Sunday, April 27, 2014

Review: Defining Destiny by Deanna Chase @writerdeanna

Title: Defining Destiny

Author: Deanna Chase

Series: Defining Destiny #1

Publication date: February 16th, 2014

ISBN: 9781940299129

Genre: New Adult / Contemporary / Romance

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
When destiny fails...

Singer-songwriter Lucy Moore thought her life was perfect. At just twenty-one, she's already met her soul mate and together they've landed a recording contract. But when her father dies and the love of her life betrays her in more ways than one, she returns home to pick up the pieces. On the shores of Mendocino, California, Lucy has some decisions to make. Should she start a solo career? Or should she leave it all behind for some semblance of normalcy in the quiet town she grew up in? And what about Seth, the tortured artist who always seems to be there when she needs him?

Seth Keenan has demons of his own. Eighteen months ago, he was involved in a horrific accident that he never talks about. His career as an accomplished oil-paint artist has been abandoned, replaced by the buzz of his tattoo gun. And women--well, he never sticks around for longer than a few hours of pleasure... until he meets Lucy. After one evening of listening to her seductive voice, he's pulled under. But what about the vow he made to never get close to anyone again?

In a world where everyone has one true soul mate, can these two find love in the arms of each other?

I received an e-copy of this book from the publishers on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I have recently been finding myself dancing between contemporary and paranormal reads (young adult, new adult or... adult adult). This was an acquired read that I found interesting. I have noticed an influx in musical contemporary romance novels. Rocker romance is being the new fad. I had to check it out and this seemed a good book to dip my toe into that particular pool of popularity.

Lucy is reeling. She has just lost her father, has a mother who is way too involved in her personal life, a career that has lost all it's appeal, and a soul mate who lies to get his way and cheats. She needs a break from it all. She needs to get away and be by herself so she can remember what she loves about singing. She returns home after catching her soul mate in a compromising position with some groupies after a show and starts to pick up the pieces of her life. She reconnects with her best friend who begs Lucy to sing at her birthday party. It is there that she meets exotic and dangerously handsome, Seth.

Seth is known around town as the guy who lost his soul mate tragically and also as the small town's lady's man. Seth jumps from bed to bed not staying with a woman longer than one night of passion. He doesn't see the point. He doesn't want anyone else. He has really never had a woman catch his interest, until he meets Lucy. Not only is she beautiful, but she's quick witted and a fantastic singer. He is bewitched by her from the beginning. He starts to let his guard down more and more around the girl, despite knowing she already has a soul mate and that what they have is just a passing attraction that will burn out once she goes back to Caden.

Seth and Lucy struggle with their devastating pasts and their overwhelming future. In a world where you are destined to be with the other half of your soul, can two people still manage to make it work?

I liked Seth a little more than Lucy. Seth seemed to have a hard time with his past and coming to grips with everything but he made a really strong effort. Lucy was clearly not as strong and flip-flopped back and forth. In some ways this made the story more realistic. One expects the woman to be more emotionally driven while the man is determined and headstrong. I liked their chemistry together. They meshed well and I found myself rooting for them.

This book does not read like a typical contemporary romance. This is an entirely new world created where soul mates are common knowledge and everyone has one eventually. Once a person finds their soul mate they are destined to be with that person for the rest of their lives. It's a slightly dystopia-like feel to it without it being such a strong change that it can fall into that genre. At first I didn't realize it was supposed to be a new world way of thinking. I just thought the main characters were being cheesy when they kept talking about soul mates. But it was a worldwide accepted concept in the book. That makes a difference. Trust me.

Defining Destiny is unlike any book I have read before. It combines an element of fantasy with the classic contemporary genre to make something completely new and fresh. Deanna Chase did a fabulous job combining two uncomplimentary writing styles into a dynamite story of love, loss, and following one's heart.

Available at:
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Monday, April 21, 2014

Blog Tour Review: Trinity Stones by L.G. O'Connor @TLCBookTours @lgoconnor1

Title: Trinity Stones

Author: L.G. O'Connor

Series: The Angelorum Twelve Chronicles #1

Publication date: April 22nd, 2014

ISBN: 9781938314841

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
Anxiety-ridden New York investment banker, Cara Collins, has little to smile about on her twenty-seventh birthday between a hostile work environment and her impossible romantic situation with her longtime friend and first love, Dr. Kai Solomon. But before the day ends, she learns she has inherited $50 million--a windfall that must remain secret or risk the lives of those close to her.

