Tag Archives: contemporary romance

Book Review: “Forgiven”

In keeping with our “Month of Romance” theme for February, this week’s reading was Forgiven by Rebecca Brooke.

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This book is an Indie contemporary romance – the first Indie book of our book challenge.

Forgiven introduces us to an unlikely romance between two hurting and healing college students. Angie is a beautiful girl who doesn’t know her self worth, recovering from an emotionally abusive childhood. Caleb is a mysterious, handsome student with a shady past, who keeps people at an arm’s distance, and believes he will never find love. The two are forced together for a school project, but can they break down the others’ defenses enough to act on their immediate attraction? Can they ever learn to forgive their pasts enough to fall in love?

This book had a lot of really great attributes. Brooke does a fabulous job characterizing every player in the book’s plot. The characters are so well defined that a reader feels as if they are real people, rather than words on the page. Even secondary characters are backed up with enough “life” that they are realistic and lovable (or loathe-able). While the plot is a little basic (virginal girl + mysterious boy = true love that overcomes all obstacles), I found myself – when not reading – wondering what Angie and Caleb would come up against next. The action is constant, leaving little time for emotionally recovery, but the action is so very intriguing that I found it easy to forgive the hurried feeling the plot left me with. You spend most of the book wondering what traumatic event has left Caleb so closed off to love, or what horrible thing will happen to Angie next.

Brooke has a marvelous voice. Her writing style is engaging enough to keep you interested, yet simple enough to help the pages turn quickly. There are a few “over-the-top” plot points that left me rolling my eyes, but on the whole, the novel was inviting. Romance fans everywhere need to discover Brooke, and will absolutely rejoice in her well-developed romance. Caleb is a great leading man, and a refreshing option for younger audiences when compared with the lackluster man/boys of many options for younger adult audience. The college atmosphere is attractive for a romance, and can appeal to anyone in college or who has ever been to college. This is a great romance option for those too grown up for Young Adult romances, yet contemporary enough to want a youthful cast of characters.

Overall, I enjoyed Brooke’s novel. I read it in two days (mainly because I couldn’t keep my eyes open after reading until 2 a.m.), and would happily pick up another of Brooke’s novels. While I’m not usually a “romance novel” fan, I found enough in Brooke’s plot and characters to give this book a solid 3 out of 5, and would without fear recommend Forgiven to all romance fans!

What about you? Have you read Forgiven? Have you read any of Brooke’s novels? Are you a fan of contemporary or Indie romances? Leave your thoughts below!

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Week 25 Reading: “Forgiven”

This week, in keeping with our “Romance” theme for February, I am picking up a publication that was given to me by Book Enthusiast Promotions  – a company that helps promote Indie authors. This week’s reading is Forgiven by Rebecca Brooke.

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I love the idea of reviewing a book for an Indie author, and this one fit right into our theme. I was looking for a great contemporary romance, and an Indie book, for the challenge, and this one looks like a winner. It’s the story of a college romance, which is nice, cause we’ve had a few adult romance, but I’m trying to avoid the “young adult” stories. Because this book is an Indie book, you may have a hard time finding it at your library or bookstore. You CAN, however, find the eBook version (in any format) at Smashwords (CLICK HERE) for an amazing $0.99!

I’m sure you’ll find it worth the lofty investment (plus, I’d love to know others are reaching out to this Indie book and author).

I’m excited to read this one, and hope you’ll read along with me. If you can’t find it (or don’t have access to an eReader), I hope you’ll look back at the past readings of this challenge and take this week as an opportunity to catch up, or find a book that interests you!

Happy Reading

 

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Book Review: “Celtic Moon”

Rounding out our “New” theme for January reading, we tackled a book I found in the “New Sci-Fi” section of the book store – Celtic Moon by Jan DeLima. Not only is the book “new” (with an October 2013 publication date), it is DeLima’s first publication, making her a “new author,” and is also the first in a projected series (no other publications so far), the Celtic Wolves series.

