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About As Wide as the Sky

as wide as the sky“In the vein of Jodi Picoult’s Nineteen Minutes, As Wide as the Skyexplores the human component of tragedy.” –Mandy Mikulencak, author of The Last Suppers

“Characters as rich and indelible as the life they endure . . . A phenomenal read.”
–Internationally Bestselling Author Davis Bunn

Five a.m.: Amanda Mallorie wakes to the knowledge that her son Robbie is gone. And a new chapter of her own life must begin. She has spent four years as her son’s only support, desperately trying to understand the actions that landed him on death row and to change his fate. Now Amanda faces an even more difficult task–finding a way, and a reason, to move forward with her own life.

Before the tragedy that unfolded in a South Dakota mall, Robbie was just like other people’s sons or daughters. Sometimes troubled, but sweet and full of goodness too. That’s the little boy Amanda remembers as she packs up his childhood treasures and progress reports, and discovers a class ring she’s never seen before. Who does it belong to and why did Robbie have it in his possession? So begins a journey that will remind her not only of who Robbie used to be, but of a time when she wasn’t afraid–to talk to strangers, to help those in need, to reach out. Robbie’s choices can never be unmade, but there may still be time for forgiveness and trust to grow again. For a future as wide as the sky. 

My review

I rarely read the back of books before I start reading, so this book was a surprise to me from the very beginning. I’ve never read any book quite like this one before. I really liked it. 

This one has many characters. I loved the way each of them is able to relate their own perspective about Robbie Mallorie. The way each of their lives was intertwined with many of the others, without them knowing it, was a stroke of brilliance by the author. I loved figuring out just how everyone was connected.

This book is about a hard subject. Robert Mallorie was a young man who walked into a shopping mall right before Christmas and shot a bunch of people. Many died, and many were injured. Something this book pointed out was the guilt felt by those still living, both those who knew the shooter and those who survived the shooting, when their friends didn’t. That really touched me and made me think.

I really liked Amanda, Robbie’s mom. I felt terrible for her. She feels a lot more guilt than any one else. What could she have done differently. And everyone who finds out who she is persecutes her just a little bit. A lot of them treat her as if she was guilty by association to Robbie, even though she had nothing to do with his choices. It gets to the point in the book where she doesn’t tell people her name, or she uses her maiden name as her last name. I found it sad that she couldn’t be proud to be who she was, Amanda, Robbie’s mom, Melissa’s mom, grandma…

I also liked the way Amanda thought of his mental illness. Mental illness seems to be rampant right now, and it’s not something that gets talked about a lot. Although that seems to be getting better. 

One of the very first things I noticed about this one is that everyone has a countdown on their chapters. It was really a fun thing to read and try to figure out just what each was counting from. They each have their own things. None of them had experienced exactly the same thing as any of the others. 

I loved this book! It’s not something like you’ve ever read. But you’ll enjoy the story and it will make you think.

I was sent a copy of As Wide as the Sky as a gift from the author. All opinions are my own.

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About Wedding Bell Blues

wedding bell bluesThe last thing Ashley, newly divorced with two children in tow, expected was  to trust another man so soon, but when the Matron of Honor falls for the Best Man, can she trust herself?

After divorcing her cheating husband, Ashley returns to Echo Ridge looking to start a new life with her two young sons. She has no plans to get involved with another man anytime soon–if ever. But when she starts working for her future brother-in-law’s best friend, she realizes she hasn’t locked away her heart like she thought. 

Scott has all but given up on figuring out the business’s bookkeeping program, and women aren’t even on his radar–until Ashley comes into the picture. She untangles his books like magic and she and her boys seem to permeate all the empty corners of his life. Can he convince her that they are a perfect match?

My review

I love all of these Echo Ridge Romances! I love the little town of Echo Ridge. It’s the kind of place where everyone knows everyone. They all help each other out as best as they can.

The characters in this one are fabulous. I really liked Ashley. I could totally understand her point of view. Her husband had cheated on her and left her with two little boys to take care of. Her ex-husband also expects her to jump through all kinds of unreasonable hoops. She works hard to take care of her kids, even taking the boys with her to her job. When Scott needs some additional help with his business finances, she jumps at the chance to earn a bit of extra money.

Scott is just trying to keep his family business afloat. But he has more office work than he’d like. Ashley taking that off his hands gives him the chance to work on other aspects that he’s been neglecting. It’s a win win. And even more so as he starts falling in love with not only Ashley, but her two adorable boys as well. I loved the way Scott goes out of his way to do things for Ashley and her boys. He provides toys for them to play with when they’re at his family business. He even takes them for a walk when they get antsy. Scott’s always looking for a way to help her out.

