PASSIONATE ABOUT SCHOOL LIBRARIES

Tag: Review (Page 2 of 5)

Book Review: Nowhere But Here

Nowhere But Here

Nowhere But Here – Katie McGarry – Thunder Road #1 – Harlequin Teen – Published 26 May 2015

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Synopsis

Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she’s curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They’re the good guys. They protect people. They’re…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club’s most respected member—is in town, he’s gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it’s his shot at his dream. What he doesn’t count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

My thoughts

Who needs cliff jumping or swimming with sharks. Nowhere But Here was an adrenaline rush from beginning to end. I absolutely love Katie McGarry’s writing. It is flawless every single time. And this book was no different. A new series, a new set of incredibly crafted characters, so real, so raw, so perfect you can’t help but love them. For some reason when I read a sample of this book months ago I lowered my expectations somewhat. So silly. What I didn’t realise is that excerpt was taken out of context and that this book was so compulsive, so addictive, so good.

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Book Review: Hope Harbor

Hope Harbor

Hope Harbor – Irene Hannon – Revell – Published 7 July 2015

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Synopsis

Tracy Campbell never wanted to leave Hope Harbor, Oregon, or the idyllic three-generation cranberry farm where she grew up. But life–and love–altered her plans.
When tragedy strikes and changes her plans yet again, she finds herself back in her hometown with a floundering farm to run and a heartbreaking secret. Romance is not on her agenda. Nor is it on Michael Hunter’s. The visitor from Chicago has daunting secrets of his own. But when Tracy recruits him to help save a struggling charitable organization, the winds of change begin to sweep through Hope Harbor, bringing healing, hope, and love to countless lives–including their own.

My thoughts

It took me a little while to get truly immersed in this story. Although I knew it was written by Irene Hannon, who consistently writes fantastic suspense and lovely contemporary, I was otherwise unaware of the true bones of this story. But when I did get further into the story, I was captivated by the town of Hope Harbor and its assortment of colourful residents.
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Book Review: Hearts Made Whole

Hearts Made Whole

Hearts Made Whole – Jody Hedlund – Beacons of Hope #2 – Bethany House Publishers – Published 2 June 2015

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Synopsis

After her father’s death, Caroline Taylor has grown confident running the Windmill Point Lighthouse. But in 1865 Michigan, women aren’t supposed to have such roles, so it’s only a matter of time before the lighthouse inspector appoints a new keeper–even though Caroline has nowhere else to go and no other job available to her.

Ryan Chambers is a Civil War veteran still haunted by the horrors of battle. He’s been given the post as lighthouse keeper, and the isolation where he can drown in drink and hide from his past is appealing. He’s not expecting the current keeper to be a feisty and beautiful woman who’s none-too-pleased to be giving up her position. They both quickly realize he’s in no shape to run the lighthouse, but Ryan’s unwilling to let anyone close, ravaged by memories and guilt. Caroline’s drawn to this wounded soul, but with both of them relying on that single position, can they look past their loss to a future filled with hope…and possibly love?

My thoughts

It is 1865. Caroline Taylor has dutifully tended the Windmill Point Lighthouse, both before and after her father’s tragic death. Determined to provide for her siblings and continue to man the light each night, she is shocked to find that she and her family will soon have to leave. Told that lighthouse keeping is no work for a woman she is to be replaced by a returning Civil War veteran, Ryan Chambers.

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Book Review: Last Leaves Falling

Last Leaves Falling

Last Leaves Falling – Sarah Benwell – Definitions – Published 29 January 2015

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Synopsis

And these are they. My final moments. They say a warrior must always be mindful of death, but I never imagined that it would find me like this . . .

Japanese teenager, Sora, is diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Lonely and isolated, Sora turns to the ancient wisdom of the samurai for guidance and comfort. But he also finds hope in the present; through the internet he finds friends that see him, not just his illness. This is a story of friendship and acceptance, and testing strength in an uncertain future.

My thoughts

I’m not sure how to write this review. Did I love it? Am I shocked, heartbroken? Well, Let me start by saying I never intended to read this book. It wasn’t on my to-read list. I wasn’t even aware of its existence until I saw it sitting on the table in our library’s back room, fresh from being catalogued and covered, and I picked it up. Entranced by the cover I started to read. And I never stopped (expect for a bit of work, of course). I was so intrigued by this book. What was its underlying message? By what does it define courage? I’m not sure I agree with its conclusions, but let me back up a step.
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Book Review: Married ’til Monday

Married 'til Monday

Married ’til Monday – Denise Hunter – Chapel Springs #4 – Thomas Nelson – Published 9 June 2015

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Synopsis

With a big anniversary party in the works for her parents, Ryan will pretend to be Abby’s husband for just one last weekend.

Ryan McKinley has tried to move on from his ex-wife, Abby. He’s sulked, he’s gotten angry, and ultimately he bought her dream house. Big mistake. Living alone in the massive 2-story has only made him miss her more. When her parents call him out of the blue about their anniversary party in Summer Harbor, Maine, Ryan believes God has dropped a golden opportunity straight in his lap.

Abby McKinley never exactly told her parents about the divorce. A strained relationship with her dad has culminated in a distant relationship with her parents, but she’s finally succumbed to her mom’s pressure to make the drive for their 35th-anniversary party.

