22 September 2017

Review: If There's No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

If There's No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published September 5th, 2017 by Harlequin Teen
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A single choice can change everything.

Lena Wise is always looking forward to tomorrow, especially at the start of her senior year. She’s ready to pack in as much friend time as possible, to finish college applications, and to maybe let her childhood best friend Sebastian know how she really feels about him. For Lena, the upcoming year is going to be epic—one of opportunities and chances.

Until one choice, one moment, destroys everything.

Now Lena isn’t looking forward to tomorrow. Not when friend time may never be the same. Not when college applications feel all but impossible. Not when Sebastian might never forgive her for what happened.

For what she let happen.

With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when she and her friends’ entire existences have been redefined? How can she move on when tomorrow isn’t even guaranteed?

My thoughts… **spoilers**


I do enjoy Jennifer L. Armentrout immensely and I knew that I would eventually purchase There's No Tomorrow, I stayed away from spoilers and I wasn’t aware of what “A single choice can change everything” would mean in this book. I had a suspicion of teen pregnancy, I was way off and completely surprised, because I have experienced the loss of someone I loved, twice, because of a drunk driver.
           
Lena is about to begin her senior year of high school. She enjoys hanging out with her friends but she isn't a party type and doesn't like to drink, she rather stay home and read a book. Lena’s goal is to enjoy her final year of high school, work hard for that volleyball scholarship, she’s also dealing with the fact that she’s in love with Sebastian and she is ready to tell him. Sebastian is her best friend, and her next-door neighbor. They have known each other for nearly ten years and have been inseparable. What she doesn't know is that he had always been in love with her as well. It’s looking like it is going to be a great year for her… until everything changes.

After the accident happens, Lena shuts down and shuts everyone out. Her response is completely understandable, she made a bad decision. She feels guilty that she was the lone survivor and can’t stop blaming herself for the accident, if only she could have been more persistent and drove the car herself, her friends would still be alive.

This book deals with tough issues… death, grief, counseling, underage drinking, drink and driving, it’s heartbreaking and sad. Lena goes through so much and must work through her feelings, it was an emotional journey to experience. The slow-burn romance between Sebastian and Lena was so adorable and I loved seeing them open and honest with each other.

I think every teenager and adult should read this book, because it really makes you think about your choices and what would you do in this situation. It is a tragedy that is only too real and something that people face all the time. My best friend Amy passed away in 1988 while driving in a car with someone who had been drinking that evening, she was 18. Five years ago, my cousin Kayla and her friend Ally were also in a car with a drunk driver, the driver loss control, Kayla and Ally were ejected and died instantly, her other friends in the car were hospitalized. This week (19 Sept) would have been Kayla’s 19th birthday.  -J

Kayla 

20 September 2017

Review: Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
Kindle Edition, 290 pages
Published June 6th, 2017 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.

Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore.

As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.

 My thoughts…


Henry and Rachel have been best friends since grade school and later Rachel’s feeling turn to love for Henry, but, Henry is infatuated with the pretty new girl in school, Amy. Rachel felt that she needed to tell Henry how she felt before she moved away. She wrote him a letter and tucked it inside his favorite book at his family's bookstore, Howling Books. Rachel waited for him to come to her, but he never came. On the morning she is to leave, he texts her to say he overslept. Rachel realized it was time to put Henry and their relationship behind her. Eventually she stopped all communication with him.

Three years later and after her brother’s drowning death, Rachel is dealing with a lot of pain and guilt about Cals death. Her mother sends her to live with her aunt and when she comes back to town she wants to avoid Henry. It’s not so easy since they have the same friends and her aunt set up a job for her working at Howling Books, alongside Henry.

When Rachel moves back, Henry is surprised that Rachel hadn't missed him and he cannot understand how his best friend could have forgotten him. Rachel is completely different from when she left, she is beautiful and she is closed off and not willing to share anything with him. While Henry is trying to figure out what’s going on with Rachel, Amy breaks up with Henry (once again), but Henry wants her back desperately. He is also dealing with his divorcing parents deciding to keep or sell the bookstore, which is also the family home upstairs.

Howling Books is such a unique setting, a beautiful store that brings people together and it’s Rachel’s job to catalog the books, letters and writings in The Letter Library. The Letter Library is a section of books that are not for sale, customers can write comments, poetry, quotes or draw whatever they like in those books and some use those books to write messages to their secret admire. It’s in those books that Rachel discovers her brothers writing, to a secret admirer of his own.

