Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I'm off to Italy+Giveaways!!!

Fellow Page-Turners,

I am going to Italy for an eighteen month humanitarian mission. I'm super excited about this opportunity but sad that I won't be able to interact with you or read anything.

I will still be posting periodic reviews and posts throughout my service mission and so my blog will remain active. However, I won't have time to respond to all of your comments.

I feel so blessed to have interacted with you and to have shared my passion for books with you. Trust me, in eighteen months, I'll be back to posting a post nearly every day.

So please keep following my blog. 

When I get back, I will be hosting a massive $50 giveaway to all those who have remained active in following while I'm in Italy.

I hope you all have a wonderful eighteen months and look forward to catching up with all of you in a few months.

~Danica Page

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Book Review: Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire

Walking Disaster
(Beautiful, #2)
by Jamie McGuire
Received for Review
New Adult/Young Adult Realistic Contemporary Fiction
Released On: April 2, 2013
Published By: Atria Books
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.38
Pages: 433

Before I get into my review, here's the synopsis available on Goodreads:

Can you love someone too much?
Travis Maddox learned two things from his mother before she died: Love hard. Fight harder.

In Walking Disaster, the life of Travis is full of fast women, underground gambling, and violence. But just when he thinks he is invincible, Abby Abernathy brings him to his knees.

Every story has two sides. In Beautiful Disaster, Abby had her say. Now it’s time to see the story through Travis’s eyes.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimers: I received an electronic copy of this novel for review from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not obligated to write a good review nor am I receiving any compensation for writing this review. 

My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: After reading Beautiful Disaster, I finished the book with mixed feelings. It seems like people either hate or love that book. There was no in-between. I left uncertain about how I thought about  Travis and Abby as characters. I thought the writing was beautiful, however.

So when I saw the chance to review Walking Disaster, I decided I would. Let me start out by saying this: Travis is not a great guy. He fights, he throws things, he's jealous, controlling, and at times a complete idiot. However, Travis is not abusive. Having said that, there's no way in heck I would ever want anybody I know dating him.

Okay now that I've addressed that Travis is not at all role-model for people, I hope people won't slam my review.

Like I said, I really enjoyed this novel. It was beautifully written. Granted, I was frustrated the whole time, but it was a great book.

I loved watching Travis and Abby's interactions and hearing Travis's side of the story made me like him more than I thought was possible. I'm not excusing his behavior, but knowing why he acted the way he did helped me feel more sympathetic toward him.

Travis might not be the ideal guy. In fact, he's far from it. But deep down, he has a good heart and isn't a bad guy. I know people are worried about the message this book is sending young girls (ie: you can change a guy, rough guys around the edges have good hearts) and feel like it will lead to abusive situations. However, not to bash any books here, but a lot of novels send terrible messages and present it as normal or good. (ie: Hunger Games, Twilight, etc.)

So yes this book might give girls the wrong idea; however, it also is a well-written novel that is intriguing and great novel. Travis is far from perfect but I really loved hearing his story. 

This novel is not plot-driven; rather the reader gets to live inside Travis's mind and hear his thoughts about what's happening. If you haven't read Beautiful Disaster, you will be completely lost. Read Beautiful Disaster first. It was a more lyrical style but I really enjoyed it. 

So why 4 stars? It wasn't my favorite novel ever, but it was well-written. I felt like the novel ran a little bit long at times and it just lacked that extra something to make it a 5 but it was still an enjoyable read. 

In Summary: Walking Disaster and its companion novel Beautiful Disaster are controversial books and people's opinions about them vary. I, however, really enjoyed reading this novel. It was an entertaining book and I don't think it leads to girls wanting abusive relationships. This book isn't for everybody, but I'm glad I read it.

Warnings/Side-notes: It's a New Adult novel and is definitely made for more mature readers. Several sexual references and mentions of drinking and drugs. These references are not graphic, but they are also not meant for young readers. 

The Wrap-up: A controversial book that isn't meant for everybody, but I enjoyed it. It's definitely a book that people love or hate. If it sounds like your cup of tea, then give it a shot. I'm glad I did.


Danica Page

Friday, April 19, 2013

Book Review: The Dance by Dan Walsh

The Dance
by Dan Walsh
Received for Review
Released On: April 1, 2013
Published by: Fleming H. Revell Company
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.33
Pages: 344

Before I get into my review, here's the synopsis available on Goodreads:

Jim Anderson is a successful businessman, and his wife, Marilyn, is the perfect wife. And why wouldn't she be? He gives her everything she needs. That's why Jim never expected to come home one day and find Marilyn gone.
After 27 years of marriage, Marilyn has had enough of feeling unloved and neglected. She wants to experience some measure of happiness before she's too old to enjoy it, even signing up for dance lessons, something 
Jim would never do. What will it take for Jim to finally become the man Marilyn needs him to be? 

