Monday, January 28, 2013

The Alias by Mandi Slack

After a long and difficult divorce, Jacey is sure the worst is over. But when the FBI reveals some disturbing information about her ex-husband, she is forced into hiding to protect herself and her son. In the process, she risks losing her identity, her future, and her heart. Thrilling and suspenseful, this novel is an edge-of-your-seat read.

Misty Review:

This was a sweet story about starting over. Jacey Grayson is escaping an abusive relationship and its fallout when she ends up in Utah hiding on a farm at the end of a dirt lane in Mona. But in order to stay hidden, she has to lie her socks off about who she is. "Uncle Grant" and "Aunt Helen" are really kind, and the guilt of lying to them eats at Jacey--but not more than the fear. When John, her ex-husband, locates her, he shows up and nabs their son, Blaze, while Jacey is out buying feed for the animals (what passes for a date in Utah!) with Grant and Helen's handsome son, Kale. And then the truth all comes out, Blaze has to be rescued, and before it's all over, so does Jacey. John may have a gun, but Kale has a bigger one (Ha! I loved that part!).

I really liked how familiar all the people seemed in this story. The characterizations were very real and down-to-earth. I liked that Jacey had this great example of family, something she'd never had in her life, when she stayed on the farm. I also liked that she felt acceptance and curiousity when she went to the Mormon church, yet the book was not at all preachy. The action was not too suspenseful, and the plot moved along well. Mandi has a way of picking you up and dropping you right into her setting. When you read The Alias, you feel like you're in Mona, Utah among its people and scenery. 

Next week, Six Mixed will be a stop on the tour for Slack's new release, Tide Ever Rising, in which she exhibits the same skill and delightful prose. I was dying to read Tide Ever Rising, and I'm so excited to give a review.

In the mean time, for more infomation about Mandi Slack and her writing, you can visit her website by clicking below. Also, to purchase your own copy of The Alias, click on the cover below.

Click to purchase

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Gold Clash

A Novel by Steve Westover

Notes from the publisher:

When Jimmy agreed to lead a youth activity through the historic Missouri countryside, he had no idea what he was getting into. Now he and his friends Paul and Emily must race to recover a long-lost treasure and rescue two teenage hostages before the conflict tears an entire town apart. This action-packed thrill ride of a book doesn’t disappoint!

Mandi's Review:

I have to admit, I am thoroughly impressed with Westover's ability to combine thrills and intrigue. Gold Clash is a book filled with adventure, danger, and exciting characters. I loved the story line, and found it difficult to put this book down. The descriptive scenes were captivating, and the characters were well-rounded and easy to connect with. Also, I am a nut for anything that involves "treasure". I recommend this book for anyone who loves adventure, thrills, and clean reading. I give Gold Clash 5 stars.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Catching Jordan by Miranda Keneally

What girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn't just surrounded by hot guys, though-she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys and that's just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university.

But everything she's ever worked for is threatened when Ty Green moves to her school. Not only is he an amazing QB, but he's also amazingly hot. And for the first time, Jordan's feeling vulnerable. Can she keep her head in the game while her heart's on the line?

My review:

Fantastic book. I completely loved it. Carefully crafted and just perfect.

I wanted this book on Netgalley, but I couldn't get it from the publisher, but I still wanted to read it, so I ended up begrudingly buying it. I always give an honest review, sometimes a little too honest, but I was still kind of bummed about not getting it for review that I planned (in my daydreams) to put a negative spin on my review. But I can't. I liked it that much.

I'm even going to gloss over the parts I think you wouldn't like--namely the copious amounts of swearing. After the first two swears on the first page, I about rolled my eyes and nearly put the book down. Generally I feel a good author should be able to convey emotion in other ways. Finding the best words is an author's business after all. But after a few pages I decided to deal with it, and after a chapter or two, it became clear that these characters could not be portrayed adequately nor the setting even created without the swears. So yeah, some of you might not like it in there, but the book would not work, would absolutely not work work, without it.

