Book Review: Together With You

Together With You

Together With You – Victoria Bylin – Bethany House Publishers – Published 7 April 2015

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Synopsis

 When a Lost Child warning blasts over the mall’s PA system, toy store manager Carly Mason finds the little girl playing with a stuffed rabbit. Something about five-year-old Penny Tremaine is different. An ex-social worker, Carly recognizes that Penny suffers fetal alcohol effects, and a piece of Carly’s own past suddenly confronts her. Never again will Carly become involved with a client. The risks are far too great. But something about Penny–and Penny’s handsome father–tugs at Carly’s heart. Before she has time to think it through, she agrees to a much-needed job as a nanny.

Dr. Ryan Tremaine knows he messed up his life. But this summer he will redeem himself. With his ex-wife remarried and on a trip far away, his two teenage sons and Penny are living under his roof full time. Ryan is dedicated to his sink-or-swim list, a plan to reconnect with his children. The first step: recruiting Carly Mason to be Penny’s nanny.
Ryan never anticipated being so drawn to Carly, an attraction Carly seems to fight as much as he does. Could Carly be the missing piece that helps his family stay afloat, or will their blossoming romance only complicate things further?

My thoughts

Together With You is the second book I have read by Victoria Bylin, and I enjoyed it much more than Until I Found You. Unfortunately, I had let my apathy for Until I Found You cloud my judgement of Victoria Bylin and her writing. I am glad I gave her a second chance because I enjoyed this novel of family healing, second (and maybe third and forth) chances, love, and children with special needs.

Carly has worked with children and teens with FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) before. But she left that life after a mistake cost a young girl her safety. When Dr Ryan Tremaine, a young dad with three children, one of whom has FASD, asks her to be their nanny, Carly’s first response is a firm no. But the father’s desperation and cold aloofness towards his children and the family’s general meltdown at her workplace convince her that this is a family who could use her help and love. Carly works with little Penny on boundaries, helps the older boys understand their sister and grow within their own interests, and shows Dr Tremaine how to connect with his children. She fills a hole Ryan didn’t even notice they had. But Carly’s belief in God, forgiveness, and a pure life are vastly different to Ryan’s own beliefs.

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Book Review: Play On

Play on

Play On – Michelle Smith – Lewis Creek #1 – Spencer Hill Contemporary – Published 21 April 2015

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Synopsis

In the small town of Lewis Creek, baseball is everything.

Especially for all-star pitcher Austin Braxton, who has a one-way ticket out of town with his scholarship to a top university. All that stands between him and a new start is one final season. But when Austin starts flunking Chemistry, his picture-perfect future is in jeopardy. A failing grade means zero playing time, and zero playing time means no scholarship.

Enter Marisa Marlowe, the new girl in town who gets a job at his momma’s flower shop. Not only is Marisa some home-schooled super-genius, she’s also a baseball fanatic and more than willing to help Austin study. As the two grow closer, there’s something about Marisa that makes Austin want more than just baseball and out of Lewis Creek—he wants a future with her. But Marisa has a past that still haunts her, one that she ran all the way to South Carolina to escape.

As Austin starts to peel back the layers of Marisa’s pain, it forces him to look beyond the facade of himself and everyone he thought he knew in his town. What he sees instead is that in a small town like Lewis Creek, maybe baseball isn’t everything—maybe it is just the thing that ties them all together.

My thoughts

I absolutely love books that combine sweet romance with a story of determination, perseverance through hardship and the strength of family and friendship. Play On combines all this backed with the wonderful setting of small town, Southern USA and baseball.

Austin has just one season left. One season of playing high school baseball as the starting pitcher before heading off to college, one season left of school to keep his grades high enough to keep playing and one season left of soaking in the moments that come with spending time with his best friends before they all leave town and never look back.

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Book Review: The Inn at Ocean’s Edge

The Inn at Ocean's Edge

The Inn at Ocean’s Edge – Colleen Coble – Sunset Cove #1 – Thomas Nelson – Published 14 April 2015

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Synopsis

In 1989, Claire Dellamare disappeared from her own fourth birthday party at the Hotel Tourmaline on the island of Folly Shoals, Maine. She showed up a year later at the same hotel, with a note pinned to her dress but no explanation. Nobody knows where Claire spent that year—and until now, Claire didn’t even know she had ever been missing.

But when Claire returns to the Hotel Tourmaline for a business meeting with her CEO father, disturbing memories begin to surface . . . despite her parents’ best efforts to keep them forgotten.