Combining the literary talents of bestselling author Dan Walsh and the relationship expertise of bestselling author Gary Smalley, "The Dance" is the first novel in The Restoration Series. Readers will get caught up in these flawed but sincere members of the Anderson family as they rediscover genuine love and start a transformation that ultimately affects all of them.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimers: I received a temporary electronic arc from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.  

My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: Going into this novel, I wasn't sure I'd like it. I don't generally like novels that are about married couples or about couples who are having marital problems.

But I decided to give this one a shot and I'm so glad I did. This novel was absolutely beautiful. I loved reading it. 

I love novels where characters experience some life-changing or self-actualizing journey. Jim and Marilyn both changed so much and I loved watching them grow. 

Dan's novel was poignant and a great read. I found myself turning the pages faster and faster as the story went on. I enjoyed watching the Anderson family grow closer and overcome trials. 

I already mentioned how surprised I was by how much I loved this novel, but that doesn't begin to do this novel justice. This novel was easily one of my favorites of the year. Dan wrote this novel with such skill and expertise. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this novel to anybody.

The novel does have a Christian stance, but religion is never pushed down the reader's throats. The theme of faith was expertly woven in. Definitely recommend this novel.

So Why 5 Stars? It was beautifully and poignantly written. There was depth to this novel and yet it was also just a really enjoyable read.

In Summary: A beautiful novel that greatly exceeded my expectations. The Dance is an inspiring novel that reflects the growth of one family in the midst of trials and struggles. 

The Wrap-up: Love this novel. I was really impressed with it and can't wait to read more by this author. Definitely recommend it. 


Danica Page

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Book Review: Rush to the Altar by Jamie Carrie

Rush to the Altar
by Jamie Carrie
Received for Review
Adult Realistic Contemporary Romance
Released On: February 14, 2013
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.65

Before I get into my review, here's a synopsis of the novel:

Madeline Goode is devastated when her husband dies in a car accident. After moving back in with her parents with her two year old son, Max, she attempts to put the pieces of her life back together. But she didn’t plan on meeting Jake Hart, the star NBA player that she keeps bumping into at her new job as a charity coordinator for the Racers. And she certainly didn’t plan on learning that her husband’s accident may have been no accident at all.

Will Jake stick around while her life gets complicated? And if she gives in to her heart, will she just be making another mistake? Rushing to the Altar may be the most daring and risky move of her life.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars. 

Disclaimers: I received a copy of this novel for review from the author in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not obligated to write a good review nor did I receive any compensation for writing this review.

An Overview of the Novel: Madeline's husband just died and she's devastated, but her friends and family are right, she needs move on. She just can't.

That's where Jake Hart enters the scene. Something about Madeline draws him. She's made it clear that she's not ready to date again, but Jake isn't about to take now for an answer. But then Madeline gets mixed up in the middle of a crime investigation and suddenly it might not be such a good idea for Jake to be around her. 

My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: Jaime Carrie has a way of creating characters that catch your attention. I loved the characters in this novel from the first page to the very last page. Jake and Madeline had excellent chemistry. 

The writing was cute, a little cheesy, but cute. I loved how Jamie developed her novel. She's always been a skilled writer and certainly knows how to craft her story.

This novel had elements of suspense but I wouldn't classify it as suspense. And while, the events that happened in this novel might have been unrealistic and a little bit unbelievable at times, I still really liked the novel. 

It was a cute read and one that had me laughing and smiling the entire time I was reading it. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to fans of this genre. 

So why 3.5 stars? It was a cute, funny, enjoyable read that left me entertained and amused. Jaime's writing was incredible and I loved the story. 

In Summary: Jamie has done it again. She's written another novel that I loved reading. If you're looking for a cute, fun read, then look no further than Rush to the Altar.

Warnings/Side-notes: Nothing comes to mind.

The Wrap-up: Like I've said, this was a cute book that I enjoyed reading. I've loved every single book I've read by Jamie and plan on keeping close tabs on her and her future writing. 


Danica Page

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Book Review: Transparent by Natalie Whipple

by Natalie Whipple
Received ARC for Review
Young Adult Realistic Contemporary
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.11
Released On: May 21, 2013
Published By: HarperTeen
Pages: 368

Before I get into my review, here's the synopsis available on Goodreads:

Plenty of teenagers feel invisible. Fiona McClean actually is.

An invisible girl is a priceless weapon. Fiona’s own father has been forcing her to do his dirty work for years—everything from spying on people to stealing cars to breaking into bank vaults.

After sixteen years, Fiona’s had enough. She and her mother flee to a small town, and for the first time in her life, Fiona feels like a normal life is within reach. But Fiona’s father isn’t giving up that easily.

Of course, he should know better than anyone: never underestimate an invisible girl.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimers: I received an electronic arc from the publisher via Edelweiss. I was not obligated to write a good review nor did I receive any compensation for writing this review. This review is my honest opinion. 

