Monday, July 27, 2015

Dancing to an Irish Reel by

Twenty five year old Hailey Crossan takes a trip to Ireland during a sabbatical from her job in the LA record business. While there, she’s offered a job too good to turn down, so she stays.

Although Hailey works in Galway, she lives in the countryside of Connemara, a rural area famous for its Irish traditional music.  When Hailey meets local musician, Liam Hennessey, a confusing relationship begins, which Hailey thinks is the result of differing cultures, for Liam is married to the music, and so unbalanced at the prospect of love, he won't come closer nor completely go away.

And so begins the dance of attraction that Hailey struggles to decipher. Thankfully, a handful of vibrant local friends come to her aid, and Hailey learns to love a land and its people, both with more charm than she ever imagined.

Claire Fullerton is an award winning essayist, a magazine contributor, a former newspaper columnist, and a four time contributor to the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series. She hails from Memphis, Tn. and now lives in Malibu California. “Dancing to an Irish Reel” is her second novel.

Make sure to check out her pages.

Liam and Hailey. Still thinking in about this one. I love novels set in Ireland, especially if I can listen to them as an audiobook, because what story about Ireland isn't enhanced by a lovely Irish brogue? In this case, I read the book with my own eyes and did the brogue in my head, and as it turns out, I have a pretty good mental Irish brogue. I wonder if I can put that on my resume.

Anyway, back to Liam and Hailey. I've said it a hundred times on this blog: for me, what makes a book great is great characters that stay with you. Liam and Hailey were both definitely complex and the entire novel left me thinking. It's been a long time since I read a book written in a really great lyrical style like this and I really enjoyed it.

Liam was exasperating in such a perfect way.

Hailey was less interesting. It was kind of a mystery what Liam found so intriguing about her because she seemed pretty plain. Everything interesting about her happened before the book even started. However, even though Hailey was doing this I think I'll just stay in Ireland crisis thing, she was the normal one in the relationship. She wasn't the one with issues so much as Liam, but I kind of liked them together, so it was a win.

A slew of interesting characters rounded out this story into an enjoyable read. I quite liked the book and would absolutely recommend it. Do yourself a favor and give this lyrical, delightful novel a try.

Also, feel free to enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win prizes associated with the blog tour for Dancing to an Irish Reel.

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Rewind to You by Laura Johnston

Rewind To You by Laura JohnstonOne last summer before college on beautiful Tybee Island is supposed to help Sienna forget. But how can she? This is where her family spent every summer before everything changed, before the world as she knew it was ripped away.

But the past isn't easily left behind. Especially when Sienna keeps having episodes that take her back to the night she wants to forget. Even when she meets the mysterious Austin Dobbs, the guy with the intense blue eyes, athlete's body, and weakness for pralines who scooped her out of trouble when she blacked out on River Street.

When she's with Austin, Sienna feels a whole new world opening up to her. Austin has secrets, and she has history. But caught between the past and the future, Sienna can still choose what happens now. . .

Was Austin too good to be true or what?  A good bad boy? Yes please.

I really liked how well-developed the characters were. I liked the confusion Sienna felt about Austin and Kyle. It was very characteristic of what teenage girls feel. I liked the neutral character of Brian, but even he wasn't one-dimensional, because he liked Sienna, too, and they all knew it. Sienna was a little dumb, like we all are at that age, but certainly not annoying, like a lot of female YA MCs are. That was much appreciated, and I found her actions and decisions more believable because of it.

You know who was annoying, though? Her mom. She and Kyle both seemed a bit over-stereotypical. The people who should have loved Sienna best were her enemies, using their own grief and insecurities to prevent her from progressing. So...I guess they were supposed to be annoying and it worked well.

