The Orphan’s Wish by Melanie Dickerson Review

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Synopsis:

From the streets to an orphanage in a faraway kingdom, Aladdin has grown up alone. Until he meets Kirstyn. With a father who is the duke of Hagenheim and a mother who is the patroness of the orphanage where Aladdin lives, Kirstyn is a member of the most powerful family in the land . . . and way out of his league. Despite the difference in their stations, Aladdin quickly becomes Kirstyn’s favorite companion for taking walks in the forest, and their childhood friendship grows along with them.

Through his scrappy skills, intelligence, and hard work, Aladdin earns a position serving in the duke’s house. But he knows it isn’t enough to grant him his one desire: Kirstyn’s hand in marriage. If he hopes to change his station in life and feel worthy of marrying Kirstyn, he must leave Hagenheim to seek his fortune.

But once Aladdin leaves, no one is around to protect Kirstyn, and the greedy men desperate to take advantage of her father’s wealth take notice. Now, more than Aladdin’s background stands in the way of the future he’s worked so hard to obtain. His only hope is to rescue Kirstyn and somehow manage to win her hand as well.

My Thoughts:

I have been eager to pick up a fairy tale retelling for a long time and have heard amazing things about Melanie’s writing so I couldn’t wait to dig into this book. Unfortunately, this probably wasn’t the best one to start with.

The story is supposed to be based on Aladdin, but there are very few similarities, mostly only the names Aladdin and Abu. The main theme of the story is focused on a relationship between Aladdin and Lady Kirsten, who have serious communication issues. So many things could have been resolved had the characters talked things out. It became very frustrating for me to read.

I did enjoy the setting and the time period. I love stories that are in and around castles and small villages. I also related to Kirsten in the way she didn’t always fit in with her family, but felt that Aladdin really understood her like no one else (I have my own Aladdin in my life 🙂 The faith content was also great and the story is very clean. This would be a book I wouldn’t hesitate to allow my 12 year old daughter to read, which I really appreciate.

Overall, the story was a bit bland and the story dragged on too long for my liking but I still plan on revisiting Melanie Dickerson’s books.

My Rating:

2.5 stars

I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Loving Grace by April Smith Review

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Synopsis:

Grace Summer lands herself in a melon load of trouble when she becomes torn between the boy of her dreams and the boy almost next door. As the newly-crowned Watermelon Queen, she is thrust into the spotlight, meets the dreamy Warren Hartley, and continues trying to get over an accident that rocked her world. Mix in working with Beau Baron who Grace happens to fight with just about as much as breathing and the metaphorical sparks fly.
Like most things in life, Grace must learn to take the good with the bad. While the good is the handsome and fun Warren Hartley, the bad is Beau Baron—or at least being around his annoying and rude self way more than she would like. For Beau, Grace is nothing more than aggravating and an irritating reminder from the night of the accident. Tensions soar as Grace and Beau fight to love themselves and maybe, just maybe, each other.

My Thoughts:

This was a super cute and sweet story (no pun intended) about a girl named Grace who becomes the Watermelon Queen. Grace is dealing with a lot of difficult things in her life and finds herself caught between two boys…one who she finds super dreamy and the other who drives her crazy.

Under the surface of the fun and cute scenes of watermelon pageants and banquets is a plot with depth and drama. The character of Grace was lovely and the way she handled her grief was very realistic. There were moments when I just wanted to wrap her in a hug.

I enjoyed the story but found that the pacing was a bit slow at first and took some time to get going.

This is a very clean, sweet story that teenagers would really enjoy. It’s a great alternative to the mainstream contemporary that is in the market today.

My Rating: 3 stars

I received this book from the author/publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Perfectly Misunderstood by Robin Daniels Review

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Synopsis:

This dual perspective book is the final installment in The Perfect Series.

Jayden Valdez is an overachieving intellectual. Mike McGinnes is Franklin High School’s dumbest jock. Even though they barely know each other, she finds his personality repulsive and he thinks she’s got a giant stick up her you know what.