An Overview of the Novel: Fiona is invisible—no, really she is. After the Cold War, people started taking the drug radiasure to be safe from radiation. The only problem is that it mutated the cells and suddenly almost everybody in society has mutated and received special gifts.

Hers is invisibility. She was born invisible. Nobody has ever seen her. And since her dad is a syndicate boss, she was born into a life of crime. She hates what she's doing and can't get rid of the guilt she feels for all the terrible things she's done. But that's her father's gift. He's so charming he can make women do anything he wants them too. Fiona is no exception.

But when Fiona and her mom run away again, she's hopeful that maybe this time they can stay out of sight. Maybe this time they will stay safe from her father's and her brother Graham's clutches. But can somebody like her ever really be safe?

My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: Natalie Whipple lives only blocks away from me. I've heard her talk about what the writing process means to her and so naturally I was really excited to read her writing. So while I don't really know Natalie, I sort of do. Just throwing that out there for means of disclosure.

When I first read the synopsis it grabbed my attention, but didn't leave me completely hooked. I liked the cover though and I really wanted to read the book. So I did. 

The writing was gripping from the very first page until the very last page. It left me riveted for the entire novel. Her writing didn't bring undue attention to itself. It simply flowed and left me wanting to read more and more. 

I hate cookie-cutter characters and Whipple certainly didn't fall into that trap. Her characters were intriguing and beautifully constructed. I loved reading about them and watching them interact with each other.

I also loved how flawless Natalie's world-building was. It was clear that she thought through how she wanted to create her world. I also loved that in this novel everybody knew about each other's superpowers. In most novels I read, the superpowers are unknown or hidden. 

I liked that the ending wasn't a cliff-hanger. It was a conclusion and yet it left room for a sequel. Or in other words, it tied up enough loose ends and left the perfect amount of strings untied. 

So why 4 stars? It was beautifully written, not my favorite, but still beautiful. The characters were intriguing, the world building was well thought out, and the writing was masterfully crafted. 

In Summary: Natalie Whipple created a novel that let me hooked from the beginning and was brilliantly crafted. I can't wait to read Whipple's sophomore novel which comes out next year.

Warnings/Side-notes: None. This book is clean. 

The Wrap-up: Whipple's novel was intriguing and exceeded my expectations. Fans of paranormal or soft sci-fi novels, will love this book. It was an intriguing read and I'm glad I had the opportunity to read it. 


Danica Page

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Book Review: Fifteenth Summer by Michelle Dalton

Fifteenth Summer
by Michelle Dalton
Received ARC for Review
Young Adult Realistic Contemporary
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Published by: Simon Pulse
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.33
Pages: 272

Before I get into my review, here's the synopsis available on Goodreads:

Chelsea isn’t looking forward to her summer at the lake. It’s the first time her family has been there since her grandmother died, and she can’t break out of her funk. But her summer takes a turn for the better when she meets a boy who works in the bookstore. Josh is cute, sweet, funny…and best of all, seems to like her as much as she likes him. As the days pass by in a blur of boat rides, picnics, and stolen kisses, she can’t believe how lucky she is. No one has ever made her feel so special, or so beautiful.

But Chelsea knows her days with Josh are numbered. She’ll be heading home at the end of the summer—and he’ll be staying behind. Will this be Chelsea’s summer of love? Or will it be the summer of her broken heart?

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimers: I received a electronic ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review. I was not obligated to write a good review nor am I receiving any compensation for writing this review. The opinions expressed within this review are my own. 

An Overview of the Novel: Chelsea is less than thrilled to be going back to the family cottage in Bluepointe. This is the first year her grandmother won't be there; she died and Chelsea is having a really hard time dealing with that.

Her grandmother wasn't supposed to die, at least not until she was old. Now everything has changed. Chelsea takes refuge in the bookstore and meets Josh. Josh is infuriating. She can't tell if he likes her or not and has no clue how to read the signals he's giving her.

Until suddenly she does. Finally, Chelsea seems to have met somebody who likes her as much as she likes him. But they only have the summer? After that, who knows. Her parents could sell the cottage and never return. Is it worth it when one summer is all you might have?

My Thoughts/Impressions: I started this novel without really knowing what to expect. Honestly, I asked to read this book because I loved the cover and because I tend to really enjoy summer reads. However, the fact that they were only 15 was a little bit of a turn-off at first.

I was wrong. This book was beautifully written and had me grinning from page one to the very last page. Dalton's writing was engaging and her talent for story-telling was incredible.

She created characters who caught my attention from the first page. Chelsea faced a lot of insecurity. Her oldest sister was the braniac, her second oldest sister was the athlete, and she was....she didn't know what she was. Her two older sisters were gorgeous and she had what she thought was hideous red hair. Basically, she had no clue how she fit in.

Chelsea wasn't a whiny character or one that was so insecure that you wanted to smack her, but she was dealing with a lot of uncertainty and grew a lot in the book. I loved that. I also really loved Josh. He was such a great guy.

