Sunday, December 15, 2013

Lovers At Heart Book Blast

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**Please note that this is not the type of book I usually promote. I am part of a book blast series for this author.  With the first books I have checked out samples and found them intriguing. I haven't yet checked out Lovers at Heart and thus can not vouch for them personally yet.**

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**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+** Lovers at Heart is a steamy contemporary romance with alpha male heroes and sexy, empowered women. They’re flawed, funny, passionate, and very relatable for readers who enjoy adult romance, contemporary romance, and women’s fiction. Enjoy Lovers at Heart as a stand-alone novel or for more enjoyment, read the entire Love and Bloom series (nine full-length novels featuring the Snow Sisters and the Bradens).
Handsome, wealthy resort owner Treat Braden is used to getting what he wants. When Max Armstrong walked into his life six months earlier, he saw right through the efficient and capable façade she wore like a shield, to the sweet, sensual woman who lay beneath. She sparked an unfamiliar desire in him for more than a one-night stand, leaving his heart reeling and his blood boiling. But one mistake caused her to turn away, and now, after six months of longing for the one woman he cannot have, he’s going home to try to forget her all together.Max Armstrong has a successful career, a comfortable lifestyle, and she’s never needed a man to help her find her way–until Treat Braden caught her attention at a wedding in Nassau, causing a surge of emotions too reminiscent of the painful past she’d spent years trying to forget. Max will do anything to avoid reliving that pain–including forgoing her toe-curling, heart-pounding desire for Treat.When a chance encounter turns into a night of intense passion, Treat realizes that the mistake he made six months earlier may cause him to lose Max completely. He will do everything within his power to win her heart forever–and Max is forced to face her hurtful past head on for the man she cannot help but love.
Watch for the full LOVE IN BLOOM series:
Sisters in Love
Sisters in Bloom
Sisters in White
Lovers at Heart
Destined for Love
Friendship on Fire
Sea of Love
Bursting with Love
Hearts at Play


Melissa Foster is the New York Times Best Selling author of four International bestselling novels. Her books have been recommended by USA Today’s book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the Women’s Nest, a social and support community for women, the World Literary Café. When she’s not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on  Fostering Success. Melissa is also a community builder for the Alliance for Independent Authors. She has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine.
Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family.
Visit Melissa on The Women’s NestFostering Success, or World Lit Cafe. Join Melissa and the YaYa Writer Girls at their annual in-person event. Melissa enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups, and welcomes an invitation to your event.

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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Allegiant Review

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Visit the author's website HERE
Goodreads Summary:
The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories. 

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love. 

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent
I bought the hardcover edition of this book. Buy it today on Amazon for $11.51 (12/14/13)

My Thoughts:
**Spoilers Warning:** If you have yet to read this book, try to avoid all reviews unless it specifically states 'no spoilers' and it is from a reviewer you can trust. Too many readers have accidentally discovered the ending to this book. That said, in my review here I will do my best not to state any specifics, but will probably allude to things. If you wish to avoid any foreknowledge before reading this novel: BE AWARE!

After clicking through reviews on Goodreads, I think I can safely state that Allegiant was a letdown for most readers. I, myself, bought this book the day after it came out, yet found myself too anxious to start reading. Here was the book we had been waiting for all year! I felt there was so much built up expectations, pressure, preconceived notions....(Sidebar: Authors/Publishers need to quit doing this. More and more the last book in a series is my least favorite because I have so much time to build up expectations that just aren't met).

Allegiant started off with a bang, typical Divergent series style, which quickly and easily led to getting past the fence. Once our band of characters were in the Outside World, it was like a whole new series. Readers get the answers they were looking for all wrapped up in a shiny package. Roth then moves on and the city of Chicago becomes background noise. Instead we are shoved into this new world that is even more messed up and crazy then the Factions were. It was a new world, with new secondary characters, but the same exact struggle: overthrow the government. More creepy, controlling, meddling government ruining it all for everyone. To be fair, it was all interesting in it's own right, but it just wasn't 'Divergent' anymore.

Then of course the biggest piece of news: Dual perspectives; reading from both Tris and Four's voices. From the moment I heard Roth was writing from Four's perspective as well, I was weary. Why would we need to see the story from his eyes? What could happen in the plot to make it necessary? Not to mention it would be a crazy break from the previous books, would it gel? I commend Roth for being brave to insist upon it and even attempting it.

But let's be real...

Four's perspective was annoying.