Mike and Jayden are surprised and annoyed when their teacher pairs them together for Spanish tutoring. Both feel it’s a complete waste of time, since nobody could learn from a person who bugs the crap out of them. Not to mention that their reputations might be ruined if people realize what they’re doing.

But it doesn’t take long for Jayden to discover that Mike has a secret—he isn’t the person he appears to be. Much to her dismay, Jayden finds ‘Secret Mike’ strangely attractive. And for some crazy reason, Mike is amused by Jayden’s clever insults and witty banter. Suddenly, they have a much bigger problem than their mutual disdain. What started as irritating tension is beginning to feel more like romantic tension and acting on it would be a very bad idea.

Content Description: This is a stand-alone YA contemporary romance with companion novels. While part of a series, each book can be enjoyed independently. It contains minor language, innuendo, crude humor, kissing, and conversations that mention sex. There are no sexual relationships, written or implied, and there’s no explicit language. Recommended for ages 14 and up.

My Thoughts:

This was a bit of a detour from what I normally read but I actually enjoyed it. This is definitely a “high school” story…focusing on teenagers and their day to day issues. It really took me back to the days of being extremely self-conscious of what my peers thought of me and even reminded me of my days of being tutored in Spanish.

The story had some moments that I, (as a 37 year old mom) found a bit annoying…Mike’s posing and trying to act like someone he wasn’t was a bit much at times but the moments of seeing who he really was were sweet and endearing.

The romance that develops feels very natural and not forced. It was super sweet and again took me back to those days of liking a boy.

My only major issue was the content could be inappropriate at times…some phrases and words were used that I don’t approve of in my home.

Overall, I think this would be a good story for older teens (16 and up) who enjoy romance/contemporary stories.

My Rating:

3 stars

I received this book from the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Uncloaked Trilogy by J. Rodes Review and Giveaway!

Uncloaked Trilogy Tour Banner SLB

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The Uncloaked Synopsis: “Apathy is the illness of the overprivileged…” Words laced with fear—and maybe a hint of prophecy. His father’s words. Words Braxton would prefer to ignore.

Braxton Luther is sixteen when the Progressive Reform Party takes over the government. It can’t be that bad. So they don’t want religion in government—that’s constitutional. He can’t understand his church’s hypersensitive reaction or his father’s cryptic warning to stand against the Party’s ultimatums.

But after living under the new government for a year, Braxton faces a choice—conform to the demands of the ungodded in order to protect his best friend, Eliza, or defy the system and go into hiding, ensuring a life of misery. Still certain that life will settle back into normalcy in the near future, Braxton chooses compliance.

Then the killings begin, and Eliza is captured and sent to Reformation Camp for her defiance. Reality finally sinks in.

Apathy is no longer a choice.

2-Tearing the Veil

Tearing the Veil Synopsis (Spoilers for Book 1): Braxton Luther, the sellout.
Now a part of the Den, he’s determined to make good on Eliza Knight’s faith in him—to be more than what he’d settled for when the Party had taken over. But his goal is dangerous, and not just for him. As he searches for a way to protect the silent, invisible victims of the new government, Braxton’s mission—which includes finding a way to rescue Eliza from the Reformation Camp—becomes even more complicated. Hannah Knight, Eliza’s sister, is simply too much like him.
Tired of standing in her perfect sister’s shadow, Hannah determines to find her own place in the world. If that place is with the Pride—the girls’ home and training center provided by the Party—so be it. When she leaves the hopelessness of the cellar, that’s all she’s aiming for. But Quinn Sanger, the handsome son of a powerful political leader, finds her at the creek, and her life takes an unexpected and optimistic turn.
Braxton’s convinced Hannah’s in trouble. Hannah’s convinced Braxton, and all the Uncloaked, are insane. But when they peek behind the real veil the Party maintains, the truth is beyond what either had feared or hoped.
If everyone knew, it could change everything. They redefine their mission. It’s time to tear the veil.

