Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult

Narrator: Brian Hutchison, Mia Barron, Therese Plummer

Title: Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
Release Date: March 1st, 2011
Format: Audiobook (17 hrs and 26 mins)
Genre: Fiction, Women’s Literature
Published By: Atria Books
One miscarriage too many spelled the end of Max and Zoe Baxter’s marriage. Though the former couple went quite separate ways, their fates remained entangled: After veering into alcoholism, Max is saved in multiple senses by his fundamentalist conversion; Zoe, for her part, finds healing relief in music therapy and the friendship, then romantic love with Vanessa, her counselor. After Zoe and Vanessa, now married, decide to have a baby, they realize that they must join battle with Max, who objects on both religious and financial grounds.
three-stars
I started this book already having experience with Jodi Picoult’s writing, so I knew I was in for an intense experience. She is so methodical and expressive but I always find her stories disconcerting. I appreciate that the author told the story from Zoe, her new wife Vanessa and Zoe’s ex-husband’s point of view. It gave me an opportunity to empathize. I’ll admit it that I found the story a bit preachy and definitely advocated a viewpoint, but the story felt real especially in today’s political and religious climate. Zoe and Vanessa’s court case against Max made me examine my own views about this controversial issue. But the author’s writing was remarkable in that I could empathize to all three main characters even if I didn’t quite like them.

The story began with Zoe and Max struggling to conceive. What the reader never got to experience was any real tenderness, happiness or the power of their love. Their relationship was that of a woman determined to have a baby and the man she needed to make that dream a reality. It should have come as no surprise to the readers that Zoe and Max broke up. Unfortunately, Zoe’s new relationship didn’t resonate with me either. What did resonate with me was Zoe’s desire to have a family and the stress the struggle caused her, Max and Vanessa.

I would have loved this story more if the author had delivered multifaceted characters instead of Max, an alcoholic turned bible thumper fighting a music therapist and an atheist school counselor. The characters were over-simplified in such a way to make you either love them or hate them. The stereotypes were written in such a way that I felt led by the nose to the conclusion, which was a typical Picoult ending.

My Sweetest Escape by @chel_c_cam

My Sweetest Escape by @chel_c_camSeries: My Sweetest Mistake #2
on January 28th 2014
AmazonB&N
The past will always find you.

Jos Archer was the girl with the perfect life; until the night it all came crashing down around her. Now, nine months later, she still hasn't begun to pick up the pieces. Even transferring to a new college and living under the watchful eye of her older sister, Renee, isn't enough to help her feel normal again.

And then she meets Dusty Sharp. For reasons Jos can't begin to fathom, the newly reformed campus bad boy seems determined to draw her out of her shell. And if she's not careful, his knowing green eyes and wicked smile will make her feel things she's no longer sure she deserves.

But even as Dusty coaxes Jos to open up about the past, he's hiding secrets of his own. Secrets about the night her old life fell apart. When the truth is finally revealed, will it bring them closer together;or tear them apart for good?
three-half-stars

I’d kiss you until we both forgot our names. I’d want to take off that shirt and those shorts and count every freckle until I knew exactly how many you have. And then I would taste every inch of you until i was burned into my memory so I could never forget.

Heart wrenching, beautiful, and enjoyable. This book was an enjoyable and quick read.

I really enjoyed My Favorite Mistake and knew that this one would be just as good. I did find myself a little perplexed as to why the author picked these two characters and not two of the others that ended up living in the house or being friends with Hunter and Taylor but it still was an enjoyable read.

I enjoyed the story because frankly I am a little bit tired of all these tortured soul books and these bad boys that have no reason to be douche bags. I enjoyed reading the banter between Jos and Dusty it was light and refreshing. I loved Hannah she was a fierce friend and a even better side character that added something so different to this story. The relationship was believable and the way they found romance was great it didn’t seem like something that could have never happened in life.

The sex wasn’t in your face and it wasn’t unbelievable. I love the romantic aspect of this book more than anything in this world and was so happy that it wasn’t just all in your face orgasm after unbelievable orgasm. This book was a sweet little romance where the story was in the forefront and the sex took a back seat.

This story was a good one but what stopped me from giving it a perfect score was that sometimes things seemed so long that I was reading and saying it’s only 20% left in the book will these two ever reveal their secrets and when they did and the relationship plateaued it seemed like it all happened so fast that I reached the end of the book and was wondering what happened.

Layers Deep by @LaceySilks

Layers Deep by @LaceySilksSeries: Layers Trilogy 1
AmazonB&N
He needs her to save a friend.
She needs him to plan her revenge.
Their pasts scar them Layers Deep.
Their passion distracts them...
...and distractions can be fatal.

Tristan Cross is battling emotional demons from the past. He lives in a world where trust is earned, loyalties are tested, and love is impossible. That is, until he meets Allie Green. She’s the only woman who can help him find a kidnapped friend and to top it off, she captivates him. All he has to do now is persuade her to work for Cross Enterprises, his top investigations firm.