Something that’s kind of fun about the story in this book is that Ashley is her sister, Haley’s, Matron of Honor and Scott is the best man of Damon, Haley’s fiance. I loved the way they had multiple ways to get to know each other and plenty of time to fall in love, even though Ashley wasn’t sure she ever wanted to fall in love again!

This is a cute, clean, fun romance that you won’t want to put down! It’s a perfect afternoon escape!

I was gifted an e-copy of Wedding Bell Blues by the author. All opinions are my own.

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About I’ve Got My Eyes on You

I've got my eyes on youA new thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author and “Queen of Suspense” Mary Higgins Clark.

After a party when her parents are away, eighteen-year-old Kerry Dowling is found fully dressed at the bottom of the family pool.

The immediate suspect is her boyfriend who had a bitter argument with her at the party. Then there is a twenty-year-old neighbor who was angry because she didn’t invite him to the party.

Or is there someone else who has not yet been seen on the radar?

Kerry’s older sister Aline, a twenty-eight-year-old guidance counselor, is determined to assist the Prosecutor’s Office in learning the truth. She does not realize that now she is putting her own life in danger… 

My review

I don’t read many nationally published books, but Mary Higgins Clark is one author that I make sure to read. I’m always happy when I see that she has a new book out.

This author’s books are all similarly written. This one is no different. There’s a murder at the beginning. You are introduced to one potential suspect at a time, through their perspective. And you and the heroine (usually) have to figure out who the killer is before it’s too late for her. 

I loved I’ve Got My Eyes on You!  The person murdered is Kerry, she’s young, she has barely graduated from high school. Her parents come home to find her floating dead in the pool. And their home has obviously been the site of a wild party. Her sister Aline is determined to figure out what happened to Kerry. I loved the way Aline was courageous and willing to go out of her way to help the investigators learn what happened.

I was actually kind of surprised by just who the killer was in this one. And why he murdered Kerry in the first place. It took a lot to get there and it was almost too late for a couple of characters. I loved the suspense of not knowing who the killer was or who could be trusted throughout the book.

This is a really well done mystery novel that you won’t want to put down!

I borrowed a copy of this book from my local library.

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About A Pirate at Pembroke

a pirate at pembrokeKeeping company with a reputed pirate is one thing, but falling in love with him could ruin the eccentric Crestwood family for good…

Sophie Crestwood is never going to catch a husband. Her father is a gossip, her mother has her nose in a book, and little Jack has shamefully been dismissed from boarding school. Worst of all, a pirate moves next door into Pembroke Hall.

When Sophie’s sent to a matchmaking party at a neighboring estate, the pirate from Pembroke arrives and distracts everyone from the summer festivities. Unguarded, her feelings about the mysterious Captain Murdock bloom into a trusted friendship that Sophie fears may come to mean more than anyone would ever suspect.

My review

This book has such a great premise! I love the idea of a “pirate” moving in next door. So much fun!

This book started a bit slow for me. But as the plot got going, I got more and more into it and ended up loving it!

I liked Sophie. I liked the way she wasn’t your average young lady. She was always wandering off into the forest with her younger brother, Jack. And, like any other young lady at the time, she wants to find someone and get married. What young lady doesn’t find it romantic to marry a pirate? I liked that this book is told through Sophie’s perspective. Sometimes it’s nice to only know what the main character knows.

Captain Murdock is a mystery! Since the story is through Sophie’s point of view, the only thing you know about him is the gossip that she hears and the things he does for her. I loved the way he did so many things for her throughout the story. He was the big hero in the end!

I loved Sophie’s family! Her dad is a huge gossip and her mom just hides from everyone. Her brother Jack is a bit crazy and ends up disrupting the entire family by the end of the book.

This book is a great Regency Romance that you’ll love!

I was sent an e-copy of A Pirate at Pembroke in exchange for an honest review.

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About Lost Illumination

lost illuminationWhen an eerie voice interrupts Christian’s ordinary life, the familiar scene of the Fall Valley Boarding School crumbles into uncertainty. Soon this boy’s worries are shifted from the troubles of his past to the terrifying disturbances that haunt him at every turn. In a matter of days, the menacing voices and shadowy shapes become the least of his troubles. 

Christian decides that he must face his foes or live forever in fear. In doing so, a mysterious force drags him into a strange and unfamiliar land where the unnatural terrors are somehow perfectly catered to torment him. 

