decisions that haunt us forever.

1996 was the year that changed everything for Maggie Dawes. Sent away at sixteen to live with an aunt she barely knew in Ocracoke, a remote village on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, she could think only of the friends and family she left behind . . . until she met Bryce Trickett, one of the few teenagers on the island. Handsome, genuine, and newly admitted to West Point, Bryce showed her how much there was to love about the wind-swept beach town—and introduced her to photography, a passion that would define the rest of her life.

By 2019, Maggie is a renowned travel photographer. She splits her time between running a successful gallery in New York and photographing remote locations around the world. But this year she is unexpectedly grounded over Christmas, struggling to come to terms with a sobering medical diagnosis. Increasingly dependent on a young assistant, she finds herself becoming close to him.

As they count down the last days of the season together, she begins to tell him the story of another Christmas, decades earlier—and the love that set her on a course she never could have imagined.

Review: A Real Cowboy Always Protects by Stephanie Rowe

A Real Cowboy Always Protects
Series: Book 8 - Wyoming Rebels Series
Publisher: Authenticity Playground
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 1, 2021
Rating: 4/5 - Really Liked It

Blurb from Stephanie Rowe's website:

Is it really a second chance at love if a hot, charming cowboy proposes marriage only to protect you from being killed by a CIA assassin?

Haunted by shadows that will never let him go, CIA agent Logan Stockton walked away from his cowboy past ten years ago. But when his sassy, adorable neighbor gets targeted by his enemies, he'll do whatever it takes to protect her…including taking her back to his hometown as his fake fiancée to hide out.

Skylar Jones has lost too much, and all she wants is to bury herself in her work and forget...but there's one man Skylar can't help but notice. Fortunately, her handsome, brooding neighbor is no more interested in dating than she is...which is exactly how she wants it.

But when Skylar stumbles into the middle of a botched attempt on his life, her safety becomes his responsibility.

Sparks fly hot and fast when Logan takes Skylar back to his Wyoming hometown as his fake fiancée to protect her. But can they stay alive long enough to find love, especially when his matchmaking family has plans for the two workaholics who are afraid to trust again?


Skyler Jones's character is witty, funny, and hard working.  Her past has made her want to seclude herself from everyone. She has no friends, and no lovers, and she prefers it that way.  The only person she keeps in her life is her mother, who is in just as much pain as herself.

Logan Stockton is a tall, gorgeous hunk of man.  He's not as strong as his body portrays him.  He's had a rough life, and is afraid to let anyone in that could hurt him, or that he could hurt.  He's spent the past decade working for the CIA so he can focus all of his pain and anger into his job, and he's been a force to be reckoned with.

Skyler and Logan live right across the hall from one another, for the past two years.  They've felt the attraction, but their pasts have made them want to keep themselves hidden from the other.  When some armed killers come into the building and force Skyler to be bait to get them into Logan's apartment, everything changes.

Their adventure starts pretty quickly into the book, and it's filled with action, hot cowboys, and temptation.  Rowe describes Logan so well, I could feel the heat rushing to my own cheeks as I read about him.  He most definitely comes off the pages as the sexy, mysterious cowboy she wanted her readers to imagine.

Unlike Logan, Skyler came off the pages as petite, mousey, and full of fear.  She played it off really well though with her quick quips and the way she used humor to hide her fear.  She was the perfect piece that Logan had been missing his whole life.  

Their connection was swoon-worthy.  This is one of those books that sates that taste for romance that most of us women in the world wish they could get their hands on in a real man.  It was most definitely a guilty pleasure just to devour these pages.

I'd never read a Wyoming Rebels book before, or anything by Stephanie Rowe to be completely honest.  Normally I like to start a series from the very beginning, so I don't miss anything of importance.  Thankfully every book in the series can be read as a stand alone story so you can read them in any order.  I most definitely will be going back to the beginning to read about Chase, Logan's sexy older brother, and Mira in A Real Cowboy Never Says No.

I'd LOVE to thank Stephanie Rowe for giving me the opportunity to read this in ARC form before release date.  I know I'm just getting back into reviewing again, but I'm incredibly honored she would give me the chance.  I really look forward to reading more of her books in the future, and hopefully I will be lucky enough to continue to stay on her ARC review team! 

I received an advanced reading copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Review: Wild Open Faces by Jennifer G. Edelson

Title: Wild Open Faces
Series: Book 2 - Wild and Ruin Trilogy
Author: Jennifer G. Edelson
Publisher: Bad Apple Books
Genre: Young Adult Mystery, Mythology
ISBN: 9781733514019
Source: Book Sirens
Release Date: December 20, 2020
Rating: 3/5.5 - Okay

Blurb provided by Book Sirens:

Surfaces are deceiving...

Surfaces are deceiving. After falling for Ezra and discovering a gateway to the Otherworld, it’s a truism Ruby knows to take to heart. But La Luna finally feels like home, and with graduation just weeks away and a cushy internship on a nearby archeological dig in her pocket, it’s easy to downplay the strange new events taking place in the Glorieta Pass. Even when Angel’s deadbeat father reappears after twenty years, stirring up questions about Angel, the ruin, and Ruby’s mother.