Previous to Allegiant, Four was a figure we could drool over, strong, yet with *four* weaknesses, just enough to make him real. Now he is portrayed as some weak, emotional newbie following Tris around like a sad, lost puppy. His character development over the series was just backwards. Divergent Four I can love, Allegiant Four I want to flick like a booger. Ahem. Obviously I am emotional about it.

And after reading the end, it makes sense Roth insisted on having Four's voice. If someone sat down to really think about it, knowing dual perspectives are going to be used could give some giant hints as to the ending. But it also caused me to disassociate from the story. Flipping back and forth between depressing Four and strong-willed Tris was jarring, obnoxious, and frankly didn't add much to the story.

As to the ending, I am not in a huff about it, but I know a lot of people are. I was dismayed and bewildered, but hardly surprised. I mostly felt horrible for Four. Like much of the plot, the ending was predictable from pretty far out. The plot is the third low point for me. It was unoriginal, far too similar to Divergent and Insurgent even though in the Outside World, things could have been...well anything really! But, it was also highly predictable. As the story progressed, I even said out loud "Well, why don't you use the memory serum??" And like eight chapters later?? They finally used the memory serum.

Even worse, personally? This book ruined my reading life. I put off reading it for quite some time, was nervous to progress, and then eventually had to force myself to finish. It put a sour taste in my mouth for reading overall. While not reading Allegiant, I was reading a non-fic book as well, that while fantastic, was slow going. The two combined together .... so now I am trying to slowly move back into a comfortable reading life.

Conclusion: I calculated this book as a 2.8, but kindly rounded up to 3 Stars. I recommend this to readers who need to finish the series. I would still recommend Divergent and Insurgent to others with a cautionary warning about the series ending.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Favorite Books for a 13 Month Old

Hello Dear Book Blogging Buddies!

I notice that so many of us have been off on hiatus for undetermined amounts of time, myself included. My computer is now tucked away in a far, distant corner of the house that I never seem to get too. Keeping up with the sheer number of blogs I had subscribed too was also overwhelming my Feedly (and phone!). My reading life also has come to a screeching halt thanks in part to two books that scared me (more on that later!)

So I will be slowly breaking the ice again, starting with this simple post highlighting my Baby Girl's recent faves. Baby Girl will be 14 months in a week, but already her love of books is shining through. She sits in her pile of books and flips through the pages non-stop and now as she learns to jabber, reads them aloud to herself while pointing at all the pictures. Baby Girl goes through phases where she will love one book the most, and then another, so here is a list of her recent faves!
Quack! Quack! published by Priddy Books
This is also one of my fave touchy feely books I've found. Far too often the feely spots are so tiny and thus not nearly enjoyable enough. We have a pretty old copy on our shelf, but the fur and feelies are still fresh and fluffy! I was excited to find similiar books on Amazon, including this puppy book since Baby Girl loves to sign 'puppy'.
I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rosetti-Shustak & illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church
I note the illustrator here because Baby Girl and I have loved several of Church's works, most of all this one as well. This book has adorable pictures, but the rhyme is also easy to engage baby with. For example, it reads 'I love your fingers and toes, ears and nose.' It is easy and fun to point to those body parts on your baby. Brings out a quick smile, and subtly teaches body parts and emotions. One page is a close up of the boy's face, which I will publicly admit Baby Girl loves to kiss :)
Puppy BOO! by Sarah Phillips 
As previously mentioned, puppies are Baby Girl's favorite animal. Combine them with a form of peek-a-boo, and you are made in the shade! The best part for me that she can't pull out the sliders herself yet, which means mommy daughter reading time!!
1, 2, 3 Count with Me from Sesame Workshop
Bright colors, a plethora of animals, and a big ole party at the end, this book easily capture's Baby Girl's attention. I enjoy this book because it teaches counting, animals names, and animal signs. Because of this book, Baby Girl learned to sign 'elephant' and 'puppy'!
Christmas in the Manger by Nola Buck
I will end with a seasonal fave....well...our only seasonal book so far! We bought this one to start of the collection, and luckily it has been a hit! Simple pictures and easy rhymes teach Baby Girl the reason for the season. This is also another book where she is beginning to learn some signs, for example it is helping her learn 'baby' and 'mommy'. She also gets a kick out of all mommy's attempted animal sounds :)

Before wishing you a fantastic Tuesday, check out these posts for older kids from two of my favorite bloggers The Deliberate Reader and Modern Mrs. Darcy.

Have a fantastic Tuesday!!