The plot was present and well-thought out. I did not think it was necessary for Austin to be in the accident. It seemed like an additional plot point pretty late in the game, an additional conflict when they had already overcome the conflicts that had been set up in the beginning. But...that's just me and conflict. I don't like it. :)

Overall, this was a great book. Good story. Memorable characters. Fantastic writing.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Relax, I'm a Ninja by Natalie Whipple

Image result for relax, I'm a ninjaA Clan of ninjas in San Francisco may sound improbable-but as the son of a ninja Master, Tosh Ito knows what lurks in the shadows of his city. Or at least he thought he did. When a killer with a poisoned blade starts cutting down teens, Tosh enlists Amy Sato-newest ninja recruit, and his best friend's crush-and sets out to uncover the killer's identity. What they find is ninjutsu more evil than they could have ever imagined. As Amy and Tosh grow closer, they discover their connection unleashes a legendary power that could stop the murders. Problem is, that power may be exactly what the killer is looking for, and wielding it could cost them their souls.

I have to admit, the title of this one totally got me. It was like, you had me at ninja. Because c'mon. That said, I probably had some kind of expectation going into this book, but I still have no idea what it was. I will just say I loved the experience of reading this one and was grinning a lot because of the cuteness. I read this during my breaks at work and whenever I could steal some time at home, so it definitely kept me coming back.

I liked Tosh. I liked Amy. I liked them together. Those are basically the only qualities a book has to have for me to like it. Well, that's not true, but you get the idea.

Character critiques. Tosh seemed to be written by a girl for girls, if that makes sense. I won't say his character was girly, but half the time I was smiling into my kindle, I knew it was because this book was written from a female perspective. Tosh constantly telling me all his feelings made Amy feel a little less like the girl. I totally don't mean that how it sounds, I'm just not sure how to describe it. Like maybe I was getting the story through Amy's eyes, and their names were just reversed... It took me out of the book sometimes, but it worked for me--I was amused and entertained--so all good. I wasn't crazy about Tosh's parents, but I don't think I was supposed to be. I think I was supposed to feel like Tosh and Amy were alone in this ninja thing together. Their friends were great, and I liked how Amy and Tosh dealt with the unrequited love issue, just like teens do--not ignoring it, feeling bad about it, but not really knowing how to handle it, and definitely not going to step back because of it. Very realistic and a part of the story that really added depth to the other characters for me.

Plot. It was good.

All in all, it was a fun, enjoyable read.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Summer Book Trek

Yay for Summer Book Trek! I've been a sponsor for a few years, and I thought this year maybe I'd, you know, participate. So, here are the books I'm planning to read and the books I hope to get to (I have a pretty big TBR pile!)

3. Relax, I'm a Ninja by Natalie Whipple
4. Hacked by Stephanie Worlton
5. All Fall Down by Julie Coulter Bellon
6. Paint Me True by E. M. Tippetts
8. Rewind to You by Laura Johnston
10. Ever After Drake by Keary Taylor
11. Reluctant Guardian by Melissa J. Cunningham
12. Dancing With Black by Laura Bingham
13. Elevated by Elana Johnson
14. Coulda Been a Cowboy by Brenda Novak
15. Descendant by Nichole Giles
15. Birthright by Nichole Giles
15. Replacing Gentry by Julie N. Ford
17. Home Matters by Julie N. Ford
18. Rising by Holly Kelly
19. Persuaded by Misty Dawn Pulsipher
11. Becoming Beauty by Sarah E. Boucher
12. Falling For Rayne by Shannon Guyman
12. Come to Me by Shannon Guyman
12. This Time Forever by Rachel Ann Nunes
12. Weathered Too Young by Marcia Lynn McClure
12. Falling by Mia Josephs
12. Prank Wars by Stephanie Fowers
12. Jane and Austen by Stephanie Fowers
12. Goodnight Kiss by Ranee S Clark

I could go on, but that would just be silly. Maybe it's a little ambitious. A little pie in the sky at over one per day. But hey, you never know. I might quit my job and my kids might feed themselves... Ha!

If you want to participate in the Summer Book Trek challenge, go HERE and check it out.