Uncertainty is bad enough, but when Ruby starts having inexplicable visions, and the archeological dig unearths mysterious artifacts connected to both a fabled Aztec city and the Pecos Pueblo, Ruby faces more than an uncertain future—she’s forced to accept the role of True of Heart. Will Ezra and her friends stand by her as she confronts the Otherworld? Love is enigmatic, especially in the heart of New Mexico, but the Otherworld may be the biggest mystery of them all.


Edelson picked up in this book right where she left off in the first book in the trilogy, Between Wild & Ruin.  Ruby and Ezra's relationship is still pretty new, and they are still trying to learn to trust each other over the issues from the previous book.  They know they love each other deeply, but there is a lot of issues they need to work out.  It causes them to bicker quite a lot through this installment, not unlike any real relationship.  

Ruby is still trying to come to terms with the fact that she is True of Heart, which she still doesn't seem to understand.  It's all really too much for her and I think it makes her even more vulnerable than it did early on in her story.  I thought I would start to like her more now that she was happy with Ezra, but she seemed incredibly self-centered and selfish in this installment.  I actually disliked her even more because of this.  

Ezra on the other hand, I ended up liking even more.  His character grew so much from the previous installment.  He was loving, loyal, and incredibly brave.  He even seemed to be coming out of his shell towards the other characters in the book, which warmed my heart.  I liked seeing him happy, and wanted things to work out for him in the end.

I felt sad for Angel by the end of installment number one, but this installment things really started to fall into place for him.  Although there were still some feelings for Ruby, and some unanswered questions that seem to haunt him,  Angel found the grit to push through and try to move on and be happy.  I was rooting for him non-stop.

What I really love about this series is how much history and mythology that is filled into the pages.  I think more than anything this is why I keep coming back to these books.  I just have to know more about what happens to Ruby and her friends.  The way this one left quite literally had me shouting 'What!'  I'll be on the lookout for the final installment in this trilogy.  I hope it can finally give us readers the closure we need after this bumpy ride we've been on!

I received an advanced reading copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Review: Between Wild & Ruin by Jennifer G. Edelson

Between Wild & Ruin
Series: Book 1 - Wild and Ruin Trilogy
Author: Jennifer G. Edelson
Publisher: Bad Apple Books
Genre: YA, Mystery, Mythology, Romance
ISBN: 978-1733514002
Source: Book Sirens
Release Date: August 26, 2019
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars - Okay

Blurb provided by Book Sirens

Truth, like love, isn't always obvious.

Seventeen-year-old Ruby Brooks has never had a boyfriend. After moving to small-town La Luna, New Mexico following her mother’s untimely death, boys aren’t even on her radar. Ruby just wants to forget the last horrible year and blend in. But when she discovers an ancient pueblo ruin in the forest behind her house and meets Ezra, a bitter recluse whose once-perfect face was destroyed in an accident he won’t talk about; Angel, La Luna’s handsome sheriff’s deputy, and Leo, a stranger who only appears near the ruin, Ruby finds herself teetering between love, mystery, and other worlds. What happened to Ezra’s face? And why is she so attracted to the one boy in town everyone despises? As Ruby unravels her own connections to both Ezra and the pueblo ruin, she’ll learn surfaces are deceiving. Especially in the heart of New Mexico, where spirits and legends aren’t always just campfire stories.


Ruby Brooks and her Aunt Liddy's last year was a bit rough, so her Aunt Liddy decided that they both needed to get away.  They packed up everything and moved to the small town of La Luna, New Mexico.  It's one of those quiet towns where everyone knows everyone, including everything about them.  It's a completely different surrounding than what they are used to, which could be exactly what they need to heal their hearts and their minds from the past year.  Losing her mother really took a toll on Ruby, so getting close to anyone was going to be a bit hard.

Shortly after coming into town Ruby meets not one, but three guys.  She doesn't want to get into any kind of relationship unless she knows it's what her heart really wants.  With her heart still mending from her mother's death, she doesn't think that her heart is ready for anything.  These boys are making it really hard though, between mesmerizing good looks, charm, and even mystery.

Instantly upon starting this book I was hooked, especially by the great detail the author put into her words.  It made it really easy to picture the scene with which surrounded Ruby and her friends.  It was like the haunting forest behind Ruby's house was right in front of me, and it made me want to hike through those trees myself.  She really brought to life both the terrain, as well as the history that is New Mexico.  

I couldn't figure out whether I liked Ruby or not, even through the entire book.  I'm still thinking about it.  At times I felt like she was timid and quiet, and afraid to voice what she really thought.  Other times I felt like she was a completely different person, using her appearance or ability to flirt as a way to get what she wanted.  It honestly made me feel like she just needed to be honest with herself, and with the boys she was interacting with.  She also seemed very needy, like she expected everyone to drop whatever they were doing to help her or be with her.  This was probably my least favorite characteristic of hers.  She was however friendly, which made me want to like her more.