Luke Rocco lost his mother under equally mysterious circumstances—at the same time Claire disappeared. After a chance encounter reveals the unlikely link between them, Claire and Luke set out together to uncover the truth about what happened that fateful year.

With flashbacks swimming just beneath her consciousness and a murderer threatening her safety, Claire’s very life depends on unscrambling her past . . . even if her family refuses to acknowledge it. Someone—maybe everyone—is hiding something from Claire Dellamare, and it will cost her everything to drag the truth out into the light.

My thoughts

This book was far more intriguing and tense than I expected. The mystery starts straight away and there is no shortage of suspense, twists and tantalising clues. Readers are given little hints along the way, but there is enough to keep you guessing right to the very end. A fantastic romance and strong lead characters make this a very enjoyable book. 

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Book Review: Crumb

Crumb

Crumb: The Simple Pleasures of Baking – Ruby Tandoh – Ten Speed Press – Published 28 April 2015

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Synopsis

A baking cookbook from the young and talented Ruby Tandoh, with a focus on charming, flavorful, and practical dishes that celebrate the pleasure of casual baking.

Crumb’s explanatory and evocative prose promotes everyday baking without sacrificing the joy of the craft, defying the style of both showy, highly decorated baking as well as the dry, informative tone of “serious” baking books. A delight to read as well as to bake from, recipes like Sweet Potato Doughnuts, Pecan and Rosemary Tartlets, Raspberry Whisky Pavlova, and Blood Orange Polenta Cake are interspersed with the virtues of different types of apples, a reminiscence about Belgian buns, and a passage on the need to knead. Covering a range of baking projects from sweet to savory, chapters include cakes, cookies, bread, pastries, pies, tarts, and more.

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Review: Whenever You Come Around

Whenever You Come Around

Whenever You Come Around – Robin Lee Hatcher – Kings Meadow Romance – Thomas Nelson – Published 12 May 2015

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Synopsis

Charity Anderson turned her back on Kings Meadow years ago, with good reason, and has avoided visits to her hometown whenever possible. But with her house in Boise damaged by floodwaters and a book deadline bearing down, staying in her parents’ empty home seems her only option. However, being in Kings Meadow dredges up a painful secret, and old fears threaten to overwhelm her.

Charity’s former high school classmate Buck Malone never left town, instead sacrificing his dreams to take care of his family. Now he enjoys an uncomplicated life as a wilderness guide and confirmed bachelor. The last thing on his mind is settling down.

When Charity’s dog causes an accident that leaves Buck with a broken ankle and wrist at the start of prime tourist season, Charity has little choice but to render aid while he recuperates. Soon Buck becomes the inspiration for Charity’s hero, both on the page and off. Can he also help her face and overcome her fears so they might find their own happily ever after?

My thoughts

A great contemporary romance, with a charming small-town setting, sweet romance and beautiful writing style.
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Review: Ember in the Ashes

Ember in the ashes

Ember In The Ashes – Sabaa Tahir – Razorbill – Published 28 April 2015

Synopsis

Laia is a slave.
Elias is a soldier.
Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

My thoughts

This book was already on my to-read list, but when I saw a sample preview up for review I leapt at the chance to read it. Unfortunately it was only 20 pages long, which gave me just enough of a preview to be intrigued, slightly confused and needing more. It wasn’t really enough time to judge this book, but I can say that the characters sound intriguing. Told in two points of view, Laia seems like a confused and scared girl whose life is changed in one night and who must learn to be brave and clever to survive, while Elias is planning to risk his secure life for something in which he believes. I think the world building will be quite detailed, based on what is covered in those first few chapters. I’m not sure I understand much of it yet, but I guess it will be clarified as the story progresses.

The publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

More information

Category: Young adult fiction

Genre: Fantasy.

Age guide: 14 and up.

Themes: Fantasy and magic.

Published:  28 April 2015 by Razorbill

Format: Hardcover, ebook, paperback. 443 pages.

Author’s website: Sabaa Tahir

Find it on Goodreads

 

Review: A Love Like Ours

A love like ours

A Love Like Ours – Becky Wade – Porter Family #3 – Bethany House Publishers – Published 28 April 2015

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Synopsis

Former Marine Jake Porter has far deeper scars than the one that marks his face. He struggles with symptoms of PTSD, lives a solitary life, and avoids relationships.

When Lyndie James, Jake’s childhood best friend, lands back in Holley, Texas, Jake cautiously hires her to exercise his Thoroughbreds. Lyndie is tender-hearted, fiercely determined, and afraid of nothing, just like she was as a child. Jake pairs her with Silver Leaf, a horse full of promise but lacking in results, hoping she can solve the mystery of the stallion’s reluctance to run.

