Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Midnight in the Piazza

Midnight in the Piazza by Tiffany Parks

Goodreads Summary:
Mysteries abound in this exciting race through Rome!

Beatrice Archer may love history, and Rome may be chock-full of it, but that doesn’t mean she wants to move there!

Too bad Beatrice’s father got a job as the head of the history department at the American Academy in Rome—now, Beatrice has no choice but to get used to the idea.

When she arrives in Rome she explores her new city as much as she can, but it isn’t until she hears talk of a strange neighborhood legend that Beatrice perks up. A centuries-old unsolved mystery about the beautiful turtle fountain outside her window? Sounds like fun!

Before Beatrice has a chance to explore, though, she sees a dark figure emerge from the shadows of the square in the middle of the night—and steal the famous turtle sculptures that give the fountain its name.

When no one believes her story, Beatrice knows that it’s up to her to solve the crime and restore the turtles to their rightful place. With the help of her new friend Marco, she navigates a world of unscrupulous ambassadors, tricky tutors, and international art thieves to unravel one of Roman history’s greatest dramas—before another priceless work of art is stolen.

My Review:
This is a fabulous middle grade mystery! I loved every minute of it, and found myself not wanting to put it down. It was a great mystery that kept you intrigued, yet not scared. I loved that it took place in Rome as well. Italy is my favorite country, so that was definitely an added bonus.

I enjoyed getting to know Beatrice and how brave she was for just thirteen years old. I am normally not a history person, but she made me excited to learn more about the history that she was discovering. It was written in a way that make me want to keep reading!

5 stars
I received this book for free in return for an honest review.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Love and Other Train Wrecks

Love and Other Train Wrecks by Leah Konen

Goodreads Summary:
A twenty-four-hour romance about two teens who meet—and perhaps change their minds about love—on a train ride to Upstate New York in the middle of a snowstorm

One train ride. Two strangers.

Noah is a hopeless romantic. He’s heading back home for one last chance with his first love, whom he broke up with when he went off to college.

Ammy doesn’t believe in true love—her parents being prime examples. She’s escaping from a mom who can’t take care of her to a dad who may not even want her. That is, until one winter night when Noah and Ammy find themselves in the same Amtrak car heading to Upstate New York.

After a train-wreck first encounter between the two of them, the Amtrak train suddenly breaks down due to a snowstorm. Desperate to make it to their destinations, Noah and Ammy have no other option but to travel together. What starts off as a minor detour turns into the whirlwind journey of a lifetime, and over the course of the night they fall in love. But come morning their adventure takes an unexpected turn for the worst. Can one night can really change how they feel about love...and the course of their lives forever?

My Review:
This was such a sweet, fluffy, winter read. I loved getting to “watch” these two get to know each other and fall for each other just over the course of a day. It reminded me a little bit of Just One Day by Gayle Forman.

I liked the twist that was included (although it wasn’t really that surprising), and seeing how they handled it. However, I will say the last few chapters seemed to start to drag on. I felt like the end of the book and the Epilogue should have happened sooner (and then continue the book so we can see what happens afterwards).

Overall, this was a cute story that I would recommend.

4 stars
I received this book for free in return for an honest review.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Everless


Everless by Sarah Holland

Goodreads Summary:
In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.

My Review:
Everless is the first book by Sara Holland, and the first book in a series. This book started out slow, but quickly picked up the pace. By the end I felt like I couldn’t read fast enough! I was dying to know what was going to happen next!

I loved all of the twists and turns in this book. It definitely kept me on my toes throughout the entire book. What I expected to happen was never what actually happened, and I found myself wanting answers as badly and as urgently as Jules did. I don't want to say too much more, because I feel like it will be really easy to spoil some of the surprises that happen in this story.

This was a really unique world that I loved being transported to. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book in the series! I feel like we have only glimpsed the greatness of what this series will be.

4.5 stars
I received this book for free in return for an honest review.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Together at Midnight


Together at Midnight by Jennifer Castle

Goodreads Summary:
What does it really mean to be kind . . . and why does it sometimes feel like the hardest thing in the world to do? High school senior Kendall, who just returned from a life-changing semester in Europe, and Max, who is drifting his way through a gap year before college, struggle with these questions when they witness a tragic accident in New York City during the holiday season. Racked with guilt, the two accept a dare to perform random acts of kindness to strangers. The challenge pulls these two teens, who have a history together from back home, closer and closer as they explore a vibrant city filled with other people’s stories and secrets.

Kendall and Max can’t deny their growing bond, even though they both have other romantic entanglements and uncertain futures. As the clock counts down on New Year’s Eve, will they find themselves together at midnight?

My Review:
First of all, I love that this book is set around New Years in NYC, although I found myself wanting more of the New York feel. Most of the story was not focused on the magic of NYC during this time of the year like I wanted it to be. That being said, this was a sweet story. I liked the message of kindness, and how they made it their mission to spread kindness.
Of course the romance was a favorite part of the book as well. It was a slow, sweet (yet predictable) love story. The ending left me wanting more, and wanting to know where their future was going to take them.