I really liked the other characters in the story, especially Angel and Ezra, two of the boys that Ruby interacted with on a daily basis.  Angel was sweet, and just seemed like he wanted a fair shot to be with Ruby.  Ezra on the other hand was mysterious, honest, and some times a little harsh.  I liked him for this though, he didn't hold back, and he didn't seem to care what anyone thought of him.  

I think my favorite part of this whole book was all of the folklore, and history that Edelson packed into the pages.  I feel like I learned so much about this beautiful place, and it makes me want to pack up and visit New Mexico myself.  I'm looking forward to reading more of this trilogy, and seeing where things go with Ruby and the mystery that is surrounding her.  I will definitely be picking up more of her books in the future!

I received an advanced reading copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Review: 31 Hours by Masha Hamilton

Title: 31 Hours
Author: Masha Hamilton
Publisher: Unbridled Books
Genre: Fiction-Terrorism
ISBN: 978-1932961836
Rating: 3/5

Description from Unbridled Books:

A woman in New York awakens knowing, as deeply as a mother’s blood can know, that her grown son is in danger. She has not heard from him in weeks. His name is Jonas. His girlfriend, Vic, doesn’t know what she has done wrong, but Jonas won’t answer his cell phone. We soon learn that Jonas is isolated in a safe-house apartment in New York City, pondering his conversion to Islam and his experiences training in Pakistan, preparing for the violent action he has been instructed to take in 31 hours. Jonas’s absence from the lives of those who love him causes a cascade of events, and as the novel moves through the streets and subways of New York we come to know intimately the lives of its characters. We also learn to feel deeply the connections and disconnections that occur between young people and their parents not only in this country but in the Middle East as well.

Carried by Hamilton’s highly-lauded prose, this story about the helplessness of those who cannot contact a beloved young man who is on a devastatingly confused path is compelling on the most human level. In our world, when a family loses track of an idealistic son an entire city could be in danger. From the author of The Distance Between Us.


When I first read the synopsis of this book, I was immediately interested, and just knew that I had to know what was going to happen in this novel. Within reading the first few pages I was already intrigued, and had a hard time putting the book down. I was also confused, to think that a person as young as Jonas could let such thoughts flow through his brain. I was, and am still angry with the character of Jonas for thinking that one act of violence can change the way of the world, and the people in it.

In my honest opinion, violence will never change anything, except the amount of people that still stand after the final boom. War and fighting will only cause pain and destruction, and those that think otherwise baffle me. I wanted to wring Jonas's neck with his constant philosophy on life. How much does he think he is supposed to know at the age of 21? He is nothing more than a child just coming into his adulthood, and your not supposed to know everything at this point in your life.

Here is a quote from 31 Hours that I think we should all take a second to think about :

"We're all terrorists," he'd told her a few weeks ago in what had been their last real conversation. "Every single one of us. The only difference is, some of us recognize it and others don't."

I honestly don't understand how Jonas can say this. I personally am not a terrorist, and I think that people who think this way need to seek immediate attention. Hurting others will not make the world a better place, it will just cause more danger for the children of our future.

I didn't really like Jonas's mother either. Her name was Carol, and her life depended on whether Jonas or some other person was paying close attention to her. I understand that she is a mother, and that she loves her son, but to go crazy with worry because of not hearing from him for a little over a week, is a little over the top. In the case with this novel, she was right to worry, but other than that she seemed like a very selfish character. She needed the comfort of her son in order to be happy. There was one quote from the book that really had me thinking though, and although I am not a mother, this is exactly how I feel a love between a mother and child should be.

This is the way mother-love works. There's no controlling it, and there's nothing like it, not the way a cleri loves his God or a soldier loves his country or a man his wife. This baby emerges, and that's it--you're sucked into a maelstrom so profound you never get out, and so you worry, you overreact sometimes, all you want is to protect you baby. Even if he's shaving now.

The one character that I liked the most was young Mara. She's only a child, yet all she wants in the world is for her mother to be happy. She's not selfish, and doesn't put her emotions out there for the world to see. She's the tough one, the mortar, the one holding it all together. For a child, she knew too much, things only an adult should have to go through, and for this I respected her as a character.

I can say that I liked this novel, but didn't love it. I will more than certainly be reading more by Masha Hamilton in the future, because this novel really touched me at an emotional level. There was a lot packed intot his novel, at 229 pages. I'd like to thank Caitlin Summie from Unbridled Books for allowing me to read and review this book, it's been a pleasure.

**This review was originally posted on my old review blog - Falling Off The Shelf back in 2009.  As I no longer have access to that blog I am copying here to keep all of my reviews together.**

On My Radar: Titles I Can't Wait To Get My Hands On

On My Radar Title: The Wish Author:   Nicholas Sparks Publisher: Grand Central Publishing Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary ISBN:  97815...