It isn’t long before Christian is discovered by the inhabitants of this new realm. A peculiar but seemingly trustworthy fellow leads him to safety and introduces him to an ancient kingdom that has been lost for ages. 

Christian may think himself a victim of circumstance, but he soon discovers that he has been chosen to determine the fate of an ancient people. The task may seem impossible, but if Christian does not succeed, hundreds of lives may be lost . . . and billions cursed forever. 

The terrors are relentless, the secrets are endless, and the expectations that are thrown upon this thirteen-year-old boy are almost overwhelming. The past may have stolen his hope for the future, but Christian must decide if he has the courage to abandon his doubts and seize the path to a truly unfathomable destiny. 

My review

There’s not many things better than finding a Young Adult book that you know will make kids more open to reading. This is one of those. Wow, I loved everything about this one! This is technically a young adult book, but I’m going to say anyone from 12 and up will enjoy it.

Christian is our hero. He’s a young boy away at boarding school. Things have happened in his life, leaving him alone. But I loved the way the author wrote his character, leaving the reader to discover all about him as the story goes along, instead of all up front. I liked the way Christian was able to grow throughout the book. When he finds himself alone in a strange place he was scared. He doesn’t think he’s brave or that there’s a lot he can do. But as the story goes along, he gains more confidence in his abilities and he’s able to overcome his fears.

There are some other characters in this one. Gafford and Ardella to name just a couple. But you don’t see anything through their point of view. I liked the way that this leaves them with their own secrets that the reader doesn’t know. 

The plot of this one is full of scary creatures, great adventures and danger around every turn. I loved the way the plot kept me interested. I wanted to find out what would happen to Christian and his friends. 

 Any reader who loves fantasy books will love this one!

I was sent an e-copy of Lost Illumination as a gift from the author. All opinions are my own.

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About the author

K. C. Dunford is a professional sales associate and creative writer from Arizona. She has received awards for literary analyses and speeches submitted in multiple academic decathlons. She was also awarded a scholarship for her platform essay in a Navajo County Scholarship Program. Dunford recently spent over a year in Europe doing service, and her observations abroad have greatly influenced her writing. Her degree in art, fascination with the fantasy world, and love for make-believe give her the creative edge to bring her novels to life. Although born and raised near the White Mountains, Dunford embarked on a new adventure when she moved to Provo, Utah. There she lives with her husband in an apartment that, unfortunately, does not allow cats.

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About Wedding Weekend

wedding weekendEden Brooks, a cynical social worker who’s seen far too many broken relationships, flies to South Padre Island, Texas for her best friend’s weekend wedding. Content to be the dutiful maid of honor, the last thing she expects is to meet a man—especially a good one.

Jeremy Rivera, the best man, is a cowboy-turned-software-developer from Dallas who’s been too busy building his career to worry about a relationship.

When Eden and Jeremy meet, they’re instantly drawn to each other. Unfortunately, one of the bridesmaids—who happens to be the bride’s cousin—has set her sights on Jeremy and is determined to maneuver Eden out of the way any way she can. And Jeremy doesn’t seem to mind.

Will the weekend end in a love connection between Eden and Jeremy or will it simply prove to Eden that there are no decent men out there?

My review

I’m always happy when I get to read a cute, fun, clean novella. I love the short escape they give me from real life. And I love that I’m able to finish them in an afternoon. Wedding Weekend by Rebecca Talley is one of those!

I loved everything about this one! Eden is such a great character. I love the way she cares about the kids she takes care of. She cares so much that she can’t even forget about them on her vacation to see Sophie get married to the love of her life. But at the same time, Eden is able to fall pretty quickly for Jeremy. He’s the best man that she’ll be working closely with for the wedding.

I loved that we see the story in this one through both Eden and Jeremy’s eyes. That gives the reader a unique perspective and the reader is able to understand things that are happening more easily. Jeremy is a great character too. I loved that he wasn’t looking for the flash and fluff of Sophie’s cousin who kept trying to get him to like her.

This one gave me a little trip to Texas, a place I’ve never been! I loved the setting and the plot. This is a great novella for anyone who loves contemporary romance!

I was sent an e-copy of this book as a gift from the author.

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About A Tangled Ruse

A Tangled RuseAfter a failed abduction attempt, Lady Rachel is sent into hiding on her uncle’s estate near the sleepy village of Rockcliffe on the shores of Scotland. As she struggles to cope with the nightmares of her past, she unwittingly stumbles into even greater danger than she left behind. And this time, Shadow isn’t around to save her.