3-The Charging Darkness

Charging the Darkness Synopsis (Spoilers for Books 1 and 2): You were not saved for this… 

The veil has been torn, but Braxton Luther still has more to do.
The captive Uncloaked have been freed, and the people know the dark truth. A rebellion against the Party has begun, but the question lingers among those who are safely hidden in the Refuge–what will happen to their broken nation? Secrets and shame, resentment and hatred continue to shake the nation, now divided.

What will it take to break the grip of the Party? Beyond that, is there any hope of healing after the damage of the darkness?

My Thoughts of the entire trilogy (Spoiler free): 

I love dystopian stories, they always cause a bit of anxiety as I allow my mind to wonder, “could this really happen?”. This was the first Christian dystopian trilogy I’ve read and was the most terrifying dystopian series I’ve read so far as when I pondered, “could this really happen?” I realized that the answer was yes.  These books caused me to reexamine my faith and consider what I would do if I came to a place where apathy is no longer an option.

In the trilogy, the reader follows Braxton, who is a preacher’s kid that faces a very difficult choice. His character development throughout the books is amazing…I went from being frustrated with him to being very proud of him. The other characters were also great…there were some great twists and surprises that I never saw coming. The author was great at connecting the books and making the story flow nicely.

The stories also send a beautiful message of forgiveness. I’ve read other books with Christian characters in uncertain times and found the emphasis on love lacking at times. I really appreciated how the characters in this book still allowed their lights to shine throughout their turmoil and showed love to those “undeserving” of it.

Overall, this was an amazing set of books that I will definitely revisit in the future. It’s thought provoking, adventurous, and unputdownable.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received these books from the author/publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the Author:

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Jennifer Rodewald is passionate about the Word of God and the powerful vehicle of story. Four kids and her own personal superman make her home in southwestern Nebraska delightfully chaotic.

Born in Colorado, she experienced both the seclusion of rugged mountain living and the busy streets of a Denver suburb during her growing up years. Somewhere in the middle of college, she married a Husker and found her way back to the quiet lifestyle of a rural area, which suits just fine.

Blessed with a robust curiosity, Jen loves to research. Whether she’s investigating the history of a given area, the biography of a Christian icon, or how nature declares the glory of God, her daily goal is to learn something new. Aiming to live with boundless enthusiasm, her creed is vision, pursuit, and excellence.

Jen lives and writes in a lovely speck of a town where she watches with amazement while her children grow up way too fast, gardens, and marvels at God’s mighty hand in everyday life.

CONNECT WITH JENNIFER: websitefacebookgoodreadstwitter

Visit the Other Stops on the Blog Tour!

BLOG TOUR STOPS

January 8: Soulfully Romantic
January 11: Just Commonly 
January 12: Remembrancy
January 15: amandainpa
January 18: Henry Happens
January 20: Pause for Tales

 

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Like Moonlight at Low Tide by Nicole Quigley Review with Giveaway!

like-moonlight-at-low-tide-FB-cover-copyAbout the Book

Like Moonlight at Low Tide Cover - F2

Title: Like Moonlight at Low Tide

Author: Nicole Quigley

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Release Date: 2012

When high school junior Melissa Keiser returns to her hometown of Anna Maria Island, Florida, she has one goal: hide from the bullies who had convinced her she was the ugliest girl in school. But when she is caught sneaking into a neighbor’s pool at night, everything changes. Something is different now that Melissa is sixteen, and the guys and popular girls who once made her life miserable have taken notice. When Melissa gets the chance to escape life in a house ruled by her mom’s latest boyfriend, she must choose where her loyalties lie between a long-time crush, a new friend, and her surfer brother who makes it impossible to forget her roots. Just as Melissa seems to achieve everything she ever wanted, she loses a loved one to suicide. Melissa must not only grieve for her loss, she must find the truth about the three boys who loved her and discover that joy sometimes comes from the most unexpected place of all.