This book switches between different characters’ viewpoints, and it is nice to get to read what each character is thinking. However, I would have preferred that this only happened with the main characters. Each person that they met along the way got a “chapter” where we had their point of view. While it added some to the story, I think it was unnecessary and confusing at times.

3.5 stars
I received this book for free in return for an honest review.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Love and Gelato

Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch


Goodreads Summary:
“I made the wrong choice.”

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.

My Review:
This was a very cute, quick read! While it was a little predictable at times, and full of grief at other times, overall it was a great, quick read. I loved how well I felt like I really got to know Lina and her journey to understand her mom.

I also think the fact that I have been to Italy helped with the enjoyment of this book. I had been to most of the places they were talking about (other than the secret bakery- what a shame!) and that made it easier to envision what they were talking about.

I read this book in the winter, but I think it is a perfect summer vacation read. It made me wish I had spent some more time in Italy to find that love that they kept talking about! "There are two reasons people STAY in Italy- love and gelato"

4.5 stars

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Compromising Positions

Compromising Positions by Jenna Bayley-Burke


Goodreads Summary:
Falling in love is the last thing on his busy agenda but compromising positions can lead just about anywhere.

David Strong knows how to do a lot of things run an international fitness company, finesse stock portfolios and stay out of emotional entanglements. That is, until he gets tangled up with Sophie Delfino and her Sensational Sex workout. He s supposed to help her demonstrate Kama Sutra positions for her couples yoga class. The rigorous postures require more than just physical control. And his co-instructor unexpectedly tests his control to the limit.

Sophie s been fantasizing about David since her teens, but she never dreamed she d actually be expected to run through her intimate desires with an audience! The class is very professional, tame even or it would be, if she d been in any of the positions before. But she hasn t except in her wildest fantasies about David. Sophie knows she wants David in every way, and she s flexible enough to use whatever she has to get him.

David can t afford any unexpected distractions. Besides the sensual positions he has to endure without embarrassing himself in public, there s an embezzler stealing from his company. And then there s Sophie who is well on her way to stealing his well-guarded heart

My Review:
This book was full of humor and romance. Two things I enjoy in books. There was also a lot of sexual tension between the characters. The book goes back and forth between the two main characters' perspectives. I like that because you really get a glimpse into what they are thinking and feeling. It was a quick read, but wasn't as great as I was expecting.

There was a lot of unnecessary scheming and drama. A lot of it seemed unfinished. I felt as though there were a couple missing pieces of information to make it complete. I can't put my finger on what exactly I was missing, but at a couple places in the book I would find myself confused. When that happened, I would go back a little bit and re-read to make sure that I hadn't missed anything. This never made it any clearer though. I do not like being confused by the plot of a book. Overall, it was a cute book, but not one that I would pick up again.

3.5 stars
I received this book for free in return for an honest review.

Monday, December 19, 2016

I Said Yes by Emily Maynard

I Said Yes: My Story of Heartbreak, Redemption, and True Love by Emily Maynard Johnson with A.J. Gregory

Goodreads Summary:
When her high-profile search for romance led Emily Maynard to dead end after dead end, real love finally found her.

Millions know Emily Maynard Johnson from her unprecedented double appearances on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Millions also know that neither of the relationships from those shows lasted much longer than a commercial break.

Overcome with embarrassment following her nationally televised failures at romance, Emily finally committed her heart to the only one she knew would never leave her empty and alone. Abandoning her desire to be chosen by men and finding peace in the fact that she was already chosen by God, Emily found the joy she had been looking for in serving God.

In I Said Yes, Emily tells the story of her life before and after reality TV fame, describing the profound new reality she discovered when she forsook fame in favor of the Lord. At the end of a long, fruitless search for a man, this courageous young woman found the truest love of all waiting right in front of her. To that love, Emily said yes.

My Review:
Being a huge Bachelor/Bachelorette fan, I feel like I have followed Emily Maynard in her journey of love. I became invested in her story, and was so happy for her when she got married to her now husband Tyler. So, I knew that I would love to read a book about her story from her perspective.

The first half of the book is about her first love, and all of the struggles that she went through with that. While I was interested in this part of her story, it is a dark part of her story. It was hard to read, and took me a while to get through. I can only imagine how it felt to live through it. That being said, the second half of the book was definitely my favorite part. This is where she wrote about her journey of the Bachelor and then on the Bachelorette. She shared a lot of things that the viewers have no idea of when simply watching the show. It was cool to read, but definitely made me wonder how ANYONE finds true love in the short amount of time they have to film this show.

All in all, this was a book that I enjoyed reading. I loved hearing Emily's story from her perspective, and am so happy that she is now happily married.

4 stars