Though Jake and Lyndie have grown into very different adults, the bond that existed during their childhood still ties them together. Against Jake’s will, Lyndie’s sparkling, optimistic personality begins to tear down the walls he’s built around his heart. A glimmer of the hope he’d thought he’d lost returns, but fears and regrets still plague him. Will Jake ever be able to love Lyndie like she deserves, or is his heart too shattered to mend?

My thoughts

You know from the very first line that this book is going to be a romance. A toe-curling, glee-inducing romance. A romance based on friendship. A romance that suffers hard times. A swoon-worthy, quote-worthy, I-wish-that-was-me romance. And it delivers.

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Review: The Truth About Jack

The truth about jack

The Truth About Jack – Jody Gehrman – Entangled: Crush – Published 14 April 2015

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Synopsis

Dakota McCloud has just been accepted into a prestigious art school. Soon she’ll leave behind the artists’ colony where she grew up―hippie dad, tofu since birth, yurt―and join her boyfriend and best friend on the East Coast. It was the plan…until Dakota finds out her boyfriend and best friend hooked up behind her back.

Hurt and viciously betrayed, Dakota pours out her heart on a piece of paper, places it in a bottle, and hurls it into the ocean. But it doesn’t quite go where she expects…

Jack Sauvage finds the bottle washed up on the shore and responds to Dakota’s letter. Except what if his straight-laced life doesn’t jive with the free-spirited girl he’s only seen from afar? As Jack creates a persona he believes she’ll love, they slowly fall for each other with each new letter. Now Jack is trying to find a way to make this delicate, on-paper romance happen in real life…without revealing his deception.

 

My thoughts

“There’s beauty out there and we’re going to find it”.

When Jack first saw the mysterious and intriguing girl in the coffee shop, he didn’t know how hard it would be to gather the courage to reach out to her. Finding her on a beach and later discovering her message in a bottle gives him the opening he needs.

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Top Book Releases for April 2015 – Christian Fiction

April 2015 - Christian

 April 2015

It seems there are ever-increasing numbers of fantastic books published each month and April 2015 looks set to be a month to remember for new and exciting books. With so many on offer I have split my April 2015 list into categories. Here are the Christian fiction books that have particularly caught my interest. You can find the list of Young adult releases here.

Christian Fiction

Double CrossDouble Cross – DiAnn Mills – FBI: Houston #2 – Tyndale House Publishers – Published 1 April 2015

Double Cross has all the makings of a great Christian, romantic suspense. A Houston Police Officer and a FBI Agent cross paths during an investigation into an insurance fraud case that has turned personal for them both. 

There are lots of surprise twists and the romance is beautifully sweet.

Christian Fiction. Suspense.


 Buried SecretsBuried Secrets – Irene Hannon – Men of Valor #1 – Revell – Published 7 April 2015

Buried Secrets is the most engaging romantic suspense I have read for a while. 

The romance is particularly well written in this book. From the first moment Mac McGregor, detective and ex-Navy SEAL, puts his foot in it, you know his relationship with Police Chief Lisa Grant is going to be highly entertaining. 

Christian Fiction. Suspense. Continue reading

Top Book Releases for April 2015 – Young Adult

April 2015 - Young AdultApril 2015

It seems there are ever-increasing numbers of fantastic books published each month and April 2015 looks set to be a month to remember for new and exciting books. With so many on offer I have split my April 2015 list into categories. Here are the young adult books that have particularly caught my interest.

Young Adult

The truth about us

 The Truth About Us – Janet Gurtler – Sourcebooks Fire – Published 7 April 2015

Jess is sent by her father to volunteer at a soup kitchen. Instead of being a punishment for her crimes, Jess finds New Beginnings to be inspiring and eye opening.

It’s hard to find the right word to describe this book. Touching. Beautiful. Moving. Surprising. None of those adequately cover how great this book is. I had a huge grin on my face for most of this book. Any yet it grabs you with its honesty. 

Young Adult Fiction: Contemporary. Romance. Social Issues. Friendship and relationships.


 

Queen of Bright and Shiny Things

The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things – Ann Aguirre – Feiwel and Friends – Published 7 April 2015

“Sage Czinski is trying really hard to be perfect. If she manages it, people won’t peer beyond the surface, or ask hard questions about her past. She’s learned to substitute causes for relationships, and it’s working just fine… until Shane Cavendish strolls into her math class. He’s a little antisocial, a lot beautiful, and everything she never knew she always wanted.”

This one sounds an exciting contemporary.

Young Adult Fiction: Contemporary. Romance. Continue reading