Then Ryan shows up on her doorstep, looking as devastatingly handsome as ever. When he insists he’s going to Seabrook, with or without her, Abby knows she can’t say no. Her parents still think they’re married and now Ryan knows it too. Besides, he only wants to check in with his best friend from college—her cousin Beau, who just lost his dad. It’s just a one-week road-trip with the man who broke her heart. What could possibly go wrong?

My thoughts

What a great story. Denise Hunter consistently writes fantastic contemporary romance with engaging plot lines. Married ’til Monday particularly caught my interest. Ryan is still in love with his ex-wife. His family are sure he needs to let it go, but when the opportunity presents itself to pretend to be Abby’s husband for one last weekend he can’t help but leap at the chance. Let the wooing begin. But of course, nothing goes as planned. Will a road trip and a series of missteps, hard truths, car break downs, longing looks and fleeting touches give Ryan and Abby the second chance Ryan so desperately wants? Well, you’ll just have to read it, won’t you.

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Book Review: The Revenge Playbook

The Revenge Playbook

The Revenge Playbook – Rachael Allen – HarperTeen – Published 16 June 2015

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Synopsis

Don’t get mad, get even! In this poignant and hilarious novel, Rachael Allen brilliantly explores the nuances of high school hierarchies, the traumas sustained on the path to finding true love, and the joy of discovering a friend where you least expect.

In the small town of Ranburne, high school football rules and the players are treated like kings. How they treat the girls they go to school with? That’s a completely different story. Liv, Peyton, Melanie Jane, and Ana each have their own reason for wanting to teach the team a lesson—but it’s only when circumstances bring them together that they come up with the plan to steal the one thing the boys hold sacred. All they have to do is beat them at their own game.

My thoughts

Four girls, separated by their stories, beliefs, friends and interests, are united in their desire for revenge. Revenge on the footballers at Ranburne High and how they treat the others at the school. Revenge for the injustices committed against themselves and others.

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Book Review: Crumb

Crumb

Crumb: The Simple Pleasures of Baking – Ruby Tandoh – Ten Speed Press – Published 28 April 2015

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Synopsis

A baking cookbook from the young and talented Ruby Tandoh, with a focus on charming, flavorful, and practical dishes that celebrate the pleasure of casual baking.

Crumb’s explanatory and evocative prose promotes everyday baking without sacrificing the joy of the craft, defying the style of both showy, highly decorated baking as well as the dry, informative tone of “serious” baking books. A delight to read as well as to bake from, recipes like Sweet Potato Doughnuts, Pecan and Rosemary Tartlets, Raspberry Whisky Pavlova, and Blood Orange Polenta Cake are interspersed with the virtues of different types of apples, a reminiscence about Belgian buns, and a passage on the need to knead. Covering a range of baking projects from sweet to savory, chapters include cakes, cookies, bread, pastries, pies, tarts, and more.

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Book Review: Justified

Justified

Justified – Varina Denman – Mended Hearts #2 – David C. Cook – Published 1 June 2015

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Synopsis

In a small Texas town ruled by gossip, Fawn Blaylock believes others are justified in condemning her untimely pregnancy. Stifled by guilt, she yearns for grace while the local football coach treats her with gentle respect.

Justified perfectly captures the rhythm and romance of life in a small town, telling the unforgettable story of a woman searching for renewal, a man looking beyond what others see, and a community torn between judgment and love. It is the unforgettable story of broken dreams, second chances, and relentless hope. Continue reading

Book Review: Jaded

Jaded

Jaded – Varina Denman – Mended Hearts #1 – David C. Cook – Published 1 March 2015

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Synopsis

Ruthie Turner resents the Christians in her small Texas town, but when she falls for the new preacher, she must release her bitterness…and learn to love. On the surface, nothing seems to change in this dull town-yet God always works beneath the surface.

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Book Review: The Leveller

Leveller

The Leveller – Julia Durango – The Leveller #1 – HarperTeen – Published 23 June 2015

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Synopsis

Nixy Bauer is a self-made Leveller. Her job? Dragging kids out of virtual reality and back to their parents in the real world. It’s normally easy cash, but Nixy’s latest mission is fraught with real danger, intrigue, and romance.

Nixy Bauer is used to her classmates being very, very unhappy to see her. After all, she’s a bounty hunter in a virtual reality gaming world. Kids in the MEEP, as they call it, play entirely with their minds, while their bodies languish in a sleeplike state on the couch. Irritated parents, looking to wrench their kids back to reality, hire Nixy to jump into the game and retrieve them.

But when the game’s billionaire developer loses track of his own son in the MEEP, Nixy is in for the biggest challenge of her bounty-hunting career. Wyn Salvador isn’t some lazy kid looking to escape his homework: Wyn does not want to be found. And he’s left behind a suicide note. Nixy takes the job but quickly discovers that Wyn’s not hiding—he’s being held inside the game against his will. But who is holding him captive, and why?

Nixy and Wyn attempt to fight their way out of a mind game unlike any they’ve encountered, and the battle brings them closer than either could have imagined. But when the whole world is virtual, how can Nixy possibly know if her feelings are real?

My thoughts

Nixy is a leveller. That means she goes into the MEEP to pull out kids who would rather spend their days in the virtual reality game while their body stays in the real world in a comatose state. When the MEEP’s creator, Diego Salvador approaches Nixy for help in returning his son Wyn to the real world, Nixy thinks it will be a quick trip. But a suicide note and a series of scary challenges complicate this rescue mission, as does a further surprise that awaits her within the game. Continue reading

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