The pacing of the novel, the plot, the characters—they were all brilliantly crafted. This novel was a beautiful, fun, engaging, light-hearted read that I really enjoyed.

So why 4 out of 5 stars? It was beautifully written. It lacked the depth of my favorite novels, and yet it was still really enjoyable and one of the best I've read in awhile.

In Summary: An engaging, cute summer read that is brilliantly written and centered on fabulous characters that readers will adore.

The Wrap-up: I'm glad I took a chance and read this novel. It was way better than I thought it would be and ended up being a really enjoyable read. I'd recommend this to fans of young adult novels or fans of cute, summer reads. 


Danica Page

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Book Review: A Glimpse of Her Soul by Stuart Jaffe

A Glimpse of Her Soul
by Stuart Jaffe
Received for Review
Released On: February 7, 2013
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.33
Pages: 212

Before I get into my review, here's the synopsis available on Goodreads:

When 16-year-old Gillian Boone discovers that a secret message has been etched into her soul, her world of normal teenage life is destroyed. Now, bizarre monstrosities seek to kill her so they can read this message as her soul departs and use its information to escape back to the world they came from.

Though she has the aid of her father and some new friends, there is only one who has the real power to help. A rogue monster named Jackhammer Jack. But he might want her secret, too, even as he helps her evade the clutches of those pursuing her. With threats surrounding her, Gillian will have to lead her allies in a struggle for survival - a struggle all the more treacherous when her allies are just as dangerous as her enemies.

Filled with action, excitement, magic, romance, and mystery, A Glimpse of Her Soul is a pulse-pounding ride you're sure to enjoy. And just the kind of genre bending you've come to expect from a writer whose motto is Fantasy Knows No Bounds!

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimers: I received an electronic copy of this book as part of the Reading Addiction Blog Tour for this novel. I was not obligated to write a good review nor did I receive any compensation for writing this review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own. 

My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: I didn't really know what to think going into this novel. I thought the initial premise sounded good. This novel had great potential. The plot sounded really intriguing and original. Basically, I couldn't wait to see what Jaffe did in this novel. 

The book was really interesting and quite original. I thought the plot was well-developed and that the characters were intriguing. The characters did annoy me during several parts of the book and at times I found myself feeling infuriated with them.

I did wish that the pacing would have been slower. The plot seemed really rushed at parts and I felt like I was being jerked from scene to scene at times. However, the book was enjoyable. I'd be interested to see what happens in the sequel.

This wasn't my favorite fantasy book, but it was still really good and I'd recommend it to fantasy fans. 

So why 3 stars? I enjoyed the novel, but at times it felt rushed and it wasn't my favorite in the genre. However, it was very original and intriguing. 

In Summary: Stuart Jaffe's novel was intriguing and original and I enjoyed reading it. However, I felt like the novel could have been better developed. 

Warnings/Side-notes: There were some instances of language, but on the whole this novel was very clean. 

The Wrap-up: I enjoyed the novel and am glad I read it. The plot really was intriguing and original. However, I do wish the novel had been better developed. Like I mentioned earlier, I thought the novel's pacing was a little bit rushed in certain places. I'd be interested in seeing what Jaffe does in the sequel though. 


Danica Page

Monday, April 8, 2013

Book Review/Guest Post: Security by Mandy Baggot

Hello Fellow Page-Turners,

Today I'm thrilled to be taking part of the blog tour for Security by Mandy Baggot. As part of this tour, I will be sharing some information about the author, the book,  my review and a guest post from Mandy.

But first here's some information about the author.

Mandy Baggot is a self-confessed Twitter addict who likes to sing on You Tube. She regularly guests on book blogs and is a featured author on the innovative website loveahappyending.com. She is also a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Mandy lives near Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK with her husband and two daughters.

Twitter Handle: @mandybaggot
Publisher Author Page

And now for the synopsis of the novel:

Romantic Suspense
Date Published-  April 4, 2013

Autumn Raine is a pop vocalist at the very top of her game. She’s a style icon, the paparazzi’s darling and everyone wants to be her friend. But when her safety is threatened, her whole life starts to unravel.
Eluding kidnap and trying to stay alive, can Autumn find the strength to be the person she longs to be? And can two people, poles apart, forge something strong enough to survive anything?

And now for my review.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimers: I received an electronic ARC of this novel as part of the tour in exchange for my honest review. I was not obligated to write a good review nor have I been compensated in any way for writing this review. 

An Overview of the Novel: Autumn Raine is an icon pop diva and is used to be a complete jerk in order to get attention. But then she starts getting the wrong kind of attention—attention from terrorists. 

Her mother assigns her a bodyguard to keep her safe. Autumn is furious. Her relationship with her mother is strained and she hates the idea that because of her mother she's being pulled into this mess. She also finds her bodyguard Nathan infuriating. He's so bossy and doesn't tell her anything. 