Luke Beckett, the Marquess of Downshire, was content running his stud farm in solitude, far from the scheming of the devious women of Society. That is, until his neighbor’s infuriatingly contrary niece rides into his life. Hiding behind the guise of a common horse trainer, he begins to form a peculiar friendship with Lady Rachel, without the constraints of his title. However, the longer the ruse continues, the more Luke realizes there is much more at stake than just their friendship.

With the looming threat of a French invasion, Luke and Rachel must work together to stop the tangled web of treachery before it is too late. When the truth is finally revealed, will they have the strength to trust each other with their hearts, or will the fear of rejection destroy their relationship before it has a chance to begin?

My review

This book grabbed my attention from the very first page. There is so much going on in it plot wise. There’s always a character in peril and I didn’t want to put it down! I finished it in one day. It was so great!

This one is about Lady Rachel, she was Eliza’s friend from Saving Shadow. I’m just realizing that if I say any more than that, I’m going to give away the plots of several of the other books. So, I’m going to give you an assignment. Go read all of the other books! I put links to them in my What to read next section. 

Anyway, Lady Rachel. I love her! She’s a bit of a bluestocking. In the Regency time period, that means that she likes to read and she does things that a lot of ladies would never do. Rachel wants to be an author, something most ladies would never imagine themselves doing. But due to circumstances beyond her control, she’s being sent to her uncle’s home in Scotland for her own protection. I love the way Rachel is not content to sit idly by doing things ladies should be doing, like embroidery. Rather she’s out riding astride on horses and trying to figure out what’s wrong with her cousin Emmett.

Then she meets Luke…er… John. This is part of what makes this book so fun! Neither Rachel or Luke admit to the other who they really are. Luke is a Marquess. But when he meets Rachel, she appears to be stealing his horse. And he decides not to tell her who he really is. As you can imagine this ends up getting him into tons of trouble with all kinds of people. But he’s actually a great guy, no matter how gruff and closed off he seems to be.

Luke is Eliza’s brother. That means that she plays a huge role in the plot later on. She’s probably one of my most favorite characters ever and this book only reinforces that! I love her cool head in peril.

The plot, as I said earlier is filled with danger and twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. I loved every minute of reading this one!

I was sent an e-copy of A Tangled Ruse as a gift from the author.

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About The Matchmaker’s Match

The Matchmaker's MatchEliza Woodhouse has everything a girl could want: a delightful little beachside flower shop, a loving family, and the best friend a girl could ask for. And while she suffers a chronic lack of romance in her own life, the bohemian beauty is a self-proclaimed matchmaker extraordinaire, as evidenced by her recent successes. Having found a fiancé for her sister and a boyfriend for her best friend, she is now taking her lovelorn new employee under her wing. Yes, life is working out quite nicely for Eliza. Until Parker Knightley walks back into her life.

After three years in Hong Kong, Parker is in town for his brother’s upcoming wedding to Eliza’s sister. They’ve all known each other their whole lives, and Eliza will never be anything but Little Liza Belle to her handsome childhood tormenter. So the fact that their siblings are getting married simply puts Parker one step closer to becoming the big brother he and Eliza have always joked about him being. But the more time they spend together, the more confused Eliza’s feelings become. Because she has come to the shocking realization that the role of brother is the last role she wants Parker to play in her life . . .

My review

I’m always happy when I get to read a new book by an author that I’ve read and enjoyed reading before! I really enjoyed the two books I’ve read by Brittany Larsen Pride and Politics and Sense and Second Chances. I liked The Matchmaker’s Match just as much! 

Eliza is a great character. I was really amazed by how much she tried to do for everyone around her. She takes care of her dad, because he has a bit of mental illness and she doesn’t want to leave him alone. Eliza works hard on her sister Caroline’s wedding, and she does the same planning for her best friends wedding. And she’s always giving people jobs in her flower shop. Even to the point of losing money instead of making it. She really has a big heart. The big thing with Eliza is that she doesn’t know when to stop taking care of everyone around her, and take care of herself instead.

Then there’s Parker. He’s the brother of Caroline’s husband. I liked him, but I didn’t feel like I “knew” him because the whole story is from Eliza’s point of view. One thing about Parker is that he never seems to feel as though Eliza is good enough. There seems to be a running list of what she does wrong from him. I really wish that I knew what he was thinking through some of this book. 

There are so many fun characters in this one. Hailey, Elton, Taylor, Nancy, Jami, Blake. I really want to know what happens to each and every one of them! 

