Archive for category Reviews
When your girlfriend is a ghost visiting you in your dreams, life is anything but ordinary.
Seventeen-year-old Theodore Quinn has never had it easy. His dad recently left his mother and him, he’s not exactly Mr. Popular at school, and he’s never had a girlfriend—that is, until a chance encounter leads to a reconciliation with his childhood best friend and neighbor, Annabelle, whom he’s loved for as long as he can remember.
It’s only after they start dating that his life seems to be heading in the right direction. But that all changes one snowy night when Annabelle is instantly killed in a car accident, leaving Theodore devastated and emotionally crippled. In the midst of his desperation to see Annabelle again, she visits him in his dreams, and life suddenly becomes worth living again. With things starting to look perfect once more, Theodore must decide between living in his dreams forever, or facing reality and moving forward with a life he knows he’ll never truly have with her.
I received a copy of this novel from Kindle Scout in exchange for an honest review.
I was so excited to hear this novel was chosen to be published, as the excerpt on Kindle Scout had me extremely intrigued. The writing immediately pulled me into Theo’s little world, which was quite wonderful. As Belle was introduced, she was the beautiful addition that made this novel complete. They’re just lovely, both individually and as a couple. I was also quite impressed with the maturity of the entire cast, which helped make them relatable.
While the blurb explains the gist of the story, I was not prepared for the emotional punch in the gut. I cried. I cried reading a YA novel. Maybe I cried because I have a son about their age, or because I know the pain of losing a first love. I can say with certainty that this author captured raw emotion brilliantly.
To put it bluntly, my heart just broke for the main character. The narrative is from his POV, and he is a very sweet young man. He starts off with one friend, goes through a few months of being on top of the world, then, he ends up right where he started; madly in love with the girl he can’t have. I do, however, love the resilience he exhibits.
In today’s society, this is a clean novel I would definitely approve for ages thirteen-plus.
ABOUT THIS LITERARY CHEF
Logan Byrne is an author of young adult fiction. He currently resides in Northern Illinois, though has aspirations to move to a large city, one where most of his stories take place.
If you want to know when he releases new books the very second they go live, sign up for his e-mail newsletter! It’s free!
Black Lyon Publishing, LLC
Released: November 1, 2015
A week before Christmas, Jeseca Reed sets off for Blue River, Oregon—her childhood home and a vault of tender memories. However, fate takes an unexpected turn when she’s left stranded in the mountains’ vast, untamed wilderness. Desperate and alone, she seeks shelter at a cottage and finds herself in the arms of a mysterious stranger.
Dr. David Drake was once a renowned cardiovascular surgeon. But a devastating tragedy has left him scarred both inside and out, unable to use his hands to operate again. For the past five years, his Blue River cottage has been his sole escape—a safe haven where he can shut out the world, bury himself in his grief, and reunite with his son’s memory.
Together they are summer and winter. Fire and ice. And yet a poignant connection forms between them. Jeseca awakens David and thaws his heart with a romance hot enough to melt snow. But before David and Jeseca can fully embrace each other, they must wade through darkness and confront the ghosts of their pasts…
Equal parts steamy and heartfelt, A Kindled Winter brings the spirit of the holidays to life with a passionate story of second chances and healing love.
I’d like to apologize to Rachel Demeter for the delay in reviewing this wonderful novel.
I was a lucky enough to receive a copy of this beautiful novel in exchange for an honest review.
Simply, a wonderful story that’s hard to put down! The focus stays on the couple, with no interruption, and flows quite smoothly. Sensual scenes are naughty and divinely descriptive, but tasteful. There was a point in the story in which I wanted to put this down because it tore me apart, but I just couldn’t stop reading. Jeseca and David were well written, and easily acceptable as every-day people. Their struggle resonated with me, and the emotional impact was powerful.
Demeter has the unique gift of making the emotion stand out, and has delivered another sweet romance born from the ashes of tragedy. I’ve yet to walk away unaffected by her writing.
**Mature readers due to adult situations, death, and sex.**
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rachel L. Demeter lives in the beautiful hills of Anaheim, California with Teddy, her goofy lowland sheepdog, and her high school sweetheart of eleven years. She enjoys writing poignant romances that challenge the reader’s emotions and explore the redeeming power of love.
Imagining dynamic worlds and characters has been Rachel’s passion for longer than she can remember. Before learning how to read or write, she would dictate stories while her mother would record them for her. She holds a special affinity for the tortured hero and unconventional romances. Whether crafting the protagonist or antagonist, she ensures every character is given a soul.
Rachel endeavors to defy conventions by blending elements of romance, suspense, and horror. Some themes her stories never stray too far from: forbidden romance, soul mates, the power of love to redeem, mend all wounds, and triumph over darkness.
Her dream is to move readers and leave an emotional impact through her words.
Find Out More
LIFE IS A NIGHTMARE for Miranda Murphy. Without knowing when or why, blood oozes from her palms—an anomaly that makes her feel like a freak. But her abnormality is now the least of her worries. She’s just enrolled at “Suicide High.” Three deaths in three months—one occurring just days before her arrival.
When she bumps into a cute boy named Jake, things don’t appear so glum. Especially since Jake’s a psychic who can predict the immediate future. But his gift of sight can’t prepare her for the horrors that await.
Through Jake, Miranda meets three other extraordinary students:
Topher – who can heal by touch.
Sam – who eats the sins of the dead.
And Xyan – who speaks and understands all languages.
It’s then that Miranda learns the secret behind why she bleeds.
When it becomes evident that supernatural forces are at play, the five determined friends team up. Now it’s up to them to destroy the evil that’s infecting their school.
A great YA Horror!
This is not your usual good vs. evil novel, as Dax Varley is an exceptional YA novelist! I’m always amazed with the skillful manner in which she connects with all ages!