Nathan thinks Autumn is a spoiled brat and hates that he got pushed into taking this job. Autumn is beyond frustrating and is a complete jerk in his mind. He's resigned himself to absolutely taking this job.

But then things stop adding up. Who really is behind Autumn's kidnapping and what's the motive? Nathan's job is to keep her safe and he's determined to do it. But day by day, the facade of Autumn Raine starts coming down and Nathan starts becoming more attracted to her with each passing day.

But with pasts as dark as theirs do they have any chance for pursuing a relationship and even if they do will they live long enough to make it last. 

My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: Romantic suspense is my favorite genre, so to say I had high expectations for this one would be an understatement. I was preparing myself to be disappointed when I started reading this novel. Instead, I found myself becoming more and more intrigued by the story and the characters.

Autumn was a complete brat for two-thirds of the novel and frustrated me to no end and yet I knew there had to be something more to her. I wanted to like her. As I kept reading the novel, I found myself liking her more and more. 

Then there was Nathan. Nathan was also a complete idiot and yet I really liked him from the very beginning. He was a complete jerk to Autumn which sounds awful, but honestly Autumn probably needed some honesty, maybe a little more tactfully but still. Nathan's character was intriguing and I loved slowly piecing his character together.

The writing was solid and thoroughly entertaining. While some aspects of the suspense/terrorists elements might have seemed a little bit forced/unrealistic, on the whole it was a beautifully crafted novel that I really loved.

The pacing of the novel was masterfully crafted and the conclusion was perfect. As far as romantic suspense goes, this was one of the more entertaining ones I've read recently.

So why 4.5 out of 5 stars? I really really liked this novel. The characters, the plot, the suspense, the romance, everything was just so masterfully crafted. It is not my favorite romantic suspense novel, but it was a really good read that I enjoyed reading. 

In Summary: Mandy's novel Security offers the perfect mix of romance and suspense. Her writing is beautiful; her characters are masterfully crafted, and her plot was absolutely gripping. Fans of romantic suspense will eat this novel up. 

Warnings/Side-notes: Adult novel. Some instances of strong language. Sexual references. None are too explicit, but they are not suitable for children. 

The Wrap-up: One of my favorite romantic suspense novels of the year. This is the first novel I've read by Mandy, but it certainly won't be the last. Her writing is beautiful and I loved that her characters weren't ones I liked from the get-go. In fact, I kind of hated them when I first met them, but by the end I loved them both. That is the mark of a great writer in my book. I can't wait to see more of Baggot's writing. Definitely recommend this one. 

And now for a guest post by Mandy Baggot: 

Starting out as a writer – 5 things you should know and do

       1.      You know everyone says they have a book in them. But do you know how many writers are actually active and out there? There are millions, yes millions of writers creating stories every single day. Choosing writing as profession isn’t easy. There is a lot of competition and if you want to go down the traditional route be prepared for knock backs. There are millions of others all carrying the same dream.

   2.      Be yourself. Read widely but don’t copy style. Find your uniqueness. Do you enjoy writing descriptive passages? Are you a King or Queen of dialogue? You need to write what comes from your heart otherwise it won’t bond together properly. A passionate voice is key.

3.      Ask for help and advice. We all become better writers by accepting critiques from peers. Join a reader/writer community and test drive your manuscript. Ask for honest opinions because in the long run these will help you most.

     4.      Unless you are a bit of a phenomenon you aren’t going to hit the Amazon bestseller charts at the first attempt or even the second or the...do you see where I’m going with this? Be prepared for lots and lots of hard work not just on polishing your novel but on letting people know it’s there. Embrace social media, work hard and it will pay off but don’t expect to be at E L James status overnight.

   5.      Keep writing and never lost heart. It’s your novel, they are your characters and you are the best person to write their story. There will be knock backs, dashed hopes and lots of ‘almost’ moments. Suck in every one of them and remember the feeling. When you get that contract or when copies start flying off the virtual shelves it will all be worthwhile. A real writer will always write regardless of commercial success. Sometimes we all get too wrapped up in this. Don’t forget to enjoy the story – that’s how we all got started!


Danica Page

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Book Review: Firefly Island by Lisa Wingate

Firefly Island
(Moses Lake, #3)
by Lisa Wingate
Received ARC for Review
Released On: February 1, 2013
Published By: Bethany House Publishers
Average Goodreads Rating: 4.12
Pages: 384
Add to Goodreads Shelf

Before I get into my review, here's the synopsis available on Goodreads:

At thirty-four, congressional staffer Mallory Hale is about to embark on an adventure completely off the map. After a whirlwind romance, she is hopelessly in love with two men--fortunately, they're related. Daniel Everson and his little boy, Nick, are a package deal, and Mallory suddenly can't imagine her future without them. 