Rachel keeps Cal’s death secret for the most part of the book. It wasn’t easy for Rachel to learn to live with her loss, but she grew to become accepting of her new reality without Cal. As Henry and Rachel rebuild their friendship, she still struggles with why he never responded to the letter she tucked away in his favorite book. For most of the book, I was angry and frustrated with Henry. He believed that Amy, the selfish girlfriend, was the one for him and she would come back to him once again. It takes Henry quite some time to realize just how wonderful and perfect Rachel was for him.

Words in Deep Blue was much more than just Rachel and Henry’s friendship/romance, it was about grief, family relationships, and friendship. Overall, I liked the book.

Happy Reading -J 
17 September 2017

Review: The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah E. Ladd

The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah E. Ladd
Jackie Schlicher (Narrator)
(Whispers on the Moors #1)
Audiobook, Duration: 11:03:13
Published April 8th, 2013 by Thomas Nelson
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Pride goes before the fall . . . but what comes after?

Darbury, England, 1814

Amelia Barrett, heiress to an ancestral estate nestled in the English moors, defies family expectations and promises to raise her dying friend’s infant baby. She'll risk everything to keep her word—even to the point of proposing to the child’s father, Graham, a sea captain she’s never met.

Tragedy strikes when the child vanishes with little more than a sketchy ransom note hinting to her whereabouts. Fear for the child’s safety drives Amelia and Graham to test the boundaries of their love for this infant.

Amelia’s detailed plans would normally see her through any trial, but now, desperate and shaken, she examines her soul and must face her one weakness: pride.

Graham’s strength and self-control have served him well and earned him much respect, but chasing perfection has kept him a prisoner of his own discipline.

Both must learn to accept God’s sovereignty and relinquish control so they can grasp the future He has for planned for them.

My thoughts…


Amelia Barrett must marry before her 24th birthday to inherit her family ancestral estate. After her parents died, her uncle oversaw the estate until Amelia would marry. While her family has encouraged her engagement to Edward Littleton, soon to be her uncle's business partner, Amelia resists.

The closer they come to their wedding day, the more Amelia sees of Edward's true nature, and doesn't want to marry him. Amelia promised her friend, Katherine, on her death bed to take care of her baby Lucy. Amelia loves Lucy as if she was her own child, but Edward doesn't want to take her in and spend money raising another man’s child. After the marriage, he want’s Lucy gone from the estate.

When Lucy's father, naval Captain Graham Sterling, arrives to see Lucy for the first time, his plans are straightforward: hire a nurse for his daughter's care and return to his ship and crew. But Graham didn't count on Amelia's determination and strong will to remain in Lucy's life, Amelia proposes to him a marriage of convenience. It is the only way to keep her promise to her deceased friend to never leave Lucy. Graham is surprised by Amelia's proposal.

After some serious thought, Graham accepts Amelia’s marriage proposal. Things go bad, we have a jealous rejected fiancĂ©, an uncle who sees his business falling apart and Graham's drunken brother who needs money to pay his gambling debts, and Lucy is missing. Someone has taken Lucy and her nurse during the night and is holding them for ransom. Now it’s up to Graham and Amelia find Lucy and to protect a future suddenly more precious to them.

Amelia and Graham are both strong characters that I truly enjoyed. The romance was as expected for Christian fiction, I would have liked a little more angst between them and more of an attraction, but it was still enjoyable.


Happy Reading -J  
13 September 2017

Review: Wired by Julie Garwood

Wired by Julie Garwood
(Buchanan-Renard #13)
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published July 4th, 2017 by Berkley
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

A beautiful computer hacker and a bad-boy FBI agent must collaborate—in more ways than one—in the sizzling new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Julie Garwood.

Allison Trent doesn’t look like a hacker. In fact, when she’s not in college working on her degree, she models on the side. But behind her gorgeous face is a brilliant mind for computers and her real love is writing—and hacking—code. Her dream is to write a new security program that could revolutionize the tech industry.

Hotshot FBI agent Liam Scott has a problem: a leak deep within his own department. He needs the skills of a top-notch hacker to work on a highly sensitive project: to secretly break into the FBI servers and find out who the traitor is. But he can’t use one of his own. He finds the perfect candidate in Allison. Only, there’s one problem—she wants nothing to do with his job and turns him down flat.

What Liam doesn’t know is that Allison is hiding secrets that she doesn’t want the FBI to uncover. But Liam will do nearly anything to persuade her to join his team, even break a few rules if that’s what it takes. A temptation that could put his job—and both of their futures—on the line…
and longing for more . . .

