Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bourne (River of Time, #3.1)

Title: Bourne
Author: Lisa T. Bergren
Labels: Fiction | YA | General
Publisher: Independently published
Publication Date: February 26, 2012
Contains: Awkward turtle borderline scene.
Buy It: Amazon

My Rating:  File:Star½.svg  (It was okay I guess...)
Blurb From Goodreads: BOURNE, a novella (1/3 the length of a normal novel), picks up right where TORRENT left off...Find out what has happened to men returning from the battle, gravely wounded, to the Betarrinis, fighting for the men they love, and just who is hunting them next...
         So, I wasn't crazy about this installment of The River of Time series. Bourne picks right up where Torrent left off, directly after the ending battle of the latter book. Unlike the first three books of this series, the point of view switches between Gabi and Lia....which is basically the only thing that saved it for me. In all honesty, I'm kinda getting sick of Gabi. When the series first started I really liked her; she felt real and relatable. Now I just wanna smack her upside the head.

          I guess I feel like all Gabi does now is get herself into trouble and drool over her now husband. And if she says "my man" again, I'm going to throw something against the wall (since this was an ebook, I can't really do that without hurting my Itouch....) And all she does is think about him....like lives, breaths, and drools Marcello. Her whole relationship is starting to get shallow. I get that originally she was all gooey, but now that she's married, it's time to grow up and get a life. I'm not saying that married life is boring or unromantic or anything, but I also don't think people are obsessing over each other at that point...it's time to get a grip.

          Now that I've voiced my displeasure with Gabi, let's talk Lia. I actually really like Lia, not to mention Luca (who was my favorite from the start). I feel like both of these characters have really grown up and matured through the first three books, and now, after much waiting, begin to move closer in their relationship. And even in getting closer, neither of them are really drooling or obsessive like Gabi. Even though Luca is always overly dramatic about his love for Lia, he still feels real to me because it's part of his personality. He was already dramatic and funny before Lia and Gabi showed up on the scene. Lia and Luca's relationship just slid together like just as it ought to have. So basically, the parts of this book written in Lia's point of view saved this novella from being a total flop for me.

          Besides Gabi, I have one other complaint. I have for the longest time loved Bergren's books because they're clean. But I'm starting to question whether she's going to cross the line.... Because right now, in this book, in my opinion, she's bordering the dangerous line of going to far. I get that the era this is written in could be pretty crude, but this is fiction. You don't have to follow exactly the way it went - especially when you decide to stick time travel in there. There were a handful of scenes in this book I thought was bordering on inappropriate, most of which I thought were completely unnecessary. If more details go into such scenes and said scenes keep coming up more frequently, Bergren just might lose my respect for her as an author.

          As for whether or not I'll read any future books in this series....we'll see. If there are future books written in Lia's point of view, I'll probably read them. If they're in Gabi's point of view, probably not.

          I bought this book, and therefore was not required nor asked to write a review, nor a positive one at that. I was not compensated for this review.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Alienation (C.H.A.O.S. Series) [Review]

Title: Alienation
Author: Jon S. Lewis
Labels: Juvenile Fiction | Science Fiction | Fiction
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: January 3, 2012
Contains: Clean as a whistle.
Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | The Publisher

My Rating:  (It was good)
Blurb From Goodreads: Along with his best friends Oz and Danielle, Colt McAllister is now training at the secret Central Headquarters Against the Occult and Supernatural Academy. But strange accidents seem to follow him...even with the security of the school grounds. What first seems random soon turns deadly. But who is targeting Colt?
          Here I am again jumping the middle of a series :P. Will I ever learn? Anyway, I didn't have a hard time following along with what was going on. Now, I'm not well read in science fiction, so I can't say that this book sets the example for all the other books in this genre, but I thought the surrounding details of the plot were a bit...complicated. Maybe it had something to do with my jumping into the middle of it, but I that was it, because I understood everything completely. To the contrary, I thought everything was explained very well. The problem, in my opinion at least, was that there was simply too much that needed explaining. Every time a new chapter started I felt like there was quite a bit of explaining going on before anything actually happened.