Immediately, the story packs a punch! We’re given narration from several view points, including that of a very nasty culprit, with remarkable precision. The writing is so good, there is no lull, no confusion, and definitely no lack of imagination. The rag tag team representing the good is an authentic version of kids today, and the evil is concealed brilliantly.
I enjoyed this immensely, as I’m a fan of horror. There was comedic relief to balance the terror, the gory scenes were perfectly gross, and there’s even a sweet little romance involved. Highly recommend.
**I recommend for High School aged YA & above due to violence, subject matter, and language.**
ABOUT THIS LITERARY CHEF
Dax Varley writes the kind of young adult novels she wishes were around when she was a teen. She’s a lover of humor, horror and all things paranormal.
When Dax isn’t writing, she’s collecting odd photos online, reading
recaps of her favorite shows or kicked back with a good book.
She lives in Richmond, Texas with her husband, a shelf full of action figures and about a dozen imaginary friends
My roots run South in this country; therefore, I was instantly intrigued by this novel.
I’m very familiar with The Daughters of the Confederacy, and the prodigal daughter that started it all, but this author has taken an extraordinary approach by reintroducing Winnie Davis to the world in a most intimate manner. Starting from her birth, we get a detailed background on how Winnie’s future was forged by the chaotic world to which she was born. This young woman was thrust into situations that exceeded her limitations both physically, and mentally. The relationship she had with her mother is one in which many in the South can relate, and her timid behavior was that of a true lady.
Although Winnie is the main subject, she is by no means the only person of which whom we become familiar. The whole family is introduced, as well as the love of her life, which later gives reference to Winnie’s somber and emotional state.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, but I must warn that some may feel as if the entire southern gentry are portrayed as one group of like-minded idiots. Readers must keep in mind, the anger and frustration after the war towards “The Yankees” was so intense, it still resonates today. There are also a couple of “hmm” moments in which the lost Confederate Money conspiracies do not seem so far-fetched. The historical details are extraordinary; however, and the research involved is evident.
My heart ached for Winnie Davis, as the writer has depicted her life with great care. A tragic tale from a tragic time.
About This Literary Chef
Heath Hardage Lee
Heath comes from a museum education, historic preservation, and writing background. She holds a B.A. in History with Honors from Davidson College, and an M.A. in French Language and Literature from the University of Virginia.
She started her museum career at the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte, North Carolina, as the Director of Education and Programs. Heath has since worked as a consultant for southern house museums such as Stratford Hall, Robert E. Lee’s birthplace, and Menokin Plantation, once home to Francis Lightfoot Lee. She is currently working as the Coordinator of the History Series for Salisbury House & Gardens, a 1920’s house museum in Des Moines, Iowa.
Potomac Books, a division of the University of Nebraska Press, published Heath’s first book, Winnie Davis: Daughter of the Lost Cause, in 2014. This biography about the fascinating youngest daughter of Confederate President Jefferson Davis was one of Potomac Press’s bestselling books for 2014. Winnie won the 2015 Colonial Dames of America Annual Book Award as well as a Gold Medal for Nonfiction writing from the Independent Publisher 2015 Book Awards.
Heath is currently working on her second book, a group biography entitled Vietnam War Wives about the courageous Wives of men who were Prisoners of War or Missing in Action during the Vietnam War. Stay tuned for more news on that book this fall.
Title: Skin Deep
Author: Pamela Sparkman
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 20, 2015
Cover Designer: Sarah Hansen with Okay Creations
She hates me.
I’m in love with her.
Her life is a masquerade.
Mine is cloaked in secrets.
She thinks I can’t see her.
But she’s the only thing I can see.
he thinks we have nothing in common.
We have everything in common.
And I’m done being patient.
You think you know us.
The things you know about us are only Skin Deep.
*Warning – This book contains instances of self harm in the form of an eating disorder and may be a trigger to some readers.*
Beth had been good at pretending to be this happy carefree girl – bubbly and energetic. Looking at her now, I saw a girl who was anything but carefree. She obviously had demons that haunted her, and I knew from experience that fighting certain demons can be almost impossible.
I listened through the door, making sure Lily had gone. “This isn’t over. Me keeping your secret from Lily is not a sign I’m letting this go. It’s a sign that I’m going to be a thorn in your side until you let me help you.”
Beth prickled at my comment and unfurled herself from the protective ball she had curled into. “I don’t need your help!”
“Yes, you do.” I took another step towards her. Beth took a step back. “And the way I see it, you don’t have much of a choice.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Do you want Lily to know what you’ve been doing?”
Beth’s eyes pooled with unshed tears. She looked hurt by my words. “Please don’t tell Lily,” she pleaded in a whisper.
“I’ll tell her everything unless you let me help you.” The look of fear and disbelief on Beth’s face made me feel like a total jackass.
Her expression changed again. She glowered at me like she wanted to set me on fire. “I hate you so much right now.”
Her words, she meant them. And hearing her tell me she hated me… it hurt, because somewhere along the way I had fallen in love with her.
“I know you do. But I’d rather you hate me for the right reasons, than like me for the wrong ones. I guess we’ll both have to figure out how to fucking live with that.”
I cried, I laughed, and I swooned!
This is not your average romance novel; it’s a thought-provoking, tear jerking, and profoundly emotional love story. Family values, love in its most rare form, and friendship are the core values Sparkman has exemplified with perfection.
The narration alternates between Hayden and Beth with acute precision, making the complexity of the story line flow naturally. Sparkman’s writing style made me ache for our hero and heroine as the intimate details of their lives unfolded. Their story is never rushed, which made the relationship more genuine, and completely addictive. Serious issues are dealt with tastefully, and the supporting characters make this novel complete.
I fell in love with this story almost immediately, and I highly recommend it to any lover of romance!