Allie Green is a rookie cop seeking revenge and she’s willing to sell her soul to get it. With an opportunity to use Tristan Cross's resources Allie calculates her time for payback. As vengeance boils her blood she can’t keep her mind off her new boss and Allie finds it difficult to keep her employment professional. With the mouth watering Tristan Cross distracting her, she struggles to prioritize an undercover job she’s been assigned and her hunger for revenge.

And when you’re ready to give up your life to save someone else, distractions can be fatal.

Note: This book is the first part of a Trilogy that is designed to be read in order. Tristan and Allie will get their happy ending but not until book 2 and 3. This book contains a cliff hanger ending you will not expect. A prequel to the series which can be read alone is Dazzled by Silver.
three-half-stars

This book was entertaining to say the least. I never had a book that encompassed the genres that this one did and made sense. Layers Deep was Erotica, Suspense, and Contemporary Romance all mixed into one in a story that I never read before and that’s pretty hard to do considering I read a lot.

I loved the characters in this book. They were broken and damaged but not in a way that seemed unrealistic. I could actually see this stuff happening. I loved the sex trafficking aspect in this book and was glad that the main character wasn’t the one being sex trafficked; that was really refreshing. Allie was such a strong heroine that I found it a little weird how fast she developed feeling for Tristian without really knowing anything about him. Tristan was so guarded that I don’t even understand how was able to let those guards down to ensure that he even like anyone.

What I didn’t like about this book was the insta attraction for such a strong female and how weak the heroine became in this book. I would have liked it more if she remained strong throughout the whole thing. Overall this was an entertaining and quick read that satisfies a lot of genres in one sitting. It has something for everyone.

{Review} Parasite by Mira Grant

{Review} Parasite by Mira GrantSeries: Parasitology #1
on October 29, 2013
Pages: 512
AmazonB&N
A decade in the future, humanity thrives in the absence of sickness and disease.

We owe our good health to a humble parasite - a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the tapeworm protects us from illness, boosts our immune system - even secretes designer drugs. It's been successful beyond the scientists' wildest dreams. Now, years on, almost every human being has a SymboGen tapeworm living within them.

But these parasites are getting restless. They want their own lives...and will do anything to get them.

The synopsis of this book is what pulled me in. I love horror and everyone that knows me knows that horror is and will always be my first love. I loved this premise and where this book could have gone but for me it fell kind of flat. The book was long and I had to fight myself to continue on with this book because I just couldn’t connect. The characters seemed to be lacking substance and a lot of things didn’t make sense to me even when they were explained.

It’s a period in the book where you can tell it was going to take off and it just fell flat. I think when you have to get 80% into a book and you notice not much can happen and it still 1 hour left in the book it just seems discouraging. There were parts that I liked; I didn’t see a couple of the plot twist coming and that is the reason for the 2 Star rating. I loved the story Don’t Go Out Alone and would like to purchase that for the kids that I work with.

I did enjoy the world and where this book can go! I am not sure if I will read book 2 just yet and the ending of this one didn’t really make me say damn even though I did’t like it I will definitely read book 2. I think everyone should give this book a try because you might end up liking it. I think it’s more along the lines of Sci-Fi than it is Horror, but then again that is just my opinion.

{Review}The Sharpest Blade by @Williams_Sandy

{Review}The Sharpest Blade by @Williams_SandySeries: Shadow Reader #3
on December 31, 2013
Pages: 320
AmazonB&N • (Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
Torn between two worlds.
Torn between two lives.

McKenzie Lewis’s ability to read the shadows has put her—and …those she loves—in harm’s way again and again. The violence must end, but will the cost of peace be more devastating than anyone ever imagined?

After ten years of turmoil, the life McKenzie has always longed for may finally be within her grasp. No one is swinging a sword at her head or asking her to track the fae, and she finally has a regular—albeit boring—job. But when a ruthless enemy strikes against her friends, McKenzie abandons her attempt at normalcy and rushes back to the Realm.

With the fae she loves and the fae she’s tied to pulling her in different directions, McKenzie must uncover the truth behind the war and accept the painful sacrifices that must be made to end it. Armed with dangerous secrets and with powerful allies at her side, her actions will either rip the Realm apart—or save it

…between two rapid beats of my heart, someone else’s breaks.”

The final book in the Shadow Reader trilogy. I am extremely heart broken to see this series come to and end as I loved each and every book in this series. I will try and keep this review as spoiler free as I can.

This has been an amazing ride and I am sad to see it come to an end  albeit a fantastic end but it’s still an end nonetheless. Sandy has the ability to create a world so amazing that you find yourself at the end of a chapter in the bling of an eye and at the end of the book before you even realize you put all of those amazing pages behind you.

McKenzie has become my favorite female heroine because she has no problem in saying how she feels and she is far from being a push over. She wants to be normal and I was on team McKenzie, she didn’t sign up for this but yet at the same time she drops everything that makes her normal to help out those she loves. Aren is my favorite bad boy because on the inside he is a big marshmallow and you can’t help but love him.

This book wrapped up nicely although I want a novella and I think Sandy knows why I am asking for this. I would like to see a series focused on some of the outside characters (Lena, Kyol, Paige, Lorn, Nick, and Kynlee). A perfection ending to this series! I am sad to see this go!