          As for the actual plot, I thought it was great. The main character, Colt, is a newly recruited cadet of the CHAOS academy, and suddenly finds himself on a hit list of the directed of the academy, who inconveniently is also the father of Colt's best friend. It sooner becomes evident that even those closest to him have held things back, and not everyone can be trusted. Colt struggles with deciding who is on the wrong side, and more importantly, who he can trust.

          Alianation falls at about 250 pages, and is a quick, easy read. Colt is said to be sixteen, but from his character voice it felt like he was a bit younger. This would make a great read for young boys. I received this book for free from goodreads. I was not required to write a review nor a positive one; I was not compensated for this review.

The Scent of Cherry Blossoms [Review]

Title: The Scent of Cherry Blossoms
Author: Cindy Woodsmall
Labels: Fiction | Contemporary
Publisher: Waterbrook Multnomah
Publication Date: February 21, 2012
Contains: Clean as a whistle.
Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | The Publisher

My Rating: ★ (Fantastic!)
Blurb From Goodreads: Annie Martin loves the Plain ways of her Old Order Mennonite people, like those revered by her beloved grandfather. Retreating from a contentious relationship with her mother, Annie goes to live with her Daadi Moses in Apple Ridge.  
          But as spring moves into Pennsylvania and Annie spends time amongst the cherry trees with the handsome Aden Zook, she wishes she could forget how deeply the lines between the Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonite are drawn. Can Annie and Aden find a place for their love to bloom in the midst of the brewing storm?
          I'm pretty sure I can summarize this book in these two words: utterly fantastic! This is now among my favorites, and definitely one of the most enjoyable books I've read...ever. Both Annie and Aden are fantastic, unique characters with a whole lot of personality.

          Aden and Annie are two young adults belonging to two different yet very similar religious communities, communities which forbid marriage outside of their own community. Despite this rule, the two take a liking to each other, falling a little more for the other each time their paths cross. Finally, after being driven to her grandfather's farm due to problems at home, Annie realizes her feelings for Aden have deepened a great deal. The two teeter on the fence line of going their separate ways in favor of their community and family peace, or committing to a relationship that could quite possibly hurt everyone they love and rip their communities apart.

          I'm really at a loss for how to convey the awesomeness of this book, so I'm just going to stop here. Basically, this is a great read for anyone who loves romance - from the mushy kind to realistic to practical romance. Get it. Read it. I received this book for free from the publisher. I was not require to write a review, nor a positive one. I was not compensated for this review.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Blue Moon Promise (Under Texas Stars, #1) [Review]

Title: Blue Moon Promise
Author: Colleen Coble
Label: Fiction | Christian | Romance
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: February 14, 2012
Contains: A few PG17+ Discussions.......
Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | The Publisher

My Rating: (I loved it!)
Blurb From Amazon: Lucy Marsh's worldly resources are running out, but she's fiercely determined to care for her younger brother and sister. When she discovers that their father's recent death was no accident, Lucy is eager to leave town. She accepts a proxy marriage she believes will provide safe refuge. But trouble follows her to Texas where her new husband is surprised to suddenly have a wife and children to care for.
          Nate Stanton always hoped he'd marry someday, but running the family ranch meant he had no time for romance. When his father deposits Lucy Marsh-a city girl-on his doorstep, with two siblings in the bargain, he expects ranch life will send her running on the first train out of town. But Lucy is made of tougher stuff than Nate imagined. When danger moves in, Nate finds he'd give anything to protect Lucy and the children he's grown to love. Even if it means giving up his ranch.
          Blue Moon Promise is probably the most enjoyable book I've read in a long time. In fact, in the two days it took me to read it, it has won its way into my small handful of favorite books. Despite a few "awkward turtle" moments near the end, it had me fully engaged and amused the entire time.