As Cara unravels the truth surrounding her inheritance, she makes a startling discovery: angels walk among the living, and they're getting ready to engage in a battle that will determine the future of the human race. In the midst of these revelations, she meets mysterious and the first time since Kai--but when Kai and his daughter are kidnapped by dark forces, Cara must choose: accept her place in a 2,000-year-old prophecy foretold in the Trinity Stones as the First of the Twelve who will lead the final battle between good and evil... or risk losing everything she holds dear.

I received a physical copy from the author in exchange for an honest review and participation in a blog tour.

I had never read anything but L.G. O'Connor and when presented with the review book options for future tours I selected Trinity Stones simply due to it's paranormal aspects. I had no clue if I would like it or not but the synopsis was intriguing. I decided to give it a shot and see how it went.

Cara is just your regular, everyday investment banker with a bit of an anxiety issue. She is in love with her married ex-boyfriend and can't seem to find meaning or happiness in her life. She was okay with the way her life had turned out and accepted the normality of it. That was until learned she was part of a trinity of angels and their messengers. Her world was turned upside down with a large inheritance and the discovery of angels and demons actually existing. She is destined to be the person who tips the scales between good and evil. One of twelve at least. While navigating the treterous waters of her new world, she meets a man who seems almost too good to be true. Since her break up with her ex, Kai, she has not even entertained the idea of finding love, but in Simon she just might be able to.

Kai is a genetic scientist attempted to sequence a cure for some sort of abnormality presented to him anonymously through his work. He has taken over after his predecessor was killed, but he is starting to see that maybe his mentor was not simply killed but murdered. As he starts digging into the research left behind things just don't seem to be adding up. Kai seems to have a vital role in this tipping point in Cara's new world as well. For some reason dark forces are determined to keep Kai working at finding the cure they so desperately want. They are even willing to resort to kidnapping his daughter if it keeps him on the straight and narrow.

Cara and Kai always felt connected, but now they may discover they have more in common than just a past love. Add to that the desperation to free Kai's daughter from evil and Cara's new love interest and it makes for a very interesting world. Can good triumph over evil or will Cara and Kai fail miserably.

I have to admit, some of the scientific talk in the story was a bit over my head. O'Connor creates a very detailed world and if not careful, things can be overlooked and forgotten that are vital to the story. The trinity stones were also another area I found myself confused over. What exactly are they and how do they predict future events?

There was a major saving grace though and that was the love connection between Cara and Simon. I loved Simon so much. Cara was okay. She seemed to take everything rather easily where normal people would have freaked out several times over the course of the book. Simon seemed to be the most emotionally volatile of the pairing even though he wasn't supposed to be so emotionally driven.

Overall, the book was fairly good. 

Available at:
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Rest of the Tour
March 31st: Girlichef
April 2nd: Book Loving Hippo
April 7th: Jorie Loves a Story
April 9th: The Written World
April 14th: Reading Reality
April 17th: From the TBR Pile
April 22nd: Patricia's Wisdom

About the Author:
L.G. O'Connor is a member of the Romance Writers of America. A corporate strategy and marketing executive for a Fortune 250 company, she writes adult urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance. She is currently preparing the second book in the Angelorum Twelve Chronicles, The Wanderer's Children, for publication at the end of 2014. In addition, her adult contemporary romance will launch later this year. A native New Jersey girl, she lives a life of adventure, navigating her way through dog toys and soccer balls and loaning herself out for the occasional decorating project. When she's feeling particularly brave, she enters the kitchen...

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Blog Tour with Review: The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor @TLCBookTours @HazelGaynor

Title: The Girl Who Came Home: A Novel of the Titanic

Author: Hazel Gaynor

Publication date: April 1st, 2014

ISBN: 9780062316868

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
Inspired by true events surrounding a group of Irish emigrants who sailed on the maiden voyage of R.M.S Titanic, The Girl Who Came Home is a story of enduring love and forgiveness, spanning seventy years. It is also the story of the world’s most famous ship, whose tragic legacy continues to captivate our hearts and imaginations one hundred years after she sank to the bottom of the Atlantic ocean with such a devastating loss of life.