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Okay, I’ve got a mixed review going on here. This book had a lot of really good things going for it… but it also had a lot of things that made me roll my eyes in frustration and exasperation.

Celtic Moon is a story about a woman in her 30s (yay! No teenage angst!) who’s 15 year old son is experiencing…. supernatural… problems (okay, minimal teenage angst). Sophie has spent the last 15 years in hiding from her husband, the father of his baby, after a shocking experience watching him change into a wolf! Desperate to keep her child away from that world, a pregnant Sophie leaves, but when her son Joshua starts showing some family traits, Sophie makes the hard decision to return to Dylan, her husband. On his territory, Dylan is the alpha wolf and leader of an ancient group of wolves. Sophie’s reappearance causes Dylan to experience everything from overwhelming joy to deadly fear, as his tribe is on the brink of a long-anticipated war with other ancient shape shifters.

Are you following?

Okay. Good points first. Celtic Moon was a very exciting book. There is non-stop action that would appeal to audiences of all ages and sexes. I could absolutely see a teenage girl, her grandmother, and her preteen brother, enjoying the action in this book. There’s a little bit of something for everyone – enough “teenage problems” for the teenagers, enough fantasy for the fantasy fans, and a good chunk of romance thrown in. DeLima has a wonderful voice, and her characters truly speak for themselves. Each character is well developed, and you feel like you know these people instantly, despite learning their internal struggles throughout the book. They continue to grow as the story develops, making you sympathize with their actions, and want to know more about them. DeLima has a wonderful way with setting the scene – I really felt like I could see and hear everything the characters were seeing and hearing. She also had a lot of history and Celtic mythology in her novel, which was exceptionally interesting! In short, this book was fun, exciting, and descriptive.

Now the bad points. Maybe I should have done my research before hand, but I was NOT expecting all the SEX. I had assumed (by the cover… yes, literally “judging a book by its cover” over here) that it was bordering on Young Adult classification, but if this is young adult, my kids are reading children’s books until they are 20. Yes, yes – I said this book could be enjoyed by audiences of all ages – but I meant the action sequences… not the action sequences. There was a surprisingly heavy romance story, and it was fueled by a lot of sex scenes which were more graphic than that trashy romance novel I read in December (‘Twas the Night After Christmas). I’m no prude, I enjoy a good sex scene… but they were kind of out of place in this novel. Perhaps I desperately wanted it to be a fun action story rather than a sappy romance, and maybe my anticipation for a good fantasy got in the way, but the sex scenes just kind of… irked me. I feel like DeLima is limiting readership by throwing that in. This was a book I would have gladly passed on to my teenage cousins, and instead I feel a little ashamed for recommending it to my mother.

Sex scenes aside, there were a few minor things that got under my skin while reading this book. Joshua, the transforming teenager, seems to accept his fate without question or surprise. As if a 15 year old who realizes they are shockingly different than their peers would just accept it as totally normal… let alone them having to accept they are a WOLF. I also had a hard time separating this book from the dreaded Twilight in my head. While this book was MUCH better written, and the characters were MUCH less abusive, I couldn’t help but see the parallels between the loves stories (they are truly star crossed lovers, and the fact that she now will age just as slowly as him seems a little… sappy), and the underlying plot (a sect of evil shapeshifters are out to stop the rebels… hello, Volturi vs. Cullens). It just felt a little unoriginal at points, and almost like it was sapping off the glory that was Twilight. That being said, this book was MUCH better than Twilight and deserves the cult following much more than that series.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I’d give this book a solid 3. The flaws I saw in it were minor, and were really based off of my personal preferences. Anyone who is a fan of the contemporary fantasy genre will LOVE this book. I will most certainly be picking up the second book in the series when it is published, and that alone speaks of its success.

How about you? Have you read Celtic Moon? If you have, what did you think? If you haven’t, are you interested in picking it up?

