PASSIONATE ABOUT SCHOOL LIBRARIES

Tag: August 2016

Book Review: Burnin’ for You

Burnin’ For You – Susan May Warren – Montana Fire #3 – Published 2 August 2016

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Synopsis

He’s loved her for years . . . 

Smoke jumper Reuben Marshall harbors a deep regret—a split second decision he made that cost the life of his crew boss. His paralyzing grief has kept him from pursuing his long-burning interest in pretty, petite smoke jumper/bomber pilot Gilly Priest. Not that he has a prayer at winning her heart. Not only is she not interested in dating a teammate, she’s also the preacher’s daughter. And while Rueben’s not the chiefest of sinners, he’s no saint… 

A dark secret that keeps her from trusting . . . 

Gilly Priest has worked hard to carve out her niche as a female bomber pilot in the dangerous world of firefighting. Sure she’s small, but she’s made up for her statue in courage, grit and the tenacity to face danger other pilots wouldn’t dare. And yes, she’s noticed handsome Rueben Marshall—who wouldn’t? Dependable and strong, he takes up most of the space in the room. But Gilly’s dark secrets won’t allow her close enough to talk to him, let alone let herself fall for him. 

A race to rescue the people they love . . . 

When their smokejumper plane goes down in the northwestern Montana mountains, wounding their team, Gilly and Reuben are the only ones capable of hiking out to find help. But when their rescue mission turns out to be a fight for their lives against the elements, a saboteur, and a forest fire, they discover they’ll have to put aside their fears and learn to trust each other. But will trust ignite something they both long for . . .and fear? And can they save their team before tragedy strikes—again?

My thoughts

I loved this book! Awesomeness, the whole lot of it. Romance (such romance, I think Susan May Warren might be my favourite author for building romantic tension and then letting the sparks fly), with a huge helping of suspense as the characters fight for their lives. There is also such a feeling of team connectedness. It so much fun joining these brave men and women as they jump from planes, fight fires, fly over dangerous terrain, and fall in love.

Gilly knows what it takes to face her fears and prove herself every single day. It’s what she must do to hold onto her place as pilot for the smokejumper team. For Reuben, smoke jumping is something he is good at, it gave him a chance at a new life, but he has many regrets, especially surrounding the deaths of his teammates. Gilly has decided to never trust a man again. Reuben knows Gilly deserves more than he could offer her, particularly when he can hardly construct a sentence when she is near. But when a simple jump turns deadly and it is revealed that someone is targeting the team, Gilly and Reuben will have to work together to save both their and their team’s lives.

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Book Review: Welcome To Country

Welcome To Country – Joy Murphy and Lisa Kennedy (ill.) – Black Dog Books

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Synopsis

Welcome to the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri People. We are part of this land and the land is part of us. This is where we come from. Wominjeka Wurundjeri balluk yearmenn koondee bik. Welcome to Country.

My thoughts

Welcome To Country shares the wonderful traditional words of welcome from the Wurundjeri People of Melbourne. It is beautifully written and the words flow gently over the pages, set against gorgeous illustrations.

In a day when showing respect to the traditional owners of the land is so key (though it has never not been important, I might add), it is wonderful to share the words traditionally used to welcome visitors.

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Book Review: Beauty From Ashes

beauty-from-ashes

Beauty From Ashes – Kimberly Rae Jordan – BlackThorpe Security #5 -Three Strand Press – Published 12 August 2016

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Synopsis

Adrianne Thorpe has watched as both her twin brother and her sister have had love enter their lives in the past few months. With one already married and the other in a serious relationship, she has had to watch them live out her dream. Though she has dated plenty over the years, Adrianne hasn’t found the man she wants to spend the rest of her life with. Does she just have impossibly high standards? Or is it the small voice in her head telling her that no man would really love her that keeps her from letting anyone get close enough to touch her heart? 

From the moment Connor Mackenzie learns that his sister Rebecca is married to Alex Thorpe, he knows his past has come back to haunt him. After over a decade of working in some of the most dangerous areas of the world, he had plans to retire so he could move closer to his sister and nephew. Doing that now will mean being in almost constant contact with the woman who, as a teenager, he had rejected most cruelly. Has she been able to get over their hurt-filled past? Or will he be forced to reconsider where he spends his time post-retirement? 

My thoughts

Another great title by Kimberly Rae Jordan.

Beauty From Ashes continues the BlackThorpe Security series. This is Adrianne Thorpe’s story, as her past resurfaces and she determines what she wants as from future.

