Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Weeds of Detroit by Misty Provencher/Misty Paquette (4.5 stars)

About Weeds of Detroit

It is time for Lael Wallace to grow up. Raised as a sheltered, suburban teen, the only way to escape her controlling mother is to run away from home. Without options, she rents a room at a rough hotel in downtown Detroit. There, Lael finds herself thrust into the thick of a dangerous adulthood, living among prostitutes, addicts, criminals, and the many tenacious souls of Detroit.

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Growing up isn't easy, especially when life comes crashing into you way too fast. Lael jumps headfirst into adulthood... worse than that, she faces stuff most of us never have to, and all at a very young age.

Will she be able to come out the other side stronger? Or will life be too much for her to handle?

Inner city life is a tough place to start learning life lessons, and for a teenager, it's devastating. Lael endures heartbreaking reality when she moves into a seedy hotel in a rough part of Detroit. Even the "good" people she meets have hidden agendas, secrets, and their own lives to focus on. 

Still, even in the worst situations, there are small gestures and kind moments that pull at your heartstrings as much as the tragedies she witnesses and endures break your heart. There's a little boy Lael comes to know--Will--that left a bruise on my heart that's still healing. 

Although the title might not strike you at first, it sears into your very being once you read the story. Something as everyday as a weed will take on a whole new meaning. 

Some reads let us escape life... others, like Weeds of Detroit, take us on a soul-touching, heartbreaking, and raw journey that reminds us just how precious life is. 

Rating: 4.5 stars

About the Author

Misty Provencher offers readers, ranging from teen to adult, a shelf full of stories to enjoy. Provencher's genres include titles in contemporary romance, fantasy, literary fiction, Sci-fi, and even erotica. 

While Provencher can ride a motorcycle, knows how to Karate chop, and has learned enough French, Spanish, and Sign Language to get herself slapped, Misty's life is dedicated to connecting with, and understanding, the people who cross her path. She is totally enchanted with the world and spends her days trying to translate her everyday muses into words.

Misty Provencher lives in the Mitten. Knock on her internet blog door at www.mistyprovencherauthor.com and wherever great coffee is sold.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Reckless by Kelly Martin (5 stars)

About Reckless

Not that anyone will ever know. 
Not that they’ll remember. 
But I know. 
I remember. 
That’s my curse. 
I don’t agree with how he did it. 
I wish it had been me that died. Lord knows we would’ve all 
been safer if I’d been the one instead of Hart. 
But he couldn’t let that happen. 
He couldn’t live with it. 
How am I supposed to live with it? 
The pain. 
The remorse. 
The pressing feeling that something inside me that I can’t 
control is still there… dormant but not dead. Ready to pounce. 
Ready to kill again. 
Hart saved the world, that’s true. 
But he couldn’t save me 

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Fate has drawn Hart and Gracen together through the most bizarre and upsetting circumstances--he's a demon, and she's the Abomination. Can they find a way to save the world and have something left for themselves?

I'm so sad to see this series end. Not only will I miss the amazing characters, I'll miss the unique and compelling storyline. No matter how dire the situation seems for Gracen and Hart, there's always a twist I never see coming. 

But what I've loved the most through each book is the detailed inner struggle of both Hart and Gracen, and Reckless continues this intense introspection. And I couldn't wait to see how Kelly Martin would bring this epic tale to a conclusion. I'm excited to say it doesn't disappoint, even though I never could have guessed it.

I highly recommend this series!!
Rating: 5 stars

I love this series. Check out my reviews of books 1 and 2: Heartless (#1), Soulless (#2), and Breathless (#3).

About the Author

Kelly Martin is the bestselling author of contemporary, historical, and YA romance. She has been married for over ten years and has three rowdy, angelic daughters. When Kelly isn't writing, she loves watching horror gamers on YouTube, even though she is a huge wimp, and drinking white chocolate mochas.