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February Reading List

Hey there, friends! I just finished off the February reading list, and wanted to release it so you had time to request books from the library, find books at the used book store, or get your ebook copies! February’s theme is “Month of Romance” (in honor of Valentine’s Day), and I think I’ve put together a great selection of books to get us in the romantic mood!

Feb. 2 – 8 – I Love You, Ronnie – by Nancy Reagan

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We’re going to kick off this romantic month with a recommendation. My amazing friend Haley recommended this book, which includes letters written by Ronald Reagan to his wife, Nancy. The book covers the breadth of their relationship – from the acting days, to the presidency, and beyond. Haley claims Ronald Reagan is “the most romantic man ever.” It will be fascinating to see more into this historic American’s life, as well as his long relationship with his wife. I can’t wait to tackle this book, and I hope you’ll read it with me! This bit of biographical literature will be a wonderful way to get us in the romantic mood!

 

Feb. 9 – 15 – Anne of Green Gables – L. M. Montgomery

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This book is another recommendation, from my lovely friend Alyssa. I have, to my shame, never read Anne of Green Gables, although I was a very big reader as a child. This book is considered a youth fiction, but also falls under the category of romance – and I can’t wait to find out why. With two daughters, I’m always on the search for youth-appropriate, classic literature, and Anne of Green Gables could possibly be a winner. Add to that that Alyssa and I have always had the same taste in books, and this is bound to be a great selection for this month!

 

Feb. 16 – 22 – Forgiven – Rebecca Brooke

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Well, you might have a hard time finding this book. I was actually given this book along with the opportunity to have my review shared on a book promotions Web site (time to broaden my reading horizons), but you may be able to find an e-copy of it on the Web (try Amazon). This is a contemporary romance, and seems to be a promising addition to our reading list. I hope you’ll find a copy and read along!!

 

Feb. 23 – March 1 – Justine – Lawrence Durrell

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I have a little confession to make… my mom (HI MOM) got me this book, and the other Alexandria Quartet books, for Christmas about two years ago, and they have been sitting on my shelves, unread. I normally read everything my mom hands me, and I trust her judgment 100%, so I finally dug this one out! This blog has given me an excuse to tackle books that have been collecting dust for a while! Justine is the first in the Alexandria Quartet, and is our historical fiction novel for the month. From the brief research I’ve done about it, I’ve found the words “romance,” “erotic,” and “religious following” thrown around on more than one occasion… sounds promising! I hope you’ll pick this one up, and read with me!

Well, there you have it! Our reading list for February, our “Month of Romance.” It’s going to be a great month of reading, and I hope you’ll join me. You’ll notice I avoided the “trashy romance novel” genre for this month… and you’re probably surprised. I thought it was just a little obvious and… well… you know I hate them. I hope you’ll read at least one (and hopefully more) of these books with me! Remember, we’re looking for a “book club” feel, and I want to know what you think!!

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Book Review: “How To Kill a Rock Star”

This week, we tackled a “new” book keeping with our January themeHow to Kill a Rock Star by Tiffanie DeBartolo.

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I actually was gifted this book from an online drawing at The Book Bosses, one of my favorite book blogs out there. After winning the online drawing (I was shocked because I never win ANYTHING), I received this book, signed with a message from the author. Check it out!!!

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When I was told I won, The Book Bosses told me “I’m so jealous.” Vote of confidence #1. When I opened up the package, my amazing friend Anna was there. She snatched the book out of my hand, and explained how much she loved this book and this author. Vote of confidence #2.

This book was NOT what I was expecting… and I mean that in all good ways!

The story line is rather simple: Eliza, young woman in her mid-20s, needs to start a new life for herself. Driven by her deep, inspired love of rock n’roll, she scores a lucky interview with one of the world’s leading rock stars (and her hero). With his help, she moves from the suburbs to New York City to start her job at a huge music magazine. There she meets her brother’s bandmate (and her roommate) Paul, an aspiring rocker with more than enough talent, good looks, and passion. Their budding romance is coupled by Paul’s rise to fame – but can their love handle the riggers of the music industry?