I liked the beach town vibe this one has. It’s set in Orange County, California. There’s tons of outdoor ocean and beachy fun. It made me want to head to the beach, get out a chair and read by the ocean. 

This one is really a fun one! I can’t wait to read more by this author!

I was gifted a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions are my own.

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About The Forgotten Road

the forgotten roadThe second novel in the bestselling trilogy from Richard Paul Evans about a man on an inspirational pilgrimage across Route 66 to find his way back to himself.

Chicago celebrity and successful pitchman Charles James is supposed to be dead. Everyone believes he was killed in a fiery plane crash. But thanks to a remarkable twist of fate, he’s very much alive and ready for a second chance at life—and love. Narrowly escaping death has brought Charles some clarity: the money, the fame, the fast cars—none of it was making him happy. The last time he was happy—truly happy—was when he was married to his ex-wife Monica, before their connection was destroyed by his ambition and greed.

Charles decides to embark on an epic quest: He will walk the entire length of Route 66, from Chicago to California, where he hopes to convince Monica to give him another shot. Along the way, Charles is immersed in the deep and rich history of one of America’s most iconic highways. But the greater journey he finds is the one he takes in his heart as he meets people along the road who will change his perspective on the world. But will his transformation be enough to earn redemption?

My review

I usually like to read Richard Paul Evans’ books. I don’t have any that I’ve bought, but I’ll borrow them from the library. It’s been almost exactly a year since I read the first book in this series, The Broken Road.

I kind of have mixed feelings on this one. This book seems a lot like this author’s The Walk Series. But the main character in this one isn’t nearly as likable. He seems a bit like a sleazy used car salesman. At least he does at the beginning of the book. By the end of this one, he’s growing on me a little bit. But I still can’t say that I like him.

In this book you see everything through the eyes of Charles James. He was supposed to be on a flight that ended up crashing and he spends a good chunk of his time at the beginning of the book trying to get out of his home town of Chicago without being seen or recognized by anyone. He figures since he’s supposed to be dead that it’s as good a time as any to disappear. And he really takes no thought for anyone besides himself. I was kind of appalled by the conceited way that he went to his own funeral. He went expecting it to be full of mourners that would go nuts when he went to the microphone and showed them all he had survived after all. What he found was about 6 other people. And at least some of those people didn’t like him anyway.

The plot of this one is fine. Like I said earlier, it really reminds me of The Walk series by that same author. I don’t think I’ll go out of my way to read the third book in this series. For me to want to read more, I’d have to care about the character enough to want to know what happens to him. And I’d have to think there would be something in the plot of the next one that’s really interesting. I don’t on either count.

I borrowed this book from my local library.

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About Waiting for You

waiting for youUSA Today bestselling author Heather B. Moore welcomes you to Pine Valley! 

WAITING FOR YOU is Gwen & Seth’s story.

Gwen Robbins loves her job waitressing at the Pine Valley resort restaurant, and as a single woman, she has no trouble turning down any offers of dates from the restaurant patrons. Even when her boss, Seth Owens, shows interest in her, she’s not tempted in the least, no matter how strong their attraction. 

But when Seth helps her through a crisis, she begins to see him in a different light. He’s not the rich and privileged business owner she first makes him out to be, but a man who’s making huge sacrifices to follow his own dreams. As Seth encourages Gwen to mend her own divide with her family, she realizes her heart is slowly opening toward a better future.

My review

I always love reading books in a series. It’s so much fun to see how life turns out for characters that you’ve grown to know and love. Heather Moore’s Pine Valley novels are that way. I love that you can read them in any order and they’ll still make sense. And her characters are some of my very favorites.

Waiting for You  features Seth and Gwen. Gwen is pretty much an amazing woman. She was raised in a wealthy family. But when she realized how much suffering was in the world, she gave that life up. She traded her life of privilege for serving others, a small apartment, a car that doesn’t run always and a job as a waitress. Gwen inspires me with the way she’s always volunteering at the homeless shelter. She wants the best for those people. Including Fourth of July cupcakes.

That’s where Seth comes in. When Gwen’s cupcake order falls through, he’s quick to offer to help her bake them. Something I thought was really fun about Seth was that he is actually a man who went to a fancy cooking school. That’s something his wealthy parents are actually ashamed of. I loved watching as Seth and Gwen really learned about each other. And as they fell in love over good food and spending a lot of time together. 

This is such a fun series! Make sure you read them all!

I was sent an e-copy of Waiting for You as a gift from the author. All opinions are my own.

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