My thoughts…  **spoilers**


This is the first book by Julie Garwood that I’ve read and when I purchased it I wasn’t aware that it was part of the Buchanan-Renard series, book #13. Even though it is part of a series it can be read as a standalone.

Allison Trent is hacker, but a good hacker, the kind that steals the money back from other hackers and then sends it to the FBI along with a note. Allison is finally getting close to graduating and is looking forward to moving far away from her aunt and uncle and closer to her sister and new brother in law.  

Allison writes code and hacking as an escape from her aunt, uncle and cousin. They raised her and her sister after their parent’s death and they always seem to remind Allison of how ungrateful she is and how much that had to give up for her and her sister. Allison is also tall and beautiful, she has a part time job as a model for her designer friend. Most of her earned money goes to her aunt and uncle or helping pay for her cousins’ legal problems.

Liam Scott, a FBI agent, was working on a case that he was about to close until someone leaked information about the case. The FBI Cyber Task Force cannot find the person or individuals responsible for the leak. It became Liam’s job to recruit Allison to help the FBI with discovering who leaked the information from the inside.

Working for the FBI or any other government agency was not something Allison wanted to do, especially since they never discovered that she was behind sending the FBI the stolen money and notes. After Liam promised her immunity from her previous hacks, this was a challenge for her and she couldn’t resist. Allison signed a six-month contract to work with the FBI, during that time she only saw Liam a few times since he travels around the world doing secret FBI stuff.

During the time Liam was in town they would have sex but they don’t talk about it and pretend it didn’t happen. Then Liam leaves out of town for work and leaves her without a goodbye. He comes back into town and doesn’t call Allison, she usually finds out that he has been back for some time. I couldn’t believe that Allison and Liam had any relationship since he was always away with no contact, the romance didn’t work for me. I felt sorry for Allison, she let Liam treat her dismissively, almost like a one-night stand and she would never stand up to him about her feelings.

Overall, I liked the book in the beginning, but when the ‘relationship’ started it was bland and based only on sex, it wasn’t a deep emotional romance that I was expecting. Allison deserved someone better. I probably wouldn’t read another book in this series, but I would consider other books by Julie Garwood, perhaps one of her historical romances.

Happy Reading -J  
10 September 2017

Review: When It’s Real by Erin Watt

When It’s Real by Erin Watt
Caitlin Kelly - Narrator
Teddy Hamilton – Narrator
Audiobook, Duration: 11:47:37
Published May 30th, 2017 by Harlequin Enterprises
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

From #1 New York Times bestselling author duo Erin Watt comes the addictive contemporary tale of a teen rock star in need of an image makeover and the teen girl hired to be his fake girlfriend.

Meet Oakley Ford-teen celebrity, renowned pop star, child of famous movie stars, hottie with millions of fangirls… and restless troublemaker. On the surface he has it all, but with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry, and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley's team decides it's time for an intervention. The result: an image overhaul, complete with a fake girlfriend meant to show the world he's settled down.

Enter seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett-devoted sister, part-time waitress, the definition of "normal." Under ordinary circumstances she'd never have taken this gig, but with her family strapped for cash, she doesn't have much of a choice. And for the money Oakley's team is paying her, she figures she can put up with outlandish Hollywood parties and a team of publicists watching her every move. So what if she thinks Oakley's a shallow, self-centered jerk? It's not like they're going to fall for each other in real life…right?

My thoughts…


As soon as I started listening to the first chapter, I was hooked.

Vaughn is not the type to date a famous pop star, she has sacrificed her college life to waitress and financially help her older sister support their younger siblings after their parents were killed. The publicity team behind Oakley Ford is willing to pay her twenty thousand dollars a month to pretend to be his girlfriend. Vaughn already has a boyfriend, but when the opportunity to date Oak falls in her lap, she can't pass it up, her family needs the money.

Oak became a huge hit when he was young and has grown up in the spotlight, due to his singing career and famous parents. Now that he's an adult he wants to change his sound and wants to be taken more seriously, the music he created in the past is no longer working for him. Oaks reputation has recently turned negative due his outrageous exploits and he is willing to do just about anything to work with the producer of his dreams, even if it means fake dating a nice average girl.

Vaughn and Oak started out barely tolerating each other and were total opposites. Oak was used to the fame and the crazy stuff that came along with it, fan girls, paparazzi, tabloid stories and the privacy invasion. But Vaughn is new to this and after signing the contract and the NDA, her life spiraled into something she wasn’t expecting. Oaks publicity managers, PR consultants, and lawyers calculated their public meetings, until Oak took control of his own social network accounts and began doing things with Vaughn that is PR consultants did know about.