          The plot centers around the two main characters, Lacy and Nate, who are two completely different people, and yet have interesting similarities. Lacy is a single woman taking care of her two younger siblings after her father and mother both died, the father's death being the most recent. In a last attempt to keep her family together, she agrees to marry Nate, a guy she's never laid on eyes on let alone heard of. Then poor Nate finds out his father has brought home a wife for him. Needless to say, he wasn't incredible thrilled...to say the least.

          The stubborn determination in both of them kept me flipping the pages and smiling non-stop. On more than on occasion I had to smile and "awwww" at Nate's adorable attempts to please Lucy and make their off-kilter marriage work, while on the other hand Lucy continued to work her tail end off trying to make it work in her own way, causing her to totally miss what was sitting right in front of her. My favorite quote: "If one of the newfangled universities offered a course on women, he would be the first to sign up." (p. 238) It made me laugh :)

          Nearer to the end there were a few slightly awkward conversations regarding a few non-existent aspects of their marriage, and therefore I wouldn't suggest young teens or children read this. This is definitely recommended for older teens (17+) and adults, and is a fantastic read, which I enjoyed immensely!

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for this review. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Eye of the Sword (Angelaeon Circle, #2) [Review]

Title: Eye of the Sword
Author: Karyn Henley
Labels: Fiction | Fantasy
Publisher: Waterbrook Multnomah
Publication Date: March 13, 2012
Contains: N/A - Clean as a whistle.
Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | The Publisher

My Rating: (It was okay)
Blurb From Goodreads: In Camrithia, a land of shadows and mystical secrets, Trevin lives to serve King Laetham. But his heart belongs to the princess, Melaia. When the King sends Trevin on on a dangerous quest to find the missing comains—captains in the king’s army—he must leave Melaia to the advances of a swaggering Dregmoorian prince. 
          Challenged to prove his worth, Trevin throws himself into his quest. Striving to prove his love, Trevin undertakes a second mission—find the harps Melaia seeks in order to restore the stairway to heaven. Through fire caves, rogue winds, and murderous threats, Trevin remains steadfastly dedicated to his quest—even when he is falsely accused of a heinous crime. As Trevin’s time runs out, he realizes he must face the shame and horror of his own past and the nightmare that has come to life. Will he have the courage to finish what he has started?
          This is probably a bad way to start off a book review, but here I am again reading a book out of the middle of a series that I've never touched. Bit of a bad habit for me, yes? Anyway, Eye of the Sword is the sequel to Breath of Angel, and is the second book in the Angelaeon Circle series. Since, as previously mentioned, I haven't read the first book, I can't give a contrast to how it is compared to the first book. My apologies.

          Probably mostly due to the fact that I jumped into the middle of this complex series, I had a hard time keeping up with what was going on and the significance of it all for about half the book. The unusual names tripped me up for a while but before too long I could keep them all straight. Due to all these conundrums - caused by my own silliness, more likely than not - I ended up enjoying the latter half more than the first.

          I guess the only real problem I saw with this book (excluding my initial self-caused trip-ups) was the lack of engagement I felt. I found it kinda hard to get into the characters, which I think possibly was because of the fantasy nature of the characters - angels, creepy immortal bad guys, and the like. I had a hard time relating to any of the characters, making me feel kinda outside the story.

          Nonetheless, once things got moving along and I started having a better understanding of the plot and settings, it was interesting to watch things play out. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for this review. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Accused (Pacific Coast Justice Series #1) [Review]

Title: Accused
Author: Janice Cantore
Labels: Fiction | Christian | Romance
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication Date: January 20, 2012
Contains: Small amount of cursing, some other iffy elements. PG17.
Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | The Publisher

My Rating: (Didn't really like it)
Blurb From Goodreads: Detective Carly Edwards hates working in juvenile--where the brass put her after an officer-involved shooting--and longs to be back on patrol. So when a troubled youth, Londy Atkins, is arrested for the murder of the mayor and Carly is summoned to the crime scene, she's eager for some action. Carly presses Londy for a confession but he swears his innocence, and despite her better judgment, Carly is inclined to believe him. Yet homicide is convinced of his guilt and is determined to convict him. Carly's ex-husband and fellow police officer, Nick, appears to be on her side. He's determined to show Carly that he's a changed man and win her back, but she isn't convinced he won't betray her again.As the investigation progresses, Carly suspects a cover-up and strikes out on her own, uncertain whom she can trust. But when danger mounts, she begins to wonder if she made the right choice.
          I may as well say this right from the start: I wasn't incredibly thrilled with this book. While the book is an easy read, it felt like it moved slowly. Occasionally the pace felt right when there was a more relaxed scene, but for the most part I felt like it should have been a tad faster.