Beauty From Ashes didn’t quite unfold as I expected. There is  much less emphasis on the past mysteries and dangers that have been plaguing the people at BlackThorpe than I expected, especially the very minor continuation of Alana and Justin’s story (have I missed a novella somewhere?) But I really enjoyed getting to know Adrianne more. We met Adrianne in previous BlackThorpe titles. She is a strong woman, but still deeply hurt by the words of Conner Mackenzie, someone she considered a friend, in her teenage years. Her story of forgiveness and redemption with Connor is very sweet.

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Book Review: Game On

game-on

Game On – Michelle Smith – Lewis Creek #2 – Bloomsbury Spark – Published 16 August 2016

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Synopsis

As king of baseball in the small town of Lewis Creek, Eric Perry can have any girl he wants and win every game he plays. But when a fight lands him in jail, he’s only got one more strike before his baseball career is over for good. His only chance for redemption? The girl next door, Bri Johnson.

Bri hasn’t talked to Eric in months—for starters, she’s been too busy dealing with her jerk of an ex-boyfriend, not to mention the fact that Eric’s been preoccupied trying to drink every keg in the country dry. But when he needs a way to stay on the team, she proposes a plan: if he helps her out with community service, he can stay on the team. At first it’s a nightmare—Eric and Bri stopped being friends years ago, surely that was for a good reason, right? But as volunteering turns to bonding over old memories of first kisses under the stars, they start to have trouble remembering what pushed them apart.

In a town as small as Lewis Creek, nothing stays secret for long and their friendship and romance might mean bad news. But in this final, tumultuous spring before graduation, Eric and Bri are about to realize that nobody’s perfect alone, but they might just be perfect together.

My thoughts

Sport and romance combine in this fun story of second chances and starting over.

Eric finally has the starting position as pitcher on the baseball team. And that means a whole lot more pressure and more people watching his every move. So getting arrested for hitting one of his teammates isn’t going to improve his popularity with the townspeople. Bri knows its time to end things with her boyfriend. But she doesn’t need her neighbour and old friend Eric fighting with her ex for her. She surprises herself when she stands up for Eric, offering his coach an out instead of Eric getting kicked off the team. Even if it means spending a whole lot more time with Eric.

I love boy/girl-next-door love stories, especially ones about friends. Bri and Eric haven’t spent much time together since they were kids, so it’s fun watching them reconnect, especially as they share with each other everything that is going on in their lives.

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Book Review: How To Keep Rolling After A Fall

How To Keep Rolling After A Fall

How To Keep Rolling After A Fall – Karole Cozzo – Swoon Reads – Published 2 August 2016

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Synopsis

After a cyber bullying incident turns her life upside down, a handsome wheelchair rugby player shows a former mean girl that everyone deserves a second chance.

The party was at her house. The photos were posted to her Facebook account. That’s all the evidence anyone needed to condemn Nikki Baylor for a cyberbullying incident that humiliated a classmate and nearly resulted in the girl’s suicide. Now Nikki’s been expelled from her old school, her friends have abandoned her, and even her own parents can’t look her in the eye. With her plans for the future all but destroyed, Nikki resigns herself to being the girl everyone hates – almost as much as she hates herself. But then Nikki meets Pax, a spirited wheelchair rugby player who knows what it’s like when one mistake completely shatters your life. Refusing to judge her because of her past, he shows her that everyone deserves a second chance… and everyone deserves to be loved.

My thoughts

I was excited to read How To Keep Rolling After A Fall. I thought it sounded great, had such promise. Unfortunately I didn’t like the way it was executed. Clearly I don’t click with Karole Cozzo’s writing. I couldn’t get into How To Say I Love You Out Loud, but I thought this one was worth reading.  It wasn’t the brilliance I expected. In fact, I had some serious issues with the plot and characters.

Nikki Baylor made a horrible mistake, posting photos of a classmate that irreversibly changed her life (the classmate’s life I mean, though Nikki isn’t too happy with the way her life way changed as well). While completing her community service hours she meets Pax, who sets out to show her that everyone deserves a second change.

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Book Review: For This Life Only

For This Life Only

For This Life Only – Stacey Kade – Simon and Schuster – Published 30 August 2016

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Synopsis

A young man struggles to move forward after the death of his twin brother in this gripping, coming-of-age tale about loss, redemption, love, and the moment you begin to see the world differently.

Three minutes.

Jacob Palmer died for three life-changing minutes.