Jordan's mom, noticing that Jordan does not open up with her feelings very easily, gives her a journal to use, which Jordan promptly ignores. It sits forever until one day, after the new quarterback shows up on the field and Jordan's world starts to change, she decides she needs to vent and picks it up. What she starts writing comes out as poetry. Yes, poetry. It. Is. Awesome. Not the poetry--it is mediocre at best--but the fact that it's in there. The poetry is such a contrast to Jordan's tomboyishness and it completely works. It directly states the subtext, which is like a little clue that you are feeling and catching what the author intended for you to feel. It is the whole reason I bump this book from the 4/5 stars I would give it to the 5/5 stars I do give it.

Anyway. First love. Love triangle. What's not to like, right?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Favorites of 2012

Here are my top 10 favorite reads of 2012. They are in no particular order, except maybe in the order I read them. Leave me a comment. I would love to know what some of your favorites were.

Along For the Ride by Sarah Dessen

By far my favorite of Dessen's novels. I love how Eli rides and does tricks at night while everyone else is sleeping. I love how he is healing in his own way and how he puts Auden's life in perspective just by being himself. One of the most memorable male characters I've ever read.

If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Probably the books that left THE biggest impression on me. I still think of the characters--mainly Adam. I think of that scene where he flags a jogger down in Central Park and bums his old ipod off of him and finally really hears music again. I think of how the guy knows exactly who he is, but he gives him the ipod and leaves Adam in peace. I think of that scene a lot.

The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti

Prior to reading this book, I had read two Caletti books and liked one and disliked the other. This was a tie-breaker. The characters of this book stick out in my mind, and if you haven't guessed by now, most of what I like about a book is determined by whether or not the characters are well-developed.

Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill

"So. Stinking. Cute." I wrote a longer review than that, but it wasn't really necessary. That pretty much summed it up.

Sean Griswold's Head by Lindsey Leavitt

I think the reason I liked this book so much was I really identified with the main character. I recall being an overanalytical spaz like that. I would be now, but I don't have time for it anymore (the overanalytical part anyway). It was nice to go back to good old days. And, same as the other books, I really liked the male protagonist in this one.

Short-Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer

This was not my favorite of Witemeyer's books, but liked it a lot anyway.

What I Didn't Say by Keary Taylor

When I decided to do a Best of 2012 post, this is the book I thought of first. I remember liking this book a lot (despite a few elements I didn't care for), but when I went back and read my own review, it sounded like I didn't like the book much at all. I can be overly critical like that. :)

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

I reviewed the companion book to Lola, Anna and the French Kiss. I did not like it as much as I hoped I would because it lacked some of the development I expect from a novel. Lola and the Boy Next Door totally redeemed everything I disliked in the first book. I was pleasantly surprised with this one (but maybe because my expectation had been lowered!).

Geek Girl by Cindy Bennett

I read this at the very end of 2011, so I'm sneaking it in because it is so worthy of mention. This was the second book I thought of when I decided to do this post, and I was bummed when I saw I had reviewed it the previous year, and then I thought, "Hey, there are no rules here." Such a memorable story and memorable characters. Teens in the first stages of love and self-discovery and adults whose guidance they can trust.

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

I read the second and third books of this series last year, It's Not Summer Without You and We'll Always Have Summer. This is one of those books I wish I had written myself. I wanted to be in the driver's seat of this one, equally loving it the way it is and wanting to change it to make it my own. I've read all three books more than once. Usually I sort of hate "poignant," but I kind of like "bittersweet."

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols

Synopsis (from
All Meg has ever wanted is to get away. Away from high school. Away from her backwater town. Away from her parents who seem determined to keep her imprisoned in their dead-end lives. But one crazy evening involving a dare and forbidden railroad tracks, she goes way too far...and almost doesn't make it back.
John made a choice to stay. To enforce the rules. To serve and protect. He has nothing but contempt for what he sees as childish rebellion, and he wants to teach Meg a lesson she won't soon forget. But Meg pushes him to the limit by questioning everything he learned at the police academy. And when he pushes back, demanding to know why she won't be tied down, they will drive each other to the edge -- and over....

Jillian’s Review: 
This was an amazingly well written novel. Echols writing style reminded me of Jodi Picoult (writer of My Sister's Keeper). Such great, hilarious sarcasm and real-to-life characters, but it was SO dirty that I just can't give it the 5 stars I would have otherwise.

There was way too much swearing (including the F-bomb, more than once), and the main character had a disgustingly dirty mind. This was nowhere near age appropriate.
but it could have easily been 5 had Echols had kept it clean.