You can find her at...
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KellyMartinA...
Twitter: https://twitter.com/martieKay
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/KMbooks/
Tumblr: http://martiekay.tumblr.com/

Note: I was the Editor on this book through Indie Books Gone Wild. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Blame It On the Cowboy by Delores Fossen (4 stars)

About Blame It On the Cowboy

Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: HQN Books (September 27, 2016)

Every cowboy has a wild side—all it takes is the right woman to unleash it…

All of Logan McCord’s carefully laid plans erupt the day he walks in on his would-be fiancée getting…well, not so carefully laid. Tonight, just once, Logan is acting on instinct. And that instinct is telling him to say “Happy to oblige” to the cute stranger looking for a no-strings fling with a Texas cowboy.

When chef Reese Stephens made her bucket list, she mistakenly thought she had weeks to live. Not that she regrets her one-night-stand with the gorgeous rancher. But she does regret leaving an heirloom watch as a parting gift. Tracking Logan down is easy. Walking away again is another matter. Because Reese’s crazy past and Logan’s battered heart are no match for the kind of chemistry that could turn one night into the start of a passionate lifetime.

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No reason to reiterate the summary above. Instead, I'll jump right into what I liked. To start... Kudos to the way these two characters met. I found it much more appealing than the look-across-the-room-and-fall-in-love go-to of far too many romance novels.

I also appreciated that every time I thought I knew what would happen next, the story took a turn. So refreshing to not see everything coming in a too-fast relationship. And extra points for the humor I wasn't expecting.

If you enjoy a hot romance that defies standard romance storytelling, then take a chance on this one. I think you'll find it refreshing without forgoing any of the heat and romance.

Rating: 4 stars

About Delores Fossen

871833-300x200USA Today bestselling author, Delores Fossen, has sold over 70 novels with millions of copies of her books in print worldwide. She’s received the Booksellers’ Best Award, the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award and was a finalist for the prestigious Rita ®.

In addition, she’s had nearly a hundred short stories and articles published in national magazines.

Connect with Delores Website | Facebook | Twitter
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Thanks to TLC for my review copy.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own. 
Please visit other stops on the Blame It On the Cowboy blog tour page.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Marrow by Elizabeth Lesser (5 stars)

About Marrow

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Harper Wave (September 20, 2016)

The author of the New York Times bestseller Broken Open returns with a visceral and profound memoir of two sisters who, in the face of a bone marrow transplant—one the donor and one the recipient—begin a quest for acceptance, authenticity, and most of all, love.

 A mesmerizing and courageous memoir: the story of two sisters uncovering the depth of their love through the life-and-death experience of a bone marrow transplant. Throughout her life, Elizabeth Lesser has sought understanding about what it means to be true to oneself and, at the same time, truly connected to the ones we love. But when her sister Maggie needs a bone marrow transplant to save her life, and Lesser learns that she is the perfect match, she faces a far more immediate and complex question about what it really means to love—honestly, generously, and authentically.

Hoping to give Maggie the best chance possible for a successful transplant, the sisters dig deep into the marrow of their relationship to clear a path to unconditional acceptance. They leave the bone marrow transplant up to the doctors, but take on what Lesser calls a “soul marrow transplant,” examining their family history, having difficult conversations, examining old assumptions, and offering forgiveness until all that is left is love for each other’s true selves. Their process—before, during, and after the transplant—encourages them to take risks of authenticity in other aspects their lives.

But life does not follow the storylines we plan for it. Maggie’s body is ultimately too weak to fight the relentless illness. As she and Lesser prepare for the inevitable, they grow ever closer as their shared blood cells become a symbol of the enduring bond they share. Told with suspense and humor, Marrow is joyous and heartbreaking, incandescent and profound. The story reveals how even our most difficult experiences can offer unexpected spiritual growth. Reflecting on the multifaceted nature of love—love of other, love of self, love of the world—Marrow is an unflinching and beautiful memoir about getting to the very center of ourselves.

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It has been a while since I read a non-fiction story that so captured my heart. From page one, I became emotionally attached to this story of two sisters and cancer's effect on their relationship. And I read the whole thing in one day, knowing I'd need to re-read it again and again to truly absorb its magnificence.

This book is about so much more than cancer and loss. It's about who we are in the deepest part of ourselves. I highlighted so many sections, but a few lines really stood out to me:  "... someone forgot to tell us that our own journey never ends... There is always more to uncover, more to know, more to heal, more to love, more to give. Being true to yourself is a rough-and-tumble ride."