Mallory couldn't be more shocked when Daniel asks her to marry him, move to Texas, and form a family with him and motherless Nick. The idea is both thrilling and terrifying. 
Mallory takes a leap of faith and begins a sweet, mishap-filled journey into ranch living, Moses Lake society, and a marriage that at times reminds her of the mail-order-bride stories. But despite the wild adventure of her new life, she discovers secrets and questions beneath her rosy new life. Can she find answers on Firefly Island, a little chunk of property just off the lakeshore, where mysterious lights glisten at night?

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Disclaimers: I received a temporary electronic arc from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not obligated to write a good review nor did I receive any compensation for writing this review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own. 

An Overview of the Novel: Mallory Hale had great plans for her life. She was going to be a great lobbyist...then she fell hopelessly in love and her whole life is turned upside down. Next thing she knows she's leaving for Texas with her husband and leaving everything she's known behind her.

The adjustment is hard and Mallory ends up wondering what on earth possessed her to move. Oh yeah, love. But she rarely sees her husband and everything about where they are living seems off.

His boss seems to be involved in suspicious behavior and Mallory certainly doesn't like him. But when tragedy strikes is Mallory really ready for it. 

My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: I did like this book but everything just seemed so fast-paced. I'd barely get my bearings on what was happening and then everything would shift.

Plus, I'm more of a romantic suspense girl than a romance girl and so in my mind the promise of suspense was ultimately unmet. There was a sprinkling of suspense, but not enough to satisfy me.

I also often found myself very annoyed with the characters. They all kept doing such stupid things that left me shaking my head. However, I did really love watching the characters grow and I did love the writing style.

All in all it was a good enjoyable book.


Danica Page

Book Review: The Heiress by Allison Rushby

The Heiress (#1-5)
Serial Series
by Allison Rushby
Received for Review
New Adult/Young Adult Historical Realistic Fiction
Released On: May 7, 2013
Published By: St. Martin's Griffin
Average Goodreads Rating: 3.42
Pages: 352
Amazon Link/Goodreads Link

Before I get into my review, here's the synopsis available on Goodreads:

Three triplets—sisters estranged since birth—are thrust together in glittering 1926 London to fight for their inheritance, only to learn they can’t trust anyone—least of all each other.

When three teenage girls, Thalia, Erato and Clio, are summoned to the excitement of fast-paced London—a frivolous, heady city full of bright young things—by Hestia, an aunt they never knew they had, they are shocked to learn they are triplets and the rightful heiresses to their deceased mother's fortune. All they need to do is find a way to claim the fortune from their greedy half-brother, Charles. But with the odds stacked against them, coming together as sisters may be harder than they think.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars. 

Disclaimers: I received an electronic copy of this novel for review from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not obligated to write a good review nor am I receiving any compensation for writing this review. 

An Overview of the Novel: Thalia, Erato, and Clio were triplets who were separated at birth. They were sent off to other family members and raised without knowing each other. Some of them had great lives and others struggled to survive the awful conditions they were placed in. But now Hestia, an aunt they didn't know they had, has brought them back together and is determined to help them get their inheritance.

But when it comes to money, they are about to learn that people have no scruples. They will soon learn that they might not even be able to trust each other. Scandal awaits on every turn and the quest for money can turn anybody into the worst version of themselves. 

My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: When I was invited to review Allison's novel I was excited because I loved her novel Shooting Stars. That one was realistic contemporary and this one was historical fiction, so I knew better than to compare them to each other going into this one.

However, I will admit that it made me even more excited to read this one. I went into the novel not knowing a lot about it. I didn't know it was a serial novel, I didn't know it would be about three triplets fighting for an inheritance. Really, I went into the novel not really knowing what to expect.

Coming out of the novel, I'm still not really sure what I think about the series. I loved the character Clio, but to be honest Thalia and Erato drove me nuts. There was so much backbiting and so much bitterness. Basically, this novel is very similar to what I'm sure Gossip Girl and The Clique series are like. I usually don't read those types of novels because I really hate reading about snotty girls.

However, I'm glad I read this one. All of these girls were ones I could connect with or at least root for on some level. I wanted them to get their inheritance, but the whole time I was praying it didn't ruin them. Basically I enjoyed the writing style and thought Allison did a great job with the plot and the characters.

As I read, I was constantly wondering what twist or problem would arise next. That made for an intriguing read, and while I did enjoy the novel, it just didn't have that extra something that made it stand out in my mind. 

So why 3 stars? It was an enjoyable read and I flew through the book because it was intriguing and so intense. However, I left the novel having enjoyed the book but wishing that there would have been more development of the characters and of the plots. It was a great read, but one that failed to distinguish itself to the 4 star level. 

In Summary: Allison's The Heiress invites readers to join a world where scandal and the quest for inheritances run supreme, a world where you can't trust anybody, not even your sisters. It was an intriguing premise and I enjoyed the serial novels very much. This world will suck in fans of novels like the Gossip Girls or The Clique

The Wrap-up: Allison is a great author who I love reading. I'll definitely be curious to see what she writes next. I love her writing style and think she has great potential. I'll be interested in seeing what she comes up with next. 