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts: Oh, wow…this book ripped out my heart and stomped on it. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that made me feel this way. This book covers a lot of difficult issues but they are handled very well. The issue of suicide is dealt with in a realistic way…the author quietly gives hints to the warning signs leading up to it and the aftermath is heartbreaking.

I really liked Melissa’s character…I related to her feelings of not wanting to stand out or be the center of attention, I also was taken back to my Junior High days when reading about the torment she went through by her peers in middle school. The only thing I disliked was that she called her mother by her first name, which seemed a bit strange and disrespectful.

The faith content was good. I liked the fact that one of the characters was unashamed about going to church and reading his Bible.

The relationships between the characters were enjoyable to read about and kept me guessing at times.

Overall, this was a very good YA contemporary story with a lot of depth. I would recommend it for ages 16 and over because of some of the content (underage drinking, partying, sexual innuendos, etc.).

My Rating: 4.5 stars

I received this book from Celebrate Lit Publishing to review honestly. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Quigley - Book Signing 2Nicole Quigley is the author of Like Moonlight at Low Tide, a winner of the American Christian Fiction Writers “Carol Award” and “Genesis Contest” for best young adult fiction. Nicole works in public relations and spent many years in Washington, D.C. She now lives on Florida’s Gulf Coast, where she grew up. Nicole holds a B.S. from Appalachian State University, where she majored in Communications/Public Relations and minored in English. Her favorite place in the world is Western North Carolina, and her favorite place to write is a late night coffee shop, wherever she can find one open.

 

Guest Post from Nicole Quigley

Three Things I Hear from “Like Moonlight at Low Tide” Readers

When I first wrote “Like Moonlight at Low Tide,” I thought my readers were going to get the same things out of it that I did. The book gets off to a start when Missy Keiser sneaks into her neighbor’s pool to go nightswimming. She thought no one was home until she sees the figure of an unknown guy standing in the dark, at the edge of the pool.

 

Missy was bullied when she was younger, but this story is about what happens after she is bullied. What happens if you got everything you ever wanted? Would it be enough? I think that when we really look at the reasons behind why we want things and why the things we want can become so big in our lives, especially in high school—we often find that there’s really a bigger question left for all of us.

 

Who is going to love me?

 

Since “Like Moonlight at Low Tide” debuted, I’ve been so honored to hear from readers who could relate to Missy’s story. One thing that has surprised are the things I hear about from readers time and again.

 

First, I always hear about the ending! I definitely wrestled with how to bring the book to a close. I won’t say more about it (no spoilers!), but I have to laugh because most readers tell me I was really close to hearing a lot more from them! Second, I always hear about a certain guy who becomes the male protagonist. Yes, girls, I have to admit that I loved writing him!

 

Lastly, I often hear the book was written “just for them.” That’s what touches me most of all. I wrote this story from the heart. It means so much to hear that it reached others, and often in ways I never predicted. I love that.

 

Once a reader picks up my story and brings her own experiences to it, it becomes something new. And it’s really special to connect with a reader on some of these heart questions that we all have in common. One reader who has really made an impact on me sent me a hand-made charm bracelet based on the book. She took Missy’s story, and she turned it into something entirely new. Her creativity is really special, and the bracelet is now one of my most treasured possessions

 

I love hearing from readers about what they liked (or even didn’t like) in Missy’s story. As it turns out, listening to readers is one of the very best parts of writing for them.