In a rural Irish village in April 1912, seventeen-year-old Maggie Murphy is anxious about the trip to America. While the thirteen others she will travel with from her Parish anticipate a life of prosperity and opportunity - including her strict Aunt Kathleen who will be her chaperon for the journey - Maggie is distraught to be leaving Séamus, the man she loves with all her heart. As the carts rumble out of the village, she clutches a packet of love letters in her coat pocket and hopes that Séamus will be able to join her in America soon.

In Southampton, England, Harry Walsh boards Titanic as a Third Class Steward, excited to be working on this magnificent ship. After the final embarkation stop in Ireland, Titanic steams across the Atlantic Ocean. Harry befriends Maggie and her friends from the Irish group; their spirits are high and life on board is much grander than any of them could have ever imagined. Being friendly with Harold Bride, one of the Marconi radio operators, Harry offers to help Maggie send a telegram home to Séamus. But on the evening of April 14th, when Titanic hits an iceberg, Maggie’s message is only partly transmitted, leaving Séamus confused by what he reads.

As the full scale of the disaster unfolds, luck and love will decide the fate of the Irish emigrants and those whose lives they have touched on board the ship. In unimaginable circumstances, Maggie survives, arriving three days later in New York on the rescue ship Carpathia. She has only the nightdress she is wearing, a small case and a borrowed coat, to her name. She doesn’t speak of Titanic again for seventy years.

In Chicago, 1982, twenty-one year old Grace Butler is stunned to learn that her Great Nana Maggie sailed on Titanic and sets out to write Maggie's story as a way to resurrect her journalism career. When it is published, Grace receives a surprising phone call, starting a chain of events which will reveal the whereabouts of Maggie’s missing love letters and the fate of those she sailed with seventy years ago. But it isn't until a final journey back to Ireland that the full extent of Titanic’s secrets are revealed and Maggie is able to finally make peace with her past.

I received a physical copy of this book from the publishers for participation in a blog tour and in exchange for an honest review.

I developed an obsession with the story of the Titanic early on in my life. Surprisingly, my hunger for details of such a tragic occurrence in history did not come from a fondness for Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. I read a book called "A Night to Remember" ages ago and became so intrigued I started reading anything I could find on the subject. I don't know if it was out of morbid fascination or simply my heart aching for some semblance of happiness to come out of a nightmarish event. When I read the synopsis for this book, it immediately sparked my interest in the Titanic once more. I had not read any sort of historical fiction books on the subject in ages and wanted to reacquaint myself with it. Naturally, this made the decide to read this book a no-brainer.

The book opens on a young, seventeen year old girl departing her life in Ireland for a tip across the Atlantic to live in Chicago with her two aunts. Her mother had just died and instead of leaving young Maggie all alone, her aunt Kathleen decided to take her back to America with her. However, Maggie longs to stay in the home where her mother lived and died and her heart found love in a young man named Seamus. Hesitantly, Maggie goes vowing to one day return to her home and her sweetheart.

The story is told in alternating viewpoints. It skips from Maggie being the main focal point back in 1912 to her great-granddaughter, Grace, in 1982. Grace has just lost her father and is home from college helping her mother. After her father's passing, Grace has lost her fire for journalism. That is until Maggie finally confides in her about her experience on Titanic.

Maggie relives her life changing tragedy for her great-granddaughter. She tells her of the young steward she met who saved her life, the girls she traveled with from her hometown, and her experiences with the social class differences aboard the ship. All the while, Maggie regales Grace with how often her mind turned to Seamus and how deeply she cared for him. Through reliving the past, Maggie learns to let go and Grace learns to hold on to the things she cares about.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I am not ashamed to admit I sobbed my eyes out through over half the book. I wanted to reach through the pages and the sands of time and rescue those poor people from the frigid waters of the Atlantic. I could physically feel Maggie's longing for Seamus as well as her devastation of that terrible night. The book is slow moving simply because of the fact that you already know what is going to happen and are anxious to get there quickly. But the devil is in the details and the details are poetic and needed to give the story depth.

The Girl Who Came Home will have you laughing, crying, gasping, and raging all in a matter of a page flip. It is a fictional account of one of the most devastating events in history with a romance or two thrown in. Titanic and the passengers who died during it's sinking should never be forgotten.