I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!! I cannot say it enough. You all know (because I’ve said it time and again) that I am NOT a fan of romances, but this book has just enough love, heartache, redemption, and rock n’ roll to keep me interested. The story is actually pretty basic, but it was DeBartolo’s writing style that kept me hooked. I really felt like I was Eliza, suffering her pains and fears, enjoying her elation and successes. DeBartolo has a way of really implanting into the heart and mind of her reader, inviting us to share in the shared experiences of love, loss, and the balm music is to the soul.

DeBartolo’s underlying theme of music really makes the novel a winner as far as I’m concerned. Regardless of a person’s taste in music, I think we can all agree that music has a way of speaking to us, a way of reaching us as nothing else can. We can truly find our emotions in music, and music is one way we can share those emotions with others. The melancholy of minor keys, the passion behind lyrics, the way we are able to connect with a perfect stranger because we know exactly how they were feeling when they wrote the song… DeBartolo uses that shared experience to make us fall in love with her characters. DeBartolo speaks to my inner music lover (music worshiper?) – something which made me feel 100 times more connected to her characters than I have ever felt about book characters before.

This was a book I had a hard time putting down! I really found myself thinking about the characters during the day – wondering what they were going to do next, how they were feeling, sympathizing with their pleasures and pains. It was as if Eliza and Paul were my friends who were experiencing this story, and that, to me, is the sign of a well written book!!

The last few chapters of the book are quite a shock, and don’t be surprised if you find yourself reaching for the tissue box more than once. DeBartolo’s words are honest, raw, emotion-filled, and absolutely breathtaking! Really, folks – this is a MUST READ!!! You will NOT be disappointed that you picked this one up (and you can thank me later)!!

You need to buy this book now!! While you’re at it, buy a copy for a friend! I cannot stop singing DeBartolo’s praises. This might possibly be my favorite book of the book challenge so far (this is book #20 for those of you who haven’t been following along). I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to spread the word about this novel or this author, and I am everlastingly grateful to The Book Bosses for introducing me to both!

Any thoughts? Have you read this book, or any other by DeBartolo? Do you believe in rock n’ roll? Can music save your mortal soul? Are you inspired to pick up DeBartolo’s novel?

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Week 20 Reading: “How to Kill a Rock Star”

This week we’re tackling our 20th book – I can’t believe we’ve gotten so far in a few short months! Keeping with January’s “New” theme, I chose a book that is “new to me,” and also falls under the genre “contemporary” (meaning modern, or new). This week we’re tackling How to Kill a Rock Star by Tiffanie DeBartolo.

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You might have a hard time finding this one. Libraries might not have it yet, but it can be found at book stores. If you’re anxious to read along, you can find the eBook of How to Kill a Rock Star by clicking on the link. I hope you’ll read along, because I’m very excited about this book.

I have had this book sitting on my shelf for about a month, and have been anxious to read it. I won it in an online drawing from a great book blog, The Book Bosses. A HUGE thank you to the ladies over there, who hooked me up with a personalized, autographed copy of this book, direct from Tiffanie DeBartolo herself. I felt so honored that I wanted to read it right away, but I couldn’t quite make it fit with the “Holiday” themed reading of December.

The description on this book is rather vague, but it looks like it will contain romance and rock n’ roll – two very good things. I’m not usually a fan of romance (as I’m sure you are well aware of by now), and I usually go more for classics than contemporary, but I’m so excited to read this book (in case you haven’t gotten that by me saying it 100 times in this blog post already)! I hope you’ll be able to find it – try checking used book stores, your local book retailer, or if you have an eReader, you should be able to find a compatible eBook version of it.

Happy Reading.

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New Year, New Reading List

Happy New Year, my friends! It’s hard to believe it’s already 2014 – I feel exceptionally old! I know I missed my initial post for this week’s reading, but my little bug came back, and I’ve been battling what I think to be The Dreaded Flu for the last week. This week we are reading I am Regina by Sally M. Keehn, which is technically a children’s book.