Danica Page

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

PROMO: Stephanie Fowers Twisted Tales series

Hello Readers,

Today I'm thrilled to be part of the guest post and promo post for Stephanie Fowers Twisted Tales series.

With a Kiss (Twisted Tales #1)
Author: Stephanie Fowers
Genre: YA Paranormal (Faeries)
Release Date: April 2013

Buy Link: Amazon 

There are seven rules of the faery kingdom that Halley Starr must never break:

    1. No trespassing sacred faery territory
    2. Don't ever say thank you
    3. Using a faery’s given name is a no-no
    4. Never break a promise to a faery
    5. Faery music is forbidden
    6. Resist all faery food
    7. And never, never fall in love with a faery

    But Halley is cursed. Yeah. No joke. She can barely survive Omak High with that shard of ice in her heart. How could she possibly be a proper godmother and stop Rumpelstiltskin from taking the heir of the faery kingdom? And let’s be honest, there is no way she’ll go with Goldilocks (some hot faery guy) who won’t bother telling Halley his name or that she looks like she’s talking to herself when he’s around. Not a chance.

    And really, who can blame her?

    If Halley wants her heart back again, she can’t worry about the rules…

At Midnight (Twisted Tales #2)
Author: Stephanie Fowers
Genre: YA Paranormal (Faeries)
Release Date: April 2013

Buy Link: Amazon 


Stop the clock from striking twelve

    Who is Bridgette anyway?

    1. Loser of Omak High
    2. Girl who rubs her fingers raw working fast food
    3. Victim of the evil stepmother who runs the group home
    4. Not-so-proud owner of a hearth where fire-starting goblins live
    5. Asylum wannabe with occasional schizophrenic episodes

    Not even Bridgette knows. Not that she can do anything about it. Besides, her godmother is supposed to save her, not the other way around! But Halley Starr is a little busy fighting Rumpelstiltskin flunkies and his beanstalk, so her godmother sends some rude faery guy to help Bridgette instead. It’s up to him to make sure she gets that true love’s kiss that will undo the banishment curse, except he seriously knows nothing about love or faery hunters, red riding hood, spindles…or high school!

    Excuse me?

    Even if he did, how is Bridgette supposed to find true love if everyone she loves disappears?

As the Sun Sets (Twisted Tales #3)
Author: Stephanie Fowers
Genre: YA Paranormal (Faeries)
Release Date: April 2013

Buy Link: Amazon 


Will it be happily ever after or the end?

    Daphne’s sister and stepsister are in big BIG trouble!

    1. It’s the third and final day
    2. Rumpelstiltskin plans to suck their powers dry
    3. The queen wants them dead
    4. The wolves switched sides
    5. The world is about to end
    6. And did they seriously expect to keep this all from Daphne?

    Oh yeah, A LOT of trouble! Daphne Starr pricks her finger on a spindle and it awakens the power that was always within her. That’s a big time no no! Now Rumpelstiltskin and some evil queen are after her. Even more annoying, the biggest player at Omak High is a shapeshifter and he goes beast on her, dragging her into a beanstalk and getting them stuck in a time-warp. He won’t stop asking her to marry him to get to her powers. I mean, give up already! Sure, it’s cool when she scores matching boots with the weirdo cat, and some cute faery guy accidentally tags along for the ride, but…

    Enough is enough already!

    Halley and Bridgette had better get her out of this—especially since she only has until the battery runs out of her cell phone before she loses…to a beast.

Stephanie Fowers loves bringing stories to life, and depending on her latest madcap ideas will do it through written word, song, and/ or film. She absolutely adores Bollywood and bonnet movies; i.e., BBC (which she supposes includes non-bonnet movies Sherlock and Dr. Who). Presently, she lives in Salt Lake where she's living the life of the starving artist. Stephanie plans to share more of her novels, films, and even a musical in the near future. May the adventures begin.


Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Stephaniefowers  

The Story-behind-the-Story
(a tale of love, softball, faeries, Cinderella, Cú Chulainn, three narrators, and Omak)