Available at:
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Rest of the Tour
April 1st: Historical Tapestry (guest post)
April 3rd: Kritters Ramblings
April 9th: Tiffany's Bookshelf
April 10th: Book-alicious Mama
April 11th: Peppermint PhD
April 14th: The Avid Reader
April 15th: Bibliophilia, Please
April 16th: Jenn's Bookshelves
April 17th: Read. Write. Repeat.
April 22nd: Books in the Burbs
April 24th: Little Lovely Books
April 28th: My Bookshelf
April 29th: Mel's Shelves

About the Author:
Hazel Gaynor is an author and freelance writer in Ireland and the U.K. and was the recipient of the Cecil Day Lewis Award for Emerging Writers in 2012. Originally from North Yorkshire, England, she now lives in Ireland with her husband, two young children, and an accident-prone cat.

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Blog Tour with Review + Giveaway: Road to Somewhere by Kelley Lynn & Jenny S. Morris @itchingforbooks @KelleyLynn1 @jennysmorris

**Click banner to visit other tour stops**

Title: Road to Somewhere

Author: Kelley Lynn & Jenny S. Morris

Publication date: March 11th, 2014

ISBN: 9781619634718

Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
New! From Bloomsbury Spark, a sunny heartwarming story of discovery and sisterhood.

A road trip. A singing competition. And super-hot cowboys.

What could be better?

For Charlie, a post-high school road trip isn't just a vacation, it's life changing. While her parents think she's helping a friend move, a chance at fame is the real reason to grab her best friends and drive to L.A. But when her super annoying, uber-responsible, younger sister, Lucy, has to tag along, it isn't quite the summer of fun she imagined.

Add in a detour to her grandparents' ranch in Texas, and between mucking the stalls, down-home cookin', and drool worthy ranch hands, this could just turn into the best, and most complicated, summer of their lives.

I received an e-copy of this book from publishers in exchange for participation in a blog tour and an honest review.

Over the last few months I have found myself buried nose deep in dark paranormal romance reads. When this blog tour was announced and offered to me as a tour host, I flip-flopped for a while before I decided to participate. It sounded like a light, easy read that may take a bit to get into, but could be worth the effort. The synopsis does not do the book justice. There are so many deeper elements to the book than I had first imagined.

Charlie is the black sheep of the family and she embraces the role by rebelling against what is expected of her. Her hair isn't blonde enough, she dyes it black. Her father believes she is flighty and irresponsible, she'll give him flighty and irresponsible. She is constantly the source of anger for her overbearing father and to an outsider, it would seem Charlie doesn't much care. But inside, there is more at work than she lets others believe. She knows she will have to attend a community college for any hope of a future unlike her university bound friends. When a singing competition comes along, Charlie sees it as an opportunity to avoid her mediocre future and reach for the stars. Unfortunately, the road trip to get to the competition her parents know nothing about, comes with strings by the name of her younger sister, Lucy.

Lucy wants to go with Charlie about as much as Charlie wants her to, but she knows without her presence her parents won't let Charlie go. Lucy is willing to tag along with her sister who seems to loathe her mere existence in hopes of making her sister happy at least once. Lucy is the standard to which Charlie is always compared and she hates it. Just once, she wants to relax and have fun. She is tired of being the responsible one. Maybe this road trip can help her loosen up a little.

Lucy and Charlie's journey across country started as a ploy to enter a singing competition, but turns into the beginnings of sisterly bonding. Lucy and Charlie have more in common than they would have imagined. Even their taste in hunky ranch hands like Drew and Luke. Can the girls find love not just with the scrumptious men but maybe even between each other? Can they become sisters in more than just name?

I absolutely was blown away by this book. Sure, it moved really fast and I had a hard time keeping up with what was going on sometimes, but I loved it. I liked the connections between Charlie, Lucy, and their guys. I founds bits of it funny and even reminiscent of my awkward years as a teenager. This story is more than just a story about two sisters reconnecting and finding sexy boyfriends. It's also about self discovery and following one's dreams. It's about never, EVER, giving up on the things that make you happy.

Road to Somewhere is a mix of humor and dark emotion. It takes a dash of lighthearted feel goods and sprinkles in some tougher subject matter to create a blend of amazing young adult literature.

Available at:
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About the Authors:

Kelley Lynn was born and raised a Midwestern girl. She's not afraid to sweat and fills her free time with softball, soccer and volleyball. (Though you probably don't want her on your volleyball team.) She occasionally makes guest appearances as a female vocalist for area bands. Music plays a large role in her writing process as well as the characters and plot lines within her stories.

Jenny S. Morris is a YA author who loves all things geek, may have a Kdrama addition, and prefers the rainy NW to any place she's ever lived. Road to Somewhere is her debut novel.


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