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I picked it anyway, because it is a beautiful piece of historical fiction about a young girl kidnapped by Native Americans in the late 18th Century American wilderness. That, and I haven’t read a youth fiction for his book challenge, yet! But more on that this weekend!

It’s time for the reveal of the January reading list. In honor of the New Year, the theme for January reading is “New.” I think I’ve assembled a pretty interesting group of books that will inspire us to keeping up with this reading challenge this month, and for the rest of 2014!

Jan. 5 – 11 – The White Queen – Philippa Gregory

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Okay, so this book isn’t technically (or in any way) “new,” having been published in 2009. But it is “new to me.” My sister actually got it as a Christmas present from our mother, but as she has already read it, she passed it on to me for a quick read before returning it to her ever expanding bookshelves (a girl after my own heart). I’m very excited to read this book, as I’ve heard wonderful things about it, and it was actually recommended to me by my friend Dee (hi, Dee!) back when I started my blog. With great reviews from my sister, I decided it was time to open this brand-spanking-new book, and give it a shot. It should prove to be a wonder work of historical fiction (my favorite, as I’m sure you know by now), and I always love a good, strong female lead.

 

Jan. 12 – 18 – How to Kill a Rock Star – Tiffanie DeBartolo

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I’m SO EXCITED to finally crack this book open. I actually won this book in an online drawing (I never win ANYTHING!), from an awesome book blog I follow, called The Book Bosses (thanks ladies!)… if you haven’t been to their site, you should check them out! This book actually came to me personally signed by the author (which makes it extra awesome!). When I opened it up, my friend Anna was with me and snatched it right out of my hands, singing DeBartolo’s praises for another novel she had written. With such praise for the author, I know this one will be a winner as well, and I can’t wait to dive in. The story is a contemporary romance (“contemporary” = new… and it is “new to me”), and while we all know I’m not a HUGE fan of romance novels, this one looks pretty promising!

 

Jan. 19 – 25 – Hero – Rhonda Byrne

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This book falls under the “new” requirements in two ways: it is the newest in the The Secret series (and was published in November of 2013), and is a New Age book. If you know nothing about The Secret, the books (Hero being #4) are about the power of the mind, and how self-affirmation can truly change your life. If you have Netflix (or YouTube), watch the documentary entitled The Secret to learn more about the power of suggestion! This book expands on The Secret, exploring how we can all be our truest selves and live our most fulfilling lives – simply by being our own heroes. This one might also inspire some New Years Resolutions, and help us all have a super successful 2014. I hope you’ll read along with me for this one!

 

Jan. 26 – Feb. 1 – Celtic Moon – Jan DeLima

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I’ll be honest – I picked up this book because I was struggling to pick a fourth book for the “New” theme for the month. I walked into the book store, walked over to the Sci-Fi section (in an attempt to put a different genre into our reading this month), and saw a “New in Science Fiction” section. On those shelves, I found Celtic Moon. The book was published in September, making it relatively new, and is the first in a series, called the Celtic Wolf series, so I thought that would count as “new” as well! I usually wouldn’t look toward this book, generally avoiding paperback sci-fi (and most sci-fi in general… I like the shows and the movies, not usually the books), but this is the whole point of the book challenge – pick up books I wouldn’t have read before.

So there it is – our reading list for January and our “New” theme for the month. I hope you’ll pick one (or more) to read along with me, and start off your 2014 reading list with something good! I look forward to some engaging discussions about these books, as I promote a “book club” type of atmosphere. Remember, I not only encourage, but LOVE, comments and reviews from my fellow readers! This blog isn’t about me telling you what I think, it’s about inspiring you to read (and inspiring me to stop being a Netflix addict and read more!), and talk about books!

I hope you all have a healthy, prosperous New Year! Happy Reading!

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