          That said, I felt a bit disconnected from this story. Now, I'm a person who likes to feel connected to the characters and feel like I'm a part of what's going on. I didn't get that feeling with this book. Because I felt disconnected, I never felt any emotion toward any of the characters -- I didn't love the good guys, I didn't hate the bad guys. I didn't even really care when one of the main characters got hurt or ended up in a bad situation. Not good.

          The other thing I didn't like was the accusations of affairs. Now, I get that these things happen in real life, and I get that police probably have to deal with it a lot in their line of work. But I felt like every time I turned the page someone else was being accused of having an affair with someone. It was just wayy too much.

          There's not a whole lot more for me to say on this book, except that it was really easy to read. Despite feeling disconnected, it took no time at all to breeze threw it. If you like slow reads, you may like it. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for this review. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Giveaways are filled with awesomeness! So here's the deal, head on over to Kimberly's Bloomin' Reviews for the chance to win an awesome $50 Amazon Gift Card! This giveaway is open internationally.

"In order to help my blog "blossom", I've decided to host a Giveaway!  One lucky winner will win a $50.00 Amazon Gift Card!  That's right, $50.00... Free! Why? I have several opportunities for upcoming product/book reviews and giveaways, and followers are an essential part of the process. Yes, it's all about the numbers but who doesn't like free stuff?  So please, take a few moments and help my blog "blossom"!"


Best of luck!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Torrent (River of Time, #3) [Review]

Title: Torrent
Author: Lisa T. Bergren
Labels: Fiction | YA | General
Publisher: David C. Cook
Publication Date: September 1, 2011
Contains: Romance...slight implications...
Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | The Publisher

My Rating: File:Star½.svg (I liked it a lot)
Blurb: When Gabi and Lia finally learn to surf the river of time, they realize they must make hard choices about life and love in the third and final book in the River of Time series.   
          Gabi and Lia Betarrini have learned to control their time travel, and they return from medieval Italy to save their father from his tragic death in modern times.   But love calls across the centuries, and the girls are determined to return forever—even though they know the Black Plague is advancing across Europe, claiming the lives of one-third of the population. In the suspenseful conclusion of the River of Time series, every decision is about life…and death. [Taken from Goodreads]
          So this volume of The River of Time Series was....interesting. The plot again picks up right where Cascade left off, just as Cascade picked right off where Waterfall left off. Combine them and they're pretty much one long continuous story with no gabs of time between. I really like the way the plot went in this one -- I mean, I liked the plot in the first two, but this one was...I don't know, different somehow. I especially like the little sidetracked fling between Greco and Gabriella...it was interesting to see how it went. Alright, fine. I'll be honest.....I was rooting for Greco >:)

          It was really nice that the main characters were so well developed - as they ought to be after two previous books! But because they were so developed everything felt a lot more real, a lot more relatable. One the flip side, I was kinda disappointed with some of the side characters. Namely, Mom and Dad Betarrini. Again, I had the same disappointment as I had with Cascade: there just wasn't enough scenes involving Mom and Dad. There weren't enough opportunities for their characters to develop, to grow. I would have at least liked to have seen some better development from Mom, since she is now a returning character. As far as development, is was like on one side there was the well developed characters: Gabi, Lia, Marcello, Luca, Greco, and then on the other side consisting of under-developed characters....everybody else. 