None of us should wait for death to force us to learn more about life, and this book is testament to that. I could run through a litany of adjectives to compel you to read this, but it'll mean something different to everyone. But I truly believe it will touch you in some way. 

Rating: 5 stars

About Elizabeth Lesser

ELIZABETH LESSER is the author of The Seeker’s Guide and the New York Times bestseller Broken Open. She is the cofounder of Omega Institute, recognized internationally for its workshops and conferences that focus on holistic health, psychology, spirituality, creativity, and social change. Prior to her work at Omega, she was a midwife and childbirth educator. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her family.

Find out more about Elizabeth at her website, and connect with her on Facebook.

Thanks to TLC for my review copy.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own. 
Please visit other stops on the Marrow blog tour page.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Honor Bound by BJ Daniels (3.5 stars)

About Honor Bound

Mass Market Paperback 384 pagesPublisher: HQN Books (October 18, 2016)

Protecting her life will mean betraying her trust

Ainsley Hamilton has always been the responsible one of the family. As the oldest daughter of presidential candidate Buckmaster Hamilton, she’s also a potential target. For months she’s sensed someone following her. When an expedition to scout locations for a commercial takes a terrifying turn, she’s rescued by a natural-born cowboy who tempts the good girl to finally let loose.

Sawyer Nash knows just how reckless it is to fall for someone he’s gone undercover to protect. Yet masquerading as an extra on set, he starts to see beneath Ainsley’s controlled facade. And with the election—and a killer—drawing closer, Sawyer stands to lose not just his job and his life but the woman for whom he’d gladly risk both.

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Ainsley Hamilton has been living life looking over her shoulder, sensing someone is following her. Sawyer Nash is recuperating from an injury when he's asked to look out for her. That her father is a presidential candidate only ups the ante for keeping her safe.

When lives are on the line, who we really are comes to the forefront.

Honor Bound is part thriller, part political commentary, part romance, and part suspense. It's a few too many parts, in my humble opinion. Just as I was getting wrapped up in a growing attraction between Ainsley and Sawyer, the focus would switch to a thriller about the past and politics. 

While I was interested in all the stories, I found transitioning between them sometimes difficult. But, honestly, my reaction could be as simple as being swept away in a story and then needing to reboot to another, equally intriguing plot line. 

Honor Bound is a roller coaster ride of intrigue, romance, and action. Even though it might feel like you are getting on and off different rides, the entertainment never stops. 

Rating: 3.5 stars

About B. J. Daniels

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author B.J. Daniels lives in Montana with her husband, Parker, and three springer spaniels. When not writing, she quilts, boats and plays tennis.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Thanks to TLC for my review copy.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own. 
Please visit other stops on the Honor Bound blog tour page.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

They Were Like Family to Me by Helen Maryles Shankman Blitz

They Were Like Family to Me: Stories

Critically praised, beloved by readers, In the Land of Armadillos has an evocative new cover and title, They Were Like Family to Me. Now in Paperback! Available October 4.

1942. With the Nazi Party at the height of its power, the occupying army empties Poland's towns and cities of their Jewish citizens. As neighbor turns on neighbor and survival often demands unthinkable choices, Poland has become a moral quagmire—a place of shifting truths and blinding ambiguities.

Blending folklore and fact, Helen Maryles Shankman shows us the people of Wlodawa, a remote Polish town. We meet a cold-blooded SS officer dedicated to rescuing the Jewish creator of his son's favorite picture book; a Messiah who appears in a little boy's bedroom to announce that he is quitting; a young Jewish girl who is hidden by the town's most outspoken anti-Semite—and his talking dog. And walking among these tales are two unforgettable figures: silver-tongued Willy Reinhart, commandant of the forced labor camp who has grand schemes to protect "his" Jews, and Soroka, the Jewish saddlemaker, struggling to survive.

Channeling the mythic magic of classic storytellers like Sholem Aleichem and Isaac Bashevis Singer and the psychological acuity of modern-day masters like Nicole Krauss and Nathan Englander, They Were Like Family to Me is a testament to the persistence of humanity in the most inhuman conditions.