And when he woke up, nothing was the same. Elijah, his twin brother, is dead, and his family is broken. Jace’s planned future is crushed, along with his pitching arm. Everyone keeps telling him that Eli’s in a better place, but Jace isn’t so sure. Because in those three minutes, there was nothing.

Overwhelmed by guilt and doubt, Jace struggles to adjust to this new version of the world, one without his brother, one without the certainties he once relied on. And then Thera comes into his life.

She’s the last girl he should be turning to for help.

But she’s also the first person to truly see him. 

My thoughts

I really enjoy Stacey Kade’s writing, so For This Life Only was a must read for me. It is just as heartbreaking as the summary makes it sound, as well as uplifting and purposeful. I loved the themes of this story – grief, soul searching, faith, families of the church, expectations and choosing to do the ‘right’ thing even when you’re not sure what that is.

In Jace’s family he is the destructive twin, while his brother Eli manages to effortlessly maintain the levels of perfection their dad craves. Jace wants to play baseball, while Eli will probably follow in their father’s footsteps and become a pastor, Jace is happy to go out partying and drinking with his teammates while Eli will be with his equally perfect girlfriend or at bible camp or writing his next debating speech. They are two halves of a whole. So Jace’s life is shattered when, in a car accident, Eli is killed and Jace is saved. It challenges his view of the afterlife, faith and his family as they too start to crumble around him. But the town’s outsider, the one girl he has been told his whole life not to go near, offers Jace some hope, a person to talk to about his darkest fears and reveals that even Eli was keeping secrets…  Continue reading

Book Review: You Before Anyone Else

You Before Anyone Else

You Before Anyone Else – Julie Cross and Mark Perini – Sourcebooks Fire – Published 2 August 2016

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Synopsis

Model Finley needs someone to help her shed her “good girl” persona, so she’ll try Eddie on for size.

New York City model Finley is fed up with hearing the same feedback at castings: she needs to take some serious action to wipe the “good girl” stamp from her resume if she wants to launch to stardom.

Enter Eddie Wells. He’s shallow, predictable…and just as lost as Finley feels. Deep down, Finley is drawn to Eddie’s bravado, his intensity. Except Eddie is hiding something. A big something. And when it surfaces, both loving and leaving Finley will become so much harder.

My thoughts

Consider this a standing ovation. This book was a million times better than I expected. I fell totally in love with the story, with the romance, with all of the characters, but most especially with Eddie and Finley.

Okay, so there is the summary for this book and then there is what I consider to be a whole story underneath that. In the book’s summary, Finley is a model who is trying to break out of her ‘good girl’ shell. And yes, that’s true, but Finley is also the girl who loves and supports her family and who is using modelling to fund her dreams. Eddie is, at the start, portrayed as the ‘bad boy’ with plenty of deep, dark secrets. And yes, Eddie has a shady past and plenty of secrets, but he is one of the most genuine, caring male protagonists I have read. It is hard to say more without giving anything away, and I think it is better to know less about this story, but please don’t take the summary at face value. There is so much more to this story.

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Book Review: Deadly Encounter

Deadly Encounter

Deadly Encounter – DiAnn Mills  – Tyndale – Published 1 August 2016

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Synopsis

Airport Ranger volunteer Stacy Broussard expected a peaceful Saturday morning ride around the perimeter of Houston’s airport. What she encounters instead is a brutal homicide and a baffling mystery. Next to the body is an injured dog, the dead man’s motorcycle, and a drone armed with a laser capable of taking down a 747.Though FBI Special Agent Alex LeBlanc sees a clear-cut case of terrorism, his past has taught him to be suspicious of everyone, even witnesses. Even bleeding-heart veterinarians like Stacy. But when her gruesome discovery is only the first in a string of incidences that throw her life into a tailspin, Alex begins to wonder if Stacy was targeted. As a health emergency endangers Stacy’s community, and the task force pulls in leads from all directions, Alex and Stacy must work together to prevent another deadly encounter.

My thoughts

Deadly Encounter is the first book in the new FBI Task Force series. It continues DiAnn Mills’ tradition of offering engaging novels of suspense with a touch of romance and faith.

I enjoyed Deadly Encounter, more than I have Mills’ previous few books. There is a lot more detail provided to readers while also keeping a steady pace of action and developments in the case. There is also a greater amount of family and personal details in this story to balance the crime focus. That said, the middle section of this book dragged on a little and the resolution of the crime sometimes seemed so far away, something I’m sure law professionals struggle with everyday of their lives. I love how DiAnn Mills’ books are far more reflective of realistic crime fighting rather than the showy but unlikely big reveals of the crimes you see on TV shows or in other books.

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