About seven years ago, I was between college and a job when my sister and her husband invited me to stay with them in Omak, Washington. It was one of the best summers ever! I went to their kids’ softball games, helped out with the community play, bonded with their little one-year-old girl, and wrote “With a Kiss.”
Pretty much, you can read that summer ALL over in my book. Back then, my nieces had dragged out my romantic comedies from my shelf and wanted to read them, but they were all about college and stuff that they weren’t interested in, so I promised I’d write a story tailored just for them. They LOVED faerytales and that was the first thing that I threw into the novel. They loved magic, so I put in some faeries (at the time I thought witches were taken by Harry Potter). And also, because I was helping them out with their children’s theater and since all my nieces (and a few of my nephews) were in the play, I added Halley Starr’s own theater adventures in the opening chapter of “With a Kiss.” And then to top it all off, I set the whole thing in Omak (pronounced Oh-mac) where my sister’s family lived. Jessica always introduced me at my nieces’ softball games as her author sister, and so after clearing up any misconceptions that I was actually famous, I promised her friends I’d do them proud anyway and make Omak the star of my novel, complete with the suicide stampede horse race, the Colville Tribe, their fascination with the arts, and everything else in between!
After that, things got a little wacky. I had every intention of keeping the book fun and light, and I was very, VERY determined not to write in any twists. I planned to keep the plot simple and not veer into confusing territory (as I had been accused of doing many times previously). I promised myself so faithfully . . . but the moment that I discovered faerytales were real in this book, all bets were off! It was too fun not to twist my own faerytale take into this story.
Since this book was based on faeries, I researched the little creatures—Hobgoblins and mermaids, Leprechauns and Dones d’aigua. And I found all sorts of fascinating Celtic legends surrounding them. I started world building with already existing legends—Niamh, Ratis, Cailleach, Bridgette and put them into the faerytales where they fit—the Frog Princess. Rapunzel. Snow White, Cinderella.
If you look at the Arthurian legend of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell, this knight of the round table morphed from a legendary guy known anciently as Cú Chulainn (also known as the hound of Ulster because he killed his step-parent’s dog and had to take its place). Then when I researched into Dame Ragnelle, I saw she came from the legend of the Loathly Lady (also known as the goddess Ériu). So, here I had a story about a handsome guy who was tricked into marrying an ugly hag, and when he proved his love to her, she turned into a beautiful faery princess. Well, of course, that was Beauty and the Beast—reversed.
It all started to fit a pattern. I mean, every culture has their own Cinderella. These stories had passed through many generations in many different versions. Lancelot and Guinevere were once Tristan and Iseult. Titania and Oberon were Onagh and Finvarra. So in my Twisted Tales series, I decided to further transform these Celtic heroes into their own faerytales and give them a modern twist as characters in my book. And not only that, I made faerytales like a book of prophecies. None of the faerytales had happened yet. And since the books were magic, they were in the act of being written with ink seeping into the pages out of nowhere.
Now with all these ideas tucked in my mind, I sat down and wrote “With a Kiss” (then titled “FaeryTale Prophecies”) and I sent it off to my favorite publishing companies. I couldn’t get an agent to read it, and when they did, they thought it was too light . . . or too dark. The heroine was too mean or too bubblegum (depending on what they were looking for). But I didn’t want to make her darker; I didn’t want to make her nicer either—she didn’t have a heart. I mean, she was literally cursed. And besides that, I wanted a realistic girl who had room to grow. The agents (as a rule) didn’t care—they wanted a story that fit their criteria and I (as a rule) wanted a story that fit mine. Man, I’m hard to work with . . . just like my mean, bubblegum characters that they disliked.
Let’s fast-forward things to five years later. I had shelved the book, but when one of my nieces asked about it (my brother’s daughter this time), I let her read it and she loved it. Her friends loved it too; they read it at lunch to each other. My niece begged me for the next book, but no one was buying the first book and so I explained that there was no way I was about to write a second one for no one to buy—I really had to concentrate my efforts elsewhere. That’s when she, along with all of her friends, got mad at me. That was surprising. I didn’t know they were actually interested in reading the rest for real! So when I discovered this great thing called Amazon, I tried out one of my chick flick novels on it and was super happy with the results. Then when the girls all gave me puppy-dog eyes, I said, sure, why not? I’ll make it into a trilogy and dedicate it to you.
I had the best time writing these books during the past two years. I had plans to take my character Halley Starr into the next book as the narrator when I realized, no, no, this next book isn’t about Halley, it’s about Bridgette. And the third book? Well, it’s REALLY about Daphne, so I changed the narrator again for the third. I’m not sure if anyone does that with a trilogy (I haven’t checked), but it just worked for these novels. Each girl gets her own adventure with a “Hobs” thrown in—though I do want to make it clear that the books are meant to be read in order because they follow a storyline that builds on each book until the end.
Halley, Bridgette, and Daphne are very different from each other, which is how my nieces are in real life so it seemed appropriate. I also think that the second narrator, Bridgette, would have fit the more serious criteria that those agents from yesteryear wanted. And of course, Daphne from the third book would have pleased the opposing side who wanted a lighter heroine. That’s just the way it goes, I guess. I’m pretty sure that everyone will have their favorite books and narrators in this series because none of the books are a cookie-cut version of the other. In fact, I’ve made it a point to ask each reviewer which narrator they prefer and I think the results are great. Usually, they like the narrator who is the closest to them in personality (or at least have a friend similar to the narrator they love).
But honestly, one of the things that was most fun about the Twisted Tales series? Everything came full circle. Because it took me so long to get these books out, I was able to grab those same nieces who inspired me to write these stories so long ago and put three of them on my covers because now they’re old enough to look like my main characters. It’s crazy how life works. That’s why it’s so wonderful!

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