About Sandy Williams

Sandy Williams has lived and breathed books all her life. When she was a teen, she was always the first to finish her class assignments so that she could read as much as possible before the bell rang. Her grades didn’t suffer (much), and she was able to enroll in Texas A&M University. She didn’t sneak in novels there, but her college lecture notes are filled with snippets of stories. After she graduated, she decided to turn those snippets into novels.

Sandy writes books with high-octane action adventure infused with a strong romantic element. She is best known for The Shadow Reader novels, an urban fantasy romance series about a human who can both see and track the fae. When she’s not reading or corralling her twin boys, she enjoys playing EuroGames like Dominion, 7 Wonders, and Agricola.

{Blog Tour} Under Different Stars by @Amy_A_Bartol

{Blog Tour} Under Different Stars by @Amy_A_BartolSeries: Kricket #1
on December 17th 2013
All she wants is a home, but can she find one...UNDER DIFFERENT STARS

Kricket Hollowell is normally not one to wish upon stars; she believes they’re rarely in her favor. Well versed at dodging caseworkers from Chicago’s foster care system, the past few years on her own have made Kricket an expert at the art of survival and blending in. With her 18th birthday fast approaching, she dreams of the day when she can stop running and find what her heart needs most: a home.

Trey Allairis hates Earth and doubts that anyone from his world can thrive here. What he’s learning of Kricket and her existence away from her true home only confirms his theory. But, when he and Kricket lie together under the stars of Ethar, counting them all may be easier than letting her go.

Kyon Ensin’s secrets number the stars; he knows more about Kricket's gifts than anyone and plans to possess her because of them. He also knows she’s more valuable than any fire in the night sky. He’ll move the heavens and align them all in order to make her his own.

When everything in their world can be broken, will Kricket rely upon love to save her under different stars?
five-stars

We have to make the stars align for us now– find a way for us now to get burned for being together

This book rocked my world and took me to a brand new world pun intended. This is hands down my favorite YA book of the year. I had originally rated this book 4.5 stars but I had to change that rating to 5 Stars because I couldn’t get Kricket and Trey out of my head. This book was exceptionally written and it kept me on my toes. This is by far something different and exceptional in the world of YA when all everyone is writing about are dystopian or sappy romance. Amy breathed a breath a fresh air into a genre that was getting rather stale with so many of the same kinds of books and it was something that I desperately needed.

The world in this book was amazing and it just kept unfolding before my eyes but it wasn’t so advanced that you couldn’t picture it. Amy did an amazing job at creating a world that is fresh and beautiful without making it so overwhelming. Kricket is a kickass heroine that doesn’t complain and whine like most MC’s do in YA and that made the book so much more enjoyable. Trey is hard on the outside but all marshmallows on the inside and it’s really refreshing to see a male MC that wants to do what’s best for his people and not himself and he just won me over. The additional characters in this book were all great but I enjoyed spending my time with the crusaders in this book they were hilarious and added a great comedic undertone to a book that can be seen as a little heavy without those moments.

The angst in this book was right on. I have to say that Amy wrote this book to perfection and the romance didn’t power the book and it didn’t take a backseat. This book has the perfect balance of romance and action. This is my first Sci-Fi book and as long as Amy keeps writing novels like this is sure won’t be my last. I am very fortunate to have read a book that is pure perfection and can’t wait to see what happens to Kricket and Trey in book 2.

{Review} Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion #1) by @aimee_carter

Pawn
The Blackcoat Rebellion
Aimee Carter
Young Adult Dystopian
Harlequin Teen
November 26, 2013
Hardcover & eBook
296
ARC Provided by Harlequin Teen in Exchange for an Honest Review

YOU CAN BE A VII IF YOU GIVE EVERYTHING.

For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country.

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked - surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.

There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed, and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand.

My Review:

It is so rare to find a gem in a genre that is becoming littered with so many of the same kind of story but Ms. Carter was able to accomplish this and Pawn was such a breath of fresh air that I couldn’t put the book down for one second. I found myself sneaking and reading while at work and in class. The character development in this book was awesome and the plot was amazing. I haven’t read a book with so much betrayal, lies, and backstabbing going on that I couldn’t tell up from down at times or Friends from Foes.

Kitty is by far my favorite YA heroine this year. She is smart, snarky, loving, and will lay herself over train tracks to save those that she love. She was very easy to relate to because at one time or another we have all felt the way she did. Lennox was amazing and I really enjoyed how he developed as a character, he was a take charge character that only wanted what was best for the people. Benjy on the other hand fell flat to me and it was a little saddening since this is the love interest in he book. I really can’t picture him and Kitty together.

The plot in this book was amazing. I love a book that jumps right into the action and gives you snippets of backstory without being bogged down with First Book Syndrome (FBS). I am extremely excited to continue this series because I have to know what happens with all the lying and deceit that is going on and is it going to pay off and how many more lives will be lost in the end. The world that was created was amazing and it seemed more realistic than any other dystopian that I picked up because I can actually see this happening in the future because technically we are almost there.

Thanks Ms. Carter and Harlequin Teen for giving me an opportunity to read such a wonderful book.