          I guess it might not seem like such a big deal to most readers, but for me, it made me feel disconnecting from those underdeveloped characters. For example, near the end one of the characters was injured -- a character that should have been a bit higher on the development scale because he/she was fairly important -- and instead of it getting some sort of decent reaction out of me, I was kinda like...."Oh....okay...." See what I'm saying? I care less about underdeveloped characters because I don't feel connected to them in any way. That particular scene was supposed to get a better reaction out of me, supposed to connect some dots between two characters, but instead, I didn't really care.

          Another problem I had with underdeveloped characters was Gabi's dad. I felt like Gabi kept telling us how overly protective he was, but I never actually saw it for myself. Like, nothing he ever said or did made me feel like he was over protective. It was all tell and no show. And the telling didn't even match up with his actions - or rather, the lack thereof. Which isn't really good, considering a rather important chunk of plot revolved around Gabi's parent's over protection toward Lia and her.

          As far as the romance went....well, I felt like there was definitely less "my man" and ooey gooey love-sick-teenager-ish-ness. Whoohoo! :P Sorry, I'm not a sappy romance kinda girl. However, there was a scene or two at the end that I felt was kinda....um, awkward. Like, the characters never stepped over the line of inappropriateness, but near the end there were a few implications. Nothing said outright, but you could kinda infer what was going on in the character's heads, and it was kinda....awkward. Or at least for me it felt that way. Granted, there was a wedding the next day, but still. In my opinion, keep your pre-wedding thoughts to yourself :P.
          Overall I thought that this was a great edition to The River of Times Series.

Cascade (River of Time, #2) [Review]

Title: Cascade
Author: Lisa T. Bergren
Labels: Fiction | YA | General
Publisher: David C. Cook
Publication Date: June 1, 2011
Contains: N/A
Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | The Publisher

My Rating: (I liked it)
Blurb: Mom touched my underdress—a gown made six hundred years before—and her eyes widened as she rubbed the raw silk between thumb and forefinger. She turned and touched Lia’s gown. “Where did you get these clothes?”
          Gabi knows she’s left her heart in the fourteenth century and she persuades Lia to help her to return, even though they know doing so will risk their very lives. When they arrive, weeks have passed and all of Siena longs to celebrate the heroines who turned the tide in the battle against Florence—while the Florentines will go to great lengths to see them dead.
          But Marcello patiently awaits, and Gabi must decide if she’s willing to leave her family behind for good in order to give her heart to him forever. [Taken from Goodreads]
Note: This is going to be a short review, because I finished the book like 3-4 weeks ago, but since I was taking an intensive college course at the time, I didn't have the time to write the review. Hence it will not be as in depth as I would have liked.

          Gabi, Gabi, Gabi, Gabi. She always manages to get right into the heart of battle, no? So Cascade picks up right where Waterfall left off...quite literally. Like, a lot of sequels will have at least a short time span between the two, whereas this one picks up literally minutes after the first book ends. Which is fine. I just thought that was interesting.

          It was cool that on the second trip back to medieval Italy Gabi and Lia got to bring their mom with them...but then I was kinda disappointed that their mom didn't have a stronger role in the story. I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I kinda felt like their mother got left on the sidelines once the arrived, and Gabi and Marcello picked right back up and stole the spotlight for the rest of the book. I mean, I get that the book is basically their story. But I guess I would have liked to have seen Gabi and Lia associate more with their mother, instead of the mother being there just for the ride.

          To me it felt like there was a lot more action in this volume of The River of Time Series, which was great. That meant there was less time for Gabi and Marcello to be all ooey gooey, and be more like legit medieval warriors than lovesick teenagers. Maybe that was a little harsh. But it was starting to get to me how they were always so...sappy? (for lack of a better word)...over each other. Less kissing, more fighting! :P

          To make up for my distaste of overly gooey romances, a new character was introduced to the mix -- Lord Greco. Now him, I liked. He might be a new fav. character for me....along with Luca. Because Luca, he's cool.

          Sadly, I wasn't crazy about the ending. I'm not going to say what happens at the end, because that would ruin it. But it wasn't as great as I was hoping it would be. I kinda felt like the last event was just slapped onto the end. Other than that I thought the book was really good.