“One of the most original and consistently captivating short story collections to have appeared in recent years…(They Were Like Family to Me) is a singularly inventive collection of chilling stark realism enhanced by the hallucinatory ingredient of top-drawer magical realism, interrogating the value of art, storytelling, and dreams in a time of peril and presenting hard truths with wisdom, magic, and grace.” —Jewish Book Council

“Moving and unsettling…Like Joyce's Dubliners, this book circles the same streets and encounters the same people as it depicts the horrors of Germany's invasion of Poland through the microcosm of one village…Shankman's prose is inventive and taut… A deeply humane demonstration of wringing art from catastrophe.” —Kirkus Reviews

“...by turns forthright and tender, oblique and intimate, brutal and ethereal…Though each story stands beautifully on its own, it is the completed tapestry of interwoven details that finally reveals the entire picture and provides the full emotional depth of the collected stories…The author’s greatest accomplishment is in leaving the horror to speak for itself, and instead giving voice to the enchantment.” —Historical Novel Society

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About Helen Maryles Shankman 

Helen Maryles Shankman’s stories have been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes. She was a finalist in Narrative Magazine’s Story Contest and earned an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers competition. Her stories have appeared in The Kenyon ReviewGargoyleCream City Review2 Bridges ReviewGrift, Jewishfiction.net, and other publications. 

She is the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Color of Light and the story collection They Were Like Family to Me. She lives in New Jersey, with her husband and four children. 

Connect with Helen 
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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Last Chance Rebel by Maisey Yates (4 stars)

About Last Chance Rebel

Series: Copper Ridge

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: HQN Books (August 30, 2016)

The prodigal son of Copper Ridge, Oregon, has finally come home 

The man who ruined Rebecca Bear’s life just strolled back into it with one heck of an offer. Years ago, Gage West’s recklessness left Rebecca scarred inside and out. Now he wants to make amends by gifting her the building that houses her souvenir store. Rebecca won’t take Gage’s charity, but she’s willing to make a deal with the sexy, reclusive cowboy. Yet keeping her enemy close is growing dangerously appealing…

He’s the wild West brother, the bad seed of Copper Ridge. That’s why Gage needs the absolution Rebecca offers. He just didn’t expect to need her. After years of regretting his past, he knows where his future lies—with this strong, irresistible woman who could make a black sheep come home to stay…

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Rebecca Bear has lived her life in the shadows of the scars from a car accident and hoping she never had to see the man responsible ever again. But then he waltzes back into town, and instead of avoiding her, he seems intent on lessening his guilt.

Two people in need of healing... can they embrace the future and heal the wounds of the past?

I love to read a good love story, but it has to start with caring about the characters and having a build up that makes sense--no instal-love for me. Rebecca and Gage have depth to them, which makes their growing feelings more intriguing. Love isn't easy, and it's definitely not for the two of them, but two damaged people can work through the pain when their hearts are in it. Their love story is reaffirmation of this kind of hope.

Their story stirred many emotions in me, something I wasn't expecting. To say I was pleasantly surprised by this is an understatement.

If you love a good romance with an added emotional attachment to the characters, then pick up a copy of Last Chance Rebel. And there's plenty of steamy scenes, too... just saying.

Rating: 4 stars

About Maisey Yates

81fGrlUjP2L._UX250_New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Maisey Yates lives in rural Oregon with her three children and her husband, whose chiseled jaw and arresting features continue to make her swoon. She feels the epic trek she takes several times a day from her office to her coffee maker is a true example of her pioneer spirit.

In 2009, at the age of twenty-three Maisey sold her first book. Since then it’s been a whirlwind of sexy alpha males and happily ever afters, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Maisey divides her writing time between dark, passionate category romances set just about everywhere on earth and light sexy contemporary romances set practically in her back yard. She believes that she clearly has the best job in the world.

Connect with Maisey 
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Thanks to TLC for my review copy.

Note: I received a complimentary copy for review purposes. A positive review was not requested or guaranteed; the opinions expressed are my own. 
Please visit other stops on the Last Chance Rebel blog tour page.