Blog Stops

Avid Reader Book Reviews, December 9

amandainpaDecember 9

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 10

Multifarious, December 10

Rembrancy, December 11

allofakindmom, December 11

SusanLovesBooks, December 12

Reading is my Super Power, December 12

proud to be an autism mom, December 13

A Greater YesDecember 13

Texas Book-aholic, December 14

Power of Words, December 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 15

The Fizzy Pop Collection, December 16

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 16

Janices book reviews, December 17

Blogging With Carolecember 17

Carpe Diem, December 18

A Baker’s Perspective, December 19

Pause for Tales, December 20

Red Headed Book Lady, December 21

Bigreadersite, December 21

Pursuing StacieDecember 22

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Nicole is giving away a $50 Amazon Card!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c402

Rondi Bauer Olson’s ‘All Things Now Living’ Blog Tour and Kindle Fire Giveaway

About the book:
 

Her whole life Amy has been taught the people of New Lithisle deserve to die, but when she falls for Daniel, she determines to save him.
Sixteen-year-old Amy doesn’t like anything to die, she won’t even eat the goats or chickens her mama has butchered every fall, but she can’t let herself pity the inhabitants of New Lithisle. In a few short months the dome they built to isolate themselves from the deadly pandemic is predicted to collapse, but her whole life Amy has been taught it’s God’s will they die. They traded their souls for immunity to the swine flu virus, brought God’s curse upon themselves by adding pig genes to their own.
Then, while on a scavenging trip with her father, Amy is accidentally trapped in New Lithisle. At first her only goal is to escape, but when she meets Daniel, a New Lithisle boy, she begins to question how less-than-human the people of New Lithisle are.
Amy’s feelings grow even more conflicted when she learns she didn’t end up in New Lithisle by mistake. Her father is secretly a sympathizer, and was trying to prevent the coming destruction.
Now time is running short and Amy has to decide if she will bring the computer program her father wrote to his contact or save herself. Installing the program could prevent the dome’s collapse, but if Amy doesn’t find her father’s contact in time, she’ll die, along with everyone else.
About the author:

Rondi Bauer Olson is a reader and writer from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where she lives on a hobby farm with her husband, Kurt. She has four grown children, works as a nurse, and also owns a gift shop within view of beautiful Lake Superior.
Find out more about Rondi at http://rondibauerolson.weebly.com.
My Thoughts: I was very excited to pick up this book but overall, it wasn’t the book for me. The plot was very interesting and unique…a quarantined society that dabble in genetic alterations and a girl from the outside, given the task to save them from impending destruction and death. Unfortunately, the story was not described in a way that made it easy to understand…the world building could have been better and I was often confused about the history of this society and how they got to the present situation.
I also found the main character Amy to be very unlikeable. She was so invested in her love interest at times that she seemed to forget the gravity of the situation that she was in. The insta-love was very hard for me to read. I never like romance in books so it may  be just me, but the romance was so instantaneous and unrealistic and very immature. I think the fact that the characters were teenagers added to my dislike of the romance as they were moving very fast for their ages.
On the plus side, the cover of this book is gorgeous and the plot is very unique. I think some people would definitely enjoy the story. I just found it to be too heavy on the romance and a bit too light on the descriptions.
My Rating: 2 stars
I received this book from Litfuse Publicity Group to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Stay up all night reading this thrilling new book from Rondi and enter to win a Kindle Fire!

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A copy of All Things Now Living
  • A Kindle Fire

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on December 14. The winner will be announced December 15 on the Litfuse blog.

 

Nyxia by Scott Reintgen Review

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Synopsis: Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.

Forever.

Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden—a planet that Babel has kept hidden—where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.

My Thoughts: Wow! What an adventure this was! This book had me hooked from the first page to the last page. It covered a lot of genres…sci-fi with a bit of a dystopian feel, a lot of action and adventure and some mystery thrown in as well.

There are a lot of characters that are introduced quickly but they all were described in a way that made them easy to distinguish from each other. This book was full of diversity…the characters came from all over the world and spoke many different languages.

I appreciated the fact that there was very little cursing in this book. I would be comfortable letting my 11 year old read it because the content was appropriate.

There were a few surprises that had me gasping…one in particular that I would have never seen coming. The story ended abruptly and I will be one of the first in line to buy the next one when it comes out!

I highly recommend this book for fans of The Hunger Games or Illuminae.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books to review.