Vaughn does have a boyfriend in the beginning of the book and she does ask him to sign the NDA, he was aware that she will be kissing another guy. I didn’t think of it as a love triangle because it's clear to anyone that her boyfriend is a selfish jerk.

I enjoyed the banter and the sexual tension build between Vaughn and Oak, the more time they spent together the more they saw past their initial impressions and formed a friendship. I really loved watching Oak fall for Vaughn, he didn't want to, but it happened and it was beautiful. There is some ex-boyfriend and family drama but the cute and sweet moments I just loved.

This is the first book that I’ve read (listened to) by Erin Watt, the two bestselling authors Elle Kennedy and Jen Frederick. I have The Royal’s Series by Erin Watt on Kindle and I’m very much looking forward to reading it. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

Happy Reading -J

09 September 2017

National Mill Dog Rescue

Today after our Mountain Shadow Riders (MSR) chapter meeting a group of us toured the National Mill Dog Rescue facility. We also brought along a small donation of $500 that our members generously donated at each chapter meeting for the past months. National Mill Dog Rescue (NMDR) saves commercial breeding dogs from puppy mills, giving them a final chance to find happiness and comfort in a loving home. More than 11,800 dogs have been rescued (and counting...) We met some of the dogs that are available for adoption and countless volunteers.

My heart broke for all the doggies… I just wanted to bring them all home, maybe I can convince my husband to let you adopt at least one. So many dogs are being helped by this amazing organization. If you have chance please visit NMDR to see the dogs available for adoption, donate or perhaps if your local to Colorado Springs they are always in need of volunteers. You can also follow NMDR on Facebook.

Thank you for visiting -J  














06 September 2017

Review: The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian

The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian
Kindle Edition, 333 pages
Published January 5th, 2016 by Vintage
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

When Kristin Chapman agrees to let her husband, Richard, host his brother’s bachelor party, she expects a certain amount of debauchery. She brings their young daughter to Manhattan for the evening, leaving her Westchester home to the men and their hired entertainment. What she does not expect is this: bacchanalian drunkenness, her husband sharing a dangerously intimate moment in the guest room, and two women stabbing and killing their Russian bodyguards before driving off into the night.

In the aftermath, Kristin and Richard’s life rapidly spirals into nightmare. The police throw them out of their home, now a crime scene, Richard’s investment banking firm puts him on indefinite leave, and Kristin is unsure if she can forgive her husband for the moment he shared with a dark-haired girl in the guest room. But the dark-haired girl, Alexandra, faces a much graver danger. In one breathless, violent night, she is free, running to escape the police who will arrest her and the gangsters who will kill her in a heartbeat. A captivating, chilling story about shame and scandal, The Guest Room is a riveting novel from one of our greatest storytellers

My thoughts…


Richard's brother, Philip, is getting married and Richards wife thinks it will be best to have the bachelor party in their home. That way Richard can control the situation and things can’t get out hand. They both suspects that Philip's friend Spencer may be hiring strippers for the occasion.

Alexandra and Sonja arrive at the party along with their guards, after just finding out about the murder of their friend Crystal. They both fear that after the party they will be murdered next. Things escalate quickly from drinking, partying, sex and then suddenly to murder of the two Russian guards.

Richard’s home becomes a crime scene covered in blood and it is obvious that sex occurred in his daughter’s bedroom. What was to be a simple bachelor party ends up threatening his marriage and his career, because Richard went upstairs to The Guest Room with Alexandra.

Alexandra shares her history in alternating chapters as the current disaster of Richard’s life unfolds. Alexandra, (Anahit), the young Armenian girl, is taken from her home in at the age of fifteen, after her mother dies. She is sent to Moscow, thinking she is on her way to become a ballerina. Instead, Anahit is introduced into the cruelties of the sex trade and later sent the New York City, along with Sonja and Crystal.

This was an okay read for me, and I like the chapters of Richard and his family trying to rebuild their relationship more so than Anahit’s background with the sex trade, probably because human trafficking is a tough subject matter. I’m sure I would have given this novel more stars, if not for the ending. It was very unexpected and honestly, I didn’t like it.

This is the first book I have ever read by Chris Bohjalian, I certainly will be reading another one, hopefully the one sitting on my shelf, The Sleepwalker.


Happy Reading -J